Every MLB Team’s Biggest Need Heading Into Spring Training
It has been one heck of an offseason and for some teams it has been an offseason to forget as we all saw the Miami Marlins implode its team, the New York Mets trade away an NL Cy Young award winner and the Boston Red Sox try, try and try to sign catcher Mike Napoli. The New York Yankees were not the same franchise as we have seen in the past either.
There are only two weeks left before pitchers and catchers report to Arizona and Florida for spring training. This is the best indication that baseball is ready to begin again and that the weather will be nicer and America’s pastime is ready to take aim at the year 2013.
Some teams in the offseason did not get the job done, however. The general managers and owners failed to meet some of the needs of each ball club. In this slideshow, I will examine what needs each team still has to meet in order to make the playoffs and even take the team to the next step and that is a World Series win.
By far, the San Francisco Giants are the best team coming into the season having re-signed all of the key members in their run to the World Series win in 2012, they’re second in this decade.
Somebody needs to lead this team either in the lineup or rotation. Arizona got younger during the offseason and now need someone that is going to lead this team to an NL West crown.
Chipper Jones is done so what will the Braves do at third base? Platoon Juan Francisco and Chris Johnson there. That will not help the Braves win the NL East. If there is one need to fill for Atlanta, it is the third base spot.
No. 5 Starter
The Orioles are a very well-rounded team. They do not need much help to get to the next level of play but consistency in the rotation would help a lot. Jair Jurrjens is injury prone and he may not be there for long.
Boston Red Sox
Ryan Kalish could have made a run for the starting spot to open the season but with his shoulder having problems, Kalish is doubtful for the start of the season. The Red Sox could also use a catcher after the Mike Napoli deal has not been finalized yet.
The Cubs did not grab anyone huge off the free agent market and will have to hope that they get big numbers from Alfonso Soriano and the players around him in 2013.
Chicago White Sox
Hitting For Average
Between guys like Adam Dunn and Alex Rios, the White Sox have people on the team that strikeout a lot. Chicago needs to acquire some people that can score runs and that can run the base paths well. If so, the AL Central Division could be their's for the taking.
The Reds are one of the most complete teams in baseball and are definitely a World Series contender. The team dropped three straight to the Giants in the NLDS and will need more consistent play from the team if they want to take the next step.
The Indians have a lot of young players in its lineup and a lot of guys just thrown together. Manager Terry Francona is going to have to find a person with that will take control and lead this team on the field and off.
The problem in the Rockies organization is with the rotation. The team is lacking in the starting department and that is why it will flounder in the division.
If there is one weakness I see the Tigers having, it is in the bullpen. The Tigers 'pen was responsible for almost losing the series to the Yankees in the ALCS. If Phil Coke is the long-term answer in the closer role, the setup man is going to have to be as phenomenal as he was.
The Astros are going to be bad for awhile if the players in the organization do not get their acts together. One of the best prospects in baseball, Jonathan Singleton, is suspended 50 games for testing positive for an illegal substance. That is something that just cannot happen if the Astros want to make a run.
Kansas City Royals
The Royals are going to have to rely on unproven relievers to take care of games in the late innings. There is no more Joakim Soria posting 40+ saves any more. Greg Holland will have to be the key man in that role this season.
Los Angeles Angels
The Angels have one of the most feared lineups in baseball but if those players are inconsistent this entire season, much like last season, there will be no reward for taking the risks it took in the last two offseasons.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are good but throwing together a bunch of big-time signees is not going to win a game. It takes lot to do and the Dodgers have a lot to work with. Trade some players for younger prospects and the Dodgers could work.
A Little Of Everything
Much like the Twins, the Marlins need a lot of help everywhere. The low-risk signings will not bring them to the next level and the rotation has not been thought about properly.
To my knowledge the Brewers team is not the same as it was a few years ago with Prince Fielder. Milwaukee's pitching has regressed and the organization has not made an effort to revamp its rotation.
A Little Of Everything
The Twins are young and inexperienced and they do not have a lot of pitching either. A trade for Vance Worley kept the rotation in neutral and the Twins need some upgrades all around.
New York Mets
The Mets did everything right this offseason. New York re-signed David Wright and traded R.A. Dickey. Now, they need to address the outfield and get rid of Mike Baxter and get someone worth mentioning in there.
New York Yankees
I do not think Austin Romine nor Francisco Cervelli are the answers for the Yankees' catching woes. The team will need to find another source of catching sometime during the season.
The A's have a lot of young stars in the rotation heading into the 2013 season. Without any real experience, the A's lack the pitching to get to the next level.
Carlos Ruiz was suspended 25 games for a positive amphetamines test. Right now Erik Kratz is the guy in there for Philadelphia but he is definitely not the key. Get some more maturity at the catcher position.
Building Around Andrew McCutchen
Andrew McCutchen is the best Pirates player since the days of the early 1990s. However, the Pirates need another power hitter to protect him in the lineup. Starling Marte will get a chance this season.
St. Louis Cardinals
Replacement For Jaime Garcia
The Cardinals are going to have a tough time to replace Jaime Garcia in the rotation as they have yet to find a viable replacement for him. Garcia brought seven wins in 20 starts to the Cardinals last season.
San Diego Padres
Protecting Chase Headley
Third baseman Chase Headley broke out last season but the Padres did not get anyone to protect him in the second spot in the lineup. Headley will be challenged to see if last season was just a fluke.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants have everyone from their 2012 World Series team and are poised to go for back-to-back titles. San Francisco cannot do any major reconstruction to the team or it will not work.
The Mariners traded away John Jaso in order to get Mike Morse but will have to rely on Jesus Montero who is not a proven everyday catcher to be that type of player in 2013. A nice veteran backup would help Seattle nicely.
Tampa Bay Rays
Not the biggest fan of Tampa Bay's catching situation with Jose Molina projected to be the starter at this point. The Rays are in a real situation without a catcher to start the season.
Trade Elvis Andrus
The Rangers have an important piece to the future in Jurickson Profar, however, the team still possesses Elvis Andrus at shortstop. Andrus is going to have to trade him at some point and they really missed out not trading him for Justin Upton or even snagging Mike Morse.
Toronto Blue Jays
If there is one thing you can say that the Blue Jays lack, it is leadership. The organization through a team together and are expecting it to mesh well. We already saw what happened in Miami when you try to do that and now most of the 2012 Marlins are in Toronto. We'll see what happens without the ability to mesh together.
I say the Nationals need a plan because the team has to decide, as always, what the decision for Stephen Strasburg is going to be. Will they let him pitch 200+ innings this season or will they sit him again? Expect another clash between manager and owner this season.