Remaining Offseason To-Do Lists for Every MLB Team, Post-New Year Edition

Jason Martinez@@mlbdepthchartsContributor IJanuary 4, 2014

Remaining Offseason To-Do Lists for Every MLB Team, Post-New Year Edition

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    Several teams hoping to land a front-line starter will bid on Tanaka.
    Several teams hoping to land a front-line starter will bid on Tanaka.Adam Pretty/Getty Images

    Teams have been busy over the past two months, putting their offseason plans in place and trying to fill as many holes as possible. For many of those teams, however, there are still needs to address, and time is running out before it's time to report to spring training. 

    With the posting process for Japanese star Masahiro Tanaka now underway and expected to come to a conclusion over the next few weeks, there are still four available starting pitchers—Tanaka, Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana—who will be penciled in to the front part of a big league rotation before the start of the season.

    Nelson Cruz and Stephen Drew are the lone free-agent hitters who could make an impact on a lineup, while Grant Balfour and Fernando Rodney are the best remaining from what was initially a very deep group of relievers on the free-agent market.

    Trades are also a possibility this time of year—the Atlanta Braves acquired Justin Upton last January; the Oakland A's acquired Jed Lowrie in February. 

    A lot can still happen, which is why baseball fans should still be paying attention between now and when actual baseball will be played again. 

    Here is an updated look at the remaining "to-do" lists for each of the 30 teams.  

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    After acquiring Mark Trumbo to be their everyday left fielder and Addison Reed to be their closer, the Arizona Diamondbacks are still hoping to land a top-of-the-rotation starter

    According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, Tanaka is their "No. 1 target" and they consider him to be better than any of the free-agent starters still available, including Garza (pictured).

    They'll have plenty of competition from big-market teams, however, so it's no slam dunk that the D'backs will land their top target. It's unlikely that they're the only team who is making Tanaka the top priority.

    And while they could certainly afford Tanaka's high cost,'s Steve Gilbert warns D'backs fans not to get their hopes up as the price could very well end up being out of their comfort zone.

    It could be that they end up with Garza or Santana, at a much lower cost than Tanaka. General manager Kevin Towers recently told Jim Bowden of Sirius XM that he was still "in" on two of Tanaka, Garza and Santana. 

Atlanta Braves

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    Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

    It's been a quiet offseason in Atlanta with Ryan Doumit being the lone acquisition on offense after losing catcher Brian McCann to free agency and Gavin Floyd, who is recovering from May 2013 Tommy John surgery, the lone addition to a rotation that will be without Tim Hudson for the first time since 2004. 

    They're still a very good team, though, and an impact acquisition wasn't a necessity for them to enter 2014 as one of the best teams in the National League. If there's still an area of need, however, it would be a veteran starter who could eat some innings and take some pressure off of their young staff. 

    Ideally, that would be Floyd, who was given a contract that guarantees him $4 million. But since starting pitchers returning from Tommy John surgery typically aren't back at full strength for sometimes 18 to 24 months, it's a risky backup plan to have in case young pitchers like Alex Wood aren't ready to step in to the rotation for a full season. 

    One free-agent starter who will be nearly 24 months removed from Tommy John surgery is former Minnesota Twins ace Scott Baker (pictured). It might be tough to sign the 32-year-old after giving a guaranteed contract to Floyd, but he would appear to be a much safer bet to make 25 starts and give the team 150 innings.

    Other free-agent options who could fit the bill are Freddy Garcia, who pitched well for the club down the stretch and in one postseason start, Jason Hammel and Paul Maholm. 

Baltimore Orioles

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    While the Baltimore Orioles have made plenty of additions this offseason, the closest they've come to adding an impact player was when they agreed to terms with closer Grant Balfour on a two-year deal, which fell apart shortly afterward because of medical concerns. 

    There are still several possibilities, however, and it wouldn't be a surprise if they were to add another middle-of-the-order bat, another starting pitcher and a late-inning reliever.  

