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Under the Radar Additions for All 30 MLB Teams

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Manny Machado. Paul Goldschmidt. Bryce Harper. Patrick Corbin. Robinson Cano. Edwin Diaz.

We’ve had plenty of big names find new homes this offseason. As one of the most puzzling offseasons in recent memory, the 2019 offseason has been full of speculation, surprises, and many more interesting stories.

The off-season is always busy for every MLB team, whether team’s moves are making front-page headlines or not. All winter we’ve been reading and hearing about the big names, but it’s about time someone talked about the additions to clubs that have gone seemingly under-the-radar and could make much more of an impact than it seems on the surface.

From trades, to free agent deals, to waiver claims, hundreds of players will be wearing different uniforms this upcoming season. Let’s talk about one player from each team who quietly switched places, but will not be so quiet when the 2019 season is said and done:

Arizona Diamondbacks

C Carson Kelly

Acquired via: Trade

  • Carson Kelly has been hiding in the shadows of one of the best to ever do it behind the plate, Yadier Molina, for his whole career, until now. Kelly was one of the best prospects in the Cardinals’ organization since 2012 when he was signed at just 18 years old. He’s had cups of coffee in the bigs with the Cards in parts of the last 3 seasons, but not only did he have Yadi around, he also couldn’t seem to find his bat. He currently sits with a career .154 batting average in 117 major league AB’s. Yeah, not good. He’s also a career .255 hitter in the Minors, but just like his veteran friend in Molina, his calling card isn’t his bat. Yadi’s bar eventually came along, so maybe his understudy can do the same. Kelly earned a MiLB Gold Glove award with the Palm Beach Cardinals of the FSL in 2015. In his minor league career, he has a .993 fielding percentage and he has thrown out 48% of would-be base stealers across his 7 seasons in the Cardinals’ system. The D-Backs have had trouble finding their backstop of the future, but this guy could finally find his place in the bigs if his bat comes around. With declining veteran Alex Avila and newly-signed career back-up Caleb Joseph as his biggest competition in camp, as well as John Ryan Murphy, Kelly could easily find his way into regular AB’s in Arizona. Luke Weaver was seen as the biggest piece to come to the D-Backs from the Paul Goldschmidt trade, but don’t be surprised if Carson Kelly surprises some people with his new club.

Atlanta Braves

C Brian McCann

Acquired via: Free Agency

  • The defending NL East champion Braves have had a rather quiet offseason. Other than bringing in former AL MVP Josh Donaldson and bringing back RF Nick Markakis off the heels of a career year, the Braves mostly stood pat this offseason, putting things in the hands of their young core for this upcoming season. With so many young stars such as Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, and Freddie Freeman, you need some veteran presence in the clubhouse to even things out, and that’s where Brian McCann comes in. The 14-year veteran still has some gas left in the tank, and coming over here to join forces behind the plate with Tyler Flowers gives the Braves a solid 1-2 punch behind the plate, and they can pick and choose if they want the right-handed hitting Flowers or left-handed hitting McCann in the lineup on any day. McCann’s impact might not be felt on the stat sheet as much as other names on this list, but the fact that a guy who spent the first 9 seasons of his career here chose to came back says something about him. He’s here to win in a place that helped him grow into one of the better catchers of his generation. It should be fun to see him back in a Braves uniform, and I’m sure the fans will enjoy it as well.

Baltimore Orioles

OF/IF Eric Young Jr.

Acquired via: Free Agency

  • The O’s are…bad. Like, really bad, so this was a tough one. Their 115 losses in 2018 tell the tale of their miserable season, which probably won’t get much better this year. On a team who is in full-on rebuild mode, there aren’t many key additions to speak of here, but one guy that could quietly get a lot of playing time and make a big impact on and off the field is Eric Young Jr. Now a 10-year vet, E.Y. Jr. has been around the block, seeing time in the bigs with six teams so far before signing a minor league deal with the O’s, making them his seventh club. He’s a guy who is very versatile and very useful to any team, seeing time at second base and all three outfield positions throughout his career. Although he’s not likely to reach his 46-stolen-base total from 2013, he’s still a serviceable big leaguer. On a team like the Orioles where they will need some veteran leadership and consistency to keep them afloat at all in the tough AL East, a veteran piece such as Eric Young Jr. will be key to helping these young guys develop and help the O’s work their way back up the ranks over the next few years.

