The MLB off-season never seems to disappoint. In the era of free agency and salary caps players switch teams more than they ever have in the past. While the MLB doesn’t have a salary cap, the luxury tax threshold kicks in after a team exceeds $189 million. However, with TV contracts allowing MLB teams to make huge amounts of money, even in the smaller markets, we saw some new teams go on large spending sprees this offseason.
It started with the Boston Red Sox reloading there offense by signing Hanley Ramirez who will transition to play outfield in Boston. Then they stole Pablo Sandoval from the defending champion San Francisco Giants. While the rotation still has its questions, they traded for Rick Porcello with Detroit and gave up Yoenis Cespedes to do so. This gives them some formidably at the top of the rotation. In a competitive and deep AL East, the Red Sox made the splashes to put themselves back in contention. If they get solid performances from Justin Masterson and Clay Buchholz they could be much more than AL East contenders.
Then when the winter meetings rolled around, the Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres sent a message. With all of the young talent among position players in Chicago’s farm system, they needed pitching. Jon Lester was arguably the biggest name in the offseason for pitchers and the Cubs landed there man. Lester signed a six year deal with the Cubs. They also added Jason Hammel who had a good year last year with Oakland, also signed with the Cubs. Combine the veteran rotation with the young talent in the field, they could be contenders in the very near future.
Possibly the winners of the MLB offseason, the San Diego Padres saw the World Series won in their own division, and the Dodgers who continue to get better. The Padres decided to revamp their outfield to get better. They got on the phone and traded away prospects for Matt Kemp. They also signed the all-star catcher Derek Norris from the Athletics. The trades continued in San Diego, a week later they traded more prospects for the homerun hitter Justin Upton from Atlanta and followed that up with a three team trade with the Rays and Nationals and landed Will Myers. After all that, the Padres still weren’t done.
Long after the winter meetings and into the 2015 calendar year, two big name pitchers were still available. James Shields of the AL champion Royals, and a defending AL Cy Young winner in Mad Max Scherzer. The Nationals won the Max Scherzer sweepstakes signing him to a seven year $210 million contract. Again, not to be outdone, the Padres signed James Shields to give them a legitimate ace of the staff.
Some other big moves were Nelson Cruz leaving the Orioles heading to Seattle to give Robinson Cano a battery mate. The White Sox got David Robertson, Adam LaRoche, and Jeff Samardzija. The Yankees got Andrew Miller to bolster the bullpen.
It was an exciting offseason filled with shocking moves and teams like San Diego, and both Chicago ball clubs joining the fun this offseason. The rosters are set, Spring Training is ready to begin, and the MLB season is going to be a great one.