Spring Training has officially arrived, which means the end to a grueling winter. Now that the winter and offseason have concluded, we can take a broad look at how each MLB team did over the past three months. It’s time to hand out some grades, so give one to each of the 15 teams in the American League.
- Orioles: C-
- Red Sox: C-
- Yankees: B+
- Rays: B-
- Blue Jays: A-
Let’s start off with the Baltimore Orioles. Baltimore finished above .500 for the first time in six years in 2022, but it feels like the O’s could have done more to support a young, yet talented lineup. The Orioles do have a couple of new faces in the rotation in Cole Irvin and Kyle Gibson, but the rotation as a whole is somewhat concerning given the steep competition in the AL East.
Next up is the Red Sox. It’s hard to give Boston a high grade, given the losses of Xander Bogaerts, Nathan Eovaldi, and JD Martinez. However, Boston did make an impactful move this winter by locking up Rafael Devers for the long-term.
The Yankees receive a fairly high grade, given what Brian Cashman and company were up against this past winter. Both Anthony Rizzo and Aaron Judge could have left, but the two do stick around for 2023. Not to mention, the Yankees replaced Aroldis Chapman with Tommy Kahnle and signed star left-hander Carlos Rodón to fill out a deep rotation. No, New York did not address the holes at left or at third base. But, those could be sorted out via internal options.
The Tampa Bay Rays did have somewhat of a flashy offseason, by its standards. Tampa inked RHP Zach Eflin to the largest free agent contract in franchise history, but that wasn’t the marquee move. The Rays handed out multi-year deals to LHP Jeffrey Springs, RHP Pete Fairbanks, and 3B Yandy Díaz, all moves that could save Tampa some cash in the long haul.
Last up is the Blue Jays, a team that we believed had one of the best offseasons in MLB. Toronto inked a crafty and effective righty in Chris Bassitt to shore up the middle of the Jays rotation, and picked up Kevin Kiermaier, Daulton Varsho, and Brandon Belt as well. The latter three are all left-handed bats, which should add some diversity to a right-handed heavy Blue Jays unit.
- White Sox: B-
- Guardians: B
- Tigers: C-
- Royals: C+
- Twins: A-
The Chicago White Sox failed to live up to expectations in 2022, but will look to change that with a revamped core. OF Andrew Benintendi should add some much-needed outfield depth, while infielder Elvis Andrus — who exploded in his brief stint with Chicago last year — is back for 2023. The one negative from this winter was the loss of José Abreu, but former top pick Andrew Vaughn will look to fill those shoes this season.
Defending AL Central champion Cleveland boasts a young and talented group, so all that really needed to be done was to plug holes. That’s exactly what the Guardians did, as Cleveland picked up veteran slugger Mike Zunino to suit behind the plate and 1B/DH Josh Bell. Bell should provide some much-needed support for a talented middle-of-the-lineup in northern Ohio.
Next up is Detroit, a team in a rather bizarre situation entering 2023. Seemingly done with the rebuild after the 2021 campaign, the Tigers crashed and burned thanks to injury after injury to a young pitching staff, and an ineffective lineup. Detroit’s new management opted to pawn several of its relievers this winter, and didn’t add too much to its current group. It’s shaping up to be an interesting year in Motown.
Kansas City did have a quiet offseason, but did pick up a couple of relievers in Josh Taylor and Aroldis Chapman and two starters in Jordan Lyles and Ryan Yarbrough. It should be interesting to see how those two do in Kansas City, given their struggles over the past couple of the years.
Last is the Twins, a group that appears to have improved the most out of all the AL Central teams. Not only did the Twins re-sign Carlos Correa, but also picked up a solid catcher in Christian Vázquez and one of the game’s more underrated starters in Pablo López. The Twins also traded for insurance in center field, as defensive specialist Michael A. Taylor comes over via trade from the Royals.
- Astros: B+
- Angels: B+
- Athletics: C-
- Mariners: B
- Rangers: A-
Let’s start off our grades for the AL West teams with the defending champion Houston Astros. Given the Astros’ status as World Series winners, Houston didn’t need to do too much with its roster. Nonetheless, the Astros upgraded in a big way at first with the addition of José Abreu. While Houston did lose Justin Verlander, the Astros did manage to keep Michael Brantley and Rafael Montero for 2023. Plus, Houston locked up strikeout machine Cristian Javier to a five-year, $64 million extension in February.
The Angels, meanwhile, added some new pieces to the rotation and lineup. LHP Tyler Anderson will head to Anaheim after a career season with the Dodgers, while Hunter Renfroe, Brandon Drury, and Gio Urshela are all set to join Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani in what could be an elite lineup.
The defining move of the A’s offseason was the deal of Sean Murphy. While the move did net some solid pitching prospects, one has to wonder whether the Athletics could have done better in its return. Both Kyle Muller and Freddy Tarnok has flashed some really powerful stuff in the Minors, but both also have their flaws.
The Mariners will look to head back to the MLB Playoffs for the second straight season, with a slightly different group. Seattle did fill its biggest hole at second base with the acquisition of Kolten Wong, and added a prolific slugger in Teoscar Hernández.
Finally, we end our look at each AL team’s offseason with the Texas Rangers. Texas needed starting pitching help, and Chris Young added three new arms: two-time Cy Young winner, Jacob deGrom, Andrew Heaney, and Nathan Eovaldi. All three have proven to be dominant, when healthy. That will be the key for this pitching staff in 2023.