Every MLB brief top 2022 acquisition impression

Whether your team made its top new addition before the lockout or in the frenzied weeks afterward, there was plenty of reason for excitement for whomever they brought in. After all, this is the fun of the offseason: Believing your top new acquisition will fix all your problems and will lead you to the promised land.

So how are they doing so far? Today at the Thirty, we take a moment to check in on all those new acquisitions. The start isn’t everything… but as they say, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Blue Jays: Matt Chapman, 3B
How acquired: Trade with A’s

You can also argue for Kevin Gausman – who has been fine so far – if you want, but Chapman felt like the guy who potentially pushed the Blue Jays over the top: A former MVP candidate who could fix all sorts of defensive issues. The defense has been as splendid as you’d expect, but his bat has been plenty handy too; he’s hit three homers so far.

Orioles: Jordan Lyles, RHP
How acquired: Signed as a free agent

With John Means now out after having Tommy John surgery, Lyles is ostensibly this fate ce ace? He’s been fine actually, on a pitching staff that has surprised just about everybody in baseball. Perhaps not surprising: Other addition Rougned Odor isn’t hitting well, which has become a pattern.

Rays: Corey Kluber, RHP
How acquired: Signed as a free agent

Kluber has made all of his scheduled starts so far, so that’s a positive step right there. They haven’t exactly been vintage Kluber, though: He’s walking more batters, and striking out fewer, than during just about any other season in his career.

Red Sox: Trevor Story, SS
How acquired: Signed as a free agent

The Red Sox gambled on Story’s down 2021 season being a fluke when they gave him a six-year, $ 140 million deal. While he certainly hasn’t collapsed out of the gate, his numbers look awfully similar to last year. A little worse, actually: He’s hitting .234 without a single extra-base hit so far.

Donaldson hasn’t missed any time with injury yet. But that .182 average, on a team that’s having an absurdly difficult time scoring runs right now, isn’t helping much.

The Guardians, rather famously, did not make much of an offseason ripple, adding only Enyel De Los Santos and Luke Maile. Maile doesn’t have an at-bat yet, and De Los Santos has thrown 1 2/3 hitless, scoreless innings. So: Exceeding expectations, I guess!

Royals: Zack Greinke, RHP
How acquired: Signed as a free agent

Greinke has thrown 16 innings and given up just four runs in three starts. That’s impressive, and makes you think, “wow, vintage Greinke!” But seriously, look at his strikeout rate: He has faced 63 batters and struck out… two. Two! Greinke is a magician. But that is not exactly sustainable.

Tigers: Javier Báez, SS
How acquired: Signed as a free agent

Báez just returned from the injured list with a swollen thumb, but when he has been on the field, he has been as exciting and productive – albeit in his signature mercurial way – as the Tigers could have hoped for. This is still a very exciting team, and it’s much more so with Báez on the field.

I’ve made this joke before, but: Have they thought about turning Carlos Correa off and on again? Correa, as high profile an addition as the Twins have ever had, has stalled out of the starting gate, hitting .192 with just one homer in his first 14 games. The Twins are still in first place though, so there’s plenty of room to grow.

White Sox: AJ Pollock, OF
How acquired: Trade with Dodgers

When the White Sox traded Craig Kimbrel for Pollock, it looked like they were just filling an outfield hole. Now it’s clear, thanks to injuries to Eloy Jiménez and Yoán Moncada, they need Pollock’s bat even more desperately than they realized. He’s off to a slow-ish start, but he’ll warm up. It’s almost a requirement at this point.

It’s Thor: You never know how long he’s going to remain upright. But as a one-year flyer contract, the Angels are looking smart, because Syndergaard has been terrific so far in his three starts. (And he has made all three starts, too.) The strikeout rate is lower than you’d like, but the Angels, more than anything, just needed some competent starters. It’s clear with Syndergaard – and perhaps with fellow addition Michael Lorenzen as well – they’ve got one.

Astros: Héctor Neris, RHP
How acquired: Signed as a free agent

With Ryan Pressly on the injured list, Neris is doubly important for that bullpen, and it’s difficult to have any complaints with what he’s done so far: 7 1/3 innings with just one earned run will absolutely work.

The top takeaway from the Matt Olson trade has played some great defense and is an early fan favorite, but the bat still hasn’t come all the way yet. The hitting has come from another newcomer, Sheldon Neuse, whom they grabbed off waivers from the Dodgers and is hitting .313.

