MLB Season Celling’s: A.L Edition

With the MLB season almost underway lets take a look at all the American League teams and grade their offseason and set realistic season ceilings . Keep in mind that rosters change constantly before opening day, so some outlooks can fluctuate.

Baltimore Orioles

Offseason Grade- C

Season Celling- Last Place

The Orioles get a C on their offseason grade simply because they did not add or subtract. If a team needs to add I would penalize them, but the Orioles are far from contending. They are in an obvious rebuild and are almost guaranteed to finish last place in the competitive A.L east. It is honestly better they did not do much because now they can give a lot of young guys playing time. For this season to be a success for Baltimore they just need to see some stuff from their young guys. Ryan Mountcastle, Adley Rustschman and Cedric Mullins need to prove that they can be the core for this team.

Boston Red Sox

Offseason Grade- B+

Season Ceiling- ALCS Hopefuls

The Red Sox had a very confusing offseason and I honestly went back in forth on if they deserve a B+ or A-. I ended up going with a B+ because I think their offseason has been overblown just a bit. Yes, Trevor Story is a great player, however his acquisition almost guarantees that Xander Bogarts will be gone next season. Story’s deal is a little concerning for someone with an injury history and who has been playing in Colorado his whole career. The Red Sox have depth in the infield so why spend that amount of money for another infielder.

More importantly, the Red Sox needed to devote resources to the pitching staff, their lineup was already solid without Story. The reason I have the Red Sox as ALCS hopefuls instead of contenders is based on their pitching staff. It is not that deep, and it is very injury prone, I am not sure that the staff has enough stamina to be successful for an entire season. Even if Chris Sale and Nathan Eovaldi stay healthy the back end of the rotation is lackluster. The bullpen is not bad but not elite. They play in a tough division where you need 1-5 to be solid with a lockdown bullpen. If the Red Sox can land a few more quality pitchers, they definitely can be considered World Series contenders.

New York Yankees

Offseason Grade- B

Season Celling – World Series or Bust

This is a make or break year for the Yankees. The offseason was a lot more rocky then it appears and until about 8 hours ago they were a C+. Trading Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela for Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner Falefa does make the Yankees slightly better however they played right into the Twins hand. with the Yankees taking on Donadlson’s contract the Twins were able to afford Carlos Correa, someone the Yankees desperately wanted and needed. The Yankees also did not shop Luke Voit nearly as much as they could have and got a decent return from San Diego albeit not as much as they should. Also the Yankees stayed pat with the Rotation they have, and while it is solid they definitely could have added another top line starter. What saved this offseason is the resigning of Anthony Rizzo and the recent acquisition of Jose Trevino. The addition of Trevino in particular is a fantastic under the radar add. Trevino was a top three defensive catcher in the league last year and his pitch framing is elite, The Yankees improved, not as much as they could have but they still improved. The roster is solid and a little more athletic, it is World Series or bust this year.

Toronto Blue Jays

Offseason Grade- B+

Season Celling- World Series or Bust

Simply put the Toronto Blue Jays are stacked. The addition of Matt Chapman makes this Jays team even more scary. The lineup with George Springer, Bo Bichette, Vlad Gurrero Jr and Matt Chapman is lethal. The pitching has fantastic depth in both the starting rotation and the bullpen. The only thing that can get in the Jays way is injuries. If they stay healthy, they will be dangerous.

Tampa Bay Rays

Offseason Grade- B-

Season Celling- Playoff Hopefuls

I may get a lot of flak for this but I think this years Rays are heavily overrated. Their offseason gets a B- because they kept together a solid team, but did not add anything of significance when the other teams in their division were upgrading significantly. With Wander Franco as the new face of the franchise the lineup will be solid, and the pitching as well. The thing with the Rays is that they are a good team, but do not have nearly as much talent as some of the other teams in the AL east. If they played in any other division they probably would be a lock to make the playoffs. They get the playoff hopefuls tag because they are a playoff team, but are underdogs in the AL east.

Cleveland Guardians

Offseason Grade- C-

Season Celling- Competitive Non-Playoff Team

It is very hard to gauge if the Guardians are trying to win or trying to rebuild. The have a very young roster and made virtually no moves this offseason, however they also have a CY Young award pitcher in Shane Bieber and a top infielder in Jose Ramirez. The team is top heavy enough to be slightly competitive but they do not have enough depth or talent for the postseason. They get a C- offseason grade mostly because it is very unclear what their plan is. To me it seems that they are going to try and be competitive and determine if they are going to be buyers or sellers at the deadline. The Guardians passed on one of the better free agent classes in recent memory so I cannot say that I am a big fan of their strategy as they are more than likely ruining their chance to win with two of the best players in the game.

Minnesota Twins

Offseason Grade- B+

Season Celling- Wild Card Team

The Twins had a solid offseason. The headline is obviously Carlos Correa but they also acquired a frontline starter in Sonny Gray. Trading Josh Donaldson to the Yankees was also a win as they were able to shed Donaldson’s contract while getting two players in Gio Urshela and Gary Sanchez who have had their struggles in the past but both offer some upside. The only reason that the Twins did not get an A is because Carlos Correa can opt out of his contract next year. As it stands now, the Twins have a very solid starting lineup and very poor pitching depth. The offense and Sonny Gray can carry them to a Wild Card appearance but not much further. If the Twins get off to a hot start I would like to see them make some moves for another pitcher or two, or even three. They have some assets to make some deadline deals so it is possible their pitching can improve greatly. Their priority needs to be doing everything possible to make Correa want to stay.

