In the final installment of this series, we look at the two teams with the best regular season records in baseball last year. Both teams are loaded with talent, so it takes special talent to be a breakout candidate.
In Los Angeles, Alex Verdugo might just squeeze his way into a crowded outfield, and in Cleveland, Francisco Mejia is going to catch some attention, even if he has to learn a new position to do it.
OL Andre Smith, Cardinals Grade: D It has been approximately five years or so since Smith looked like a starting offensive lineman in the NFL.
He was excellent on the right side for the Bengals in 2013, but struggled in 2014 before hitting injured reserve with a triceps injury.
Smith committed nine penalties in 14 starts for the Bengals in 2015 and was brutal during four games with the Vikings before going down with another torn triceps.
The Brewers definitely had a productive offseason, signing Cain, trading for outfielder Christian Yelich and signing reliever Matt Albers. But how this revamped club stacks up in the N.L. Central is still dependant on moves the Cubs and Cardinals have yet to make, with starting pitchers Jake Arrieta almost certainly not returning to Chicago after the signing of Yu Darvish and Lance Lynn still unsigned.
Much to the chagrin of numerous high-profile agents, some teams are trying to duck the luxury tax and going into rebuilding or tanking mode, or what baseball players union director Tony Clark called “a race to the bottom.”
It seems like a safe assumption that the Marlins, Pirates and Reds in the N.L. and Rays, White Sox, Tigers and Athletics are likely done making impact offseason moves that will help them win in 2018. With starting pitcher Alex Cobb and first baseman Logan Morrison still unsigned and rotation teammate Chris Archer involved in trade rumors, the Rays may be in for a long 20th anniversary campaign.
Tyrod Taylor had only 16 interceptions in three seasons with the Bills.? Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images Wade Phillips must be excited to reunite with his former star pupil.