The offseason in the MLB is the highlight of the year for some teams, and this year will prove to be no exception as only one team will end the season with a win that matters. I’ve often referenced Wins Against Replacement (WAR) in my articles, and I will again here to rank the biggest offseason moves of the MLB season so far.
10. Aroldis Chapman to New York Yankees - 2.7 WAR (2016)
After signing a 5-year, $86 million contract, Chapman will anchor the Yankees' bullpen for the rest of the decade. The fire-baller has an insanely low 7.9% career HR/FB rate, which should serve him well in Yankee Stadium. Averaging over 100 mph on his fastball won’t hurt either.
9. Yoenis Cespedes to New York Mets - 3.2 WAR
Cespedes put up his best year in 2016 in a surprising category: walks (9.4 BB%). The improved plate discipline helped him cash in with a 4-year, $110 million deal to stay in the Mets' outfield.
8. Ian Desmond to Colorado Rockies - 3.3 WAR
Desmond’s fantasy owners will get a boost from his signing with the Rockies. He inked a five-year, $70 million contract to play first base in the high altitude of Denver. Expect his consistent power numbers to make an uptick.
7. Rich Hill to LA Dodgers - 3.8 WAR
A signature midseason acquisition in 2016, Hill and his 2.12 ERA will be staying with the Dodgers for three more seasons. It will cost L.A. a cool $48 million to have the late-blooming star become a cog in its starting rotation.
6. Edwin Encarnacion to Cleveland Indians - 3.9 WAR
Encarnacion’s 42 homers from last season moves south of the border for this season, the Canadian border that is. Cleveland signed the slugger for 3-years and $65 million in a deal that makes the Tribe one of the top contenders for the AL crown again.
5. Dexter Fowler to St. Louis Cardinals - 4.7 WAR
With Matt Holliday not being picked up on his option for 2016, the Cardinals had a glaring hole in their outfield. A Dexter Fowler-sized hole. The Cardinals signed the ex-Cub to a 5-year, $82.5 million contract to be their desperately needed leadoff hitter. Now their lineup has no holes at all.
4. Jean Segura to Seattle Mariners - 5.0 WAR
It cost them starting pitcher and maybe star Taijuan Walker, but the Mariners fixed a glaring offensive hole in their infield by trading for Segura from the Diamondbacks. A .319/20 HR hitter playing next to Kyle Seager and Robinson Cano? Yes, please!
3. Chris Sale to Boston Red Sox - 5.2 WAR
Sale's 17 wins in 2016 go from the Pale Hose to the Crimson Hose, and it took a haul of minor leaguers to make it happen. Sale has consistently produced 4.7+ WAR seasons since 2012, and the Red Sox hope that continues through this year and his two team-friendly option years after that. The Red Sox are the AL favorites on MLB picks with this acquisition.
2. Justin Turner to LA Dodgers - 5.6 WAR
Sometimes the biggest moves are to just keep your budding superstars. At just $16 million per year, if Turner puts up numbers anywhere close to last year’s 5.6 WAR, this contract will be a steal for the Dodgers. Turner is 32, though, so he might also drop off of a cliff.
1. Adam Eaton to Washington Nationals - 6.0 WAR
The White Sox “sold high” on Eaton after he put up a career year in 2016, trading him to the Nationals. The outfielder had similar numbers to 2015, yet his defense was vastly improved in 2016, which spiked his WAR value. That’s because they moved him to right field. If Eaton moves to center field for the Nationals, he projects as a below-average defensive outfielder.