Predicting Every MLB Team's 2022 Opening Day Lineup

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 14, 2021

Predicting Every MLB Team's 2022 Opening Day Lineup

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Associated Press

    Last offseason, we did a series of articles predicting how each team's Opening Day lineup would look while the free agency and trade markets unfolded and rosters started to take shape.

    After one of the busiest trade deadlines in MLB history, we decided to get an early jump on things with some early predictions for how each team's 2022 lineup might look.

    That meant shuffling around upcoming free agents and making decisions on player options, so there will be plenty of new faces on teams. The idea here is to provide one potential outcome for how the offseason ahead might play out, and some potential moves to start considering.

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

    One quick note: For now, we're working under the assumption that the universal DH will not take effect in 2022. Should that change, we'll adjust accordingly in future versions of these predictions.

    Let's get to it!

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Pavin Smith
    Pavin SmithNorm Hall/Getty Images

    Projected Lineup

    1. 2B Josh Rojas
    2. CF Ketel Marte
    3. RF Pavin Smith
    4. C Carson Kelly
    5. LF David Peralta
    6. 1B Christian Walker
    7. 3B Drew Ellis
    8. SS Nick Ahmed
    9. SP Zac Gallen



    The D-backs have a deep farm system with a number of potential impact players making their way toward the majors, but most of their top-tier young guys are still at least a year or two away from reaching the majors.

    That means 2022 will likely be a rebuilding year with a quiet offseason upcoming.

    Finding a way to get Carson Kelly and Daulton Varsho both into the everyday lineup should be a priority. Veteran outfielder David Peralta is owed $7.5 million in the final year of his contract, and trading him could be one way to open up playing time.

Atlanta Braves

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    Ozzie Albies
    Ozzie AlbiesTodd Kirkland/Getty Images

    Projected Lineup

    1. 2B Ozzie Albies
    2. RF Mark Canha
    3. 1B Freddie Freeman
    4. 3B Austin Riley
    5. SS Dansby Swanson
    6. C Travis d'Arnaud
    7. LF Drew Waters
    8. CF Cristian Pache
    9. SP Max Fried



    With Ronald Acuna Jr. recovering from a torn ACL and unlikely to be ready for Opening Day and Marcell Ozuna's future with the team still up in the air as he faces domestic violence charges, the Braves will likely be in the market for an outfielder this winter.

    Mark Canha has been an on-base machine for the Oakland Athletics the past few seasons, and he's capable of playing all three outfield spots. He could handle right field while Acuna recovers, while also providing some insurance if Cristian Pache or Drew Waters struggle to adjust to life in the big leagues.

    It's difficult to imagine a scenario where the Braves letting Freddie Freeman get away, and the front office would also be wise to bring back Travis d'Arnaud on a short-term deal while William Contreras and Shea Langeliers continue to develop.

Baltimore Orioles

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    Cedric Mullins
    Cedric MullinsColin E. Braley/Associated Press

    Projected Lineup

    1. CF Cedric Mullins
    2. C Adley Rutschman
    3. 1B Trey Mancini
    4. DH Ryan Mountcastle
    5. RF Anthony Santander
    6. LF Austin Hays
    7. 3B Jake Lamb
    8. 2B Jorge Mateo
    9. SS Ramon Urias
    SP John Means



    Will Adley Rutschman get a September call-up? The future face of the franchise was promoted to Triple-A last week, and if he gets his feet wet down the stretch it could open the door for him to break camp with the starting catcher job next spring.

    The O's are still a few years away, so don't expect any flashy signings, but they'll continue to scour the bargain bin for potential upgrades on the infield.

    Third baseman Jake Lamb has a 105 OPS+ with five home runs and 10 RBI in 105 plate appearances with the Chicago White Sox this year, and he's still just 30 years old with a 30-homer, 105-RBI season on his resume during his time in Arizona.

