20- After being traded to the Dodgers from the Marlins, pitcher Andrew Heaney will head across southern California to the Angels in exchange for second baseman Howie Kendrick. This trade is great for both teams, as the Dodgers traded away their second baseman, Dee Gordon, to the Marlins. The Angels pitching rotation will be further helped by Heaney, and it will be even stronger next season. Kendrick is great defensively, and can also hit, as proven by his .293 batting average, seven home runs and 75 runs batted in (RBIs).
19- One spot that the Giants have had problems with has been left field. However, the Giants have found a fix in Nori Aoki, the outfielder from Kansas City that they faced in the World Series. Aoki was signed to a one year, $4.7 million deal this offseason. After hitting .285, one home run and 43 RBIs, Aoki will look to keep up his two way excellence next season.
18- The Canadian-born catcher Russell Martin is headed back home after signing a five year, $82 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. Martin has all of the attributes that scouts look for in a player—speed, power and defensive ability. Martin posted a .290 batting average, 11 home runs and 67 RBIs last season. Expect Martin to be reliable in contributing to an already strong Blue Jays’ offense.
17- The Giants tried but failed to keep their amazing third baseman Pablo Sandoval, but seem to have found an easy solution in Casey McGehee. The Giants traded Kendry Flores and Luis Castillo for the Marlins third baseman. McGehee is a powerful offensive weapon who had a .287 batting average, four home runs and 76 RBIs. While McGehee may not be as good as Sandoval, he seems to be the temporary solution for an otherwise stacked San Francisco team.
16- The Red Sox have improved their already strong pitching rotation once again by adding Wade Miley, who had a 4.34 earned run average (ERA) and eight wins last season. In exchange, the Diamondbacks received pitcher Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster and Raymel Flores. De La Rosa is another strong pitcher, who had a 4.43 ERA and four wins last year. While this trade seems pretty even, the Red Sox won by clearing cap space and acquiring the better pitcher.
15- While many expected second baseman Ben Zobrist to go to the Giants, he was actually traded to the team across the bay, the A’s. Zobrist and Yunel Escobar were sent to Oakland for A’s catcher John Jaso, Daniel Robertson and Boog Powell. This trade is huge for the A’s, as they are actually receiving a good player, whereas they have traded pretty much all of their talent away. Zobrist is a great two way player who had a .272 batting average, ten home runs and 52 RBIs last season and will surely make an impact for the A’s.
14- After being traded from the Cubs to the A’s, Jeff Samardzija is off to Chicago again, only this time to the White Sox. The ace pitcher was traded with Michael Ynoa for Chris Bassitt, Josh Phegley, Rangel Ravelo and Marcus Semien. While the A’s get Semien, the other players might not go to much use. However, the White Sox won big in the dominant Samardzija, who had a 2.99 ERA last season, as well as seven wins.
13- Recently, the Atlanta Braves have found a powerful element to their batting order in catcher Evan Gattis, but this will be no more, as Gattis was traded to the Astros for three prospects—Mike Foltynewicz, Andrew Thurman and Rio Ruiz. Gattis is a capable leader of any team, and his bat speaks wonders about him, as he had a .263 batting average, 22 home runs and 52 RBIs last season. While these prospects may not do much for the Braves anytime soon, the Astros sure got another key player to build up their improved squad with.
12- The Cardinals made a major move this offseason when they traded for dominant outfielder Jason Heyward and solid pitcher Jordan Walden. Giving up a great pitcher in Shelby Miller and a highly touted prospect in Tyrell Jenkins, the Cardinals received a major offensive boost. Last season, Heyward posted a .271 batting average, 11 home runs and 58 RBIs, and along with his raw talent at defense, Heyward will be a crucial addition to the Cards.
11- While many a baseball fan may not know the name of Yasmany Tomas, he will soon be a household name after being signed to a six year, $68.5 million deal by the Arizona Diamondbacks. The 24-year-old outfielder and power hitter from the Dominican Republic has been training for years for this upcoming season, and is ready to make his mark. The highly sought after prospect will use his dangerous speed to catch fly balls, and his destructive bat to destroy pitchers that don’t know his game. Watch out for this rookie to make his mark!
10- Nick Markakis, the eight year veteran right fielder, was a hot commodity this offseason, with several top clubs competing to sign him. Markakis eventually decided to take his talents to Atlanta for four years for $45 million. While Markakis had a solid .276, 14 home runs and 50 RBIs last season, his defensive skill is what really draws attention. However, Markakis will not be able to keep up this performance as he ages, so it seems as if the Braves spent way too much to sign Markakis for too long of a deal.