    According to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, first baseman/designated hitter Kendrys Morales, starting pitchers Bronson Arroyo and A.J. Burnett, and closer Fernando Rodney (pictured) are possibilities for the O's, though he doesn't think they'll land any of the intriguing names still available on the free-agent market. 

Boston Red Sox

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    The World Series champs did well to re-sign first baseman Mike Napoli, as well as inking catcher A.J. Pierzynski and reliever Edward Mujica to free-agent deals. As things stand, though, they're relying on two unproven, yet talented, rookies to man two of the most important positions on the diamond.

    Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. are penciled in as the starting shortstop and center fielder, respectively. If the 21-year-old Bogaerts can continue where he left off in the playoffs (8-for-27, 3 2B, 3B, 6 BB), and Bradley can do more of what he's done in the minors (.876 OPS in 218 career minor league games) while playing regularly in the big leagues, the Boston Red Sox will be just fine. 

    But depth is important, as is competition, which is why there is still a good chance that the team re-signs shortstop Stephen Drew (pictured). This would push Bogaerts over to third base and Will Middlebrooks to either a bench role or Triple-A and likely the trade block. 

    With one of the deepest pitching staffs in baseball, they could likely make a trade to add some hitting depth and might need to trade a starting pitcher anyway to clear up what is a very crowded situation at the moment.

Chicago Cubs

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    With another year or two before the team's elite hitting prospects begin to arrive in the majors, the Chicago Cubs continue to be patient in their rebuilding process. But it's been surprising with just how quiet they've been heading into year three of the Theo Epstein regime.

    It's understandable if they don't want to trade any of their top young prospects to acquire a big name for 2014, but adding 25-year-old Tanaka (pictured) on a long-term deal would actually make sense even if they aren't expected to compete for a playoff spot until 2015. David Kaplan of heard from a source that believes the Cubs will not be outbid for Tanaka. 

    On what would likely be a five- or six-year contract, the Cubs would have Tanaka in the mix through his age-29 or 30 season. 

    If not Tanaka, the Cubs will likely stand pat and continue to ride it out for another season before turning on the "win-now" switch next offseason.

Chicago White Sox

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    It appears that the Chicago White Sox could be done after what many consider to be a strong offseason thus far. They might be a bit thin in the pitching staff, however, after trading away closer Addison Reed and swingman Hector Santiago. 

    The addition of free agent Felipe Paulino as a rotation candidate, as well as veteran relievers Ronald Belisario and Scott Downs, certainly helps, but adding one more back-of-the-rotation starter wouldn't hurt—Scott Baker and Jason Hammel could be fits—and replacing Reed with closer Grant Balfour (pictured) would allow Nate Jones to remain in a setup role and strengthen the overall bullpen by a great deal. 

Cincinnati Reds

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    Losing Shin-Soo Choo will hurt a Cincinnati Reds offense that struggled despite his impressive 2013 season. At this point, there is absolutely no way they'll replace his production. Rookie Billy Hamilton is penciled in to take his spot as the leadoff man and starting center fielder, which will at least make for some excitement whenever the speedster hits the ball on the ground or gets on base. 

    But his .308 on-base percentage in Triple-A last season is a strong indication that he could struggle in the majors, which would cause the Reds to go to a "Plan B" that doesn't appear to exist right now. 

    Unless talks with the New York Yankees involving a Brett Gardner-for-Brandon Phillips can be re-ignited—Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported last month that the two were being discussed in a potential deal; this would also open up a hole at second base for the Reds—their best bet might be to sign free agent Andres Torres (pictured) and hope he can bounce back to his 2009-10 form when he posted an .835 OPS while playing center field for the San Francisco Giants. 

    Grady Sizemore is another bounce-back candidate on the free-agent market, although he hasn't played in the majors since 2011 due to a knee injury.

Cleveland Indians

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    After making a lot of noise last offseason by signing top free agents Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher, it's been a rather uneventful offseason in Cleveland with only bounce-back candidate David Murphy added to the lineup and former Milwaukee Brewers closer John Axford signed to take over for Chris Perez after he was released. 

