It is customary for the New York Yankees to win the offseason, but atypical for them to reload without outbidding the competition.
Marquee free agent Robinson Cano left the Bronx when the Seattle Mariners coughed up $240 million over the next 10 years. The All-Star second baseman leaves a vacancy in the middle of the infield, but the Yankees acted to address the middle of the lineup.
For a total of $238 million, general manager Brian Cashman and the Yankees brought in outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran and catcher Brian McCann.
Stars continue to relocate. The Detroit Tigers traded All-Star slugger Prince Fielder and could be eyeing another big move. The Cardinals tweaked their roster without breaking the bank or tapping into their vault of young power pitchers.
Cashman acknowledged he has work to be done 60 days before teams begin reporting for spring training -- many of his peers have much more to accomplish before rosters are set.
The World Series champion Red Sox remain budget and chemistry minded. Without Ellsbury at the top of their lineup, did Boston lose ground to its bitter rivals?
In an offseason mid-term report card of sorts, we're grading all 30 clubs for their roster-building work to date.
The Sports Xchange's major league baseball correspondents rate their teams' offseason performance to date:
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
Arizona Diamondbacks: B -- Left fielder Mark Trumbo is a definite power upgrade for a team that hit only 130 homers last season. Left-hander Tyler Skaggs, who went to the Los Angeles Angels in the three-team deal, would have been a long-shot to make the D-backs' starting rotation after falling behind top prospect Archie Bradley in the pecking order. With Trumbo, the D-backs had an excess of outfielders, freeing themselves to send center fielder Adam Eaton to the Chicago White Sox and keeping A.J. Pollock in center.
Colorado Rockies: B -- They signed free agent LaTroy Hawkins to be the closer, with Rex Brothers, who moved into that role last year when Rafael Betancourt was injured, an option if Hawkins falters. Hawkins, who turns 41 in Dec. 21, pitched for the Rockies in 2007, the only year they made the World Series. The Rockies didn't get much for center fielder Dexter Fowler, trading him to the Astros for right-hander Jordan Lyles, a back-end starter or, perhaps, multiple-inning reliever, and reserve OF Brandon Barnes. But money saved in that deal went toward signing free agent 1B Justin Morneau to a two-year contract. He brings a veteran presence, and the Rockies believe he has something left, despite declining power numbers. Morneau replaces retired franchise icon Todd Helton, whose production waned in recent seasons. If he can stay healthy, which hasn't been the case in recent seasons, LHP Brett Anderson, acquired from Oakland, should be a major addition to the rotation. He'll pitch at age 26 in 2014 and is under Rockies control for two seasons.
Los Angeles Dodgers: B -- After reaching the NL Championship Series in 2013, the Dodgers so far resisted the urge to make any big alterations to the team that won the NL West and went on a historic 50-game run in midseason (42-8). Though there was speculation of a trade for Tampa Bay Rays right-hander David Price or moving an outfielder, the Dodgers instead shored up their rotation with the addition of right-hander Dan Haren and convinced right-handed reliever Brian Wilson to return in a setup role. They still must find a third baseman and sort out their infield options with second base Mark Ellis a free agent and Cuban newcomer Alexander Guerrero an unknown factor.
San Diego Padres: C-minus -- Trading for outfielder Seth Smith gives the Padres the left-handed bat they need. But he's also another third or fourth outfielder on a team packed with the genre. There had been hope that the Padres would trade for a front-line outfielder. With the addition of Josh Johnson, the Padres added depth to a rotation that has health issues -- making Johnson a perfect fit. Some of the Padres' surplus of young starters could find their way to a bullpen that at the moment has only six members and two minor league candidates. GM Josh Brynes still has much work to complete.
San Francisco Giants: B -- The Giants added right-hander Tim Hudson and left fielder Michael Morse, but those weren't the team's only transactions. The front office also re-signed four San Francisco players who were due to be free agents, including right fielder Hunter Pence, right-handers Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong, and left-handed reliever Javier Lopez, committing $172 million to six players, including three starting pitchers (Hudson, Lincecum and Vogelsong). The roster is virtually set, give or take a reliever or utility man. The Giants weren't looking to make a roster overhaul, but they did fill two spots by acquiring Hudson and Morse.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
Chicago Cubs: C -- The Cubs are in the midst of a quiet offseason, spending most of their energy hiring manager Rick Renteria and a largely new coaching staff. Team president Theo Epstein warned against hoping for a big splash in the trade or free agent markets, and there was barely a ripple. Most fans profess to be on board with Epstein's rebuilding plan, but patience is starting to wear a bit thin, and the offseason inactivity is doing little to please the fans.
