2013 MLB Winter Meetings: Every Team’s Biggest Offseason Need
2013 MLB Winter Meetings: Every Team's Biggest Offseason Need
December 8 marks the start of the Winter Meetings and with that, the true hot stove season kicks off with a ton of free agents still to be signed and trades to be made.
Robinson Cano will find out if there are really any other suitors beyond the New York Yankees. Shin-Soo Choo's representatives will make a case for why their guy is the best center fielder in the game. Curtis Granderson will answer questions about his health and try to convince a team to give him a long-term deal. Guys who missed all of 2013, such as Corey Hart, will try to find the best place for a one-year deal so they can cash in next offseason.
There will also be plenty of trades made, some big, some small. Will Troy Tulowitzki be moved? Is there something behind the Matt Kemp rumors? Will the Chicago White Sox move some of their young pitchers to bolster their organization as a whole?
We have already seen Ian Kinsler, Prince Fielder, Jim Johnson and Doug Fister be traded, and if history tells us anything, the biggest moves are still to come.
The week from December 8-15 will greatly change the way we view every team in baseball and help form views on who are really the World Series favorites.
Before big moves can be made, weaknesses must be recognized. With that in mind, here is every team’s biggest offseason need.
Paul Goldschmidt was a real MVP candidate last year, driving in 125 runs and launching 36 home runs. The next highest home run total on the team was just 14. The Arizona Diamondbacks biggest need is clear: they need another power bat.
The Atlanta Braves need to find a way to say goodbye to Dan Uggla. Uggla didn’t even make the Braves' postseason roster, and it is time to move on. The Braves are wasting the best defensive shortstop by having his double play counterpart be a guy who is slow around the bag, and while he can hit home runs, he also struggles to hit the above the Mendoza line.
The Baltimore Orioles' biggest need might be the most unique. The Orioles need a big bat at DH to compete in the AL East. There are a couple big bats out there in free agency and via trade that can be had. They just need to pull the trigger and get a power right-handed bat to protect Chris Davis and fill the DH role.
Boston Red Sox
The World Series champions only have one position that is a glaring need: first base. Whether it be re-signing Jonny Gomes or giving Corey Hart a one-year deal, the Boston Red Sox' biggest need is a middle-of-the-order bat at first base.
The Chicago Cubs have a plethora of talent in the minor league system, and not much in the big leagues. The biggest need for the Cubs is a sense of direction. They have the chips, now it is just a matter of playing them right.
Chicago White Sox
The Chicago White Sox need a miracle. They have a major league roster that is bottom-10 in baseball in terms of talent, and a farm system that is as bad as there is in baseball. The White Sox need an influx of talent, and unfortunately that isn’t going to happen unless they are willing to trade young arms like Chris Sale. It is not pretty on the South Side, but the biggest need for the White Sox is everything. They need help at just about every position.
The Cincinnati Reds have one of the best rotations in baseball and a dominant bullpen. They have quality players at every position but one. As much fun as Billy Hamilton is to watch on the bases, he is far from a big league hitter. The Reds need to get a center fielder, and the best fit for them just might be the guy they had last season. That make re-signing Shin-Soo Choo the Reds' biggest need.
After losing Scott Kazmir and likely to lose Ubaldo Jimenez to free agency, the Cleveland Indians' need to add starting pitching. One answer could come from within if Trevor Bauer ever lives up to his hype, but even if he does, the Indians need an additional starter that can at the very least eat up quality innings.
The Colorado Rockies need to make a decision regarding the direction of the franchise. If they plan on reloading, the biggest need is to deal Troy Tulowitzki and get pieces to build for the future. If they want to try and make a run this season, they will need to continue adding to their roster after signing Justin Morneau to man first base.
Lock up Max Scherzer. With the Detroit Tigers trading away Prince Fielder and Doug Fister while adding Ian Kinsler, Steve Lombardozzi, and a couple young arms, the big moves appear to be finished. The external deals might be done, but the top priority at this point is to get Scherzer signed to a long-term deal.
The Houston Astros may be maddening to watch, but they are doing it right. They are developing an incredible amount of young talent that could make them contenders in just a couple years, but they will have at least one more season with a terrible big league product. The Astros' biggest offseason need is a patient fanbase.
Kansas City Royals
A reunion is needed. The Kansas City Royals are a really good team, but they still need another power bat, preferably in right field. If only someone that could fit that bill was out there ... oh wait, former Royal Carlos Beltran is. Beltran would be a great fit, and if the Royals can sign him and add another starting pitcher, they could challenge the Detroit Tigers for the AL Central title.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim need another quality starting pitcher. The best way to add one is to deal Mark Trumbo. The Angels have C.J. Cron in the minor leagues, who is surprisingly agile for his size at first base, and has a power bat. He can step into Trumbo's role after he is dealt.
