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The Athletic’s baseball staff was tasked with assigning a letter grade to each team’s offseason. The average mark was a B-minus, an indication that the staff isn’t necessarily populated with overly tough graders. That said, there were a few outliers, ranging from a trio of class standouts to one franchise that flunked out. Here’s how the 30 major-league teams graded out this winter, starting with the head of the class.


Grade: A-

The Mets filled all the glaring needs — there were plenty of them — on their to-do list: They replaced Jacob deGrom with Justin Verlander, re-signed Edwin Díaz, Brandon Nimmo and Adam Ottavino, rebuilt their pitching staff and improved their catching situation. It required a ton of spending, but owner Steve Cohen has remained committed to making New York a winner. Not upgrading the lineup remains a criticism, but although the Mets’ offense fizzled late last season, it remains a strong group.  — Will Sammon

Grade: A-

The Phillies identified Trea Turner as their priority target before the offseason began and they landed him with a $300 million contract. That alone should have made it a successful offseason. But the Phillies added to their pitching corps with Taijuan Walker, Craig Kimbrel, Gregory Soto and Matt Strahm. The pitching acquisitions have their warts, and the onus is on the club to repair those weaknesses. The under-the-radar wins of the offseason were incremental bullpen upgrades to the 40-man roster that will either serve as depth during the season or potential trade chips in the spring to upgrade a bench spot. — Matt Gelb

Grade: A-

The Rangers completely overhauled their starting rotation, signing Jacob deGrom, Andrew Heaney and Nathan Eovaldi (plus trading for Jake Odorizzi, for good measure). Those are major additions for a team whose rotation struggled in 2022. The reason it’s not a higher grade: their bullpen additions have thus far been NRIs, and they have yet to land the middle-of-the-order outfield bat they’ve openly said they want. — Levi Weaver

Grade: B+

The Angels addressed a lot of their obvious needs this offseason. Starting corner outfielder (Hunter Renfroe). Back-end reliever, another starting pitcher. And then help on the infield. Most importantly, they can credibly say they’re more prepared for an injury, which was a massive issue last season. If Anthony Rendon gets hurt, for example, then there’s Gio Urshela and/or Brandon Drury to pick them up. The Angels didn’t really address their needs at shortstop, at least not yet. And they also did give up some organizational pitching depth to acquire players — something they can’t afford to do. The Angels also signed another player with a qualifying offer (Tyler Anderson), which takes away a draft pick and money to sign international players. So it was overall a very solid offseason, but by no means perfect. It’s clear that Angels GM Perry Minasian was boxed into short-term and relatively cheap acquisitions with the team expected to sell throughout the offseason. Arte Moreno’s change of heart probably won’t change much with the start of spring training just a couple weeks out. — Sam Blum

Grade: B+

After trading for Gold Glove catcher Sean Murphy and signing him to a six-year, $73 million extension, the Braves have six position players on long, team-friendly deals, along with pitcher Spencer Strider, solidifying themselves as likely contenders for many years. The catching tandem of Murphy and Travis d’Arnaud could be MLB’s best. GM Alex Anthopoulos also strengthened the bullpen through trades and signings. However, Dansby Swanson left as a free agent and the Braves are gambling that Vaughn Grissom or Orlando Arcia can replace him and that others will assert themselves to replace Swanson’s leadership, like when Freddie Freeman left. — David O’Brien

Grade: B+

Despite some constraints, the Diamondbacks got better. They didn’t have much money to spend, settling mostly for around-the-edges improvements like a few big-armed relievers and bench pieces like Evan Longoria and Kyle Lewis. But they nailed their big offseason move, trading Daulton Varsho for catching prospect Gabriel Moreno and veteran outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr., clearing up a lefty-batting outfield logjam and landing one of the game’s best prospects in Moreno, who just happens to address an organizational weakness. Why no A grade? Because while the Diamondbacks got better, it’s less certain to say they became good. One big, win-now move — akin to their reported flirtation with Xander Bogaerts — might have put them over the top. — Zach Buchanan

