J.D. Martinez signed with the Boston Red Sox on Feb. 26. It was far and away the biggest offseason move for the team, with respect to Eduardo Nunez. It took a while to come together, but certainly made the Red Sox better and will bring in a new era of home run hitting to Fenway Park.
But while the offseason was a slow one, both for the Sox and the rest of the league, they were not alone among their AL East rivals in adding (or adding by subtraction) to the roster. Here are the best offseason transactions made by each team in the division.
Baltimore Orioles - Signing Alex Cobb
We know the Orioles can hit for power. They’ve been able to do that for years. With a lineup featuring Manny Machado, Adam Jones, Jonathan Schoop and even when they get down years from Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo, the ball is going to be flying around the yard. If they are going to make one last run before Machado reaches free agency, they needed to improve their starting pitching. Last year the Baltimore rotation ranked third-worst in MLB in FIP (5.23), ranking ahead of only the Reds and White Sox.
The Orioles made a few moves to fortify the rotation, but none was more important than the most recent one, as they reportedly signed Alex Cobb to a four-year deal. Cobb wasn’t the most high-profile starter on the market when the offseason began. He’s probably no better than a No. 3 starter, but the Orioles needed a quality arm, and Cobb and his 3.50 career ERA fit the mold.
New York Yankees - Trading for Giancarlo Stanton
The Yankees went to the ALCS last season and had a MVP caliber outfielder who launched home runs at an alarming rate in Aaron Judge. They then went out and added another one of those in December when they traded Starlin Castro and a couple minor leaguers to the Marlins for reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton, who hit an MLB-high 59 home runs last season. The Yankees were already a team that hit a lot of homers. Now they’re going to hit a lot more. That is not good for the Red Sox.
Tampa Bay Rays - Not trading Chris Archer
Tampa Bay was dealing like Jerry Dipoto after six Red Bulls this offseason. Evan Longoria? Traded. Steven Souza? Shipped off to Arizona. Corey Dickerson? Designated for assignment and traded to the Pirates. But the player who would probably get the most back in a trade is still wearing a Rays uniform. Staff ace Chris Archer has thrown at least 200 innings in three-straight seasons and even if his ERA has been hovering around 4.00 the last two, his underlying metrics are excellent. He set a career-high with 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings last season while posting a FIP of 3.40. The Rays probably aren’t going to be good this season, and Archer is still a prime trade candidate, but if they go on a surprise run, Archer will be a key reason why.
Toronto Blue Jays - Trading for Aledmys Diaz
Toronto didn’t make many big splashes, but they added a lot of quality major leaguers, including Yangervis Solarte, Gurtis Granderson and Seung-hwan Oh. But I think the highest upside play they made was trading for Aledmys Diaz. The former Cardinal shortstop did not have a great 2017 (-0.7 bWAR), but he is still just 27-years-old and was an All-Star in 2016 when he slashed .300/.369/.510 with an OPS+ of 134. If he can get anywhere near that type of production, the Blue Jays will have won that deal with the Cardinals by a long shot.
We all know that Rafael Devers can hit, but what if he adds some improved glove work? (Cam Ellis; BP Boston)
Speaking of defense, Deven Marrero’s make him a player the Red Sox should keep. (Chad Jennings; Boston Herald)
Brock Holt is ready to get back to his 2015 All-Star season. (Christopher Smith; MassLive)
Dead money doesn’t sound like something you want to have as a team. The Red Sox have more than anyone else right now. (RealGM)