Boston Red Sox

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    Rafael Devers
    Rafael DeversPaul Sancya/Associated Press

    Projected Lineup

    1. LF Alex Verdugo
    2. 1B Anthony Rizzo
    3. SS Xander Bogaerts
    4. 3B Rafael Devers
    5. DH J.D. Martinez
    6. RF Hunter Renfroe
    7. C Christian Vazquez
    8. CF Jarren Duran
    9. 2B Enrique Hernandez
    SP Chris Sale



    Anthony Rizzo looked like the ideal trade target for the Red Sox before he was acquired by the rival New York Yankees, and he should be atop Boston's offseason shopping list as well. With a .222 average and an ugly 37.2 percent strikeout rate, Bobby Dalbec is not the long-term answer at first base.

    J.D. Martinez can opt out of the final year of his contract this winter, which would mean leaving $19.35 million on the table. He's had a great season, but the market has not been kind to one-dimensional sluggers in recent years, so he'd be wise to opt-in.

    Can Jarren Duran show enough down the stretch to take hold of the starting center field spot? If not, Enrique Hernandez could start the year as the primary center field, opening the door for top prospect Jeter Downs to man second base.

Chicago Cubs

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    Patrick Wisdom
    Patrick WisdomG Fiume/Getty Images

    Projected Lineup

    1. 2B Nick Madrigal
    2. CF Nico Hoerner
    3. SS Corey Seager
    4. C Willson Contreras
    5. 1B Patrick Wisdom
    6. LF Ian Happ
    7. 3B David Bote
    8. RF Jason Heyward
    9. SP Kyle Hendricks



    Despite blowing it up at the trade deadline, the Cubs are not necessarily headed for another multi-year rebuild. They have a ton of money to spend, major market appeal, and a deep enough farm system to believe they can turn things around faster this time around after rebuilding from the ground up a decade ago.

    Making a play for Corey Seager would give the team a new face of the franchise, and he's one of the safer targets for a long-term deal at 27 years old and with an elite offensive skill set. Even if he has to shift to third base down the line, he would still give the club a superstar to build around.

    With second baseman Nick Madrigal acquired in the Craig Kimbrel blockbuster, signing Seager would mean Nico Hoerner makes the full-time shift to center field.

Chicago White Sox

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    Tim Anderson
    Tim AndersonDavid Berding/Getty Images

    Projected Lineup

    1. SS Tim Anderson
    2. 3B Yoan Moncada
    3. 1B Jose Abreu
    4. LF Eloy Jimenez
    5. C Yasmani Grandal
    6. DH Andrew Vaughn
    7. CF Luis Robert
    8. RF Jorge Soler
    9. 2B Cesar Hernandez
    SP Lucas Giolito



    The White Sox are built for long-term success, and with second baseman Cesar Hernandez controllable for another year by way of a $6 million club option, there are really no glaring holes in the lineup.

    They could go with some combination of Andrew Vaughn, Gavin Sheets, Brian Goodwin and Adam Engel in the right field and designated hitter spots, but adding slugger Jorge Soler to the mix would give the team another power bat who could take some pressure off the younger guys.

    With middling numbers during his Kansas City stint this year, Soler will likely be available at a reasonable price on a short-term deal, and playing alongside his fellow countrymen Jose Abreu, Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert could help jump-start his career.

Cincinnati Reds

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    Jesse Winker
    Jesse WinkerDylan Buell/Getty Images

    Projected Lineup

    1. CF Starling Marte
    2. LF Jesse Winker
    3. RF Nick Castellanos
    4. 1B Joey Votto
    5. 3B Eugenio Suarez
    6. 2B Jonathan India
    7. C Tyler Stephenson
    8. SS Kyle Farmer
    9. SP Luis Castillo



    Nick Castellanos can opt-out of the final two years and $32 million of his current contract this offseason. The 29-year-old has a 136 OPS+ with 30 doubles, 19 home runs and 62 RBI this year, boosting his stock to the point that opting is logical, but re-upping with the Reds on a new long-term deal still makes sense.

