[When we think of baseball, the insights and analysis of Adam “Shem” Shemesh come to mind. He is, as we like to say here at myespnforkids.com, the best young writer covering the game. This article is the first in a series of pieces on what he is thinking as the MLB warms up for what should be another great season of baseball.]
As we await the 68-team college basketball pile up that is March Madness, it’s time to turn our attention to a new baseball season. All across Florida and Arizona, big league teams are training for the long season ahead. Here are a few important things to note to get your brain back in baseball mode.
Familiar Faces in New Places
As with every offseason, many notable moves were made this winter, shaking up some teams while others loaded their farm systems. Let’s take a look at some of the big offseason roster shuffles:
1. Changing Sox
The Red Sox made the biggest splash of the offseason by acquiring lefty Chris Sale from the White Sox. Sale’s one of the best lefties in baseball and an annual Cy Young candidate, so trading for him hurt Boston’s farm system quite a bit. They parted ways with #1 overall prospect Yoan Moncada, and flamethrower Michael Kopech. This signified the start of a rebuild for the White Sox, while the Red Sox rotation now features Sale, 2016 AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello, and fellow CY winner David Price.
2. Rumblings in the Capitol
The White Sox were not done after trading Sale. A few days later, they shipped off highly underrated centerfielder Adam Eaton, who led the MLB in outfield assists while finishing with a 6.2 WAR, to the Nationals. After failing to resign Mark Melancon and missing out on a chance to get Andrew McCutchen, Washington was desperate for a “playmaker” (as Lebron would say), so they paid a hefty price. The White Sox added former #1 overall prospect Lucas Giolito and righty reliever Reynaldo Lopez. Both have experienced abbreviated stints with Washington in the Major Leagues.
3. Midwest Star Swap
The Cubs and Royals made one of the more balanced 1-for-1 deals that I can remember, as Chicago sent powerful outfielder Jorge Soler in exchange for Royals closer Wade Davis. After seeing Aroldis Chapman return to the Bronx, the Cubs recognized their need for a lockdown closer and immediately went out and got Davis from Kansas City. He was named an All-Star for a second straight season in 2016, converting 27 of 30 save opportunities on the year. As for Soler, he is still a work in progress. The active, powerful Soler saw limited action in 2016, hitting 12 home runs and batting .238 over 86 games.
30 teams. 162 games for each of them. It gives us a 6-month run of 2,430 games. And then, we head to the postseason. Play Ball.