5 MLB Teams in Danger of a Failing Grade at 2013 Winter Meetings
The 2013 MLB winter meetings have seen a number of trades and free-agent signings. There have been a lot of rumors preceding all of those transactions, and many more have persisted throughout the meetings.
While some teams have taken action already, there are a number of teams that have seemingly been left sitting on the sidelines, unable to fill areas of need.
There are still a number of top players on the free-agent market, such as Shin-Soo Choo and Ervin Santana, who have not been signed. Additionally, there are big-name trade targets such as David Price who are still on the market.
For a number of teams, coming out of the meetings without a signing or trade will earn them a failing grade.
The Cleveland Indians were one of the more surprising teams in the major leagues last season. They were very competitive in the American League Central, as they posted 92 wins and reached the Wild Card Game.
Cleveland saw both Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir hit free agency earlier this offseason. The team has some talented young starters in Danny Salazar and Trevor Bauer who might be able to fill the void, but it could certainly use a veteran presence as well.
Additionally, the Indians have an overcrowded outfield of Michael Bourn, Michael Brantley, David Murphy, Drew Stubbs and Ryan Raburn. They could look to move one of these players in an effort to improve other parts of their roster.
One of the biggest areas of weakness for the Milwaukee Brewers last season was at first base. With Corey Hart injured, their first basemen combined to hit an MLB-worst .206 with a .259 on-base percentage.
It is clear that the team needs an upgrade, and it had a few options. When Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that Corey Hart signed with the Seattle Mariners, one of the team's options came off the market. Adam Rubin of ESPN has mentioned that the Brewers are interested in Ike Davis, but the team has not been able to work out a deal with the New York Mets.
Should the Brewers leave the 2013 winter meetings without a new first baseman or any additional improvements, then they certainly deserve a failing grade for their time there.
The Cincinnati Reds have known since they traded for him this summer that they may need to find a replacement for him this winter. Choo has become a free agent, and the Reds have yet to find anyone to take his spot. Billy Hamilton may be an internal option, but there are a lot of questions surrounding if he is ready for the majors.
Like almost any team in contention, the Reds could also use another piece at the back end of their bullpen. Bringing back Manny Parra will certainly help, but there are additional moves that could be made.
Additionally, the Reds have been dealing with the question of if they should trade second baseman Brandon Phillips. According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Phillips' contract may be preventing them from making a big move.
While the Chicago Cubs are obviously a few years away from contention, they still have a number of holes that they need to fill. The Cubs have a few valuable pieces to make a trade, but it appears as if they will not be moving them.
Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer, via MLB Network, has mentioned that the team will likely not be making a big splash this offseason. That could likely mean that both Starlin Castro and Jeff Samardzija are staying put.
With the Cubs not making moves to get better this season or making moves to improve their future prospects, it is fair to say that they are on track for an F at the 2013 winter meetings.
Toronto Blue Jays
Last offseason, the Toronto Blue Jays were one of the winter's biggest players. They traded for R.A. Dickey, Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Emilio Bonifacio and Mark Buehrle and also signed Melky Cabrera. Those moves did not all work out for the Blue Jays, and they have been quiet so far this winter.
The Blue Jays have a solid core of players to build upon, but they have not made any major moves to add to it. According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, they have looked into both David Price and Jeff Samardzija to improve their rotation, but have not found a deal that they like.
By not making any moves during the 2013 winter meetings, the Blue Jays would earn a failing grade.