People claim there’s no baseball content to write about after the World Series, but the 2019-20 off-season laid that to rest. One of the largest cheating scandals the sport has seen was unveiled, Hall of Famers were announced and Scott Boras’s clients signed contracts that totaled more than $1 billion. While there were more free agents than just Boras-represented players, the DC Staff breaks down which off-season signing was the most impactful.
For me, the biggest impact signing was Anthony Rendon to the Los Angeles Angels. Rendon had been, throughout his career, one of the most underrated and underappreciated players in the MLB. For the first six years of his career, he consistently hit for 20-plus home runs and 80-plus RBIs with a batting average close to .300. But because of his quiet nature and being overshadowed by bigger names on the Nationals like Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman, he was never really talked about. That all changed in 2019 with a career year that resulted in his first all-star selection and a third-place MVP finish. Then, this offseason he got paid with a seven-year, $245 million deal to play alongside the best player in baseball, Mike Trout. Trout and Rendon will make up one of the most dangerous hitter duos in the league, and I really think the Angels could contend for a playoff spot as long as their questionable starting pitching holds up. Rendon completely changes the makeup of that team for the better.
I’m going to go with one of the not-so-obvious choices and cheat a little bit by picking a duo, but I have to go with the White Sox signing Dallas Keuchel and Yasmani Grandal. After seven straight losing seasons and not making the playoffs since 2008, it looks like the team on the south side of Chicago is finally making an attempt to break both of those streaks in one year. They wasted almost no time once free agency kicked off and locked up the top catcher and one of the best overall bats on the market, inking him to the largest deal in White Sox history — a whopping $73 million over four years. Then, about two months later they added Dallas Keuchel to their rotation, giving him $55.5 million over three years with an option for a fourth. I think there’s a legitimate argument to be made for the White Sox to win the AL Central, with the Royals and Tigers not even trying, the Indians having more question marks than roster spots and the Twins, even with the recent Donaldson signing, seemingly not caring about who they’re going to throw out on the mound. Chicago won 72 games last year, and adding these two impact players to a team that was already young and on the up-and-up could make them serious contenders.
There’s a strong argument to be made that Anthony Rendon was the best free agent signed this offseason, but he won’t have the biggest impact with his new team. The pairing of Rendon and Mike Trout is probably the best 1-2 punch in all of baseball, but the signing of Rendon realistically takes the Angels from a mediocre team one to a solid one. Gerrit Cole signing with the Yankees on the other hand has completely shifted the balance of power in the American League, which is why the newest member of the New York Yankees is the biggest impact signing from this offseason. Not only did the Yankees add the ace they have sorely lacked in years past, but the Houston Astros lost their best player from 2019. That’s a huge momentum swing for a team that on paper looks like the most complete team in the AL and possibly the entire MLB. A lot can happen between now and the playoffs, but going into the season Gerrit Cole makes the Yankees the favorite to win the 2020 World Series.
Associate Sports Editor
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) January 22, 2020
The Yankees and Angels broke the bank to add premier talent, and they will for sure make their impacts, but one of the marquee signings that flew a bit under the radar was the Twins bringing in Josh Donaldson. Titled “Bringer of Rain” by his Twitter handle, the 34-year-old third baseman smashed 37 home runs last year with the Braves and now joins a team that broke the record for home runs in a season (307) and had five different players hit 30 long balls or better. Donaldson’s deal is set for four years at $21 million per year, with a fifth-year option for $16 million, so comparatively, the Twins got a pretty good deal. As a Mets fan, I’m just happy he’s not in the NL East anymore.
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