    A good investment this time around would be in their rotation, which currently has one pitcher—Justin Masterson—penciled in who has made more than 24 big league starts in a season. It's imperative that they add another starting pitcher who is as much of a lock as possible of giving the team 32 starts and close to 200 innings. 

    Bronson Arroyo (pictured) would be ideal, especially if they don't want to spend big money to land one of the top free-agent starters. A.J. Burnett could also fit their needs, although he is still undecided on whether he wants to pitch in 2014. 

Colorado Rockies

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    The Colorado Rockies might be done adding to their roster after signing free-agent first baseman Justin Morneau, closer LaTroy Hawkins and lefty reliever Boone Logan, and trading for outfielders Brandon Barnes, Drew Stubbs, starting pitchers Brett Anderson and Jordan Lyles, and swingman Franklin Morales. 

    Unless they're not comfortable handing a starting outfielder with some combination of Barnes, Stubbs, Corey Dickerson and Charlie Blackmon in the outfield spot that was vacated when Dexter Fowler was traded to the Houston Astros—Carlos Gonzalez is expected to move from left field to center field—the heavy lifting is done in Colorado. 

    You can never have enough pitching, though, especially in Colorado, which is why the team could still add another reliever before the start of the season. Bringing Roy Oswalt (pictured) back to resume his career as a reliever might be an option.

Detroit Tigers

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    Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

    The addition of closer Joe Nathan gives the Detroit Tigers a reliable closer, although losing Drew Smyly to the rotation and Joaquin Benoit to free agency and replacing them with Ian Krol and Joba Chamberlain makes that bridge to the ninth inning much less stable. 

    Adding a proven setup man to team with hard-throwing Bruce Rondon would be a great idea—Francisco Rodriguez could be a fit. Filling Prince Fielder's shoes in the middle of the Tigers' lineup will be much more difficult, though.

    Unless they feel comfortable with either Austin Jackson, Ian Kinsler or Torii Hunter hitting behind Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez in the No. 3 and No. 4 spots of the lineup, they might want to seriously entertain the possibility of aggressively pursuing Nelson Cruz (pictured) to be their No. 4 hitter and starting left fielder over Andy Dirks, who was a disappointment in 2013. 

Houston Astros

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    It could very well be that the Houston Astros are one of, if not the most improved team of the offseason after the acquisition of center fielder Dexter Fowler and the free-agent signings of starting pitcher Scott Feldman and a trio of veteran relievers—Matt Albers, Jesse Crain and Chad Qualls. And their projected payroll for 2014 still might be well under $40 million. 

    But the improvement in the standings could be minimal for a team that lost 111 games last season. Unless the Astros make one more significant move, like adding one of the top free-agent starters—Garza, Jimenez or Santana (pictured)—it's hard to see them coming anywhere close to a .500 record and out of last place in the AL West. 

    Adding another veteran at the top of the rotation could have long-term benefits, as well, with much pressure taken off of shoulders of young starters such as Jarred Cosart and Brett Oberholtzer. 

Kansas City Royals

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    Signing second baseman Omar Infante and trading for right fielder Norichika Aoki were necessary moves that were probably long overdue for a Kansas City Royals team sorely lacking for production in those areas. The only question heading into 2014 is whether the signing of lefty Jason Vargas and the impending arrivals of pitching prospects Yordano Ventura and Kyle Zimmer will be enough to make up for the loss of free agent Ervin Santana, who was one of the best pitchers in the league in 2013.

    Whether it is or not, there really isn't much left the Royals can do if they aren't willing to spend what it would take to re-sign Santana or pursue another top free-agent starter. At the least, adding some more depth in the form of a veteran to compete for a back-of-the-rotation spot would allow them to ease the young pitchers into the mix. 

    Signing Jake Westbrook (pictured) to an incentive-laden deal in the hopes that he can give them similar results to his first 14 starts of 2013 (2.95 ERA) before injuries took their toll wouldn't be a bad idea. 