Grade: B+

There’s a solid argument to be made that re-signing Carlos Correa is enough to give the Twins’ offseason an A. They also did well to sign Christian Vázquez as the new starting catcher, took a flier on a Joey Gallo comeback and added much-needed depth in Michael A. Taylor and Kyle Farmer. But the Twins’ lone pitching addition, Pablo López, required parting with Luis Arraez, the bullpen seems at least one quality arm short and the outfield mix lacks right-handed thump. Giving an A for Correa and a B for everything else makes sense, so let’s call it a strong B-plus. — Aaron Gleeman

Grade: B+

The Blue Jays have addressed many offseason needs, adding left-handed balance to their lineup and improving run prevention, namely by adding plus-defenders to the outfield. There are minor holes, though. The fifth starter spot is a bit precarious, the bullpen could use another leverage lefty and outfield depth is thin. For me, their current moves so far land in the high-B range. To help in my evaluation, however, I surveyed fans via a Twitter poll (very scientific). The majority said B+ which aligned with my thinking, more or less. But a bump to an A is within reach if remaining needs are addressed. — Kaitlyn McGrath

Grade: B+

Nailing down the GM spot was huge for the organization, and Dana Brown is a well-regarded executive with a great background in scouting for a few successful organizations. The Astros also got better at first base by signing José Abreu to a three-year deal, but will his worst slugging against fastballs (by 100 points) in 2022 be more of a sign of age than the org thought? Also letting Justin Verlander go means not only losing some star power at the top of the rotation, but making Hunter Brown the one-man stop-gap if the team needs pitching depth. Last year’s best starting rotation can probably handle it, though, so a good offseason writ large. — Eno Sarris


(Xander Bogaerts, left, and A.J. Preller: Denis Poroy / Associated Press)

Grade: B+

Factoring in market size and net worth, you could argue that no owner wants to win as much as Peter Seidler does. The Padres chairman again flaunted that desire, going over the top to sign star Xander Bogaerts to an 11-year, $280 million contract. San Diego also shelled out sizable amounts to retain Robert Suarez and Nick Martinez, and bring Seth Lugo and Matt Carpenter aboard. More recently, Nelson Cruz accepted a discount to chase a World Series title and mentor the likes of Fernando Tatis Jr., whose return from suspension and surgery could effectively serve as another major acquisition. The depth of the rotation and the bench remains concerning, but the projected starting lineup might be the most formidable in the game. — Dennis Lin

Grade: B+

Cleveland’s front office identified two deficiencies in the lineup — catcher and first base/designated hitter — and upgraded both spots with Josh Bell and Mike Zunino. Maybe, then, this grade is slightly harsh, but it’s almost like when the teacher expects the star pupil to go above and beyond what the typical student would do. The Guardians still have a traffic jam on I-71 with a ton of MLB-ready prospects sitting at Triple-A Columbus. They remain in prime position to make a trade this summer, but it felt like a trade for Sean Murphy or a boost in the rotation might have cemented this team atop the AL Central and landed them that A. — Zack Meisel

Grade: B

Working within ownership’s tight-fisted financial constraints, general manager Ben Cherington had to acquire some veterans to show the Pirates aren’t tanking while also staying true to the club’s build-from-within approach. Cherington spent $30.4 million — which qualifies as a shopping spree for this franchise — on free agents Andrew McCutchen, Rich Hill, Austin Hedges, Carlos Santana, Vince Velasquez and Jarlín Garcia. McCutchen’s homecoming probably won’t be enough to get the Pirates back to .500, but it’ll sell a lot of tickets. The Pirates also traded for Ji-Man Choi, who I’m not sure they even need at this point, and swapped spare-part shortstop Kevin Newman for bullpen booster Dauri Moreta. If a few of these pickups can be flipped at the trade deadline, it will be a bonus. — Rob Biertempfel

