MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand Entering Free Agency/Trade Season

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 2, 2017

MLB Power Rankings: Where All 30 Teams Stand Entering Free Agency/Trade Season

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    The 2017 MLB season came to a close Thursday night as the Houston Astros were crowned World Series champions. There's plenty of celebrating still to come for the Astros and their fans, but for the rest of the MLB world, the offseason is now officially underway.

    As such, it's time for an updated version of our leaguewide power rankings with a focus on what's to come.

    For the first edition of our offseason rankings, teams will be ranked based on their outlook for the 2018 season. That took into account things like how complete the roster is heading into free agency, how active the team is expected to be and the overall direction the franchise is headed.

    In other words, don't be surprised when a Kansas City Royals team that won 80 games is ranked below a Philadelphia Phillies team that won 66 games.

    Again, we're looking ahead to 2018.

    We'll put together fresh versions of these power rankings throughout the offseason, with teams shifting based on their wheelings and dealings. For now, this will serve as a starting point.


    On a personal note, I want to say thanks to everyone for reading along all season. This was my sixth year authoring our weekly MLB power rankings here at Bleacher Report, and it's still one of my favorite parts of the job.

30. Detroit Tigers (64-98, Fifth in AL Central)

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    Michael Fulmer
    Michael FulmerTony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    2017 Opening Day Rank: 14

    2017 Team Stats



    Offseason Outlook

    The rebuilding train has left the station for the Detroit Tigers, and the next few seasons figure to be lean ones as a result. 

    Trading Justin Verlander and Justin Upton in August was a clear signal of the shift in direction, and more deals could be coming this winter.

    Controllable starter Michael Fulmer is easily their most attractive trade chip. Veteran second baseman Ian Kinsler and reliever Shane Greene will also generate interest if they're made available, and there's no reason to think they won't.

    As for potential additions, something needs to be done about what was the worst bullpen in baseball, even if it's just rolling the dice on a handful of low-cost signings and hoping a couple pitch their way into becoming trade chips by midseason.

29. San Diego Padres (71-91, Fourth in NL West)

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    Clayton Richard
    Clayton RichardGregory Bull/Associated Press

    2017 Opening Day Rank: 30

    2017 Team Stats



    Offseason Outlook

    All things considered, avoiding a 100-loss season can be considered a small victory for the rebuilding San Diego Padres.

    With a patchwork starting rotation and a lineup devoid of impact talent outside of 2016 All-Star Wil Myers, they looked like a safe bet for the worst record in baseball. Instead, they managed to avoid a last-place finish in the NL West while adding three wins to the previous year's total.

    That said, this team is still several years from contending.

    They'll likely employ a dirt-cheap starting rotation once again next season while filling out the rest of the roster with low-cost veterans. 

    It's all about biding their time while they wait on the development of one of the most talented farm systems in baseball.

28. Chicago White Sox (67-95, Fourth in AL Central)

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    Lucas Giolito
    Lucas GiolitoCharlie Riedel/Associated Press

    2017 Opening Day Rank: 28

    2017 Team Stats



    Offseason Outlook

    The Chicago White Sox had as busy a calendar year as any seller in recent memory, shipping out the likes of Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Adam Eaton, Todd Frazier, David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, Anthony Swarzak, Dan Jennings, Melky Cabrera and Miguel Gonzalez. 

    The result is the No. 2 farm system in baseball and a team that's a least a handful of seasons away from a return to contention.

    Still, it's an exciting time to be a White Sox as the team finally has a clear direction after years of treading water and hovering around the .500 mark.

    Expect the front office to add a few cheap starters and a handful of bargain relievers to fill out the staff in hopes they can hit on a few more surprise trade chips like they did with Swarzak and Kahnle.

    But chances are there won't be any major signings on the South Side for at least a few more years.

27. Oakland Athletics (75-87, Fifth in AL West)

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    Sean Manaea
    Sean ManaeaTony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    2017 Opening Day Rank: 26

    2017 Team Stats



    Offseason Outlook

    The Oakland Athletics closed out an otherwise forgettable season on a high note with a 17-7 record and plus-59 run differential over their final 24 games.

    That won't change the team's immediate plans, though.

