One Gift Every MLB Team's Fans Want for Christmas
With Christmas now just 10 days away, each MLB team's fans have likely put together their wish lists for their favorite team.
In most cases, it includes a World Series title. For many, that's more of a desperate hope than a legitimate wish.
Here is one wish for each team that fans likely have on their list. Since winning the World Series tops every list, we'll go with the next-best gift.
Arizona Diamondbacks: A Return to Form for Justin Upton
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Now that Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton is apparently safe from being traded away, fans would absolutely love to see the talented slugger return to his 2011 form.
Upton hit just .280 with 17 home runs and 67 RBI last season, a year after a career season in which he slugged 31 homers with 88 RBI and an .898 OPS.
Atlanta Braves: Restored Health and a Big Year from Catcher Brian McCann
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Last season, Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann struggled mightily, hitting just .230 with 20 home runs and 67 RBI.
It was revealed that McCann was playing through shoulder pain that required surgery at the end of the season to repair a torn labrum.
McCann was a perennial All-Star and Silver Slugger Award winner before last season. While he is likely to miss the beginning of the season, fans are hoping that he returns to form and continues being a leader in the Braves' offense upon his return.
Baltimore Orioles: A Healthy and Productive Second Baseman
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In 2012, Baltimore Orioles second basemen combined to hit just .213 with a .273 on-base percentage. Because of injuries that have sidelined All-Star Brian Roberts for the past three seasons, the O's have been forced to use an assortment of substitutes to take his place.
For next season, Orioles fans would like nothing better than to see someone step up, stay healthy and be productive at that position, whether it be Roberts or anyone else.
Roberts is healthy right now, a good sign considering the woes of previous seasons. Whether he remains that way is the question that remains to be answered.
Boston Red Sox: A Season with No Drama
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Over the course of the past two seasons, the Boston Red Sox have been engaged in what can only be compared to a soap opera.
Between the epic collapse in September 2011, and the finger-pointing that followed, and last season's drama with former manager Bobby Valentine, fans have had more than their fill.
While restoring the team to greatness is on top of every fan's Christmas list, a season with far less drama—preferably none—would likely be No. 2 on their list.
Chicago Cubs: Progress on Theo Epstein's Long-Term Plan
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In 2012, the Chicago Cubs suffered through their worst season since 1966. However, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein saw some good even while the team struggled.
Epstein talked about identifying and developing core players and staying away from short-term fixes if they jeopardize the long-term goal.
I also wake up every day and realize we lost 101 games and understand how painful that was for everybody, including me. That provides further motivation to get out of this position that we’re in. But I think there were a lot of positives. Our core, at least in my mind, went from one player to a half-a-dozen. If we can do that again in 2013 and we look up and have close to dozen players in that core, I’ll feel great about the overall health of the organization.
I also want to make the playoffs, so that’s a big challenge. So I’m really hoping we hit on a few guys this winter and we get off to a good start and we have one of those unexpected seasons.
Yes, Theo, that's tops on the fans' wish list as well.
Chicago White Sox: Bring Back A.J. Pierzynski
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The Chicago White Sox appear to be out of the running to re-sign free-agent catcher A.J. Pierzynksi, but that doesn't mean fans don't want him back.
Pierzynski may not be well-liked by many players or teams in Major League Baseball, but he's been popular and successful on the South Side.
Pierzynski is the player you love to hate. But for the White Sox, he's done everything they've asked of him. He has caught at least 100 games for 12 consecutive seasons, was a major part of the 2005 White Sox team that won the World Series and is coming off a career season.
For South Siders, what's not to like?
Cincinnati Reds: An MVP Performance from Joey Votto
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Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto put up monster numbers last season, and he missed close to two months of the season.
Had he put in a full season, he might have been hoisting his second MVP Award.
Next year, with Ryan Ludwick back in the fold and Shin-Soo Choo providing production at the top of the order, the Reds will be counting on their MVP first baseman to anchor the offense.
Votto won his MVP Award in 2010 when the Reds won their first division title in 15 years. Fans are hoping that Votto can stay healthy and continue playing MVP-caliber ball in leading the Reds back to the postseason and beyond.
