After looking at some of the least productive offenses in baseball from last season, we now turn our attention to the teams that allowed the most runs in 2014.
Last year, teams allowed an average of 659 runs scored on the year. Meanwhile, the bottom five clubs allowed at least 740 runs last season and they all had ERAs of 4.26 or higher. We’ll take a look at those bottom five teams and see what they’ve done to improve their pitching and defense so far this offseason. Team name links go to a summary of the moves on MLBTR’s Transaction Tracker and 2014 runs allowed totals are in parentheses.
- Rockies (818 runs allowed, 4.84 team ERA) – The Rockies haven’t done a whole lot to improve their pitching situation so far this winter, though they’ve been connected to a handful of starters. Kyle Kendrick, 30, turned in a career-high 199 innings in 2014 and his career 46.1% groundball rate is of interest to Colorado. Kevin Correia is also on Colorado’s radar as a fifth starter and signing him likely wouldn’t break the bank. Aaron Harang has also been connected to the Rockies, but he doesn’t fit the bill as a ground ball pitcher. Brett Anderson, who had a 61% groundball rate, left them and joined the Dodgers in free agency. The Rockies have talked with the Mets about Dillon Gee, but we haven’t heard much on that front lately.
- Twins (777 runs allowed, 4.57 team ERA) – The Twins, on the other hand, made a significant addition to their rotation last month when they signed Ervin Santana to a four-year, $55MM deal. Later on, Minnesota added reliever Tim Stauffer on a one-year, $2.2MM contract to help fortify the bridge to Glen Perkins, though he could also be called upon to make a spot start. Brayan Villarreal, who was signed to a split contract, and Rule 5 pick J.R. Graham could also be featured in the bullpen.
- Rangers (773 runs allowed, 4.49 team ERA) – The Rangers have been modest in their moves to updgrade their pitching: re-signing Colby Lewis, acquiring left-hander Ross Detwiler in a trade with the Nationals, and signing free agent reliever Kyuji Fujikawa. Detwiler will be given an opportunity to make the rotation, but could wind up in the bullpen while Fujikawa has only thrown 25 innings over the past two seasons due to Tommy John surgery. The Rangers have been linked to ex-Brave Brandon Beachy, who missed all of 2014 after undergoing his second TJ surgery and isn’t expected back on the mound until mid-season, at the earliest. The Rangers did meet with James Shields during the Winter Meetings and did make an offer to Justin Masterson before he signed with the Red Sox, but otherwise seem content to settle for minor league depth signings and waiver claims.
- White Sox (758 runs allowed, 4.29 team ERA) – GM Rick Hahn has been extremely aggressive in rebuilding the White Sox’s staff adding Jeff Samardzija to the top of the rotation with Chris Sale and Jose Quintana and fixing the bullpen with the free agent signings of closer David Robertson and lefty Zach Duke. The White Sox also traded for left-hander reliever Dan Jennings. Speaking of lefties, Carlos Rodon, the third overall selection in last year’s amateur draft, is waiting in the wings and could make his MLB debut once the service time window passes on obtaining the extra year of team control.
- Diamondbacks (742 runs allowed, 4.26 team ERA) – New GM Dave Stewart has chosen the trade route to bolster Arizona’s pitching acquiring Jeremy Hellickson from the Rays, Robbie Ray from the Tigers in the Didi Gregorius three-way trade, and right-handers Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster from the Red Sox in the Wade Miley deal. Stewart acknowledged last month internal discussions were held regarding free agent top-of-the-rotation starters Max Scherzer and James Shields, but a decision has yet to be made whether to join the bidding as the Diamondbacks may wait until next offseason to flex their financial resources. Reinforcements could come mid-season with the return of Bronson Arroyo and Patrick Corbin, both of whom are recovering from Tommy John surgery. Top prospect Archie Bradley, who will likely start the season at Triple-A, could also be a factor in 2015.