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9 clubs whose moves 'won' the offseason

@RichardJustice
January 27, 2020

If you’d like to argue that this was the most active MLB offseason in history, you’ll get no argument from me. Let’s begin here: Eight teams awarded the eight largest contracts. Here’s more: • Thirteen teams signed free agents to contracts of at least three years. The Nationals, Reds and

If you’d like to argue that this was the most active MLB offseason in history, you’ll get no argument from me. Let’s begin here: Eight teams awarded the eight largest contracts.

Here’s more:

• Thirteen teams signed free agents to contracts of at least three years. The Nationals, Reds and White Sox signed more than one.

• Of the 16 players who signed contracts of at least three years, nine landed with teams that didn’t make the postseason in 2019.

This kind of parity makes an offseason winner’s list both challenging and extremely fun. Here's the top nine:

1) Chicago White Sox
Are the White Sox ready to roll? With loads of young talent on hand, general manager Rick Hahn had a tremendous winter by adding one of baseball’s best catchers in Yasmani Grandal, a proven slugger in Edwin Encarnación and a former American League Cy Young Award winner in lefty Dallas Keuchel. Those proven veterans -- along with outfielder Nomar Mazara, who was acquired from the Rangers -- should fit nicely with Eloy Jiménez, Luis Robert and the rest of the South Siders' promising young core.

2) New York Yankees
Gerrit Cole’s signing gives the Yankees one of the three best rotations in the game on a team that led the Majors in runs in 2019. To sum up, they are the 2020 World Series favorites and also have enough Minor League depth to add a player at the Trade Deadline.

3) Cincinnati Reds
The Reds put the finishing touches on an excellent offseason by adding Nick Castellanos to a free-agent haul that also included Mike Moustakas and Wade Miley. If some of the young players -- especially Nick Senzel -- take steps forward, the Reds could win the National League Central.

4) Arizona Diamondbacks
The acquisition of Starling Marte is the final touch on another tremendous offseason by D-backs baseball boss Mike Hazen. In two years, he has replenished the farm system and kept the team competitive. This offseason, Hazen strengthened the offense by acquiring Marte to play center and Kole Calhoun to play right. This will also allow Ketel Marte to settle back in at second base. Additionally, signing Madison Bumgarner gives the rotation a workhorse. The Dodgers will still be NL West favorites, but the D-backs are a team to watch.

5) Atlanta Braves
Some might say that losing Josh Donaldson makes this a losing offseason, but you can also argue that Alex Anthopoulos hit for the general manager’s cycle in strengthening his rotation (Cole Hamels), outfield (Marcell Ozuna), bullpen (Will Smith) and catching corps (Travis d'Arnaud). With scary good pitching depth, the Braves are in position to win a third straight NL East championship in what could be a four-team race.

6) Texas Rangers
General manager Jon Daniels wanted to add a bat, but he wasn’t able to sign Anthony Rendon or Nick Castellanos, two players reportedly high on his wish list. He would like to make one more big move, and that could be dealing for Kris Bryant or Nolan Arenado by the Trade Deadline.

The Rangers' acquisitions of Corey Kluber, Jordan Lyles and Kyle Gibson to a rotation that already had Mike Minor and Lance Lynn gives them arguably the best rotation in franchise history.

7) Los Angeles Angels
Anthony Rendon’s addition to the batting order could make Mike Trout even better and vice versa. Now about that pitching. General manager Billy Eppler didn’t make the splashy rotation addition he’d hoped to make, but the additions of Julio Teheran, Dylan Bundy and Matt Andriese could give the Angels a chance to compete, especially if Shohei Ohtani can make 15-20 starts in his return from Tommy John surgery.

8) Minnesota Twins
How many home runs? Before you question the pitching -- and that’s fair -- check out the offense. To a team that hit the most home runs in MLB history last season (307), the Twins added Josh Donaldson. Also important is that his arrival upgrades the defense by shifting Miguel Sanó from third to first and allowing Marwin Gonzalez to shift into the utility role where he is most valuable. The Twins did not land a No. 1 starter or re-sign Kyle Gibson, but they added Homer Bailey and Rich Hill and retained Jake Odorizzi and Michael Pineda. All in all, an excellent offseason.

9) Toronto Blue Jays
Don’t sleep on the Blue Jays, who added four starting pitchers -- Hyun-Jin Ryu, Tanner Roark, Chase Anderson and Shun Yamaguchi -- to a rotation that will get Matt Shoemaker back from injury. While fans watch their core group of kids -- Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. -- figure things out, the Blue Jays will be a team to watch in the AL East.

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.