FOX Sports MLB Analyst
There are still some puzzles to be solved this winter, as nearly half of MLB’s best free agents remain unsigned.
But not every team is being patient this offseason. A handful of teams have stood out with their shrewd moves and are much better — at least on paper — heading into 2024.
Below are the five front offices that have had the best offseasons.
5. New York Yankees
It was very clear and obvious what the Yankees needed: Left-handed hitting, specifically a left-handed hitter with power. Well, they went out and traded for Juan Soto.
They hadn’t done much else prior to reportedly signing All-Star pitcher Marcus Stroman to a two-year deal Thursday. While Stroman isn’t Yoshinobu Yamamoto, he’s a key addition to a rotation that felt like it was one starter short.
Most importantly, the Yankees landed one of the best hitters in baseball. If you acquire Juan Soto, you’re in my top five.
Are the Yankees the American League favorites with Juan Soto?
4. Cincinnati Reds
The Reds might not have made a splashy move this winter, but they’ve improved along the margins to complement their young core.
I really like the veterans they’ve signed: third baseman Jeimer Candelario (three years, $45 million), relievers Nick Martinez (two years, $26 million) and Emilio Pagán (two years, $16 million), starter Frankie Montas (one year, $16 million).
Candelario was great with the Nationals (slashing .258/.342/.481) before his numbers took a slight dip with the Cubs (.234/.318/.445). Still, the Reds are getting a switch-hitting corner infielder who can drive the ball, posting 22 homers last season.
Add in the pitching depth, and I think the Reds could do some damage this year.
3. Kansas City Royals
The Royals have been busy since the winter meetings. They signed starting pitchers Seth Lugo and Michael Wacha. They got Hunter Renfroe to strenghthen their outfield and Garrett Hampson to help their infield. The additions of Will Smith and Chris Stratton improve their bullpen.
Now, are the Royals going to win the World Series? No. Are they going to make the postseason? Probably not. But you can appreciate the activity in the aftermath of losing 100 games. They’re unquestionably better. Plus, these moves give them a chance to be competitive in a winnable division.
Kansas City Royals aiming for AL Central title
2. Arizona Diamondbacks
It’s great to see the Diamondbacks taking their World Series appearance seriously.
Signing Eduardo Rodríguez was huge for their rotation. Retaining Lourdes Gurriel Jr. after an All-Star season engenders good vibes in the clubhouse. Trading for Eugenio Suárez fills a big hole at third base.
Before the Dodgers acquired a pair of frontline pitchers, I would’ve said the Diamondbacks had the best rotation in the National League West.
I really like what Mike Hazen and the Diamondbacks’ front office have done, building off of last year’s special run in hopes of it not being a fluke. This roster is again built well for MLB’s new rules.
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
No surprise here. When you add Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto, you’re going to top this list. The Dodgers committed over $1 billion in salary on those two players alone.
But then they added Tyler Glasnow, a pitcher with Cy Young talent, and Teoscar Hernández, a much-needed right-handed bat who mashes lefties and was an All-Star two years ago. There’s nothing more to say here: L.A. is all-in.
Yoshinobu Yamamoto: Verlander breaks down his pitching repertoire
Ben Verlander is an MLB Analyst for FOX Sports and the host of the “Flippin’ Bats” podcast. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Verlander was an All-American at Old Dominion University before he joined his brother, Justin, in Detroit as a 14th-round pick of the Tigers in 2013. He spent five years in the Tigers organization. Follow him on Twitter @BenVerlander.
Get more from Major League Baseball Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more