It was a slow start to the MLB off-season. Felt like days before even a minor signing would happen. Then, about a month ago, we saw Blake Snell and Yu Darvish head to San Diego in separate trades within a day of each other. Since then, the MLB hot stove is starting to heat up with multiple free agents finding homes such as Brad Hand (Nationals), Jose Quintana (Angels), Andrelton Simmons (Twins), and many more. There are still big names left on the market in Trevor Bauer, Marcell Ozuna, and Didi Gregorius. The MLB hot stove is finally heating up, who will sign next?
Blue Jays sign Springer, Semien
Toronto was on the cusp of being contenders at the end of last season. Now, with George Springer (14 HR and 32 RBI last season) and Marcus Semien (seven HR and 23 RBI last season) on board, this offense will take it to the next step. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio are waiting, and the young core of Toronto will greatly benefit from the veteran signings.
Now, the Blue Jays will need a bounce back performance from their pitching staff in order to compete with the higher power in the AL. Team ace Hyun-Jin Ryu (2.69 ERA last season) did an excellent job in his first season with the team. Robbie Ray was signed to a team-friendly deal in hopes of returning to his former self. Additionally, Tyler Chatwood was signed to a one-year deal to provide some more stability to the rotation. Toronto’s offense is looking powerful, but can the pitching handle the lineups of the AL East?
Phillies Re-Up Realmuto
J.T. Realmuto was one of the biggest names on the market. It took a long time, but the Phillies re-signed their star catcher to a five-year deal that will pay $115 million. Realmuto has blasted 36 homers in his two seasons with the Phillies. Furthermore, he is a career .278 hitter and a top ranked catcher in the MLB.
Philadelphia has been loading up the roster the past few seasons, but it hasn’t yielded much success. They’ve lost players on both the offense and pitching this off-season including Jake Arrieta, and possibly, Didi Gregorius. Aside from Realmuto, the biggest move Philly has made was signing ex-Red Archie Bradley to a one-year pact.
Yankees Shore Up the Rotation
About a week ago, I wrote an article on the Yankees re-signing DJ LeMahieu. However, I was still hesitant on calling them serious contenders. Fast forward a week later, and GM Brian Cashman has done a great job addressing the rotation. Especially since it doesn’t look like Masahiro Tanaka will be back in the Bronx. Newcomers Corey Kluber (one-year deal worth $11 million) and Jameson Taillon (acquired from PIT for four prospects) are more than capable of filling out the Yankees rotation.
Kluber and Taillon have both been battling injuries and other setbacks during the past few seasons, but when healthy, they are solid starting pitchers. Kluber is a two-time CY Young Champion and Taillon has a career 3.67 ERA. It’s safe to say that New York did what they needed to do in order to became stronger contenders.
Much More to Come
Lots of players found new homes or returned to their old teams. Once slow and dragging along, the MLB off-season is starting to take shape with the markets of 2B Kolten Wong, SS Didi Gregorius, and P Trevor Bauer heating up. Are the Mets favorites for Bauer? Where will Ozuna go? Is the Yadi-Waino era over in St. Louis? There’s still so many questions left to be answered. Soon enough, they will be answered.