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Grades for each MLB team at the midway point of the 2023 offseason

The Dodgers and Yankees score highly, while the Padres and Astros ... do not.

The holiday season has come and gone, and now it’s time to embark on a brand new year. For most of us, that means gym memberships we definitely won’t be lapsing on this time next month. For MLB teams, it means it’s time to put the finishing touches on rosters ahead of pitchers and catchers reporting in a few weeks.

Before Hot Stove season hits its stretch run, though, let’s use this little break to take stock of where things currently stand. On the one hand, we’ve seen a ridiculous amount of action so far this winter, including two of the biggest free-agent deals in the history of the sport; on the other, those biggest fish have held up the market for everyone else, and tons of big names are still available. (As a reminder, here’s our free agent tracker and top 25 ranking.)

So: Which teams stand as the biggest winners and losers so far? Let’s hand out some grades — although with so much offseason left to go, in terms of movement if not time, consider these more progress reports rather than report cards. In other words, a lot can change.

MLB offseason grades entering 2024

Arizona Diamondbacks

The reigning NL champs have flown a bit under the radar, but they’ve capitalized on last season’s playoff run by addressing their remaining needs on solid contracts. Eduardo Rodriguez is exactly the reliable mid-rotation starter they needed, while Eugenio Suarez will bring at least league-average production to what was among the worst third base situation sin the league in 2023. With Lourdes Gurriel Jr. back in the fold as well, suddenly this team doesn’t have many identifiable weaknesses — especially if they add one more arm in the rotation or bullpen.

Grade: A-

Atlanta Braves

I was a bit skeptical of Atlanta’s start to this offseason, which felt a bit too cute from GM Alex Anthopoulos. (Acquiring Jarred Kelenic for spare parts was good value in a vacuum, but it’s very much an open question whether Kelenic is even a league-average hitter.)

And then the Braves went out and landed Chris Sale for a prospect in Vaughn Grissom that didn’t have much of any future in Atlanta’s organization. Sale is still a very good pitcher when healthy, and he could be the piece that gets this team over the hump after consecutive postseason flameouts.

Grade: B+

Baltimore Orioles

The O’s stood as one of the most intriguing teams entering this offseason, with an excellent young core and a rotation in need of an upgrade — likely via a consolidation trade that seemed inevitable given Baltimore’s infield logjam. Flash forward a couple months, and Baltimore’s lone signing has been ... reliever Craig Kimbrel, last seen flaming out of the closer’s role in Philly during the NLCS. Kimbrel is a fine-enough stand-in for the injured Felix Bautista, but time is running out Mike Elias and a far too stingy ownership group to make a splash.

Grade: D

Boston Red Sox

I liked Craig Breslow’s reshuffling of the Sox’ outfield (Alex Verdugo out, pitching depth and Tyler O’Neill in), and Lucas Giolito brings the bulk innings this rotation desperately needs at a reasonable price for 2024. The Sale deal, however, was a confusing pivot, and leaves Boston with about the same number of pitching questions as they had a few weeks ago — without adding much in the way of future potential, unless you’re far higher on Grissom than you should be. Add it all up, and this team still feels like it’s spinning its wheels a bit.

Grade: C+

Chicago Cubs

Should hiring Craig Counsell count toward the Cubs’ offseason grade? We’re not so sure. Counsell should improve Chicago’s roster with his leadership and creativity — there’s a reason the Cubs gave him a massive contract, after all — but this team still has several on-field holes to fill. This grade could change drastically over the next few weeks, especially if Chicago manages a long-term reunion with Cody Bellinger (and adds a starter or two). Right now, though, it’s been all quiet on the North Side for a team that seemed primed for an aggressive winter.

Grade: D

Chicago White Sox

This feels like a rebuild just waiting to get underway. Rumors have swirled around several of Chicago’s biggest names all winter long, but we’ve yet to see new president Chris Getz pull the trigger on a Dylan Cease or Eloy Jimenez deal. In the meantime, Getz has made a series of small depth signings that will at least insure a reasonable floor in 2024. But this team needs a hard reset around Luis Robert, and everything else feels like biding time.

