Predicting Final 25-Man Rosters for All 30 MLB Teams

Doug MeadCorrespondent IFebruary 18, 2013

Predicting Final 25-Man Rosters for All 30 MLB Teams

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    During spring training, all 30 MLB teams are in the process of determining their 25-man Opening Day rosters. It's an opportunity for each player to prove to his club that he is worthy of one of those spots and capable of making a meaningful contribution throughout the season.

    Many teams have just one or two roster spots to be decided. Others, like the Houston Astros, are holding open auditions for starting positions in addition to roster spots.

    It's a race to the finish as fringe players do all they can to lock down one of those coveted slots by late March.

Arizona Diamondbacks

1 of 30

    Starting Rotation

    1. RHP Ian Kennedy
    2. RHP Trevor Cahill
    3. RHP Brandon McCarthy
    4. LHP Wade Miley
    5. RHP Patrick Corbin

    With the top four spots locked down, the competition for the fifth starter promises to be the most exciting battle for Arizona. Corbin, Tyler Skaggs and Randall Delgado will all be competing fiercely this spring for the coveted role.

    Skaggs is the youngest of the three, but he struggled in six major league starts late last season. Delgado still lacks an effective third pitch in his repertoire and also needs to show better command of the strike zone. Corbin put up 17 starts last season for the Diamondbacks; he likely has the upper hand at this point.

     

    Starting Lineup 

    C: Miguel Montero
    1B: Paul Goldschmidt
    2B: Aaron Hill
    3B: Martin Prado
    SS: Cliff Pennington
    LF: Jason Kubel
    CF: Gerardo Parra
    RF: Cody Ross

    The biggest question here is in center field. Parra, Adam Eaton and A.J. Pollock are all viable candidates; manager Kirk Gibson could use matchups to determine his best outfield combination. 

     

    Bullpen

    Closer: RHP J.J. Putz
    Relief: RHP Heath Bell
    Relief: RHP David Hernandez
    Relief: LHP Tony Sipp
    Relief: RHP Brad Ziegler
    Relief: LHP Matt Reynolds
    Relief: RHP Randall Delgado

    It's never a bad thing to have depth in the starting rotation. Delgado will work in long relief out of the bullpen for that very reason. 

     

    Bench

    C Will Nieves
    3B Eric Chavez
    OF Eric Hinske
    OF Adam Eaton
    IF John McDonald

    The final bench spot could come down to Eaton and promising outfielder A.J. Pollock. The Diamondbacks more than likely want Pollock to continue getting everyday at-bats at the Triple-A level until something opens up at the major league level.

    Meanwhile, Didi Gregorius, the shortstop prospect acquired in the offseason Trevor Bauer trade, suffered a mild UCL strain of his right elbow and likely won't be ready for Opening Day.

    Utility infielder Willie Bloomquist is the odd man out and could be dealt for minor league depth before the end of spring training.

Atlanta Braves

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    Starting Rotation

    1. RHP Tim Hudson
    2. LHP Paul Maholm
    3. RHP Kris Medlen
    4. LHP Mike Minor
    5. RHP Julio Teheran

    Unless Teheran completely spits the bit in Grapefruit League games, this is the rotation that will head north in April. Brandon Beachy, the National League's ERA leader last year before suffering a torn UCL, is on track for a midseason return following Tommy John surgery.  

     

    Starting Lineup

    C: Gerald Laird
    1B: Freddie Freeman
    2B: Dan Uggla
    3B: Chris Johnson
    SS: Andrelton Simmons
    LF: Justin Upton
    CF: B.J. Upton
    RF: Jason Heyward

    Laird will assume the duties behind the plate until Brian McCann is fully recovered from offseason shoulder surgery. Johnson will likely platoon with Juan Francisco, giving manager Fredi Gonzalez a solid righty-lefty combination. 

     

    Bullpen

    Closer: RHP Craig Kimbrel
    Relief: LHP Jonny Venters
    Relief: LHP Eric O'Flaherty
    Relief: RHP Jordan Walden
    Relief: LHP Luis Avilan
    Relief: RHP Cory Gearrin
    Relief: RHP Cristhian Martinez

    Without question, the Braves have one of the deepest bullpens in the National League. Walden will reinforce the 'pen if he's able to bounce back from a disappointing 2012 season with the Los Angeles Angels that was interrupted by biceps and shoulder injuries.  

     

    Bench

    C Matt Pagnozzi
    SS Tyler Pastornicky
    3B Juan Francisco
    OF Reed Johnson
    OF Jordan Schafer

    Pagnozzi's time with the big club is likely temporary until McCann is fully healed. Francisco will get plenty of playing time platooning with Johnson at third.

    The big question is Pastornicky. Manager Fredi Gonzalez expressed his disappointment with Pastornicky's late arrival to camp last week. Paul Janish underwent offseason shoulder surgery, so Pastornicky could find himself bumped once Janish is ready.

Baltimore Orioles

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    Starting Rotation

    1. RHP Jason Hammel
    2. LHP Wei-Yin Chen
    3. RHP Chris Tillman
    4. RHP Miguel Gonzalez
    5. RHP Jair Jurrjens

    Without question, the biggest battle in spring training will be the competition for the No. 5 starter. Jurrjens was signed to a minor league deal, and general manager Dan Duquette is hoping that he can regain his form, saying (via Brittany Ghiroli, MLB.com):

    The kid's a winning pitcher, and we're going to see if we can get him back to the form that helped him win over 50 games. We'll see if we can help him regain the form that made him a good pitcher. He's a sinkerballer, plus he has a good changeup. He's young, he's 27, so there's a chance he could learn how to pitch effectively and manage the situation with his right knee.

    Jurrjens will face stiff competition from a group that includes Steve Johnson, Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton, Tommy Hunter and Rule 5 draft pick T.J. McFarland.

     

    Starting Lineup 

    C: Matt Wieters
    1B: Chris Davis
    2B: Brian Roberts
    3B: Manny Machado
    SS: J.J. Hardy
    LF: Nate McLouth
    CF: Adam Jones
    RF: Nick Markakis
    DH: Wilson Betemit

    A healthy Roberts will make a huge difference in the lineup, but that's certainly not a given considering his injury woes of the past three seasons.

    McLouth will likely start the season getting at-bats against right-handed pitching. Nolan Reimold will also get looks in left field and at designated hitter as he recovers from neck surgery.

     

    Bullpen

    Closer: RHP Jim Johnson
    Relief: RHP Pedro Strop
    Relief: RHP Darren O’Day
    Relief: LHP Troy Patton
    Relief: RHP Luis Ayala
    Relief: RHP Brian Matusz
    Relief: RHP Tommy Hunter

    Matusz showed a level of comfort in the bullpen last year. His 1.35 ERA in 18 relief appearances down the stretch was a refreshing change.

    Hunter gives manager Buck Showalter rotation depth as well.    

     

    Bench

    C Taylor Teagarden
    3B Danny Valencia
    2B Alexi Casilla
    OF Nolan Reimold

    Valencia could see time at designated hitter with a solid spring after a trying 2012 season for the Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox. Casilla will battle with Ryan Flaherty for a backup role to Roberts. Both could have an impact this season if Roberts’ recent injury history comes into play again in 2013.

