Updating All 30 MLB Teams' Biggest Need as Spring Training Ends
MLB teams are supposed to be able to solve almost all of their issues during spring training, but that is not always the case.
Teams are forced to deal with injuries to players or prospects not developing as expected, and they are left with a hole in their roster when the season begins.
Each team has an area that it is certainly looking to improve as the season begins. Many of these teams will go out and make trades to make their roster better before the trade deadline this year, others will sign free agents and some will not do anything.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Bullpen
There is a reason that the Arizona Diamondbacks won the NL West in 2011, and they return almost all of the players from that team. Arizona made a number of improvements by bringing in Trevor Cahill and Jason Kubel.
If there is one place that the Diamondbacks might look to improve as spring training winds down, it is in their bullpen.
Atlanta Braves: Shortstop
When Alex Gonzalez left the Atlanta Braves as a free agent this offseason, the team was put in a position where it needed to find a new shortstop.
Atlanta decided to let Tyler Pastornicky and Andrelton Simmons battle it out for the starting role. While one of these players is likely the Braves' shortstop of the future, neither should be starting in the majors right now.
Baltimore Orioles: Second Base
It is amazing that after Brian Roberts has played just 98 games over the past two years as the result of injuries, the Baltimore Orioles still are counting on him to be their starting second baseman.
Roberts is currently trying to recover from a concussion, and it is incredibly unlikely that he will play on Opening Day. Robert Andino will start in his place.
Boston Red Sox: Starting Pitching
The Boston Red Sox thought that they could convert Daniel Bard into a starter for the 2012 season, but that might not end up working out.
As a result of injuries, the back end of the Red Sox's starting rotation is not set in stone. Bard, Felix Doubront and Alfredo Aceves are fighting it out for two spots in the rotation.
Chicago Cubs: Starting Pitching
After teams get past the first three starters in the Chicago Cubs' starting rotation, there is not much for them to be concerned about.
The Cubs will have a fairly weak rotation in 2012, and they should look to improve it. Things may get worse before they get better if they deal Matt Garza.
Chicago White Sox: Starting Pitching
The Chicago White Sox are one of many teams on this list that could look to improve their starting rotation during the year.
Jake Peavy has not been a very reliable player over the past few seasons, and Chris Sale is transitioning to the rotation. Chicago should have brought in a veteran starter in case one of these two falters during the year.
Cincinnati Reds: Closer
It seemed as if the Cincinnati Reds would be set with Ryan Madson as their closer after they signed him in the offseason.
However, Madson tore a ligament in his elbow during spring training, and now he needs Tommy John surgery. The Reds will have to scramble to replace him.
Cleveland Indians: Starting Pitching
The Cleveland Indians were hoping that they could get a good year out of Fausto Carmona this season, and now they are uncertain when he will come to the United States as Roberto Hernandez Heredia.
Cleveland has a number of internal options for the last few spots in its rotation, but none of them are great. If the Indians have any chance of being competitive in the AL Central this year, they are going to need another starter.
Colorado Rockies: Third Base
It seems as if the Colorado Rockies will be going with Casey Blake as their third baseman to begin the year in 2012.
He may not end the year as the team's starter. Nolan Arenado will eventually take over, but he is a few years away, and the Rockies need a better short-term solution.
Detroit Tigers: Second Base
The fact that the Detroit Tigers were willing to give Brandon Inge a chance to win the starting second base role this spring says a lot about their confidence in Ryan Raburn.
There are not many flaws with the Tigers' team, which is why they are one of the favorites for the World Series. The fifth spot in the rotation is a bit of a concern for now, but it should be resolved.
Houston Astros: Everything
It is going to be a very long year for the Houston Astros, and they have a lot of positions that they could upgrade in 2012.
The Astros starting lineup could be very fluid this year, which is certainly not a recipe for success. This Astros team could be one of the worst teams in MLB history.
Kansas City Royals: Catcher
The Kansas City Royals were thrown for a loop when they found out that their starting catcher, Salvador Perez, needed knee surgery and would miss three months.
As a result of this, the Royals went out and traded for Humberto Quintero to play catcher along with Brayan Pena.
Los Angeles Angels: Bullpen
With the improvements that the Los Angeles Angels made to their team this year, they made themselves one of the favorites in the American League.
The Angels will have a very good lineup and a solid starting rotation, but their bullpen could be improved a little bit more.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Catcher
A.J. Ellis will likely be the starting catcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012. He is not a great option, but he is the best choice the Dodgers have.
Ellis is not the long-term solution for the Dodgers at catcher, but they will give him a long look this year.
