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#pounditMonday, October 18, 2021

Ranking the best moves of the MLB offseason so far

Giancarlo Stanton

There are still plenty of big names left to move during the MLB offseason, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t seen an active start to hot stove season. Many moves have already been made, and several teams have improved markedly even before Christmas.

Here are the 12 best moves of the offseason so far — moves which could pay off for their teams both immediately and down the line.

12) Nationals keep Brandon Kintzler on the cheap

The Nationals’ bullpen issues have been the stuff of legend over the last several years, so it’s huge for them to be able to retain a solid reliever in Kintzler. He helped stabilize things significantly after his acquisition last season, posting a 3.46 ERA in 26 innings. Kintzler isn’t a huge strikeout guy and he won’t overpower anyone, but he gets hitters out. The Nationals only paid $10 million over two years for his services — a relative bargain.

11) Dee Gordon could be a solution for the Mariners

The Mariners didn’t give up any high-level prospects for Gordon, which is a pretty solid deal for a career .293 hitter who won a batting title in 2015. He’s led the league in stolen bases three times as well. The big question is how he’ll adapt to a new position. The Mariners intend to move Gordon to center field to ensure that Robinson Cano can stick at second, and it’s an open question as to how that will go. If Gordon is successful in center, this move will be successful for the Mariners.

10) Michael Pineda could pay off for the Twins

Signing Pineda to a two-year deal was a move made for the long-term. Pineda had Tommy John surgery in July, so there’s a decent chance he won’t pitch at all in 2018. Even if he doesn’t, this could be a long-term win for Minnesota. Pineda has always had a great arm capable of a lot of strikeouts, but the ERA has never quite matched up. Part of that was how homer-prone he was. Moving from Yankee Stadium to Target Field could help with that. He’ll make only $10 million, but it could pay off for both parties if he can get healthy.

9) Phillies gain some legitimacy with Carlos Santana’s signing

The Phillies won’t contend for the playoffs in 2018 — it’s at least a year too soon, if not more. However, adding Santana — a legitimate power hitter — will help set them up for that future. Santana’s home run total dropped to 23 last year, but he’s going to be playing in another good hitter’s park, and that should help him. It also shows that the Phillies are serious — and they could very well use Santana as a starting point to jump into a deep free agent class in a year.

8) Rangers get a cheap starter in Mike Minor

Minor could be a very nice gamble for the Rangers, who are always in need of starting pitching. As a reliever for the Kansas City Royals in 2017, Minor posted a 2.55 ERA in 77.2 innings. Obviously, starting will be a different story, especially in Texas. The last time Minor started was 2014, before he went down with the shoulder injury. There’s a history here, though — in 2013, he won 13 games with a 3.21 ERA for the Braves. If he can find anything close to that, his three-yeaar, $28 million deal with Texas will be a coup for them.

7) Rockies retain Jake McGee

Finding good pitchers in Colorado is tough. It’s even tougher when Greg Holland, the team’s closer, is likely out the door in free agency. That’s why retaining McGee is such a huge deal. He was better in his second year with the Rockies than he was in his first, and he seems comfortable there, as evidenced by his decision to sign a three-year, $27 million deal with the team. McGee may be able to step into the closer’s role, but even if he doesn’t, he ensures that the Rockies will have at least one solid option at the back of the bullpen.

See Nos. 6-1 on Page 2

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