THE USB Baseball Report: AL Roster Changes For 2017

Hi, hello & welcome to THE USB Baseball Report! Yesterday we looked at some of the additions and subtractions from National League rosters, so it’s only right we look at the American League today.

AL East

camden2017

Baltimore Orioles
Lost: DH Pedro Alvarez, RP Brian Duensing, RP Tommy Hunter, 1B Steve Pearce, LF Nolan Reimold, CF Drew Stubbs, C Matt Wieters, SP Vance Worley
Gained: C Welington Castillo, LF Seth Smith, SP Logan Verrett

The O’s didn’t lose very much from last year’s productive team, but didn’t gain a whole heck of a lot either. Since their main competition in the AL East were buyers, it should be interesting to see if the Orioles get passed by or not.

Chris Sale

Boston Red Sox
Lost: SP Clay Buchholz, C Ryan Hanigan, 2B Aaron Hill, C Bryan Holaday, DH David Ortiz, SP Sean O’Sullivan, 3B Travis Shaw, RP Junichi Tazawa, RP Koji Uehara, RP Brad Ziegler
Gained: 1B Mitch Moreland, LF Carlos Quentin, SP Chris Sale, RP Tyler Thornburg, 2B Josh Tobias

The Sawx won the offseason real early on when they got Chris Sale in a trade with the White Sox. One of the very best pitchers in baseball, Sale on a team that can produce runs should be darn near unstoppable. They didn’t lose too much of value except Ortiz in the DH slot, and they’ve got a deep enough system where somebody should step in at some point.

chappy2017

New York Yankees
Lost: RP Jacob Lindgren, C Brian McCann
Gained: 1B Chris Carter, RP Aroldis Chapman, LF Matt Holliday, SP Jonathon Niese

The Yanks worked the Chapman deal perfectly. They got him for pennies on the dollar from a panicking Reds organization, traded him to the Cubs before the stretch run for some great prospects, then decided to bring him back in the offseason since he was a free agent. That’s why they’re usually in the mix. That Carter deal was a steal too, sure he struck out 200 times last season but he also hit 41 home runs. You’ll take the good with the bad at $3,000,000 in this league.

oldsmar

Tampa Bay Rays
Lost: LF Jeff Decker, RP Kevin Jepsen, SS Alexei Ramirez, SP Drew Smyly
Gained: SP Jose De Leon, C Wilson Ramos, CF Colby Rasmus, RP Shawn Tolleson, 2B Rickie Weeks

Nothing is expected from this team, so I will explain that the picture above is the Oldsmar city council. They want the Rays’ new stadium to be in their city just north of Tampa. The Rays could certainly use a new stadium since their current one is the worst ever invented. One wonders if the Rays will be good by the time a new facility gets built, whenever that might be.

bluejays2017

Toronto Blue Jays
Lost: RP Joaquin Benoit, RP Brett Cecil, SP R.A. Dickey, 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion, SP Scott Feldman, C Dioner Navarro, LF Michael Saunders
Gained: SP Lucas Harrell, RP J.P. Howell, SP Mat Latos, 1B Kendrys Morales, 1B Steve Pearce, 2B Gregorio Petit, C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, RP Joe Smith

The Jays managed to retain the services of Jose Bautista, but lost Edwin Encarnacion to free agency. They still have a powerful offense but there’s no doubt that Edwin will be missed in the middle of that lineup. Saunders’ departure leaves a hole in the outfield to be filled by…Melvin Upton Jr? The Jays should still be in the thick of the AL East race but I think they take a step back this year.

AL Central

whitesox2017

Chicago White Sox
Lost: RP Matt Albers, C Alex Avila, CF Adam Eaton, CF Austin Jackson, DH Justin Morneau, SP Chris Sale
Gained: LF Cody Asche, CF Peter Bourjos, SP Lucas Giolito, SP Derek Holland, C Geovany Soto

The White Sox are rebuilding while their cross-city rivals take all the attention by winning championships. That’s a smart move on their part. You run the risk of losing fans on your side of the city, but at the end of the day the South Side’s always going to stick with the South Side. They already got rid of Eaton & Sale in the offseason and repeatedly there’s still more to come. As a Reds fan I know the feeling too well. Sorry Sox fans!

indians2017

Cleveland Indians
Lost: RF Marlon Byrd, LF Coco Crisp, CF Rajai Davis, RP Jeff Manship
Gained: 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion, CF Austin Jackson, RP Boone Logan, SP Chris Narveson, OF Wily Mo Pena

Cleveland lived up to their potential last season and came within one win of history. Instead, they blew a 3-1 lead & the Cubs got the title & the glory. They should have a pretty good chance to come back…but you never know! Love the Edwin addition though, he’ll add some good firepower to that offense. They didn’t lose much other than aging outfielders. Wily Mo Pena sighting! He’s spent the last few years playing in Japan…Cincinnati fans remember him as the guy that the Reds traded to Boston for Bronson Arroyo ages ago. The Reds won that one.

mri

Detroit Tigers
Lost: SS Erick Aybar, OF Cameron Maybin, 3B Casey McGehee, C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Gained: RP A.J. Achter, C Alex Avila, 2B Omar Infante

