The free-agent market is still flush with players and trade talks are rampant, with many deals on hold until after some of the free agents make their decisions. The industry is expecting a very busy next week to 10 days, so keep in mind these grades are based only on the moves made to date and will change considerably when I give my final grades just before spring training. However, based on the moves or non-moves so far, here are my interim grades for all 30 teams:
American League East
Baltimore Orioles -- Grade: D
Offseason goals: Catcher, left-handed hitter, right field, improved outfield defense.
The O’s uneventful offseason so far leaves them with a lot of work in front of them between now and Opening Day. GM Dan Duquette’s modus operandi is to wait out the market and try to strike in January and February, when the price of free agents normally drops closer to his liking (and the Orioles’ price range). The Orioles have made Mark Trumbo their first priority and have given him a final offer for him to decide upon. If he rejects them, the Orioles are prepared to go in a different direction, which could include a trade with the Mets to land Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson, or a swap with the Rockies to land either Charlie Blackmon or Carlos Gonzalez. Signing Castillo was a solid stopgap move until top catching prospect Chance Sisco is ready.
Boston Red Sox -- Grade: A
Offseason goals: Bullpen depth, DH, elite starting-pitcher.
Red Sox president and GM Dave Dombrowski checked off all of his offseason goal boxes in a single day during the winter meetings, making the offseason’s biggest blockbuster deal in acquiring a true ace in Sale from the White Sox, picking up a top set-up reliever in Thornburg in a swap with the Brewers and then reaching into free agency to sign Gold Glove first baseman Mitch Moreland on a one-year contract. The Red Sox are the most improved AL team on paper this offseason and are now arguably the best team in the league.