Mariners: Jesse Winker, OF
How acquired: Trade with the Reds

The bad news is that Winker, the centerpiece of the trade with the Reds, has struggled so far, hitting just .154 with no homers. The good news is that Eugenio Suárez, the other part of the trade, is one of the best hitters, including three homers, good enough for second on the (first-place) team.

Rangers: Corey Seager, SS
How acquired: Signed as a free agent

Seager hasn’t been tearing the cover off the ball like you’d like, but he’s Corey Seager: He’s going to eventually start crushing it; everybody knows that. But what’s going on with Marcus Semien? His .188 / .260 / .250 slash line is, fair to say, not going to get it done.

Braves: Matt Olson, 1B
How acquired: Trade with the A’s

It should not be the least bit offensive to Freddie Freeman to point out that Olson is thriving in Freeman’s old spot. He’s getting on base at a .461 clip, a nearly Bonds-ian level, and it sure feels like he’s going to be a staple of this team for a long time.

Marlins: Jorge Soler, OF
How acquired: Signed as a free agent

Soler will always have that homer in the deciding game of the World Series: They’ll certainly play it at Truist Park forever. He may have to hang onto it for a while: He still has only one since then, and he’s hitting .190.

Mets: Max Scherzer, RHP
How acquired: Signed as a free agent

So, in four starts, he’s 3-0, with a 1.80 ERA, and the Mets have won all four games he has started. He has also given them a swagger and an identity they’ve been searching for, for years. The Mets have super good vibes right now. Scherzer is dead center as to why.

Nationals: Nelson Cruz, DH
How acquired: Signed as a free agent

In any other context, you’d look at a guy who will be 42 in July, see him hitting .169 with two homers, and think, “this guy might be getting too old.” But that guy remains Nelson Cruz, so don’t fret just yet.

Phillies: Kyle Schwarber, OF / DH
How acquired: Signed as a free agent

Schwarber is hitting for all the power you’d expect, though the strikeouts are raging sort of out of control right now. Fellow addition Nick Castellanos has been a little more well-rounded, hitting .317 with three homers of his own.

The Brewers have one above-average hitter in their lineup right now, and it’s not McCutchen. (It’s actually Rowdy Tellez). The former MVP has been healthy but not particularly productive, though he does help give this lineup an identity, for better or for worse.

Cardinals: Albert Pujols, DH
How acquired: Signed as a free agent

His hot start – two homers, .345 OBP – has led the Cardinals into temptation a bit too often: He really has no business ever batting against right-handers (he’s 1-for-14 against them, but 6-for- 12 against lefties), but the Cardinals still try it sometimes. But he has this team thinking it’s part of something special just by having him here, and that accounts for more than any stat could account for.

Cubs: Seiya Suzuki, OF
How acquired: Signed as a free agent

Whatever the Cubs were hoping for from Suzuki, he has exceeded it: His .354 / .492 / .688 line is the stuff of MVPs. His personality is a perfect fit at Wrigley too: He’s immensely popular already and will continue to be so as the Cubs win more and more in the years to come.

It’s fun to watch Vogelbach bat for a variety of reasons: It’s nice to have guys who look like Vogelbach in the game. He’s also the Pirates’ best hitter right now: He’s getting on base at a .380 clip, a career high by far.

Reds: Tommy Pham, OF
How acquired: Signed as a free agent

Take your pick of disappointing Reds offensive additions: Pham is hitting .167, Colin Moran is at .222 and isn’t walking like Pham is, Jake Fraley is at .129. It’s pretty rough in Cincinnati right now.

Diamondbacks: Zach Davies, RHP
How acquired: Signed as a free agent

It’s been a while since Davies was one of the most unappreciated starters in the game. He’s now just a guy who gives you innings but walks way too many and doesn’t strike out enough either.

If this were a 60-game season like his MVP 2020 – and thank goodness it isn’t – he’d be a third of the way towards another MVP: He’s doing everything right so far. And the uniform does not look weird on him at all, as it turns out.

There were injury concerns for Rodón, but not a lot of performance ones. But even the biggest optimist did not see this sort of dominance coming: He has given up two runs in three starts over 17 innings, and he has a 15.4 K / 9 rate, a career high by far. Another veteran rejuvenated in the Bay.

Padres: Sean Manaea, LHP
How acquired: Trade with the A’s

The last-minute trade addition has been a key part of a rotation that has been inconsistent but has real potential. He’s not their No. 1 starter, but they do not need him to be.

Rockies: Kris Bryant, 3B
How acquired: Signed as a free agent

The power hasn’t shown up yet – how could Kris Bryant have played this many games at Coors Field and not homered yet? Still, he’s a clear steady influence for a team that has been a pleasant surprise so far.

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