MLB: 1 Thing Each of the 2011 Playoff Teams Needs to Change
The World Series might still be going on, but one can't help but to look forward to next season already, especially if that one is a member of the 28 other teams in the league.
No team's perfect—even the one that will end up winning this year.
Teams are always looking to improve themselves, which means changes will happen in the offseason.
Here's a list of one thing that each of this year's playoff teams need to change if they hope to come back to compete for the World Series next season.
Tampa Bay Rays: Add an Offensive Threat in the Lineup
The Rays seem just about set with every other category.
They have one of the youngest and possibly one of the best pitching staffs in the majors.
Their bullpen always seems in the top-tier with their relievers. Then there's Joe "The Genius" Maddon who always makes his young Rays team a playoff contender despite their inexperience and division.
The one thing they do need is a legitimate bat in the lineup to help their offense out.
So far, the Rays have been winning on pitching, defense and clutch hits. In order to be a serious World Series contender, they need that bat to help out Evan Longoria.
To do that, they'll probably need to trade one of their young pitching stars, since they're not exactly known to be big spenders.
Tampa Bay Rays: What'll Probably Happen
I don't expect the Rays to move one of their young arms to get that bat.
I also don't expect the Rays to trade B.J. Upton to get something of value in return.
Not to mention the Rays aren't going to give Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols A-Rod money to come to Tampa Bay—which is a shame, because either one of them could help the team out tremendously.
It also would've been interesting to see the panic moves the Yankees and Red Sox would've made if Fielder or Pujols came into their division but not on their team.
What will probably happen is that the Rays will either retain Johnny Damon to be that bat or sign some other veteran who's seen better days.
Some names I think they'll throw around is Vladimir Guerrero, Hideki Matsui, Derek Lee and maybe even Jim Thome, as they all seem to fit the "I used to be a great hitter and still am, but no one believes me" mold.
Philadelphia Phillies: Get a Younger Lineup
The Phillies have the same problem as the Rays in that both need some offensive help.
Whereas the Rays are young and inexperienced, the Phillies are getting up there in age.
Seven members of the Phillies' lineup is on the wrong side of 30 and they're not getting any younger.
Injuries keep piling up on the team—no one in the lineup seems to be able to stay healthy for long.
The addition of Hunter Pence was a needed boost to their team, but the Phillies still need to inject some youth and athleticism into that lineup to be a true contender.
Philadelphia Phillies: What'll Probably Happen
The Phillies have shown to spend money when necessary, but the only reliable, instant-impact free-agent options would be at first base, and they already have Ryan Howard (although injured) there.
We also can't forget that the Phillies just spent a bunch of money on their rotation these past two years and did do that Roy Halladay trade.
The Phillies will continue to build around Hunter Pence and look to add to him internally or inexpensively.
They'll likely turn to Domonic Brown to replace Raul Ibanez in the outfield.
For the time being, Brown's a good place to start in making the team younger.
New York Yankees: Have a Pitching Staff
This seems to be the question with the Yankees every year.
Who will they add to their rotation this year?
I honestly can't remember the last time the Yankees had a one-two-three combination they were confident in and that everyone could name.
All signs point to CC Sabathia staying in the Bronx and sure, they'll have Ivan Nova and AJ Burnett for sure and Phil "Dead Arm" Hughes might make an appearance as a starter.
The question remains—who'll be the No. 2?
This year was a miracle in terms of the production they got out of Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon. I—as well as every other sane baseball fan—don't expect that again from both of them.
Right now, CC Sabathia is the only sure thing in the rotation, and even then there's a slight chance he might opt out of his contract and go somewhere else.
New York Yankees: What'll Probably Happen
Should Yankees GM Brian Cashman stay with the team, expect him to hold onto their prospects.
There's no way he's going to trade the guys he's been hoarding for just a solid starter.
The only way he'll make a big, impactful trade is if it's the right deal.
All signs point to the Yankees going after Yu Darvish instead of CJ Wilson. He's supposed to be the next big thing out of Japan.
I'm a little weary of Japanese pitchers, thanks to perennial minor leaguer Kei Igawa and how Daisuke Matsuzaka turned out.
If the Yankees don't end up with Darvish, then expect them to sign some low-key guys like they did last year.
Scott Kazmir is a potential fit, as is Aaron Harang or Brandon Webb.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Trade Chris Young
The Diamondbacks have a solid young rotation that'll get better with experience and some minor additions.
They also have a relatively young lineup based around the talented Justin Upton, but that lineup needs to get better.
The Diamondbacks need better protection for Upton, and Chris Young isn't the answer.
Young's definitely a power threat, but he strikes out far too often. He's been with the team since 2006 and hasn't shown any drastic improvement. Maybe a change of scenery can get him to take that next step.
He's probably the player who can generate the most interest from another team that the Diamondbacks can afford to part with.
Young will likely get Arizona something of value in return, whether it's a pitcher to improve their staff or a reliable bat to protect Upton.
Arizona Diamondbacks: What'll Probably Happen
As of right now, Arizona seems pretty content with their team.
It's still a young team, and experience will help them get better, so I don't see any big changes this offseason.
The Diamondbacks will continue forward with a core of Justin Upton, Paul Goldschmidt and Chris Young as well as a rotation that consists of Ian Kennedy, Joe Saunders and Josh Collmenter.