Grade: B

After years of downsizing, half measures and PR gaffes, the Cubs committed more than $300 million to free agents, executing a plan to raise the floor of the 2023 season with competent major-league players and consistent staples like pitching and defense. A refreshing emphasis on clubhouse dynamics factored into the additions of players like Dansby Swanson, Jameson Taillon and Trey Mancini. Wrigleyville is always fun in the summer, but the actual on-field product could be really entertaining this year. There is also a case to be made that the Cubs didn’t go far enough this offseason by signing the fourth-best shortstop on the market while missing opportunities to land a top-of-the-rotation starter and a middle-of-the-order hitter. — Patrick Mooney


Aaron Judge and Derek Jeter (Jessica Alcheh / USA Today)

Grade: B

The Yankees took care of their biggest priority in re-signing Aaron Judge. They brought back his close friend in Anthony Rizzo. They added a left-handed ace in Carlos Rodón and a quality bullpen arm in Tommy Kahnle. The Yankees are better from where they ended 2022, but it still feels like it’s not enough to get past the Astros just yet. They haven’t properly addressed left field, they’re still too right-hand dominant at the plate and they’re relying on pristine health for a few players who’ve struggled staying on the field consistently. They still need more upgrades before October. — Chris Kirschner

Grade: B

Even though the Rays were active in trading minor leaguers, and signed the biggest free agent contract in their history (Zack Eflin), it really feels like an offseason in which they were content to re-rack and hope for better injury outcomes in a few key places. If Tyler Glasnow, Peter Fairbanks, Brandon Lowe and Wander Franco have fuller seasons in 2023, they’ll look smart for it. All that minor-league activity that doesn’t receive much attention does ensure they have good players who are ready to contribute at any given time, so they’ll continue to have a high floor as a team, but it’s the health of those starters that will largely determine the team’s upside beyond. — Eno Sarris

Grade: B

The Royals are a difficult organization to assess at this moment in time. They replaced Dayton Moore, the president of baseball operations, with top lieutenant J.J. Picollo in September. They hired a new manager (Matt Quatraro from Tampa Bay), a new pitching coach (Brian Sweeney from Cleveland), a new assistant pitching coach (Zach Move), and made a number of other organizational tweaks. They have not increased payroll, preferring to pair modest free-agent acquisitions (Jordan Lyles, Ryan Yarbrough and Aroldis Chapman) with some trades (Michael A. Taylor to Minnesota and Adalberto Mondesi to Boston). The offseason moves have not inspired much hope for 2023. But they are understandable … if they are followed by a significant investment in payroll next offseason. If the club’s young position players make strides, the new coaching staff helps stabilize the pitching staff and the team makes progress on the field, this offseason will be able to be viewed as a quick reset before the window cracks open in 2024. If progress does not come, however, and investment doesn’t follow, this grade will be seen as mighty generous in retrospect. — Rustin Dodd

Grade: B-

Adding right fielder Teoscar Hernández and second baseman Kolten Wong should help, and they are upgrades at their particular positions to what the Mariners had during their dreamy 2022 run. That said, the Mariners’ only other additions were nominal ones, which on the heels of reaching the postseason for the first time since 2001, feels, well, like a missed opportunity. Seattle’s pitching (the rotation and bullpen) will keep them in a ton of games. I’m just thinking they could have done more to augment the offense, and done so without breaking the bank. — Corey Brock

Grade: B-

As they work on their player development quality and accumulate high picks, the Nationals are doing what rebuilding teams should do: picking up the players that other teams have chosen to move on from. There are some savvy minor-league claims like Jeter Downs and AJ Alexy, and some interesting major-league bounce-back candidates like Jeimer Candelario and Dominic Smith, and some guys in between like Stone Garrett. Still, they have such a mountain to climb that these small moves can seem underwhelming. They might not have that long until there’s a clamor for larger moves internally, despite the World Series win. This is probably the worst team in baseball this year and the minor leagues don’t quite embody hope yet.  — Eno Sarris