Boston Red Sox

RHP Carson Smith

Acquired: Free Agency (Re-sign)

  • Okay, so I set out to not use any re-signings on this list, but with a team like the Red Sox that had such a quiet offseason, it was tough to use someone such as Gorkys Hernandez or Ryan Weber for this piece, as they are a couple of the small handful of additions to the Sox organization, and they probably won’t even make the team. Therefore, I’m forced to throw Carson Smith’s name here. It’s not much different than a new addition, though. Smith has been with the organization for three years, but has only pitched in 29 games over those three seasons. Being that he has barely sniffed the mound at Fenway Park, you could consider him a new addition to the World Champs. In 2015, Smith appeared in 70 games for the Mariners, throwing to the tune of a 2.31 ERA, 13 saves and 92 strikeouts in 70 innings, which led to him being a big piece headed to the Sox in the Wade Miley trade heading into the 2016 season. Injuries have bit Smith hard throughout his Red Sox tenure, so they’re hoping now that Smith appears to be healthy for the moment that he will help a bullpen that doesn’t have very many big names. The still unsigned Craig Kimbrel would lighten the load for guys like Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier and Smith, but if he goes elsewhere, Smith could be very key to a bullpen who will have to make a big leap if they want to compete with the Yankees’ powerhouse ‘pen.

Chicago Cubs

RHP Brad Brach

Acquired via: Free Agency

  • The Cubs seemed to be relatively quiet throughout this offseason, as they will stick to their young core to hopefully bring them back to the top of the NL Central. Under the surface, though, this team made a lot of small additions, as they brought a nice chunk of names in to compete for spots in the bullpen. Including names such as Xavier Cedeno, George Kontos, Tony Barnette, Junichi Tazawa, and Mike Zagurski, they have filled their camp with plenty of arms with big league experience to compete alongside the likes of Pedro Strop, Carl Edwards, and Steve Cishek for a spot in the Opening Day bullpen. One name that sticks out amongst the group of newcomers that will likely make the biggest impact though would have to be former Orioles righty Brad Brach. Brach, who had a short stint with the Braves last season after being dealt at the deadline, was a stout part of the O’s ‘pen for the better part of the last 5 seasons. He was a shut-down set-up man for former O’s closer Zack Britton, and once Britton ran into some injury issues in 2017, Brach slid into the closer’s role, saving 18 games for the O’s in 2017, and combining for 12 saves between Baltimore and Atlanta in 2018. A guy with end-of-the-game experience will be important for a Cubs team who doesn’t have many holes, but their 9th inning seems to be a question mark. With Brandon Morrow’s health a big lingering issue from last season, a guy like Brach could become a big part of the late-inning crew for the Cubbies.

Chicago White Sox

RHP Ervin Santana

Acquired via: Free Agency

  • Alex Colome will be a very under-the-radar addition for the Chi Sox, as he has been a very under-the-radar arm for the last three seasons. Being that he is basically entrenched in the closer’s role already, we will go for another veteran addition to the White Sox who’s role isn’t as clear. Ivan Nova would be a good signing to speak of here, but he seemingly has a clearer path to a rotation spot, being that he is coming into camp off of a decent, healthy season. On the other hand, Ervin Santana is someone nobody is talking about, and he could be a key contributor to this mostly young rotation. The loss of prized prospect Michael Kopech to Tommy John surgery leaves the door open at the back end of this rotation, and a guy like Santana could be valuable in that spot. Santana is coming off some injury issues of his own, as he only started five games for the Minnesota Twins last season. The season prior, though, Santana pitched to a 16-8 with a 3.28 ERA, 167 strikeouts and a 1.13 WHIP in 211.1 innings at the top of a surprisingly good Twins rotation in 2017. If Santana can flash any of his 2017 self to the White Sox in camp, don’t be surprised if he suddenly becomes the anchor of this rotation filled with young arms.