    Executive vice president Billy Beane acknowledged over the summer that the team was finally ready to commit to a full-scale rebuild and then proceeded to trade Sonny Gray, Ryan Madson, Sean Doolittle and Yonder Alonso.

    The perennially frugal Athletics don't have a ton of high-priced pieces to move like most other teams do once they start rebuilding, but that acknowledgment from Beane is a good indication that they're going to play the young guys. 

    In other words, don't expect another offseason like last year when they went out and added the likes of Trevor Plouffe, Rajai Davis, Santiago Casilla and Adam Rosales to fill out the roster. 

    On the other hand, guys like Sean Manaea, Khris Davis and Kendall Graveman could be shopped.

26. Kansas City Royals (80-82, Third in AL Central)

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    Eric Hosmer
    Eric HosmerCharlie Riedel/Associated Press

    2017 Opening Day Rank: 20

    2017 Team Stats



    Offseason Outlook

    The Kansas City Royals turned years of losing into a terrific homegrown core that yielded back-to-back AL pennants and a World Series title.

    Now they face the harsh realities of being a small-market team.

    Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain are all free agents, and the team will be lucky to retain one of those three stars. Longtime shortstop Alcides Escobar and All-Star starter Jason Vargas are also free agents and unlikely to return.

    So where does that leave the Royals?

    With one of the weakest farm systems in baseball—ranked No. 29 in our final update of the season—it figures to be a long road ahead. 

    As far as this offseason is concerned, expect to see reliever Kelvin Herrera shopped a year removed from his own free agency, while the team will likely stick to mid-level additions to plug the numerous roster holes.

    A massive deal to bring back Hosmer is still a possibility, but it's debatable whether that's even in the best interest of the team given their current short-term outlook.

25. Cincinnati Reds (68-94, Fifth in NL Central)

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    Raisel Iglesias
    Raisel IglesiasJohn Minchillo/Associated Press

    2017 Opening Day Rank: 29

    2017 Team Stats



    Offseason Outlook

    The Cincinnati Reds are already a few years into the rebuilding process and they are coming off a third straight season with at least 90 losses.

    Sorting out the pitching staff is what separates them from beginning the climb back toward contention.

    A whopping 18 different rookie pitchers made at least one appearances, and there are still more questions than answers going forward as far as the staff is concerned.

    Despite all of those young arms, the team will likely still look to add a stabilizing veteran in free agency. Think something on par with last year's addition of Scott Feldman. 

    They could also look to flip a few more moveable parts.

    Controllable relievers Raisel Iglesias, Michael Lorenzen and Wandy Peralta would all generate huge interest if shopped, while the speed and defense of Billy Hamilton are still enough to give him some intriguing value despite his offensive shortcomings.

24. Miami Marlins (77-85, Second in NL East)

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    2017 Opening Day Rank: 18

    2017 Team Stats



    Offseason Outlook

    A new ownership group could mean a whirlwind of change for the Miami Marlins this offseason.

    With a goal to trim the payroll to $90 million, the front office is actively looking to move Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon and Martin Prado this winter, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

    Stanton is owed $285 million through the 2027 season with a full no-trade clause, so moving him is easier said than done. If the goal is to unload the bulk of that money, they might need to accept a less-than-inspiring prospect return.

    There's no indication at this point that they'll take things a step further and look to move controllable assets like Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna, J.T. Realmuto and Dan Straily, although they would obviously net a more substantial return. 

    At any rate, it sounds like the Marlins will be taking the 2018 season to reset and venture in a new direction under their new owners.

23. Philadelphia Phillies (66-96, Fifth in NL East)

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    Rhys Hoskins
    Rhys HoskinsChris Szagola/Associated Press

    2017 Opening Day Rank: 24

    2017 Team Stats



    Offseason Outlook

    The Philadelphia Phillies took a disappointing step backward in the rebuilding process, losing five more games than they did in 2016 despite adding a handful of veterans last offseason.

    However, they remain a team on the rise.

    Aaron Nola looks like a legitimate rotation anchor, Rhys Hoskins exploded onto the scene as a rookie, and plenty more prospect talent is on the way. 

    They also have a ton of money to spend with an Opening Day payroll just over $100 million last season and under $30 million on the books to this point for the upcoming season—including projected arbitration raises.