Grade: C+

Maybe I’m feeling generous, but not much was expected from the Reds and they delivered more than ‘not much,’ even if not by much. The team added Wil Myers on a one-year deal and there’s a world where he hits well at Great American Ball Park and nets a prospect in return at the trade deadline. While the team isn’t necessarily better by trading Kyle Farmer and trading for Kevin Newman, the charge for GM Nick Krall was to cut payroll, and those moves achieved that goal without a huge drop-off in production. The team added a pair of catchers in Luke Maile and Curt Casali. While neither of them moves the needle much, adding a pair of catchers allows the Reds to use Tyler Stephenson more as a designated hitter and even at first base. Luke Weaver was another good low-risk addition to the rotation. The Reds’ moves this offseason weren’t expected to make them, you know, win. But they did help move on in its rebuild with a minimum of detrimental moves. This exercise is grading what the front office did, not what it was asked to do by ownership. (That grade is an F, for the record.) — C. Trent Rosecrans

Grade: C+

This is tricky because the Orioles had obvious spots to fill this winter and did it. They replaced right-hander Jordan Lyles with Kyle Gibson, replaced catcher Robinson Chirinos with catcher James McCann, replaced second baseman Rougned Odor with Adam Frazier and added a needed veteran arm in Mychal Givens to a strong but inexperienced bullpen. They also traded for solid lefty Cole Irvin and will plug him into a rotation that is without a southpaw until John Means returns this summer. Each addition appears to be an upgrade. But what the Orioles needed most was a top-of-the-rotation starter and they didn’t land that. And that’s why this offseason feels like a disappointment even if there were reasonably priced improvements made to a promising roster. — Dan Connolly


Willson Contreras (David Banks / USA Today)

Grade: C+

It was an underwhelming offseason for St. Louis with rising payroll totals falling far short of both the front office’s and the fans’ expectations. The Cardinals made three major moves. Two of those were retaining Nolan Arenado and Adam Wainwright. The third was signing Willson Contreras, filling an obvious need behind the plate while simultaneously boosting the team’s offense. St. Louis does deserve some credit for acquiring the best free-agent backstop available and addressing two birds with one stone, but you don’t get a top grade for doing the minimum. — Katie Woo

Grade: C+

The front office deserves a B, possibly higher. They executed a few good trades, including a great one that landed them catcher William Contreras, whom the club feels could be an exciting player in the market for years to come. They created flexibility in the infield, replaced Hunter Renfroe with Jesse Winker and added pitching depth — having dependable options for the backend of the rotation in case of injuries is no longer an issue. The ownership group’s lack of spending lowers the grade. Their biggest free-agent signings have been Brian Anderson and Wade Miley. While those players are helpful on the margins, the Brewers didn’t change the conversation in the National League Central. — Will Sammon

Grade: C+

The A’s had a better offseason than I expected — mostly because I didn’t expect much other than the inevitable Sean Murphy trade. The return from that deal is growing on me, despite it appearing a little light at first glance. Esteury Ruiz might be the most exciting base runner the A’s have had since Rickey Henderson, Kyle Muller could be a rotation fixture if he can figure out a way to lower his walk rate, and Freddy Tarnok should be able to contribute at the major-league level. They signed several free agents, and Jace Peterson, Aledmys Diaz, Drew Rucinski, Trevor May and Jesús Aguilar all appear to be viable big leaguers. They also surprised some folks with the addition of Shintaro Fujinami, an intriguing pitcher from Japan who should at least be able to help out as a reliever if he doesn’t work out as a starter. The focus is still clearly on the future, though, as we saw when they dealt Cole Irvin (who appeared likely to be the A’s Opening Day starter) and righty minor-leaguer Kyle Virbitsky for Darell Hernaiz, a 21-year-old infield prospect. With no clarity gained on the team’s never-ending stadium quest, it seems likely that the next offseason will look a lot like this one. — Steve Berman

Grade: C

While it’s admirable to have an ethos — this offseason the team prioritized athletes who could make contact — that singular focus may have hurt the team when making transactions. Take the acquisition of Luis Arraez, who does make contact, but has been injured often, doesn’t add power or patience, and isn’t a great defender. To get him, the Marlins had to not only give up Pablo López, but also one of their more exciting minor-league prospects in Jose Salas. It’s also just strange that, at the end of a flurry of moves, the Marlins are left with former second basemen at third base, second base, shortstop, and center field. It’s a bold strategy, Cotton, let’s see how it works out. — Eno Sarris