    Much has been made of the team's need at shortstop, but with Kyle Farmer hitting well, center field might be a more pressing issue. Shogo Akiyama and Nick Senzel have been non-factors this year, while Tyler Naquin has slumped since his hot start.

    Starling Marte is far and away the best center field option on the free-agent market, and he would change the whole complexion of the lineup out of the leadoff spot. They might need to find a taker for Mike Moustakas to free up the spending money to sign Marte, so that's worth keeping an eye on.


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    Jose Ramirez
    Jose RamirezRon Schwane/Getty Images

    Projected Lineup

    1. CF Myles Straw
    2. SS Amed Rosario
    3. 3B Jose Ramirez
    4. DH Franmil Reyes
    5. 1B Brandon Belt
    6. LF Harold Ramirez
    7. RF Josh Naylor
    8. C Austin Hedges
    9. 2B Andres Gimenez
    SP Shane Bieber



    As usual, don't expect Cleveland to be big spenders during the offseason.

    In fact, the front office could get more serious about entertaining offers for star third baseman Jose Ramirez, who has two years and $24 million left on his contract by way of a pair of club options.

    Adding some depth to the outfield makes sense, but they'll likely aim low and search for bargains rather than targeting any of the market's top bats. Don't be surprised if it's Harold Ramirez, Josh Naylor and deadline pickup Myles Straw on the grass to start the year.

    If the Giants decide to move on from Brandon Belt in free agency, his market could move slow enough to push him into Cleveland's price range on a short-term deal.

Colorado Rockies

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    Ryan McMahon
    Ryan McMahonIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Projected Lineup

    1. LF Raimel Tapia
    2. SS Brendan Rodgers
    3. RF Charlie Blackmon
    4. 3B Ryan McMahon
    5. 1B C.J. Cron
    6. C Elias Diaz
    7. CF Yonathan Daza
    8. 2B Garrett Hampson
    9. SP German Marquez



    Trevor Story is gone. Waive goodbye, Rockies fans.

    Brendan Rodgers is ready to step into the everyday shortstop job, hitting .286/.348/.485 with 21 extra-base hits in 227 plate appearances while playing primarily second base this year. That will in turn open up the second base job for speedy Garrett Hampson.

    Slugger C.J. Cron has made good on a minor league deal this year, posting a 118 OPS+ with 18 home runs and 60 RBI, and if the price is right there's no reason not to bring him back on another one-year pact this offseason.

Detroit Tigers

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    Jonathan Schoop
    Jonathan SchoopColin E. Braley/Associated Press

    Projected Lineup

    1. RF Robbie Grossman
    2. 1B Jonathan Schoop
    3. 3B Jeimer Candelario
    4. LF Kyle Schwarber
    5. C Eric Haase
    6. DH Miguel Cabrera
    7. CF Akil Baddoo
    8. SS Andrelton Simmons
    9. 2B Willi Castro
    SP Casey Mize



    "We like our young players and we're trying to bring in more talented players," Tigers general manager Al Avila told reporters at the trade deadline. "We’re trying to get better. We’re not rebuilding anymore, we’re building."

    That was followed soon after by a two-year, $15 million extension for Jonathan Schoop, and all signs point to a more aggressive approach this offseason than we've seen in recent years.

    Shortstop continues to be a revolving door, and bringing aboard slick-fielding Andrelton Simmons would be a boon to the pitching staff. Slugger Kyle Schwarber would also provide some welcome run production in the middle of the order without breaking the bank.

Houston Astros

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    Kyle Tucker
    Kyle TuckerMichael Wyke/Associated Press

    Projected Lineup

    1. 2B Jose Altuve
    2. LF Michael Brantley
    3. 3B Alex Bregman
    4. DH Yordan Alvarez
    5. 1B Yuli Gurriel
    6. SS Carlos Correa
    7. RF Kyle Tucker
    8. C Jason Castro
    9. CF Michael A. Taylor
    SP Lance McCullers Jr.