    This could be the offseason where they look to make a splash, and signing one of the market's top starting pitchers might be the best way to allocate a big chunk of those available funds.

    A run at a .500 record could be in the cards in 2018 as the future looks increasingly bright.

22. Atlanta Braves (72-90, Third in NL East)

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    Ronald Acuna
    Ronald AcunaLynne Sladky/Associated Press

    2017 Opening Day Rank: 23

    2017 Team Stats



    Offseason Outlook

    If only the Atlanta Braves could hop in a time machine and shoot forward three years or so, we might be talking about one of the best teams in baseball.

    With the No. 1 farm system in baseball and plenty of payroll flexibility, they have all the pieces to build a sustainable winner, having followed a similar rebuilding path as the Cubs and Astros.

    For now, they need to find a way to balance youth and veteran experience on a roster that is still taking shape. 

    The organization is overflowing with high-level pitching talent, but the front office would still be wise to add a few veteran arms to the rotation. A blockbuster deal for a legitimate ace is not out of the question, but additions similar to the Bartolo Colon/R.A. Dickey/Jaime Garcia haul of a year ago might be more realistic.

    As for the position-player side of things, the team could use a proven third baseman and might feel inclined to trade either Matt Kemp or Nick Markakis in an effort to clear a path for uber-prospect Ronald Acuna.

    Despite another 90-loss season, they're in as enviable a long-term position as any team in baseball. It's simply a matter of patience.

21. Baltimore Orioles (75-87, Fifth in AL East)

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    Manny Machado
    Manny MachadoPhil Long/Associated Press

    2017 Opening Day Rank: 16

    2017 Team Stats



    Offseason Outlook

    The Baltimore Orioles had the worst starters' ERA in baseball this season.

    So, of course, they're already discussing potential reunions with two of the biggest offenders—Wade Miley (5.61) and Chris Tillman (7.84).

    The O's farm system, while improving, is still thin on potential impact talent.

    So, of course, the front office has taken a hard-line stance that they won't be trading Manny Machado or Zach Britton, two players set to reach free agency after next season and who would bring a significant haul.

    Welcome to baseball limbo, Orioles fans. 

    Simply put, they're not going to contend in the AL East with their current core and they seem to have no intention of rebuilding.

    Pitching is the glaring need, and they don't have the money convince any of the market's top arms that bringing their talents to homer-friendly Camden Yards would be a worthwhile move.

20. New York Mets (70-92, Fourth in NL East)

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    Jacob deGrom
    Jacob deGromBill Kostroun/Associated Press

    2017 Opening Day Rank: 11

    2017 Team Stats



    Offseason Outlook

    Better health would go a long way for the New York Mets in 2018.

    Jacob deGrom was the only pitcher to log more than 120 innings, and 10 different pitchers started at least five games as the rotation was absolutely decimated by injuries.

    A healthy Noah Syndergaard and any sort of bounce-back performance from Matt Harvey and Steven Matz would far outweigh any outside additions by the front office. However, counting on all three to be top-flight contributors would be foolish.

    Adding a durable starter capable of eating some innings in the role previously filled by Bartolo Colon seems like an obvious move and shoring up the bullpen with a few veteran arms is also on the to-do list, according to Marc Carig of Newsday

    It all comes down to how much the front office is willing to spend versus how much they're banking on the in-house talent to rebound. After they went without a single notable addition last offseason, it's hard to expect a splashy winter this time around.

19. San Francisco Giants (64-98, Fifth in NL West)

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    Brandon Belt
    Brandon BeltRoss D. Franklin/Associated Press

    2017 Opening Day Rank: 8

    2017 Team Stats



    Offseason Outlook

    Do the San Francisco Giants think they can bounce back from a 98-loss season to contend with their current core?

    That's the question facing the front office this winter, and if the answer is yes, expect them to make a serious run at acquiring slugger Giancarlo Stanton—they were identified as the early favorites to land him by Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

    Third base is also an area where the team could look to add a power bat in an effort to bolster an offense that ranked 29th in the majors in runs per game. With the $21 million salary of Matt Cain off the books, they have money to spend.

    However, if the answer is no, it could still be a busy offseason. 

