All 30 MLB Teams' Blueprint for Success at the 2013 Winter Meetings
This year's MLB winter meetings are set to take place in Orlando, Fla., from Dec. 9-12. And with the hot stove really heating up here over the past few days, it promises to be a busy four-day stretch around the league.
A trio of pitchers in David Price, Jeff Samardzija and Brett Anderson could all be on the move, while a number of top free agents remain available even after the Yankees' recent signing of Jacoby Ellsbury.
Each team has a different set of goals and needs to fill at the meetings, so here is a look at all 30 MLB teams' blueprint for success at the 2014 MLB winter meetings.
Trade for Jeff Samardzija
After trade talks popped up between the Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks at the deadline last season, there was an expectation that the two sides would pick talks back up this offseason:
There is an expectation that the Jeff Samardzija/Arizona trade talks will continue. Cubs reaching point where they need a decision on him.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 4, 2013
David Kaplan of Comcast Chicago was told by an industry source that the odds of Samardzija being moved this offseason are at 99 percent, and the Diamondbacks have a clear need atop the rotation and the pieces to pull off a deal.
Re-Sign Eric Chavez
Arizona signed Eric Chavez to a one-year, $3 million deal last offseason, and he turned in a solid season off the bench, hitting .281/.332/.478 with nine home runs and 44 RBI over 228 at-bats.
Look for the Diamondbacks to bring back the 35-year-old at some point this winter, and getting that out of the way at the winter meetings so they can turn their attention elsewhere makes sense.
Sign Bartolo Colon
With the departure of Tim Hudson in free agency, the Atlanta Braves are in the market for a veteran starter to front their rotation, and as the chips continue to fall in free agency, it looks like Bartolo Colon could be that guy.
The Oakland A's signing of Scott Kazmir to a two-year deal essentially spelled the end of Colon's time in Oakland, and if the Braves can convince the 40-year-old to agree to a one-year deal, it would be a great move. Mark Bowman of MLB.com also pointed to Colon as a good fit in Atlanta.
Outside of that, the team does not have any glaring needs it's likely to address this offseason. Moving Dan Uggla would be nice, but that looks like a pipe dream at this point. Instead, extending one or more of its young core pieces will likely be Atlanta's biggest focus after finding a starter.
Re-Sign Nate McLouth
The Baltimore Orioles freed up some money with their trade of closer Jim Johnson, and they have been rumored to be kicking the tires on various outfield bats this offseason, but that money would be best spent on the starting rotation.
Re-signing Nate McLouth, who hit .258/.329/.399 with 12 home runs and 30 steals last season, still looks like their best to shore up left field. He made $2 million last season and was projected to earn a reasonable two-year, $10 million deal by Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors.
Sign a veteran innings-eater
While they are not likely to make a play for the likes of Matt Garza or Ervin Santana, given their expected asking price, the Orioles are in the market to add a starter who can eat innings and help lead their young rotation.
Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun pointed to the veteran duo of Bronson Arroyo and A.J. Burnett as potential targets, as well as a possible reunion with deadline acquisition Scott Feldman perhaps in the cards. Signing someone to add to their incumbent staff at the winter meetings would be a nice step toward being ready for 2014.
Sign a setup reliever, not a closer
With the trade of Johnson, the Orioles now have a hole at the back end of their bullpen, and there are options on the market that can be had for less than the $10-plus million Johnson was projected to earn in arbitration. Edward Mujica, Joaquin Benoit and Grant Balfour could all come at a cheaper annual price.
However, the better option looks to be for the team to move Tommy Hunter, who had a 2.81 ERA and 0.985 WHIP in his first full season as a reliever, into the role where his power stuff should play well, then signing a low-cost, high-upside relief option like Joel Hanrahan or John Axford to fill out the setup role.
Boston Red Sox
Re-sign Mike Napoli
With Jacoby Ellsbury (New York Yankees) and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (Miami Marlins) already signed elsewhere and fellow free agent Stephen Drew all but certain to head to another team as well, the Boston Red Sox's biggest in-house focus is bringing back first baseman Mike Napoli.
In fact, according to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe back at the beginning of the offseason, it was the team's top focus overall entering the offseason. The 32-year-old provided a needed right-handed power bat behind David Ortiz in the lineup, ranking second on the team in home runs and RBI and playing plus defense at first base to boot.
Is Jackie Bradley Jr. the answer in center field?
This is a question the Red Sox will need to ask themselves in the days ahead, as he profiles as the everyday center fielder now that Ellsbury is gone. If not, they may consider making a run at someone like Curtis Granderson.
