Trevor Bauer, Nolan Arenado and others start anew ahead of the 2021 season
The calendar has turned to March, which means the MLB season is right around the corner.
With spring training beginning, teams are rounding into form and acclimating newly acquired players with their new teammates. And thanks to a busy winter, there were plenty of star players who found new homes for the 2021 season.
Here is a look at how some of the offseason's top acquisitions look in their new threads, plus some thoughts on what they are expected to bring to their new clubs.
Trevor Bauer – Los Angeles Dodgers
The rich get richer.
It's not every day that the reigning World Series champions can add the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner to their rotation, but that is exactly what happened with the Dodgers and Trevor Bauer this winter.
In 2020, Bauer posted a 1.73 ERA with 100 strikeouts in 11 starts, and that dominance was on full display in his debut against the Colorado Rockies this spring.
Good luck trying to score runs on this pitching staff.
Nolan Arenado – St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals' offense was in need of a spark heading into the offseason after finishing 13th in the NL in runs scored in 2020.
Enter third baseman Nolan Arenado.
Excluding a shortened 2020 season, Arenado has hit at least 37 home runs in five consecutive seasons, with three of those seasons topping the 40 homer mark.
If he and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt can both be healthy and productive this season, the Cardinals could have one of the NL's most explosive offenses.
Francisco Lindor – New York Mets
In six seasons in the majors, Francisco Lindor has been named an All-Star four times and is a two-time Gold Glove winner.
The Mets were eighth in the NL in runs scored last season, and the addition of Lindor, who hit at least 30 home runs in each of his last three normal-length seasons, is sure to help boost their offense while providing them with a legitimate franchise cornerstone.
George Springer – Toronto Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays made the playoffs in 2020 for the first time since the 2015 season.
And to ensure the recent appearance wasn't a fluke, they signed outfielder George Springer to a six-year, $150 million deal, adding a potent bat to an offense that scored the third-most runs in the American League in 2020.
Springer is a three-time All-Star and one of the most dominant postseason hitters of his generation, with 19 home runs in 63 career playoff games for the Houston Astros. He was also MVP of the 2017 World Series.
The Blue Jays are banking on Springer getting them back to the postseason and showing that level of dominance in October.
Yu Darvish and Blake Snell – San Diego Padres
The Padres made the playoffs in 2020 for the first time since 2006 and do not appear to be satisfied with their first taste of prosperity in over a decade.
Already owning a pitching staff that only allowed just 241 runs last season, good enough for fifth in the NL, the Padres have bolstered their rotation with the additions of Blake Snell and Yu Darvish.
Darvish is fresh off of a season in which he was dominant for the Chicago Cubs, leading them in ERA (2.01), strikeouts (93), and wins (eight), en route to a postseason appearance.
Snell, on the other hand, has a 2018 Cy Young Award to his name while also helping lead the Tampa Bay Rays to the World Series in 2020.
With the addition of this pair to a rotation that already included Dinelson Lamet, the Padres could have one of the best starting trios in 2021.
Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon – New York Yankees
One of MLB's proudest franchises, the Yankees have failed to make it back to the World Series since winning the title in 2009.
If they plan on making a return in 2021, they'll need better performances from their starting pitching staff behind ace Gerrit Cole.
Kluber was the 2017 AL Cy Young winner for the Cleveland Indians but has dealt with injuries since and struggled to regain that form. The Yankees acquired him in free agency, signing him to a one-year, $11 million deal in hopes that he can recapture the magic that made him one of baseball's best pitchers.
Taillon was acquired in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates in January after missing the entire 2020 season due to injury.
His last full season was 2018 when he posted a 3.20 ERA and struck out 179 batters.
If the Yankees can get the 2019 version of Taillon and the 2017 version of Kluber, there is a strong chance they could make a run at the World Series.
Liam Hendriks – Chicago White Sox
Hendriks was second in the majors with 14 saves last season and was 16th in 2019 with 25.
His addition, along with multiple other power arms, could give the White Sox one of the best bullpens in baseball, pairing that with an offense that was second in the AL with 306 runs scored.
Andrew Benintendi – Kansas City Royals
The starting left fielder for the 2018 Red Sox World Series title team, Benintendi has shown the ability to hit for power and contact in three full seasons in the majors from 2017-2019, recording at least 140 hits in each season as well as double digit home runs.
After an injury-marred 2020 season that saw Benintendi appear in only 14 games, he gets a fresh start in Kansas City for a Royals team that is in desperate need of offense.
The Royals were tied for 13th in runs scored in the AL last season with a paltry 248 runs.
If Benintendi can return to the player that appeared for the Red Sox from 2017-2019, the Royals' offense could see signs of life in 2021.