Boston Red Sox

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    Starting Rotation

    1. LHP Jon Lester
    2. RHP Clay Buchholz
    3. RHP Ryan Dempster
    4. LHP Felix Doubront
    5. RHP John Lackey

    There is every indication that Lackey is ready to bounce back after missing the entire 2012 season due to Tommy John surgery. In an interview with Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe, Lackey said that his elbow hindered him for much longer than many people realized.

    “I had to stop throwing in the bullpen [between starts] because of the pain,” Lackey said. “I’ve had something wrong with my elbow for three years now.”

    If that pain is indeed gone and Lackey returns to the form that produced a league-leading 3.01 ERA for the Los Angeles Angels in 2007, the Sox rotation will benefit mightily.

     

    Starting Lineup 

    C: Jarrod Saltalamacchia
    1B: Mike Napoli
    2B: Dustin Pedroia
    3B: Will Middlebrooks
    SS: Stephen Drew
    LF: Jonny Gomes
    CF: Jacoby Ellsbury
    RF: Shane Victorino
    DH: David Ortiz

    A healthy Ortiz will make a huge difference in the lineup, but his strained Achilles' heel kept him out of the lineup for much of the second half last season, so that's not a guarantee.

    Gomes and Napoli bring much-needed right-handed power, and Gomes could get looks against right-handed pitching as well with Daniel Nava and Ryan Sweeney not exactly stellar options. 

     

    Bullpen

    Closer: RHP Joel Hanrahan
    Relief: RHP Andrew Bailey
    Relief: RHP Koji Uehara
    Relief: LHP Andrew Miller
    Relief: LHP Craig Breslow
    Relief: RHP Junichi Tazawa
    Relief: RHP Alfredo Aceves

    Hanrahan, Bailey and Uehara give the Red Sox a strong back end. Tazawa broke through last season with a tremendous effort, posting a 1.43 ERA in 37 appearances.

    The wild card for the bullpen is Daniel Bard. His failed transition as a starter last year led to a miserable season. New manager John Farrell is hoping that Bard can regain the form that saw him post a 2.62 ERA and 9.1 K/9 rate in 2010 and 2011. 

     

    Bench

    C David Ross
    IF Pedro Ciriaco
    1B Lyle Overbay
    OF Daniel Nava

    Nava represents a platoon option in left field unless general manager Ben Cherington somehow pulls off a deal to acquire a more attractive left-handed hitter.

    Overbay brings solid defense but an increasingly limited bat, and Ciriaco provides protection for the left side of the infield. Jose Iglesias simply wouldn’t be best served by sitting on the bench at this point.  

Chicago Cubs

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    Starting Rotation

    1. RHP Matt Garza
    2. RHP Jeff Samardzija
    3. RHP Edwin Jackson
    4. RHP Scott Feldman
    5. RHP Carlos Villanueva

    The top four rotation spots appear to be set. Villanueva and Travis Wood will battle for the No. 5 role until Scott Baker is fully healthy, which could be as early as mid-to-late April.

     

    Starting Lineup 

    C: Wellington Castillo
    1B: Anthony Rizzo
    2B: Darwin Barney
    3B: Ian Stewart
    SS: Starlin Castro
    LF: Alfonso Soriano
    CF: David DeJesus
    RF: Nate Schierholtz  

    The Cubs will benefit from having Rizzo in the lineup for a full season. Newcomer Scott Hairston will provide punch from the right side in a platoon, with Schierholtz in right field as well.

    Stewart will be given a shot to prove he can produce after undergoing wrist surgery last year. 

     

    Bullpen

    Closer: RHP Carlos Marmol
    Relief: RHP Kyuji Fujikawa
    Relief: RHP Shawn Camp
    Relief: LHP James Russell
    Relief: RHP Michael Bowden
    Relief: LHP Travis Wood
    Relief: RHP Hector Rondon

    Marmol could easily be displaced at some point by Fujikawa, especially with Marmol in the final year of a contract that pays him $9.8 million this season. Rondon could be a sleeper after being plucked from the Cleveland Indians in the Rule 5 draft. 

     

    Bench

    C Dioner Navarro
    3B Luis Valbuena
    INF Brent Lillibridge
    OF Scott Hairston
    OF Dave Sappelt

    Lillibridge provides manager Dale Sveum with plenty of versatility, giving him the inside edge for a coveted bench spot.

Chicago White Sox

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    Starting Rotation

    1. LHP Chris Sale
    2. RHP Jake Peavy
    3. LHP John Danks
    4. RHP Gavin Floyd
    5. LHP Jose Quintana

    About the only question concerning the White Sox rotation is who will emerge as the Opening Day starter. Peavy and Sale are both deserving of the honor.

    Quintana’s impressive rookie season assures him a spot, and Dylan Axelrod is available for spot starts as well.

     

    Starting Lineup 

    C: Tyler Flowers
    1B: Paul Konerko
    2B: Gordon Beckham
    3B: Jeff Keppinger
    SS: Alexei Ramirez
    LF: Dayan Viciedo
    CF: Alejandro De Aza
    RF: Alex Rios
    DH: Adam Dunn  

    Rios and Dunn had huge bounce-back seasons for the White Sox in 2012 and will again be expected to provide punch. Keppinger solidifies the No. 2 spot in the order, and Flowers hopes to catch on following the departure of A.J. Pierzynski. 

     

    Bullpen

    Closer: RHP Addison Reed
    Relief: LHP Matt Thornton
    Relief: RHP Jesse Crain
    Relief: RHP Nate Jones
    Relief: RHP Matt Lindstrom
    Relief: LHP Donnie Veal
    Relief: RHP Dylan Axelrod

    The White Sox return with a bullpen largely intact. While lacking a true setup man, manager Robin Ventura has the option of using veterans Thornton, Crane, Jones and Lindstrom at any point in the seventh and eighth innings. 

     

    Bench

    C Hector Gimenez
    IF Angel Sanchez
    IF Brent Morel
    OF DeWayne Wise

    The 25th man on the roster could come down to a choice between Rule 5 draft pick Sanchez and outfielder Jordan Danks. Lars Anderson is a possibility as well.

Cincinnati Reds

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    Starting Rotation

    1. RHP Johnny Cueto
    2. RHP Mat Latos
    3. RHP Bronson Arroyo
    4. RHP Homer Bailey
    5. LHP Aroldis Chapman

    Chapman will transition to the starting rotation this season—a plan that was hatched last year. However, Chapman moved back to bullpen after early-season injuries to Ryan Madson and Bill Bray.

    Mike Leake will move to the bullpen and be available for manager Dusty Baker should any of the starting five encounter any issues.

     

    Starting Lineup

    C: Ryan Hanigan
    1B: Joey Votto
    2B: Brandon Phillips
    3B: Todd Frazier
    SS: Zack Cozart
    LF: Ryan Ludwick
    CF: Shin-Soo Choo
    RF: Jay Bruce

    Choo vastly improves the Reds lineup at the top of the order. He’ll be challenged defensively, however, as he transitions to center field. Frazier will try to build off a sensational rookie season with a permanent spot in the lineup at third base. 