Bradley, 23, hit just .189/.280/.337 in 95 big league at-bats last season after breaking camp with the team. A plus defensive option, he hit .275/.374/.469 over 320 at-bats in Triple-A and figures to be at least an average offensive player given regular playing time.
Trade Jeff Samardzija
Heading into the 2013 season, Jeff Samardzija looked like a key piece of the Chicago Cubs' rebuilding efforts and a prime candidate to receive an extension. Instead, he took a step back in 2013 and now appears likely to be dealt, per ESPN's Jerry Crasnick:
Given the combination of a weak starting pitching market, the fact that he has two years of team control left and has his ace-caliber stuff, Samardzija should be able to net the Cubs a good prospect haul.
Sign a veteran reliever
The Cubs' patchwork bullpen was among the worst in baseball last season, posting a combined 4.04 ERA and converting just 39 of its 65 save chances. Scrap heap signing Kevin Gregg did a nice job as closer for most of the season, and there are some solid young pieces to work with, but they could use a proven veteran arm.
Blake Parker (49 G, 2.72 ERA), James Russell (74 G, 3.59 ERA) and Pedro Strop (37 G, 2.83 ERA) all look to be key pieces of the 2014 'pen. Strop could get the first crack at the closer's job, but adding a veteran to the mix makes sense.
Chicago White Sox
Trade for Jose Lobaton
The Chicago White Sox opted to let A.J. Pierzynski walk in free agency, turning over catcher duties to Tyler Flowers. But the former top prospect hit just .195/.247/.355 over 256 at-bats and fellow prospect Josh Phegley didn't fare much better at .206/.223/.299 over 204 at-bats. So it makes sense that the White Sox have been linked to Rays catcher Jose Lobaton:
After acquiring Ryan Hanigan from the Cincinnati Reds and re-signing Jose Molina, Lobaton has become expendable in Tampa. The 29-year-old hit .249/.320/.394 in 277 at-bats last season and then delivered a huge walk-off home run against the Red Sox in the ALDS.
Shop Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez
The White Sox sold aggressively at the deadline and in August, and while they did make a big signing already this offseason, adding Cuban defector Jose Abreu, they remain in rebuild mode and could look to move more veteran pieces.
According to Scott Merkin of MLB.com, there was some outside interest in the middle infield duo of Gordon Beckham and Alexei Ramirez, and the team should aggressively explore the market for those two. If nothing else, that could lay the groundwork for a future move.
Lay the groundwork for a future deal?
The Reds have gone without making a move of any sort at the past four winter meetings, but as Mark Sheldon of MLB.com pointed out, that is where they have laid the groundwork for a trio of blockbuster deals that have taken place immediately after the meetings.
As it stands right now, the team has filled out its roster by signing Skip Schumaker and Brayan Pena and re-signing Manny Parra. However, it could yet look to cut ties with Brandon Phillips or pull off a big trade involving starter Homer Bailey if the right opportunity presented itself.
Add a starter
With the departures of Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir in free agency, there are two glaring holes in what was a surprisingly good rotation last season.
A number of midlevel starters, like Ricky Nolasco, Jason Vargas, Phil Hughes, Tim Hudson, Dan Haren and Josh Johnson, have already found new homes, but there are still a number of options for the Cleveland Indians to consider as they look to fill out their rotation.
Improve the bullpen
The Indians' bullpen was shaky for much of last season, and it has become even more of a question mark this offseason with the departure of Chris Perez, Joe Smith, Matt Albers and Rich Hill.
According to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com, the team is comfortable giving either Bryan Shaw or Cody Allen a chance to close games. Nonetheless, Cleveland will need to add at least a few pieces from the open market to its 'pen. Edward Mujica is one name the Indians been linked to, according to Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.
Prior to the team's signing of Justin Morneau to a two-year, $13 million deal, Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort provided Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post with a complete breakdown of the team's current financial situation.
What it boiled down to was that the Rockies at that time were able to add roughly $11 million to the team's payroll in 2014, of which $6 million will go to Morneau this coming season. However, the trade of Dexter Fowler to the Houston Astros unloaded another $7.25 million, so Colorado does have some money to work with.
Signing another starter seems like the Rockies' best use of those funds, though they could also use an upgrade at second base and in center field and could certainly use another late-inning bullpen arm.
At this point, it has not been linked to anyone in particular, but look for the team to be aggressive with those available funds at the meetings.
