We're now just two weeks from the start of spring training, and top free agents Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel are still available in free agency.
Where those four standouts wind up will obviously have an impact on the MLB landscape. For now, it's time for another updated version of our MLB power rankings. For reference, the rankings were last shuffled Jan. 14.
As with any offseason power rankings, these took into account how complete a roster is and the current direction the franchise is headed:
Biggest Offseason Risers
The Cincinnati Reds might be the most improved team of the offseason.
After finishing 25th in the majors with a 5.02 starters' ERA, rebuilding the starting rotation was the No. 1 priority. They've done that with the additions of Sonny Gray, Alex Wood and Tanner Roark.
That bolstered starting staff, coupled with the additions of Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp—as well as the impending arrival of top prospect Nick Senzel—should make for a vastly improved on-field product.
FanGraphs projects a 14-win improvement and a third-place finish in the NL Central.
The New York Mets are also entering the contention mix in the National League.
The blockbuster deal to acquire Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz from the Mariners was a clear sign they intended to contend in 2019.
Jeurys Familia, Justin Wilson, Rule 5 pick Kyle Dowdy and non-roster invitee Luis Avilan join Diaz as notable additions to a relief corps that finished 28th in the majors with a 4.96 ERA last season. Upgrading that area alone should mean a handful of additional wins.
Wilson Ramos was also added to bolster the catcher position, while J.D. Davis and Keon Broxton have lengthened the bench.
FanGraphs projects an eight-win improvement, a runner-up finish in the NL East and the No. 2 wild-card spot.
It might seem silly to call the Washington Nationals a team on the rise when they stand to lose superstar Bryce Harper, but the roster as a whole looks improved.
Replacing Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark with Patrick Corbin and Anibal Sanchez will make a starting rotation that was already one of the best in baseball that much better. In fact, it earned the No. 2 spot in our recent rankings.
That said, the biggest improvement comes at catcher.
An underperforming and injured Matt Wieters combined with the light-hitting duo of Pedro Severino and Spencer Kieboom to post a 64 wRC+ (27th in MLB). The additions of Yan Gomes and Kurt Suzuki should take it from an area of weakness to a strength.
Throw in the signing of bounce-back candidate Brian Dozier to man second base and the arrival of top prospect Victor Robles, and a return to the top of the NL East heap seems possible.
FanGraphs projects a 10-win improvement to 92 wins and a division title.
The St. Louis Cardinals might not be projected for a bump in their win total, but they've undoubtedly improved this winter.
The addition of slugger Paul Goldschmidt gives the team its first true middle-of-the-order run-producer since Albert Pujols left town. Signing Andrew Miller also has a chance to change the complexion of the relief corps, though he comes with risk after an injury-riddled season.
The return of Alex Reyes and the continued development of Jack Flaherty may wind up being the X-factor in the hunt for an NL Central title.
While the American League has been much less fluid, the Minnesota Twins look like a team to watch.
After offensive production dipped from 5.03 to 4.56 runs per game last season, the additions of Nelson Cruz, Jonathan Schoop and C.J. Cron could transform the lineup. So too would bounce-back seasons from Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton.
The bullpen could still use another arm or two, and relying on Martin Perez to fill the No. 5 starter spot might be wishful thinking. That said, there's enough young talent in the upper levels of the minors that they might be able to address those issues in-house as the season progresses.
Biggest Offseason Fallers
After shipping out Robinson Cano, James Paxton, Edwin Diaz, Jean Segura, Mike Zunino and Alex Colome in trades and waving goodbye to Nelson Cruz in free agency, there's no denying the Seattle Mariners have taken a step back.
In the process, they've bolstered a farm system that was among the worst in baseball.
It will likely come at the cost of halting a playoff drought that already stretches back to 2001, but it was the right move for an organization that had been spinning its tires for years.
The Arizona Diamondbacks also seemed to be signaling a changing of the guard when they traded Goldschmidt to the Cardinals. They haven't sold off any other significant pieces, but it could only be a matter of time.
Starters Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray could both help a contender, while outfielder David Peralta is coming off a career year.
From a sustainability standpoint, it's reasonable to ask whether the Oakland Athletics and Milwaukee Brewers are capable of duplicating the success they enjoyed last season.
The A's won 97 games last season with a patchwork starting rotation. Bringing back summer pickup Mike Fiers for a full season and signing Marco Estrada to a one-year deal isn't quite enough, and they'll be without Sean Manaea for the bulk of the season.
FanGraphs has Oakland projected for an 81-81 record, behind the Yankees, Rays, Angels and Twins in the wild-card hunt.
Meanwhile, the Brewers won the NL Central title with a 96-win season but seem to be tempting fate by once again relying on a bullpen-heavy approach and hoping a number of players can replicate career years.
The addition of Yasmani Grandal has a chance to be big, and a healthy Jimmy Nelson could be a huge addition to the rotation. The NL Central as a whole has gotten stronger, though, and the Brewers' cautious approach leaves them at risk of being passed by.
FanGraphs has Milwaukee projected for a 79-83 record and a last-place finish in the NL Central.
Teams like the San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays are entering a rebuilding phase, and that's reflected in the rankings.
All seven of these teams entered last season with hopes of contending and enjoyed varying levels of success. All seven could be absent from the playoff picture in 2019.
Top Remaining Free Agents
As a preview of what's still to come, let's take a quick look at the top remaining free agents at each position:
- C: Martin Maldonado, Devin Mesoraco, Nick Hundley, Matt Wieters
- 1B: Logan Morrison, Adrian Gonzalez
- 2B: Josh Harrison, Logan Forsythe
- 3B: Mike Moustakas, Yangervis Solarte
- SS: Manny Machado, Jose Iglesias, Adeiny Hechavarria, Alcides Escobar
- OF: Bryce Harper, Adam Jones, Melky Cabrera, Carlos Gonzalez, Denard Span, Carlos Gomez
- UT: Marwin Gonzalez, Derek Dietrich
- DH: Evan Gattis, Matt Davidson, Hanley Ramirez
- SP: Dallas Keuchel, Wade Miley, Gio Gonzalez, Clay Buchholz, Jeremy Hellickson, Edwin Jackson
- RHRP: Craig Kimbrel, Bud Norris, Sergio Romo, Ryan Madson, Adam Warren, John Axford
- LHRP: Jorge De La Rosa, Jake Diekman, Jerry Blevins, Tony Sipp, Dan Jennings