Aside from a Cinderella season that saw the Oakland Athletics squeeze into the postseason for one game, the American League has been where parity has gone to die over the past calendar year. This offseason has been much of the same, as a new team decided to rebuild and send top assets to one of the three clubs in the Junior Circuit that eclipsed the 100-win plateau.
Here's our assessment of every AL club's offseason to date, as the rich have gotten richer and the poor actively choose to remain indigent:
Notable additions: RP Austin Brice (waivers)
Notable subtractions: SS Tim Beckham (FA), OF Adam Jones (FA), C Caleb Joseph (FA), OF Colby Rasmus (FA), 2B Breyvic Valera (SF)
One year ago today, the Orioles' offseason looked pretty much identical to this one: unimpressive. To make matters worse, they went on to hand out over $100 million to Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner, bringing their rebuild further behind schedule. They took a while to appoint new general manager Mike Elias, but dismissing the old guard is certainly a net positive. New manager Brandon Hyde may wind up being the team's most important addition this winter, and that would make this offseason a productive one compared to previous winters.
Notable additions: SP Nathan Eovaldi (re-signed for 4 years, $68M), OF Gorkys Hernandez (minor-league deal), 3B Eduardo Nunez ($5M player option), 1B Steve Pearce (re-signed for 1 year, $6.25M), RP Erasmo Ramirez (minor-league deal), SP Chris Sale ($15M team option)
Notable subtractions: RP Joe Kelly (LAD), RP Craig Kimbrel (FA), 2B Ian Kinsler (SD), SP Drew Pomeranz (FA)
For the Red Sox, it's less about who they have added and more about who they've retained from their World Series roster. The bullpen still seems like a weakness and the potential loss of Kimbrel certainly doesn't help. The club seems intent to add middling relievers on minor-league deals in the hopes of landing their next Ryan Brasier.
Notable additions: 1B Yonder Alonso (trade from CLE), RP Alex Colome (trade from SEA), RP Kelvin Herrera (2 years, $18M), OF Jon Jay (1 year, $4M), C James McCann (1 year, $2.5M), SP Ivan Nova (trade from PIT)
Notable subtractions: 3B Matt Davidson (FA), OF Avisail Garcia (FA), RP Jeanmar Gomez (TEX) SP Miguel Gonzalez (FA), C Omar Narvaez (trade to SEA), RP Hector Santiago (NYM), SP James Shields (FA)
Give credit to the White Sox where it's due. They're fresh off of a 100-loss campaign in which one of their pitching prospects (Lucas Giolito) was historically bad at the major-league level, and their other top pitching prospect (Michael Kopech) required Tommy John surgery. Instead of rolling over, though, they're out there acquiring as many players related to Manny Machado as they can in a bid to land the superstar free agent. A for effort, B+ for execution (so far).
Notable additions: 1B/OF Jake Bauers (trade from TB), SP Carlos Carrasco ($9M team option), C Kevin Plawecki (trade from NYM), 1B Carlos Santana (trade from SEA)
Notable subtractions: RP Cody Allen (FA), OF Michael Brantley (HOU), OF Melky Cabrera (FA), OF Lonnie Chisenhall (PIT), OF Rajai Davis (NYM), 3B Josh Donaldson (ATL), C Yan Gomes (trade to WSH), OF Brandon Guyer (FA), RP Andrew Miller (STL), RP Oliver Perez (FA), SP Josh Tomlin (FA)
What should a team do after clinching its division with the worst win-loss record of any AL playoff team? It seems as though the Indians believe making minor moves to become worse is the answer. The back end of the bullpen is losing big names. The catching duo now seems to be Plawecki and Roberto Perez. The rotation remains elite, but there's some conjecture over whether the front office is shopping perennial All-Star Corey Kluber. If Cleveland isn't careful, its claim on the AL Central crown could be in jeopardy.
Notable additions: OF Mike Gerber (waivers), SS Pete Kozma (minor-league deal), SS Jordy Mercer (1 year, $5.25M), SP Matt Moore (1 year, $2.5M), SP Tyson Ross (1 year, $5.75M)
Notable subtractions: SS Jose Iglesias (FA), SP Francisco Liriano (FA), DH Victor Martinez (retired), C James McCann (FA)
Making low-risk additions was always going to be Detroit's agenda this winter. There are still plenty of spring-training invites to come, but the additions so far are fine. Is guaranteeing Moore (6.79 ERA last year) $2.5 million a little steep? Sure. What about Ross, who hadn't pitched in the majors since 2015 prior to last year, being guaranteed $5.75 million? Yeah. Best-case scenario: Moore and Ross earn them prospects at the deadline. Worst-case scenario: it's an errant $8 million (or a measly 3.5 percent of Boston's 2018 payroll).