Grade: C

Cincinnati Reds

As with the Orioles, we’re still waiting on the Reds to turn their young infield logjam into a premium pitcher to compliment Hunter Greene, Graham Ashcraft, Nick Lodolo and Brandon Williamson. Still, the moves Cincy has made so far — adding Jeimer Candelario on a team-friendly deal, bolstering the bullpen with solid additions like Nick Martinez and Emilio Pagan, taking a flier on Frankie Montas — have been solid at the margins. Add a marquee arm, and this grade will skyrocket.

Grade: B-

Cleveland Guardians

Which direction is this team going, exactly/ The Guardians haven’t traded Shane Bieber, or Josh Naylor, or Emmanuel Clase, or any of the other big names that have been bandied about. They haven’t sorted out their infield logjam. They haven’t added any hitters of note to fix their offense and claim a very winnable AL Central division. They did win the draft lottery, and they have added a few interesting downroster types in Scott Barlow and former Yankees top prospect Estevan Florial. Right now, though, this team seems stuck in neutral, not ready to tear down but also unwilling to invest in a meaningful way.

Grade: D-

Colorado Rockies

As usual, the Rockies are off in their own little universe, removed from the rest of the league. Colorado claimed a couple of interesting cast-offs from the Guardians and Rays, respectively, in Cal Quantrill and Jalen Beeks, but pitchers in Coors are always a dicey proposition, and this team needs a far more significant infusion of talent.

Grade: D

Detroit Tigers

Speaking of the wide-open Central: Don’t sleep on the Tigers making a run at the division crown in 2024. Detroit’s offseason hasn’t been the flashiest, and failing to bring back Rodriguez hurts, but competent veterans like Mark Canha, Jack Flaherty, Kenta Maeda and Andrew Chafin all address needs and raise the floor considerably around a promising young core of position players (Spencer Torkelson, Riley Greene, Kerry Carpenter, Colt Keith) and pitchers (Tarik Skubal, Reese Olson, Matt Manning, Sawyer Gipson-Long). It’s time for Detroit to start ramping up the talent level, and this is a good start even if it’s low on true impact names.

Grade: B-

Houston Astros

Victor Caratini is a perfectly fine backup to Yainer Diaz behind the plate, but that shouldn’t be the sum total of any contending team’s offseason. Granted, there’s only so much the Astros can do to upgrade at certain spots given the amount of incumbent talent and committed salary. Still, we’re docking them a grade anyway because this is not a club operating with the sense of urgency you’d expect given the Rangers’ ascent, the impending free agencies of franchise mainstays Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman and the uncertainty surrounding Justin Verlander’s future as he pushes into his 40s.

Grade: D

Kansas City Royals

It’s still a bit early to count the Royals as Wild Card contenders, but good on Kansas City. Bobby Witt Jr., Vinnie Pasquantino, Freddy Fermin and Co. deserved investment in the infrastructure around them, and in particular the rotation. K.C. has done just that, landing Michael Wacha and Seth Lugo on multi-year deals that will raise the team’s pitching floor dramatically behind breakout lefty Cole Ragans. This rebuild needed a jolt after a series of iffy draft picks, but the overall picture here falls short of the A range.

Grade: B

Los Angeles Angels

The Angels have been connected to a number of big names still on the market, so Perry Minasian’s work is likely just beginning — the signings so far have been mostly anonymous relievers (Adam Kolarek, Adam Cimber, Luis García) and corner bat lottery tickets (Evan White, Alfonso Rivas, Willie Calhoun). Zooming out, though, and this feels like an organization that has no idea which direction it should be headed. Trying to contend in 2024, even for a Wild Card spot, feels wildly misguided, and yet Minasian seems to have no interest in stripping things down to the studs and starting over — despite an almost total lack of young talent to build around.