    Jon Paul Morosi of wrote at the trade deadline that the only players viewed as untouchable on the roster were Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford. That leaves guys like Brandon Belt, Joe Panik and Jeff Samardzija as notable potential trade chips.

18. Toronto Blue Jays (76-86, Fourth in AL East)

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    Josh Donaldson
    Josh DonaldsonMichael Dwyer/Associated Press

    2017 Opening Day Rank: 7

    2017 Team Stats



    Offseason Outlook

    Has the Toronto Blue Jays' window closed?

    After winning the AL East title in 2015 and advancing to the American League Championship Series as a wild card in 2016, they finished fourth in the division standings and 10 games under .500 this season.

    The 2015 club was led by a juggernaut offense that averaged 5.5 runs per game and scored 127 more runs than any other team, while the 2016 team was carried by a starting staff that led the AL with a 3.64 ERA.

    Neither was an area of strength this season as the offense was the lowest-scoring in the AL and the rotation dealt with injuries all season and saw 14 different pitchers start a game. 

    Josh Donaldson is a free agent following the 2018 season and he'll see his name pop up early and often in trade rumors this winter.

    Don't be surprised if the Blue Jays hold onto him in hopes of one last hurrah with this current group.

17. Pittsburgh Pirates (75-87, Fourth in NL Central)

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    Andrew McCutchen
    Andrew McCutchenJohn Minchillo/Associated Press

    2017 Opening Day Rank: 15

    2017 Team Stats



    Offseason Outlook

    The Pittsburgh Pirates have a chance to be one of the game-changers of the 2017-18 MLB offseason.

    After three straight postseason appearances, the Pirates have now posted back-to-back losing seasons and it could be time for the small-market club to do some retooling.

    The first big decision will be what to do with the face of the franchise, Andrew McCutchen.

    He was shopped unsuccessfully last offseason after a down season, then bounced back to post an .849 OPS with 28 home runs and 88 RBI. His $14.75 million team option is a safe bet to be exercised, but will he be flipped later in the offseason?

    If the team does decide to trade McCutchen, could that set in motion a busy winter as sellers? 

    Ace Gerrit Cole has two years of control left and he's due a significant raise over the $3.75 million he earned last year, while closer Felipe Rivero would net a huge return after emerging as one of the game's most dominant relievers.

    Regardless of what they do with their internal talent, there won't be any splashy signings.

16. Texas Rangers (78-84, Third in AL West)

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    Joey Gallo
    Joey GalloReed Saxon/Associated Press

    2017 Opening Day Rank: 12

    2017 Team Stats



    Offseason Outlook

    The summer trade of Yu Darvish doesn't necessarily mean that the Texas Rangers are headed for a rebuild, but there is significant work to do this offseason, specifically on the pitching side of things.

    The emergence of Joey Gallo and resurgence of Delino DeShields help plug a pair of offensive holes, and prospects Ronald Guzman and Willie Calhoun both appear ready to step into significant roles in the majors, leaving no glaring area of need in the lineup. 

    However, lefties Cole Hamels and Martin Perez look like the only locks in the rotation, and the bullpen saw season-long role shuffling before Alex Claudio finally settled into the ninth-inning gig.

    Look for the front office to add at least two starters externally and a couple veteran relievers in an effort to shore up the staff and keep pace in the AL West.

    Don't count out the possibility of a reunion with Darvish, and they could also look to re-up with Andrew Cashner after he made good on a one-year deal.

15. Tampa Bay Rays (80-82, Third in AL East)

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    Jake Odorizzi
    Jake OdorizziPatrick Semansky/Associated Press

    2017 Opening Day Rank: 22

    2017 Team Stats



    Offseason Outlook

    There's no reason to expect any major changes in the way the small-budget Tampa Bay Rays approach the offseason.

    Alex Cobb will almost certainly depart for greener pastures in a thin market for starting pitching, and Logan Morrison might be able to parlay his 38-homer season in a multiyear deal outside of the Rays' preferred price range.

    Outside of those two notable free agents, it's essentially the same team returning, and the front office will continue to fill in the gaps with scrapheap signings and homegrown players. 

    Top pitching prospect Brent Honeywell should be along in short order to fill a spot in the rotation and a healthy Jose De Leon could do the same, so there's no pressing need to sign someone to replace Cobb.

