Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers pushed past the Yankees last season with the highest payroll in the Majors. Their big spending this offseason has largely been based around keeping hold of their Cy Young-winning ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who earned himself a seven-year, $215m contract extension.
Despite the investment in Kershaw, they still pushed hard to sign Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, only for the Yankees to show they’re still the Yankees and to beat them to the punch on Wednesday.
The Dodgers had already added a pitcher to their starting rotation in the shape of Dan Haren who will take over the spot vacated by Ricky Nolasco after he left as a free agent to join the Twins. In the infield, Mark Ellis and Nick Punto have moved on and been replaced by Cuban free agent second baseman Alexander Guerrero.
The pursuit of Tanaka may well have been a case of the Dodgers looking at any opportunity to add a top talent, so they’re not guaranteed to jump back into the market to spend some of that money on someone else. Don’t rule it out completely though.
The D-Backs were another finalist in the Tanaka talks and they are much more likely to get straight back out there to try and add a starting pitcher. They have some good pitchers on the staff, yet it’s certainly an area that they would want to strengthen if they are to make a strong challenge for a Wild Card, let alone keeping up with the Dodgers.
Their main moves so far this offseason have concentrated on the trade market. Mark Trumbo was acquired from the Angels and will take over in left field and Addison Reed was obtained from the White Sox to take on the closer role, with Heath Bell being traded away to the Rays.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants recent form has been to win a World Series, then have a disappointing season, then win a World Series and then, last year, have a disappointing season. Giants fans will be quite happy to have gone through the sub-.500 season of 2013 if that trend continues, although they haven’t made too many significant changes to the roster to bring that about.
Tim Hudson has been added to the starting rotation on a two-year, $23m contract which could turn out to be one of the best value deals of the offseason. ‘Best value’ isn’t something you’d associate with the seven-year, $126m contract the Giants signed with Barry Zito back in December 2006, but mercifully that has now come to an end and Zito’s still looking to catch on with a new team.
They’ll hope for better luck with their decision to keep hold of Tim Lincecum. The fan favourite has been patchy in recent seasons and it looked like his time with the Giants might be up, but they were able to come to an agreement on a two-year, $35m contract.
San Diego Padres
The Padres may have made one of the better one-year deals of the offseason in tempting Josh Johnson to Petco Park. The pitcher had another injury-hit season in 2013, his one year with the Blue Jays before becoming a free agent, and that made it likely he’d be available on a short-term deal. Johnson gets a chance to get his career back on track in a good pitcher’s ballpark, whilst the Padres could get an impressive return on an $8m investment.
San Diego have also added Joaquin Benoit on a two-year deal to serve as set-up man for closer Huston Street. He’ll take over from Luke Gregerson who was traded to the A’s for outfielder Seth Smith.
The Rockies have been quite busy over the offseason, although they haven’t looked like they’ve had much of a plan in recent years to make their fans feel confident that the team is going in a defined direction.
Their pitching additions include Franklin Morales and Brett Anderson slotting into the rotation, whilst LaTroy Hawkins and Boone Logan will join the bullpen. Dexter Fowler has been traded to the Astros, with Drew Stubbs being acquired from the Indians to take his place in the outfield mix. The biggest change will be at first base as Todd Helton decided to retire after playing his entire 17-year career with the team. Justin Morneau will take his place on the roster.