Cincinnati Reds

UTIL Derek Dietrich

Acquired via: Free Agency

  • The Reds have had a busy offseason. Adding the likes of Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood, and Tanner Roark caught headlines for a team who desperately needs to get themselves out of the cellar before players like Joey Votto get tired of losing. Another guy who might not have as much of a clear-cut spot on the club as the aforementioned names, but could make a big impact, is former Marlins lefty bat Derek Dietrich. Dietrich played in a career-high 149 games for the Marlins last season, hitting to a .265 average and getting to career-highs in home runs and RBI with 16 bombs and 45 RBI. He saw time all around the diamond, from both corner outfield spots, to every spot in the infield but shortstop. Teams are always looking for left-handed hitting off the bench, and that’s where Dietrich excelled last season. He hit .274 against righties and smashed 11 of his 16 home runs against them. A player like Dietrich who can play multiple positions could come up big for a team like the Reds who are still trying to find their image at the bottom of the NL Central. Also, you ever see Dietrich’s biceps?!? Dude is JACKED. That’s ultimately all you really needed to know.

Cleveland Indians

1B/DH Hanley Ramirez

Acquired via: Free Agency

  • Who?!? Yes. That same Hanley Ramirez. He’s back in the big leagues for another shot. The now 35-year-old veteran inked a Minor League deal with the Tribe, and he comes into camp looking to show that he still has what it takes to be a contributor in the big leagues. On the surface, it looks like there isn’t much room for him. The newly acquired pair of Jake Bauers and Carlos Santana figure to see most of the playing time between first base and designated hitter, but think about this also; The Indians outfield does not look very good on paper. From left to right their depth chart currently has Jordan Luplow, Leonys Martin, and Tyler Naquin as the most likely starting outfield trio, with Greg Allen possibly sprinkled in. Those aren’t names to write home about. If any of those guys falter in Spring Training at all, don’t be surprised if Bauers sees a look at one of the corner outfield spots where he played some last year with the Rays. That would likely push Carlos Santana over to first base and open up some DH AB’s for our old friend Hanley. You certainly can’t expect Hanley to be the hitter he once was, although he enjoyed some success a lot more recently than we think. Just 3 seasons ago in 2016, Hanley played in 147 games for the Red Sox and smashed 30 home runs and 111 RBI. Injuries have of course slowed him down over more recent years, but if he can find his swing in camp with the Indians, don’t be surprised if he’s a key contributor one more time in his now 15-year MLB career.

Colorado Rockies

1B Mark Reynolds

Acquired via: Free Agency

  • The Rockies have had themselves a relatively quiet offseason. The only new player on their squad that they inked to a major league deal is 1B/2B Daniel Murphy. We know the impact he can have on a club, but a guy like Mark Reynolds, who signed with the Rockies on a minor league deal, has gone so underappreciated for so long. All this guy does is MASH. Before you opened this piece, if I asked you to name the top 10 active leaders in the big leagues in career home runs, would Mark Reynolds even come to mind? Probably not. His 294 career home runs place him 9th amongst active players in that category, in front of players such as Justin Upton and Joey Votto, and just behind big bashers such as Giancarlo Stanton and Robinson Cano. He has shown everywhere he has played consistently that he just hits bombs, including a 2-year stint with the Rockies in 2016 and 2017. As the team’s regular first baseman in 2017, Reynolds smashed 30 home runs and drove in 97 RBI in 520 at-bats. He spent last year with the Nationals, where he was mostly a back-up to Ryan Zimmerman, but he still knocked 13 home runs out of the park in just 206 at-bats. With some uncertainty on how the right side of the infield will line up for the Rockies, with Murphy and Ryan McMahon both able to play first and second base, and with the possible emergence of Brendan Rogers at second, Reynolds is the one guy that you know you can throw at first base whenever need be and the guy will do what he does best, MASH.

