What each MLB team should focus on this offseason
A few preliminary moves have been made so far this offseason in the MLB, but we all know things don’t really start to heat up until December. With the month of giving upon us, let’s take a look at each team and what their top priority regarding their roster should be between now and February 21st.
Boston Red Sox: Don’t change anything
When you win 108 games on your way to a World Series, you really want to keep the roster turnover to a minimum. They did a great job quickly resigning World Series MVP Steve Pearce, but the runner-up for that award (Nathan Eovaldi) is hitting the free market as well as fellow reliever Joe Kelly and rotation mainstay Drew Pomeranz. Boston would be wise to present offers to all three of these pitchers and keep their championship team intact.
New York Yankees: Figure out shortstop
While Didi Gregorius has certainly played like an All-Star his past two seasons in the Bronx, he may be the odd man out on next year’s team. Gregorius is out for at least part of the 2019 season as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, and with him being set to hit the free agent market after next season and backup shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria already on the market, the Yankees may want to find his replacement now. Manny Machado is the most attractive option and the Yankees most likely wouldn’t mind picking up the price tag, but cheaper players like Jean Segura (available via trade), Jose Iglesias and Freddy Galvis would do the job.
Tampa Bay Rays: Nelson Cruz
I think it’s pretty obvious. Just Google his name.
Toronto Blue Jays: Starting Pitching
Here begins the first of many teams that qualify for “in desperate need of starting pitchers”. The Blue Jays have always had a good bullpen but have never been able to supplement it with a competent rotation, and now is the time to strike. They probably won’t be in play for the big names and even former Jay J.A Happ is a little out of their range, but with a list of starters too long to spell out available on the market Toronto should direct some serious funds towards fixing this problem.
Baltimore Orioles: Acquire any sort of talent whatsoever
In all seriousness, starting pitching is probably the Orioles’ darkest of dark spots. As mentioned above, there are plenty of starters out there, and with a payroll mostly consisted of Minor Leaguers Baltimore certainly has the money to attract a few.
Cleveland Indians: Lose as little as possible
We all know Cleveland is trying to trim its payroll while remaining competitive, and the obvious best way to do that is to trim as little as possible. That started with the dumping off of catcher Yan Gomes to the Nationals, and the consensus is that the Tribe will also move one of their top three starting pitchers (though most likely not Carlos Carrasco, as they picked up his option for 2019). Unfortunately their two weakest areas last year (outfield and the bullpen) also happen to be the two areas where they have the most free agents, and if they can’t keep at least Michael Brantley and a reliever or two then they may have cut too much to continue winning.
Minnesota Twins: Talent
Where to begin...the Twins may not have been horrible last year (78-84) but if they don’t watch out they’ll be in serious trouble. The only infield spot that is secure is third base with Miguel Sano, and even he proved to be a big question mark last year. Tack on the fact that their bullpen is a mosh of guys other teams didn’t want and you find a team that justs needs any sort of boost.
Detroit Tigers: Shortstop
Whether it’s resigning Iglesias or finding another option on the market, the Tigers need to address the future of their shortstop position as the rest of their young players start to develop into a hopefully winning core. They could also use a power bat, but securing the future is most important when your team is so young.
Chicago Whites Sox: Starting Pitching
For the umpteenth year in a row, people are picking the White Sox to emerge from their rebuild and provide the South Side with the dynamic baseball team it has wanted for so long. With multiple options at each position given their youngins and prospects, Chicago should focus on adding experienced veterans who can hold down the rotation and make developing the position players the main priority. There were lots of vets who had down years that would come cheap (i.e Lance Lynn, anyone from the Rangers) and Chicago should keep their eye on all of them.
Kansas City Royals: Starting Pitching
Similar to the Tigers, Kansas City has an intriguing group of young position players who should develop over the coming years. However, their starting pitching (and really their pitching overall) was abysmal last year, and any sort of addition couldn’t be worse. Expect them to be in on lower-level guys like when they signed Ian Kennedy.
Houston Astros: Get your pen out
They don’t need anything right now but...the Astros are walking into dangerous territory with multiple of their All-Stars set to hit free agency SOON. They can’t resign or extend them all but they will certainly need to try and retain as much of that 2017 championship roster as possible.
Oakland Athletics: Starting Pitching
Somehow the A’s managed to piece together a rotation good enough to supplement their electric offense and defense as they rode to 97 wins, but it’s unlikely lightning will strike twice. With their options being limited to guys who were either in the Minors a year ago or are still there, the A’s will have to take a hard look at some of the cheaper starters available.
Seattle Mariners: Prepare for the future
Now that the Cano-Diaz trade has been announced and with the James Paxton trade coming a few days ago, the Mariners are signalling full rebuild mode (undoubtedly a very hard pill to swallow for GM Jerry Dipoto). So, in the true spirit of a full rebuild, Seattle should look to sell some of its veterans (possibly Jean Segura, Mike Leake) for prospects that can help it down the road when they are ready to “break” their Playoff drought again.