Sign Shin-Soo Choo
The Detroit Tigers have already pulled the trigger on a pair of huge trades this offseason, shipping Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers for Ian Kinsler and Doug Fister to the Washington Nationals for a trio of players. They have also bolstered their bullpen with the signing of veteran closer Joe Nathan on a two-year deal.
The Fielder move will mean Miguel Cabrera shifts back to first base and top prospect Nick Castellanos steps in as the everyday third baseman, while the Fister move likely means a return to the rotation for Drew Smyly.
With that, the team's biggest remaining need is to add an outfield bat alongside Austin Jackson and Torii Hunter, and it looks like Shin-Soo Choo is Detroit's preferred target:
Source: Tigers are hot for a left-handed outfield bat; Shin-Soo Choo is their top target.— Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) December 3, 2013
A big reason why the Tigers made an effort to shed payroll was to lock up guys like Max Scherzer and Miguel Cabrera long-term, so they may not want to pony up the kind of money Choo is looking for. At this point, though, he could be the piece that pushes them over the top.
Add cheap veteran pitching
The Astros have already made one big move this offseason, acquiring Dexter Fowler from the Rockies for Jordan Lyles and Brandon Barnes. While they could still make a few low-cost additions to their lineup before the offseason is over, their focus now shifts to the pitching staff.
They have a number of high-upside young arms, but they're still expected to be in the market to add to both the bullpen and rotation. Last season saw the Astros sign Erik Bedard and Jose Veras, and the team could look for similarly valued players in the days ahead:
#Astros GM Jeff Luhnow on pursuing pitching: "I’m confident we’ll have another deal or two done by this time next week.”— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) December 3, 2013
With a ton of payroll room and the team looking to make at least some improvement over the past two years, it could shoot a bit higher than Bedard in its pursuit of a starter. Time will tell, though, just how much Houston is willing to spend.
Kansas City Royals
Sign Carlos Beltran
With Jason Vargas signed to replace Ervin Santana in the rotation, the Kansas City Royals' biggest remaining needs are to upgrade at second base and in right field. One option for the team in right field could be a reunion with Carlos Beltran, and KC has been the only team willing to go to three years at this point:
Other teams becoming convinced that Carlos Beltran is going to land with the Royals, on a deal of 3/$48 million.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 3, 2013
While the Yankees and Red Sox are both in pursuit of the veteran, neither has been willing to offer a third year, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.
Sign Mark Ellis
A trio of starting-caliber second basemen remain on the free-agent market in Robinson Cano, Omar Infante and Mark Ellis, and with the Tigers trading for Ian Kinsler, there is one less team with a hole to fill at the position.
The Royals have been linked to Ellis recently by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, and considering he'll come cheaper than Infante, who will likely command something similar to the three-year, $20 million deal that Marco Scutaro got last offseason, he makes sense as a low-cost upgrade.
Los Angeles Angels
Pull the trigger on moving Mark Trumbo if it means a quality arm
The Los Angeles Angels have upgraded at third base (David Freese) and in the bullpen (Joe Smith) so far this offseason, but they have yet to address their most glaring need: the starting rotation.
One option the team has in its search for a starter is to move slugger Mark Trumbo, who has generated a ton of interest already this offseason. However, L.A. does not appear confident that it will find the right deal for him:
Re: Trumbo, looks like Angels front office convinced the fair deal (top young starting pitching) to be worth trading Trumbo does not exist— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) December 3, 2013
The Angels right for not wanting to trade a quality young bat for anything short of a quality young arm, but if the right deal does come along, they should not think twice about pulling the trigger.
Sign a starting pitcher
Regardless of what happens with Trumbo, the rotation needs more than just one arm, as it has two clear holes behind Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Garrett Richards in the rotation.
As expected, the team non-tendered the trio of Tommy Hanson, Jerome Williams and Chris Nelson, freeing up roughly $10 million in projected payroll in the process. That should give L.A. enough salary space to add a mid-level starter capable of filling the No. 3 spot in the rotation.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Re-sign Juan Uribe
The third base market this offseason is incredibly weak, and a pair of former Los Angeles Dodgers in Juan Uribe and Michael Young look to be the two best options available via free agency. The Dodgers are said to have interest in re-signing Uribe, but not on the three-year deal he is seeking:
#dodgers have interest in juan uribe. But so far he seeks a 3-yr deal. Even in thin 3B market, that's probably a stretch.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) November 18, 2013
The team could also consider moving Hanley Ramirez back to third base and giving Dee Gordon another shot at shortstop, but its best move at this point looks to be bringing back Uribe. Maybe a two-year deal with a vesting option for a third year would be enough to get him to sign.