Detroit Tigers

2B/UTIL Josh Harrison

Acquired via: Free Agency

  • Now in full-on rebuild mode, the Tigers aren’t likely to make too much noise in the AL Central this year. The Indians still are the cream of the crop, and the Twins and White Sox both should be better. The Tigers and Royals figure to be bottom feeders, but at least the Tigers made some veteran additions to round out their club and push the young guys, one of them being former All-Star Josh Harrison. Harrison is coming off of a down year in 2018 with the Pirates, where he spent the first 7 years of his major league career. A 2-time All-Star with Pittsburgh, Harrison is one of the most versatile players in the league, seeing time in the field throughout his career at every spot except for first base, center field and catcher. Yes, he’s even got an appearance on the mound under his belt. On a team that is still looking for their prospects to rise up and claim their spots in this team’s future plans, a guy like J-Hay will be very valuable, as they can shuffle him around as needed. He sits atop the depth chart as the team’s starting second baseman right now, as it seems like the Tigers will try to spread Nico Goodrum, who primarily played the keystone last year, across the diamond as well. If this team is out of it, Harrison figures to still flash some All-Star caliber play and could find himself on a contender come July or August.

Houston Astros

C Robinson Chirinos

Acquired via: Free Agency

  • The Astros are another team who figure to rely on their young All-Star core once again this season. When you’ve got homegrown talent such as Jose Altuve, George Springer, Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa, you don’t have to be as flashy in the offseason. That’s why a signing such as former Rangers backstop Robinson Chirinos slides under the radar. Chirinos has quietly been one of the better catchers in the game over the last couple seasons. He hit 17 home runs in 2017 in just 263 at-bats, and then hit 18 bombs in 2018 in just 360 at-bats. With only Max Stassi behind him on the depth chart, he will be the guy behind the dish in many key games for the ‘Stros this season. If he can keep his power numbers up with some more AB’s, he could round out this strong lineup with potential 20-25 home run potential. Being that he has so many studs in front of him, he could quietly become a big part of this Astros lineup in their quest for another World Series.

Kansas City Royals

CF Billy Hamilton

Acquired via: Free Agency

  • Billy Hamilton is one of the most fun players to watch in the entire league. His speed is game-changing, from stealing bases to tracking down anything hit his way in center field, Hamilton put on a show for parts of 6 years with the Reds. His problem, though, is that he just couldn’t get on base enough to make as much of an impact as he could have. Being that his highest batting average in a full season thus far is just .260 and his best OBP was .321, the fact that he was steadily the lead-off guy for the Reds was very frustrating for their fans. Now, he gets a shot at redemption with the Royals, and maybe a change of scenery will help him live up to his full potential. Still just 28 years old, he’s got plenty left in the tank, and outside of rising star Whit Merrifield, steady veteran Alex Gordon, and sophomore stud Adalberto Mondesi, a team full of uncertainties can afford to take a gamble on a guy like Hamilton and throw him in center field every day to put on a show and hopefully put some life back in his bat. If he can get on base at a higher clip than years past, don’t be surprised if he eclipses his career-high of 59 stolen bases.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

1B Justin Bour

Acquired via: Free Agency

  • We just talked about Mark Reynolds of the Rockies hitting bombs. This is his left-handed, slightly larger twin. Justin Bour has done nothing but smash baseballs into the seats since he came into the league with the Marlins in 2014. With at least 20 home runs in 3 of his 4 full major league seasons, and with a career-high of 423 at-bats last year, all Bour needs to do to mash baseballs is stay on the field. He has a clear path to the starting first base job for the Halos, who become his 3rd major league team after spending a couple months with the Phillies last year thanks to an August trade from the Marlins, where he spent 3+ seasons as the team’s primary first baseman. Bour and Albert Pujols figure to spell each other at first base and designated hitter for an Angels team who desperately needs to win while Mike Trout is in town before his pending free agency in 2020. If Bour slides into the lineup right behind Trout and Pujols, he’s got a shot to put up some big numbers. His first 30 home run season could be on the horizon.

Los Angeles Dodgers

RHP Joe Kelly

Acquired via: Free Agency

  • Joe Kelly earned his payday this offseason with his stellar 2018 postseason. In 11.1 IP for the world champion Red Sox, he gave up just 1 run and struck out 13 batters for a Red Sox bullpen who was a pleasant surprise along the way to the Sox winning it all, and Kelly was their backbone down the stretch. He’s finally found his footing as a hard-throwing bullpen piece after coming into the league with the Cardinals as an inconsistent starter. Now he heads to the club that his former team beat to take home the World Series trophy, and with a bullpen led by Kenley Jansen, who has had plenty of health issues over the last couple years, Kelly could see some big innings for a team who figures to be in the thick of the NL playoff race.

