The offseason gives MLB front offices an opportunity to identify and address their roster’s biggest weaknesses.
With the current offseason coming to an end, let’s take a look at which teams, by position, have made the most significant improvements in areas that were major weaknesses a year ago.
what happened: St. Louis’ catch group has the third-lowest OPS in the majors (.552) as card legend Yadier Molina slumped to a career-worst offensive level in his final MLB season and Andrew Nisner provided little offense. was recorded. Pirate and Guardian. According to FanGraphs, Knizner’s .601 OPS is actually the best of his four players to start the game behind the card in 2022, with a combined quartet of Molina, Knizner, Iván Herrera and Austin Romine. , took turns to win -0.6.
change point: The Cardinals went out and signed one of the top hitters in the game, signing free agent Wilson Contreras to a five-year, $87.5 million contract. A longtime starting catcher for the rival Cubs, Contreras has 20-plus home runs on his résumé his four times his season and a lifetime OPS of .808, including .815 in 2022. . The 1-year-old will hit his 3.2 WAR in 2023, making him the 7th best predictor among catchers.
what happened: After winning the AL batting title in 2021, Yuri Gurriel posted a -0.9 WAR on .242/.288/.360 slashes in 146 games last season. The Houston first baseman posted . 656 OPS, his sixth-lowest mark in MLB.
change point: The Astros signed Jose Abreu to a three-year, $58.5 million free agency deal to replace Gurriel. The 2020 AL MVP last season hit a career-low 15 home runs for him, but he still had 133 OPS+ and he had a 3.9 WAR and a .304/.378/.446 batting average.
what happened: The M’s acquired Adam Frazier from the Padres in November 2021 and recruited him as their starting second baseman, but the veteran averaged .238, 67 points lower than the previous season, with . was. 156 games, including 113 at Keystone. Abraham Toro (. 563 OPS) also had 39 starts at this position, and the Seattle second baseman had his third-lowest OPS (. 607) in MLB.
change point: Once Frazier reached free agency, the Mariners made another offseason trade for second base, sending outfielders Jesse Winker and Toro to the Brewers for Kolten Wong in December. Wong is not a great hitter and has been down on defense in 2019 and after winning the Gold He Glove Award in 2020. However, Steamer projects him in 2023 with .709 OPS and his 2.4 WAR. The team’s second base production from 2022.
what happened: Most of Washington’s starting third base for 2022 went to veteran Michael Franco, who was released last August and is now a member of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball’s Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. The Knott third baseman recorded his OPS . 613, his third-lowest in MLB.
change point: The Knotts signed the 29-year-old to a one-year deal in December after Jaymer Candelario, whom the Tigers didn’t bid on. Candelario’s predictions aren’t spectacular, but his .240 batting average, 17 home runs, .717 OPS, and 1.5 WAR are clearly improvements compared to what Washington will get from third base in 2022. With so many influential third basemen in free agency, this stands out as the biggest hot corner improvement any team has made compared to his 2022.
what happened: The Phillies opened with Didi Gregorius as regular shortstop last season, but after the veteran had a home run and a .567 average in his first 232 at-bats, Philadelphia sacked him on Aug. – Handed over the starting position to Stott. The youngster was better than Gregorius, but he didn’t set the world on fire, and he finished the regular season with 10 home runs and .653 OPS.
change point: Trea Turner, anyone? The Phillies made the biggest story of the offseason by signing the superstar shortstop to his 11-year, $300 million contract. As a result, he went from a below-average shortstop situation to one of the best shortstop situations. Hitting with averages and power and being one of the fastest players in baseball, Turner’s WAR prediction for 2023 is his 4.7.
change point: Soto having a full season would have made some difference on its own, but the Flyers have more to improve their outfield production, especially now that both Proffer and Myers have reached free agency. After Aaron Judge’s push in the 11th hour fell short, the Padres took an out-of-the-box option to deal with the outfield, adding shortstop Xander Bogaerts to 11-year 200 million. signed an $80 million contract. San Diego, of course, already had shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., but the 24-year-old will now patrol the outfield alongside Soto and Grisham. In terms of WAR, Soto is Steamer’s top predicted player with a 7.1, while Tatis has a 5.5 that puts him in line for eighth place. The Padres also signed Matt Carpenter and Adam Engel, who could see times in the outfield corner.
Starting Rotation: Rangers
what happened: After the 2021 season, the Rangers stunned the baseball world with a hefty offseason spend, acquiring infielders Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, right-hander John Gray for a total of $556 million, and Martin Perez. Added to annual contract. But despite winning a career year from Perez and a solid, albeit injury-plagued, season from Gray, the Rangers’ rotation is among the worst in the majors. With Otto, Taylor Hahn, Cole Lagans, Spencer Howard, Kohei Arihara and Dallas Keuchel starting 92 games, with a 5.42 ERA, the Rangers went 68-94 on a six-season losing streak. .
change point: Texas invests heavily in the rotation, recalling Perez with a one-year qualifying offer before signing two-time Cy Young Award winners Jacob deGrom, Nathan Eovaldi and Andrew Heaney to free agency and traded to Jake Odorridge Did. Given the injury history and age of the pitchers they’ve acquired, there’s a lot of risk involved, but there’s no denying the benefits here. can do.
what happened: They found gems in John Shriver and managed to turn Tanner Houck into an end game role, but otherwise the Red Sox did little with the relief team in 2022. He has the fifth-highest bullpen ERA (4.59) in MLB and last in percentage of inherited runners who went on to score (40%).
change point: The Red Sox’s offseason left much to be desired, including a loss to the Padres for Bogaerts to keep him away from pursuing other elite free agents. But at the very least, Boston is expected to upgrade its bullpen significantly, adding Kenley Jansen and Chris Martin to serve as the team’s closer and set-up his man, respectively. The Red Sox also signed lefty Joely Rodriguez and added another lefty Richard Brier from the Marlins in a trade for Matt Burns, Boston’s bullpen is now one of MLB’s worst units. It is predicted to be a medium-sized unit instead.