    Given the aforementioned thin starting pitching market, it might behoove the team to shop Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi to see if someone is willing to make them an offer they can't refuse.

    Otherwise, expect another year of relying on the starting pitching to shoulder the load while hoping they can hit on more low-cost signings like last year's LoMo deal.

14. Los Angeles Angels (80-82, Second in AL West)

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    Justin Upton
    Justin UptonStephen Dunn/Getty Images

    2017 Opening Day Rank: 21

    2017 Team Stats



    Offseason Outlook

    The clock is ticking on the Los Angeles Angels as they look to build a winner around superstar Mike Trout, and that should be all the motivation the front office needs for it to be a busy winter.

    The 26-year-old is signed for three more seasons and he's made just one playoff appearance to this point.

    Justin Upton holds the club's first big offseason decision in his hands, as he'll need to decide whether to opt out of the final four years and $88.5 million of his current deal.

    Regardless, the team should be aggressively pursuing offensive help after finishing 22nd in the majors and 11th in the AL in runs per game. 

    Second base (.601 OPS, 30th in MLB) and third base (.713 OPS, 25th in MLB) will both be easy areas to upgrade, and finding more left-handed hitting (.689 OPS, 29th in MLB) should also be a priority.

    Meanwhile, the starting rotation and bullpen both have solid upside, especially if guys like Garrett Richards, Matt Shoemaker and Cam Bedrosian can stay healthy.

13. Minnesota Twins (85-77, Second in AL Central)

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    Byron Buxton
    Byron BuxtonPatrick Semansky/Associated Press

    2017 Opening Day Rank: 27

    2017 Team Stats



    Offseason Outlook

    It's still nothing short of amazing that the Minnesota Twins reached the Wild Card Game with a makeshift bullpen and a starting rotation that was full of question marks.

    The offense did a lot of the heavy lifting and will return intact with no major free agents on the position-player side of things, but there's a lot of work to do on the pitching staff.

    Bartolo Colon and Hector Santiago are both free agents, and Phil Hughes will miss significant time following thoracic outlet revision surgery in August.

    That leaves Ervin Santana, Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson and Adalberto Mejia projected for four spots in the rotation, with significant question marks beyond that. 

    As for the bullpen, stopgap closer Matt Belisle is also a free agent, and the relief corps as a whole is sorely lacking in proven arms.

    How much the front office is willing to spend on the pitching staff will determine whether they can make another run at contention.

12. Seattle Mariners (78-84, Third in AL West)

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    James Paxton
    James PaxtonElaine Thompson/Associated Press

    2017 Opening Day Rank: 10

    2017 Team Stats



    Offseason Outlook

    The Seattle Mariners are sitting on the longest postseason drought in the majors, having not reached the playoffs since 2001.

    And there are a number of needs to address if they hope to put an end to that in 2018.

    The No. 1 priority will be addressing a starting rotation that saw 18 different pitchers start at least one game and that has two wide-open spots behind the trio of James Paxton, Felix Hernandez and Mike Leake.

    However, the splashy move could come in the form of a hitter. 

    After ranking last in the majors in OPS at both first base (.697 OPS) and in center field (.612 OPS), it won't be hard to find an upgrade at those two spots, with star-caliber players available in guys like Eric Hosmer, Carlos Santana and Lorenzo Cain.

    Regardless, expect general manager Jerry Dipoto to be busy once again. There's enough talent in place that they might be one or two pieces away from finally getting over the hump.

11. Milwaukee Brewers (86-76, Second in NL Central)

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    Chase Anderson
    Chase AndersonGene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    2017 Opening Day Rank: 25

    2017 Team Stats



    Offseason Outlook

    The Milwaukee Brewers occupied the No. 25 spot in my Opening Day power rankings, so their run at a playoff spot was surprising, to say the least.

    The starting rotation exceeded even the wildest expectations behind the unheralded trio of Chase Anderson (12-4, 2.74 ERA), Jimmy Nelson (12-6, 3.49 ERA) and Zach Davies (17-9, 3.90 ERA), and the bullpen rounded into form around All-Star closer Corey Knebel.

    Meanwhile, the offense slugged 224 home runs—tops in the NL—thanks to breakout seasons from Travis Shaw, Domingo Santana and Eric Thames.