Chicago White Sox

Offseason Grade- B-

Season Celling- World Series Hopefuls

The White Sox are a very deep team. From Jose Abreu to a healthy Eloy Jimenez this team is stacked. The pitching has some depth too and the White Sox will finally let Michael Kopech start, he is in for a big year. The White Sox decided to just keep things the same and get healthy instead of making any big moves. The most notable move that Chicago made was the recent acquisition of outfielder A.J Pollock from the Dodgers in exchange for Craig Kimbrel. Pollock is a solid outfielder, losing Kimbrel weakens the bullpen but the White Sox have a lot of depth there so it is not too concerning. The White Sox have enough assets to make a big acquisition at the deadline if they need to improve somewhere. This is the Healthiest they have been, and they could very well be World Series champions.

Kansas City Royals

Offseason Grade- C

Season Celling- Surprise Playoff Team

The Royals get a C in the Offseason because they were mostly inactive, however they are a young team so there was no pressing need to be. The only notable signing the Royals made was Zach Greinke who will help bolster the middle of the rotation. Despite the lack of signings, the Royals improved by getting healthy and calling up mega prospect Bobby Whitt Jr. The core of Salvador Perez, Whitt Merrifield, Adalberto Mondesi and Bobby Whitt Jr could shape up to be a deadly offense. The pitching is very underrated, guys like Brady Singer and Greinke should be able to do enough to supplement offense. It is possible that the Royals could clinch a playoff spot, however I expect them to be more of a competitive non playoff team with the potential to compete seriously next year.

Detroit Tigers

Offseason Grade- A

Season Celling- ALCS Hopefuls

The Tigers improved drastically this season, gaining Javier Baez and just recently Austin Meadows. Add top prospect Spencer Torkelson to a lineup that already had Miguel Cabrera and Akil Baddoo and you have a pretty lethal top of the lineup. The pitching was bolstered with the addition of Eduardo Rodriguez and while it is not elite, they should have enough talent and depth to make the playoffs. I would say Detriot has a solid shot at making the postseason. They are probably a year or two away from World Series contention.

Los Angeles Angels

Offseason Grade- C-

Season Celling – Playoff Hopefuls

The Angels have Mike Trout and reigning MVP Shohei Ohtani and still struggle to make the playoffs. The Off-season has some high risk high reward adds like Noah Syndergaard but the Angels did not do enough to supplement the fantastic hitting core they have. The Angels have some talent, but the pitching lacks depth and their two best pitchers (Syndergaard and Ohtani) are huge injury concerns. The Angles have enough talent to maybe make a wild card but between health and pitching I am not sure they can make it past that, even with the two best players in Baseball.

Houston Astro’s

Offseason Grade- D+

Season Celling- World Series hopefuls

The Astros still have a very solid team with a great balance of pitching and offense. The problem is the Astros lost one of their best players in Carlos Correa and did nothing to replace him. The Astros really were not active in free agency at all really and their only big addition will be the return of Justin Verlander. The Astros are solid, but this will be the strongest the A.L west has been with the Rangers and Marriners vastly improving. A lot of potential playoff teams such as the Blue Jays and and Red Sox even improved. The Astros are good, but they are declining while everyone else is improving. They have a shot a World Series but in all honesty i see them losing in the divisional round.

Texas Rangers-

Offseason Grade- A-

Season Celling- Playoff Hopefuls

The Rangers were big spenders this offseason adding Corey Seager and Marcus Seimen. They also added pitcher Jon Gray who has a chance to shine outside of Colorado. There is some risk with the contracts especially in the injury department, however the Rangers are building a solid core. I don’t think the Rangers quite playoff ready but they will be competitive provided they do not have major injury problems.

Seattle Mariners-

Offseason Grade- A

Season Celling- ALCS Hopefuls

The Mariners had exactly the type of offseason that a a rebuilding team needed. They got Adam Frazier and Jessie Winker who are fantastic start for building a solid core. The addition of mega prospect Julio Rodríguez will bolster the offense in an elite way. Combine the offense with some sneaky good pitching headlined by CY young award winner Robbie Ray and the Mariners could be dangerous this year. I predict they could be the next great dynasty in a few years.

Oakland Athletics

Offseason Grade- F-

Season Celling- Last place

To put it simple, the Athletics have had one of the worst offseason’s ever. They blew up a young playoff team and traded anything and everything to shed as much payroll as possible. It was reminiscent of what the Marlins did a few years back except on steroids. Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Mannea all gone plus eventually Frankie Montas are all gone. I understand that the Athletics do not have the biggest budget but I do not understand blowing up a potential dynasty. You have got to spend money to make money. Unfortunately for Oakland citizens this may be the final nail on the coffin. All signs point to them moving to Vegas. They definitely have a Franchise in Futility article coming in the near future.

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