Miami Marlins: Bullpen
The Miami Marlins had one of the best offseasons of any team in the major leagues, and the team has turned into a contender.
Adding Heath Bell was a good addition for the Marlins bullpen, but there is still room for improvement in Miami.
Milwaukee Brewers: First Base
Losing Prince Fielder to the Detroit Tigers was a huge hit for the Milwaukee Brewers this year. They are planning to go with Mat Gamel at first base as his replacement.
The Brewers will be trying to get back to the playoffs this year, and they may not be able to do so with Gamel at first base.
Minnesota Twins: Right Field
Two of the Minnesota Twins' starting outfielders in 2011, Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer, became free agents this winter and found new homes. This left the Twins with two big holes to fill.
Josh Willingham will be the Twins' left fielder, but they still need someone in right. Ben Revere, Trevor Plouffe and Chris Parmelee are all fighting it out for the starting job.
New York Mets: Center Field
Replacing Jose Reyes was going to be hard enough for the New York Mets, but it is not even their biggest concern right now.
The Mets have had a number of injuries to their potential center fielders. Scott Hairston, Andres Torres and Kirk Nieuwenhuis have gotten hurt, and now Matthew den Dekker has a chance to be the starter to begin the year.
New York Yankees: Bullpen
The American League East will once again be one of the most hotly contested divisions in baseball. One game could make a huge difference.
Oakland Athletics: Third Base
Scott Sizemore was supposed to be the starting third baseman for the Oakland Athletics. Those plans will not come to fruition this year since Sizemore tore his ACL.
Now the Athletics will need to choose between Josh Donaldson and Eric Sogard for the starting role.
Philadelphia Phillies: Second Base
The right side of the Philadelphia Phillies infield is likely not what the front office pictured when they were building the team for this year.
Ryan Howard will be missing time as he recovers from Achilles surgery, but the bigger concern for now is Chase Utley.
It seems as if Utley will miss Opening Day and Freddy Galvis will be his replacement. He might not be ready for the majors, and the Phillies might need to make a deal.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Shortstop
Clint Barmes has never been very consistent during his major league career, but the Pittsburgh Pirates are counting on him in 2012.
Barmes is penciled in as the team's starting shortstop. There is certainly room for the Pirates to improve at the position.
San Diego Padres: Bullpen
When all is said and done, the San Diego Padres bullpen may be in the top half of the majors when it comes to ERA.
However, some of the guys that are starting the year in the Padres pen won't finish the year there. Some of the improvements will come internally when pitchers such as Brad Boxberger are ready for the big leagues.
San Francisco Giants: Outfield
Two of the San Francisco Giants' projected starting outfielders, Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan, were not members of the team last year.
Cabrera is coming off a career year, and Pagan had a rough season in 2012. It is hard to know what to expect from them. Nate Schierholtz is the team's right fielder, and his production is decent at best for a starter.
Seattle Mariners: Shortstop
Right now, the Seattle Mariners will likely go with Brendan Ryan as their starting shortstop. He is not a great choice, but he is their best option.
The Mariners may go out on the trade market at some point to pick up a better starting shortstop.
St. Louis Cardinals: Starting Pitcher
The reigning World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals thought that Chris Carpenter would be their starter on Opening Day. That will not happen, as he is now out indefinitely.
Adam Wainwright will see his innings limited this year, so these two factors mean that the Cardinals could likely use another starter.
Tampa Bay Rays: Catcher
Even though the Tampa Bay Rays signed Jose Molina this winter, they apparently are still looking for another catcher.
There are not too many options for the Rays at the moment, so they might need to make do with the players that they have.
Texas Rangers: Bullpen
After getting to back-to-back World Series, it is not surprising that the Texas Rangers do not have too many concerns entering the year.
One area that the Rangers could improve is their bullpen. For the most part, the bullpen is solid, but there are one or two spots that could be improved.
Toronto Blue Jays: Starting Rotation
Dustin McGowan has been working his tail off to try to get back to the major leagues after missing both the 2009 and 2010 seasons and pitching only five games in 2011.
Now, McGowan has hurt himself once again. The Toronto Blue Jays could certainly use some insurance for their rotation.
Washington Nationals: Outfield
Apparently, the Washington Nationals did not believe that Bryce Harper was ready for the major leagues. They are going to go with either Rick Ankiel or Roger Bernadina in the outfield.
Neither of these players will likely last long if the Nationals are going to be a playoff contender this year.
The Nationals will need to improve their outfield by bringing up Harper or looking outside of the organization.