Baseball fans, be they lovers of the game and/or avid bettors, might wonder why we're ranking the biggest additions of the MLB offseason now. After all, hasn't the 2021 MLB season already started? What's the point of looking back?
Here's a little secret: Looking back can help you look forward. And for anyone interested in taking stock of the teams most likely to win the American League and National League pennants, as well as contend for and ultimately take home the World Series, reassessing the offseason's most important moves is an intensely valuable exercise.
Speaking of which, here's a look at the current World Series odds for every MLB team, courtesy of BetOnline:
|Los Angeles Dodgers
|Toronto Blue Jays
|Chicago White Sox
|New York Yankees
|New York Mets
|San Diego Padres
|Tampa Bay Rays
|Los Angeles Angels
|San Francisco Giants
|Boston Red Sox
|St. Louis Cardinals
|Kansas City Royals
Sure, there is utility in looking at such transactions in real-time, the moment they happen. But verdicts are then rendered without the luxury of sample sizes. We can now look at MLB games already played to see how things are going, thus allowing us to provide more accurate and definitive analysis.
Ranking MLB's Biggest Offseason Moves
Our review of MLB's offseason most important additions will isolate the 10 moves we deem most impactful. This criterion is open for interpretation, but we're predominantly making selections based on how much every player will help their team both this season and beyond.
10. Liam Hendriks to the Chicago White Sox
It may not seem this way right now, because Liam Hendriks has struggled during his first few appearances for the Chicago White Sox, but this was an incredibly savvy move by the Sox.
Chicago badly needed to stabilize its bullpen. While powerhouses were busy fawning over starting pitchers and position players, they swooped in and picked up the best reliever on the free-agent market.
9. Corey Kluber to the New York Yankees
Widely considered the most underrated pitcher on the open market, Corey Kluber brings a dynamic right-hander to the New York Yankees rotation. Injuries have limited him the past two seasons, but he's an astoundingly high-upside play when looking at his pitching metrics prior to the 2019 season.
8. Kirby Yates to the Toronto Blue Jays
Kudos to the Toronto Blue Jays for prying Kirby Yates away from the San Diego Padres. Many other teams were afraid to sign him on the heels of elbow surgery. But Toronto needed another dependable arm in their bullpen, and Yates is one year removed from notching an ERA of 1.19 and MLB-leading 41 saves.
7. Charlie Morton to the Atlanta Braves
More than anything, the Atlanta Braves needed to bring in some battle-tested playoff experience this past offseason. They did just that by adding Charlie Morton, a right-hander who is already paying dividends in the rotation with an ERA just under 3.25.
Sure, the New York Mets may have won all the headlines in the NL East. But the Braves, a powerhouse in their own right, aren't going down without a fight.
6. Yu Darvish to the San Diego Padres
Though they profiled as the second-best team in baseball last season by many metrics, the San Diego Padres still seemed to lack a certain punch in their pitching staff. And, well, they got it by trading for Yu Darvish, a crafty right-hander who has battled injuries in the past but still has plenty left in the tank at age 34.
5. George Springer to the Toronto Blue Jays
What a flex by the Toronto Blue Jays to poach superstar right fielder George Springer from the Houston Astros. Adding his bat to the fold gives them legitimate mystique in the American League race.
Like many other players who switched teams, Springer is struggling to start the year. But his batting average will catch up to his previous normal, and it's worth remembering he finished in the top 15 of MVP voting last year.
4. Trevor Bauer to the Los Angeles Dodgers
There's no way the reigning World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers acquired reigning NL Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer, right?
They did. And it feels unfair because it is unfair. The flame-throwing right-hander is working off a season in which he posted an ERA of just 1.73.
Bauer could technically rank higher on this list, but last season's performance was a pretty big anomaly for him, and the Dodgers forked over nine figures to get him on a three-year deal.
3. Blake Snell to the San Diego Padres
Prior to the offseason, the Padres' pitching staff was really good, verging on scary. Now, following the additions of both Darvish and Blake Snell, they're outright terrifying.
Good thing, too. The injury to young superstar Fernando Tatis Jr. was a monster blow to their offense. Snell, a southpaw on the right side of 29, is already helping them navigate his absence by adding bankable stinginess to the pitching staff.
2. Nolan Arenado to the St. Louis Cardinals
It's hard to tell what was more surprising: that the Colorado Rockies actually traded star third baseman Nolan Arenado, or that they accepted so little to move him.
Either way, it's a huge win for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Arenado is already batting .300 in his first season with St. Louis and is once again showcasing his trademark, medium-oomph power. He's on pace to clear 30 homers this year.
1. Francisco Lindor to the New York Mets
If the New York Mets' early activity under team governor Steve Cohen is any indication of how they'll function moving forward, lookout. They not only traded for star shortstop Francisco Lindor, but they also gave the 27-year-old a whopping 10-year, $341 million extension.
Make no mistake, Lindor is worth it. He's off to a rocky start this season, but he's an iron man who knows how to get on base, and he drastically improves New York's infield defense.