MLB Power Rankings: How All 30 Teams Stack Up 1 Month from Spring Training

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 18, 2017

MLB Power Rankings: How All 30 Teams Stack Up 1 Month from Spring Training

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    Since these rankings were last updated, Edwin Encarnacion joined the Cleveland Indians, while Jose Bautista found his way back to Toronto.
    Since these rankings were last updated, Edwin Encarnacion joined the Cleveland Indians, while Jose Bautista found his way back to Toronto.Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

    There's a light at the end of the tunnel, baseball fans.

    Pitchers and catchers are set to begin reporting to spring training in less than a month as we come down the homestretch of another long and eventful MLB offseason.

    With that said, it's time for an updated look at how all 30 teams stack up around the league.

    This will be the second time we've updated our power rankings since the conclusion of the regular season, with the first coming on Dec. 8 just after the winter meetings wrapped up, so here are a few things to keep in mind:

    • Offseason rankings are not necessarily meant to be a prediction for the year ahead. Instead, they are a look at how teams would stack up with the rosters they have if the season started today.
    • These rankings will be updated several more times between now and the start of the 2017 campaign, so if your favorite club is lower than you'd like, there's still time.
    • A team dropping in the rankings is not necessarily an indication that they've gotten worse since the last rankings, but often a case of a team below them simply pulling ahead.

    Included for each team is an updated look at each club's offseason activity and a preliminary 25-man roster.

                      

    Note: Players listed in bold on projected rosters indicate newcomers. An (R) next to a player indicates that his rookie status is intact.

30. San Diego Padres (Previous: 30)

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    Wil Myers
    Wil MyersAndy Hayt/Getty Images

    Offseason Update

    Since we last updated these rankings, the San Diego Padres have signed a trio of warm bodies—Jhoulys Chacin, Clayton Richard and Trevor Cahillto fill out the starting rotation.

    Cahill is by far the most intriguing of that group.

    The 28-year-old posted a 2.74 ERA, 1.28 WHIP and 9.0 K/9 in 50 appearances for the Chicago Cubs last season, making one spot start and tossing five shutout innings. He enjoyed significant success as a starter early in his career and could enjoy a career renaissance as a starter in Petco Park.

    They also inked All-Star first baseman Wil Myers to a six-year extension worth a guaranteed $83 million, per Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

    With top prospects Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe pushing for starting jobs in the outfield and backup catcher Christian Bethancourt trying his hand at pitching, Padres camp will offer plenty of intrigue this spring.

        

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Jan. 17)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    LF Travis Jankowski RHP Jhoulys Chacin
    CF Manuel Margot (R)LHP Clayton Richard
    1B Wil MyersRHP Trevor Cahill
    3B Yangervis Solarte LHP Christian Friedrich
    RF Hunter Renfroe (R) RHP Paul Clemens
    2B Ryan Schimpf Bullpen
    C Austin Hedges RHP Jarred Cosart
    SS Luis Sardinas RHP Miguel Diaz (R)
    Bench RHP Phil Maton (R)
    C Luis Torrens (R) RHP Kevin Quackenbush
    C/OF Christian Bethancourt LHP Ryan Buchter
    1B/OF Alex Dickerson LHP Brad Hand
    IF Cory Spangenberg RHP Brandon Maurer
    OF Jabari Blash  

        

    Projected DL: RP Carter Capps (Tommy John surgery), SP Colin Rea (TJ surgery), SP Robbie Erlin (TJ surgery)

29. Minnesota Twins (Previous: 29)

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    Ervin Santana
    Ervin SantanaMarilyn Indahl/Getty Images

    Offseason Update

    The big move of the offseason for the Minnesota Twins came in November when they signed catcher Jason Castro to a three-year, $24.5 million deal.

    Pitch-framing ability played a major role in that signing, as manager Paul Molitor explained to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com:

    The whole idea of signing Jason Castro, a lot of it was measured on the impact of catching on a staff. As we've learned more about how to quantify that, it's probably been a little bit of an undervalued position for guys that handle some of those types of things better than others. We thought that was a big piece in trying to at least start off a way of trying to figure out a way to pitch better.

    The Twins finished 29th in the majors with a 5.08 ERA last season, so it makes perfect sense that they'd be looking for any way possible to improve the pitching staff.

    The other big news this offseason has been whether second baseman Brian Dozier would be traded.

    According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Twins have come to an "impasse" in trade talks with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who looked like the most realistic landing spot for Dozier.

    They still have a significant hole to fill at second, though, so never say never.

        

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Jan. 17)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    2B Brian Dozier RHP Ervin Santana
    SS Jorge Polanco RHP Kyle Gibson
    1B Joe Mauer LHP Hector Santiago
    3B Miguel Sano RHP Phil Hughes
    RF Max Kepler RHP Tyler Duffey
    DH Kennys VargasBullpen
    C Jason CastroRHP Justin Haley (R)
    LF Eddie Rosario LHP Ryan O'Rourke
    CF Byron Buxton RHP Michael Tonkin
    Bench LHP Taylor Rogers
    C John Ryan Murphy RHP Ryan Pressly
    IF Eduardo Escobar RHP Trevor May
    IF/OF Danny Santana RHP Brandon Kintzler
    OF Robbie Grossman 

        

    Projected DL: RP Glen Perkins (shoulder)

28. Milwaukee Brewers (Previous: 27)

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    Junior Guerra
    Junior GuerraJoe Robbins/Getty Images

    Offseason Update

    The Milwaukee Brewers might legitimately have five rotation spots up for grabs heading into spring training.

    Surprise rookie standout Junior Guerra and high-priced veteran Matt Garza are the closest locks for the staff, while Zach Davies and Chase Anderson lead a plethora of other options, including 2016 Opening Day starter Wily Peralta, Jimmy Nelson, Taylor Jungmann and prospects Josh Hader and Brandon Woodruff.

    Expect the rotation to be a fluid situation throughout the 2017 season, as the rebuilding Brewers try to decide who fits where in their future plans.

    Meanwhile, the two big additions of the offseason came on the infield, where KBO standout Eric Thames and 26-year-old Travis Shaw are the new corner infielders.

    They'll be asked to help shoulder a good deal of the run-production responsibilities alongside Ryan Braun, with the team looking to replace the 41 home runs and 94 RBI that departed when Chris Carter was non-tendered.

    Keep an eye on Keon Broxton as a potential breakout candidate.

    The 26-year-old returned in late July from a minor league demotion and hit .294/.399/.538 with 18 extra-base hits and 16 stolen bases over his final 169 plate appearances.

        

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Jan. 17)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    2B Jonathan Villar RHP Junior Guerra
    CF Keon Broxton RHP Jimmy Nelson
    LF Ryan Braun RHP Matt Garza
    1B Eric Thames RHP Zach Davies
    3B Travis Shaw RHP Chase Anderson
    RF Domingo SantanaBullpen
    SS Orlando Arcia RHP Wily Peralta
    C Andrew Susac LHP Tommy Milone
    Bench RHP Tyler Cravy
    C Jett Bandy RHP Jacob Barnes
    IF Scooter Gennett RHP Jhan Martinez
    IF Yadiel Rivera RHP Carlos Torres
    IF/OF Hernan Perez RHP Corey Knebel
    OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis  

27. Oakland Athletics (Previous: 28)

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    Ryon Healy
    Ryon HealyStephen Brashear/Getty Images

    Offseason Update

    The Oakland Athletics have been a bit more active than usual on the free-agent market, albeit while still targeting mid-level additions.