Grade: F

Los Angeles Dodgers

There’s plenty of downside risk here, from Shohei Ohtani and Tyler Glasnow’s health situations to how Yoshinobu Yamamoto transitions to the States. But when you sign the two biggest names on the market — including the biggest free agent in the history of the sport — you get an A. Can this team’s rotation hold up until October? We’ll see, but no team has added more pure talent thus far this winter.

Grade: A

Miami Marlins

Speaking of a team that needs a sense of direction: The Marlins made a miraculous run to a Wild Card spot in 2023, then lost GM Kim Ng under less than auspicious circumstances and have since made a couple of middle-relief additions (Kaleb Ort, Calvin Faucher) while dangling some of their best starting pitchers in trade talks. Ouch. Miami hasn’t done anything to buttress a roster in need of it, and they also don’t have the farm system to offer much hope for the future.

Grade: D-

Milwaukee Brewers

Arguably no team has taken it on the chin this winter quite like the Brewers, who lost manager Craig Counsell to the Cubs and former executive David Stearns to the Mets before learning that ace Brandon Woodruff would miss most if not all of 2024 due to shoulder surgery. World Series dark horses at the start of this past postseason, Milwaukee is now wondering whether to deal away pieces like Corbin Burnes and Willy Adames ahead of their walk years — moves that would almost certainly indicate at least a short-term rebuild. At least Jackson Chourio is around for the long haul.

Grade: D

Minnesota Twins

Again: This is a progress report, not a final report card. Minnesota still has time to reshape its roster, specifically by finding trade partners for Max Kepler and Jorge Polanco. But as things stand, all they’ve done so far is watch several pieces of the starting rotation that carried them in 2023 walk out the door (Sonny Gray to St. Louis, Kenta Maeda to Detroit, Tyler Mahle to Texas). There’s still lots of talent to build on here, but this is a disappointing start for a team that should be aggressively trying to contend in 2024.

Grade: F

New York Mets

Stearns was always likely to keep his powder dry this offseason, signing a series of short-term deals while seeing what he has to work with and keeping an eye on getting back into contention in 2025 and beyond. Missing out on Yamamoto hurts, but so far, the plan is on schedule — and in the meantime, understated additions like Luis Severino should keep the Mets respectable and, presumably, relevant at the trade deadline.

Grade: C

New York Yankees

It’s hard not to let Yamamoto cast a shadow over New York’s offseason so far. Yes, landing Juan Soto, Trent Grisham and Verdugo was an excellent start from Brian Cashman and Co., but there are still real holes that need to be filled if the Yankees want to get back into the AL’s inner circle. Add another starting pitcher or two — Jordan Montgomery? Shota Imanaga? — and we’ll be in business.

Grade: B+

Oakland Athletics

There’s not much happening here, as you would expect from a franchise that has forsaken its history and a dedicated fan base in pursuit of public financing. Infielder Abraham Toro and right-hander Osvaldo Bido are the kinds of low-stakes upside plays a team in the A’s position should be trafficking in. Again, though, owner John Fisher is more interested in debasing himself than putting a competitive product on the field.

Grade: F

Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies retained Aaron Nola, the first item on their offseason checklist. After that, though, it’s been more or less radio silence from Dave Dombrowski — largely because the team’s subpar farm system and payroll situation preclude them from making too many big splashes. There’s only so much a team with a largely fleshed out MLB roster can do, although Philly could probably stand to add a bullpen piece or two in addition to a bench bat in the coming weeks.

Grade: B-

Pittsburgh Pirates

Pittsburgh remains among the cheapest outfits in the league, but while no one is going to confuse this offseason for that of a contender, it’s not hard to talk yourself into the buy-low signings they’ve made so far. Edward Olivares and Billy McKinney have both flashed big-league regular upside at various points, Marco Gonzales is a floor-raiser in the rotation and a good fit for PNC Park while Rowdy Tellez is a year removed from a 35-homer season. No marquee moves here, but adding real MLB talent is a more aggressive approach to the winter than this team typically takes.