Add to the bullpen
The Dodgers appear to be close to re-signing Brian Wilson on a one-year deal, per Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports, but they could still use some bullpen help even if he is brought back.
Ronald Belisario (77 G, 3.97 ERA) was a victim of the non-tender process after leading the team in appearances last season, and while Wilson will likely replace him the eighth-inning role, another arm would help the overall depth of the 'pen.
Find a third baseman
The Miami Marlins have already added one big piece this offseason, signing Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a three-year deal to help anchor their young pitching staff. As they continue to rebuild, a number of positions will be manned by up-and-comers, but third base is one area where they have no real long-term option.
Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel pointed to third base as the team's next area of focus after the Saltalamacchia signing. While Miami's options are limited, it could go after someone like Michael Young on a one-year deal.
Attempt to re-sign non-tenders Chris Coghlan and Ryan Webb
The Marlins non-tendered one of their top relievers from last season in Ryan Webb (66 G, 2.91 ERA) and former NL Rookie of the Year Chris Coghlan (.258/.318/.354), who made a decent contribution over 195 at-bats and played all over the field.
The team has reportedly shown interest in re-signing Coghlan, according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, and should make a push to bring both guys back.
Re-sign Corey Hart
With Corey Hart missing all of 2013 with a pair of knee surgeries, the Milwaukee Brewers were the least productive team in baseball at first base, hitting a combined .206/.259/.370.
Hart is now a free agent and is expected to have an offer in hand from the Brewers when the winter meetings begin, according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. If he winds up signing elsewhere, a trade for someone like Ike Davis or Mitch Moreland may be the Brewers' best option for filling the hole at first.
The Brewers were relatively quiet last offseason, adding a few bullpen pieces before signing Kyle Lohse just before the start of the regular season.
They have no real roster holes outside of first base, and if they can just stay healthy offensively and have their young starters take a step forward, they could be in a good position to bounce back from a terrible 2013 season.
Add a low-risk, high-upside starter like Johan Santana
The Minnesota Twins have already taken steps to improve what was the worst starting rotation in baseball last season, signing Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes to join Kevin Correia and Samuel Deduno on the staff. They have a handful of options to fill the No. 5 starter spot, led by former top prospect Kyle Gibson, Vance Worley and Scott Diamond.
However, adding another starter to the mix on a low-cost deal makes sense for a team that has been aggressive to this point. The team checked in on Johan Santana at the beginning of the offseason, and a reunion with him on a one-year, incentive-laden deal could wind up paying huge dividends.
Add a veteran catcher
The Twins missed out on their pursuit of Jarrod Saltalamacchia and now appear set to open the season with 24-year-old Josmil Pinto as their starting catcher after moving Joe Mauer to first base on a full-time basis.
The team could still look to add a veteran backup and has reportedly asked recent signing Ricky Nolasco about his thoughts on former teammate John Buck, according to Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
New York Mets
Sign Curtis Granderson
The New York Mets outfield was an absolute mess last season. While they have already signed Chris Young as a free agent, they likely are not done adding to the mix for 2014.
They've been tied to both Curtis Granderson and Nelson Cruz, but according to a recent tweet from Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports the team is "moving forward" on Granderson and has "cooled" on Cruz.
Lay the groundwork for an Ike Davis trade
It's unlikely that Ike Davis is dealt at the winter meetings, with guys like James Loney, Mike Napoli and Corey Hart still available in free agency and Mitch Moreland an option on the trade market. Chances are, if Davis is moved, it won't come until most of the other first base chips have fallen.
That said, the winter meetings are where the Mets need to lay the groundwork for a future deal to take place. Even after a disastrous season in 2013, Davis still have value with a 30-home run season under his belt and age on his side, so trading him now makes sense.
New York Yankees
Focus on starting pitching
The New York Yankees have already added a pair of impact bats in Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury, as well as a backup option at second base should Robinson Cano opt to sign elsewhere in Kelly Johnson. So their attention should now turn to shoring up their starting rotation.
CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova are locked into two spots, with Michael Pineda and David Phelps in the running as well, but upgrades clearly need to be made.
Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka and re-signing candidate Hiroki Kuroda remain two top targets, but officially adding another arm to the mix by signing or trading for someone at the winter meetings would be a step in the right direction.
