Updated: Sep 26
by Matthew Calvino
As Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings are wrapping up, it's time to look at the most important deals made during this year’s MLB offseason. Furthermore, we should look at the advantages specific teams have as a result of the moves they made in the offseason. There were a lot of big moves made during the Winter Meetings - most importantly from the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets.
The Yankees were financially very quiet at the beginning of the Winter Meetings. The pressure was mounting to fix the team's pitching problem, with starting pitcher Gerrit Cole being left in the game for more innings than usual as a result of the lack of high-performance relievers throughout the regular season. This resulted in many regular season losses solidified during the seventh and eighth innings. The Yankees decided to sign a proper pitcher in Carlos Rodon. With a 2.88 ERA last season, beating Gerrit Cole’s ERA by more than .50, Rodon is very excited to be joining the rotation that now includes rising Yankees star Nestor Cortes, young gun Frankie Montas, and experienced Luis Severino.
Another main issue was star Aaron Judge. He was a savior during the second half of the season after the trade deadline when the rest of the batting order was either injured or in a hitting slump. Judge continued to peak leading up to the postseason, where the rest of the team began carrying more of their weight on offense. The biggest part of the Winter Meetings was his re-signing with the Yankees on a nine-year, $360 million contract. They also gave Judge a seat as the captain of the squad, giving him a more major responsibility as a Yankee leader.
The final issue for the Yankees was their offensive situation. The order is full of heavy hitters like Josh Donaldson, Anthony Rizzo, Giancarlo Stanton, Oswaldo Cabrera and DJ LeMahieu. However, the few contact hitters like Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Matt Carpenter and Andrew Benintendi were either injured or not performing well enough offensively to make a difference. There needs to be a solution to this problem because it has not come yet, considering Benintendi has, to the Yankee organization’s reluctance, left for the White Sox.
The Dodgers are currently stuck under a limiting financial constraint as a result of the new Competitive Balance Tax imposed by the MLB. This has forced them to drop Dodgers icons Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger - a man that nobody thought would ever leave the Dodgers. However, they remain a dominant team in the league and have another chance at a run for the title this season. Their dominance in the National League is a testament to the near perfection of their regular season, ending with a league-leading record of 111-51.
Regardless, the Dodgers still picked up five strategic and potentially impactful signings to add to their superstar lineup. The Dodgers picked up a new DH JD Martinez, who is predicted to be a Dodgers top dog this coming season. Other well-known signings were Noah Syndergaard of Mets and Phillies acclaim as well as veteran infielder Miguel Rojas, a household name in Miami due to his long career as a Marlin. They also picked up Yonny Hernandez, Shelby Miller, and JP Feyereisen to increase their defensive depth.
The Kings of Queens dominated the regular season, exceeding expectations and shining a new light on some of the Mets’ players, specifically Brandon Nimmo, Daniel Vogelbach, Edwin Diaz, Jacob deGrom, and Starling Marte. First baseman Pete Alonso, as consistent as ever, received a big increase in his salary for this coming season, which is important due to Alonso’s vital role as a veteran leader.
What they needed to work on was perfecting the existing lineup. The Mets have not had this loaded of a team since arguably the 80s during the Keith Hernandez and Daryl Strawberry World Series dynasty. The keyword for the Mets this offseason was “money,” as they spent hundreds of millions on the re-signing of Diaz and Nimmo. They also picked up Astros superstar veteran Justin Verlander to work in tandem with another pitching superstar Max Scherzer. Additionally, they picked up Jose Quintana and Kodai Senga as icing on the loaded cake that is the Mets’ lineup.
They have officially committed more money to payroll than any other team in league history, getting them ready for a very solid run at the World Series title this season.