Los Angeles Angels

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Considering the limited financial resources and farm system talent he had to work with, Los Angeles Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto has had a very successful offseason. He's acquired starting third baseman David Freese and starting rotation candidates Hector Santiago and Tyler Skaggs in trades, while signing designated hitter Raul Ibanez and top setup man Joe Smith to free-agent deals. 

    If he can just add one more reliable starting pitcher to the mix to work behind Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson, it wouldn't be much of a stretch to think this team could contend for the AL West title in 2014.

    Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted last month that the Angels were one of the favorites to land Garza (pictured), which could indicate that owner Arte Moreno is once again willing to open up his pocketbook despite several free-agent blunders over the past few years. 

    At the least, a lower-cost free agent—Arroyo would make sense—would strengthen the rotation and possibly allow Skaggs to begin the season in the minors and/or Santiago to pitch out of the bullpen. 

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    While it's difficult to find a weakness on this Los Angeles Dodgers roster, the uncertainty as to which Juan Uribe will show up—the one who posted a .769 OPS in 2013, or the one who posted a combined .552 OPS in 2011-12—and how good new second baseman Alexander Guerrero will be in his first season since defecting from Cuba. 

    Having a better backup plan than Dee Gordon—he'd likely play shortstop with Hanley Ramirez moving to third in the case that Uribe struggles; he'd likely play second base if Guerrero were to struggle—is probably in order, and they could look to bring back veteran Michael Young (pictured), who was still a productive enough player in his age-36 season in 2013. 

    Not only would he give them insurance for Uribe at third base and possibly an occasional fill-in for Guerrero at second base, they'd add another right-handed bat to come off the bench in the late innings. 

    Also on the agenda could be a possible trade of Andre Ethier, although the Dodgers may not have gotten good enough offers for the veteran earlier in the offseason. And with Matt Kemp returning from ankle and shoulder surgeries, they might just feel comfortable holding on to him for now. 

Miami Marlins

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    From top to bottom, the Miami Marlins' roster doesn't look half-bad. There's plenty of young talent, including rising stars Jose Fernandez, Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez, and a handful of veterans to help stabilize the lineup. 

    What they're missing is a veteran presence in the rotation who could help mentor the young staff and act as a stop-gap until their crop of pitching prospects, led by Andrew Heaney and Justin Nicolino, are ready for the majors. 

    Freddy Garcia, Jake Westbrook and Barry Zito are three of the elder statesmen remaining on the free-agent market, though they could bank on Johan Santana (pictured) rebounding from a shoulder injury and becoming much more than a mentor. Same deal with Tommy Hanson, who is looking to get his career back on track after a rough one-year stint with the Angels. 

Milwaukee Brewers

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    It's hard to find a team that's done less than the Brewers this offseason. Trading Norichika Aoki for lefty Will Smith, who could compete for a spot in the back of the rotation but is likely to pitch out of the bullpen, is the only notable transaction thus far. 

    They don't have a ton of gaping holes, but they at least appear to be on the lookout for a first baseman who would be an upgrade over Juan Francisco. After Corey Hart bolted for Seattle and James Loney re-upped with Tampa Bay, the free-agent market is looking pretty thin aside from Kendrys Morales, who might be better suited for the American League where he can be utilized in the designated hitter spot on most days. 

    A trade for New York Mets first baseman Ike Davis remains a possibility, although trade talks didn't go anywhere earlier in the offseason when the Brewers refused to part with starting pitcher Tyler Thornburg, according to Adam McCalvy of

    They could be waiting for the Mets' price to drop, or they may just feel that Davis isn't enough of an upgrade over Francisco, or even minor leaguer Hunter Morris, to give up anything of value. 

Minnesota Twins

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    The Twins' priority list heading into the offseason read: "1. Starting pitcher, 2. Starting pitcher, 3. Starting pitcher." They've accomplished that, re-signing Mike Pelfrey to a two-year deal and inking free agents Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes to multiyear deals. 