Grade: C-

The Giants spent nearly $200 million on seven free agents when you include the qualifying offer to Joc Pederson — essentially remaking a quarter of their roster. They added a ton of potential thump with Mitch Haniger and Michael Conforto, their rotation is deep if not spectacular and they addressed their bullpen by cloning their Rogers brother. It should be a modestly competitive team. But it’s not a team that will firm up the Giants’ sagging standing in the Bay Area sports marketplace. The Giants tried hard for Aaron Judge and Carlos Correa. There are perfectly justifiable reasons why it didn’t work out. But this is a results-based business in more ways than one. — Andrew Baggarly


Cody Bellinger, Trea Turner and Justin Turner before Game 5 of the 2021 NLDS. (Harry How / Getty Images)

Grade: C-

This is more about what the Dodgers are losing than anything they’ve added. As Ben Clemens noted in FanGraphs earlier this month, no team lost more net year-over-year WAR from their roster than the Dodgers had at that point. They lost a $300 million shortstop for the second consecutive winter. They saw several key members of their 111-win roster in 2022 get guarantees of eight figures or more elsewhere. Part of this was in the hope they could duck underneath the luxury tax threshold and reset some of their penalties — but now, they’re over that threshold. This front office has earned some benefit of the doubt, but they need some of their young prospects to step up to make this plan look like a win. — Fabian Ardaya

Grade: C-

Scott Harris took over a mess, so simply changing front office leadership was the Tigers’ best move in the past six months. But as far as the roster, Detroit is on track to have a lower payroll than it did last season. Michael Lorenzen and Matthew Boyd are upside signings to fill out the rotation, and trade acquisitions like Nick Maton and Matt Vierling have encouraging profiles in lieu of proven production. The Tigers, though, don’t have a third baseman and have done little to upgrade MLB’s worst offense. — Cody Stavenhagen

Grade: C-

The Red Sox accomplished a lot of the things they set out to do this winter. They extended Rafael Devers, replaced J.D. Martinez, signed a corner outfielder, and significantly improved their bullpen. But missing out on a handful of starting pitchers left their rotation with high-risk upside and not a lot of certainty, and losing out on No. 1 offseason priority Xander Bogaerts left them vulnerable up the middle. Then Trevor Story got hurt, making a bad situation even worse. Not giving Bogaerts an 11-year deal might have been smart in the long run, but in the short term, the Red Sox are taking a chance on Adam Duvall and Adalberto Mondesi. — Chad Jennings

Grade: D

You can’t judge “Citizen Kane” and “Dumb and Dumber” by the same criteria. It’s important to approach a thing at its level, by its own intention. So it would be a mistake to grade the Rockies in the same way as a contender. That said, their offseason was mostly a failure. They set out to add a lefty-swinging, power-hitting center fielder, but missed after taking a cut at Cody Bellinger and others. They intended to add one, if not two, major-league starting pitchers, and mostly whiffed there, too, folding in only Connor Seabold after he was designated in Boston. Put it this way: Last year, Jose Ureña was the Rockies’ sixth or seventh starter. Now he’s their No. 3. It’ll be a tough season in Colorado. — Nick Groke

Grade: F

There was a litany of supplementary ways the White Sox could improve the roster, but their primary needs were left fielder, second base and filling the last spot of their rotation. Currently, they’re lined up to rely on internal options for second base, and the starting pitcher they signed is the subject of a league investigation into stomach-turning domestic violence and child abuse allegations, bringing disgrace upon a franchise that has had too many stories of personal misconduct in recent years. They probably can’t expect him to cover many innings either, given where things currently stand. The Andrew Benintendi signing is good. — James Fegan

 

(Illustration: John Bradford / The Athletic; Photos: Rich Schultz, Michael Reaves, Greg Fiume / Getty Images)



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