Miami Marlins

IF Neil Walker

Acquired via: Free Agency

  • You can’t blame a guy like Neil Walker for signing with a team like the Marlins. He’s a 33-year-old vet who most certainly believes he’s a starting-caliber player in this league, but he hasn’t been able to find that starting role since leaving the Pirates in 2016. After 7 seasons of being the primary second baseman for the Buccos, he headed to the Mets, and from there he grew more into a role player and a utility infielder. Now with the Marlins, he is penciled in as the starting first baseman, but he could also see himself shuffle between second base and third base as well when Starlin Castro and Brian Anderson need a rest. The Marlins figure to be in the cellar of the NL East once again, being that the teams above them all should be in playoff contention all year. Walker could be a trade deadline candidate if he flashes any of his 2014 silver-slugger-winning stuff.

Milwaukee Brewers

C Yasmani Grandal

Acquired via: Free Agency

  • 2018: Name one weakness in the Brewers’ lineup- CATCHER.

2019: Name one weakness in the Brewers’ lineup- NONE.

You can thank the signing of Yasmani Grandal for that. This Milwaukee lineup was quietly stacked throughout their whole entire run to the NL Central crown last season, and now it’s even better. Sure, Grandal is coming off a poor postseason showing with the Dodgers, but a catcher who hits over 22 or more home runs 3 seasons in a row doesn’t happen very often anymore, and that’s what he’s done. Being that the Brewers shuffled between Erik Kratz and Manny Pina through their playoff run, it should be a sigh of relief that they now have a guy like Grandal behind the dish. This deal went rather quietly into the night because it’s a one-year contract, but Grandal could have much bigger of an impact this year than people think.

Minnesota Twins

1B CJ Cron

Acquired via: Waiver claim

  • The Twins made a number of additions that could have made this list. Blake Parker, Marwin Gonzalez, and Jonathan Schoop are just a few names who will fly under the radar, but CJ Cron is an even quieter big pick-up. Raise your hand if you knew that Cron cranked 30 home runs for the Rays last year. Raising your hand? You’re either a Rays fan that got to watch him, or a Twins fan that looked at his stats once your team claimed him off waivers. Playing in the shadows of Albert Pujols for most of his first 4 big league seasons with the Angels, the move to the Rays last year did wonders for this big bopper. Add him to a lineup that also added Nelson Cruz and brings back rising stars like Eddie Rosario, Max Kepler, and a hopefully resurgent Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton, and this team could make some noise. Although it’s a little harder to hit it out of the park in Minnesota than in Tampa, Cron should get close to hitting that 30-home-run mark once again. In a “Rays being Rays” move, they let him walk on waivers, and the Twins swooped in. Smart move, guys.

New York Mets

OF Keon Broxton

Acquired via: Trade

  • The Mets kept up with the star-hunting NL East this offseason by bringing in All-Stars such as Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz and Wilson Ramos, as well as Jed Lowrie and the returning Jeurys Familia, but an under-the-radar addition for a team who added all these big names will be competing for time in center field. Keon Broxton spent the last 3 seasons shuffling between the Milwaukee Brewers’ big league club and minor leagues, and in each spot he flashed big-time potential. Seemingly making web gem worthy catches in center field every time he stepped foot out there, there’s no question that this guy belongs in the bigs. On a team, though, that has 3 all-stars in the outfield in Milwaukee, it was hard for him to find his place. Enter the Mets, who have Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto likely locked into their corner outfield spots, but in center Broxton should only be competing with long-time Met Juan Lagares. Lagares is also known for his glove, but if Broxton can bring back his 20-home run power from 2017 and still make stellar plays in center field, don’t be surprised if this job is fully his by midseason.