Trade Brett Anderson
The A's Opening Day starter in 2013, Brett Anderson has not made more than 19 starts in a season since his rookie year back in 2009. But the stuff is still there for him to be a front-line starter if he can stay on the field.
With Scott Kazmir signed as a free agent and a plethora of incumbent options in Sonny Gray, Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone, Dan Straily and A.J. Griffin, it's no surprise that the A's are shopping Anderson and a deal at the winter meetings looks like a very real possibility.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports tweeted that the A's are "likely" to deal the 25-year-old left-hander at the winter meetings, and the Yankees, Indians, Toronto Blue Jays and Seattle Mariners have all reportedly shown interest.
Add a veteran starter for depth
The Philadelphia Phillies rotation looks more or less set for the coming season, with Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels back atop the staff, Cuban defector Miguel Gonzalez all but certain to earn a spot and two arms from the trio of Kyle Kendrick, Jonathan Pettibone and Ethan Martin likely to fill things out from there.
However, signing another veteran arm to add some depth would not be a bad idea, even if it is just someone on a minor league contract looking to win a roster spot.
Look for reclamation projects to fill out the bullpen
The Phillies have been linked to a handful relievers this offseason, most notably Edward Mujica. But with their recent acquisition of Brad Lincoln from the Blue Jays, they look less likely to dish out a multiyear deal to a setup man.
Instead, as Todd Zolecki of MLB.com points out, the team could go after a pitcher coming off of injury who can likely be had on a one-year deal, such as Joel Hanrahan, Jesse Crain or former Phillies setup man Ryan Madson.
Sign James Loney
After going with a platoon of Garrett Jones and Gaby Sanchez for most of the 2013 season, the Pittsburgh Pirates acquired Justin Morneau from the Twins in August and penciled him in as their everyday starter down the stretch.
With Morneau gone in free agency and Jones non-tendered, upgrading at first base has been pegged as the team's top priority this offseason, and it looks like James Loney is their preferred choice to fill the spot:
Clubs that have talked to #Pirates believe James Loney emerging as their top choice at 1B. Heard they've also asked on Adam Lind & Moreland— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) December 4, 2013
The Tampa Bay Rays are also in the mix for Loney, who certainly won't come as cheap as the $2 million he signed for last year, but adding him would fix a major weakness in Pittsburgh.
Wait out the A.J. Burnett decision, don't pursue another starter
The Pirates opted not to offer A.J. Burnett a qualifying offer, as the $14.1 million salary did not fit the budget, and they have instead tried to bring the veteran back on a cheaper deal.
Burnett indicated during the season that he would either retire or re-sign with the Pirates, but after watching guys like Tim Hudson and Dan Haren command eight figures, he could change his tune.
According to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, the team is still playing the waiting game with Burnett. As important as he was to the team's success in 2013, Pittsburgh should continue to do so.
San Diego Padres
Add a left-handed reliever
With Joe Thatcher traded at the deadline and both Tommy Layne and Colt Hynes designated for assignment this offseason, the only left-handed relief option the San Diego Padres currently have is Robbie Erlin, and nine of his 11 appearances last season were as a starter.
They may not want to spend the money to add someone like Boone Logan or Scott Downs, but bringing aboard a southpaw reliever of some sort seems like a clear need for the Padres at this point. Perhaps someone like Rich Hill could be had for cheap.
The Padres have already made two big moves this offseason, signing Josh Johnson to bolster what already figures to be an improved rotation and trading reliever Luke Gregerson to the A's for Seth Smith to fill their need for a left-handed bat.
Their biggest remaining decision seems to be what to do with Chase Headley, but it looks like their best bet at this point is to hold onto him and hope his value is higher come July rather than selling low on him now.
San Francisco Giants
Sign Michael Morse to play left field
This one is purely speculation on my part, but I think Michael Morse would be the perfect platoon partner for Gregor Blanco in left field.
The San Francisco Giants need a right-handed bat to join Blanco and could certainly use some added power production in the middle of their lineup, and Morse could potentially bring both. He should come relatively cheap as well after a disappointing 2013.
Make Mitch Moreland Plan B
Should Morse wind up signing elsewhere, or if the Giants simply don't view him as a fit, a trade for Mitch Moreland could be a good option as well.
That would likely mean moving Brandon Belt to left field, though Moreland does have experience in the outfield as well. Moreland hit 23 home runs in 462 at-bats last season, but following the Rangers' trade for Prince Fielder, he has become expendable in Texas.
