The offseason isn't over yet, but we've already seen lots of transactions likely to impact 2017
It's a new year, which can only mean one thing: A new baseball season is rapidly approaching. In roughly six weeks, pitchers and catchers will report to Major League Spring Training camps in Florida and Arizona. Baseball's return is nigh and, as always, it will culminate next fall with the crowning of a new World Series champion.
Baseball front offices have been working tirelessly all offseason long to make sure their team is the one that will be bring home the Commissioner's Trophy this year. Although their work isn't quite done yet, it's worth taking a moment to look at the biggest transactions of the offseason thus far and break down which ones will have the biggest impact on the 2017 season.
In no particular order, here are the six transactions most likely to have a major impact on this year in baseball:
After two straight last-place finishes, the Red Sox returned to the top of the AL East in 2016 and it looks like they have every intention of repeating the feat in 2017. Boston added one of the best pitchers in the Majors in a December trade with the White Sox. Although the acquisition wasn't cheap -- Boston sent four prospects to Chicago, including top prospects
With a lineup anchored by young stars
The Mets have one of the most exciting young rotations in baseball, but their offense is a bit less heralded. At the end of the season, the team stood to lose its best position player when Cespedes became a free agent, but, fortunately, they re-signed him to a four-year deal just after Thanksgiving.
No doubt, Mets fans hope that the return of Cespedes will generate many more exciting celebrations like this:
But the team that finished ahead of the Mets in the division last summer is doing its part to make the Mets' path back to the postseason difficult...
Last season, the Nationals finished with the second-best record in the National League, and with just one move this winter, they put themselves in a strong position to continue building upon that success in 2017.
A Winter Meetings trade with the White Sox sent Adam Eaton (and his family) to Washington, where he will become the newest center fielder -- a marked improvement upon their 2016 Opening Day center fielder,
Turner was simply tremendous last year in the half-season he spent with the Nationals. He posted a .342 average, .937 OPS and 33 steals in 39 attempts and is now in a strong position to provide an upgrade over the team's shortstop last summer,
Riding high on their first pennant in nearly 20 years, Cleveland demonstrated a dedication to winning again in 2017 by bringing in one of the top free agent position players on the market: Edwin Encarnacion.
Encarnacion, who has received MVP votes in four of the last five seasons, will replace current free-agent
And maybe a parrot, too?
The 2016 season was a disappointing one for the Astros, and so far this winter, they've been doing their best to ensure that the story of their 2017 season is a happier one.
Over the span of three weeks, they strengthened their catching position and solidified their outfield. First, they acquired catcher
The Dodgers are keeping the band together
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The Dodgers have won four consecutive NL West titles, but entered this season faced with the potential of losing three of their key players: closer
Will it be enough to help the team to a five-peat? We'll find out soon enough!