Los Angeles Angels: Starting Pitching
Another team mired in mediocrity, the Angels have needed starting pitching since they were formed. The first step to forming a contender around Mike Trout is putting together a staff that can last the season and losing Garrett Richards to free agency is not a good start. We all know there’s plenty of options out there and the Angels certainly have the money, now it’s just about somehow attracting potential free agents signees to Orange County.
Texas Rangers: Starting Pitching
Most of their starters flopped last year and are now free agents, so they’re not necessarily in the best position. Their overall roster is brimming with young talent but they’ve never had great pitching, something they need to address if they want to slowly climb back into contention.
Atlanta Braves: Right Field
Recent import Adam Duvall is their current option with Nick Markakis being a free agent. While a reunion with Markakis would work great, the Braves might look to go younger, and reports are they don’t see Duvall as the man. Gerardo Parra is always a consistent hitter and Andrew McCutchen would bring a nice mix of experience and talent, but the Braves might stay in-house for this one.
Washington Nationals: Second Base
After trading away Daniel Murphy last season, the Nats were left with Wilmer Difo manning second base. Difo struggled to produce much offensively and Washington would prefer to use him as a utility man/backup infielder, so they will be in the market for a second baseman. Murphy is a free agent, but in addition there’s All-Stars Jed Lowrie and D.J Lemahieu as well as PLENTY of other guys who can produce on both sides of the ball.
Philadelphia Phillies: Bryce Harper
It’s a failure at this point if Philly doesn’t at least get Harper.
New York Mets: Just find a way to stay healthy
For years now, the Mets have had a talented enough roster to compete but, save for 2015, have never been able to stay healthy. Yoenis Cespedes will be out for a chunk of the season, but everyone else looks good (including the recently-acquired Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz). New York needs to do WHATEVER they can to keep their roster in one piece (short of PEDs of course).
Miami Marlins: TRADE J.T REALMUTO
Listen, I hate when teams completely phone it in and trade every good player they have, but this is getting ridiculous. Miami has already traded over half their roster, and Realmuto has stated multiple times that he will never sign another contract with them. His trade value is never going to be higher and it makes no sense to hold onto him for another year/year and a half. We all know there’s a long line of suitors…
Milwaukee Brewers: Keep it going
They are sound across the board and proved this season that they are for real. Sure, they could use some upgrades at some positions but with a team noted for their frugality it’s doubtful they’ll spend much, if anything, this offseason.
Chicago Cubs: Same as the Brewers?
They are a very similar team to the Brewers (except for their much larger payroll), and their priority should be the same: keep your roster together.
St. Louis Cardinals: Trade Jose Martinez
Sure he’s a great hitter, but his horrific defense and unclear fit on this roster make him an easy trade candidate. Teams would line up out the door to acquire the career .309 hitter, especially AL teams who would love to turn him into a DH.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Shortstop
That Chris Archer trade was so stupid!...But anyways, the Buccos need a shortstop to complete an otherwise sound roster and we already know there’s options. I really like Jose Iglesias here just because he resembles a more talented Jordy Mercer and he fits their identity, but any of the free agents (like the shortly-tenured Pirate Adeiny Hechavarria) would work fine.
Cincinnati Reds: Starting Pitching
They may keep Matt Harvey around, but we all know who he is now. They’re very high on Dallas Keuchel, but what pitcher would willingly sign to pitch in that ballpark? They only have four starters listed on their depth chart right now, so their best bet is to go after the cheaper starters on the market with some serious money that could (maybe) overcome the team’s poor record and location.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Manny Machado
This goes down as a laughable trade if L.A can’t retain Manny.
Colorado Rockies: Catcher
Yeah yeah, I know they have a few position players who are either leaving or washed up (cough cough Ian Desmond) but with all the prospects they have they’ll be fine. Chris Iannetta is the current option at catcher, so you know there’s room for improvement. They could possibly use all those prospects to try and reason with the Marlins or they could turn to a catching market that includes Yasmani Grandal, Wilson Ramos, Martin Maldonado and a ton of other capable guys.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Decide what you’re going to be
Arizona is in that dangerous middle ground as a team right now where they are most likely going to be very mediocre (just like last year). They can either keep their current roster and add a few free agents, thereby reinserting their name into the NL West ring, or (more wisely) they could begin their rebuild. Paul Goldschmidt and Zack Greinke have drawn significant trade interest and both would likely net huge hauls in return. With so many key players becoming free agents (Patrick Corbin, A.J Pollock, Brad Boxberger, etc.) the D-Backs would be wise to look towards the future.
San Francisco Giants: Outfield
This has never been a strong suit for the Giants, and now they’re just running out Minor Leaguers to pass the time. Any breathing outfielder on the market would represent a huge upgrade for San Francisco, and with their willingness to spend every year they should be aggressive.
San Diego Padres: Relief Pitching
I would go with starting pitching just based off their roster but the Padres seem content with their young starters. Their bullpen was a huge plus last season, but with some key pieces leaving and others sure to regress it would be smart to stock up on as many free agent relievers as they can. San Diego is almost ready to emerge from its rebuild, and a good bullpen covers all sins.