As the state of Indiana got hit with sub-zero temperatures and piles of snow over the past few days, all 30 Major League Baseball teams’ pitchers and catchers reported to Arizona and Florida for the start of Spring Training.
And as the images of players getting their bodies prepared for six months of games were placed onto every major social media platform for fan consumption, it marked the start of the 2021 season and the end of the long, cold offseason.
Growing up, to get myself prepared for the upcoming season, I would purchase a variety of MLB magazines at the local CVS Pharmacy – it was called Osco Drug Store then – to catch up on all of the moves made by the teams during the offseason.
Because of that, I’ve been enamored – really the word is obsessed – with each team’s transactions (big and small), the numbers players would wear with their new teams and how them joining forces with whatever team they signed with impacted each division.
Nowadays, notifications are sent to my phone each time the Reds make a move, while I scour Twitter and mlbtraderumors.com for any other moves that have been made or are rumored to possibly be made.
But in case you aren’t like me and don’t spend time wondering whether or not a player that was recently designated for assignment could be claimed by your favorite team and make an impact in some way or another, I’ve put together a brief summary of the moves the National League Central teams made, as well as the biggest spenders this winter.
After winning the NL Central in 2020, the Cubs shook up its roster a bit, especially on the pitching side.
They traded pitcher Yu Darvish and catcher Victor Caratini to the San Diego Padres for pitcher Zach Davies and prospects. They also saw Jon Lester (Nationals) and Jose Quintana (Angels) leave via free agency and filled their spots in the rotation by bringing back Jake Arrieta and snatching Trevor Williams away for the rival Pittsburgh Pirates.
Outfielder Kyle Schwarber joined Lester in Washington and was replaced by 2020 World Series champion outfielder Joc Pederson, giving Chicago a formidable bat to go in the middle of the lineup.
Additions: RHP Jake Arrieta, RHP Zach Davies, RHP Trevor Williams, RHP Jonathan Holder, RHP Kohl Stewart, LHP Andrew Chafin, OF Joc Pederson, OF Jake Marisnick, OF Phillip Ervin, C Austin Romine
Subtractions: RHP Yu Darvish, RHP Tyler Chatwood, LHP Jon Lester, LHP Jose Quintana, OF Kyle Schwarber, 1B/OF Jose Martinez, OF Albert Almora Jr.
The Reds made the playoffs for the first time since 2013. But instead of adding onto that group, they subtracted 54 percent of the players that were on the Opening Day roster.
Gone are Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer, closer Raisel Iglesias, catcher Curt Casali and shortstop Freddy Galvis.
They brought in a few buy-low pitching candidates in Sean Doolittle, Jeff Hoffman, Noe Ramirez and Cam Bedrosian, all of whom could play important roles in the bullpen.
Offensively, most of the roster remained intact. However, the Reds enter Spring Training with a Kyle Farmer-Kyle Holder platoon at shortstop. The two have combined to start 16 games at the big league level.
Additions: LHP Sean Doolittle, LHP Cionel Perez, RHP Jeff Hoffman, RHP Noe Ramirez, RHP Cam Bedrosian, INF Kyle Holder, INF/OF Dee Strange-Gordon
Subtractions: RHP Trevor Bauer, RHP Raisel Iglesias, RHP Archie Bradley, RHP Anthony DeSclafani, RHP Robert Stephenson, SS Freddy Galvis, C Curt Casali
The Brewers finished under .500 in 2020, but still managed to make the playoffs.
Most of their roster returns with the lone key departure being outfielder/first baseman Ryan Braun, who has not announced whether or not he plans to play the 2021 season or retire.
Milwaukee did make a big splash at the start of February when they signed former St. Louis Cardinal Gold Glove second baseman Kolten Wong to a two-year deal. With him coming aboard, former second baseman Keston Hiura will slide over to first base.
Additions: 2B Kolten Wong, C Luke Maile, 3B Travis Shaw, OF Derek Fisher, LHP Brett Anderson, RHP Luis Perdomo, RHP Brad Boxberger, RHP Jordan Zimermann
Subtractions: INF/OF Ryan Braun, LHP Alex Claudio, RHP Corey Knebel, OF Ben Gamel
After finishing the 2020 season with a 19-41 record, the Pirates hold the No. 1 pick in the 2021 MLB Draft and will have the chance to take Vanderbilt starting pitcher Kumar Rocker – the odds on favorite to go No. 1 – with the first selection.
They haven’t added much during the winter, in fact they signed their first Major League contract Tuesday when they inked left-handed starting pitcher Tyler Anderson to a one-year deal, and are likely to be among the worst teams in baseball for a second straight year.
Additions: LHP Tyler Anderson, OF Brian Goodwin, C Drew Butera
Subtractions: RHP Chris Archer, RHP Joe Musgrove, RHP Jameson Taillon, RHP Trevor Williams, 1B Josh Bell, C Luke Maile
St. Louis Cardinals
Through the first few months of the offseason, the NL Central had made very few deals.
That was until Feb. 1 when the Cardinals struck one of the biggest trades in franchise history.
St. Louis sent a package that included four prospects and left-handed starting pitcher Austin Gomber to the Colorado Rockies for multi-time All-Star and Gold Glove-winning third baseman Nolan Arenado.
The Cardinals also brought back pitcher Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina, solidifying themselves as one of the top teams in the division.
Additions: 3B Nolan Arenado, C Yadier Molina, RHP Adam Wainwright
Subtractions: 2B Kolten Wong, LHP Austin Gomber, RHP John Brebbia, OF Dexter Fowler
Around the League
• Chicago White Sox signed closer Liam Hendricks, starting pitcher Carlos Rodon and outfielder Adam Eaton, traded for starting pitcher Lance Lynn and hired Tony La Russa as the team’s manager.
• New York Mets traded for shortstop Francisco Lindor and starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco and signed catcher James McCann, outfielders Albert Almora Jr. and Kevin Pillar and reliever Trevor May.
• Philadelphia Phillies re-signed catch J.T. Realmuto and shortstop Didi Gregorious and signed pitchers Archie Bradley, Matt Moore, Chase Anderson and Brandon Kintzler.
• Atlanta Braves re-signed Marcell Ozuna and signed starting pitchers Charlie Morton and Drew Smyly.
• New York Yankees re-signed DJ LeMahieu, traded for pitcher Jameson Taillon and signed pitcher Corey Kluber, reliever Justin Wilson and outfielder Jay Bruce.
• Boston Red Sox traded for reliever Adam Ottavino and outfielder Franchy Cordero and signed second baseman Kike Hernandez, utility player Marwin Gonzalez, outfielder Hunter Renfroe and pitcher Garrett Richards.
• Toronto Blue Jays re-signed starting pitcher Robbie Ray, signed outfield George Springer, relief pitcher Kirby Yates, shortstop Marcus Semien, pitcher Tyler Chatwood and traded for pitcher Steven Matz.
• Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim traded for closer Raisel Iglesias, starting pitcher Alex Cobb and outfielder Dexter Fowler and signed Jose Quintana,
• San Diego Padres traded for starting pitchers Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Joe Musgrove, catcher Victor Caratini and signed shortop Ha-Seong Kim, utility player Jurickson Profar and relievers Mark Melancon and Keona Kela.
• Los Angeles Dodgers re-signed third baseman Justin Turner and reliever Blake Treinen, traded for reliver Corey Knebel and signed starting pitcher Trevor Bauer.