Predicting Every MLB Team's 2023 Opening Day Lineup

Joel ReuterAugust 18, 2022

Predicting Every MLB Team's 2023 Opening Day Lineup

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    Aaron Judge (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

    For nearly half the league, the 2022 MLB season is essentially over, and the focus has already shifted to the future and the possibilities for 2023 and beyond.

    Even for teams still in the thick of contention, one eye is always on what's to come, and another busy offseason promises to alter the MLB landscape once again.

    Last season, we presented a series predicting how each team's Opening Day lineup might look, starting shortly after the trade deadline. Now it's time for the first version of our 2023 Opening Day lineup predictions.

    Aside from just assessing in-house talent for each team, that also meant shuffling around upcoming free agents and making decisions on contract options, so there will be plenty of new faces on new teams. The idea here is to provide one potential outcome for how the offseason ahead might play out, and some potential moves to start considering.

    Is all of this going to be right? Absolutely not, and there will be plenty of updates to this article in the coming months. Think of this as a jumping-off point for the offseason to come.

    Let's get to it!

    Note: Projected free-agent signings are indicated in bold.

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Ketel Marte (Norm Hall/Getty Images)

    Projected Lineup

    1. 2B Josh Rojas
    2. LF Corbin Carroll
    3. DH Ketel Marte
    4. 1B Christian Walker
    5. RF Daulton Varsho
    6. 3B Emmanuel Rivera
    7. C Carson Kelly
    8. CF Alek Thomas
    9. SS Geraldo Perdomo
    SP Zac Gallen


    - Corbin Carroll is hitting .314/.431/.613 with 48 extra-base hits and 30 steals in 84 games in the upper levels of the minors this season. Even if he doesn't receive a September call-up, he should get a long look next spring for a starting job.

    - It's a small sample size, but Emmanuel Rivera is hitting .324/.410/.765 in 39 plate appearances since he was acquired from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for Luke Weaver. Will that be enough to secure the starting third base job?

Atlanta Braves

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    Austin Riley (Adam Hunger/Getty Images)

    Projected Lineup

    1. RF Ronald Acuña Jr.
    2. 1B Matt Olson
    3. 3B Austin Riley
    4. 2B Ozzie Albies
    5. C William Contreras
    6. DH Marcell Ozuna
    7. LF Eddie Rosario
    8. SS Vaughn Grissom
    9. CF Michael Harris II
    SP Max Fried


    - A red-hot start in the big leagues from Vaughn Grissom could make it easier for the Atlanta front office to let Dansby Swanson walk in free agency. The 21-year-old is playing second base right now in place of the injured Ozzie Albies, but 161 of his 227 games in the minors came at shortstop.

    - Veteran Travis d'Arnaud is under contract for the 2023 season and will continue to platoon behind the plate, but expect rising star William Contreras to be given a larger piece of the pie in 2023.

Baltimore Orioles

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    Adley Rutschman (Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

    Projected Lineup

    1. CF Cedric Mullins
    2. 2B Jean Segura
    3. C Adley Rutschman
    4. DH Nelson Cruz
    5. RF Anthony Santander
    6. 1B Ryan Mountcastle
    7. LF Austin Hays
    8. 3B Gunnar Henderson
    9. SS Jorge Mateo
    SP Carlos Rodón


    - The Orioles are poised to spend big for the first time in years this offseason, and while the biggest focus could be on the starting rotation, they could also stand to plug a few holes offensively. This projection has them adding a steady contact threat in Jean Segura at second base, slugger Nelson Cruz to fill the designated hitter void and Carlos Rodón as the biggest splash atop the rotation.

    - Top prospect Gunnar Henderson is hitting .301/.423/.546 with a 16.3 percent walk rate in 100 games between Double-A and Triple-A. He could still be the shortstop of the future, but easing him into the big leagues at third base similar to what the Kansas City Royals did with Bobby Witt Jr. would fill a void and take some pressure off him in his debut.