Grade: C

San Diego Padres

AJ Preller’s hand has been forced in multiple ways this winter, with the implosion of the team’s local TV deal leaving it drowning in debt and needing to slash payroll — and Juan Soto’s hefty 2024 salary (and pending free agency) limiting the bidding war for his services. Japanese lefty Yuki Matsui and former Cubs reliever Jeremiah Estrada could end up being nifty additions to the relief mix, but there’s no way to avoid the fact that this Padres roster — while still more talented than you think — feels far worse off than it was a few months ago.

Grade: D+

San Francisco Giants

Hey, Farhan Zaidi finally landed a major free agent, signing KBO star Jung Hoo Lee to a nine-figure deal that brings needed athleticism to their outfield picture. Still, they whiffed hard on Ohtani, Yamamoto and others, and they appear to be in the process of whiffing on Bellinger. San Francisco needs to finish the winter strong to be taken seriously as a wild-card contender in 2024 — there’s still precious little pitching depth behind Logan Webb and precious little oomph in the lineup — and it’s hard to think that’s in the cards right now.

Grade: C

Seattle Mariners

It’s a shame, because with Julio Rodriguez and a bevy of talented young starting pitchers in tow, Seattle should be gearing up for a sustained run of contention. Instead, Jerry Dipoto openly admitted that his goal wasn’t to maximize his rosters each year, then went out and sold key pieces Kelenic and Suarez for spare parts. Mitch Garver was a nice addition, a legitimate above-average hitter on a reasonable two-year deal. Seby Zavala and Luis Urias are interesting in a vacuum. In context, though, none of this is enough, and this team is going in the wrong direction for seemingly no real reason at all.

Grade: F

St. Louis Cardinals

John Mozeliak wasted little time rebuilding the rotation that kneecapped his team in 2023, adding Sonny Gray, Kyle Gibson and Lance Lynn early in the offseason. Still, plenty more work needs to be done; Gibson and Lynn are more depth pieces than anything, and there’s still far too little swing-and-miss in this pitching staff. A decent start, to be sure, but hardly the end of the job.

Grade: C+

Tampa Bay Rays

Any evaluation of the Rays has to be made in the context of the team’s considerable financial constraints — constraints that are in many ways self-imposed, but constraints nonetheless. I liked the Glasnow deal for Tampa, giving them a nice rotation piece in the short- and long-term in Ryan Pepiot and an outfielder in Jonny Deluca who looks exactly like the other outfielders this team has managed to unlock in recent years. Still, this is one of just a handful of teams to not sign a Major League free agent yet this winter, and that’s pretty inexcusable for a team that just won 99 games.

Grade: C

Texas Rangers

Flags fly forever, and the Rangers are still basking in the glow of their first title in franchise history. If they want to have a chance to repeat, however, considerable work still needs to be done to this starting rotation — a rotation that will be without Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer and offseason addition Tyler Mahle for at least the first part of the 2024 season. Winning a title gains you the benefit of the doubt, and this offense will once again be a monster, but it’s time to get the lead out.

Grade: D

Toronto Blue Jays

Oh, what could have been. After failing to land Soto or Ohtani, the Jays have prioritized defense by retaining center fielder Kevin Kiermaier and adding infielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa. This team looks worse on paper to us now than they did entering the offseason. We’re certain they’ll make more additions, but all we can judge is what they’ve done.

Grade: C-

Washington Nationals

The Nationals are still in the “keep your powder dry and see what young guys you have to build around” phase of their rebuild, and they’re set to welcome a ton of young talent (outfielders Dylan Crews and James Wood, third baseman Brady House) to D.C. this year. What few moves Mike Rizzo has made have been solid, albeit limited in upside; sinkerballing reliever Dylan Floro is a decent bounce-back candidate, and it never hurts to kick the tires on someone with Nick Senzel’s pedigree at such a low price.

Grade: D+