    Despite making a run at a wild-card berth, the team's long-term plans remain unchanged. 

    They're building toward a bright future as a sustainable contender and they'll continue to incorporate young talent from a deep farm system.

    Re-signing Neil Walker as a stopgap at second base makes sense and they could use a veteran bullpen arm or two, but for the most part, it will be about the continued development of the incumbent talent.

10. St. Louis Cardinals (83-79, Third in NL Central)

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    Alex Reyes
    Alex ReyesNam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    2017 Opening Day Rank: 9

    2017 Team Stats



    Offseason Outlook

    A disappointing 2017 season could be motivation for the St. Louis Cardinals to make some significant moves this offseason.

    With Trevor Rosenthal recovering from Tommy John surgery and likely to be non-tendered, the top priority will be adding a proven closer to the back of the bullpen. Signing Wade Davis away from the rival Cubs would only make his addition that much sweeter.

    Lance Lynn will likely head for greener pastures in free agency, and young right-handers Luke Weaver and Jack Flaherty could both break camp with spots in the rotation next year. 

    Top prospect Alex Reyes will be the X-factor on the staff once he returns from Tommy John surgery. Expect him to be brought along slowly, likely in a relief role to start out, but he can make a major impact.

    It's the offense where we could see sweeping changes.

    Adding a true middle-of-the-order bat and unclogging the outfield logjam would give the roster a decidedly different look.

    Team president John Mozeliak didn't hide the fact that he was disappointed with the team's performance during the season, and now it's up to him to make the necessary changes.

9. Colorado Rockies (87-75, Third in NL West)

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    Greg Holland
    Greg HollandDavid Zalubowski/Associated Press

    2017 Opening Day Rank: 17

    2017 Team Stats



    Offseason Outlook

    The Colorado Rockies made a 12-win improvement and reached the NL Wild Card Game thanks in large part to a vastly improved pitching staff.

    A young starting rotation that featured four rookiesKyle Freeland, Antonio Senzatela, German Marquez and Jeff Hoffmanand a budding ace in 25-year-old Jon Gray will only get better in the years to come.

    It's the relief corps that needs to be the focus of the offseason.

    After improving from 30th (5.13) to 16th (4.59) in bullpen ERA, the team stands to lose a number of notable relief arms as Greg Holland (61 G, 41/45 SV, 3.61 ERA), Jake McGee (62 G, 20 HLD, 3.61 ERA) and deadline-addition Pat Neshek (71 G, 23 HLD, 1.59 ERA) are all free agents. 

    There's too much good, young talent on this team for a leaky bullpen to be their undoing, and addressing that will start with either re-signing Holland or finding another proven closer to slot in the ninth inning.

    Re-signing catcher Jonathan Lucroy to anchor the pitching staff also looks like a smart move.

    Otherwise, this remains a team on the rise and the eventual arrival of top prospect Brendan Rodgers will make an already potent offense even more dangerous.

8. New York Yankees (91-71, Second in AL East)

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    Masahiro Tanaka
    Masahiro TanakaTony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    2017 Opening Day Rank: 13

    2017 Team Stats



    Offseason Outlook

    New York Yankees fans won't like seeing the team ranked below the rival Boston Red Sox after it reached the ALCS, but this is about looking ahead.

    There's little doubt the Yankees exceeded expectations in 2017 and now there are some major questions to answer in the starting rotation before they can be considered AL East favorites.

    That starts with Masahiro Tanaka and whether he decides to opt out of the final three years and $67 million on his current deal. 

    With CC Sabathia also reaching free agency, the Yankees could be looking at a rotation of Luis Severino, Sonny Gray, Jordan Montgomery and a pair of "to be determined" slots.

    There's obviously money to spend, but with one eye still firmly fixed on the 2018-19 free-agent class, it remains to be seen whether they'll be willing to loosen the purse strings this winter for the sake of the short term.

    Prospect Chance Adams could be a factor and Shohei Otani will see his name tied to the Yankees aplenty as he potentially makes his way over from Japan. Still, there are enough questions surrounding the starting staff to keep the Yankees from ranking any higher for the time being.

    But if we're talking about a three-year outlook, the rest of league should be awfully scared of the Yankees.

