It has been an interesting offseason around Major League Baseball. With football and basketball going on, most handicappers haven’t paid very close attention to the “Hot Stove” this offseason. Playing catch-up is very tough to do and it’s a time-consuming process. Win totals were released in Las Vegas in mid-February in both 2013 and 2014, which means that we are just five or six weeks away from seeing what oddsmakers think about the 2015 season. Bettors interested in the upcoming season would be wise to start taking a look at all of the player movement from the offseason now so that they can be prepared to fire on the win totals. Fortunately, here at BangTheBook, our goal is to educate and inform our readers to put them in a position to succeed, so we’ll do the work for you.
Here’s a look at the most notable player movement of the MLB offseason, broken down alphabetically by team in the American League:
In: Wesley Wright
Out: Nelson Cruz, Kelly Johnson, Andrew Miller, Nick Markakis
It’s been a quiet offseason for the Orioles as they kept J.J. Hardy, Wei-Yin Chen, and Darren O’Day as opposed to spending big money in the free agency market. They have been linked to Colby Rasmus and Nori Aoki of late, so those could be two options to replace Markakis.
Boston Red Sox
In: Justin Masterson, Rick Porcello, Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval, Juan Francisco, Wade Miley, Ryan Hanigan
Out: David Ross, Yoenis Cespedes, Will Middlebrooks, Allen Webster, Rubby de la Rosa
Big changes in Boston this offseason as GM Ben Cherington spent the money saved by not extending Jon Lester on some position player help and a lottery ticket on Justin Masterson. The Red Sox picked up Rick Porcello and Wade Miley to fill out what could be an underrated rotation, though it lacks an ace.
Chicago White Sox
In: Emilio Bonifacio, Melky Cabrera, David Robertson, Jeff Samardzija, Adam LaRoche, Zach Duke, Dan Jennings
Out: Paul Konerko, Matt Lindstrom, Ronald Belisario, Josh Phegley, Marcus Semien
The White Sox are going to be a hot team entering the season. All of their additions are clearly upgrades and they didn’t lose a whole lot of consequence. Their bullpen issues were well-documented and they have one of the game’s top closers and a couple of strong lefty matchup guys in Jennings and Duke. They’ll be the flavor of the month when win totals come out, so be prepared.
In: Brandon Moss, Gavin Floyd
Out: Jason Giambi
The Indians didn’t have a whole lot to do this offseason other than wait for Opening Day. There were a handful of arbitration-eligible players, but most of the core group was signed to extensions last season and the Indians are banking on what they have in-house. Brandon Moss adds some pop and Gavin Floyd adds starting depth to a very young, but affordable starting rotation.
In: Tom Gorzelanny, Alfredo Simon, Yoenis Cespedes, Shane Greene, Anthony Gose
Out: Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, Joba Chamberlain, Torii Hunter, Jim Johnson, Andy Dirks, Robbie Ray, Eugenio Suarez
Major changes in the Detroit Tigers clubhouse this offseason. Max Scherzer isn’t “officially” gone because he remains unsigned, but the Tigers aren’t expected to retain his services. The Tigers seem content to fill out their current rotation of Price-Sanchez-Verlander with Greene and Simon, though a guy like Kyle Lobstein will be in contention.
In: Jed Lowrie, Luke Gregerson, Pat Neshek, Hank Conger
Out: Matt Albers, Marc Krauss
The Astros have some promising prospects in the system, like Carlos Correa and Mark Appel, so they spent on the bullpen adding Luke Gregerson and Pat Neshek. Jed Lowrie will improve the middle of the infield. The Astros exceeded expectations last season, so they’ll be an intriguing team as the AL West looks like a strong division once again.
Kansas City Royals
In: Kris Medlen, Edinson Volquez, Kendrys Morales, Alex Rios, Ryan Madson, Brian Flynn
Out: Nori Aoki, Raul Ibanez, James Shields, Josh Willingham, Billy Butler, Aaron Crow
The reigning AL Champs are taking some risks this offseason. Kris Medlen is coming off of Tommy John surgery and Edinson Volquez has a spotty history. Kendrys Morales was a buy-low candidate and Alex Rios’s regression has been clear to see. Dayton Moore certainly wasn’t passive, which was good to see coming off of a magical run to the World Series.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
In: Matt Joyce, Andrew Heaney, Josh Rutledge, Roberto Baldoquin, Cesar Ramos
Out: John Buck, Ian Stewart, Jason Grilli, Joe Thatcher, Hank Conger, Howie Kendrick, Kevin Jepsen
The Anaheim Angels had an early playoff exit and that led to a few changes. Andrew Heaney has the potential to be a rotation fixture for the next several years and the team gambled on Cuban infielder Roberto Baldoquin. Josh Rutledge is an intriguing player because it will be interesting to see if Coors Field seriously inflated his production or if he is a quality player. Injuries hurt the Angels a lot last season and the return of staff ace Garrett Richards is almost like adding an impact free agent.