    After losing George Springer last offseason, the Astros can't afford to suffer a similar fate with homegrown shortstop Carlos Correa. The 26-year-old has managed to shake the injury bug the past two seasons, and he's earned the mega deal coming his way.

    The rest of the lineup is essentially set, aside from center field where Michael A. Taylor would be a nice under-the-radar addition. The 30-year-old is amid a 2.3-WAR season thanks to his mix of power, speed and elite defense, and he could be a candidate for a modest multi-year pact after signing a one-year, $1.75 million deal last winter.

    Catching prospect Korey Lee could be ready by the middle of 2022 following a breakout season, so veteran Jason Castro can hold down the fort behind the plate for the time being.

Kansas City Royals

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    Bobby Witt Jr.
    Bobby Witt Jr.Gabe Christus/Associated Press

    Projected Lineup

    1. RF Whit Merrifield
    2. LF Andrew Benintendi
    3. C Salvador Perez
    4. DH Carlos Santana
    5. 3B Hunter Dozier
    6. SS Bobby Witt Jr.
    7. 1B Nick Pratto
    8. CF Jake Marisnick
    9. 2B Nicky Lopez
    SP Brady Singer



    Will we see Bobby Witt Jr. before the 2021 season is over?

    The Royals have taken an aggressive approach with some of their top prospects in recent years, including breaking camp with Brady Singer in 2020, so it's not out of the realm of possibility to think he could make his MLB debut on Opening Day next year.

    First baseman Nick Pratto is also playing his way into the near-term plans. The 2017 first-round pick is hitting .275/.398/.597 with 22 doubles, 21 home runs and 60 RBI in 81 games between Double-A and Triple-A.

    The youth movement is in full swing.

Los Angeles Angels

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    Mike Trout
    Mike TroutMary DeCicco/Getty Images

    Projected Lineup

    1. 2B David Fletcher
    2. DH Shohei Ohtani
    3. CF Mike Trout
    4. 3B Anthony Rendon
    5. 1B Jared Walsh
    6. LF Justin Upton
    7. SS Jose Iglesias
    8. C Max Stassi
    9. RF Jo Adell
    SP Noah Syndergaard



    The Angels have not had a fully healthy lineup very often this season, and they have been without Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon for much of the year, so just getting healthy will completely transform their roster.

    Re-upping with shortstop Jose Iglesias makes sense while their young middle infielders continue to develop in the minors. With Justin Upton entering the final year of his contract, right field will be a battle between Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh before both guys step into the starting lineup in 2023.

    As always, pitching is the big question mark, and they have to make a serious push for one of the market's top arms. Noah Syndergaard is expected to return as a reliever down the stretch for the Mets, but he could be a candidate for a one-year, prove-it deal while he works to rebuild his stock.

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Max Muncy
    Max MuncyMitchell Leff/Getty Images

    Projected Lineup

    1. SS Trea Turner
    2. 1B Max Muncy
    3. RF Mookie Betts
    4. 3B Justin Turner
    5. CF Cody Bellinger
    6. C Will Smith
    7. 2B Chris Taylor
    8. LF AJ Pollock
    9. SP Walker Buehler



    The Dodgers can't let Chris Taylor get away, especially after fellow Swiss Army knife Enrique Hernandez walked in free agency last winter. He's penciled into the starting second base job for the Opening Day lineup, but he would continue to play all over the diamond, opening the door for Gavin Lux to emerge.

    There's still a chance the team pursues a new deal with Corey Seager, but the move to acquire Trea Turner, who is controllable through 2022, opens the door for them to use that money on a new contract for Max Scherzer, an extension for Walker Buehler or some bullpen help.

    Bold prediction: Regardless of what happens with Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer this offseason, Walker Buehler will make his first career Opening Day start.

Miami Marlins

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    Lewis Brinson
    Lewis BrinsonDenis Poroy/Getty Images

    Projected Lineup

    1. 2B Jazz Chisholm
    2. SS Miguel Rojas
    3. 1B Jesus Aguilar
    4. CF Lewis Brinson
    5. 3B Brian Anderson
    6. LF Joc Pederson
    7. RF Jesus Sanchez
    8. C Yan Gomes
    9. SP Sandy Alcantara



    It makes sense for the Marlins to continue targeting short-term additions to plug holes on the roster while their young players develop and they gear up for legitimate contention in a few years.