Cleveland Indians: Find a New Owner
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Retired attorney and cable network kingpin Larry Dolan has owned the Cleveland Indians since 2000.
It's a safe bet to assume that most fans have penciled in a new owner of the team at the top of their Christmas list.
During his tenure, Dolan has overseen the trades of two Cy Young Award winners (CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee), has seen his team make only two playoff appearances (2001, 2007) and has seen attendance plummet year after year.
Not to mention the Indians aren't even close to being major players for the services of any top-flight free agent.
On Christmas morning, Indians fans would dearly love to wake up to see presents under the tree and a new owner taking over at 2401 Ontario Street.
Colorado Rockies: Any Pitcher Who Can Throw at High Altitudes
Pitchers like Kevin Correia who can pitch decently in rarified air is what Colorado Rockies fans want.
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If there is one thing Colorado Rockies fans would love to see on Christmas, it's a pitcher—or pitchers—who can actually be effective at Coors Field.
They lost out on free-agent pitcher Kevin Correia, who sports a 3.61 career ERA at Coors Field. Correia signed a two-year, $10 million contract with the Minnesota Twins.
At this point, Rockies fans will settle for any living, breathing body that can at least give their team a fighting chance.
Detroit Tigers: A Gift-Wrapped Closer
Would Tigers fans like to see Rafael Soriano gift-wrapped with a pretty bow on Christmas morning?
The Detroit Tigers have taken steps to get closer to their goal of winning a World Series title, the first in Motown since 1984.
The signings of Torii Hunter and Anibal Sanchez clearly get them closer to that goal, but Tigers fans would no doubt love to see one more present under the tree—a quality closer.
The Tigers have maintained that they intend to use an internal candidate to replace Jose Valverde.
But, hey, it's Christmas. Fans can at least wish for what they want, right?
Houston Astros: A Big Puma Under the Tree
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The Houston Astros are still in search of a designated hitter as they make their way to the American League West next season.
During their search, they have been in touch with former Astro and hometown hero Lance Berkman.
Berkman spent the first 11-plus years of his career in Houston. While his lower body may be fragile, the bat still plays.
Astros fans may have to look forward to a long season, but it could be made a bit easier with Berkman's bat in the lineup every day.
Kansas City Royals: Find Fountain of Youth for Frank White and Put Him at Second
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The Kansas City Royals have put together a squad of young position players who are primed to lead them in the foreseeable future.
Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Salvador Pena and Lorenzo Cain team with veterans Alex Gordon and Billy Butler to form a solid nucleus for the Royals' offense.
However, second base is another story.
No one has been able to take a stranglehold on the position due to injuries or poor performance.
There's a former Royals second baseman sitting in the TV booth who must cringe every time he watches any one of a group of players who don't come close to performing like him.
Frank White needs a magic elixir that takes him back to the age of 30 or so. That would certainly solve the second-base issue.
Maybe Royals fans can ask Santa Claus to consult a chemist.
Los Angeles Angels: A Magical Season from New Triumverate of Hitters
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The Los Angeles Angels are going into battle next season with a trio of hitters that rival the best in history.
Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and the newly acquired Josh Hamilton don't just give the Angels a legitimate shot at a World Series, they have the potential to become the best hitting trio in baseball history.
For Angels fans, they can only hope the trio puts up a magical season. It will make up for the Angels' inability to land Zack Greinke and other upgrades for the starting rotation.
Los Angeles Dodgers: A Healthy Outfield
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The Los Angeles Dodgers added the one piece they wanted, signing Zack Greinke to join Clayton Kershaw at the top of the starting rotation.
Through many other deals over the past five months, the Dodgers seemingly have everything they wanted and more.
Now, they just need one extra little thing—good health, especially for their outfield.
Center fielder Matt Kemp suffered through hamstring injuries and shoulder and knee issues after a collision with the Coors Field wall in late August.
Left fielder Carl Crawford was first felled by a bad wrist and then underwent Tommy John surgery.
Right fielder Andre Ethier has been banged up in various ways over the past two seasons.
When healthy, the Dodgers outfield is potent, fast and athletic. Dodgers fans can only hope they take their vitamins every day and remain injury-free.