    A generally cost-conscious front office has shelled out a combined $33 million to sign Rajai Davis, Matt Joyce, Trevor Plouffe and Santiago Casilla.

    The addition of Plouffe on a one-year deal will keep infield prospects Joey Wendle, Chad Pinder, Renato Nunez and Matt Chapman from being rushed into action. It could also give the A's a useful trade chip come July, provided he rebounds from an injury-plagued season.

    There will still be some big decisions to make this spring, namely who fills out the starting rotation behind the trio of Sonny Gray, Kendall Graveman and Sean Manaea.

    Jharel Cotton, Andrew Triggs, Frankie Montas, Jesse Hahn, Daniel Mengden, Zach Neal and Dillon Overton will all have a legitimate shot at winning a spot, while prospects Grant Holmes and Daniel Gossett could also be ready to contribute by midseason.

    Meanwhile, Yonder Alonso and Jed Lowrie both have tenuous holds on their starting jobs heading into the season, as a youth movement is brewing and they're not long-term pieces by any stretch of the imagination.

        

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Jan. 17)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Rajai Davis RHP Sonny Gray
    C Stephen Vogt RHP Kendall Graveman
    DH Ryon Healy LHP Sean Manaea
    LF Khris Davis RHP Jharel Cotton (R)
    RF Matt Joyce RHP Andrew Triggs
    SS Marcus Semien Bullpen
    3B Trevor Plouffe RHP Raul Alcantara
    1B Yonder Alonso RHP Liam Hendriks
    2B Jed Lowrie RHP John Axford
    Bench RHP Ryan Dull
    C Bruce MaxwellRHP Santiago Casilla
    1B/OF Mark Canha LHP Sean Doolittle
    IF Joey Wendle (R) RHP Ryan Madson
    OF Jake Smolinski  

        

    Projected DL: SP Chris Bassitt (TJ surgery)

26. Chicago White Sox (Previous: 26)

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    Jose Quintana
    Jose QuintanaJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Offseason Update

    Things have been relatively quiet on the South Side since the Chicago White Sox shipped out Chris Sale and Adam Eaton during the winter meetings, setting in motion a long-overdue rebuild in the process.

    Derek Holland was signed to a one-year, $6 million deal to fill the rotation spot vacated by Sale, and he'll look to rebuild some value after a run of injuries put a damper on his time with the Texas Rangers.

    Other than that, the only notable additions have been catcher Geovany Soto and outfielder Cody Asche, both of whom were signed to minor league deals with spring training invites.

    Soto should have a legitimate chance to win the starting catching job, while Asche is still only 26 years old and controllable through 2019, so he's worth taking a chance on as they start to rebuild.

    The question on everyone's minds this spring: When will the prospects arrive?

    Yoan Moncada, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Carson Fulmer all saw time in the majors last season and figure to get the call again at some point in 2017.

    Much of that will be determined by if and when the team trades the likes of Jose Quintana, David Robertson and upcoming free agents Todd Frazier, Brett Lawrie and Melky Cabrera.

    At any rate, it's an exciting time to be a White Sox fan, even if contention isn't in the cards for the upcoming season.

        

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Jan. 17)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    SS Tim Anderson LHP Jose Quintana
    2B Brett Lawrie RHP James Shields
    LF Melky Cabrera LHP Carlos Rodon
    1B Jose Abreu RHP Miguel Gonzalez
    3B Todd FrazierLHP Derek Holland
    RF Avisail GarciaBullpen
    DH Cody AscheRHP Dylan Covey (R)
    C Geovany Soto RHP Michael Ynoa
      RHP Jake Petricka
    Bench RHP Zach Putnam
    C Omar Narvaez (R) LHP Dan Jennings
    IF Carlos Sanchez RHP Nate Jones
    IF/OF Leury Garcia RHP David Robertson
    IF/OF Tyler Saladino  

25. Cincinnati Reds (Previous: 25)

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    Raisel Iglesias
    Raisel IglesiasAndy Lyons/Getty Images

    Offseason Update

    The Cincinnati Reds finally signed a free agent to an MLB deal!

    Former closer Drew Storen was inked to a one-year, $3 million deal on Jan. 3, marking the first and thus far only MLB-level signing of the offseason.

    While Storen was shelled during his brief tenure with the Toronto Blue Jays, he turned things around after joining the Seattle Mariners in July (19 G, 3.44 ERA, 0.87 WHIP), and he's just a year removed from a 29-save season.

    Raisel Iglesias will likely begin the season in the closer's role, but the former starter might be more valuable in a multi-inning hybrid role, so don't be surprised if Storen winds up closing games at some point in 2017.

    Reliever Louis Coleman, utility man Arismendy Alcantara and corner infielder/outfielder Richie Shaffer have also been added as non-roster invitees on minor league deals, and all three look to have a decent chance of breaking camp with the team.

    The No. 5 starter job will be the position battle to watch this spring as Tim Adleman tries to hold off Cody Reed and top prospects Robert Stephenson and Amir Garrett.

    All things considered, the starting staff has a chance to surprise some people, especially if Homer Bailey can return to his pre-injury form and come close to earning his $19 million salary.

        

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Jan. 17)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    LF Jose Peraza RHP Anthony DeSclafani
    SS Zack Cozart RHP Dan Straily
    1B Joey Votto LHP Brandon Finnegan
    RF Adam Duvall RHP Homer Bailey
    2B Brandon Phillips RHP Tim Adleman
    C Devin Mesoraco Bullpen
    3B Eugenio SuarezRHP Louis Coleman
    CF Billy Hamilton RHP Blake Wood
    Bench RHP Jumbo Diaz
    C Tucker Barnhart RHP Drew Storen
    IF/OF Arismendy Alcantara LHP Tony Cingrani
    IF/OF Richie Shaffer RHP Michael Lorenzen
    OF Scott Schebler RHP Raisel Iglesias
    OF Steve Selsky  

24. Los Angeles Angels (Previous: 22)

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    Garrett Richards
    Garrett RichardsKevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Offseason Update

    Danny Espinosa, Cameron Maybin and Ben Revere may seem like modest additions on the surface, but considering the Los Angeles Angels got absolutely nothing in the way of offensive production from second base or left field last season, they'll make a significant difference in the lineup.

    All three are also capable of being plus defensive options, so their impact could be felt beyond just bolstering the offense.

    The catcher position is still something of a question, though.

    Martin Maldonado has been a quality backup during his time with the Milwaukee Brewers and one of the league's better pitch-framers, per StatCorner, but he's a career .217/.299/.342 hitter and would be exposed with regular playing time.

    The same goes for incumbent backup Carlos Perez, who has hit .229/.271/.335 over 574 plate appearances in his two big league seasons.

    Free agent Matt Wieters remains an option, and the team has shown some level of interest in the four-time All-Star, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

    Pitching prospects Alex Meyer and Nate Smith will get a long look this spring, though veteran Jesse Chavez will be given every chance to win the No. 5 starter job after signing a one-year, $5.75 million deal.