Boston Red Sox

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    Rafael Devers (Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

    Projected Lineup

    1. 2B Adam Frazier
    2. RF Alex Verdugo
    3. 3B Rafael Devers
    4. SS Trevor Story
    5. DH J.D. Martinez
    6. CF Cody Bellinger
    7. 1B Triston Casas
    8. C Christian Vázquez
    9. LF Jarren Duran
    SP Nick Pivetta


    - All signs point to Xander Bogaerts opting out and jumping ship this offseason, but the Red Sox can easily shift Trevor Story back to his natural shortstop position and target a second baseman instead. Former All-Star Adam Frazier looks like a great buy-low candidate to keep the position warm while Nick Yorke continues to develop.

    - There's a good chance Cody Bellinger is going to be non-tendered by the Los Angeles Dodgers this offseason with a projected salary hovering around $20 million in his final year of arbitration. He fits the bill as another intriguing buy-low candidate in what could be a retooling year in Boston.

Chicago Cubs

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    Christopher Morel (Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

    Projected Lineup

    1. 3B Christopher Morel
    2. 2B Nico Hoerner
    3. SS Trea Turner
    4. LF Ian Happ
    5. RF Seiya Suzuki
    6. DH Franmil Reyes
    7. 1B Patrick Wisdom
    8. CF Rafael Ortega
    9. C Mike Zunino
    SP Marcus Stroman


    - With Nick Madrigal hitting a punchless .243/.303/.279 with five extra-base hits in 154 plate appearances, there's nothing stopping the Cubs from shifting Nico Hoerner back to second base to make a run at one of the market's top-tier shortstops. In this case, it's Trea Turner, who immediately becomes the new face of the franchise.

    - Yan Gomes is under contract in 2023 as a built-in replacement for Willson Contreras, but adding another veteran to serve as a platoon option makes a lot of sense. Mike Zunino has had a rough 2022 season, but he's just a year removed from a 33-homer All-Star campaign.

Chicago White Sox

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    Luis Robert (David Berding/Getty Images)

    Projected Lineup

    1. SS Tim Anderson
    2. 1B Andrew Vaughn
    3. CF Luis Robert
    4. DH José Abreu
    5. LF Eloy Jiménez
    6. 3B Yoán Moncada
    7. RF AJ Pollock
    8. C Yasmani Grandal
    9. 2B César Hernández
    SP Dylan Cease


    - In his age-34 season, José Abreu is showing no signs of slowing down, hitting .307/.382/.466 for a 141 OPS+. The White Sox gave him a three-year, $50 million deal prior to the 2020 season to keep him around, and there's no reason to think they'll let him walk this time.

    - Props to Andrew Vaughn for accepting the challenge of learning to play the outfield on the fly last season, but he's not an outfielder. His defensive metrics (-13 DRS, -24.9 UZR/150) are some of the worst in baseball, and shifting him back to first base and moving Abreu into the DH role makes the entire defense better.

Cincinnati Reds

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    Tyler Stephenson (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

    Projected Lineup

    1. 2B Jonathan India
    2. CF Nick Senzel
    3. 1B Joey Votto
    4. C Tyler Stephenson
    5. DH Mike Moustakas
    6. 3B Kyle Farmer
    7. RF Aristides Aquino
    8. LF Jake Fraley
    9. SS Jose Barrero
    SP Graham Ashcraft


    - Given all of the talent they have traded away in the past calendar year, there's no reason to think the Reds will add anyone of significance in free agency. Instead, expect them to bide their time while they wait on a restocked farm system to develop.

    - With a 3.96 ERA in 86.1 innings as a rookie, right-hander Graham Ashcraft has been one of the few bright spots in Cincinnati this year. Rewarding him with the Opening Day start next year would solidify his standing as a long-term piece.

Cleveland Guardians

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    Jose Ramirez (Jason Miller/Getty Images)

    Projected Lineup

    1. LF Steven Kwan
    2. SS Amed Rosario
    3. 3B José Ramírez
    4. 1B Josh Naylor
    5. 2B Andrés Giménez
    6. RF Oscar Gonzalez
    7. DH Nolan Jones
    8. C Austin Hedges
    9. CF Myles Straw
    SP Shane Bieber


    - He can't hit, but Austin Hedges is still a rock-solid defensive catcher who does a great job handling the staff. Bringing him back on a cheap one-year deal will help bridge the gap to top prospect Bo Naylor, who should be ready at some point in 2023.

