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- Everyone was prepared for Derek Jeter to be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year on the ballot, and — everyone get your fake shocked faces ready — that’s exactly what happened. However, a couple more surprising twists were in store: Jeter missed out on being the second unanimously-selected player in Hall of Fame history by a single vote, while former Expos, Rockies, and Cardinals outfielder Larry Walker narrowly earned his way into the Hall (and very rightfully so) in his 10th and final year on the ballot.
- After losing Josh Donaldson to the Twins in free agency, the Braves added some punch back to their lineup on Tuesday night, signing outfielder Marcell Ozuna to a one-year, $18 million deal. They’ll be hoping that Ozuna returns to the elite offensive form he displayed in his final season with the Marlins in 2017 — and so will Ozuna, who’s betting on himself in hopes of following Donaldson’s lead and earning a lucrative long-term deal next offseason.
- The Rockies’ Nolan Arenado has been at the top of a lot of teams’ wish lists this offseason even though it was very unclear as to how likely that ever was to happen. Rockies GM Jeff Bridich went on to say yesterday that they expected Nolan to be in Colorado for the 2020 season and that they are not talking about trades anymore. However, all is not well, as Arenado — whether it’s because he was being shopped in the first place, because the Rockies haven’t invested in a better core around him, or a combination of both — is very clearly not happy with the team and has voiced his displeasure. Maybe we’ll get an Arenado trade after all.
- The sign-stealing scandal surrounding the Houston Astros rocked the world of baseball and has spread to multiple organizations now. The Red Sox and Astros both had high ranking officials get axed over MLB’s findings and in addition to unsubstantiated rumors that the Astros may have used electronic devices worn under their uniforms, Carlos Beltran, who seemed to be one of the chief architects on the player side for the Astros, was forced to step down as manager of the New York Mets as well.
- The writing was on the wall for Red Sox manager Alex Cora after he was named as one of the primary orchestrators of the Astros’ illegal sign-stealing program in Rob Manfred’s report that was released Monday. Considering that the Sox are also being investigated for illegal sign-stealing in 2018 — Cora’s first season as manager — it seemed pretty obvious that Boston needed to part ways with the World Series-winning manager, and they indeed did so, announcing that they’d “mutually agreed to part ways” with the 44-year-old.
- In a rather unexpected twist, Josh Donaldson signed a four-year, $92 million deal with the Twins, padding Minnesota’s status as AL Central frontrunners and solidifying their lineup as one of the best in baseball. Donaldson’s deal is the second-richest ever for a player 33 or older, trailing only Kevin Brown’s seven-year, $105 million deal with the Dodgers.
- One of the bigger storylines from this offseason was what was going to happen at the end of MLB’s investigation into the accusations that the Astros were stealing signs during at least their 2017 World Series run if not longer. Well, we know now and it isn’t pretty. MLB suspended Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch (who were both subsequently fired) for one year and took the Astros’ first and second-round picks for the 2020 AND 2021 drafts.
- The Twins have signed Miguel Sanó to a three-year, $30 million extension with club option for 2023. The 26-year old slashed .247/.346/.576 with 34 home runs last season, after having an incredibly pathetic 2018 that saw him drop down to Single-A. In 2017, Sanó was accused of sexual misconduct but did not receive any form of punishment from Major League Baseball.
- While free agency has been the busiest and most productive it has been in three years this offseason, they hasn’t been much in the way of trades. As a result, it was nice to see a real trade with prospects and everything as St. Louis sent José Martínez and Randy Arozarena to Tampa in exchange for star pitching prospect Matthew Liberatore and a low-minors catching prospect. The teams also swapped comp-round picks in the deal.
- The Brewers have molded themselves into real contenders in the NL Central over the last couple of seasons, and one of the big reasons why has been the leadership of manager Craig Counsell during that time. It looks like the organization wanted to make sure that Counsell was going to stick around for the foreseeable future, as they inked Counsell to an extension through 2023.
- You wanted a big offseason, and the baseball gods have more than obliged. Mookie Bettshas agreed to a record $27 million arbitration contract with the Red Sox. That’s a $7M raise for the 2018 AL World Series MVP. Now that the deal has been made, the next big milestone is seeing if the Red Sox try to cash out on the 27-year old’s fierce bat during the trade deadline.
- After doing the MLB equivalent of a study abroad program and spending the 2019 season with the division-rival Astros, veteran catcher Robinson Chirinos is returning to the team he knows best, reuniting with the Rangers on a one-year deal that includes a club option for 2021. If Chirinos can come anywhere close to replicating the .790 OPS he posted last season, he should be a pretty significant offensive upgrade over incumbent Rangers catcher Jeff Mathis.
- The Diamondbacks have signed David Peralta to a three-year, $22 million extension. The pitcher-turned-outfielder will also receive $1.25M in incentives. The 32-year old’s slash line is going strong into 2020. Last year he hit .275/.343/.461 with 12 home runs. It’s also worth noting that his second life as an outfielder has seen an incredible amount of defensive dexterity, with Peralta saving 10 defensive runs for Arizona last season. Doesn’t everyone love a comeback story?
- The White Sox have remade themselves into a real contender in the AL Central this offseason, primarily due to their flurry of free-agent additions. However, they are not forgetting their homegrown talent as they signed one of their best prospects, Luis Robert, to a contract extension that is worth at least $50 million with a chance for more if some lucrative team options are picked up. It is worth mentioning that Robert has yet to have an at-bat in the majors.
- The Nationals brought back veteran infielder Asdrúbal Cabrera on a one-year, $2.5 million deal. We know all you super fans out there were beginning to worry. The 34-year old could be a starting option at third base or could even bounce between second and third, switching with Castro, who also spent time at third in 2019. While he was designated for assignment by the Rangers towards the end of last season, Cabrera became an important part of Washington’s World Series effort, starting five of the seven games and slashing .323/.404/.565 in his new uniform.
- The Red Sox have been eerily quiet this offseason with the exception of a lot of talk of which contracts they are trying to shed to ease their alleged payroll burden (David Price and Mookie Betts being the sexiest of those names thus far). They did actually add a free agent, though, bringing in backup catcher Kevin Plawecki on a one-year deal.
- Our Andersen Pickard has made the rest of the offseason so easy for you. He’s completed a list of what every MLB team’s biggest remaining need is. Thank you cards are appreciated and accepted.
- While it is unclear that it will actually work, the Reds have made some real efforts to be competitive in 2020. After signing Wade Miley and Mike Moustakas (among other moves), the Reds further bolstered their lineup with the signing of Japanese outfielder Shogo Akiyama. Akiyama was an All-Star and Gold Glover for the Seibu Lions and while one should be suspicious of stats from overseas leagues, most think he will end up as a very useful player in MLB.