Notable additions: OF Michael Brantley (2 years, $32M), C Robinson Chirinos (1 year, $5.75M), SS Aledmys Diaz (trade from TOR)
Notable subtractions: IF J.D. Davis (trade to NYM), DH Evan Gattis (FA), IF Marwin Gonzalez (FA), SP Dallas Keuchel (FA), C Martin Maldonado (FA), C Brian McCann (ATL), SP Charlie Morton (TB), RP Tony Sipp (FA)
An early candidate for bargain signing of the winter has to be the two-year, $32-million contract the Astros handed Brantley. When healthy, no hitter in baseball mixes elite contact rates with slugging abilities quite like the 31-year-old outfielder. Factor in that Andrew McCutchen was guaranteed $18 million more than Brantley, and the Astros look like bandits. They still need to address their rotation following the loss of Morton, with Lance McCullers Jr. needing Tommy John surgery and Keuchel potentially leaving via free agency. However, Houston seems poised to put together yet another contender.
Notable additions: OF Terrance Gore (1 year, $650K), Billy Hamilton (1 year, $5.75M), IF Chris Owings (1 year, $3M), RP Wily Peralta (re-signed for 1 year, $2.25M)
Notable subtractions: SS Alcides Escobar (FA), SP Jason Hammel (FA)
Like the Tigers, the Royals are in a transition phase and they're going to take fliers on guys whom not many other teams want. Hamilton will forever be an intriguing player based entirely on his speed, but his inability to get on base with any regularity led to his release from the Cincinnati Reds. Letting Escobar walk is a positive as they can now find out if Adalberto Mondesi is for real.
Notable additions: 1B Justin Bour (1 year, $2.5M), OF Peter Bourjos (minor-league deal), SP Parker Bridwell (waivers), SP Trevor Cahill (1 year, $9M), RP Luis Garcia (trade from PHI), SP Matt Harvey (1 year, $11M), 2B Tommy La Stella (trade from CHC), C Jonathan Lucroy (1 year, $3.35M)
Notable subtractions: IF Kaleb Cowart (waivers), RP Jim Johnson (FA), RP Blake Parker (FA), SP Garrett Richards (SD), SP Matt Shoemaker (FA), RP Junichi Tazawa (FA), OF Chris Young (FA), OF Eric Young Jr. (FA), RP Blake Wood (FA)
One thing can definitely be said of the Angels' offseason thus far: it's been busy. Lacking prospect capital to broker a blockbuster trade, the club is doing what it can to build a contender around Mike Trout by adding Cahill and Harvey to the rotation. Landing Patrick Corbin or Eovaldi probably would have been better, but the pair could be a good consolation. Adding Lucroy and Bour into the mix on low-risk deals could work nicely as well. They're still not a powerhouse, but they could - and almost need to - make a legitimate push for a wild-card spot next year.
Notable additions: IF Ehire Adrianza (1 year, $1.3M), 1B C.J. Cron (1 year, $4.8M) DH Nelson Cruz (1 year, $14.3M), RP Blake Parker (1 year, $3.2M), 2B Jonathan Schoop (1 year, $7.5M), IF Ronald Torreyes (1 year, $800K)
Notable subtractions: 2B Logan Forsythe (FA), C Chris Gimenez (retired), OF Robbie Grossman (FA), 1B Joe Mauer (retired), 1B Logan Morrison (FA), SP Ervin Santana (FA)
The Twins have made additions to complicate the Indians' stranglehold on the AL Central - most notably, adding Cruz to their DH spot. A lot is riding on bounce-back campaigns for Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano, but Minnesota has quietly put together a roster with plenty of right-handed pop that looks like it could challenge for a wild-card spot. Adding some relief would go a long way, though.
Notable additions: 2B Hanser Alberto (waivers), RP Zach Britton (re-signed for 3 years, $39M), OF Brett Gardner (re-signed for 1 year, $7.5M), SP J.A. Happ (re-signed for 2 years $34M), SP James Paxton (trade from SEA), SP CC Sabathia (re-signed for 1 year, $8M), SS Troy Tulowitzki (1 year, $555K), 3B Gio Urshela (minor-league deal)
Notable subtractions: SS Adeiny Hechavarria (FA), SP Justus Sheffield (trade to SEA), IF Ronald Torreyes (trade to CHC), 2B Neil Walker (FA)
In the age of superteams, the Yankees have done their best to assemble a roster truly worthy of the "Evil Empire" moniker. The rotation is so deep that Sonny Gray is completely expendable. Signing Machado - which might actually happen - could mean trading away the AL Rookie of the Year runner-up in Miguel Andujar. And, if that happens, five-time All-Star Tulowitzki is a backup plan. It will be very interesting to see what Brian Cashman does over the final weeks because it's been pretty great so far.
Notable additions: RP Ryan Dull (re-signed for 1 year, $860K), SP Mike Fiers (re-signed for 2 years, $14.1M), RP Liam Hendriks (re-signed for 1 year, $2.15M), C Chris Herrmann (1 year, $1M), C Josh Phegley (1 year, $1.075M), IF Jurickson Profar (trade from TEX), RP Fernando Rodney ($4.25M team option), RP Joakim Soria (2 years, $15M)
Notable subtractions: SP Brett Anderson (FA), SP Trevor Cahill (LAA), RP Jeurys Familia (NYM), SP Edwin Jackson (FA), OF Matt Joyce (FA), RP Shawn Kelley (FA), C Jonathan Lucroy (LAA), 2B Jed Lowrie (FA)
After a 97-win campaign, the Athletics have seemingly taken a step backward. Already unable to retain Cahill, it seems unlikely that Oakland forks out the dough necessary to sign Lowrie, who played an integral role in the team's success last year. The back end of the bullpen still includes Blake Treinen and added Soria, but can Rodney really keep this going into his age-42 season? Fiers was looking at a handsome raise via arbitration before settling on a two-year deal, but can he anchor the rotation of a 90-win team? Big question marks remain for a roster that could legitimately finish anywhere between second and fifth in the division.