    - With a .303/.324/.449 line and 20 extra-base hits in 185 plate appearances, rookie Oscar Gonzalez has done more than enough to be penciled in as the starting right fielder for next season.

Colorado Rockies

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    Brendan Rodgers (Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

    Projected Lineup

    1. DH Charlie Blackmon
    2. LF Kris Bryant
    3. 2B Brendan Rodgers
    4. 1B C.J. Cron
    5. 3B Ryan McMahon
    6. RF Randal Grichuk
    7. C Elias Díaz
    8. SS José Iglesias
    9. CF Yonathan Daza
    SP Kyle Freeland


    - Shortstop Jose Iglesias quietly ranks fourth in the NL batting title race with a .311 average, and he's been worth 1.6 WAR playing on a one-year, $5 million deal. With no immediate in-house replacement as Ezequiel Tovar continues to develop, bringing him back on another one-year deal makes a ton of sense.

    - Veteran Charlie Blackmon has an $18 million player option for the 2023 season, and he made it clear last October that he planned on exercising his 2022 and 2023 options. He has a 99 OPS+ with 18 doubles, 16 home runs and 66 RBI, and he can still provide some value as long as he does not see any extended action in the field.

Detroit Tigers

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    Riley Greene (Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

    Projected Lineup

    1. CF Riley Greene
    2. 3B Jeimer Candelario
    3. LF Austin Meadows
    4. C Willson Contreras
    5. SS Javier Báez
    6. DH Miguel Cabrera
    7. 1B Spencer Torkelson
    8. RF Kerry Carpenter
    9. 2B Jonathan Schoop
    SP Tarik Skubal


    - Catcher has been a revolving door for the Tigers since Alex Avila was in his prime, so why not splurge on Willson Contreras and reunite him with former teammate Javier Báez? Ownership showed a willingness to spend last winter, and with plenty of intriguing young talent, there's no reason to walk back that approach this offseason.

    - Jonathan Schoop has a $7.5 million player option for 2023, and after a brutal 2022 season, he'd have a tough time topping that figure on the open market, so expect to see him back in Detroit next year.

Houston Astros

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    Yordan Alvarez (Ben Jackson/Getty Images)

    Projected Lineup

    1. 2B Jose Altuve
    2. DH Michael Brantley
    3. LF Yordan Alvarez
    4. 3B Alex Bregman
    5. 1B Josh Bell
    6. RF Kyle Tucker
    7. SS Jeremy Peña
    8. CF Jake Meyers
    9. C Martín Maldonado
    SP Justin Verlander


    - Catcher Martín Maldonado has a $4 million option that vests with 90 games played in 2022, and with 87 games under his belt already, he's a lock to reach that total. The Astros value his defense highly enough not to look for an offensive upgrade, and he could platoon with prospect Korey Lee next year.

    - Justin Verlander has a $25 million player option for next season. My guess is he declines the option and quickly negotiates a new multi-year deal with a higher annual value to stay in Houston.

Kansas City Royals

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    Bobby Witt Jr. (Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

    Projected Lineup

    1. RF MJ Melendez
    2. 3B Bobby Witt Jr.
    3. C Salvador Perez
    4. 1B Vinnie Pasquantino
    5. DH Hunter Dozier
    6. LF Nick Pratto
    7. 2B Michael Massey
    8. CF Michael A. Taylor
    9. SS Nicky Lopez
    SP Brady Singer


    - The win-loss record might not reflect it, but this has been a positive season for the Royals thanks to guys like Bobby Witt Jr., Brady Singer, MJ Melendez and Vinnie Pasquantino all taking a significant step forward in their development.

    - The front office finally pulled the trigger on trading Whit Merrifield, no doubt in part due to the fact that Michael Massey was hitting .312/.371/.532 with 28 doubles, 16 home runs and 77 RBI in 87 games in the upper levels of the minors. The second base job should be his in 2023.