        

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Jan. 17)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    3B Yunel Escobar RHP Garrett Richards
    RF Kole Calhoun RHP Ricky Nolasco
    CF Mike TroutRHP Matt Shoemaker
    DH Albert PujolsLHP Tyler Skaggs
    1B C.J. Cron RHP Jesse Chavez
    2B Danny EspinosaBullpen
    LF Cameron Maybin RHP J.C. Ramirez
    SS Andrelton Simmons RHP Deolis Guerra
    C Martin MaldonadoRHP Kirby Yates
    Bench LHP Jose Alvarez
    C Carlos Perez RHP Andrew Bailey
    IF Cliff Pennington RHP Cam Bedrosian
    IF/OF Jefry Marte RHP Huston Street
    OF Ben Revere 

        

    Projected DL: SP Andrew Heaney (TJ surgery), SP Nick Tropeano (TJ surgery)

23. Atlanta Braves (Previous: 23)

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    Dansby Swanson
    Dansby SwansonMichael Reaves/Getty Images

    Offseason Update

    The Atlanta Braves achieved their biggest offseason goal before the winter meetings even arrived, adding a trio of veteran starters on short-term deals to help mentor the young staff and eat up innings while the rebuild continues.

    That new-look rotation figures to be backed by a full bullpen.

    "Versatility is key for the Braves, especially since they are likely to carry eight relievers again instead of seven, at least early in the season," wrote David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

    Signing Sean Rodriguez to a two-year, $11.5 million deal makes a lot more sense when you consider that approach to the pitching staff, as he is the definition of versatile after playing everywhere but pitcher and catcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates last season.

    Locking up center fielder Ender Inciarte with a five-year, $30.5 million extension that includes a $9 million option for 2022 was a huge win, as he's bought in on the team's long-term outlook.

    "Ender is one of our players I keep in contact with during the offseason and he is very excited about the direction we're going," GM John Coppolella told Mark Bowman of MLB.com. "We are very excited to have a center fielder and leadoff hitter of his caliber around to play a significant role in our future."

    The No. 5 starter job will be an interesting competition to watch this spring as Mike Foltynewicz tries to hold off Matt Wisler and Aaron Blair with a ton of prospect talent on the horizon.

        

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Jan. 17)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Ender Inciarte RHP Julio Teheran
    SS Dansby Swanson (R)RHP Bartolo Colon
    1B Freddie FreemanLHP Jaime Garcia
    LF Matt KempRHP R.A. Dickey
    RF Nick Markakis RHP Mike Foltynewicz
    3B Adonis GarciaBullpen
    2B Jace Peterson RHP Josh Collmenter
    C Tyler FlowersRHP Armando Rivero (R)
    Bench RHP Dan Winkler (R)
    C Anthony ReckerRHP Jose Ramirez
    IF/OF Emilio Bonifacio LHP Ian Krol
    IF/OF Chase d'ArnaudRHP Mauricio Cabrera
    IF/OF Sean RodriguezRHP Arodys Vizcaino
      RHP Jim Johnson

        

    Projected DL: RP Paco Rodriguez (TJ surgery), RP Jacob Lindgren (TJ surgery)

22. Philadelphia Phillies (Previous: 24)

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    Odubel Herrera
    Odubel HerreraMitchell Layton/Getty Images

    Offseason Update

    It's been another fairly conservative offseason for the Philadelphia Phillies, as they continue to leave the door open for young talent to break into the big leagues and secure a starting role.

    That's not to say they haven't been active, though.

    Michael Saunders was the latest addition on a one-year, $9 million deal that includes an $11 million option for 2018, per Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

    He'll join trade acquisition Howie Kendrick in filling out the outfield and giving the lineup a more experienced feel, while Pat Neshek and Joaquin Benoit add some much-needed stability to the relief corps.

    Perhaps the most intriguing addition of the offseason has been veteran starter Clay Buchholz.

    He has a chance to be this year's version of Jeremy Hellickson if he can build off a strong second half. After losing his starting spot prior to the All-Star break, he posted a 3.22 ERA and 1.11 WHIP over his final 58.2 innings, returning to the rotation in September with four quality starts in five games.

    He won't be the only starter under a microscope this spring.

    The health of Aaron Nola will also be watched closely after he was shut down in 2016 with minor UCL and flexor tendon strains. He says he's back to "100 percent" and will have "no limitations" when spring training begins, according to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com.

        

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Jan. 17)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    2B Cesar Hernandez RHP Jeremy Hellickson
    LF Howie Kendrick RHP Jerad Eickhoff
    CF Odubel Herrera RHP Aaron Nola
    3B Maikel Franco RHP Vincent Velasquez
    RF Michael SaundersRHP Clay Buchholz
    1B Tommy JosephBullpen
    C Cameron Rupp RHP Severino Gonzalez
    SS Freddy Galvis RHP Edubray Ramos
    Bench LHP Joely Rodriguez (R)
    C Bryan HoladayRHP Pat Neshek
    1B/OF Daniel Nava RHP Hector Neris
    IF Andres Blanco RHP Jeanmar Gomez
    OF Aaron Altherr RHP Joaquin Benoit
    OF Tyler Goeddel  

21. Kansas City Royals (Previous: 19)

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    Danny Duffy
    Danny DuffyBrace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    Offseason Update

    It remains to be seen what will be left of the Kansas City Royals' core by this time next year.

    Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas and Alcides Escobar are all set to reach free agency next winter, and the team has already dealt one significant piece when Wade Davis was shipped to the Chicago Cubs.

    One player who will be sticking around is left-hander Danny Duffy.

    The 28-year-old signed a five-year, $65 million extension on Monday, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, as he too was headed for free agency.

    "I'm sure everybody in this organization would like to keep the core group together—all the guys that we played with. It just doesn't happen," Duffy told reporters. "Hopefully we can. Hopefully this sparks some kind of interest."

    With the payroll stretched thin, it's been a quiet offseason aside from the Davis trade and Duffy extension.

    They'll be banking on bounce-back seasons from Cain, Alex Gordon and Moustakas, as well as major contributions from youngsters Raul Mondesi and Matt Strahm if they hope to have a shot at contending.

    Should they fall out of the race by midseason, expect a busy summer in Kansas City.

        

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Jan. 17)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    SS Alcides Escobar LHP Danny Duffy
    3B Mike Moustakas RHP Ian Kennedy
    CF Lorenzo Cain RHP Yordano Ventura
    1B Eric Hosmer LHP Jason Vargas
    C Salvador Perez LHP Matt Strahm (R)
    LF Alex GordonBullpen
    RF Jorge Soler LHP Mike Minor
    DH Cheslor Cuthbert RHP Chris Young
    2B Raul Mondesi LHP Scott Alexander
    BenchRHP Chris Withrow
    C Drew Butera LHP Brian Flynn
    IF Christian Colon RHP Joakim Soria
    IF/OF Whit Merrifield RHP Kelvin Herrera
    OF Paulo Orlando 

20. Tampa Bay Rays (Previous: 20)

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    Blake Snell
    Blake SnellBob Levey/Getty Images

    Offseason Update

    Trading Matt Moore in July and Drew Smyly earlier this month leaves the Tampa Bay Rays with considerably less starting pitching depth.

    However, a step forward from Blake Snell, a healthy season from Alex Cobb and a bounce-back year by ace Chris Archer could conceivably make for a significantly improved rotation in 2017.

    Meanwhile, the offense figures to be improved as well with a full season of Matt Duffywho came over in the Moore tradeand the additions of Wilson Ramos and Colby Rasmus in free agency.

    Ramos could be an absolute steal on a two-year, $11.5 million deal, even if he starts the season on the DL and is limited to DH duties for a stretch upon returning.

    As for Rasmus, he inked a one-year, $5 million deal just a year after receiving a qualifying offer. He'll be a cheap source of power and was an elite defender in left field (14 DRS, 31.8 UZR/150) last season.