     

    Bullpen

    Closer: RHP Jonathan Broxton
    Relief: LHP Sean Marshall
    Relief: RHP Jose Arredondo
    Relief: RHP Logan Ondrusek
    Relief: RHP Alfredo Simon
    Relief: RHP Sam LeCure
    Relief: RHP Mike Leake

    The Reds return with the National League’s leading bullpen minus Chapman. Broxton will take the reins as closer after a resurgent year with the Kansas City Royals and Reds.

    Newcomer Manny Parra will attempt to make the team as a left-handed specialist, battling with LeCure for the final bullpen slot. 

     

    Bench

    C Devin Mesoraco
    3B Jack Hannahan
    IF Jason Donald
    OF Chris Heisey
    OF Xavier Paul

    Paul was exceptional in a limited role with the Reds last season, providing a .314/.379/.465 line in 55 games, mostly as a pinch-hitter. The Reds are still waiting for 24-year-old Mesoraco to break out offensively, as he has hit just .205 thus far in parts of two seasons.

Cleveland Indians

8 of 30

    Starting Rotation

    1. RHP Justin Masterson
    2. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez
    3. RHP Brett Myers
    4. RHP Zach McAllister
    5. RHP Trevor Bauer

    The battle for the fifth and final rotation spot will be fierce. Bauer will battle with Carlos Carrasco, Scott Kazmir, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Corey Kluber and David Huff.

    The biggest issue is the lack of a left-hander in the rotation, unless Kazmir or Huff break through.

     

    Starting Lineup

    C: Carlos Santana
    1B: Mark Reynolds
    2B: Jason Kipnis
    3B: Lonnie Chisenhall
    SS: Asdrubal Cabrera
    LF: Michael Brantley
    CF: Michael Bourn
    RF: Nick Swisher
    DH: Mike Aviles

    The late addition of Bourn gives new manager Terry Francona all kinds of lineup options. He can insert Drew Stubbs in right field, moving Swisher to first base and starting Reynolds at DH. He can use Santana at first with Lou Marson catching—again, with Reynolds at DH.

    Without question, the extra lineup flexibility is a plus. For that reason, I'd expect my projection to change by the time Opening Day rolls around.

     

    Bullpen

    Closer: RHP Chris Perez
    Relief: RHP Vinnie Pestano
    Relief: RHP Joe Smith
    Relief: RHP Matt Albers
    Relief: LHP Nick Hagadone
    Relief: LHP David Huff
    Relief: RHP Matt Capps

    The Indians' bullpen had the second-worst ERA in the American League last season, but much of that stems from the fact that it was simply overused.

    The bullpen is a strength for the team overall, and if the starting rotation can provide more innings this season, that strength will be realized once again. 

     

    Bench

    C Lou Marson
    1B Jason Giambi
    OF Drew Stubbs
    UTIL Ryan Raburn

    Giambi and Raburn provide veteran leadership off the bench. Raburn’s ability to play multiple positions in the infield and outfield could well be in his favor as Francona fills out his final roster.

Colorado Rockies

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    Starting Rotation

    1. LHP Jorge De La Rosa
    2. RHP Jhoulys Chacin
    3. RHP Juan Nicasio
    4. LHP Drew Pomeranz
    5. LHP Jeff Francis

    After posting the worst ERA in the majors by far last season, the Rockies will return to a more conventional five-man rotation. The health of De La Rosa, Nicasio and Chacin will hold the key to improvement in 2013. 

     

    Starting Lineup

    C: Wilin Rosario
    1B: Todd Helton
    2B: Josh Rutledge
    3B: Chris Nelson
    SS: Troy Tulowitzki
    LF: Carlos Gonzalez
    CF: Dexter Fowler
    RF: Michael Cuddyer

    The Rockies offense is absolutely its strength. However, health is the biggest key. Gonzalez suffered through a miserable second half with Helton, Tulowitzki and Cuddyer out for extended periods of time.

    Rutledge moves to second base full-time after filling in capably for Tulowitzki last season. 

     

    Bullpen

    Closer: RHP Rafael Betancourt
    Relief: RHP Wilton Lopez
    Relief: RHP Matt Belisle
    Relief: RHP Adam Ottavino
    Relief: LHP Rex Brothers  
    Relief: LHP Josh Outman
    Relief: RHP Tyler Chatwood

    Lopez was brought in to become the eventual closer after Betancourt’s contract expires at the end of the season. For now, he’ll provide a reliable setup arm. The final two slots will be an open audition; with a bevy of arms, first-year manager Walt Weiss will be challenged to fill the slots. 

     

    Bench

    C Ramon Hernandez
    INF Jordan Pacheco
    OF Tyler Colvin
    IF D.J. LeMahieu
    OF Eric Young, Jr.

    Weiss has a solid bench to turn to. Young hit .316 last year in 98 games, LeMahieu hit .297 in 81 games, Colvin contributed a .290 average with 18 home runs in 136 games and Pacheco had a .309 average in 132 games.

Detroit Tigers

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    Starting Rotation

    1. RHP Justin Verlander
    2. RHP Max Scherzer
    3. RHP Anibal Sanchez
    4. RHP Doug Fister
    5. RHP Rick Porcello

    The biggest uncertainty in the rotation for the Detroit Tigers is Porcello. With persistent rumors that the Tigers are looking to unload him, Drew Smyly would then become the only southpaw in the starting five. 

     

    Starting Lineup

    C: Alex Avila
    1B: Prince Fielder
    2B: Omar Infante
    3B: Miguel Cabrera
    SS: Jhonny Peralta
    LF: Andy Dirks
    CF: Austin Jackson
    RF: Torii Hunter
    DH: Victor Martinez

    Dirks has the edge in left field after hitting .322 last season with 18 doubles and eight home runs in 88 games. Quintin Berry and Brennan Boesch will give Dirks a battle, and manager Jim Leyland could decide on a platoon, utilizing Berry’s terrific speed (21 thefts in 94 games). 

     

    Bullpen

    Closer: RHP Al Alburquerque
    Relief: RHP Joaquin Benoit
    Relief: RHP Octavio Dotel
    Relief: LHP Phil Coke
    Relief: RHP Brayan Villarreal 
    Relief: LHP Duane Below
    Relief: LHP Drew Smyly

    While prospect Bruce Rondon is the favorite to land the closer’s role left vacated by Jose Valverde, it’s my belief that Rondon will start the season in Triple-A, specifically to work on plate command.

    Alburquerque is my surprise choice to close. With a 1.59 ERA and 13.5 K/9 rate in 49 appearances over parts of two seasons, Alburquerque is ready to make the jump.

    Smyly serves in a long-relief role with the ability to spot start when necessary. 

     

    Bench

    C Brayan Pena
    INF Ramon Santiago
    OF Quintin Berry
    OF Avisail Garcia

    Brennan Boesch will get one more chance to prove his worth in a Tigers uniform. My guess is that he loses out to the talented Garcia.