7. Arizona Diamondbacks (93-69, Second in NL West)

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    Archie Bradley
    Archie BradleyRoss D. Franklin/Associated Press

    2017 Opening Day Rank: 19

    2017 Team Stats



    Offseason Outlook

    The Arizona Diamondbacks are the real deal.

    After a disastrous 93-loss showing in 2016, they added a whopping 24 wins and took down the Rockies in the NL Wild Card Game before getting swept by the Dodgers in the NLDS.

    The starting rotation was by far the biggest difference.

    Behind a resurgent Zack Greinke, emerging ace Robbie Ray, newcomer Taijuan Walker and out-of-nowhere standout Zack Godley, the team managed to go from 29th (5.19) to third (3.61) in starters' ERA.

    The full rotation returns intact, so the focus on the pitching side will be deciding whether setup man Archie Bradley will replace free agent Fernando Rodney in the closer's role of if another late-inning arm will be added. 

    The biggest decision is how much to spend trying to re-sign slugger J.D. Martinez.

    The 30-year-old was nothing short of ridiculous in his short time with the team, posting a 1.107 OPS with 29 home runs and 65 RBI in 62 games.

    With the window to make a title push wide-open and no other glaring needs, it's worth a nine-figure deal to keep him around.

6. Boston Red Sox (93-69, First in AL East)

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    Eduardo Nunez
    Eduardo NunezSteven Senne/Associated Press

    2017 Opening Day Rank: 3

    2017 Team Stats



    Offseason Outlook

    Despite winning the AL East title, it was a disappointing season for the Boston Red Sox.

    The retirement of David Ortiz took a bigger bite out of the club's offensive attack than expected as it slipped to 10th in runs per game (4.85) and 22nd in OPS (.736) after leading the majors in those categories in 2016.

    They also dropped from ninth to 27th in home runs (208 to 168) and adding a power bat figures to be atop the offseason to-do list.

    First baseman Mitch Moreland is a free agent so that's an obvious potential area to upgrade, while the team could also pursue someone like J.D. Martinez with the intention of using him at DH and moving Hanley Ramirez back to first base. 

    As for the pitching staff, healthy seasons from David Price, Steven Wright, Tyler Thornburg and Carson Smith would make a major difference without the team making any significant outside additions.

    This is still a talented roster and with money to spend in free agency and some potential in-house help coming as well, they look to be in a good position to improve on 2017.

5. Chicago Cubs (92-70, First in NL Central)

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    Wade Davis
    Wade DavisJohn Minchillo/Associated Press

    2017 Opening Day Rank: 1

    2017 Team Stats



    Offseason Outlook

    The casual baseball fan might not appreciate just how difficult it is to repeat as World Series champions.

    In the end, the Chicago Cubs were beaten by a better team when they fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games in the NLCS.

    Despite falling short of repeating, this team is still as well-positioned for short- and long-term success as any in baseball.

    The starting rotation will need to be addressed with Jake Arrieta and John Lackey both reaching free agency, and Alex Cobb has been a popular early speculative fit due to his previous experience playing for Joe Maddon and new pitching coach Jim Hickey.

    Just as important will be reworking a bullpen that completely imploded in October. 

    Closer Wade Davis is a free agent and it will cost a pretty penny to bring him back, but that might be a necessary evil. Regardless, expect to see at least a few new faces in the bullpen.

    The midseason trade for Jose Quintana was a great forward-thinking move, and another blockbuster deal for a controllable arm could be coming this winter. This time around, it could cost MLB talent.

    There's no reason not to trust Theo Epstein and Co. to continue reshaping this roster.

4. Washington Nationals (97-65, First in NL East)

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    Adam Eaton
    Adam EatonDavid Zalubowski/Associated Press

    2017 Opening Day Rank: 6

    2017 Team Stats



    Offseason Outlook

    No team will be more motivated to win a title in 2018 than the Washington Nationals.

    Bryce Harper, Daniel Murphy and Gio Gonzalez are all staring down free agency after the upcoming season, and it's long been a foregone conclusion that Harper will be taking his talents elsewhere once he hit the open market.

    That means it's World Series or bust. 