New York Yankees

2B DJ Lemahieu

Acquired via: Free Agency

  • A 2-time All-Star. A 3-time Gold Glove winner. Top 5 in the NL in hits twice. 2016 NL batting average champ. Yeah, a guy like that is going under the radar. DJ Lemahieu has consistently been one of the most underrated players in the game over his 7 seasons with the Rockies. Yet, the market for him this offseason didn’t really seem so hot. Enter the Yankees, who signed Lemahieu even though they have themselves a pretty darn good, young second baseman in Gleyber Torres. Lemahieu might be used in more of a utility infield role for the first time in his career, but there’s nothing to say that he won’t excel. He’s been one of the best fielding second baseman of this decade, and arguably one of the best at the plate as well. The Yankees do have a loaded infield, especially when Didi Gregorius comes back from injury, but it would be hard to keep a guy like Lemahieu off the field. Plus, with his old buddy Troy Tulowitzki in town to help with depth at short, it’ll be a joy to watch these guys relive their Colorado days in Yankees pinstripes.

Oakland Athletics

2B Jurickson Profar

Acquired via: Trade

  • Remember when 19-year-old Jurickson Profar made his MLB debut with the Rangers back in 2012? Remember when he was one of the most highly-touted prospects in the game? Well, I do, and so do the A’s. Throughout his whole tenure with the Rangers, Profar had infielders such as Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, and Adrian Beltre in his way of playing time. Profar, who mostly came up as a shortstop, played 5 different positions for the Rangers last season, all four infield spots and some left field. He was finally able to stay on the field, as injuries had been a big part of his career to this point as well. He appeared in a career-high 146 games in 2018, hitting 20 home runs and knocking in 77 RBI along with a .254 BA and a .793 OPS in 524 at-bats. It seemed as though that his time in Texas ran its course, though. It took him 7 years to finally pave his way into regular playing time, and seemingly he as well as the organization felt it was time to move on. Billy Beane noticed. He struck a deal for the 26-year-old in December, and now Profar looks entrenched as the starting second baseman for the A’s. Yeah, that’s right. He’s only 26. After all that, he could just be entering his prime, and the A’s hope he can make up for the hole left by Jed Lowrie’s departure.

Philadelphia Phillies

LHP Jose Alvarez

Acquired via: Trade

  • The Phillies certainly had a fantastic offseason. Adding the likes of Bryce Harper, JT Realmuto, Jean Segura, Andrew McCutchen, and David Robertson put them right in the thick of it not only in the NL East, but in the whole NL playoff picture. John Middleton definitely spent some “stupid money” this offseason, but it’s the handful of underlying moves that will be noticed the most by Phillies fans. One of those moves is trading inconsistent RHP Luis Garcia to the Angels for lefty reliever Jose Alvarez. Alvarez isn’t a household name by any means, but those who watched Phillies games in 2018 in their households know that the Phillies were lacking that lefty specialist that so many successful teams seem to have. Enter Alvarez. Alvarez appeared in 76 games for the Angels last season, throwing to the tune of a 6-4 record with a 2.71 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 59 strikeouts in 63 innings out of the ‘pen. The most important part of his game is that he had just a 1.95 ERA against lefties with a 1.00 WHIP. The Phillies will gladly send him out there against lefties over the guys they staggered out there last year, including Adam Morgan, Austin Davis, and Tommy Hunter, who is a righty, but Gabe Kapler’s analytic obsession told him that Hunter’s stuff is good against lefties. Phils fans shouldn’t have to worry about that this year. This guy can shut lefties down. Look out Freddie Freeman, Nick Markakis, Robinson Cano, Juan Soto, and the other big lefties in the NL East.