Houston Astros

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    Starting Rotation

    1. RHP Bud Norris
    2. RHP Lucas Harrell
    3. RHP Jordan Lyles
    4. RHP Phil Humber
    5. LHP Erik Bedard

    Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow gave first-year manager Bo Porter no shortage of selections for his starting rotation. While Norris, Harrell and Lyles appear to be locks, Humber and Bedard will do battle with Alex White, John Ely, Brad Peacock, Jarred Cosart, Rudy Owens, Brett Oberholtzer and others for the final two slots. In the end, experience wins out.

     

    Starting Lineup 

    C: Jason Castro
    1B: Brett Wallace
    2B: Jose Altuve
    3B: Matt Dominguez
    SS: Marwin Gonzalez
    LF: Chris Carter
    CF: Justin Maxwell
    RF: J.D. Martinez
    DH: Carlos Pena

    Competition will be fierce at the Astros camp this spring. Carter brings a solid bat to the mix, and while his path at first base might be blocked by Wallace, he is somewhat familiar with the outfield.

    Fernando Martinez could be used in a platoon with J.D. Martinez in right field for the time being. 

     

    Bullpen

    Closer: RHP Jose Veras
    Relief: LHP Wesley Wright
    Relief: RHP Josh Fields
    Relief: RHP Rhiner Cruz
    Relief: LHP Xavier Cedeno  
    Relief: RHP Sam Demel
    Relief: RHP John Ely

    The bullpen figures to be a complete crapshoot. It’s likely only Veras is a lock at this point.

     

    Bench

    C Carlos Corporan
    SS Tyler Greene
    OF Fernando Martinez
    UTIL Jimmy Paredes

    Rick Ankiel provides veteran experience, a live arm and a potent bat off the bench, but he might find himself squeezed out of a roster spot by Martinez, unless Porter decides on just one reserve infielder. Greene will compete with Gonzalez in Jed Lowrie's absence. Martinez could see time in both left and right.

Kansas City Royals

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    Starting Rotation

    1. RHP James Shields
    2. RHP Jeremy Guthrie
    3. RHP Ervin Santana
    4. RHP Wade Davis
    5. LHP Bruce Chen

    The additions of Shields, Santana and Davis drastically improved a Royals rotation that suffered through injuries and mediocrity in 2012. Chen’s saving grace is that he’s the lone southpaw. 

     

    Starting Lineup

    C: Salvador Perez
    1B: Eric Hosmer
    2B: Chris Getz
    3B: Mike Moustakas
    SS: Alcides Escobar
    LF: Alex Gordon
    CF: Lorenzo Cain
    RF: Jeff Francoeur
    DH: Billy Butler

    Francoeur, Hosmer and Moustakas will be largely expected to bounce back from disappointing 2012 seasons. Butler has become the best designated hitter in the American League, and Perez has the potential to deliver both offensively and defensively for many years. 

     

    Bullpen

    Closer: RHP Greg Holland
    Relief: RHP Aaron Crow
    Relief: RHP Kelvin Herrera
    Relief: LHP Tim Collins
    Relief: RHP Luis Mendoza  
    Relief: RHP Luke Hochevar
    Relief: LHP Francisley Bueno

    Bueno has an excellent shot to be a situational lefty for manager Ned Yost. He posted a 1.56 ERA in 18 late-season appearances last year.

    Both Chen and Mendoza are out of options, meaning both could become free agents if released. Mendoza offers Yost versatility at this point. 

     

    Bench

    C George Kottaras
    2B Johnny Giavotella
    IF Elliot Johnson
    OF Jarrod Dyson

    Kottaras will be useful backup behind Perez, and Dyson should be a lock for the fourth outfield slot. Giavotella will battle Getz for the full-time job at second once again.

Los Angeles Angels

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    Starting Rotation

    1. RHP Jered Weaver
    2. LHP C.J. Wilson
    3. RHP Tommy Hanson
    4. LHP Jason Vargas
    5. RHP Joe Blanton

    No battles in this rotation for the Los Angeles Angels. Manager Mike Scioscia will have Jerome Williams and Garrett Richards as fall-back options as well. 

     

    Starting Lineup

    C: Chris Iannetta
    1B: Albert Pujols
    2B: Howie Kendrick
    3B: Alberto Callaspo
    SS: Erick Aybar
    LF: Mike Trout
    CF: Peter Bourjos
    RF: Josh Hamilton
    DH: Mark Trumbo

    Without question a lineup that promises to be explosive, Scioscia also has flexibility. He can flip-flop Trumbo and Pujols to give Pujols a rest. He’ll also have Vernon Wells accessible on the bench, especially if Bourjos gets off to a slow start. 

     

    Bullpen

    Closer: RHP Ernesto Frieri
    Relief: LHP Sean Burnett
    Relief: RHP Kevin Jepsen
    Relief: LHP Scott Downs
    Relief: RHP Jerome Williams   
    Relief: LHP Nick Maronde
    Relief: RHP Bobby Cassevah

    Maronde impressed with a 1.50 ERA in 12 appearances following his September call-up last year. He’ll temporarily gain a slot in the bullpen until Ryan Madson is cleared to go full-time.

     

    Bench

    C Hank Conger
    INF Andrew Romine
    UTIL Bill Hall
    OF Vernon Wells

    Romine will get a shot to replace utility infielder Maicer Izturis. Hall’s versatility is a plus with his ability to play six positions.

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Starting Rotation

    1. LHP Clayton Kershaw
    2. RHP Zack Greinke
    3. RHP Josh Beckett
    4. LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu
    5. RHP Aaron Harang

    The battle for the fifth spot comes down to four experienced veterans—Harang, Chad Billingsley, Ted Lilly and Chris Capuano.

    While it’s a major logjam, both Billingsley and Lilly have major question marks after they each suffered through serious injuries in 2012. For now, Harang has the upper hand, but Billingsley will be given every chance to show his elbow has completely healed. 

     

    Starting Lineup

    C: A.J. Ellis
    1B: Adrian Gonzalez
    2B: Mark Ellis
    3B: Luis Cruz
    SS: Hanley Ramirez
    LF: Carl Crawford
    CF: Matt Kemp
    RF: Andre Ethier

    Crawford’s status for Opening Day is still not a given, although he took part in live batting practice on Sunday (h/t Ken Gurnick, MLB.com). If Crawford returns to pre-Boston form, the Dodgers’ lineup becomes all that more scary.

     

    Bullpen

    Closer: RHP Brandon League
    Relief: RHP Kenley Jansen
    Relief: LHP J.P. Howell
    Relief: RHP Javy Guerra
    Relief: RHP Ronald Belisario   
    Relief: RHP Matt Guerrier
    Relief: LHP Chris Capuano

    I’m guessing that Lilly and Billingsley start the season on the disabled list, giving them more time to get ready while also letting general manager Ned Colletti possibly orchestrate a deal. 

     

    Bench

    C Tim Federowicz 
    INF Nick Punto
    UTIL Skip Schumaker
    3B Juan Uribe
    OF Jerry Hairston, Jr.

    Schumaker was a great pickup for the Dodgers, providing versatility and a veteran bat with plenty of postseason experience.

    The big question is Dee Gordon. It’s entirely possible the Dodgers could try to deal Uribe or simply DFA him—he’s been an unmitigated disaster thus far with the team. If so, Gordon will remain with the major league club.

