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(Oct. 17, 2018 - Source: Getty Images North America)

What you need to know ahead of the 2019 MLB Season

The countdown has officially begun for the 2019 MLB season as pitchers and catchers are set to report for many clubs on February 12th, 2019 with the 2019 MLB Opening Day set for March 28, 2019 just around the corner. As teams and players prepare for the opening of MLB spring training, Major League baseball executives continue to work to fill out their roster through free agent signings and MLB trades. Despite previous seasons of big time signings, the 2019 MLB offseason has been fairly quiet with a few big deals taking place up to this point.

One of the biggest moves this offseason came with the Arizona Diamondbacks trading MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt to the St. Louis Cardinals in return for pitcher Luke Weaver, catcher Carson Kelly, infielder Andy Young and a future compensation pick during the 2019 MLB draft. A move that indicates the Diamondbacks are prepared for a potential step back to the bottom of the National League West division as they complete a potential complete rebuild process. For the Cardinals the move to add Goldschmidt allows them to stay competitive while remaining as one of the teams to beat in the National League as well as the NL Central division.

Other key trades that have taken place prior to the end of the 2018 calendar year includes the following:

Three Way Deal with Cleveland Indians, Seattle Mariners and Tampa Bay Rays

The Cleveland Indians, Seattle Mariners and Tampa Bay Rays pulled off an interesting three team trade that included former All-Stars Edwin Encarnacion and Carlos Santana. Along with the two former All-Stars, the trade included Jake Bauers, Yandy Diaz, Cole Sulser and a competitive balance pick in the 2019 MLB draft. In this trade, the Mariners would land Encarnacion from the Indians and cash from the Rays, the Indians receive Santana who was a former Indian as well as Bauers while the Rays would receive Diaz, Susler and the competitive pick. The move gives the Indians some added depth while allowing them to stay competitive in the AL central, the Rays land a few young pieces to their roster to compete in the AL East while the Mariners landed another piece they could potential trade before the start of the season as they continue to rebuild in the AL West.

Marquee Name Trade between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds pulled off a trade to send former All-Stars Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig as well as Alex Wood to the Cincinnati. In return the Dodgers would receive Homer Bailey as well as two draft picks. The trade might be one of the more interesting trades on paper but one that allows the Reds to be more competitive in the NL Central division as they get to proven hitters to round out their lineup that will include Joey Votto. Meanwhile the Dodgers will lose several key players but with their young crop of talented outfielders the team will still remain as the team to beat in the NL West while Bailey will look to bounce back with a change of scenery. The move also allows the Dodgers to save a few bucks in an attempt to avoid the luxury tax.

Seattle Mariners and New York Mets Swap All-Stars, Other Players & Cash

In another key trade involving the Mariners, the team sent former All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano along with All-Star closer Edwin Diaz and $20 million dollars to the New York Mets in exchange for Jay Bruce, Justin Dunn (2016 1st Round Pick), Jarred Kelenic (2018 6th Overall Pick), Anthony Swarzak and Gerson Bautista (International Free Agent in 2013). For the Mets, the addition of Cano gives the team a proven middle of the lineup hitter while Diaz rounds out a solid bullpen to allow them to compete in the NL East. Meanwhile, the move for the Mariners allows them to free themselves of Cano’s high salary while receiving a few key pieces to help them rebuild over the next few seasons in the AL West.

As teams found ways to add pieces through trades, other teams added key additions through MLB free agency including the Washington Nationals who added Patrick Corbin to their rotation that also features Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. Corbin who inked a $140 million dollar deal over six years from the Nationals will add another big arm to help them rebound to the top of the NL East. Corbin finished the 2018 MLB season with a 3.15 earned run average to go with an 11-7 record and 246 strikeouts for the Diamondbacks.

Other key MLB signings during the 2019 MLB offseason includes the following:

  • Nathan Eovaldi, Boston Red Sox Agree to 4 year, $68 million dollar deal
  • Andrew McCutchen, Philadelphia Phillies Agree to 3 year, $50 million dollar deal
  • Zach Britton, New York Yankees Agree to 3 year, $39 million dollar deal
  • Michael Brantley, Houston Astros Agree to 2 year, $32 million dollar deal
  • Andrew Miller, St. Louis Cardinals Agree to 2 year, $25 million dollar deal

As these are only a few of the MLB free agent signings this offseason, each of these five moves will continue to help these teams compete for a chance to play postseason baseball in October. While the current signings have been exciting, two prominent and potential key impact players remain unsigned. These two players are outfielder Bryce Harper and shortstop/third baseman Manny Machado. Only time will tell where these two stars will land but both along with these other key offseason moves will play a key impact on the upcoming 2019 MLB schedule.

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