    While Matt Andriese will likely fill the No. 5 starter spot to begin the season, don't be surprised if top prospect Brent Honeywell makes a run for the job by midseason.

    The 21-year-old went 7-3 with a 2.34 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 117 strikeouts in 115.1 innings between High-A and Double-A last season, and he was recently ranked as the No. 7 right-handed pitching prospect by MLB.com.

        

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Jan. 17)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    2B Logan ForsytheRHP Chris Archer
    CF Kevin KiermaierRHP Jake Odorizzi
    3B Evan LongoriaRHP Alex Cobb
    1B Brad MillerLHP Blake Snell
    SS Matt DuffyRHP Matt Andriese
    DH Corey DickersonBullpen
    RF Steven SouzaRHP Erasmo Ramirez
    LF Colby RasmusRHP Kevin Gadea (R)
    C Curt CasaliLHP Enny Romero
    BenchRHP Danny Farquhar
    C Luke MaileLHP Xavier Cedeno
    IF Tim BeckhamRHP Brad Boxberger
    IF/OF Nick FranklinRHP Alex Colome
    OF Jason Coats 

        

    Projected DL: C Wilson Ramos (knee surgery)

19. Arizona Diamondbacks (Previous: 17)

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    Robbie Ray
    Robbie RayJennifer Stewart/Getty Images

    Offseason Update

    In terms of talent and expectations, relative to performance, the Arizona Diamondbacks were by far the biggest disappointment of the 2016 season.

    There's reason for optimism, though.

    Healthy seasons from A.J. Pollock and David Peralta would be a huge boon to the offense, while it's hard to envision the pitching staff being worse than the group that posted a league-worst 5.09 ERA last season.

    Newcomer Taijuan Walker and 2016 standout Robbie Ray have the potential to join Zack Greinke in forming a terrific trio atop the rotation, and Ross could be one of the breakout stars of 2017 after quietly ranking fourth in the NL with 218 strikeouts in 174.1 innings.

    The veteran duo of Chris Iannetta and Jeff Mathis has been signed to replace surprise non-tender Welington Castillo behind the plate, and while that figures to be a step back offensively, it could benefit the pitching staff.

    It's the relief corps that still looks like a considerable question mark.

    Putting a lot of eggs in the Fernando Rodney basket is a risky proposition, especially considering the 39-year-old did not end the 2016 season on a high note, posting a 5.89 ERA and 1.80 WHIP in 39 appearances after joining the Miami Marlins.

    Still, it shouldn't be hard for this group to improve on the 69-93 showing from a year ago.

        

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Jan. 17)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF A.J. Pollock RHP Zack Greinke
    SS Chris Owings LHP Robbie Ray
    1B Paul Goldschmidt RHP Taijuan Walker
    RF David Peralta RHP Shelby Miller
    LF Yasmany Tomas LHP Patrick Corbin
    3B Jake LambBullpen
    2B Brandon DruryRHP Tyler Jones (R)
    C Chris Iannetta LHP Jared Miller (R)
    Bench RHP Enrique Burgos
    C Jeff Mathis LHP Andrew Chafin
    C/OF Chris Herrmann RHP Randall Delgado
    IF Nick Ahmed RHP Jake Barrett
    IF/OF Phil Gosselin RHP Fernando Rodney
    OF Gregor Blanco 

18. Baltimore Orioles (Previous: 15)

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    Jonathan Schoop
    Jonathan SchoopBillie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

    Offseason Update

    The Baltimore Orioles finally did something to address their need for a corner outfielder, flipping disappointing starter Yovani Gallardo to the Seattle Mariners for Seth Smith.

    So now they have two corner outfielders who can't hit left-handed pitching.

    Smith (.202 BA, .594 OPS career vs. LHP) and Hyun Soo Kim (0-for-17 vs. LHP) both need platoon partners, and at present it would appear that light-hitting Joey Rickard is the closest thing the team has to a viable option.

    The starting rotation also remains unaddressed, aside from the addition by subtraction that was moving Gallardo, and now they have next to nothing in the way of depth should Ubaldo Jimenez or Wade Miley prove incapable of holding down a spot.

    Welington Castillo was a nice addition to fill the void at catcher and the O's should again boast one of the best bullpens in the game.

    Still, it's hard to view this team as anything but a fringe contender in the AL East with a better chance of finishing in last place than making a return trip to the postseason.

    There's still plenty of time for further additions, though.

        

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Jan. 17)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Adam Jones RHP Chris Tillman
    RF Seth Smith RHP Kevin Gausman
    3B Manny Machado RHP Dylan Bundy
    1B Chris Davis RHP Ubaldo Jimenez
    C Welington CastilloLHP Wade Miley
    2B Jonathan Schoop Bullpen
    DH Trey Mancini (R) LHP T.J. McFarland
    SS J.J. Hardy RHP Oliver Drake
    LF Hyun Soo Kim LHP Donnie Hart
    Bench RHP Mychal Givens
    C Caleb Joseph RHP Darren O'Day
    1B/OF Christian Walker RHP Brad Brach
    IF/OF Ryan Flaherty LHP Zach Britton
    OF Joey Rickard 

17. Pittsburgh Pirates (Previous: 18)

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    Ivan Nova
    Ivan NovaJustin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Offseason Update

    The Pittsburgh Pirates will still be relying on a number of young arms in the starting rotation, but bringing back Ivan Nova should help take some pressure off the staff.

    Originally said to be seeking a five-year, $70 million deal, per Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Nova wound up returning on a three-year, $26 million deal that includes $6 million in incentives.

    He'll now be asked to mentor a young staff, and that's something he welcomed with open arms last season, as pitching coach Ray Searage told Adam Berry of MLB.com:

    Ivan Nova was outstanding last year. Guys came up to him and asked him questions, and he was so obliging. It was really nice to see. I was privy to be in on some of the conversations that guys were having -- not that I was eavesdropping; I just happened to be there. I encouraged that. I encourage our pitchers to talk amongst themselves. Because they're out there. They can see things.

    Setup man Daniel Hudson was also signed to a two-year, $11 million deal since we last updated these rankings.

    He gives the team a right-handed setup option to replace Neftali Feliz and could be next in line for the closer's job if Tony Watson falters or is traded.

        

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Jan. 17)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    2B Josh Harrison RHP Gerrit Cole
    1B Josh Bell (R) RHP Ivan Nova
    CF Andrew McCutchen RHP Jameson Taillon
    LF Starling MarteRHP Chad Kuhl
    RF Gregory Polanco RHP Drew Hutchison
    3B Jung Ho KangBullpen
    C Francisco Cervelli LHP Wade LeBlanc
    SS Jordy Mercer RHP Juan Nicasio
    BenchLHP Antonio Bastardo
    C Chris StewartRHP Jared Hughes
    1B John Jaso LHP Felipe Rivero
    1B/3B David Freese RHP Daniel Hudson
    IF Alen Hanson (R) LHP Tony Watson
    IF/OF Adam Frazier 

16. Colorado Rockies (Previous: 16)

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    Jon Gray
    Jon GrayJoe Mahoney/Getty Images

    Offseason Update

    Looking for a dark-horse contender in 2017?

    Look no further.

    The Colorado Rockies offense has never been a question, and it should be terrific once again as all the key pieces return and Ian Desmond has been added to the mixalbeit on a questionable five-year, $70 million deal to play first base.

    It's a steadily improving pitching staff that has them looking like a team that could make some noise.

