MLB Free Agency/Trades: All 30 Teams' Biggest Need Still Left Unaddressed

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2012

MLB Free Agency/Trades: All 30 Teams' Biggest Need Still Left Unaddressed

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    As the offseason forges on, team rosters are beginning to closer resemble what they will be like when the team takes the field on Opening Day.

    With each free agent who's signed and each trade that's pulled off, another hole is filled heading into the 2013 season.

    That said, the offseason is far from over, and most teams still have to address at least one area of need between now and the start of the season.

    Here's a quick overview of each team's biggest remaining need...

AL East

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    Baltimore Orioles: Power Hitter

    With the non-tendering of Mark Reynolds, the Orioles' team batting average will undoubtedly improve—but moving from him to Wilson Betemit in the starting lineup is a clear downgrade from a power standpoint.

    Boston Red Sox: Starting Pitching Depth

    The Red Sox already added Ryan Dempster to their rotation this offseason, but they're currently slated to rely on John Lackey as the No. 5 starter. He's over a year removed from Tommy John surgery, but he wasn't all that effective prior to the injury, and the team would be wise to invest in a backup plan.

    New York Yankees: Catcher

    While most expected the Yankees to bring back Russell Martin, he was instead signed away by the Pittsburgh Pirates. As a result, the Yankees are currently set to open the season with Chris Stewart and his .583 career OPS behind the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays: Designated Hitter

    The Rays have added a good deal to their offense already this season, adding Wil Myers and Yunel Escobar in trades and signing James Loney. However, they could stand to add another veteran bat to compete with Ryan Roberts for at-bats at DH. Roberts has decent pop, but he hit just .214 in 60 games with the Rays last season.

    Toronto Blue Jays: Right-Handed Setup Man

    It's hard to say the Blue Jays have any glaring needs, as they've practically added an entirely new roster this offseason. However, one area that could be addressed is the back end of the bullpen. Sergio Santos is coming off of shoulder surgery, and Steve Delabar is largely unproven.

    Casey Janssen will close, and Darren Oliver is a solid lefty option, but the team could use a proven right-handed setup man.

AL Central

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    Chicago White Sox: Right-Handed Setup Man

    The White Sox acquired Brett Myers from the Astros at the deadline last season to fill the eighth-inning role, but he is gone in free agency and looking to return to the starting rotation wherever he signs. Jesse Crain and Matt Thornton are solid veterans, but they could use another late-inning option to set up Addison Reed.

    Cleveland Indians: Power-Hitting Outfielder

    With their trade of Shin-Soo Choo, a move that was inevitable with his upcoming free agency, the Indians have a clear offensive void in the outfield, and the speedy Ezequiel Carrera is not the answer. With Michael Brantley currently slated to hit fifth, the team could certainly use another power hitter, and they've been linked to Nick Swisher, who would fill that void (h/t Buster Olney).

    Detroit Tigers: Closer?

    The Tigers have held to their stance that they'll fill the closer role internally, with flame-throwing prospect Bruce Rondon the front-runner to land the job. However, for a team looking to win it all, turning over ninth-inning duties to an unproven commodity, whether it's Rondon or someone else, seems like a risky proposition. Until Rafael Soriano signs somewhere, he has to at least be in the back of the Tigers' minds.

    Kansas City Royals: Second Base

    The Royals managed to build a lineup filled with homegrown—or at least internally cultivated—talent, but one hole remains at second base. Johnny Giavotella has not been the answer, and Christian Colon will likely need more seasoning in the minors before he's ready. For now it appears Chris Getz will fill the position, but the team could certainly do better.

    Minnesota Twins: Starting Pitcher

    The Twins have added Vance Worley and Kevin Correia already this offseason. Seeing as Scott Diamond was really the only viable starter last season, they should continue to search for rotation options. Middle infield remains an issue as well, but considering how thin the market is, the rotation is a more realistic target to shore up.

AL West

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    Houston Astros: Starting Pitcher

    With the signing of Carlos Pena, the Astros filled their biggest need and added a veteran power hitter to serve as DH in the middle of their lineup. The team could still look to sign a low-cost veteran starter. While they've added Alex White and Phil Humber, they are still without much in the way of proven starters on the roster.

    Los Angeles Angels: Starting Pitcher

    Gone from last year's rotation are Zack Greinke, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana, and thus far the Angels have replaced them with Joe Blanton and Tommy Hanson, but they could look to add a third starter this offseason. Garrett Richards is capable of stepping in as the fifth starter, but for a team looking to win it all, they may opt to go with a veteran.

    Oakland Athletics: None

    The signing of Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima shored up Oakland's biggest need, and as a low-budget team, its offseason moves are likely over. The A's have a solid young core both offensively and on the mound. Even with the Angels' addition of Josh Hamilton, they appear to be in a good position to contend for a postseason spot once again.

    Seattle Mariners: Offense

    It doesn't matter where it comes from, but the Mariners have to do something to improve their offense this offseason beyond signing Jason Bay. They've ranked last in the AL in runs scored and batting average each of the past three seasons, and their current projected lineup would have a solid chance of keeping that streak alive.

    Texas Rangers: A replacement for Josh Hamilton

    After missing out on their starting pitching targets of James Shields and Zack Greinke, the Rangers then watched Josh Hamilton sign with the division-rival Angels. In the wake of that move, they're left with a major hole in their lineup. While prospects Jurickson Profar and Mike Olt figure to see everyday at-bats and could certainly make an impact, adding an impact bat would definitely ease the loss of Hamilton.