Keep moving forward with Robinson Cano talks
The chances of Robinson Cano signing at the winter meetings is remote, as he will continue to wait out the market and hope other teams get involved in the bidding. But the Seattle Mariners seem to have emerged as the Yankees' biggest competition for his services.
Long-term deals have rarely worked out well in Seattle, but Cano is the type of impact bat that could make an up-and-coming young team a legitimate contender sooner rather than later.
Add a veteran starter
The Mariners have one of the best one-two punches in baseball atop their rotation in Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma, and top prospect Taijuan Walker and James Paxton figure to earn a spot behind those two out of camp.
The fifth starter spot is still up for grabs, though, with Brandon Maurer and Erasmo Ramirez looking like the top candidates for that spot as of now. However, adding another veteran to the mix for depth's sake at the very least makes sense.
St. Louis Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals have addressed their biggest need with the signing of shortstop Jhonny Peralta and have also added outfield depth with the acquisition of Peter Bourjos from the Angels.
Sorting out their pitching staff will be their biggest focus the remainder of the offseason, but having too many arms to fill a limited number of spots is an awfully good problem to have.
Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com points to the bench as one area the Cardinals could look to make an addition, but at this point, they seem as ready as anyone to start the season from a player personnel standpoint.
Tampa Bay Rays
Lay the groundwork for a David Price trade
The Rays will go into the winter meetings with the most prized trade chip in baseball on their roster in David Price. While a deal for the ace left-hander may not get done in Orlando, steps could certainly be made for a deal to be reached before the start of the season.
Price is a free agent at the end of the 2015 season and is projected to make $13.1 million in his second year of arbitration eligibility this winter.
As he's quickly priced himself out of Tampa, a trade at some point between now and the end of the 2014 season seems like all but a certainty, and the groundwork for an eventual deal may well be laid at the meetings.
Add a first baseman
The Rays have bargain-shopped to fill the first base spot the past two years and it's worked out better than they ever could have imagined, as Casey Kotchman and James Loney both made good on their one-year deals.
The team would like to bring Loney back, but other teams are interested as well, and he is reportedly seeking a three-year deal, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.
Should the team opt to go the bargain route again, Kevin Youkilis, Mark Reynolds and Michael Morse could all be options.
Don't overspend to add a left fielder
The Rangers have already been incredibly busy this offseason, landing Prince Fielder in a trade with the Tigers and seemingly stealing former top prospect Michael Choice from the A's in a four-player deal.
Choice, who attended the University of Texas at Arlington before being taken with the No. 10 pick in the 2010 draft, hit .302/.390/.445 with 14 home runs and 89 RBI as a 23-year-old in Triple-A this past season. At this point, he looks like the front-runner to land the starting left field job.
The team could certainly look to sign someone like Shin-Soo Choo or Nelson Cruz to give it a more proven option, but going with Choice should be considered a viable option.
Add a veteran catcher
The catching market has thinned incredibly quickly, and with last year's backstop, A.J. Pierzynski, now signed with the Red Sox, the Rangers appear ready to enter the season with Geovany Soto as their primary catcher.
Soto, 30, was brought back on a one-year, $3.05 million deal after hitting .245/.328/.466 with nine home runs and 22 RBI in 163 at-bats as the team's backup last year.
He has experience starting and putting up plus numbers dating back to his time with the Cubs, but signing a veteran backstop like John Buck or Kurt Suzuki as insurance makes sense.
Toronto Blue Jays
Trade for Jeff Samardzija or Brett Anderson
The Blue Jays' biggest offseason need is a third front-line starter to join R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle atop the rotation, and it looks like the trade market is their preferred route for acquiring someone. They have been linked to both Brett Anderson and Jeff Samardzija to this point, and both seem likely to be moved at the meetings:
Teams have inquired about StarterJeff Samardzija. Source: Toronto putting together package of young players.— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) November 23, 2013
Landing one of those two at the meetings would be big for the Blue Jays. But they will need to decide between the safer but likely more expensive Samardzija or the injury-prone Anderson who perhaps has a higher upside.
Sign a left-handed reliever
The Nationals entered last season without a proven left-handed reliever in their bullpen, as Fernando Abad (39 G, 3.35 ERA) and Ian Krol (32 G, 3.95 ERA) were their top two options.
Both of those guys have been traded this offseason, leaving the Nationals with an even bigger need to add a southpaw to their 'pen.
According to James Wagner of the Washington Post, the team has shown interest in Boone Logan and J.P. Howell, while their other options include Eric O'Flaherty, Scott Downs, Matt Thornton and Mike Gonzalez.