Miami Marlins

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    Starting Rotation

    1. RHP Ricky Nolasco
    2. RHP Henderson Alvarez
    3. LHP Wade LeBlanc
    4. RHP Nathan Eovaldi
    5. RHP Jacob Turner

    The Marlins rotation is loaded with potential—"potential" being the operative word.

    Nolasco becomes the de-facto ace following the departures of Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and Anibal Sanchez. He may not last the season considering the Marlins’ recent slew of salary-dumping deals. 

     

    Starting Lineup

    C: Rob Brantly
    1B: Logan Morrison
    2B: Donovan Solano
    3B: Placido Polanco
    SS: Adeiny Hechavarria
    LF: Juan Pierre
    CF: Justin Ruggiano
    RF: Giancarlo Stanton

    Morrison is still questionable for Opening Day after undergoing knee surgery last September. Greg Dobbs will likely get the bulk of time at first until he returns.

    This is a lineup that doesn’t offer much in the way of protection for slugger Stanton. It could be an offense that finishes last in runs scored in the National League by a wide margin. 

     

    Bullpen

    Closer: RHP Steve Cishek
    Relief: RHP Jon Rauch
    Relief: LHP Mike Dunn
    Relief: RHP A.J. Ramos
    Relief: RHP Evan Reed   
    Relief: RHP Chris Hatcher
    Relief: LHP Daniel Jennings

    Cishek was impressive following his promotion to the closer’s role last year, posting 15 saves with a 2.69 ERA. Jennings also impressed with a 1.89 ERA in 22 outings, and Ramos delivered a 3.86 ERA and 12.5 K/9 rate in a September call-up. 

     

    Bench

    C Jeff Mathis 
    1B Nick Green
    INF Greg Dobbs
    OF Gorkys Hernandez
    UTIL Chone Figgins

    Dobbs will start in the absence of Morrison at the beginning of the season. If Figgins can somehow erase the memory of the past three seasons in Seattle, he could be of great benefit to the Marlins.

Milwaukee Brewers

16 of 30

    Starting Rotation

    1. RHP Yovani Gallardo
    2. RHP Marco Estrada
    3. RHP Mike Fiers
    4. LHP Chris Narveson
    5. RHP Wily Peralta

    Uncertainty is the word for the Brewers rotation in 2013. Beyond Gallardo, it’s a staff that has plenty of promise but not much experience. Narveson is returning from rotator cuff surgery. If he proves unable to go, Mark Rogers will be ready and willing.

     

    Starting Lineup 

    C: Jonathan Lucroy
    1B: Mat Gamel
    2B: Rickie Weeks
    3B: Aramis Ramirez
    SS: Jean Segura
    LF: Ryan Braun
    CF: Carlos Gomez
    RF: Norichika Aoki

    With Corey Hart undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in late January, Gamel gets an opportunity to prove himself once again after a torn ACL ended his season last May. Segura will get an opportunity to shine at shortstop, but he could have a short leash with Alex Gonzalez serving as his backup. 

     

    Bullpen

    Closer: RHP John Axford
    Relief: LHP Mike Gonzalez
    Relief: RHP Jim Henderson
    Relief: LHP Tom Gorzelanny
    Relief: RHP Burke Badenhop   
    Relief: RHP Brandon Kintzler
    Relief: RHP Mark Rogers

    The Brewers bolstered the bullpen with Gonzalez, Gorzelanny and Badenhop after finishing with a league-worst 4.66 ERA last season. Strengthening the ‘pen should give the young starting rotation plenty of support. 

     

    Bench

    C Martin Maldonado 
    SS Alex Gonzalez
    INF Taylor Green
    OF Logan Schafer
    UTIL Jeff Bianchi

    Green will provide a solid defensive presence throughout the infield, while Gonzalez provides insurance for Segura at short.

    Schafer impressed in his late-season call-up with a .304 average. He could at times spell Gomez in center against right-handed pitching.

    Bianchi could just be filler until Hart is ready to return.

Minnesota Twins

17 of 30

    Starting Rotation

    1. LHP Scott Diamond
    2. RHP Vance Worley
    3. RHP Kevin Correia
    4. RHP Liam Hendriks
    5. RHP Rich Harden

    Newcomer Mike Pelfrey is progressing after undergoing Tommy John surgery in early May, but he is still likely to start the season on the DL.

    Harden is the clear long shot here. While loaded with potential, his career has been dotted with numerous arm injuries.

    Diamond’s Opening Day status is in doubt after undergoing minor surgery to remove a bone chip from his left elbow in the offseason.

     

    Starting Lineup

    C: Joe Mauer
    1B: Justin Morneau
    2B: Jamey Carroll
    3B: Trevor Plouffe
    SS: Pedro Florimon
    LF: Josh Willingham
    CF: Darin Mastroianni
    RF: Chris Parmelee
    DH: Ryan Doumit

    Carroll is the second baseman for now, but Brian Dozier could eventually push him to a bench role. The Twins believe in Dozier’s bat—he hit .298 over four years in the minors—and asked him to transition to second base this winter.

    With Ben Revere and Denard Span gone, Mastroianni and Parmelee will be given every opportunity to step up. 

     

    Bullpen

    Closer: LHP Glen Perkins
    Relief: RHP Jared Burton
    Relief: RHP Casey Fien
    Relief: RHP Josh Roenicke
    Relief: RHP Alex Burnett   
    Relief: LHP Tyler Robertson
    Relief: LHP Brian Duensing

    Perkins and Burton are the rocks in the bullpen, while Roenicke adds a solid four-pitch repertoire and five years of experience. 

     

    Bench

    C Drew Butera 
    INF Brian Dozier
    INF Eduardo Escobar
    OF Brandon Boggs

    The Twins have Aaron Hicks lying in wait for the outfield, but he’s likely to get more seasoning at the Triple-A level. Boggs is likely to serve as the fourth outfielder for now.

New York Mets

18 of 30

    Starting Rotation

    1. LHP Johan Santana
    2. RHP Shaun Marcum
    3. RHP Jonathan Niese
    4. RHP Matt Harvey
    5. RHP Dillon Gee

    Gee will look to reassert himself after his 2012 season was cut short by a blood clot in his right shoulder. Marcum will also look to quiet his critics after a two-month stay on the disabled list with elbow tightness just three years after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

     

    Starting Lineup 

    C: John Buck
    1B: Ike Davis
    2B: Daniel Murphy
    3B: David Wright
    SS: Ruben Tejada
    LF: Lucas Duda
    CF: Kirk Nieuwenhuis
    RF: Mike Baxter

    The biggest question mark for the Mets is their outfield. Duda endured a demotion to the minors last year, Nieuwenhuis got off to a promising start before the roof caved in during the second half, and Baxter delivered just three home runs in 179 at-bats. The bulk of the power will come from Wright and Davis.

     

    Bullpen

    Closer: RHP Bobby Parnell
    Relief: RHP Brandon Lyon
    Relief: RHP Scott Atchison
    Relief: RHP LaTroy Hawkins
    Relief: LHP Josh Edgin   
    Relief: LHP Pedro Feliciano
    Relief: RHP Jeremy Hefner

    With Frank Francisco being shut down with right elbow inflammation, his status is very much in doubt. Parnell graduates to the role of closer in his absence.