Los Angeles Angels

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    Shohei Ohtani (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

    Projected Lineup

    1. SP Shohei Ohtani
    2. CF Mike Trout
    3. 3B Anthony Rendon
    4. 1B Jared Walsh
    5. RF Taylor Ward
    6. 2B Luis Rengifo
    7. LF Jo Adell
    8. C Max Stassi
    9. SS David Fletcher


    - Anthony Rendon is expected to be ready for Opening Day with an estimated six-month recovery time on the season-ending wrist surgery he underwent in the middle of June. The 32-year-old has played in 155 total games over the first three seasons of his seven-year, $245 million deal.

    - Upgrading the pitching staff is too much of a glaring need for the Angels to be considered serious players for any of the top shortstop options on the market. With Luis Rengifo playing his way into a large role, David Fletcher and defensive-minded Andrew Velazquez can handle the position once again.

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Freddie Freeman (Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    Projected Lineup

    1. RF Mookie Betts
    2. CF Brandon Nimmo
    3. 1B Freddie Freeman
    4. C Will Smith
    5. DH Max Muncy
    6. SS Dansby Swanson
    7. 2B Gavin Lux
    8. 3B Miguel Vargas
    9. LF Chris Taylor
    SP Julio Urías


    - By letting Trea Turner walk, declining a $16 million club option for Justin Turner and non-tendering Cody Bellinger—whose salary will push toward $20 million in his final year of arbitration—the Dodgers could sign Dansby Swanson and Brandon Nimmo, extend Walker Buehler and Julio Urías and still have significant money left over relative to what it would cost to retain those three players.

    - Shaking up the roster as proposed would also open the door for MLB-ready prospects like Miguel Vargas, Michael Busch and James Outman to make an impact.

Miami Marlins

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    Jazz Chisholm Jr. (Eric Espada/Getty Images)

    Projected Lineup

    1. 2B Jazz Chisholm Jr.
    2. LF Avisaíl García
    3. SS Carlos Correa
    4. DH Jorge Soler
    5. 1B Garrett Cooper
    6. 3B Wilmer Flores
    7. CF JJ Bleday
    8. RF Brian Anderson
    9. C Jacob Stallings
    SP Sandy Alcantara


    - It's time for the Marlins to make a splash. They have a wealth of pitching talent but not enough offensive firepower to back it up, and last offseason's additions of Avisaíl García and Jorge Soler have done nothing to move the needle. With a payroll that ranks 26th in the majors, they have the money to reel in Carlos Correa, assuming he opts out of his deal with the Minnesota Twins.

    - Signing Wilmer Flores to essentially replace free agent Jesús Aguilar on the roster would give the club more defensive flexibility. Flores, 31, has quietly posted a 118 OPS+ with 23 doubles, 16 home runs and 58 RBI in 110 games this season in San Francisco.

Milwaukee Brewers

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    Willy Adames (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

    Projected Lineup

    1. LF Christian Yelich
    2. SS Willy Adames
    3. 1B Rowdy Tellez
    4. RF Hunter Renfroe
    5. DH Keston Hiura
    6. 2B Kolten Wong
    7. 3B Luis Urías
    8. C Omar Narváez
    9. CF Tyrone Taylor
    SP Corbin Burnes


    - The Brewers have a $10 million option and $2 million buyout on second baseman Kolten Wong for next season. They could turn to prospect Brice Turang at second base or shift Luis Urias there to pursue a power bat at third base, but that's a reasonable enough price tag to bring back the two-time Gold Glove winner.

    - Catcher Omar Narvaez is a free agent for the first time in his career this offseason, and something similar to the $5 million salary he's earning this season annually over a two- or three-year deal should be enough to keep him around.

Minnesota Twins

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    Byron Buxton (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

    Projected Lineup

    1. 1B Luis Arraez
    2. 2B Jorge Polanco
    3. CF Byron Buxton
    4. 3B Jose Miranda
    5. RF Max Kepler
    6. DH Trevor Larnach
    7. LF Alex Kirilloff
    8. SS Elvis Andrus
    9. C Ryan Jeffers
    SP Mike Clevinger


    - Healthy seasons from Alex Kirilloff (45 G) and Trevor Larnach (51 G) could go a long way in boosting the Minnesota offense without any outside additions. Rookie Jose Miranda (78 G, 127 OPS+, 11 HR, 49 RBI) also looks like a potential difference-maker going forward.

