It happens every year. Teams across baseball come out of the winter months labeled as having a bad off-season. Every team, from their owners down to their fans, dreams of off-seasons that shape their team’s future in the right direction. There are a couple of different reasons that a team flops during free agency: unable to address their team’s needs, missing out on top available players, or losing key pieces from the previous year without replacing them. The three teams I am about to go over all had a bad off-season in their own different ways.
MLB Teams who had a bad Off-Season
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Los Angeles Dodgers being on any list that has the word “bad” in the title shouldn’t be a thing, right? Relax Dodger fans, if there was any organization in baseball that could afford to have a bad off-season, the Dodgers rank high on that list. The fortunate part for the Dodgers is their core group of players might not be as strong heading into 2023, but there are still players that remain on the roster.
A few of those players listed above will hurt to no longer have on the team, there’s no doubt about it. Along with those subtractions to the team, the Dodgers were able to add a few new guys who should be able to play a valuable role. Noah Syndergaard comes across the city after playing last season with the Los Angeles Angles. 2022 was Syndergaard’s first full season in the big leagues since 2019 (torn UCL with multiple setbacks along the way). He was able to throw 134.3 innings with a 5.5 BB%, which was about the only red ranking he had on his Baseball Savant page. I would look to see him play a back-of-the-rotation role.
The other big-name signing the Dodgers were able to lock up was former Boston Red Sox J.D. Martinez. A career .872 OPS hitter, Martinez adds a big-time power bat into the heart of the Dodgers lineup. Martinez doesn’t add much value on the defensive side, he was primarily the DH for Boston in the past years. I’d expect the same with his time in Los Angeles.
With the players the Dodgers lost this year from last, mixed with the moves other team’s inside their division made this off-season, it is fair to say the Dodgers took a step back. They do have the benefit of having talented players everywhere on the field still, on top of having good young prospects. The bad off-season could have been a little bit better if the number of subtractions came with the addition of more players.
2. Baltimore Orioles
The Baltimore Orioles were one of the more exciting teams going down the stretch in 2022. Finishing outside of the AL East basement and with a winning record for the first time in years, Baltimore needed to avoid having a bad off-season. They head into 2023 with a good young core and the early favorite for American League Rookie of the Year. The main focus Baltimore needed was starting pitching, which they flopped significantly in that category.
Baltimore was able to add James McCann as a backup catcher to Adley Rutschman. McCann comes off a significant down year, only slashing .195/.257/.282, Baltimore will hope McCann can return to a serviceable bat on top of being a mentor to their young rising superstar. Baltimore also reunites with Mychal Givens, who spent five years with the organization after being drafted by them in 2009. A career 28.4 K% and 9.9 BB%, Givens adds a nice veteran piece to the bullpen.
Where Baltimore was tagged with having a bad off-season, falls solely in the starting pitching department. Missing out on free agents like Nathan Eovaldi, or missing out on trades for guys like Pablo Lopez are two moves that would have sparked this team going into 2023. The American League East is a deep, tough division. Going into the year relying on a rookie in Grayson Rodriguez, and making your only big pitching move a trade for Cole Irvin, who is a middle to back-end caliber starter, results in a bad off-season that wasn’t expected out of Baltimore.
1. San Francisco Giants
Early on, I said there are several reasons a team can be labeled as having a bad off-season. The San Francisco Giants fall under a unique category. If you look into their off-season moves, they made some good progress on their team. The signing of two new bats Mitch Haniger and Michael Conforto adds new outfield/DH options out in the Bay Area. Conforto will be a player to keep an eye on this spring. After remaining a free agent for the entire 2022 season due to a shoulder injury, he comes with a risk that could be silenced with a good start.
San Francisco’s bad off-season was one their fans might want to forget forever. The analogy of “up and down emotional roller-coaster” undoubtedly applies here. It started early in December when it was rumored and reported the Giants were in agreement with Aaron Judge. Those rumors would soon come crashing down as it was a classic case of a reporter jumping the gun to break a story. Just a few weeks later, Judge would sign a massive new deal with the New York Yankees and would leave Giants fans shaking their heads.
Giants say they have not heard on Aaron Judge, My apologies for jumping the gun.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 6, 2022
If an error like that wasn’t enough, the Giants also had Carlos Correa locked up on a 13-year deal, until they didn’t. The Correa news was deeper than what it was with Judge. Correa was moments away from his INTRODUCTORY PRESS CONFERENCE when the Giants expressed concern with the results of a physical. This opened the door back up for Correa’s camp, who then went and signed a 12-year deal with the New York Mets (spoiler alert, that didn’t work out either). Just like that, the Giants went from believing they made a huge splash signing not once, but twice, to having one very, unlucky, bad off-season.
Main Image: Kiyoshi Mio – USA TODAY