Publish Date: 01/22/2017
Fact checked by: Mark Lewis
Baseball season is fast approaching, so today we will take a look at which teams have improved themselves most during the off-season.
The Astros made the playoffs two years ago and if it wasn’t for a horrendous 7-17 start to last season they would have been a playoff team last year. The Astros already have a talented young core in place with Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, George Springer, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis. They have gotten much better in this off-season with the additions of Carlos Beltran, Josh Reddick, Brian McCann, Charlie Morton and Nori Aoki, among others. The Astros on paper have to be the preseason pick to win the AL West, if they stay healthy they should be in contention all year long.
The Red Sox paid a steep price to pry starting pitcher Chris Sale away from the Chicago White Sox. But, it may well be worth it as they had Sale to a starting rotation that already includes Pick Porcello and David Price. They also signed Mitch Moreland who can take up a little of the slack left by David Ortiz’s retirement. The Red Sox have put themselves into position to contend with an excellent starting rotation. Now the big question will be can they be as good offensively without Ortiz?
The Indians got as close as a team can get to a World Series championship and not actually win it. So what did they do to put themselves over the top? They went out and signed the biggest free agent out there as they added former Blue Jay Edwin Encarnacion. Losing the veteran leadership of Mike Napoli will be tough, but Encarnacion should more than make of for Napoli’s great production from last year. The only question here is will the loss of his leadership hurt this team in the end.
The Cardinals did not make the postseason last year for the first time in years. So, what better way to make up ground on the defending World Champions than to take one of their best players. The Cardinals acquired Dexter Fowler who is an outstanding lead-off hitter and a great defensive center fielder, he also adds a presence in the club house which will help this team as they chase the Cubs all season.The Cardinals also addressed a glaring bullpen need by inking lefty Brett Cecil, who has an 11.46 K/9 ratio, a 1.17 WHIP and 2.90 ERA over the past four seasons, Cecil will help a bullpen last year that was to say the least not a strength of the team.
The Mariners did not make a big splash in free agency, but they signed some pieces that could finally put the Mariners in the playoffs. The Mariners won 86 games last year the biggest addition has been a new leadoff hitter and shortstop Jean Segura. Segura will give the Mariners some pop at the top of the lineup and will bring his 203 hits from last year to the lineup. Seattle also added the very versatile Danny Valencia, who can play both corner infield and corner outfield spots. They also upgraded the pitching staff by adding Chris Heston, they also signed veteran catcher Carlos Ruiz.