The Tigers were expected to shed much more payroll during the offseason but opted to take one more swing at contention this season. Most don’t expect it to work, but a team with Justin Verlander operating at top-level, Miguel Cabrera, JD Martinez & Ian Kinsler could have a chance to make some noise early. If they don’t, those players might be gone by the trade deadline.

royals2017

Kansas City Royals
Lost: RP Wade Davis, SP Dillon Gee, RP Loke Hochevar, SP Kris Medlen, 1B Kendrys Morales, SP Yordano Ventura (passed away), SP Edinson Volquez
Gained: SP Jason Hammel, RP Seth Maness, RF Brandon Moss, OF Jorge Soler, RP Chris Withrow, SP Travis Wood

This looks like KC’s last hurrah for a little while, as most of the players that led the Royals to a World Series championship will be free agents at the end of this season. With a weak farm system it’s now or never for the Royals, and if last year is any indication it could be never. The rotation wasn’t good last year & the bullpen will be going without Wade Davis, so it’s going to be on the Royal lineup to get things done. I do like the Jorge Soler addition, and he should add a lot of power there.

Brian Dozier, Danny Santana

Minnesota Twins
Lost: DH Billy Butler, CF Thomas Milone, 3B Trevor Plouffe, C Kurt Suzuki
Gained: RP Matt Belisle, C Jason Castro, 1B Ben Paulsen, CF Drew Stubbs, RP Ryan Vogelsong

Castro was a pretty big signing for the Twins, in fact the most expensive free agent signing for a non-product of the organization in team history. Which says something about how the Twins like to build from within. It’s a great idea…if you know how to scout. They haven’t lately, but with guys like Byron Buxton coming up there’s reason for hope in Minnesota. In a few years.

AL West

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Houston Astros
Lost: C Jason Castro, SP Doug Fister, CF Colby Rasmus, 3B Luis Valbuena
Gained: RF Carlos Beltran, C Brian McCann, SP Charlie Morton, LF Josh Reddick

Back in 2014 Sports Illustrated told us that the Astros were the team to watch. 2015 proved them right, as the Astros leapt into the playoffs & showed themselves to be a team of the future. 2016 was a setback, but I’ve got a feeling that 2017 is going to be a lot better for the franchise with the veteran additions they’ve made. You might also remember that the last time the Astros made the World Series, one Carlos Beltran was heavily involved in getting them there. Could history repeat itself? I wouldn’t rule it out.

trout2017

Los Angeles Angels
Lost: RP A.J. Achter, RP Jhoulys Chacin, SP Tim Lincecum, 2B Gregorio Petit, C Geovany Soto, SP Jered Weaver, SP C.J. Wilson
Gained: RP Jesse Chavez, OF Cameron Maybin, SP Bud Norris, RP Yusmeiro Petit, CF Ben Revere, 3B Luis Valbuena, OF Eric Young Jr.

Let’s be honest, this is the Mike Trout Show occasionally featuring Albert Pujols. The rest of the team’s a bit of a mess. Maybin is a good addition, but there’s still too much nothing around Trout, who we all wish was on a better team so we could see his brilliance more often.

Oakland A's FanFest

Oakland Athletics
Lost: LF Sam Fuld, 3B Danny Valencia
Gained: RP Santiago Casilla, CF Raiji Davis, CF Alejandro De Aza, LF Jeff Decker, RF Matt Joyce, 3B Trevor Plouffe, 3B Adam Rosales

Oakland used to be one of the smartest-run organizations in baseball. They even wrote a book & had a movie about it. Now, they have little on their roster and little in their farm system. For all the talk of how Billy Beane is this great mind that revolutionized the sport…his franchise doesn’t have a whole heck of a lot to show for it. I get in trouble with fans whenever I mention this, and I’ll probably mention it again sometime this season because this team will stink.

mariners2017

Seattle Mariners
Lost: RF Franklin Gutierrez, C Chris Iannetta, 1B Dae-Ho Lee, 1B Adam Lind, LF Seth Smith, RP Drew Storen
Gained: OF Jarrod Dyson, RP Casey Fien, SP Yovani Gallardo, C Carlos Ruiz, RP Marc Rzepczynski, SS Jean Segura, SP Drew Smyly, 3B Danny Valencia

The Mariners took a lot of people by surprise last season on their way to 86 wins. Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz & Kyle Seager all had big seasons and have this franchise thinking something big is coming. Management is eager if nothing else, as they made more trades involving people I don’t know than any other team. If they can get more out of their starting rotation they can take the next step.

odor2017

Texas Rangers
Lost: RF Carlos Beltran, 1B Ian Desmond, SP Dillon Gee, SP Derek Holland, SP Colby Lewis, 1B Mitch Moreland, RP Shawn Tolleson
Gained: SP Andrew Cashner, 1B James Loney, 1B Mike Napoli, SP Tyson Ross

The Rangers were expected to fall off last season but wound up with the best record in the American League. Funny how life works sometimes. They lost a lot more than they gained during the offseason but you can never count these guys out. Mike Napoli always seems to be on good baseball teams, and keep an eye on Tyson Ross if he can recover from the shoulder injury that derailed his 2016 season.

A lot can change between now and April, and I’ll be back before the season starts with more preseason thoughts!

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