    Jon Gray projects to be a legitimate future ace, while Chad Bettis, Tyler Anderson and Tyler Chatwood all look like capable MLB starters behind him.

    Then there's Jeff Hoffman, who struggled in his first taste of big league action but still has enough upside to rank as the No. 9 right-handed pitching prospect, per MLB.com.

    The bullpen will benefit from the addition of Mike Dunn and a healthy season from presumptive closer Adam Ottavino, who didn't debut last season until July.

    The Rockies have also shown interest in free agent Greg Holland, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, and he would certainly be a welcome addition as well.

        

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Jan. 17)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Charlie Blackmon RHP Jon Gray
    2B DJ LeMahieu RHP Chad Bettis
    3B Nolan Arenado LHP Tyler Anderson
    RF Carlos Gonzalez RHP Tyler Chatwood
    1B Ian Desmond RHP Jeff Hoffman (R)
    LF David Dahl Bullpen
    SS Trevor Story RHP Jordan Lyles
    C Tony Wolters LHP Chris Rusin
    Bench RHP Chad Qualls
    C Tom Murphy (R)LHP Mike Dunn
    IF Cristhian Adames RHP Jason Motte
    IF/OF Alexi Amarista LHP Jake McGee
    OF Chris Denorfia RHP Adam Ottavino
    OF Gerardo Parra  

     

    Projected DL: RP Jairo Diaz (TJ surgery)

15. Miami Marlins (Previous: 21)

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    Christian Yelich
    Christian YelichRich Schultz/Getty Images

    Offseason Update

    After missing out on top target Kenley Jansen, the Miami Marlins moved quickly to plan B in their efforts to construct a "super bullpen" in lieu of making a significant addition to the starting rotation.

    Their backup plan wound up being veterans Brad Ziegler (two years, $16 million) and Junichi Tazawa (two years, $12 million), who will join David Phelps, Kyle Barraclough and A.J. Ramos to give the team a relief corps that stacks up to any in baseball.

    That should help prop up a weak rotation that was filled out with the signings of Edinson Volquez and Jeff Locke, but the starting staff will still need to exceed expectations if this team is going to have a shot at contending.

    "Trying to compensate for a thin rotation with a stacked bullpen could work, but ultimately, it's going up to the rest of the roster to hand the bullpen a lead, and that's where things will get tricky for Mattingly," wrote Mike Axisa of CBSSports.com.

    The lineup returns completely intact and will have a full season of Dee Gordon setting the table.

    One of the bigger decisions on the position-player side will be whether to make Christian Yelich's late-season move to center field a full-time switch. Marcell Ozuna graded out horribly (-12 DRS, -3.2 UZR/150) in center last season, leading to the trial run from Yelich.

        

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Jan. 17)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    2B Dee Gordon LHP Wei-Yin Chen
    3B Martin PradoRHP Edinson Volquez
    CF Christian Yelich LHP Adam Conley
    RF Giancarlo Stanton RHP Tom Koehler
    LF Marcell Ozuna LHP Jeff Locke
    1B Justin Bour Bullpen
    C J.T. Realmuto RHP David Phelps
    SS Adeiny Hechavarria RHP Dustin McGowan
    Bench LHP Hunter Cervenka
    C A.J. EllisRHP Junichi Tazawa
    IF Miguel RojasRHP Brad Ziegler
    IF/OF Derek Dietrich RHP Kyle Barraclough
    OF Destin Hood (R) RHP A.J. Ramos
    OF Ichiro Suzuki 

14. Detroit Tigers (Previous: 14)

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    Daniel Norris
    Daniel NorrisOtto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Offseason Update

    At the start of the offseason, it sounded like the Detroit Tigers were ready for wheeling and dealing as they looked to trim payroll and add controllable young talent.

    Now, not so much.

    "And now that the calendar has flipped to 2017, it appears the team's rebuilding/retooling/reshaping must wait until July...or next winter...if even then," wrote Jon Morosi of MLB.com.

    If this team is going to contend, at least one of Jordan Zimmermann and Anibal Sanchezwho will earn a combined $34.8 million in 2017—will need to return to form in support of Justin Verlander and Michael Fulmer.

    To this point, the biggest offseason addition has been a reunion with veteran catcher Alex Avila, and center field remains a glaring need.

    The latest rumors have linked them to such exciting names as Peter Bourjos and Gregor Blanco, per Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Pressif that gives you an idea of how deep they're digging into the bargain bin.

    Try to contain your excitement, Tigers fans.

        

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Jan. 17)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    2B Ian KinslerRHP Justin Verlander
    RF J.D. MartinezRHP Michael Fulmer
    1B Miguel CabreraRHP Jordan Zimmermann
    DH Victor MartinezRHP Anibal Sanchez
    LF Justin UptonLHP Daniel Norris
    3B Nick CastellanosBullpen
    C James McCannRHP Mike Pelfrey
    CF Tyler CollinsLHP Daniel Stumpf (R)
    SS Jose IglesiasRHP Mark Lowe
    BenchRHP Bruce Rondon
    C Alex AvilaLHP Justin Wilson
    IF/OF Andrew RomineRHP Alex Wilson
    OF Mikie MahtookRHP Francisco Rodriguez
    OF Steven Moya 

13. New York Yankees (Previous: 12)

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    Gary Sanchez
    Gary SanchezMike Stobe/Getty Images

    Offseason Update

    For those New York Yankees fans out there still hoping the team makes another big move or two before the offseason is over, it's probably not going to happen.

    "While (GM Brian) Cashman is still making calls on free agents to assess the market, he also said he's 99.9 percent sure the Yankees are set," tweeted Jack Curry of YES Network.

    That means that the quartet of Luis Severino, Bryan Mitchell, Luis Cessa and Chad Green will enter camp battling for the final two spots in the rotation, and Severino has a chance to be a real X-factor.

    "It's way too early to have a verdict in on whether he can be a starter. It's something he's always been and he's always been successful at. He never really finished off his development because of our needs at the big league level. We plan on continuing it," Cashman told reporters.

    The health of Greg Bird will be monitored closely this spring as he returns from shoulder surgery and gets set to step into a primary run-production role.

    Aaron Judge will also need to prove he's ready for the starting right field job after striking out 42 times in 95 plate appearances last season. Don't be surprised if he heads back to Triple-A for a few months to open the year.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Jan. 17)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    LF Brett Gardner RHP Masahiro Tanaka
    CF Jacoby Ellsbury LHP CC Sabathia
    C Gary Sanchez RHP Michael Pineda
    DH Matt Holliday RHP Luis Severino
    1B Greg BirdRHP Bryan Mitchell
    2B Starlin CastroBullpen
    SS Didi Gregorius RHP Luis Cessa
    3B Chase Headley LHP Chasen Shreve
    RF Aaron Hicks RHP Adam Warren
    Bench LHP Tommy Layne
    C Austin Romine RHP Tyler Clippard
    1B/OF Tyler Austin (R) RHP Dellin Betances
    IF Ronald Torreyes LHP Aroldis Chapman
    OF Mason Williams 

12. Seattle Mariners (Previous: 11)

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    Felix Hernandez
    Felix HernandezOtto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Offseason Update

    Seattle Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto has been a busy man once again this offseason.

    As it stands, there are currently 15 newcomers on the 40-man roster, nine of which are projected to earn a spot on the Opening Day roster.

    That's a considerable amount of retooling for a team that went 86-76 and missed the postseason by just three games a year ago.

    Then again, when you haven't made the playoffs since 2001, a drastic approach to contending is a welcome change from the status quo.

