From Cy Young candidates to Silver Sluggers, several of the MLB’s top players have made headlines this offseason. Here’s a look at some of the biggest offseason acquisitions and re-signings so far.
The Boston Red Sox have added an ace to their star-studded roster by acquiring Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox in a blockbuster deal. The Red Sox shipped several of their prospects including Cuban infielder, Yoan Moncada, and they received one of the game’s elite pitchers in return.
Sale has been an All-Star in each of the last five seasons who has dominated batting lineups in the American League. Despite his individual achievements, Sale has never pitched in the postseason. Now, he has a strong chance to make his postseason debut in 2017. Sale will join 20-game winner, Rick Porcello, and All-Star left-hander, David Price in what could be the best starting rotation in the game.
There was some speculation as to whether or not outfielder, Yoenis Céspedes, would return to the New York Mets in 2017. However, he dispelled those rumors after signing four-year, $110 million deal to stay in the Big Apple.
Since becoming a Met during the 2015 trade deadline, Céspedes has indisputably been the catalyst for their offense. He led the team in home runs (31) and runs batted in (86) during the 2016 season as he helped them get back to the playoffs with a Wild Card berth.
After loaning his services to the Chicago Cubs, Aroldis Chapman is bringing the heat back to the New York Yankees. He agreed to a five-year, $86 million contract with the Yankees. Chapman used his sizzling fastball in helping to end a 108-year World Series title drought for the Cubs. Although he enjoyed his brief tenure in Chicago, he stated that his love for the Yankees organization is what drew him back to New York.
Chapman made his Yankee debut in May after serving a 30-game suspension for domestic violence in the previous offseason. He rebounded from his mishap with great success, becoming a linchpin for the back end of the Yankees’ bullpen by notching 20 saves in 31 appearances. Now that he’s back in pinstripes, the Yankees are hopeful that he will help them get back to October baseball.
Veteran slugger, Carlos Beltran, started the 2016 season as a Yankee but ended up with the Texas Rangers. Beltran signed a one-year deal to stay in Texas but this time, it will be with the Houston Astros. With close to two decades of MLB service under his belt, the switch-hitting future Hall of Famer proved that he still has some hits left in his bat.
Beltran made his ninth All-Star appearance, batting .295 with 29 home runs and 93 runs batted in. He played for the Astros in 2004 and had a historical postseason, batting .435 and tying a postseason record with eight home runs. The Astros are a team filled with youthful players so Beltran’s veteran presence could be beneficial as they battle for supremacy in the American League West division.
Mark Melancon may not steal headlines the same way that Céspedes or Sale did, but he might be the missing link for a potential contender like the San Francisco Giants. Melancon signed a four-year, $62 million contract with the Giants and he could be a great addition to their bullpen since they struggled to get key outs in the playoffs.
The Giants blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning against the Cubs in the elimination game of the National League Division Series. Melancon was one of the best closers on the market this year so the Giants have added some reassurance for the ninth inning next season.
Speaking of pitchers, Kenley Jansen was the last All-Star closer left in free agency but he agreed to re-up his contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers on December 13. He will don the Dodger blue for another five years with an $80 million deal.
Jansen made his first All-Star appearance last season and he ended the year with a career high of 47 saves. He also walked away with some hardware as he won the Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award. The Dodgers made it to the National League Championship Series and Jansen was a huge part of their success. Now that their bullpen is secure, the Dodgers have their sights set on the World Series.
There’s still a few months to go before Opening Day arrives so you can expect to see more deals as we approach the New Year.