    General manager Sandy Alderson brought in a bevy of veteran arms in Atchison, Lyon, Hawkins and Feliciano. Whether or not that quartet brings better results than last year’s veterans remains to be seen.

     

    Bench

    C Anthony Recker 
    UTIL Justin Turner
    UTIL Jordany Valdespin
    OF Andrew Brown
    OF Collin Cowgill

    Recker will back up Buck as prospect catcher Travis d’Arnaud works his way back from a knee injury and gets regular at-bats at the Triple-A level. Turner provides a solid backup solution to Murphy and Wright.

New York Yankees

19 of 30

    Starting Rotation

    1. LHP CC Sabathia
    2. RHP Hiroki Kuroda
    3. LHP Andy Pettitte
    4. RHP Phil Hughes
    5. RHP Ivan Nova

    Kuroda and Pettitte are back on one-year contracts, with Pettitte hoping to stay healthy and contribute in his age-40 season. 

     

    Starting Lineup

    C: Francisco Cervelli
    1B: Mark Teixeira
    2B: Robinson Cano
    3B: Kevin Youkilis
    SS: Derek Jeter
    LF: Brett Gardner
    CF: Curtis Granderson
    RF: Ichiro Suzuki
    DH: Travis Hafner

    The Yankees will hope that Youkilis can reverse a downward offensive trend over the past two seasons while staying healthy in the absence of Alex Rodriguez. 

     

    Bullpen

    Closer: RHP Mariano Rivera
    Relief: RHP David Robertson
    Relief: LHP Boone Logan
    Relief: RHP Joba Chamberlain
    Relief: LHP Clay Rapada   
    Relief: RHP David Aardsma
    Relief: RHP David Phelps

    Rivera brings his 608 saves and 2.21 career ERA back for at least one more season. Hard to doubt his ability to bounce back from a torn ACL.

    Phelps will serve as the long reliever/spot starter. 

     

    Bench

    C Chris Stewart 
    UTIL Juan Rivera
    IF Eduardo Nunez
    OF Matt Diaz

    Diaz and Rivera provide a wealth of experience on the bench, while Nunez has shown off a productive bat over three seasons.

Oakland Athletics

20 of 30

    Starting Rotation

    1. LHP Brett Anderson
    2. RHP Jarrod Parker
    3. LHP Tommy Milone
    4. RHP A.J. Griffin
    5. RHP Bartolo Colon

    The starting rotation certainly proved its worth last season in helping to lead the A’s back to the postseason for the first time since 2006. Colon returns after his 50-game suspension, and the A’s have Dan Straily on standby as well. 

     

    Starting Lineup

    C: John Jaso
    1B: Brandon Moss
    2B: Scott Sizemore
    3B: Jed Lowrie
    SS: Hiroyuki Nakajima
    LF: Yoenis Cespedes
    CF: Coco Crisp
    RF: Josh Reddick
    DH: Seth Smith

    The addition of Lowrie adds some punch to the left side of the infield. Sizemore looks to bounce back after missing the entire 2012 season. If Nakajima can’t adjust to playing on American soil, Lowrie could move over to short, with Josh Donaldson taking over at third. 

     

    Bullpen

    Closer: RHP Ryan Cook
    Relief: LHP Sean Doolittle
    Relief: LHP Jerry Blevins
    Relief: RHP Pat Neshek
    Relief: LHP Jordan Norberto   
    Relief: RHP Fernando Rodriguez
    Relief: RHP Dan Straily

    Grant Balfour’s status as the Opening Day closer was thrown in jeopardy with his surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee (h/t Susan Slusser, SF Gate). Cook will serve as the closer in his absence, which is likely to be brief, if at all. 

     

    Bench

    C Derek Norris 
    3B Josh Donaldson
    1B Daric Barton
    OF Chris Young

    Young will have plenty of opportunities for at-bats, both as DH and in left or center field.

Philadelphia Phillies

21 of 30

    Starting Rotation

    1. RHP Roy Halladay
    2. LHP Cliff Lee
    3. LHP Cole Hamels
    4. RHP Kyle Kendrick
    5. LHP John Lannan

    The loss of Vance Worley may not hurt much—Lannan brings a solid resume as the No. 5 starter. Halladay will look to bounce back from one of the worst seasons of his stellar career.

     

    Starting Lineup 

    C: Erik Kratz
    1B: Ryan Howard
    2B: Chase Utley
    3B: Michael Young
    SS: Jimmy Rollins
    LF: Darin Ruf
    CF: Ben Revere
    RF: Domonic Brown

    Revere brings youth, speed and athleticism to the Phillies outfield, while Brown will hope to finally deliver on the promise that the Phillies have been patiently waiting for. Young gets a fresh start and could thrive in a more hitter-friendly park. Ruf gets early playing time with Delmon Young starting the season on the disabled list. 

     

    Bullpen

    Closer: RHP Jonathan Papelbon
    Relief: RHP Mike Adams
    Relief: LHP Antonio Bastardo
    Relief: RHP Mike Stutes
    Relief: RHP Chad Durbin   
    Relief: LHP Jeremy Horst
    Relief: LHP Raul Valdes

    Adams is on track to be ready for the start of the season after undergoing surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome last year. One of the best relievers in baseball over the past five seasons, he will help build a better bridge between the starting rotation and Papelbon. 

     

    Bench

    C Humberto Quintero 
    OF Laynce Nix
    INF Kevin Frandsen
    INF Freddy Galvis
    OF John Mayberry

    Quintero will serve as the backup catcher until Carlos Ruiz is eligible to return from his 25-game suspension. Mayberry gives manager Charlie Manuel options in the outfield during Young's absence.

Pittsburgh Pirates

22 of 30

    Starting Rotation

    1. RHP A.J. Burnett
    2. LHP Wandy Rodriguez
    3. RHP James McDonald
    4. RHP Jeff Karstens
    5. RHP Kyle McPherson

    Solid at the top and steady in the middle best describes the Pirates rotation. Burnett and Rodriguez should both provide quality innings, while McDonald will see if he can repeat last season’s first-half success throughout the entire year.

    McPherson will fill in as the fifth starter until Francisco Liriano is able to return from a fractured right arm.

     

    Starting Lineup

    C: Russell Martin
    1B: Garrett Jones
    2B: Neil Walker
    3B: Pedro Alvarez
    SS: Clint Barnes
    LF: Starling Marte
    CF: Andrew McCutchen
    RF: Travis Snider

    If first baseman Gaby Sanchez can regain his form at the plate, he’ll move Jones back to right field. For now, Sanchez will get looks against left-handed pitching. 

     

    Bullpen

    Closer: RHP Jason Grilli
    Relief: RHP Mark Melancon
    Relief: LHP Tony Watson
    Relief: RHP Jared Hughes
    Relief: LHP Justin Wilson   
    Relief: RHP Chris Leroux
    Relief: LHP Jeff Locke

    Grilli takes over as closer following the departure of Joel Hanrahan, while Melancon will look to bounce back from a forgettable season with the Boston Red Sox. For now, Locke could serve in long relief and as rotation depth. 