Pittsburgh Pirates

SS Erik Gonzalez

Acquired via: Trade

  • In one of the earliest moves of the offseason in mid-November, the Pirates and Indians made a swap of young talent who seemed to need a change of scenery to get some playing time. The Pirates sent a package headlined by OF Jordan Luplow and a prospect to the Indians for 3 players, including SS/2B Erik Gonzalez. Gonzalez has been stuck behind some guy named Francisco Lindor in Cleveland at shortstop, some guys named Jose Ramirez and Jason Kipnis at second base, and Ramirez and some other former MVP named Josh Donaldson at third base. Yeah, gonna have a tough time there, pal. Luplow and Gonzalez now have much clearer roads to playing time with their new clubs, as Gonzalez looks like the favorite to take the shortstop spot vacated in Pittsburgh by Jordy Mercer’s move to Detroit. The 27-year-old isn’t exactly stellar in any category, but he’s solid all-around. He’s a nice mix of a solid glove, average bat, and sub-par speed for a tall, lanky shortstop. He won’t hurt you by any means anywhere on the field, and for a team like the Pirates, they’ll simply be looking for stability around guys that they hope will turn into stars such as Josh Bell & Gregory Polanco and former All-Star Starling Marte. Nothing flashy here, in typical Pirates fashion, but Gonzalez should be good enough to round out the bottom of this lineup and hold it down up the middle.

San Diego Padres

RHP Adam Warren

Acquired via: Free Agency

  • The pick here, if this were 2020, would be Garrett Richards, as the Padres inked him to a two-year deal, keeping in mind that Tommy John Surgery would likely keep him out until next year. Therefore, we’ll go with someone that will make an impact in 2019. Adam Warren has quietly been one of the most consistent relievers in the game over the last 6 seasons, spending most of his time with the Yankees, but seeing a cup of coffee with the Cubs in 2016 and finding himself with the Mariners last year after a deadline deal. Now, he heads to San Diego, who will desperately need some experience in the back end of their bullpen, headlined by new closer Kirby Yates. It will be interesting to watch Warren, who has had his ERA reach a peak of just 3.39 during his time in the American League, but in his short time in the NL with the Cubs in 2016, he had a 5.91 ERA in 29 games. Is the NL going to be friendly to Warren this time around? The Padres hope so, and with the signing of Manny Machado and the development of young studs like Fernando Tatis Jr. and Luis Urias, they plan to be in a lot more close games than years past. Warren could be very useful for the Friars.

San Francisco Giants

LHP Drew Pomeranz

Acquired via: Free Agency

  • 17-6. 3.32 ERA. 173.2 IP. 174 strikeouts. If you went on to name 100 starting pitchers who had these stats only 2 seasons ago in 2017, would anyone even have Drew Pomeranz come to mind? I don’t think so. Thanks to a just dreadful season last year, people forget just how good Pomeranz was in his first full season with the Red Sox in 2017. In 2018, though, it all seemed to unvarel for Pomeranz. He made just 11 starts and appeared in 26 games overall after shuffling between the rotation, the disabled list, and the bullpen throughout the year. Now Pomeranz finds himself in camp with the Giants, who beyond Madison Bumgarner have a lot of question marks in their rotation. Pomeranz is still a 6’6’’ lefty with good stuff, so if he can show the Giants that he has what it takes to possibly come close to his 2017 numbers, he could become an integral part of their rotation.

Seattle Mariners

OF Domingo Santana

Acquired via: Trade

  • Jerry Dipoto and the Mariners were wheeling and dealing all offseason. Trading away players such as James Paxton, Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz will net you a nice return, but a separate trade for a guy who ran out of space in the Brewers’ outfield, similar to the aforementioned Keon Broxton of the Mets, will fly under the radar. Domingo Santana was also stuck behind the likes of Yelich, Cain and Braun in Milwaukee, but don’t forget how good this guy is when he is on the field. As a mainstay in that Brew Crew outfield in 2017. Santana was to the Brewers in 2017 as Jesus Aguilar was in 2018. The only difference, though, is Aguilar is entrenched as the starting first baseman now for the Brewers, whereas after Santana’s breakout year, the Brewers went and got Cain and Yelich. Womp womp. Santana now dons the uniform of the new-look Mariners, who could surprise a lot of people if the pieces they brought back in their trades live up to their potential. Look for Santana to lock down a corner outfield spot in Seattle and get close to his 30 home runs and 85 RBI that he put up in 2017.