    It wouldn't be a surprise, though, if No. 4 on the list was also a starting pitcher. Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweeted that the Twins were willing to spend more money and were "kicking the tires" on Garza, although they didn't want to go big years. 

    If one of the three free-agent starters is willing to accept a shorter-term dealmaybe in the two-year, $36 million rangethere's a chance the Twins could land their fourth starter this winter. Jimenez (pictured), considering he was so bad for two years before bouncing back early in 2013, could find that this would be his best deal. He'd then re-enter the free-agent market prior to his age-32 season.

New York Mets

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    Signing Curtis Granderson and Bartolo Colon to multiyear deals gives the Mets a couple of veterans with impressive credentials. It's probably not enough for this team to compete in the NL East against the likes of the Braves and Washington Nationals.  

    Add one more impact everyday player to the roster, and the Mets are at least worth paying attention to as a team that could surprise in 2014. There aren't many of those left, at least on the free-agent market, but shortstop Stephen Drew (pictured) is a player they've been in discussions with in recent days, according to Marc Carig of Newsday.

New York Yankees

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    Re-signing Hiroki Kuroda was a key move to a Yankees offseason that was dominated by the free-agent acquisitions of star players Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann. The starting rotation was in the most need, although the lineup and bullpen were also weak. 

    The lineup, for the most part, has been fixed, although they could still use some help at third base if Alex Rodriguez's suspension is upheld. The bullpen could still use two late-inning arms, one of which should probably be a closer—Grant Balfour and Fernando Rodney are still available on the free-agent market. 

    The starting rotation remains weak, and it's necessary that the Yankees end up with one, if not two, of Garza, Jimenez (pictured), Santana and Tanaka. If not, the Yankees will be no better than a third-place team. 

Oakland Athletics

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    Billy Beane has been trade-happy this offseason, acquiring a closer (Jim Johnson), setup man (Luke Gregerson), a pair of lefty relief candidates (Fernando Abad, Drew Pomeranz) and an outfielder (Craig Gentry). He also signed starting pitcher Scott Kazmir and infielder Nick Punto to free-agent deals. 

    The result is a roster that is one of the deepest in the game. As things stand, though, Gentry is slated to get more at-bats than he's used to getting. Without a regular designated hitter, the A's can give a lot of those at-bats to Yoenis Cespedes and allow Gentry, a plus defender, in the outfield. 

    But if they wanted to add another bat that they could utilize in the designated hitter spot, at least on occasion, there could be room. They may not want to pay up for Kendrys Morales or Nelson Cruz, but maybe they'd be willing to give a minor league deal to Travis Hafner (pictured), to see if he can come close to the .848 OPS and 10 homers he produced in his first 48 games with the Yankees in 2013. 

    The 30-year-old Gentry may very well be ready to break out as a major league starter, but having a second option just in case he isn't anything more than a good fourth outfielder isn't a bad idea. 

Philadelphia Phillies

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    After agreeing on a new 25-year, $2.5 billion television deal with Comcast SportsNet, the Philadelphia Phillies could celebrate by winning the bidding war for Tanaka (pictured). Joel Sherman of the New York Post recently named them as one of eight teams that are the Yankees' biggest challengers to land the 25-year-old Tanaka.  

    While that would be the move that would draw the most attention and put them in the best position to be playoff contenders once again, the Phillies could also use some help in the bullpen. With Mike Adams questionable for the start of the season after shoulder surgery, the team could use a reliable setup man to help get the lead to closer Jonathan Papelbon. 

    Former Phillies reliever Ryan Madson is an under-the-radar option after he missed the past two seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery. Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly wrote that their was mutual interest in a reunion. 

Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Interestingly enough, the Bucs find themselves in a very similar position to 2013 when they were constantly looking for an upgrade at first base and right field before finally landing Marlon Byrd and Justin Morneau late in the season. This time around, however, they could be anticipating the arrival of top outfield prospect Gregory Polanco, who is likely to start the season in Triple-A, and content with allowing Jose Tabata and Co. hold down right field until he's ready. 

