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Craig Kimbrel on the mound for the Boston Red Sox

© Greg M. Cooper (USA TODAY Sports)

With the market stopped since last December 2 after the lockout decided by the expiration of the contract, we take stock of the transactions in the Major Leagues, with the hope that at the beginning of 2022 the stagnation that the Owners and Players Association is resolved. Starting as always from the analysis of the American League.

Eastern Division – The Red Sox have signed two former Rays pitchers. These are the veterans Rich Hill and Michael Wacha, both in Florida in 2021 (although Hill later closed the season in the Mets), who is also joined by James Paxton of the Mariners and who in 2021 played very little due to injury. which forced him to retire. Operated last April. Assess the deal that brought center back Jackie Bradley Jr., who had married the Brewers last year, back to Boston along with prospects David Hamilton and Alex Binelas in exchange for Hunter Renfroe who instead flew to Milwaukee. If the Boston market ended here, there would be strong questions about the competitiveness of the roster. Hill’s age, Paxton’s health, Wacha’s résumé and Bradley Jr.’s dismal senior year all leave us perplexed about the possible return of these trades, which nonetheless remain an intriguing gamble. If these players show that they know how to return to form and consistency of performance, Boston will be the protagonist again, otherwise, the Red Sox will be in a difficult position if they do not resume the transfer campaign after the lockout. The Rays have improved their starting rotation with the addition of Corey Kluber, now a former Yankees free agent, while Brooks Raley comes in from the bullpen. However, the best operation in Tampa is undoubtedly the contract extension of Wander Franco, one of the idols that the fans hit the most. Assess trades with prospects for second baseman Joey Wendle, who flew to Miami, and forward Jordan Luplow, who was traded to Arizona. The Blue Jays have also been busy with contract extensions, including that of starter José Berríos. The rotation was then strengthened by the grafting of former Giants Kevin Gausman, while former Astros Yimi Garcia is coming off free agents to strengthen the bullpen. The Orioles are going all-in on draft picks to avoid unnecessary spending, but with the free-agent market locked up they scooped up inside Rougned Odor and veteran starter Jordan Lyles, whose $6 million salary will make him one of the highest-paid Orioles. . Late on the other hand at the Yankees’ home despite the clear objective of improving the position of shortstop and receiver, as well as putting a hand in the starting rotation.

Central Division – The Chicago White Sox have renewed utility player Leury Garcia’s contract, exercised closer Craig Kimbrel’s renewal option and have strengthened the mound with the arrival of Kendall Graveman. Their market is certainly not over, but they’ve certainly done better than the Guardians, who at the moment can only boast of avoiding the Jose Ramirez and Shane Bieber disposals. Little better than Cleveland so far the Royals have made it out of the free agency world to nab former D-Backs pitcher Taylor Clarke who has the potential to become a good relief. Certainly more incisive were the Twins who worked on a contract extension for outside center Byron Buxton and later pulled former Angels starter Dylan Bundy out of free agency. It’s not enough to bridge the gap, but it’s something they’re building. Much more active are the Tigers who have added players of the caliber of Eduardo Rodríguez, a former Red Sox pitcher, and Javier Báez, a former Cubs and Mets shortstop, both from the world of free agency, to their roster. Detroit also bought wide receiver Tucker Barnhart from the Reds in exchange for prospect Nick Quintana. Grafts that enhance the mound, and considerably help the defense by giving solidity and experience to the roster.

Western Division – Confirmed manager Dusty Baker and starter Justin Verlander, the Astros have reinforced the bullpen with Héctor Neris, ex-Phillies capable of also covering the closer position. The shortstop’s doubt remains unresolved after the dismissal of Carlos Correa, who flew into the world of free agents. The Angels, for their part, are working on a starting rotation that could finally get them to the postseason. In this key we must interpret the arrivals of former Mets Noah Syndergaard and Michael Lorenzen, former Reds. Intriguing but very risky these two grafts because both pitchers are coming off serious health problems. “Thor” has only made two MLB appearances in the last two seasons, Lorenzen has not been a full-time starter since his rookie season in 2015. Also from the Mets, Aaron Loup, a solid left-hander capable of giving mountains, arrives to reinforce the bullpen. stability. Anaheim has also worked hard on reconfirmations like closer Raisel Iglesias. After ceding leadership to Bob Melvin, and promoting Mark Kotsay, the franchise’s former hitting coach and quality control coach, to coach, the A’s have heralded another revolution, but so far there are no significant signings. The part leading up to the Mariners’ offseason close can be summed up with the grafting of one of free agent’s most prized pieces: American League Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray. Beyond this, the graft of Adam Frazier, second baseman and end taken from the San Diego Padres in exchange for two players from the Minors, does not go unnoticed. Finally, we inform about the extension of the relay Andrés Muñoz, who missed almost all of last season due to injury. A difficult choice to explain, since he has made an appearance in the MLB since the end of the 2019 season, albeit with a big arm. The Rangers fared even better than the Mariners, able to take home two of the top four free agents this winter: shortstop Corey Seager and second baseman Marcus Semien. The clamor of these two bona fide “bombshells” has all but eclipsed the arrivals of outgoing ex-Rockies Jon Gray and ex-Arizona right fielder Kole Calhoun, both from the free-agent world. Seager and Semien should be big assets to a lineup that was one of the worst in baseball last season, but if they don’t finish the mound, it’s unlikely they’ll be ready to compete next year.

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