Los Angeles Dodgers
An upgrade at third base might be a top priority for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but it is not the team’s biggest need. Instead, their biggest need is to pick three outfielders. The Dodger need to figure out what three guys they will be moving forward with and deal the odd man out. This is likely to be either Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier.
The Miami Marlins' biggest need is to destroy that monstrosity of a contraption in left center -- the one that sends cartoon fish through the air along the path of a strange rainbow on the rare occasion that a Marlins player manages to hit a ball out of the giant ballpark. On the field, they need a lot. They need a guy to man center, second and third, and also need to get rid of Logan Morrison and put someone new at first. The Marlins' biggest need is big league talent.
The Milwaukee Brewers could really use a couple of bullpen arms. There aren’t many quality arms in that bullpen, so signing one or two would be a big help. The biggest need, though, is a defensive-minded first baseman. Jean Segura has the chance to be special at short, but has had a history of throwing the ball away. Bringing in a defensive first baseman like a James Loney is a must for the Brewers.
The Minnesota Twins need offense. They made a splash in free agency with Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes, but there isn’t enough offense on that team to win many games. The Twins have a ton of top-level bats still a year or two away in the farm system, so they need some players to bridge the gap until the prospects are ready to make an impact.
New York Mets
The New York Mets need to end the Ike Davis/Lukas Duda experiment and get a real first baseman. They need more offense, and the first place they should upgrade is first base.
New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are an aging team and need to secure the lone player in his prime, Robinson Cano. It was once thought the Yankees were the only team that would be bidding on Cano, but it has come out that the Seattle Mariners are willing to offer Cano a contract in the $200 million range. The Yankees need to open up the bank because re-signing Cano is their biggest need.
The Oakland A’s biggest need is for people to keep doubting them. They have a bunch of quality starters and just added Jim Johnson to pitch in the ninth inning. They are experts at working a platoon, and have the guys to pull it off. If there is a need, it could be at short. Jed Lowrie is solid, but he is also a free agent after the year. They could deal him and try and bring in somebody that is under control for a longer stretch. The other guy they need to move is Brett Anderson. He is the pitcher they can get the most for on the open market, and also happens to be the second-highest paid pitcher in the rotation.
The Philadelphia Phillies' biggest need is youth. They keep getting older when they desperately need to get younger. Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Cliff Lee, and Carlos Ruiz are well into their decline, so what did the Phillies do? Add Marlon Byrd. It is time for the Phillies to admit they are over the hill and make some moves to add young talent.
The Pittsburgh Pirates could really use a new shortstop. They had a winning season and made the playoffs for the first time in two decades in 2013, and should only be better in 2014 if they get an upgrade at short. There really aren’t many out there, but if they can get Rafael Furcal on a one-year deal, they may become instant division favorites.
San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres have talent at every position, but none that are elite. That big-time player is exactly what they need. Their pitching staff is pretty good, but they desperately need a star bat if they want to compete.
San Francisco Giants
The San Francisco Giants need a do-over. They have spent nearly $20 million on Tim Lincecum and Tim Hudson, two guys well beyond their prime, and neither at anywhere near a discount. The Giants need the offseason to start over so they can rethink both those moves.
The Seattle Mariners have the arms in the organization to have as good a rotation as one could ask for. What they really need is a difference-maker. They are reportedly interested in Robinson Cano, which would be a great add. It doesn’t matter who it is, but they need one of the top offensive players available either via trade or free agency.
St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals' biggest need is for opening day to be here already. The trade of David Freese opens up everyday playing time for Kolten Wong and upgrades them at their weakest position, center field, with the addition of Peter Bourjos. They need to decide how their various roster pieces will shuffle out this offseason.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Tampa Bay Rays are having a very Rays-type offseason. They have re-signed Jose Molina and traded for Ryan Hanigan and Heath Bell, which secures two of their needs. The biggest need on the roster would be at first base, but the franchise's biggest need overall is to figure out what to do with David Price. They could look to handle both at the same time if they can find a team with a top first base prospect willing to take Price and sign him to a long-term deal.
The Texas Rangers were able to add a middle-of-the-rotation bat in Prince Fielder this offseason and opened up an everyday spot for Jurickson Profar. The only real need is another outfielder. Currently, their depth chart gives the job to Michael Choice, an underperforming first-round pick by the Oakland A’s who isn’t they type of guy that will help lead the Rangers to a division title.
Toronto Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays' biggest need is a tie. They need to improve and narrow down their rotation. Currently, their depth chart is seven pitchers long at starter, and only about three of them should even be in a big league rotation. The other huge need is second base. There really aren’t many options at second on the free agent market, so they may need to make a deal to improve that spot.
The Washington Nationals may be the World Series favorites after adding Doug Fister to their rotation, and really don’t have many massive needs. The one need they do have is for Ryan Zimmerman's right arm to become accurate again. Zimmerman began throwing the ball all over the diamond in 2013, causing the word “yips” to be thrown around. The Nationals need that the term to never be mentioned again.