    - Assuming Carlos Correa opts out and Miguel Sano has his $14 million club option declined, the Twins should have some money to work with. However, the focus should be on making multiple additions to the starting rotation, which makes signing Elvis Andrus as a stopgap at shortstop a logical secondary move.

New York Mets

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    Pete Alonso (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

    Projected Lineup

    1. CF Mark Canha
    2. RF Starling Marte
    3. SS Francisco Lindor
    4. 1B Pete Alonso
    5. LF Jeff McNeil
    6. DH Dan Vogelbach
    7. 3B Brett Baty
    8. 2B Luis Guillorme
    9. C James McCann
    SP Jacob deGrom


    - Whether he opts out or not, expect the Mets front office to do whatever it takes to keep Jacob deGrom around going forward. A 1.62 ERA and a ridiculous 28-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 16.2 innings since his return from the injured list has quickly proved he is still the best in the business when healthy.

    - Catcher Francisco Álvarez might not start the season in the majors, but don't be surprised if he gets the call well before the All-Star break. Fellow top prospect Brett Baty will also have a chance to audition for the starting third base job down the stretch, which could push Eduardo Escobar into a utility role.

New York Yankees

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    DJ LeMahieu (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

    Projected Lineup

    1. 2B DJ LeMahieu
    2. RF Aaron Judge
    3. 1B Anthony Rizzo
    4. DH Giancarlo Stanton
    5. 3B Josh Donaldson
    6. LF Joc Pederson
    7. CF Harrison Bader
    8. SS Isiah Kiner-Falefa
    9. C Jose Trevino
    SP Gerrit Cole


    - The Yankees need to swallow their pride and offer Aaron Judge whatever it takes to keep him around this offseason. He turned down a seven-year offer that would have paid him $30.5 million annually during the offseason, and betting on himself has proved to be the right call.

    - With top prospects Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe knocking on the door, the Yankees can start next season with Isiah Kiner-Falefa at shortstop again, even if they have no intention of him finishing the year in the starting role. Signing Joc Pederson as a platoon/depth option to pair with the oft-injured Aaron Hicks in left field would provide some welcome depth.

    -Someone had to be the odd-man out between Anthony Rizzo, Gleyber Torres and Josh Donaldson if DJ LeMahieu is in the starting lineup and Giancarlo Stanton is the designated hitter. Don't read into Torres not being listed here, he'll still be a key contributor in 2023.

Oakland Athletics

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    Sean Murphy (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

    Projected Lineup

    1. 2B Tony Kemp
    2. RF Ramón Laureano
    3. C Sean Murphy
    4. DH Jesús Aguilar
    5. LF Seth Brown
    6. 1B Shea Langeliers
    7. 3B Sheldon Neuse
    8. SS Nick Allen
    9. CF Cristian Pache
    SP Cole Irvin


    - The Athletics have an interesting "problem" on their hands with Sean Murphy and Shea Langeliers both offering significant upside at the catcher position. Both are terrific defensive backstops who would be wasted at first base, but that might be how they line up to start the year unless one of them is traded.

    - Buying low on Jesús Aguilar could provide the Athletics with a much-needed middle-of-the-order run producer and a potential trade chip if he returns to his 2021 form when he posted a 112 OPS+ with 22 home runs and 93 RBI.

Philadelphia Phillies

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    Kyle Schwarber (Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

    Projected Lineup

    1. LF Kyle Schwarber
    2. 1B Rhys Hoskins
    3. RF Bryce Harper
    4. DH Nick Castellanos
    5. C J.T. Realmuto
    6. 3B Alec Bohm
    7. SS Bryson Stott
    8. CF Brandon Marsh
    9. 2B Edmundo Sosa
    SP Zack Wheeler


    - The Phillies have a $17 million club option on Jean Segura that carries a far more palatable $1 million buyout. With newly acquired Edmundo Sosa and Nick Maton both viable options at second base, cutting the veteran loose to save some money is a logical move.

    - Kyle Gibson, Zach Eflin and deadline pickup Noah Syndergaard are all potentially departing in free agency, so the Phillies' biggest offseason focus will be on shoring up the rotation behind Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola and Ranger Suarez.

Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Bryan Reynolds (Norm Hall/Getty Images)

    Projected Lineup

    1. LF Robbie Grossman
    2. CF Bryan Reynolds
    3. 3B Ke'Bryan Hayes
    4. DH Andrew McCutchen
    5. RF Tyler Naquin
    6. SS Oneil Cruz
    7. 1B Michael Chavis
    8. 2B Kevin Newman
    9. C Tucker Barnhart
    SP Kyle Gibson


    - With two outfield spots, designated hitter and catcher all wide open, expect the Pirates to sign a handful of stopgap veterans to one-year deals. Robbie Grossman and Tyler Naquin would both be significant upgrades at the corner spots, Tucker Barnhart could be a terrific asset for the young rotation, and who doesn't want to see a reunion with Andrew McCutchen before he calls it a career?

    - Veteran Kyle Gibson has been a workhorse throughout his 10-year career, and he looks like the perfect mid-level target to anchor the Pittsburgh rotation in 2023. The 34-year-old is currently playing out the final season of a three-year, $28 million deal, and a similar contract would be a good investment.

San Diego Padres

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    Juan Soto (Chris Bernacchi/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

    Projected Lineup

    1. SS Ha-Seong Kim
    2. LF Juan Soto
    3. 1B Jake Cronenworth
    4. 3B Manny Machado
    5. DH Mitch Haniger
    6. RF Joey Gallo
    7. C Jorge Alfaro
    8. 2B Eguy Rosario
    9. CF Trent Grisham
    SP Joe Musgrove


    - The Padres will be without Fernando Tatis Jr. for the first 42 games of the 2023 season as he finishes up his 80-game PED suspension. In his place, Ha-Seong Kim has quietly put together a 3.2-WAR season this year, so there's no need to search for a short-term replacement at shortstop.

    - Buying low on Joey Gallo and adding another power bat in Mitch Haniger would help shore up the middle of the San Diego lineup without costing a fortune. Extending Joe Musgrove in-season was a great move, but they'll still need to account for Mike Clevinger and Sean Manaea potentially departing in free agency.

San Francisco Giants

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    Mike Yastrzemski (Zac BonDurant/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    Projected Lineup

    1. CF Austin Slater
    2. RF Mike Yastrzemski
    3. 3B Xander Bogaerts
    4. 1B Trey Mancini
    5. DH LaMonte Wade Jr.
    6. SS Brandon Crawford
    7. 2B Thairo Estrada
    8. C Joey Bart
    9. LF Luis González
    SP Logan Webb


    - The Giants failed to add a middle-of-the-order bat last offseason and the result has been a middle-of-the-pack offense that is lacking a true star. Signing Xander Bogaerts would change that, but it would take some defensive juggling with Brandon Crawford under contract for one more year and entrenched at shortstop. Money talks, though. Just ask shortstop-turned-second baseman Trevor Story.

    - Signing Trey Mancini to play first base would not necessarily eliminate the potential for a reunion with Brandon Belt, though he would have to accept a significant pay cut from the $18.4 million he's earning in 2022 and a reduced role.

Seattle Mariners

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    Julio Rodriguez (Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

    Projected Lineup

    1. SS J.P. Crawford
    2. 1B Ty France
    3. CF Julio Rodríguez
    4. DH Jesse Winker
    5. 3B Eugenio Suárez
    6. 2B Brandon Drury
    7. RF Sam Haggerty
    8. C Cal Raleigh
    9. LF Taylor Trammell
    SP Luis Castillo


    - The Mariners could have a busy offseason on the trade market thanks to an abundance of young, high-ceiling outfielders. Case in point, Kyle Lewis and Jarred Kelenic are not part of the projected Opening Day lineup. Sam Haggerty has played his way into a bigger role by hitting .321/.364/.514 with 12 extra-base hits and 1.4 WAR in 49 games.

    - Signing the versatile Brandon Drury to serve as the primary second baseman would add another power bat to the lineup. He could also see time at DH when Jesse Winker plays in the outfield and third base when Eugenio Suárez needs a rest.