NL East

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    Atlanta Braves: Left Field

    B.J. Upton was already signed to replace Michael Bourn, but the Braves have another hole to fill with the retirement of Chipper Jones. Their most likely approach will be signing a left fielder to allow them to move Martin Prado in to play third base. One interesting trade target could be Angels slugger Mark Trumbo (h/t David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution).

    Miami Marlins: Some reason for hope

    After gutting their team in a blockbuster trade with the Blue Jays, the Marlins enter the 2013 season with a roster that more closely resembles a minor league team than a major league roster. The fanbase is understandably disheartened.

    While Giancarlo Stanton is fun to watch, there aren't enough reasons for excitement for Marlins fans this coming season. Some sort of hope that they'll one day have a winner to watch in the stadium they helped fund would go a long way for the Marlins faithful.

    New York Mets: Outfielder

    The Mets outfield projects to have both Mike Baxter and Kirk Nieuwenhuis in the starting lineup this coming season. While they don't have much in the way of money to spend, they could still upgrade their lineup by signing someone like Cody Ross.

    Philadelphia Phillies: Outfielder

    After trading Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence during the season last year, the Phillies acquired Ben Revere from the Twins this offseason. However, their outfield remains a question mark, as John Mayberry Jr. and Domonic Brown are slated to start alongside Revere. Much like with the Mets, Cody Ross could be a fit as a somewhat low-cost power option.

    Washington Nationals: An Adam LaRoche decision

    The Nationals have filled their two biggest needs this offseason in trading for Denard Span to play center field and hit leadoff, and signing Dan Haren to replace the departed Edwin Jackson in the rotation. However, they could still bring back Adam LaRoche, which would likely trigger a trade of slugger Michael Morse. The longer they wait to sign LaRoche, the fewer teams there are to acquire Morse—if that is the route they decide to go.

NL Central

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    Chicago Cubs: Starting Pitcher

    The Cubs have signed Scott Feldman and Scott Baker to bolster the rotation so far this offseason, but Baker is expected to miss the first half of the season. The team could look to add another starter. If nothing else, the team showed its interest in adding another arm when it made a serious run at Anibal Sanchez before he re-signed with the Tigers.

    Cincinnati Reds: Nothing

    After trading for Shin-Soo Choo, the Reds roster is as complete top to bottom as any in the league. Aroldis Chapman is a question mark of sorts as he makes his move from the bullpen to the rotation, but Mike Leake is still around should he need to return to the bullpen.

    Re-signing Ryan Ludwick and Jonathan Broxton filled the team's other areas of need, and they're in good shape to defend their NL Central title with the roster they have in place.

    Milwaukee Brewers: Relief Pitching

    The Brewers had one of the worst bullpens in baseball last season, and thus far the only addition they've made is trading for middle reliever Burke Badenhop of the Rays. The team could look to upgrade from top to bottom, as closer John Axford is far from a sure thing, and there is no proven reliever anywhere in the 'pen.

    Pittsburgh Pirates: Starting Pitching

    The Pirates have a trio of veteran arms in A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez and James McDonald to front their staff this coming season. Beyond those three, they have an unproven mix of young starters vying for the last two spots. By season's end, Pittsburgh would love to see Gerrit Cole and Jeff Locke filling rotation spots, but the team may need a stopgap option to open the season.

    St. Louis Cardinals: Nothing

    The Cardinals' only real need this offseason was adding a second left-handed reliever, and that was addressed with the signing of Randy Choate to a three-year deal. Despite the losses of Kyle Lohse and Lance Berkman, the team appears as strong as ever heading into the season.

NL West

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    Arizona Diamondbacks: Nothing

    The Diamondbacks answered the shortstop question by acquiring Didi Gregorius from the Reds in a three-team deal, and Cliff Pennington will hold down the position until he's ready. The team could look to trade outfielder Jason Kubel with the duo of Gerardo Parra and A.J. Pollock capable of stepping into his role.

    Colorado Rockies: Starting Pitching

    The Rockies had the worst starting rotation in all of baseball last year, and so far re-signing Jeff Francis is all the team has done to address the staff for the upcoming season. Full seasons from Jorge De La Rosa, Jhoulys Chacin and Juan Nicasio will certainly help, but adding an arm or two to the mix would not be a bad idea.

    Los Angeles Dodgers: Nothing

    The Dodgers landed one of the biggest prizes of the offseason in signing Zack Greinke. Along with Korean import Hyun-Jin Ryu on board, the team's rotation appears to be set. They'll have to piece together left field until Carl Crawford is healthy, but other than that the team and its monster payroll appear ready to start the season.

    San Diego Padres: Starting Pitching

    The Padres have a solid duo atop the rotation in Edinson Volquez and Clayton Richard, but beyond that is a slew of question marks. Jason Marquis and Tyson Ross have been added to the mix, but a third reliable starter remains atop the team's wish list.

    San Francisco Giants: Left Fielder?

    The Giants have re-signed a trio of key players from last year's team this offseason, bringing back Marco Scutaro, Angel Pagan and Jeremy Affeldt on multi-year deals. Their biggest remaining hole appears to be left field. Andres Torres was brought back, and he could platoon with Gregor Blanco to fill the position. The chance remains that the team could make a run at an impact bat.