The MLB had a great year in 2016, and it was capped off with a story tale ending when the Chicago Cubs finally won their first World Series after a long 108-year wait. So now we turn our attention to 2017. The Cubs will look to go back-to-back, while the AL East and 2016 AL Champion Indians will looking to redeem themselves, and with the addition of Edwin Encarnacion, they appear to be in a great position to do just that. Most importantly, however, the success of baseball will continue to improve.
With each new season, there are many changes made to teams, with players being traded and free agents being signed since the beginning of the offseason. Today we are going to look at some of these players, and judge what kind of years they are going to have with their new teams in 2017.
Here are 8 MLB players who will succeed with their new team and 7 who will fail.
15 Succeed: Brett Cecil – St. Louis Cardinals
Despite posting a less than stellar ERA in 2016, Brett Cecil had quite a good year with the Toronto Blue Jays, even setting a consecutive scoreless innings held by Craig Kimbrel, and signed with the Central powerhouse Cardinals in the offseason. The 7 year veteran may not be the biggest name on the market regarding the bullpen, but for a team with the amazing pitching and great culture of the Cardinals, it’s hard to see Cecil doing anything but succeeding. The team has also acquired Dexter Fowler, and is looking to push back into the playoffs against their rival Pirates and Cubs, and with an improved bullpen and success from Cecil, they should have a strong chance of achieving their goals.
14 Fail: Andrew Cashner – Texas Rangers
Andrew Cashner was once touted as the future of the Padres rotation, but after struggling over the last few seasons, his stock has never been lower. Looking to rescue his talents, the Texas Rangers signed him in the offseason, hoping that the switch from the NL to the American League could help him, especially pitching behind Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels. He may improve slightly from his Padres days, but looking at the dreams and aspirations of the Rangers team, having Cashner at the back of the rotation might not be enough. From a statistical standpoint, Cashner may have a run of the mill season, but for what the Rangers and most fans of his expect, his year will be a failure.
13 Succeed: Dexter Fowler – St. Louis Cardinals
Dexter Fowler was just as big a part of the Cubs finally breaking their World Series drought as anyone on the team, and following the season moved on to the division rival St. Louis Cardinals. With a diverse skill set, Fowler will breathe new life into a Cardinals team that missed the playoffs for the first time in recent memory last year, as he will be looking to carry on the success he had in Chicago. He might not put up the stats of players like Mike Trout, Mookie Betts or Bryce Harper, but Fowler can do it all on a baseball field, but if you look beyond those statistics, he will do everything to help this Cardinals team succeed, and it will no doubt propel them back into the playoffs.
12 Fail: Bartolo Colon – Atlanta Braves
Bartolo Colon is a cult hero, and his years with the Mets have been incredibly successful on the field, despite passing 40 years of age. The man only uses 2 main pitches (a 4 seam and 2 seam fastball) and most of the time they don’t top 90mph, yet he has continued to give the Mets a significant chance to win each time he takes the mound. In the offseason, he managed to prolong his career despite pushing 43 years old, and signed with the Atlanta Braves, a team that looks to be on the upswing. That being said, they won’t be contending for years, and teams will further figure out Bartolo, and it may finally signal the end of his amazing career, which may just push him into the Hall of Fame.
11 Succeed: Adam Eaton – Washington Nationals
Despite injuries derailing him slightly in the past few years, Adam Eaton has made himself one of the best center fielders in baseball, and after spending his entire career in Chicago, he now has his chance to play for a team who expects to contend for the World Series in 2017. Putting him at the top of a lineup which includes Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman will hopefully help his production, and if he remains healthy, may establish himself as a top 2-3 CF in the game. After a promising outlook early in 2016, the White Sox faded quickly throughout the season, so playing on a contender behind such an amazing pitching staff should invigorate the career of Eaton, and will no doubt have a career year in the nations capital.
10 Fail: Derek Holland – Chicago White Sox
Before Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels arrived in Texas, it looked like Derek Holland would be the man to lead the rotation to the World Series, but injuries and struggles to maintain his form have led to him being outed from Texas, and sent to the White Sox, who pitch in one of the best hitters parks in baseball. The team won’t be looking to compete for some time, as they just traded away Adam Eaton and Chris Sale, and are also looking to move some other pieces, meaning that he will be in a no-win situation in 2017. I wouldn’t be surprised if Holland bounced back and had a great year, but it isn’t looking great, as he as also struggled with his health over the past number of seasons.
9 Succeed: Ian Desmond – Colorado Rockies
Ian Desmond was a revelation for the Rangers in 2016, returning to form after a dreadful season in 2015, he adapted in the field, moving into the outfield and hit the way that he was always supposed too. After this season, he was very sought after, and ending up in the best hitters ball park in the game, and will add more depth to an already scary power lineup which includes Nolan Arenado, Carlos Gonzalez, Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon. Due to the weakness which is their starting rotation, the team may struggle in a very strong NL West division, but Desmond will continue to develop and have yet another great offensive season. This may be another example of a player succeeding in one year and getting a deal that’s too long, but for the Rockies to come back into contention, they have to take risks, and this one may just pay off.