    Jarrod Dyson and Jean Segura will form an intriguing table-setting duo ahead of a trio of 30-homer sluggers in Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager, as this has a chance to be one of the best offenses in baseball.

    First baseman Dan Vogelbach and outfielder Mitch Haniger, both projected for starting jobs, will be the X-factors in the lineup and offer plenty of offensive upside.

    On the pitching side of things, adding Drew Smyly and Yovani Gallardo helps offset the loss of Taijuan Walker, and both pitchers are capable of better than they showed in 2016.

    Should one or both of them struggle, Ariel Miranda and Chris Heston offer a pair of viable depth options for the rotation.

        

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Jan. 17)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    RF Jarrod Dyson RHP Felix Hernandez
    SS Jean Segura RHP Hisashi Iwakuma
    2B Robinson Cano LHP James Paxton
    DH Nelson CruzRHP Yovani Gallardo
    3B Kyle Seager LHP Drew Smyly
    C Mike Zunino Bullpen
    1B Dan Vogelbach (R)LHP Ariel Miranda
    LF Mitch Haniger (R) RHP Dan Altavilla (R)
    CF Leonys Martin RHP Evan Scribner
    BenchRHP Casey Fien
    C Carlos RuizLHP Marc Rzepczynski
    IF/OF Shawn O'Malley RHP Nick Vincent
    IF/OF Danny Valencia RHP Edwin Diaz
    OF Guillermo Heredia (R) 

        

    Projected DL: RP Steve Cishek (hip surgery)

11. New York Mets (Previous: 8)

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    Zack Wheeler
    Zack WheelerKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Offseason Update

    Who is the biggest newcomer to the New York Mets this offseason?

    A look at the team's Roster Resource page reveals that they have added only one player to the roster since the start of the offseason—reliever Ben Rowen, who has a 6.94 ERA in 11.2 career MLB innings, on a minor league deal.

    Re-signing Yoenis Cespedes was obviously a huge move, and Neil Walker accepting his qualifying offer was also significant, but really?

    Only one new addition this entire offseason?

    That just seems lazy.

    Trading outfielder Jay Bruce is still a priority with a logjam in the outfield and the team could use a proven left-handed reliever with Jerry Blevins hitting free agency, but things have been quiet on both fronts this month.

    Clearly, the team is banking on healthy seasons from Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, David Wright, Lucas Duda and Zack Wheeler bolstering the team without making any outside additions. We shall see if that strategy pays off.

        

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Jan. 17)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Curtis Granderson RHP Noah Syndergaard
    SS Asdrubal Cabrera RHP Jacob deGrom
    LF Yoenis Cespedes RHP Matt Harvey
    RF Jay Bruce LHP Steven Matz
    2B Neil Walker RHP Robert Gsellman (R)
    3B David WrightBullpen
    1B Lucas Duda RHP Zack Wheeler
    C Travis d'Arnaud LHP Josh Edgin
    Bench RHP Erik Goeddel
    C Rene Rivera LHP Josh Smoker (R)
    IF Wilmer Flores RHP Hansel Robles
    IF Jose Reyes RHP Addison Reed
    OF Michael Conforto RHP Jeurys Familia
    OF Juan Lagares  

10. Texas Rangers (Previous: 10)

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    Jonathan Lucroy
    Jonathan LucroyJoe Robbins/Getty Images

    Offseason Update

    Looking to upgrade the starting rotation without mortgaging more young talent from a thinning farm system, the Texas Rangers have rolled the dice on a pair of high-upside free agents.

    Andrew Cashner was signed to a one-year, $10 million deal earlier in the offseason, and he was recently joined by former San Diego Padres teammate Tyson Ross.

    Ross, who was non-tendered by the Padres after making just one start last season before undergoing thoracic outlet surgery, agreed to a one-year, $6 million deal pending a physical.

    "The physical is not routine, but the Rangers were well-acquainted with his health issues entering the negotiations," wrote T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.

    The Rangers also added veteran Dillon Gee on a minor league deal, per Sullivan, and he'll push A.J. Griffin for the No. 5 starter gig to start the season, helping further bridge the gap to Ross returning.

    On the offensive side, the Rangers still have decisions to make at the DH and first base spots following the departures of Carlos Beltran and Mitch Moreland.

    Jurickson Profar, Joey Gallo and Ryan Rua are the leading in-house candidates, though an outside addition is still a possibility.

    The team has been strongly linked to Mike Napoli and has also "checked in" on Mark Trumbo, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

        

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Jan. 17)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Carlos Gomez LHP Cole Hamels
    RF Shin-Soo Choo RHP Yu Darvish
    3B Adrian BeltreRHP Andrew Cashner
    2B Rougned Odor LHP Martin Perez
    C Jonathan Lucroy RHP A.J. Griffin
    LF Nomar Mazara Bullpen
    SS Elvis AndrusRHP Mike Hauschild (R)
    DH Joey Gallo LHP Alex Claudio
    1B Jurickson Profar RHP Keone Kela
    BenchRHP Tony Barnette
    C Robinson Chirinos RHP Matt Bush
    IF Hanser Alberto RHP Jeremy Jeffress
    IF/OF Ryan Rua RHP Sam Dyson
    OF Delino DeShields Jr. 

        

    Projected DL: SP Tyson Ross (thoracic outlet surgery), RP Jake Diekman (ulcerative colitis surgery)

9. Los Angeles Dodgers (Previous: 13)

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    Kenley Jansen
    Kenley JansenSean M. Haffey/Getty Images

    Offseason Update

    Here's what I wrote in the introductory slide last time these rankings were published:

    These rankings will be updated several more times between now and the start of the 2017 campaign, so if your favorite club is lower than you'd like, there's still time.

    A perfect example of this is the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have a number of holes to fill and rank low as a result. They'll climb as the offseason progresses and they fill said holes.

    Said holes have indeed been filled, at least most of them.

    Third baseman Justin Turner, closer Kenley Jansen and starter Rich Hill were all re-signed, leaving second base as the one remaining issue to address before the start of spring training.

    With efforts to acquire Brian Dozier stalled, the Dodgers are expected to "circle back" to their earlier pursuits of Ian Kinsler and Logan Forsythe, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

    Veteran Chase Utley remains unsigned on the free-agent market and appears to be the fallback plan if they're unable to swing a trade, though adding a right-handed bat to the left-heavy lineup remains the preferred solution.

    The bullpen could also use another arm or two to support setup man Pedro Baez and Jansen, as the departure of Joe Blanton is significant.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Jan. 17)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    LF Andrew Toles LHP Clayton Kershaw
    SS Corey Seager LHP Rich Hill
    3B Justin Turner RHP Kenta Maeda
    1B Adrian Gonzalez LHP Scott Kazmir
    C Yasmani Grandal LHP Julio Urias
    CF Joc Pederson Bullpen
    RF Yasiel Puig RHP Brandon McCarthy
    2B Kike Hernandez LHP Alex Wood
    Bench LHP Luis Avilan
    C/IF Austin Barnes (R)RHP Josh Fields
    1B/OF Darin Ruf LHP Grant Dayton
    IF Charlie Culberson RHP Pedro Baez
    OF Andre Ethier RHP Kenley Jansen
     OF Trayce Thompson 

        

    Projected DL: SP Hyun-Jin Ryu (elbow surgery), RP Yimi Garcia (TJ surgery)

8. St. Louis Cardinals (Previous: 7)

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    Jedd Gyorko
    Jedd GyorkoDylan Buell/Getty Images

    Offseason Update

    The St. Louis Cardinals were quick and decisive in filling their two biggest needs.