Cincinnati Reds: C -- The Reds addressed their bench by signing outfielder/second baseman Skip Schumaker and catcher Brayan Pena. They also re-signed left-hander Manny Parra. However, they did nothing to address the impending loss of outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. They reportedly were near a deal that would have sent second baseman Brandon Phillips to the New York Yankees for Brett Gardner before the Yankees rejected the trade. Gardner is name to watch. He would fill the Reds' center field and leadoff holes.
Milwaukee Brewers: D -- The Brewers have yet to fill their biggest void at first base. They made a bid to bring back Corey Hart, but Seattle made a much bigger offer, and Hart bolted to the Mariners. The only move of note for the Brewers thus far was trading right fielder Norichika Aoki to Kansas City for left-hander Will Smith. That deal did allow for the move of left fielder Ryan Braun to right field, opening left field for young slugger Khris Davis. General manager Doug Melvin is still looking for some experienced arms for the bullpen.
Pittsburgh Pirates: D -- The Pirates haven't done much to build on the momentum of having their first winning season and making their first playoff trip since 1992. The only move besides signing right-hander Edinson Volquez and infielder Clint Barmes as free agents were three minor trades in which the Pirates reacquired right-hander Duke Welker from the Minnesota Twins, picked up catcher Chris Stewart from the New York Yankees and obtained right-hander Miles Mikolas and outfielder Jaff Decker from the San Diego Padres.
St. Louis Cardinals: A -- The Cardinals added a shortstop, Jhonny Peralta, and a center fielder, Peter Bourjos, without disturbing their exceedingly deep young pitching reservoir. They missed out on re-signing free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran, who joined the Yankees, but they have outstanding young talent in outfielder/first baseman Allen Craig, first baseman Matt Adams and outfielder Oscar Taveras.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Atlanta Braves: D -- The only thing the Braves got done so far is a deal for a new stadium in suburban Cobb County, and even that is highly controversial. The team expected to lose free agent catcher Brian McCann but hoped to retain veteran right-hander Tim Hudson. Instead, Hudson signed a two-year deal with the San Francisco Giants worth $23 million. The Braves have financial constrains because of an outdated TV deal, which is why the revenue from a new ballpark is needed. For now, though, they have to keep the payroll under $100 million. "There is still a little sticker shock at what guys are getting," general manager Frank Wren said about the cost of free agent pitching this winter.
Miami Marlins: B-minus -- Signing catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, first baseman Garrett Jones and second baseman Rafael Furcal can only provide a big boost for an offense that ranked near the bottom of the majors last year. However, there is no guarantee those players will make a difference. Still, any moves that bring in established veterans can only be apples for a team that finished in last place in 2013. Miami traded for right-handed reliever Carter Capps, sending underachieving first baseman Logan Morrison to Seattle. Justin Ruggiano was traded to the Cubs for Brian Bogusevic in a swap of outfielders.
New York Mets: B-plus -- Outfielders Curtis Granderson and Chris Young give the Mets the sort of power outfield they have not boasted in years, while right-hander Bartolo Colon adds legitimacy to the rotation. However, the Mets have unfinished business that their $85 million payroll may prevent them from finishing. Only if they manage to trade first baseman Ike Davis and acquire a shortstop upgrade would the offseason enter A-plus territory.
Philadelphia Phillies: C-minus -- The Phillies didn't need to hand out any additional $100 million contracts with left-handers Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee and first baseman Ryan Howard already making big bucks, but after missing the playoffs for the second straight year, they did need real upgrades in several areas. Re-signing catcher Carlos Ruiz is fine, since the team needs a right-handed bat and a calming, veteran influence behind the plate. However, an aging, oft-injured offense probably needed something more than Marlon Byrd, who was out of baseball a year ago. And the retirement of former workhorse right-hander Roy Halladay probably called for something more than taking a chance on right-hander Roberto Hernandez, the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. indicated those were likely the last significant moves he would make this winter.