Miami Marlins: A New Owner, Please!
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Miami Marlins fans have watched with chagrin as team owner Jeffrey Loria has signed off on dismantling a team supposedly built to win last season.
With right fielder Giancarlo Stanton practically the only top-flight player left standing after the dust finally settled, the fans' chagrin turned into anger.
They've certainly witnessed this in the past, when former owner Wayne Huzienga pulled off the same type of fire sale after winning a World Series title in 1997. They've seen it from Loria as well, systematically dismantling the '03 World Series team over time as well.
When Christmas morning arrives, if Loria is still in place as the owner, he'll likely be the only person in Dade County who is happy about that fact.
Milwaukee Brewers: Santa, Another Starting Pitcher, Please
With Ryan Dempster going to the Boston Red Sox, the Milwaukee Brewers are still searching for that elusive quality starter.
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The Milwaukee Brewers have Yovani Gallardo in place at the top of the rotation, with several youngsters ready to chip in as well.
Another quality starter would be a nice gift for Christmas.
The Brewers made a play for Ryan Dempster, but the Boston Red Sox snatched him up instead.
With the inventory of available quality pitching quickly dwindling, Brewers fans would love to see management act quickly before the cupboard is bare.
Minnesota Twins: A Healthy Year from the M & M Boys
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The Minnesota Twins are working on developing a stronger pitching staff—certainly understandable given their poor showing last season.
So far, they've brought in Kevin Correia and young fireballer Alex Meyer, and have Scott Diamond and Cole De Vries returning as well. It's a work in progress, but they're getting there.
The offense took a hit with the loss of Denard Span and Ben Revere, both of whom provided solid production last season.
It will be even more important for the two homegrown stars, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, to stay healthy next season.
The Twins may have other moves up their sleeve before spring training opens, but Mauer and Morneau are going to help drive the offense in 2013. Staying on the field will be of utmost importance.
New York Mets: A New Minority Partner, or Maybe a New Owner?
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As of Saturday night, it appeared that the Toronto Blue Jays were close to a deal that would have them acquiring New York Mets starting pitcher R.A. Dickey.
The Mets were unable to negotiate a new contract extension with Dickey, the reigning Cy Young Award winner.
The Mets can say all the want that they're trying to accumulate younger players with an eye toward the future, but this is all about the failures of ownership and management.
Signing David Wright was almost a necessary evil. Owner Fred Wilpon would have been ridden out of town on a rail had Wright not signed.
But now, the Mets' best pitcher is likely gone, and money absolutely has everything to do with it. If the Mets are saying otherwise, they're lying.
It's time for the Mets to either find minority investors who can infuse the team with cash, or for Wilpon to put the team up for sale.
Mets fans are likely putting that at the top of their Christmas list.
New York Yankees: Alex Rodriguez to Walk Away Quietly into the Sunset
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The MLB winter meetings started with the news of the hip injury to New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, requiring a second operation in four years.
It necessitated the need to sign another third baseman, which was done last week when the Yankees inked Kevin Youkilis to a one-year, $12 million contract.
They're now paying $40 million for third base alone.
At this point, Yankees fans would like nothing better than to see A-Rod quietly retire and go away. At 37 years old, it's a safe bet to assume that he'll never be the player he once was.
Oakland Athletics: A Short-Term Shortstop Under the Tree Would Be Nice
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Last June, the Oakland Athletics drafted Addison Russell, a player they strongly believe can be the shortstop of the future.
However, in the short term, they're currently stuck without an option.
Stephen Drew is still out there, however. The two sides continue to talk as well.
A nice short-term deal would be nice gift-wrapped present for Christmas morning.
Philadelphia Phillies: A Left Fielder Under the Tree
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The Philadelphia Phillies have done some re-stocking of their own. Thus far, they've solved their issues in center field with Ben Revere and the back of their starting rotation with John Lannan.
They also bagged a new setup man in Mike Adams.
Now, all they need to do is figure out what to do in left field.
Revere and Domonic Brown don't currently have a third mate in the outfield, unless John Mayberry or Darin Ruf is the answer.