    It would be a shock, however, if the Pirates went into the season with Gaby Sanchez as their everyday first baseman, so it was no surprise when Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported last month that the team had interest in trading for either Ike Davis or Mitch Moreland.  

    Internal candidates to push Sanchez for time include Andrew Lambo, Chris McGuiness and Travis Ishikawa, although none should keep the Bucs from continuing to pursue an upgrade.  

    A.J. Burnett (pictured) still hasn't made up his mind on whether he'll retire or continue pitching in 2014, but the Pirates are still considered the front-runner if he resumes his career. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported last month that the Bucs were confident he only wanted to pitch for them if he returned.

San Diego Padres

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    The San Diego Padres' short "to-do" list has been completed, for the most part. They acquired the lefty bat (Seth Smith) they were seeking and replaced the setup man (Luke Gregerson) they traded for him by signing Joaquin Benoit. They also found their lefty reliever, although a guy who pitched in High-A last year can't be considered anything more than a long shot candidate. 

    Rule 5 pick Patrick Schuster—he was taken in the draft by Houston and traded to San Diego—has a decent chance of making the Padres' 25-man roster, but there's also a pretty good lefty reliever on the free-agent market who would appear to be a much more reliable option.

    That would be Oliver Perez (pictured), who had never been called "reliable" throughout most of his major league career. Aside from a couple of good seasons, it was mostly a roller-coaster ride when Perez was on the mound until he found a comfort zone in Seattle's bullpen two seasons ago. 

    His career can now come full circle by signing to be the Padres' primary lefty out of the bullpen nearly 15 years after they signed him as an amateur out of Mexico.

San Francisco Giants

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    Not wasting any time, the Giants signed Hunter Pence to a five-year contract extension late in the season and then re-signed Tim Lincecum to a two-year deal prior to the start of free agency. Since, they've re-signed lefty reliever Javier Lopez to a three-year deal, added Tim Hudson to the rotation, along with Ryan Vogelsong, who was re-signed, and signed Michael Morse to be their everyday left fielder. 

    This is a roster that appears ready to go for 2014. Just in case, though, they should add one more veteran reliever to a bullpen that lacks much experience from the right-handed side after closer Sergio Romo and setup man Santiago Casilla. 

    Luis Ayala, Kevin Gregg (pictured) and Francisco Rodriguez would all be valuable pitchers who could be utilized in the sixth and seventh innings, and occasionally with the game on the line in the eighth and ninth. Relief prospect Heath Hembree is just about ready for a big league job, though he'd benefit from being eased into a higher-leverage role as opposed to being thrown into the fire early on. 

Seattle Mariners

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    All has been quiet in Seattle since the Mariners signed Robinson Cano to a 10-year, $240 million deal. They're a much better team now, but they still have some holes to fill.

    Outfielder Nelson Cruz would be a great addition to the middle of the lineup behind Cano and in front of Corey Hart. Signing Grant Balfour to be the closer would allow the team's less experienced group of relievers, including Danny Farquhar, to pitch in a setup role. 

    You know what would really put an exclamation point on this offseason, though? Trading for David Price (pictured) without including top prospect Taijuan Walker. 

    There has been nothing floating around the rumor mill in regard to Price in weeks. It could be an ol' fashioned stare down. If the Tampa Bay Rays really do want to pull the trigger on a deal prior to the start of season, they could settle for a package of players that includes catcher Mike Zunino, infielder Nick Franklin, starting pitcher James Paxton and more. If they do acquire Price and trade Zunino, they could then sign veteran John Buck to take his spot as the starting catcher. 

    Not enough? I don't think so. But I don't know if the Rays really want to pay Price the huge salary he's due in 2014 and risk that his value will decrease significantly if they held onto him any longer.