If they do make any changes, expect them to be internal or through cheap free-agent signings.
I don't expect them to make a play for Fielder or Pujols since they already have Goldschmidt, but anything can happen.
Detroit Tigers: Add Pitching
People don't realize that the Tigers had one of the top five offenses in the majors this year, so they're fine on that front.
What people do realize is that Justin Verlander needed to win every game he pitched to keep the Tigers afloat.
Detroit added Doug Fister, who's been the Wolverine to Verlander's Cyclops in that they've been equally good and important to the Tigers.
The other starters have been average and respectable at best, but to be a true contender, they're going to need at least one more good arm.
The Tigers have shown that they're willing to make trades for the right price. After all, they that's how they got Miguel Cabrera and Max Scherzer.
The Tigers could also bring in a free-agent pitcher to help them out.
Detroit Tigers: What'll Probably Happen
The Tigers stand to have a lot of money coming off the books with Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen's expiring contracts.
The Tigers could also use a left-handed starter, as they currently don't have any.
So the Tigers have money to spend, and they could possibly be in the market for a left-handed starter to give them a solid one-two-three combo with Verlander, Fister and their pitcher of choice.
Looks like CJ Wilson might have a home. Now this is purely just my opinion, since the Tigers haven't been linked to Wilson so far, but it makes sense that Detroit might and probably would go after CJ Wilson.
A rotation of Verlander, Fister and Wilson would really make the Tigers a feared team.
Milwaukee Brewers: Defense
It's no secret that the Brewers aren't the best defensive team out there.
In fact, they weren't even taken seriously at the start of the regular season since because of their noted lack of defense.
They managed to make it to the NLCS, but offense can only take you so far.
The Brewers are going to need to make some defensive upgrades if they want to make a run at the World Series.
Of course the catch is that they're probably going to have take some hits offensively to bump up that defense.
That hit is probably going to come in the form of Prince Fielder's massive bulk no longer being at first base.
Milwaukee Brewers: What'll Probably Happen
What will probably happen is that Prince Fielder is going to leave. He's indicated that much.
The Brewers will do everything possible to bring him back, if only so that Ryan Braun won't get intentionally walked 248 times next season.
Any defensive upgrades will come in the form of small signings of utility and reserve players, as there isn't much free agent-wise in terms of defense.
They also did the Zack Greinke trade, so the Brewers might be reluctant to do another big trade.
One interesting thing to watch for is if they make a play for Jose Reyes if they lose out on Prince Fielder.
The Brewers do have Yuniesky Betancourt, but Reyes is a dynamic player who can help the Brewers defensively and offensively.
Texas Rangers: Acquire Another Starter
The Rangers had the best team average, were third in runs and second in slugging percentage, so I'm guessing they're doing just fine offensively.
They're rotation isn't too shabby, either, but it's something that can be improved upon.
CJ Wilson is probably on his way out of Texas if the price becomes too high. That means Texas will have to rely on a relatively young and unproven rotation that does not have a true ace come next season.
Even if Wilson does stay in Texas, it would be wise to add another reliable arm in the rotation with him.
Good pitching's a rarity these days, and any team that can stock up on solid starters will have an edge on their opponents.
Texas Rangers: What'll Probably Happen
As of right now, the Rangers are one win away from winning the World Series.
Even if they should win, it's questionable if their current rotation can bring them another even if Wilson should stay.
Wilson will probably take the big contract and play elsewhere, leaving the Rangers scrambling for a No. 1.
They'll likely improve within the organization again, as that's what Nolan Ryan's been preaching ever since he came aboard.
Another name attached to the Rangers is Japanese phenom Yu Darvish. The New York Post's Joel Sherman recently tweeted that the Rangers are the favorites to land Darvish.
Darvish is far from a sure thing, but he'll be better than nothing.
St. Louis Cardinals: Trade Matt Holliday
Let's get a little creative and possibly crazy with this one to explore the possibilities.
First off—yes, I realize he signed an extension last season.
What I also realize is that St. Louis would probably love to have that money to spend on Albert Pujols.
Something tells me if Pujols walks, St. Louis will make the Vancouver riot look like Occupy Wall Street.
He's been injured and hasn't been the same player he was when he was with the Rockies.
Holliday can still play and he's still young(ish) enough to make good on that contract, but we've seen this year that the Cardinals would do just fine without him, that is as long as Pujols is still around.
Trading Holliday could get the Cardinals a solid starter in return—a younger, but proven bat to help Pujols, or a package of prospects that'll help the team rebuild should Pujols leave.
St. Louis Cardinals: What'll Probably Happen
I'll go out there and say Albert Pujols will stay in St. Louis.
The Cardinals would be crazy to let him walk. Now cue the angry Cardinals fans who say I'm jinxing it.
Anyway, Matt Holliday's likely to stay as well. They wouldn't give him that contract if they didn't envision him to be an integral part of the team for many years.
However, it is worth noting that Holliday probably has the most value other than Pujols and Wainwright.
Even if Pujols should leave, the Cardinals wouldn't need to go into complete rebuilding mode. They could still contend, it's just that their offense will take a rather large hit.
Instead, I picture the Cardinals making some moves to strengthen the bullpen and add some starting pitching.
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