    As far as the club's offseason approach, it will likely be more about tinkering than splashy additions and there's a fairly complete roster already in place.

    The No. 5 spot in the starting rotation is a hole if prospect Erick Fedde doesn't seize the job, and the bullpen—while still vastly improvedwill be losing some key arms in Matt Albers, Brandon Kintzler and Oliver Perez.

    Still, a healthy Adam Eaton figures to outweigh any outside additions after he played just 23 games in 2017.

    It's fair to say few first-year managers have inherited a better team than the one Dave Martinez is taking over.

3. Cleveland Indians (102-60, First in AL Central)

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    Carlos Santana
    Carlos SantanaTony Dejak/Associated Press

    2017 Opening Day Rank: 2

    2017 Team Stats



    Offseason Outlook

    The Cleveland Indians were the best team in baseball during the regular season.

    Unfortunately, that doesn't carry much weight once the postseason starts and they were ousted by the New York Yankees in the ALDS.

    While it wasn't the encore performance to winning the AL pennant that fans were hoping for, they will once again be among the teams to beat in 2018.

    The league's best pitching staff returns essentially intactthe one notable exception being workhorse reliever Bryan Shaw, who has appeared in an MLB-high 378 games in his five seasons with the Indians.

    On the offensive side of things, the front office has tough decisions to make with a pair of franchise stalwarts.

    First baseman Carlos Santana is a free agent, and oft-injured outfielder Michael Brantley has an $11 million option that carries a $1 million buyout. 

    Deadline addition Jay Bruce is also a free agent and he looks like a prime candidate to be re-signed if one or both of Santana and Brantley are cut loose.

    At the end of the day, there's no reason to think the Indians will be anything but World Series contenders once again in 2018, regardless of what they do this offseason.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers (104-58, First in NL West)

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    Yu Darvish
    Yu DarvishRoss D. Franklin/Associated Press

    2017 Opening Day Rank: 4

    2017 Team Stats



    Offseason Outlook

    The Los Angeles Dodgers aren't going anywhere.

    Making it to the World Series and losing is always tough to swallow and that goes double for a hard-fought, seven-game series, but this team is stacked for the foreseeable future and has a level of financial freedom that few other clubs can match.

    Starter Yu Darvish and relievers Brandon Morrow and Tony Watson are the key free agents, and there's a good chance all three will be playing elsewhere in 2018.

    The team doesn't need to add a starter to replace Darvish, with Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda, Alex Wood, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Julio Urias, Scott Kazmir, Brock Stewart and prospect Walker Buehler all returning as rotation options. 

    The bigger focus figures to be on restocking the bullpen around closer Kenley Jansen and perhaps adding a power bat in left field.

    A trade for Giancarlo Stanton is one intriguing possibility that will be talked about plenty, and a run at free agent J.D. Martinez is another possibility.

    Just like with the Nationals and Indians, this team could more or less stand pat this offseason and still be considered a title contender.

    They won't, though.

1. Houston Astros (101-61, First in AL West)

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    Dallas Keuchel
    Dallas KeuchelDavid J. Phillip/Associated Press

    2017 Opening Day Rank: 5

    2017 Team Stats



    Offseason Outlook

    Congratulations to the Houston Astros!

    Get used to seeing them in October.

    After several agonizing years with 100-plus losses and seemingly never-ending talk centered around the word "rebuilding" everything came to fruition Thursday night.

    And the way this roster is built, they're far from a flash in the pan.

    The only players on the World Series roster who won't be back next season—assuming they sign elsewhere in free agency—will be Carlos Beltran, Luke Gregerson, Francisco Liriano and Cameron Maybin.

    The other 21 guys are all under team control. 

    Sorting out bullpen roles and deciding on who follows Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel in the starting rotation will be among the biggest offseason decisions, and the front office can afford to splurge on some bullpen help if it sees fit.

    The bigger focus could be on trying to extend some core pieces, including Keuchel, who will be a free agent following the 2018 season.

    There's still plenty of talent down on the farm if an inticing blockbuster deal presents itself, and with a middle-of-the-pack payroll, there's money to spend.

    But even with a quiet offseason, this looks like the most complete team in baseball and they should have a very real chance of repeating as champs.


    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs, unless otherwise noted. Opening Day ranks refer to this article.