St. Louis Cardinals

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    It shouldn't come as any surprise that the St. Louis Cardinals have had a terrific offseason. They don't make too many mistakes. They've gotten much better defensively with the acquisition of center fielder Peter Bourjos and the signing of second baseman Mark Ellis, added some more pop to the lineup with the free-agent signing of Jhonny Peralta and opened up an everyday spot for Kolten Wong, one of their top young prospects. 

    With all of their young pitching, they probably don't have to make another move. But with Carlos Martinez, who is probably their best option as the primary setup man for closer Trevor Rosenthal, expected to compete for a starting job in the spring and possibly start the season in the Triple-A rotation so he can stay stretched out in case he's needed in the rotation at some point, it would make sense to at least consider signing someone who could fill that eighth-inning role. 

    Grant Balfour (pictured) would probably like a closing gig, but I'm sure he'd settle for a lesser role if the money is right and if it's on a great team like the Cardinals. His addition would give a very young Cardinals bullpen some veteran leadership and another closing option should Rosenthal falter at some point. 

Tampa Bay Rays

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    While a lot of the offseason talk surrounded the Rays' likely trade of ace David Price, it's been fairly quiet in Tampa Bay. The Rays re-signed first baseman James Loney and acquired starting catcher Ryan Hanigan and reliever Heath Bell. And no one will be surprised if they take this roster into 2014 and remain in playoff contention throughout the season. 

    The bullpen, although it continues to exceed expectations year after year, once again looks like it could get shaky. Closer Fernando Rodney will sign elsewhere as a free agent. While Bell is the likely closer, he hasn't been very effective in that role over the past two seasons, so the Rays better have a better backup plan than former Marlins closer Juan Carlos Oviedo (formerly known as Leo Nunez), who is returning from Tommy John surgery. 

    Jake McGee and Joel Peralta could also compete for the job, but the Rays should play it safe and bring in one more guy who has experience closing out games in the majors. Francisco Rodriguez (pictured), who has 304 saves in his career and is coming off of a strong 2013 season (2.70 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, 10.4 K/9), could sign at a bargain rate if he has a chance to be the team's closer.

Texas Rangers

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    After adding two of the game's premier left-handed hitters to their lineup this offseason, the Texas Rangers could now turn their attention to the bench.

    Young outfielder Michael Choice, acquired in a trade from Oakland, is currently penciled into a designated hitter platoon with Mitch Moreland, although it's yet to be seen how he'd do in a limited role. Bringing back utility man Jeff Baker (pictured), who had a 1.073 OPS and 10 homers against left-handed pitching in 2013, would make more sense so Choice could at least start the season with regular at-bats down in the minors. 

Toronto Blue Jays

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    After being one of the most active teams in baseball last offseason, the Toronto Blue Jays have made just one significant move this winter, signing Dioner Navarro to a two-year deal to be their starting catcher. They've been connected with just about every starting pitcher on the free-agent and trade markets, though, and would appear to be in the mix for one of the four front-line starting pitchers still available. 

    General manager Alex Anthopoulos says it's "50/50 at this point," according to Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star, on whether he acquires a pitcher through trade or free agency. 

    While the team has five good starters, on paper, that it can pencil into the rotation—R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, Brandon Morrow, J.A. Happ, Kyle Drabek—Anthopoulos needs some more depth to keep his team competitive throughout the 162-game schedule. Thirteen different pitchers made starts for the team in 2013. 

Washington Nationals

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    Despite a disappointing 2013 season, the Nationals remain one of the more talented rosters in baseball. They probably didn't need to do too much this winter, but they've improved their team with the acquisition of starting pitcher Doug Fister. 

    One of the biggest weaknesses on the team that could still be addressed is the offense against left-handed pitching.

    After posting a .674 OPS against lefties in 2013, the Nats could hope that a full season of Jayson Werth would help turn things around or hope for bounce-back seasons from Scott Hairston and Tyler Moore. Or they could sign utility man Jeff Baker (pictured), who posted a 1.073 OPS with 10 homers in 105 at-bats against lefties in 2013.