     

    Bench

    C Michael McKenry 
    1B Gaby Sanchez
    3B Brandon Inge
    OF Jose Tabata
    OF Josh Harrison

    Last week's signing of Inge adds depth and a potent bat to the left side of the infield. McKenry delivered 12 HR and 39 RBI last season in 240 at-bats, and Tabata and Marte will each get looks in left field.

San Diego Padres

23 of 30

    Starting Rotation

    1. RHP Edinson Volquez
    2. LHP Clayton Richard
    3. RHP Jason Marquis
    4. LHP Eric Stults
    5. RHP Freddy Garcia

    Marquis and Garcia are temporary rotation filler until Padres prospects are finally ready to break through. With the fences now pulled in at Petco Park, this starting five will be challenged at home in 2013. 

     

    Starting Lineup

    C: Nick Hundley
    1B: Yonder Alonso
    2B: Logan Forsythe
    3B: Chase Headley
    SS: Everth Cabrera
    LF: Carlos Quentin
    CF: Cameron Maybin
    RF: Will Venable

    Not a sexy lineup, but Headley and Quentin will help provide the punch. Venable and Chris Denorfia worked just fine last year as a tandem in right field; that will likely continue again in 2013.

    Hundley will need to step up offensively (.157 average in 2012) with Yasmani Grandal serving a 50-game suspension to start the season.

     

    Bullpen

    Closer: RHP Huston Street
    Relief: RHP Luke Gregerson
    Relief: RHP Brad Brach
    Relief: RHP Dale Thayer
    Relief: LHP Joe Thatcher   
    Relief: RHP Brad Boxberger
    Relief: RHP Anthony Bass

    The bullpen will serve as a major strength for the Padres in 2013. Street and Gregerson are top notch in the back end, and Brach, Thayer and Thatcher were more than serviceable throughout last season.

     

    Bench

    C John Baker 
    IF Alexi Amarista
    UTIL Jesus Guzman
    OF Chris Denorfia
    OF Mark Kotsay

    Kotsay and Denorifa are both capable of giving quality at-bats, while Amarista provides depth in the middle infield.    

San Francisco Giants

24 of 30

    Starting Rotation

    1. RHP Matt Cain
    2. LHP Madison Bumgarner
    3. RHP Ryan Vogelsong
    4. RHP Tim Lincecum
    5. LHP Barry Zito

    The Giants rotation returns intact, and Lincecum will look to figure out his mechanics and find his heater as he tries to erase the memory of a rough regular season. 

     

    Starting Lineup

    C: Buster Posey
    1B: Brandon Belt
    2B: Marco Scutaro
    3B: Pablo Sandoval
    SS: Brandon Crawford
    LF: Gregor Blanco
    CF: Angel Pagan
    RF: Hunter Pence

    The everyday lineup for the Giants delivered just the right amount of power and timely hitting on their way to a World Series title last year. Belt could deliver more power as he matures, and Blanco will likely platoon with returning Giant Andres Torres. 

     

    Bullpen

    Closer: RHP Sergio Romo
    Relief: LHP Jeremy Affeldt
    Relief: RHP Santiago Casilla
    Relief: LHP Javier Lopez
    Relief: LHP Jose Mijares   
    Relief: RHP George Kontos
    Relief: RHP Ramon Ramirez

    Manager Bruce Bochy will have plenty of veteran depth when he makes the call to the bullpen in 2013. Romo solidified the closer’s role with a terrific effort down the stretch and in the postseason. Ramirez returns home after a trying season with the New York Mets. 

     

    Bench

    C Hector Sanchez
    SS Joaquin Arias
    1B Brett Pill
    OF Andres Torres
    UTIL Conor Gillaspie

    A solid bench for the Giants, with Arias providing capable backup duties for Crawford, Torres lending a hand in left field and Sanchez delivering with a quality bat behind the plate in Posey's place.    

Seattle Mariners

25 of 30

    Starting Rotation

    1. RHP Felix Hernandez
    2. LHP Joe Saunders
    3. RHP Hisashi Iwakuma
    4. RHP Blake Beavan
    5. RHP Erasmo Ramirez

    Hernandez’s new $175 million contract is now but a distant memory—he’ll front a rotation that added savvy veteran Joe Saunders, replacing Jason Vargas as the lone southpaw in the group. 

     

    Starting Lineup

    C: Jesus Montero
    1B: Justin Smoak
    2B: Dustin Ackley
    3B: Kyle Seager
    SS: Brendan Ryan
    LF: Michael Morse
    CF: Franklin Gutierrez
    RF: Michael Saunders
    DH: Kendrys Morales

    The Mariners are still waiting for Smoak to show why they traded Cliff Lee to the Texas Rangers in 2010. If Smoak isn’t up to the task, Morse could move from left to first, giving Raul Ibanez and Jason Bay more of a voice in the offense.

     

    Bullpen

    Closer: RHP Tom Wilhelmsen
    Relief: LHP Charlie Furbush
    Relief: LHP Oliver Perez
    Relief: LHP Lucas Luetge
    Relief: RHP Stephen Pryor   
    Relief: RHP Josh Kinney
    Relief: RHP Carter Capps

    Wilhelmsen shined in the closer’s role last season with 29 saves and a 2.50 ERA. Furbush also found his niche when he transitioned to the bullpen.

     

    Bench

    C Kelly Shoppach
    2B Robert Andino
    OF Jason Bay
    OF Raul Ibanez

    Bay could be the wild card of this group. If he can somehow regain the stroke that produced 36 HR with 119 RBI for the Boston Red Sox in 2009, the Mariners offense will climb out of the cellar in the American League.      

St. Louis Cardinals

26 of 30

    Starting Rotation

    1. RHP Adam Wainwright
    2. LHP Jaime Garcia
    3. RHP Lance Lynn
    4. RHP Jake Westbrook
    5. RHP Shelby Miller

    The battle for the fifth starter will come down to Miller and Trevor Rosenthal. Rosenthal showed off his skills in relief last season—he’ll join the team in a long relief role for now. Joe Kelly is a strong candidate for the No. 5 role as well. 

     

    Starting Lineup

    C: Yadier Molina
    1B: Allen Craig
    2B: Daniel Descalso
    3B: David Freese
    SS: Rafael Furcal
    LF: Matt Holliday
    CF: Jon Jay
    RF: Carlos Beltran

    A balanced offense is one of the Cardinals' strengths entering the 2013 season. Beltran will hope to put up better numbers in the second half, and Descalso could find his playing time cut significantly if Matt Carpenter proves to be proficient at second base. 

     

    Bullpen

    Closer: RHP Jason Motte
    Relief: RHP Mitchell Boggs
    Relief: LHP Marc Rzepczynski
    Relief: LHP Randy Choate
    Relief: RHP Edward Mujica   
    Relief: RHP Fernando Salas
    Relief: RHP Trevor Rosenthal

    A balanced and deep bullpen will be an asset for the Cardinals in 2013. Newcomer Choate gives manager Mike Matheny two excellent left-handed arms, and Rosenthal helps in any situation. 

     

    Bench

    C Tony Cruz
    INF Ronny Cedeno
    INF Matt Carpenter
    OF Ty Wigginton
    OF Shane Robinson

    The Cardinals return a solid bench this season—Wigginton helps to provide depth in the corner outfield positions as well as first base. Cedeno could be very useful if Furcal’s health fails him again.   