Notable additions: OF Jay Bruce (trade from NYM), SS J.P. Crawford (trade from PHI), 1B Edwin Encarnacion (trade from CLE), SP Marco Gonzales (re-signed for 2 year, $1.9M), SP Yusei Kikuchi (4 years, $56M), IF Kaleb Cowart (waivers), OF Domingo Santana (trade from MIL), SP Justus Sheffield (trade from NYY), RP Anthony Swarzak (trade from NYM)
Notable subtractions: 2B Robinson Cano (trade to NYM), DH Nelson Cruz (MIN), RP Edwin Diaz (trade to NYM), RP Zach Duke (FA), OF Ben Gamel (trade to MIL), OF Cameron Maybin (FA), C Omar Narvaez (trade to CWS), RP Juan Nicasio (trade to PHI), SP James Paxton (trade to NYY), RP David Phelps (FA), SS Jean Segura (trade to PHI), OF Denard Span (FA)
This is definitely the hardest grade to assign because, well, what are the Mariners doing? According to general manager Jerry Dipoto, they're "re-imagining," which seems to involve trading away the ace of their pitching staff, the closer that just locked down 57 saves, and their star shortstop, while adding Encarnacion and Kikuchi, among others. Encarnacion may not stay long, as the club is reportedly confident it can find a subsequent trade after acquiring him from Cleveland. It's been a flurry of moves that, in the end, makes the roster worse than it was last year.
Notable additions: OF Yandy Diaz (trade from CLE), SP Charlie Morton (2 years, $30M), OF Guillermo Heredia (trade from SEA), OF Emilio Pagan (trade from OAK), C Mike Zunino (trade from SEA)
Notable subtractions: 1B/OF Jake Bauers (trade to CLE), 1B C.J. Cron (waivers), OF Carlos Gomez (FA), RP Sergio Romo (FA), OF Mallex Smith (trade to SEA)
When running the Rays, every seemingly inconsequential move carries much greater significance because their margin for error is so small. So, when Tampa Bay throws $30 million at a free-agent pitcher like Morton, heads turn. What's interesting, though, is the Rays broke from their playbook by trading away versatile 23-year-old Bauers, who has six years of team control remaining, for 27-year-old Diaz, who hasn't panned out at the major-league level. That trade, along with the acquisition of Mike Zunino from the Mariners, will factor heavily in whether or not the Rays improve on their improbable 90-win season.
Notable additions: RP Jesse Chavez (2 years, $8M), RP Luke Farrell (waivers), SP Lance Lynn (3 years, $30M), C Jeff Mathis (2 years, $6.25M), SP Drew Smyly (trade from CHC), SP Edinson Volquez (1 year, $2M), OF Patrick Wisdom (trade from STL),
Notable subtractions: RP Tony Barnette (FA), 3B Adrian Beltre (retired), C Robinson Chirinos (HOU), RP Alex Claudio (trade to MIL), SP Bartolo Colon (FA), SP Doug Fister (FA), SP Yovani Gallardo (FA), SP Matt Moore (DET), SP Martin Perez (FA), IF Jurickson Profar (trade to OAK), OF Drew Robinson (trade to STL)
The under-the-radar additions have been quite nice for the Rangers, who added Smyly, Volquez, and Wisdom for essentially nothing. It's the big deals that seem to be less intuitive. Why would Texas need to spend $30 million for Lynn? If the club is competitive by 2021, Lynn is likely a middle-of-the-rotation arm.
Notable additions: SP Clayton Richard (trade from SD), SP Matt Shoemaker (1 year, $3.5M), 1B Justin Smoak ($8M team option), 2B Eric Sogard (minor-league contract)
Notable subtractions: RP Tyler Clippard (FA), SS Aledmys Diaz (trade to HOU), SP Marco Estrada (FA), IF Yangervis Solarte (FA), SS Troy Tulowitzki (NYY)
Ensuring young stars like Lourdes Gurriel - or perhaps Bo Bichette - get time at shortstop by releasing Tulowitzki was a huge and expensive move that the Blue Jays are better for making. Toronto is also entering a transition phase, with some exciting prospects vying for spots on the big club. And, where the team doesn't have much prospect depth - starting pitching - the Blue Jays have added Clayton Richard and Matt Shoemaker to inexpensive deals. With Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez as co-aces, the new additions just need to complement a cast of young guns like Ryan Borucki, Sean Reid-Foley, and Thomas Pannone. Still, the Jays have so far been unable to trade any of their aging players for pieces that could help expedite the rebuilding process - or at least offer a clearer path for the young talent already in the organization.