9- Victor Martinez is a machine, it’s as simple as that. In his eleventh season in the MLB, Martinez dominated opposing pitchers, and hit .335 with 32 home runs and 104 RBIs. While Martinez is already 36 years old, it makes sense that the Tigers wanted to keep him locked up for possibly the rest of his career. The Tigers ended up signing Martinez to a four year, $68 million deal that will keep his power in Detroit for a long time.
8- Another blockbuster trade occurred between the Dodgers and the Marlins. The Dodgers sent the solid pitcher Dan Haren and their speedy shortstop Dee Gordon for pitcher Andrew Heaney, Enrique Hernandez, Chris Hatcher and Austin Barnes. This move was huge for the Dodgers, as it cleared up cap space and got rid of good players, but players that they didn’t need. The Marlins are getting some much needed veteran experience, only for some prospects that might not even pan out. This trade is very smart for both sides, and should make both teams better next season.
7- Josh Donaldson has been electric for Oakland after coming out of nowhere, but now the hometown favorite is off to Toronto. After hitting .255, 29 home runs and 98 RBIs, Donaldson will be traded for powerful infielder Brett Lawrie. Lawrie, who hit .247, 12 home runs and 28 RBIs, will be sent to the A’s, along with Kendall Graveman, Sean Nolin and Franklin Barreto. This is a gamble for the A’s, as Donaldson has been reliable for them recently, but it is just one more item on a list of the rebuilding deals that they have made this offseason.
6- Yoenis Cespedes was traded mid-season to the Red Sox, which shocked the baseball community. After hitting .260, 22 home runs and 100 RBIs in a great season, Cespedes and Gabe Wilson and Alex Speier were all traded to the Tigers for ace pitcher Rick Porcello. Cespedes has the defensive prowess and massive bat that will make the Tigers’ offense even more deadly, and Rick Porcello will beef up an already strong Sox rotation. This trade looks like both sides that participated will walk away as winners.
5- While there have been many huge signings this offseason, there have been some crazy trades as well. The most important of which is Matt Kemp, the monster outfielder for the Dodgers being traded for the young catcher Yasmani Grandal from the Padres. Kemp was sent with catcher Tim Federowicz and $32 million, and the Padres gave pitchers Joe Wieland and Zach Eflin as well. This deal is big because Kemp has so much talent, but has been falling off recently and is costing the Dodgers tens of millions. The Dodgers will be able to juice up their already young roster with a hot-shot with incredible skill in Grandal. Both teams will benefit greatly from this trade, and it will surely be exciting to see how it plays out next season.
4- While everyone has been talking about Pablo Sandoval signing with the Sox, getting Hanley Ramirez was just as important to the team. Ramirez is a veteran who has excellent athleticism no matter what position he plays, and has a bat that can really bolster up a lineup. Ramirez has been with the Dodgers for the past couple years, and posted a .283 batting average, 13 home runs and 71 RBIs last season. Ramirez was snagged by the Sox for a four year, $88 million deal, and will work wonders with Sandoval for Boston’s batting order.
3- Jon Lester has been dominant during his career as an MLB pitcher, and even adjusted well to being on a new team in the middle of last season. Lester was able to post a nice 2.46 ERA and had 16 wins last season. Many teams were in the running for Lester this offseason, but the Cubs were finally able to get him to sign with a six year, $155 million deal. The Cubs are into major rebuilding, and Lester might just be the key that propels them into the playoffs for the first time in a while.
2- Max Scherzer eclipsed Justin Verlander last season as the best pitcher on the Detroit Tigers. Considering the fact that Verlander is still one of the best, this shows just how good Scherzer is. Scherzer had a 3.15 ERA and and 18 wins last season, which is why the Nationals wanted to lock him up with a seven year, $210 million contract. Expect Scherzer to round out an already dominant Nationals pitching rotation and lead them to success in the near future.
1- This was the biggest deal of the offseason, as Sandoval was an integral part of the San Francisco team that won the World Series three times. Sandoval felt as if he needed to move on, since he had already accomplished everything possible with the Giants. Sandoval will be playing in the hitter friendly Fenway Park, alongside his hero, David Ortiz. The Red Sox will be paying Sandoval $95 million over five years, so they will be expecting him to improve his already strong 2014 stats (.279 batting average, 16 home runs and 73 RBIs).