The Colorado Rockies made it a priority to make their bullpen better heading into 2018 and it appears that they have done so by signing closer Wade Davis to a 3-year/$52 million contract. Davis has become arguably the best relief pitcher in the MLB since he converted to a full-time bullpen role back in 2014. The Rockies surely realize what he has accomplished in the past few years as this signing breaks the record for the average annual salary for a relief pitcher. Colorado had an improved bullpen last season as closer Greg Holland had a terrific first half of the season. However, Holland fell apart later in the season and he is now a free agent that the Rockies clearly won’t re-sign now that they have acquired Wade Davis this offseason. Davis provides even more stability to the Rockies bullpen that should be improved next season with the addition of Brayan Shaw this offseason as well. The Rockies already have an elite offense and if their bullpen can just be average then Colorado could be a very good team next season. Colorado still needs some pitching help, although this signing provides tremendous stability to the back of their bullpen.
The Cincinnati Reds are looking to improve their bullpen that was one of the worst in the MLB last season and they have upgraded it somewhat by signing veteran right-handed pitcher Jared Hughes to a 2-year/$4.5 million deal. Hughes is a very underrated relief pitcher, but he has proven to be a reliable option out of the bullpen as he has an impressive 2.85 career ERA. We’ll see if the Reds put him in a setup role for the 2018 season as he is probably a better option in that role than what the Reds currently have. The Reds could use him in a middle relief role which they will most likely do since they didn’t give a very big contract. However, Hughes could also slide into the 7th inning setup role for Cincinnati considering the success that he’s had throughout his career. Either way, Hughes should provide the Reds with the much needed stability to improve the Reds bullpen in 2018 after they were only the 27th ranked bullpen in the MLB last season. Hughes isn’t a dynamic pitcher and he won’t strikeout many batters, but it is difficult to argue against his career production and this could be a very good signing for Cincinnati.
The Minnesota Twins added some depth to their bullpen in free agency as they signed veteran left-handed pitcher Zach Duke to a 1-year deal. Minnesota’s bullpen struggled last season as they only finished 22nd with a 4.40 ERA by their relief pitchers. Zach Duke won’t be a big difference maker in the Twins bullpen as he only has a 4.30 career ERA. However, Duke provides Minnesota with some much needed depth in the middle innings and this could be a bargain signing for Minnesota if he can return to the type of pitcher that he was in 2016 when he had a 2.36 ERA. Duke probably won’t make much an impact for the Twins bullpen in 2018, but he does provide a little bit more stability.
The Yankees are maintaining a decent starting rotation heading into 2018 as they have re-signed CC Sabathia to a 1-year/$10 million deal. Sabathia is 37 years old and he clearly isn’t the pitcher that he once was. However, he proved last season that he can still be a productive player as he had an impressive 14-5 record with a 3.69 ERA. Sabathia is the 4th starter in the Yankees rotation which isn’t bad considering the stats that he put up last season. New York still could improve their starting rotation with a more dynamic starter at the front of their rotation, but at least by re-signing Sabathia they will continue to have solid depth. If the Yankees can just receive a decent season from Sabathia then that should help their rotation to continue to be good enough to be world series contenders. New York’s offense should be dynamic especially with the addition of Giancarlo Stanton and if their pitching can just be average then the team should be world series contenders. Sabathia is a 6-time all-star and a Cy Young award winner as well, although he is far removed from that type of production. Overall, if Sabathia can stay healthy and pitch like he did last season then this could be a good signing for the Yankees.
The Cleveland Indians have found their new first baseman for the 2018 season as they signed Yonder Alonso to a 2-year/$16 million contract. Alonso will replace longtime Cleveland starting 1st baseman Carlos Santana who left for Philadelphia this offseason. Alonso doesn’t have the track record of offensive success that Santana has, although Alonso certainly has the potential to be a decent solution at 1st base. He had a career-high 28 home runs last season with the Athletics and Mariners, so the Indians are hoping that those stats will be indicative of the success that they are hoping he will have the next couple of seasons. If Alonso plays like he did last season then the Indians could be getting a very good player in the middle of their lineup. However, it is likely that last season could just be a fluke season as he never had more than 9 home runs in a season prior to last year. Alonso at least will fill a major void at 1st base with the departure of Carlos Santana, but the Indians would have just been better off retaining Santana for next season.
The Washington Nationals upgraded their depth in free agency as they have signed 1st baseman Matt Adams to a 1-year/$4 million contract. Adams had a terrific season in 2017 for the Cardinals and Braves as he hit .271 with a career-high 20 home runs and 65 RBI’s. Adams probably could have gone elsewhere to be a starting 1st baseman, but the Nationals give him a good chance to play for a winning team as they are almost guaranteed to make the postseason in 2018. Adams will be valuable for the Nationals as he is a really good pinch-hitter and he also provides Washington with some versatility as he can play 1st base and either corner outfield position. Also, starting 1st baseman Ryan Zimmermann is 33 years old and he has been consistently injured in recent years, so having Adams around just in case is a smart idea since he is a starting caliber 1st baseman. The Nationals were already a really good team before this signing, yet this addition just makes the team even deeper.
The Washington Nationals are keeping their bullpen intact for the 2018 season as they have re-signed veteran relief pitcher Brandon Kintzler to a 2-year/$10 million contract. Kintzler was acquired by the Nationals from the Twins at the trade deadline last season and he did a decent job as a setup man for Washington as he had a 3.46 ERA with the team. He was even better as the closer for Minnesota prior to being traded as he had a 2.78 ERA and he was named an all-star for the first time last season. Kintzler provides much more stability to the Nationals bullpen as he has the ability to step in as the closer if needed. However, it is likely that he will just continue to be the 7th inning setup man for the Nationals as Ryan Madson is the 8th inning pitcher and Sean Doolittle is the closer. Washington had major bullpen issues recently, but now it appears that they have solidified their bullpen by having all 3 of those players that they acquired at the trade deadline last season. The Nationals are almost guaranteed to be a playoff team next season as they play in a very weak NL East division, yet having Kintzler back could help the Nationals a lot especially in the postseason. This is a great signing for the Nationals especially at a relatively cheap price considering his recent accomplishments.