St. Louis Cardinals

LHP Andrew Miller

Acquired via: Free Agency

  • Okay, this one isn’t really too far under the radar, but it’s not our fault the Cardinals didn’t do much other than add two big names. Paul Goldschmidt should be an MVP candidate, so by default Miller becomes the player we’ll have to use here. Miller has been one of the best relievers in baseball for years now, but he could fly under the radar if there are people that only remember him for last year’s performance. His 4.24 ERA and 1.38 WHIP doesn’t seem bad on the surface, but for a guy who averaged a 1.92 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in the previous 5 seasons, and now at 33 years old, some would say that the book might be closing on Miller’s success in the bigs. Riddled by injuries more than ever before last season, Miller hopes to enter the Cardinals’ bullpen under full health, ready to get back to his dominant ways and show people that he’s still one of the best in the business.

Tampa Bay Rays

OF Avisail Garcia

Acquired via: Free Agency

  • “The Rays are well positioned to win their division”…is what people would say if they were in literally any other division. Stuck with the powerhouse Yankees and Red Sox, the Rays will have some work to do to squeak into the playoffs. They will rely on their young core that they’ve put together over the last couple years, as well as some other additions to the club, including former White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia. This guy was an All-Star only two seasons ago, in which he hit for a stellar .330 batting average with 18 home runs, 80 RBI and an .885 OPS. He’s another guy who caught the injury bug and headed elsewhere to show he can stay healthy and return back to form. He will have the opportunity in a Rays outfield which is quietly one of the best in the bigs, featuring Kevin Kiermaier, Tommy Pham and a mix of Garcia and Austin Meadows. Garcia should see some AB’s at DH as well. Mix him into a lineup that was one of the best in the AL last year, and he should be very good for this squad.

Texas Rangers

OF Hunter Pence

Acquired via: Free Agency

  • PLEASE let Hunter Pence stay in the major leagues. One of the most entertaining players to watch of this generation, it’s clear that Hunter Pence is well past his prime as a player. He’s a great story this year, though, as the Texas native heads to his hometown team as the final chapter on his storybook career. A 2-time World Series champ and 3-time All-Star, Pence has come here to be close to his family and just enjoy the game he loves. Who has been more fun to watch than this guy? The way his robot-like movements and success in this league tie together is something you might not ever see again. He’s not going to head to the Rangers and become the All-Star he once was, but it would be a joy to watch him ina big league uniform for one more go-around. The Rangers’ outfield is pretty set, but he could easily slide in as a 4th/5th outfielder on a younger team that could use his veteran presence on and off the field.

Toronto Blue Jays

RHP Matt Shoemaker

Acquired via: Free Agency

  • Another guy on this list who battled injuries in 2018, Matt Shoemaker will see if the shoe fits in the Blue Jays’ 2019 rotation. Behind Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez, this Jays rotations isn’t all too exciting. The Jays brought in the likes of Shoemaker and Clayton Richard to battle it out with some of their younger arms for spots in this rotation, and a guy like Shoemaker has a good shot to stay. He was fantastic as a rookie in 2014 for the Angels, but after that he couldn’t seem to get back to his 2014 self, in which he went 16-4 and fell just short in the AL Rookie of the Year race to Jose Abreu. He’s another guy who still has a lot left in the tank hoping that a change of scenery will benefit him in just his 6th year in the bigs.

Washington Nationals

2B Brian Dozier

Acquired via: Free Agency

  • A common trend in this article was players who are coming off a rough 2018, but had a lot of success in seasons prior. Brian Dozier, the new second baseman for the Nats, continues that trend to cap things off here. From 2013-2017, Dozier was one of the best second baseman in baseball. Showing much more pop than we’re used to seeing from the keystone spot, Dozier was the muscle of the Twins’ lineup for those 5 years, including a 42-home-run season in 2016. Last year, though, Dozier seemed to fall off some, seeing his batting average drop to .215 by season’s end and getting dealt to the Dodgers at the deadline. He still finished the season with 21 bombs and 72 RBI, but by his standards it was a down year. The Nationals scooped him up on a very affordable one-year deal, and he will slide into a lineup with some firepower that still is very good even after Bryce Harper’s departure. If Dozier can return to his 2013-2017 self, look for the Nats to do big things in the NL East.

There’s no promise that these additions will work out for each club, but it will be fun to find out what moves will pay the most dividends once this season gets up and going. Time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the rest of this Spring Training slate before the games that matter begin. This should be fun, guys. Happy baseball season!