Fri 23/03/2018 - 04:50 EDT

Ranking The Biggest Additions of MLB Offseason 2018

Ranking The Biggest Additions of MLB Offseason 2018

Say goodbye to MLB’s offseason. It’s over. Finished. Kaput. Well, almost. Opening day is roughly one week away, which makes this the best time of year for every team in the league. They all enter the 2018 season brimming with optimism, in large part thanks to their clean slate. A select few squads, though, are still basking in the afterglow of glitzy offseason additions—and justifiably so. Because while meaningful baseball has technically yet to be played, what unfolded off the field is already having an impact on the World Series race.

Preseason odds for the 2018 World Series come via TopBet and are accurate as of March 22. Although these lines will remain steady leading into Opening Day, you'll want to monitor them if you're placing a wager thereafter, since sportsbooks will adjust their odds to better reflect early-season performances.

5. St. Louis Cardinals (+20000): Traded for Marcell Ozuna


The New York Yankees' relative fleecing of the Miami Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton (spoilers!) will continue to monopolize attention around MLB for roughly forever, but we shouldn't sleep on the St. Louis Cardinals' acquisition of left fielder Marcell Ozuna.

Adding him injects a punch into the lineup they didn't have last season, when they fell below the league average in total home runs and slugging percentage. Ozuna is working off a year in which he batted .312, hit 37 homers and brought in 137 runs.

At only 27—he turns 28 in November—the quasi-slugger should deliver an adequate follow-up to 2017. And for a Cardinals teams that finished four games outside the National League's Wild Card, having him in the heart of the order profiles as a huge deal.

4. Colorado Rockies (+4000): Signed Wade Davis


Don't look now, but the Colorado Rockies might end up being one of this season's top 10 MLB teams.

In many ways, the Rockies won just by entering the running for a Stanton trade. He controlled his final destination—more than we initially realized, by the way—but they remained on the fringes as the rumor mill developed. That says a lot about the direction of the organization, both their commitment to winning and how they're viewed around the league.

Signing Wade Davis makes for a good enough offseason on its own. He is now the highest-paid reliever in MLB history, having signed a three-year, $52 million deal, but he's worth it. He averaged more than 12 strikeouts per nine innings of action last season while posting an ERA comfortably under 2.50.

Colorado's pitching staff finished under MLB's average in ERA and ranked near the bottom 10 of strikeouts per nine innings, so there's no overstating this addition. The Rockies surprised basically everyone last year en route to clinching a Wild Card berth on the back of an illustrious offense. Now they've beefed up the pitching staff in a big way. 

3. San Francisco Giants (+2500): Traded for Evan Longoria


Talk about your fairly instant turnarounds.

The San Francisco Giants finished with the National League's worst record last year, but they should be noticeably better this time around. Their acquisition of Evan Longoria is a big reason why. 

Sure, he cost them one of their top prospects, in Christian Arroyo. But Longoria was among MLB's most consistent players for years until 2017. He finished in the top 20 of MVP voting in 2016 and has batted under 265 just twice over the past six seasons.

Landing him does pose some risk. He's playing out his age 32 season, and his slugging percentage plummeted to near-career-worst levels between 2016 and 2017. But the Giants needed to make high-variance gambles in order to experience appreciable progress on the heels of a 64-win letdown. Longoria should be a good-to-great start if he stays healthy.

2. Los Angeles Angels (+2000): Signed Shohei Ohtani


The Los Angeles Angels would have won MLB's offseason if not for a certain aggressor in the Bronx.

Everyone is raving about Shohei Ohtani, the high-end prospect out of Japan who excels both as a pitcher and hitter. Typical MLBers aren't used in dual capacities—especially in the American League. And when they are, they're not heralded for their performances on both sides of the ball.

Ohtani, 23, is expected to be different. A sprained UCL could limit his exposure on the mound early on, but the eventual goal is to have him develop into one of the most multifaceted players in MLB history.

His kind of upside shouldn't exist. The Angels are lucky to have beaten out a bunch of other suitors for his services. He, along with their other offseason additions, give Mike Trout some help in the batting order if nothing else. And if all goes according to plan, Los Angeles should find itself back in playoff contention for 2018.

1. New York Yankees (+600): Traded for Giancarlo Stanton


What other move is supposed to go here?

The Yankees ostensibly came out of left field to pick up the right fielder. And though Giancarlo Stanton comes with a hefty price tag, he's worthy every penny. He knocked out 59 homers last year on his way to securing the National League's MVP award, and his defense in the corners remains a tad underrated.

Sticking him on the Yankees is almost unfair. They came within a win of reaching the World Series last year and already employ two of the game's premier sluggers in Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. The Yankees may get more 130 home runs just from these three alone.

Attach this offense to a pitching staff that is either on the rise or prepared to tread water, and you get what the +600 odds imply: one of MLB's primary, and completely deserving, World Series favorites.

*All stats are courtesy of Baseball-Reference and accurate as of March 22 unless otherwise cited.

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