8 Fail: Mitch Moreland – Boston Red Sox
Mitch Moreland has been great for the Rangers throughout his career, and his left handed bat has proven to be lethal with some amazing power, but he has never been tasked with something he must do in 2017, and that is replace the greatest DH in baseball history, David Ortiz. While the Red Sox fan base realize that there will never be another Papi, they will no doubt have very high expectations for a veteran like Moreland, who will fail to deliver on these. This isn’t to say that Moreland won’t contribute to a very intimidating Red Sox lineup, but for what he is attempting to replace, there is no possible way for Moreland to succeed, in the short term at least.
7 Succeed: Mark Melancon – San Francisco Giants
If not for their struggles at the closer position, the Giants might have won their fourth consecutive even year World Series, but it was eventually their undoing in the playoffs against the Cubs. The front office realized this was something they needed to fix, and with a number of high profile closers available, they managed to snatch up former Nationals 9th inning man, Mark Melancon. He will now get the chance to pitch in front of a rabid fan base eager for more success, and one of the best defenses in all of baseball. He may not put up the flashy numbers of a pitcher like Craig Kimbrel or Aroldis Chapman, but look for Melancon to assist the Giants with a strong playoff push in 2017.
6 Fail: Jon Jay – Chicago Cubs
In 2016, Dexter Fowler played center field for the Cubs, and had an amazing impact on a team that finally won the World Series after a century long wait. He left for the Cardinals however, and the team may turn to some young players to fill that gap, as well as signing the former Cardinal Jon Jay. What looked to be a promising career has fallen quite a bit for Jay, as this is now his third team in as many years, and he will look to bounce back in 2017. Surrounded by all this talent, you would think he has to succeed, but with the talent in the outfield, he will struggle for playing time and this will hurt his consistency. It may not be an expensive signing, but it is one that won’t pay off for the Cubs.
5 Succeed: Aroldis Chapman – New York Yankees
When the Yankees traded the flame throwing lefty to the Cubs during the 2016 season, it all but cemented their place as the favorites in all of baseball, and he helped them to their first title since 1908. In the offseason, Chapman returned to the Yankees, giving them once again the most formidable bullpen in baseball, pairing him with rising star Dellin Betances. With an improved team around him, including some incredible prospects, the Yankees will no doubt be returning to the promised lands very soon, and with Chapman at the back end of the bullpen doing his thing, you can guarantee that New York will once again be dominant in the AL East in the near future. The 5-year deal may have been a risk, but if there is a closer worth taking a shot on, it’s Chapman.
4 Fail: Clay Buchholz – Philadelphia Phillies
Clay Buchholz has always been full of potential throughout his long career in a Boston uniform, because when he was on and in form, he is one of the top pitchers in all of baseball, but he has had seriously problems staying healthy over the last few years, and he will be looking to make a fresh start in the NL in 2017. Provided he can stay healthy, Buchholz should help the young Phillies improve as a team, but he is ageing and struggling for health, which will impact him negatively. It’s a sad case of injuries derailing a performer who could have been regarded as one of the best of the entire generation, but I don’t see him having any substantial success with the Phillies.
3 Succeed: Edwin Encarnacion – Cleveland Indians
Despite putting up prolific power numbers for several years, the power tandem of Jose Bautista and Double-E could never quite get it done in Toronto, and instead the DH has moved his way to the 2016 AL Champion, Cleveland Indians. This means that if Michael Brantley and the pitching staff can remain healthy, the Indians are one of the most formidable and well rounded teams heading into the new year, looking to bounce back after blowing a 3-1 lead in the World Series. Encarnacion will no doubt continue his amazing work with the bat, and is no doubt going to be a key performer if the Indians want to continue their growth and success. With age, the numbers will drop off, but his effectiveness and intimidation will help him succeed in Cleveland.
2 Fail: Josh Reddick – Houston Astros
Josh Reddick played a key role for the Los Angeles Dodgers down the stretch of their playoff run in 2016, and that success has led to him returning to his former team, the Houston Astros, unfortunately, this will not be such a rosy reunion. Reddick is definitely on the decline due to his age, and his constant injury woes over the past 2 years haven’t helped him, and it’s gotten to the point where he is nothing more than a platoon outfielder. With several young outfielders poised to become stars in 2017 (e.g. Jake Marisnick and George Springer), it may be hard for Reddick to find consistency in his playing time and play, and he may help the young team as a veteran, his impact on the field won’t be great.
1 Succeed: Chris Sale – Boston Red Sox
Rumors quickly began gaining momentum during the offseason that the White Sox ace was on his way to the Nationals, before a blockbuster trade that saw him handing in his White Sox in favor of some Red ones. This fills a major hole for the Red Sox, as they struggled in 2016 to find a consistent front line ace that would stand up in a big game. Despite having Rick Porcello and David Price, the rotation wasn’t as strong as it could be, but now they’ve found their ace, there might be no stopping Boston. With strong competition in the East, the team will look to win back to back division titles, and that will happen on the back of a strong season for Sale, who has quickly become an elite left hander in the game.