One more quality pickup by general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. just might round out a solid offseason by the Phillies and satisfy their fans as well.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Give Clint Barmes a Revitalization Pill
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The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired shortstop Clint Barmes last season, hoping he could provide the type of production he had with the Colorado Rockies in 2009, when he hit 23 homers with 76 RBI.
Instead, Barmes fell short, hitting just .229 with eight homers and 45 RBI.
Instead of going after another shortstop—and there isn't much left—Pirates fans would like to see Barmes return to form.
Unlikely, but it would be a nice gift.
San Diego Padres: One More Impact Starter
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The San Diego Padres have been strangely quiet this offseason, with no major transactions to speak of.
Padres fans would like to see that change.
On Christmas morning, fans would love to have another starting pitcher delivered by Santa.
Recent reports have the Padres looking at Edwin Jackson. Considering his durability and the spacious real estate at Petco Park, Jackson just might be the right gift.
San Francisco Giants: A Season Without a Player Being Suspended
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Last year, the San Francisco Giants had to deal with suspensions of two key contributors.
First, reliever Guillermo Mota was hit with a 100-game suspension for a second positive test for PED use.
Then, left fielder Melky Cabrera was slapped with a 50-game ban for his positive test for elevated levels of testosterone.
And that doesn't count all the previous suspicions about Barry Bonds and his alleged steroid use.
It would be nice to see the Giants competing for another World Series title without all of the drug-related drama.
Seattle Mariners: Santa, Find Us a Right Fielder
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The Seattle Mariners are still left without a right fielder. They'd prefer that player to have an impact bat.
Fans are clamoring for more offense. Considering the Mariners' last-place finish in runs scored in the American League the past four seasons, they should be.
Nick Swisher is still available. So is Michael Bourn, for that matter. If Bourn were acquired, the Mariners could move Franklin Gutierrez to right field.
Santa, just get an outfielder who can produce runs.
St. Louis Cardinals: A Healthy Elbow for Rafael Furcal
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The St. Louis Cardinals suffered a major loss last season when they lost shortstop Rafael Furcal to an elbow injury in late August.
Reports have been positive about Furcal's rehabilitation. Last month, an MRI revealed that the ligament in Furcal's right elbow has completely healed and he should be ready for the start of spring training.
A healthy Furcal in the lineup can still wreak havoc, even at the age of 35. A full year of good health would be nice.
Tampa Bay Rays: A Quick Maturation Process for Wil Myers
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The Tampa Bay Rays got the bat they wanted by acquiring top prospect Wil Myers from the Kansas City Royals for James Shields and Wade Davis.
Myers hit 37 home runs with 109 RBI between Double-A and Triple-A last season in the Royals' organization.
Myers could start the season in Triple-A, depending on how he performs in spring training. Fans are hoping he starts raking from the moment he puts on a Rays uniform.
Texas Rangers: Find Life Without Josh
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The Texas Rangers first lost Mike Napoli to the Boston Red Sox. Then they lost Michael Young to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Now, they're dealing with the loss of their offensive leader, Josh Hamilton.
Losing one major contributor can be hard enough to replace. However, losing three, including an MVP Award winner and a batting champ, can be darn near impossible to overcome.
The Rangers will need to rebuild and find runs somewhere. Fans are hoping that life without Josh and company doesn't lead to the lean years suffered before Hamilton arrived.
Toronto Blue Jays: Team Chemistry
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The Toronto Blue Jays have made several changes since the season ended.
The new faces in town include Melky Cabrera, Emilio Bonifacio, Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buerhle, John Buck and Maicer Izturis.
Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey could be added to that list shortly as well.
Not to mention that John Gibbons replaced John Farrell as manager.
With any type of major change on a ballclub, chemistry can take time to develop.
Just ask the Miami Marlins.
Blue Jays fans are hoping their new-look team can find that chemistry fast.
Washington Nationals: Bring Adam LaRoche Back on Board
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The Washington Nationals are still locked in negotiations with free-agent first baseman Adam LaRoche.
Manager Davey Johnson recently indicated that there were "positive signs" that LaRoche would be signed to a deal before Christmas.
Fans are hoping those signs lead to a contract by Christmas as well.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.