    They signed Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million deal to take over center field and leadoff duties, and Brett Cecil to a four-year, $30.5 million contract to serve as the primary left-handed reliever alongside Kevin Siegrist and his reverse platoon splits.

    The addition of veteran backstop Eric Fryer shouldn't be overlooked, either.

    The 31-year-old went 14-for-38 with a pair of doubles with the Cardinals last season before the Pirates claimed him off waivers, and bringing him back as the primary backup will allow prospect Carson Kelly more time to develop in Triple-A.

    While the team has plugged the roster holes, there are still some big decisions to make this spring.

    Jedd Gyorko and Jhonny Peralta will compete for the starting third base job, while the No. 5 starter spot could come down to Michael Wacha and Alex Reyes, with the loser serving as a significant weapon out of the bullpen.

          

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Jan. 17)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Dexter Fowler RHP Carlos Martinez
    SS Aledmys Diaz RHP Adam Wainwright
    1B Matt Carpenter RHP Lance Lynn
    RF Stephen Piscotty RHP Mike Leake
    LF Randal Grichuk RHP Alex Reyes (R)
    C Yadier MolinaBullpen
    3B Jhonny Peralta RHP Michael Wacha
    2B Kolten Wong RHP Miguel Socolovich
    Bench RHP Jonathan Broxton
    C Eric FryerLHP Brett Cecil
    1B Matt Adams RHP Trevor Rosenthal
    IF Greg Garcia LHP Kevin Siegrist
    IF Jedd Gyorko RHP Seung Hwan Oh
    OF Tommy Pham  

     

    Projected DL: RP Zach Duke (TJ surgery), RP Tyler Lyons (knee surgery)

7. Toronto Blue Jays (Previous: 9)

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    Aaron Sanchez
    Aaron SanchezElsa/Getty Images

    Offseason Update

    The return of Jose Bautista gives the Toronto Blue Jays a much clearer picture for the upcoming season.

    Bautista will earn $18 million in 2017 and has a chance to earn $60 million total over the life of a deal that includes a pair of mutual options, per Gregor Chisholm and Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com.

    The signing not only returns a big bat to a lineup that lost Edwin Encarnacion and Michael Saunders, but it will also allow Ezequiel Carrera and Melvin Upton Jr. to platoon in left field; otherwise, they would have both been exposed as everyday players.

    Fellow offseason signing Steve Pearce can also slide into a super utility role rather than being used primarily as a corner outfielder.

    The terrific starting rotation should be a strength once again, and the deadline deal to acquire Francisco Liriano gave them a built-in replacement for free agent R.A. Dickey.

    The bullpen could still use another veteran arm or two, and a backup catcher is also still high on the to-do list, but the Blue Jays are almost certainly done making impact deals this winter.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Jan. 17)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    2B Devon Travis RHP Aaron Sanchez
    3B Josh Donaldson LHP J.A. Happ
    RF Jose Bautista RHP Marco Estrada
    DH Kendrys Morales RHP Marcus Stroman
    SS Troy Tulowitzki LHP Francisco Liriano
    1B Justin Smoak Bullpen
    C Russell Martin RHP Mike Bolsinger
    CF Kevin PillarRHP Glenn Sparkman (R)
    LF Ezequiel Carrera RHP Ryan Tepera
    Bench LHP Aaron Loup
    C A.J. Jimenez (R) RHP Joe Biagini
    IF/OF Darwin Barney RHP Jason Grilli
    IF/OF Steve Pearce RHP Roberto Osuna
    OF Melvin Upton Jr. 

6. San Francisco Giants (Previous: 6)

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    Madison Bumgarner
    Madison BumgarnerJim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Offseason Update

    The San Francisco Giants made the most of their limited financial wiggle room this offseason, addressing their biggest need with the addition of closer Mark Melancon.

    "It gives the club peace of mind, with so many close games that we play, that we have a lockdown guy for the ninth inning," GM Bobby Evans told Chris Haft of MLB.com.

    Upgrading left field has been a popular hypothetical follow-up move, but the team has maxed out its spending room at this point, according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle.

    That leaves the fairly unproven duo of Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson as a likely platoon; Gorkys Hernandez is also an option.

    Looking further down the line, a strong start from top prospect Christian Arroyo could put him in a position to push for playing time at third base, which could bump Eduardo Nunez into a super utility role where he could see time in the outfield as well.

    While there's been only one significant addition on an MLB deal, the Giants have one of the more interesting collections of non-roster invitees.

    Jimmy Rollins, Michael Morse and Justin Ruggiano will all vie for bench spots, while Bryan Morris, Jose Dominguez and Neil Ramirez are candidates for the bullpen. Former All-Star starter Josh Johnson is also in camp as he tries to get his injury-plagued career back on track at the age of 32.

         

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Jan. 17)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF Denard Span LHP Madison Bumgarner
    2B Joe Panik RHP Johnny Cueto
    C Buster Posey RHP Jeff Samardzija
    RF Hunter Pence LHP Matt Moore
    1B Brandon Belt RHP Matt Cain
    SS Brandon CrawfordBullpen
    3B Eduardo Nunez RHP Cory Gearrin
    LF Jarrett Parker RHP George Kontos
    Bench LHP Steven Okert (R)
    C Trevor Brown RHP Hunter Strickland
    1B/3B Conor Gillaspie LHP Will Smith
    IF Ehire Adrianza RHP Derek Law
    OF Gorkys HernandezRHP Mark Melancon
    OF Mac Williamson 

5. Houston Astros (Previous: 5)

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    Carlos Correa
    Carlos CorreaBob Levey/Getty Images

    Offseason Update

    Things have been quiet out of the Houston Astros camp since the winter meetings.

    However, that could change drastically if they decide to pull the trigger on trading for a front-line starter to anchor the rotation.

    According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the team has remained in contact with the Oakland Athletics regarding Sonny Gray while failing to gain much traction on talks with the Chicago White Sox about Jose Quintana.

    It will likely come down to whether they're willing to part with one or both of top prospect Francis Martes and young starter Joe Musgrove—two pitchers who could potentially anchor the future rotation if they develop as expected.

    Even if they don't land a starter, the Astros have improved considerably this offseason with the additions of Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Josh Reddick and Nori Aoki to a lineup that already had plenty of firepower.

    The continued development of Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa gives the team a pair of stars in the making, while a healthy season from Lance McCullers could see him take the next step as well.

    Adding another lefty reliever appears to be the only glaring item on the to-do list, following a disappointing season from Tony Sipp.

          

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Jan. 17)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    CF George Springer LHP Dallas Keuchel
    2B Jose Altuve RHP Lance McCullers
    SS Carlos Correa RHP Collin McHugh
    DH Carlos Beltran RHP Mike Fiers
    C Brian McCannRHP Charlie Morton
    3B Alex Bregman Bullpen
    RF Josh Reddick RHP Chris Devenski
    1B Yulieski Gurriel (R) RHP Brad Peacock
    LF Nori Aoki RHP Michael Feliz
    Bench LHP Tony Sipp
    C Evan Gattis RHP Luke Gregerson
    1B/OF Preston Tucker RHP Will Harris
    IF/OF Marwin Gonzalez RHP Ken Giles
    OF Jake Marisnick  

4. Washington Nationals (Previous: 4)

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    Shawn Kelley
    Shawn KelleyMitchell Layton/Getty Images

    Offseason Update

    Could the Adam Eaton trade prove to be one the Washington Nationals regret for a long time?

