By Christopher Coquillette and William Fallon
As opening day is coming closer we are seeing a large number of deals and trades compared to the quiet November and December.
Many Yankee fans have been worried that they would not get their incredible shortstop and hitter DJ LeMahieu back. After long negotiations, DJ has signed back with the Yankees for six years and 90 million dollars. Gold glove winning LeMahieu hit .364 during the 2020 season.
Another Yankee deal pitcher Corey Kluber signed with the Yankees for one year and 11 million dollars. Former AL Cy Young winner has a lifetime era of 3.16 with 1,462 strikeouts over the span of his nine years in the league.
Astros star George Springer signs a deal with the Toronto Blue Jays for six years and 150 million dollars. Former world series MVP has a lifetime average of .270 with 832 career hits. Springer will add another solid outfield spot to the blue jay’s roster and become the veteran leader that the blue jays desperately need.
Reigning reliever of the year Liam Hendriks signs with the White six for 3 years and 54 million dollars. This solidifies the White Sox’s bullpen and makes them a formidable threat to make the world series in the AL. He brings an outstanding 1.78 era to the North side, seemingly what could be the final piece for the white sox.
Now quite possibly the biggest move this offseason. The Mets finally did something in their front office, as they brought in Francisco Lindor from the Indians, along with Carlos Carrasco for Amed Rosario and some prospects. Francisco had somewhat of a down year last year, seeing his average drop to .258 from .284 the year prior. His ops was a lackluster .750, way below his standards, dropping over a hundred points from .854 the year prior. So the mets will be hoping for a return to form from him or this deal may backfire. Now onto the other big piece of this trade, Carlos Carrasco. While many thought this was somewhat of a salary dump on the Indians part, he actually will look to provide a good option for their rotation, bringing a 2.91 era to the table. Ultimately, while the mets did not give up much in return, this deal looks to me to have a major boom or bust label to it, as they are asking a player coming off a bad year and an aging pitcher to provide a legitimate spark to their team. Who knows how this one will play out.
Now onto the sorcery of the padres. They have somehow turned one of the best young teams in baseball into a team that is a heavy favorite for the world series. First the acquired former Cy Young winner Blake Snell for Francisco Mejia and a package of prospects. Then they acquired NL Cy Young runner up Yu Darvish for Zach Davies and a package of prospects. They seemingly made themselves into one of the best teams in the MLB overnight. With their young but strong hitting core and now an outstanding starting rotation, they are poised to make a run at the commissioner’s trophy.
No for probably the second biggest re-signing, behind Dj Lemahieu, JT Realmuto. He is staying with the Phillies for 5 years for $115 million. To be frank, I don’t really see the Phillies going many places in the near future, as while their hitters are good, boasting Harper, the ever so inconsistent Rhys Hoskins, Didi Gregorius, Alec Bohm and now Realmuto, but their fall is their pitching. They have Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler to at least make their rotation formidable, but their bullpen is atrocious. Plain and simple, I saw Realmuto singing, but I don’t think this will make a huge difference on playoff implications.
The Yankees were obviously looking for pitching this offseason, as along with Corey Kluber they acquired Jameson Taillon from the Pirates for four prsospects. While he is coming off his second Tommy John surgery, the Yankees fully expect him to recover and make an impact in their rotation. The talent is certainly there, it is just a matter of if he can put it all together. If he and Kluber can, they look to be the favorites to come out of the AL.
Now for the biggest trick in offseason recent memory. Michael Brantley was reportedly going to the Blue Jays on a three year deal. Everyone was excited for the prospect of both Springer and Brantley heading north, but, this was all apparently fake news. Soon after the initial Blue Jay report, new reports came out saying that he had signed back with Houston. He successfully pulled of one of the greatest pump fakes in sports and made us all believe the Blue Jays were turning into a great force, but alas the ever so consistent hitting outfielder returned to Houston on a 2 year, $32 million deal. He will look to provide production to a slowly evaporating talent pool of Houston.
The twins now look to be a formidable foe in the AL following the signing of Andrelton Simmons to a 1 year $10.5 million contract. He brings one, if not the best gloves at the shortstop position plus a formidable bat to the Twin Cities. He batted .297 last year, proving he can swing the bat to pair with his fantastic Defense. This combined with the fact that they brought back the ageless wonder Nelson Cruz on a 1 year, $13 million contract, who will bring his seemingly impossible production with the bat, batting .303 last year and power production always near the top of the league. Those two combined with guys like Sano, Donaldson,Buxton, Kepler, and a few hopeful bounce-backs in Mitch Garver and Jorge Polanco could make this a very scary lineup.