In: Ervin Santana, Tim Stauffer, Torii Hunter
Out: Jared Burton, Anthony Swarzak
It was a quiet offseason for Terry Ryan and the Twins as they bide their time waiting for the prospects in their system to make the jump. The league’s lowest rotation by strikeouts, K/9, and K% will be aided by the addition of Ervin Santana. The Twins also have a new manager after Ron Gardenhire was let go and Paul Molitor was hired in his place.
New York Yankees
In: Nate Eovaldi, Garrett Jones, Andrew Miller, Didi Gregorius, David Carpenter
Out: Derek Jeter, Brandon McCarthy, David Robertson, Francisco Cervelli, David Phelps, Martin Prado
The New York Yankees underwent a facelift this offseason. Derek Jeter, the face of the franchise, is now retired. Didi Gregorius is his replacement and represents a huge defensive upgrade. Nate Eovaldi is a wild card with excellent stuff, but he hasn’t put it all together yet. Dellin Betances is the likely candidate to replace David Robertson and he was spectacular last season.
In: Billy Butler, Jesse Hahn, Josh Phegley, Marcus Semien, Ike Davis, Brett Lawrie, Sean Nolin
Out: Jeff Samardzija, Josh Donaldson, Jonny Gomes, Luke Gregerson, Jason Hammel, Jed Lowrie, Jon Lester, Geovany Soto, Derek Norris
Not many teams have gone through the type of offseason that the Oakland Athletics have. Josh Donaldson was shipped out to Toronto for a package of prospects plus Brett Lawrie. Jesse Hahn is an intriguing starting pitcher acquired from San Diego. The A’s also cut some finances by sending Jeff Samardzija to the White Sox. They spent money and it failed, so expect Beane to go back to finding market inefficiencies at a low cost.
In: Seth Smith, Justin Ruggiano, Nelson Cruz, J.A. Happ
Out: Endy Chavez, Chris Denorfia, Kendrys Morales, Michael Saunders, Brandon Maurer
The Mariners are banking on their young rotation and some upgraded power this season. The Mariners have one of the AL’s top rotations and they seem to have punted defense a little bit this offseason in exchange for better power. Seth Smith and Justin Ruggiano could be an interesting platoon and Nelson Cruz is a power bat that will DH. They’re going to be a hot team for bettors.
Tampa Bay Rays
In: Asdrubal Cabrera, Burch Smith, Kevin Jepsen, Ernesto Frieri, Rene Rivera
Out: Wil Myers, Cesar Ramos, Jeremy Hellickson, Joel Peralta, Jose Molina
The biggest offseason changes for the Rays were not on the roster. GM Andrew Friedman left for the Dodgers and manager Joe Maddon is now the skipper of the Cubs. Perception will be that the Rays are in a bit of a rebuild situation, but there were smart people outside of Friedman that are now in power, so keep that in mind when evaluating the Rays. They may not be as bad as people think.
In: Adam Rosales, Ross Detwiler
Out: Alex Rios, Alexi Ogando
The Texas Rangers had an exceptionally-quiet offseason. Injuries really killed their 2014 season. Martin Perez will return from Tommy John and Ross Detwiler is an intriguing arm at the back of the rotation. Perception will be low on the Rangers with such a tough division and a horrible record last season. There may be some value on this team early on and in the win totals market.
Toronto Blue Jays
In: Michael Saunders, Justin Smoak, Josh Donaldson, Russell Martin, Marco Estrada,
Out: Adam Lind, Brandon Morrow, Sergio Santos, Anthony Gose, Juan Francisco, Brett Lawrie, Sean Nolin, J.A. Happ
The Blue Jays keep trying and GM Alex Anthopoulos continues to be aggressive. The Jays really added some impact talent this offseason with the additions of Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin. Marco Estrada has a home run problem and Miller Park and Rogers Centre aren’t that different, not to mention the change in leagues. Brett Lawrie was a bit abrasive and that could be an addition by subtraction move for the team. Donaldson is also a stud defensively, so that’s an upgrade. They’ll be a flavor of the month team in the lead-up to the season because the Rays, Yankees, and maybe Orioles have perception problems.
Make sure that BangTheBook.com is your home for betting on baseball during the 2015 season. With picks and in-depth statistical analysis, we will set you up to succeed this baseball season. Keep an eye out for our 30-team MLB Win Totals Series next month and plenty more to get readers prepared for the season. For a look at the National League transactions, click here.