    Absolutely.

    Did it make them a better team in 2017?

    No question.

    With Eaton essentially replacing Danny Espinosa in the lineup, and Trea Turner shifting from center field to shortstop as he gets set for his first full season, the lineup will have a pair of impact table-setters who weren't there on Opening Day a year ago.

    They're a bounce-back season from Bryce Harper away from being one of the most dangerous offenses in baseball.

    Questions still abound in the bullpen, where the team has yet to add a proven replacement for Mark Melancon in the ninth-inning role.

    However, Shawn Kelley has the stuff to close, and keep an eye on prospect Koda Glover, and his high-octane fastball, as a potential impact addition to the bullpen as well.

    This team still looks like the class of the NL East and the biggest competition to the Chicago Cubs for NL supremacy.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Jan. 17)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    SS Trea Turner RHP Max Scherzer
    CF Adam Eaton RHP Stephen Strasburg
    2B Daniel Murphy RHP Tanner Roark
    RF Bryce Harper LHP Gio Gonzalez
    3B Anthony Rendon RHP Joe Ross
    LF Jayson Werth Bullpen
    1B Ryan Zimmerman RHP A.J. Cole
    C Derek Norris RHP Koda Glover (R)
    Bench LHP Oliver Perez
    C Jose Lobaton RHP Trevor Gott
    1B/OF Clint Robinson LHP Sammy Solis
    IF Wilmer Difo RHP Blake Treinen
    OF Chris Heisey RHP Shawn Kelley
    OF Michael Taylor 

3. Boston Red Sox (Previous: 2)

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    Andrew Benintendi
    Andrew BenintendiJim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Offseason Update

    Who will be the Opening Day starter for the Boston Red Sox?

    Having three ace-caliber arms atop the rotation is a good problem to have—one the Red Sox will welcome with open arms after entering last season with plenty of questions surrounding the starting staff.

    The final two spots in the Boston rotation should make for one of the more intriguing position battles around the league, as Drew Pomeranz, Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez all have the potential to be far more than just back-of-the-rotation arms.

    If anyone from that group is going to start the year in the minors it will probably be E-Rod, but these things have a way of sorting themselves out, and it's another good problem to have.

    All eyes will be on Pablo Sandoval this spring as he looks to prove he's capable of holding down the third base job.

    After trading away Travis Shaw and Yoan Moncada, the Red Sox don't have a clear backup plan, as utility man Brock Holt would likely be the next man up.

    The catcher job will also carry plenty of intrigue.

    Based on 2016 production, Sandy Leon should be a shoo-in for the starting gig, but there's no chance he duplicates a .392 BABIP. His crashing back to earth would open the door for defensive whiz Christian Vazquez or former top prospect Blake Swihart to seize the starting role.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Jan. 17)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    2B Dustin Pedroia LHP Chris Sale
    LF Andrew Benintendi (R) LHP David Price
    SS Xander Bogaerts RHP Rick Porcello
    RF Mookie Betts LHP Drew Pomeranz
    DH Hanley RamirezRHP Steven Wright
    CF Jackie Bradley Jr.Bullpen
    3B Pablo Sandoval RHP Heath Hembree
    1B Mitch Moreland LHP Fernando Abad
    C Sandy LeonRHP Matt Barnes
    Bench LHP Robbie Ross Jr.
    C Christian Vazquez RHP Joe Kelly
    IF Josh RutledgeRHP Tyler Thornburg
    IF/OF Brock Holt RHP Craig Kimbrel
    OF Chris Young 

     

    Projected DL: Carson Smith (TJ surgery)

2. Cleveland Indians (Previous: 3)

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    Carlos Carrasco
    Carlos CarrascoJason Miller/Getty Images

    Offseason Update

    It was a flip of the coin between the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox for the top spot among AL teams following the winter meetings and the Chris Sale blockbuster.

    Since then, the Indians have added slugger Edwin Encarnacion, shoring up the biggest hole on the roster and bolstering the lineup with one of the game's most dangerous sluggers.

    So the advantage goes to Cleveland once again.

    While Encarnacion is the only notable outside addition, this team will look considerably different than the one we saw last October.

    Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar were both non-factors in the postseason, catcher Yan Gomes was relegated to backup duties after suffering a concussion in late August, and All-Star outfielder Michael Brantley didn't play after May 9.

    That's four star-caliber players who contributed nothing during the team's postseason run to the World Series.

    Throw in a full season of Andrew Miller and sprinkle on the valuable experience that guys like Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin gained in October, and this team could be a force in 2017.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Jan. 17)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    DH Carlos Santana RHP Corey Kluber
    2B Jason Kipnis RHP Carlos Carrasco
    SS Francisco Lindor RHP Danny Salazar
    1B Edwin Encarnacion RHP Trevor Bauer
    LF Michael Brantley RHP Josh Tomlin
    3B Jose RamirezBullpen
    RF Lonnie ChisenhallRHP Hoby Milner (R)
    C Yan Gomes LHP Kyle Crockett
    CF Tyler Naquin RHP Zach McAllister
    Bench RHP Dan Otero
    C Roberto Perez RHP Bryan Shaw
    IF Michael Martinez LHP Andrew Miller
    OF Abraham Almonte RHP Cody Allen
    OF Brandon Guyer  

1. Chicago Cubs (Previous: 1)

30 of 30

    Jake Arrieta
    Jake ArrietaJason Miller/Getty Images

    Offseason Update

    The Cleveland Indians no doubt closed the gap with the Edwin Encarnacion signing, but the Chicago Cubs are still the team to beat.

    The defending champs could use a better primary lefty option for the bullpen now that Mike Montgomery is slated for a spot in the rotation, and further starting pitching depth would be welcome as well.

    Aside from that, they look stacked once again from top to bottom.

    A replacement for Dexter Fowler as the catalyst atop the lineup might be the biggest concern heading into spring training.

    The Cubs were 52-22 (.703) in games where Fowler reached base at least twice last season, and they went 18-18 in the 36 games where he was out of the lineup altogether.

    It sounds like Kyle Schwarber will get the first crack at the leadoff spot, at least against right-handed pitching, per Jesse Rogers of ESPN.com.

    That should make for an interesting storyline to follow this spring, not that Cubs fans need any more reason to be excited about the potential of a full season from Schwarber.

    Rule 5 pick Caleb Smith will also be an interesting one to watch.

    Contenders aren't generally in a position to eat up a roster spot on a flier, so the Cubs obviously see something in him. With eight pitchers likely breaking camp with the team, he'll get every chance to win a spot.

     

    Projected Opening Day Roster (as of Jan. 17)

    Starting LineupStarting Rotation
    LF Kyle Schwarber LHP Jon Lester
    3B Kris Bryant RHP Jake Arrieta
    1B Anthony Rizzo RHP Kyle Hendricks
    2B Ben Zobrist RHP John Lackey
    SS Addison Russell LHP Mike Montgomery
    C Willson ContrerasBullpen
    RF Jason Heyward LHP Caleb Smith (R)
    CF Jon Jay RHP Justin Grimm
    BenchLHP Brian Duensing
    C Miguel Montero RHP Carl Edwards Jr.
    IF Javier BaezRHP Pedro Strop
    OF Albert Almora Jr.RHP Koji Uehara
    OF Matt SzczurRHP Hector Rondon
     RHP Wade Davis

     

    All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted. Contract information via Spotrac unless otherwise noted.