MLB Free Agency: 5 Teams Still Looking to Fill a Hole as Spring Training Opens

Colton KokrdaCorrespondent IFebruary 20, 2012

MLB Free Agency: 5 Teams Still Looking to Fill a Hole as Spring Training Opens

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    With pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training and the rest of the team soon to follow, the offseason in baseball has finished.

    There were many unexpected twists and turns this offseason; however, more work is still needed to be done by multiple teams.

    Here is a list of five teams that still have a hole or two to fill at the beginning of training camp.

No. 5: Oakland Athletics

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    The Oakland Athletics enter the season with an entirely different looking team to place on the field. They traded away two of their pitchers in Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez and got back a pretty decent haul in both deals, especially the Gonzalez deal.

    The Athletics also traded away closer Andrew Bailey to the Boston Red Sox and helped fill their main void by injecting their outfield with youth. They also signed Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes to a contract last week.

    Their main hole now remains at the DH slot. 

    Recent reports have Manny Ramirez signing with the A's relatively soon, so look for the A's to close up their last remaining hole relatively soon.

No. 4: Boston Red Sox

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    Ever since the New York Yankees landed Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda, it has been stated that the Boston Red Sox have a need to improve their rotation in order to compete.

    According to WEEI.com's Rob Bradford (via MLBTradeRumors.com), the Red Sox appear to have their roster set heading into spring training.

    However, depending how things go in spring training, that could all change very quickly.

    As little as three weeks ago, the BoSox were connected to multiple starting pitchers, most notably Edwin Jackson and Roy Oswalt. Now that Jackson has signed with the Nationals, there is the possibility for Oswalt to still sign with the Red Sox this season to help strengthen the rotation.

No. 3: Texas Rangers

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    One of the other teams that lost a major part of their rotation this offseason was the Texas Rangers. CJ Wilson signed a huge deal with the LA Angels this offseason, leaving the Rangers without a key piece of their rotation.

    The Rangers have been linked to Roy Oswalt as well. With Oswalt still on the market, there is a chance that he could sign with a team soon and has interest in pitching for Texas.

No. 2: New York Yankees

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    Now that the Yankees have finalized their trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates to get rid of AJ Burnett, they have some extra cash to spend. Their main priorities are to fill their DH slot with a left-handed bat to complement Andruw Jones and to fill the bench.

    ESPN's Buster Olney tweeted that the Yankees have agreed to a deal with Raul Ibanez this morning.

    The Yankees also have interest in bringing back Eric Chavez to serve as a bench player; however, some reports indicate there may not be enough money for the Yankees to sign both Ibanez and Chavez.

No. 1: Washington Nationals

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    With the retirement of Mike Cameron this past weekend, the Washington Nationals all of a sudden have an opening in center field.

    There are a few options that the Nationals could take. The first option is to search for a right-handed hitting outfielder to take Cameron's place. Unfortunately, there aren't any centerfielders left on the market, so they would likely have to sign a right fielder such as Xavier Nady (pure speculation on my part) and move Jayson Werth over to center.

    Another option is to have a position battle between Rick Ankiel or Roger Bernadina during spring training.

    The third option is, the Nationals could decide to bring Bryce Harper up to the majors for good and shift Jayson Werth over to center with Harper becoming the starting right fielder.

    The fourth option is trading for a centerfielder. The Nationals have long been linked to the Rays' BJ Upton. With Upton potentially coming up to the end of his time with the Rays, they may be looking to deal him and gain some sort of return on their investment.