Tampa Bay Rays

27 of 30

    Starting Rotation

    1. LHP David Price
    2. RHP Jeremy Hellickson
    3. LHP Matt Moore
    4. RHP Jeff Niemann
    5. RHP Alex Cobb

    Price leads a strong group. The losses of James Shields and Wade Davis hurt, but the Rays’ depth will shine through once again. At some point in 2013, Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi could have considerable impact as well. 

     

    Starting Lineup

    C: Jose Molina
    1B: James Loney
    2B: Kelly Johnson
    3B: Evan Longoria
    SS: Yunel Escobar
    LF: Matt Joyce
    CF: Desmond Jennings
    RF: Ben Zobrist
    DH: Luke Scott

    Escobar takes over at shortstop after several years of a platoon with Elliot Johnson, Reid Brignac and Sean Rodriguez. Scott will try to bounce back from a year marred by injuries. At some point, newly acquired prospect Wil Myers will make an impact.

     

    Bullpen

    Closer: RHP Fernando Rodney
    Relief: RHP Joel Peralta
    Relief: LHP Jake McGee
    Relief: LHP Cesar Ramos
    Relief: RHP Roberto Hernandez   
    Relief: RHP Kyle Farnsworth
    Relief: RHP Brandon Gomes

    In 2012, Rodney delivered an incredible year on the cheap for the Rays. He could do the same once again with just a $2.5 million salary this year.

     

    Bench

    C Jose Lobaton
    INF Sean Rodriguez
    UTIL Ryan Roberts
    OF Shelley Duncan

    Duncan will compete with Sam Fuld and Brandon Guyer for the fourth outfielder slot. Duncan has considerable power, but his .203 average with the Cleveland Indians last season is certainly a concern. At some point, Myers will make his way onto the roster, leaving Duncan, Guyer and Fuld out in the cold.

Texas Rangers

28 of 30

    Starting Rotation

    1. RHP Yu Darvish
    2. LHP Matt Harrison
    3. LHP Derek Holland
    4. RHP Alexi Ogando
    5. LHP Martin Perez

    Colby Lewis is expected back sometime around June. Neftali Feliz is likely out for a significant portion of the season following Tommy John surgery last August. In the meantime, the Rangers will make do unless general manager Jon Daniels has something else left up his sleeve. 

     

    Starting Lineup

    C: A.J. Pierzynski
    1B: Mitch Moreland
    2B: Ian Kinsler
    3B: Adrian Beltre
    SS: Elvis Andrus
    LF: David Murphy
    CF: Leonys Martin
    RF: Nelson Cruz
    DH: Lance Berkman

    Martin will get a legitimate shot to show he’s ready for prime time, and Craig Gentry will be on standby should Martin fail to deliver. Murphy switches from his utility role for the first time in a Rangers uniform.

     

    Bullpen

    Closer: RHP Joe Nathan
    Relief: RHP Jason Frasor
    Relief: LHP Robbie Ross
    Relief: RHP Josh Lindblom
    Relief: RHP Tanner Scheppers   
    Relief: LHP Michael Kirkman
    Relief: RHP Wilmer Font

    Frasor will get an opportunity to set up for Nathan with Joakim Soria not expected back until late May at the earliest. Adding Lindblom helps, and Ross was outstanding last year with a 6-0 record and 2.22 ERA. 

     

    Bench

    C Geovany Soto
    INF Jeff Baker
    OF Craig Gentry
    OF Leury Garcia

    Soto is a capable backup behind the plate, but the bat has completely disappeared since his outstanding rookie season with the Chicago Cubs. Gentry offers great speed, range and a solid bat.

Toronto Blue Jays

29 of 30

    Starting Rotation

    1. RHP R.A. Dickey
    2. RHP Brandon Morrow
    3. LHP Mark Buehrle
    4. RHP Josh Johnson
    5. LHP Ricky Romero

    Dickey, Johnson and Buehrle add instant credibility to a rotation that suffered through a spate of injuries and poor performance in 2012. 

     

    Starting Lineup

    C: J.P. Arencibia
    1B: Edwin Encarnacion
    2B: Emilio Bonifacio
    3B: Brett Lawrie
    SS: Jose Reyes
    LF: Melky Cabrera
    CF: Colby Rasmus
    RF: Jose Bautista
    DH: Adam Lind

    The addition of Reyes and Cabrera at the top of the batting order gives sluggers Bautista and Encarnacion a bevy of run-scoring opportunities. Maicer Izturis will see time at second as well, along with Bonifacio.

     

    Bullpen

    Closer: RHP Casey Janssen
    Relief: RHP Steve Delabar
    Relief: RHP Sergio Santos
    Relief: LHP Darren Oliver
    Relief: RHP Esmil Rogers   
    Relief: RHP Jeremy Jeffress
    Relief: LHP J.A. Happ

    At some point in 2013, Janssen could see competition from Sergio Santos, returning after a shoulder injury cut short his 2012 season. Delabar and Rogers offer solid right-handed arms, and Oliver is clearly still effective as a left-handed option at the age of 42.

     

    Bench

    C Josh Thole
    INF Maicer Izturis
    UTIL Mark DeRosa
    OF Rajai Davis

    DeRosa brings a wealth of experience and a terrific clubhouse presence. Izturis covers second, short and third with considerable acumen, and Davis brings outstanding speed (46 stolen bases in 2012) off the bench.

Washington Nationals

30 of 30

    Starting Rotation

    1. RHP Stephen Strasburg
    2. LHP Gio Gonzalez
    3. RHP Jordan Zimmermann
    4. RHP Dan Haren
    5. LHP Ross Detwiler

    The Nationals will be hoping that the back issues that plagued Dan Haren last season are a thing of the past. Strasburg will have the kid gloves taken off this year as he eyes a 200 inning-plus campaign. 

     

    Starting Lineup

    C: Wilson Ramos
    1B: Adam LaRoche
    2B: Danny Espinosa
    3B: Ryan Zimmerman
    SS: Ian Desmond
    LF: Bryce Harper
    CF: Denard Span
    RF: Jayson Werth

    Span gives the Nationals a legitimate leadoff hitter, moving Werth to second and dropping Harper to fifth. If Ramos stays healthy for the entire season, that could aid the offense as well. 

     

    Bullpen

    Closer: RHP Rafael Soriano
    Relief: RHP Drew Storen
    Relief: RHP Tyler Clippard
    Relief: RHP Ryan Mattheus
    Relief: RHP Henry Rodriguez   
    Relief: LHP Zach Duke
    Relief: RHP Craig Stammen

    Soriano gives the Nationals a potent trio at the back end of the bullpen. Storen and Clippard will provide more than enough support in the seventh and eighth innings. 

     

    Bench

    C Kurt Suzuki
    INF Tyler Moore
    INF Chad Tracy
    OF Roger Bernadina
    UTIL Steve Lombardozzi

    The Nationals have great depth and flexibility in their bench. Moore can be utilized in both corner outfield positions as well as first, Tracy can fill both infield corners and Lombardozzi provides support up the middle.

     

    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.