St. Louis Cardinals

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    Paul Goldschmidt (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

    Projected Lineup

    1. CF Dylan Carlson
    2. DH Nolan Gorman
    3. 1B Paul Goldschmidt
    4. 3B Nolan Arenado
    5. LF Tyler O'Neill
    6. RF Lars Nootbaar
    7. SS Paul DeJong
    8. C Ivan Herrera
    9. 2B Tommy Edman
    SP Miles Mikolas


    - Can Ivan Herrera show enough during spring training next year to break camp with the starting catcher job, assuming Yadier Molina retires? If not, it might be worth exploring a trade for Oakland catcher Sean Murphy. Just something to think about.

    - Beyond the projected starting lineup, the Cardinals also have Brendan Donovan and Juan Yepez in the mix for at least semi-regular playing time, not to mention top prospect Jordan Walker rapidly rising the ranks in the minors. No need for a splashy signing.

Tampa Bay Rays

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    Wander Franco (Cole Burston/Getty Images)

    Projected Lineup

    1. 3B Yandy Díaz
    2. SS Wander Franco
    3. LF Randy Arozarena
    4. 2B Brandon Lowe
    5. RF Manny Margot
    6. 1B Ji-Man Choi
    7. DH Harold Ramirez
    8. C Francisco Mejía
    9. CF Jose Siri
    SP Shane McClanahan


    - With Kevin Kiermaier, Corey Kluber and Mike Zunino all coming off the books after earning a combined $27.2 million—roughly 30 percent of the team's 2022 salary—the Rays would appear to have some money to spend, but arbitration raises could eat through a good chunk of that flexibility.

    - This projected lineup does not include Isaac Paredes, Josh Lowe and MLB-ready prospects Curtis Mead, Xavier Edwards and Jonathan Aranda, so there's plenty more young talent in the pipeline.

Texas Rangers

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    Corey Seager (Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

    Projected Lineup

    1. 2B Marcus Semien
    2. SS Corey Seager
    3. RF Adolis García
    4. 1B Nathaniel Lowe
    5. C Jonah Heim
    6. LF Andrew Benintendi
    7. 3B Josh Jung
    8. DH Mitch Garver
    9. CF Leody Taveras
    SP Martín Pérez


    - The decision not to trade Martín Pérez at the deadline would seem to suggest there is at least some interest in pursuing an extension with the 2022 All-Star. It's going to take quite a bit more than the one-year, $4 million deal he signed last offseason, but it's also not going to break the bank to keep him around.

    - Andrew Benintendi looks like the perfect free-agent target for a Rangers team that has used 12 different players in left field this season. Veterans Brad Miller (28) and Kole Calhoun (23) lead the way in games played at the position.

Toronto Blue Jays

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    Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Mark Blinch/Getty Images)

    Projected Lineup

    1. CF George Springer
    2. 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
    3. C Alejandro Kirk
    4. RF Teoscar Hernández
    5. SS Bo Bichette
    6. 3B Matt Chapman
    7. DH Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
    8. 2B Whit Merrifield
    9. LF Jurickson Profar
    SP Alek Manoah


    - The Blue Jays were looking for a left-handed bat to add some balance to their righty-heavy lineup at the deadline, and they could address that need by signing Jurickson Profar in free agency. The 29-year-old has a $7.5 million player option for next season, but in the midst of a 3.3-WAR season, that looks like a safe bet to be declined.

    - With Whit Merrifield, Santiago Espinal and Cavan Biggio, the Blue Jays have a trio of versatile pieces capable of playing all over the field, and Raimel Tapia is a solid fourth outfielder who can start at all three spots in the grass.

Washington Nationals

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    Luke Voit (Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

    Projected Lineup

    1. CF Victor Robles
    2. 2B Luis García
    3. 1B Luke Voit
    4. RF Joey Meneses
    5. DH Yadiel Hernandez
    6. C Keibert Ruiz
    7. LF Lane Thomas
    8. SS CJ Abrams
    9. 3B Ildemaro Vargas
    SP Josiah Gray


    - Veteran slugger Nelson Cruz has a $16 million mutual option that he will likely decline for an opportunity to play with a contender next season.

    - It's going to be tough for the Nationals to attract any top-tier free-agent talent, though they could be an attractive landing spot for stragglers on the market who are looking for a regular role and remain unsigned with spring training approaching.

    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference.


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