    Adding the left-handed hitting Joc Pederson to a right-handed heavy lineup makes sense, and would essentially fill the spot vacated by Corey Dickerson when he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays.

    With Jorge Alfaro, Sandy Leon and Chad Wallach all underwhelming this season, adding veteran Yan Gomes behind the plate would provide an offensive upgrade while also helping to anchor the young pitching staff.

    This team could use more middle-of-the-order run production, but the answer might be Lewis Brinson if his recent breakout is for real.

Milwaukee Brewers

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    Willy Adames
    Willy AdamesDavid Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Projected Lineup

    1. 2B Kolten Wong
    2. SS Willy Adames
    3. LF Christian Yelich
    4. 3B Eduardo Escobar
    5. 1B Rowdy Tellez
    6. RF Avisail Garcia
    7. C Omar Narvaez
    8. CF Lorenzo Cain
    9. SP Brandon Woodruff



    Assuming the Brewers want to continue using Luis Urias in the super-utility role where he has thrived this season, re-signing Eduardo Escobar to be the primary third baseman makes a lot of sense.

    The 32-year-old is wrapping up a three-year, $21 million contract, and even something like a two-year, $20 million deal would be money well spent to plug a major hole on the infield.

    Willy Adames and Rowdy Tellez were both huge midseason additions, answering what had been lingering questions at shortstop and first base.

    Avisail Garcia has a $12 million club option that carries a $2 million buyout, and that will be one of the tougher option decisions of the offseason. With Jackie Bradley Jr. also under contract, they technically have four capable everyday outfielders, but Garcia has played well enough to be worth keeping around.

Minnesota Twins

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    Jorge Polanco
    Jorge PolancoDavid Berding/Getty Images

    Projected Lineup

    1. RF Max Kepler
    2. 3B Josh Donaldson
    3. CF Byron Buxton
    4. SS Jorge Polanco
    5. C Mitch Garver
    6. LF Trevor Larnach
    7. DH Miguel Sano
    8. 1B Alex Kirilloff
    9. 2B Luis Arraez
    SP Kenta Maeda



    Figuring out how Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Trevor Larnach, Alex Kirilloff and Brent Rooker all fit onto the Twins roster is tricky, and Rooker winds up as the odd man out here. There's a chance the team looks to move Buxton this offseason after failing to come to terms on an extension, but none of those other guys are a clean fit in center field.

    Another reunion with Nelson Cruz is possible, but the organization looks ready to turn the page on the current core after dealing Jose Berrios at the deadline.

    If the Twins decide to sell further, Buxton and Josh Donaldson are the most likely trade candidates.

New York Mets

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    Pete Alonso
    Pete AlonsoIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Projected Lineup

    1. RF Brandon Nimmo
    2. SS Francisco Lindor
    3. LF Dominic Smith
    4. 1B Pete Alonso
    5. 2B Javier Baez
    6. CF Tommy Pham
    7. 3B Jeff McNeil
    8. C James McCann
    9. SP Jacob deGrom



    Letting an underperforming Michael Conforto walk in favor of a capable center fielder in Tommy Pham makes sense from a defensive alignment standpoint, and it might also save the Mets from having to add another long-term deal to the books.

    Javier Baez expressed his interest in playing alongside Francisco Lindor before he was acquired at the deadline, and slotting him at second base would give the Mets arguably the best defensive middle infield in baseball.

    J.D. Davis is the odd man out if Baez is retained, though he could generate some trade interest. There's also the matter of what to do with Robinson Cano once his suspension is over. An outright release might be the answer.

New York Yankees

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    Aaron Judge
    Aaron JudgeCharlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    Projected Lineup

    1. 1B DJ LeMahieu
    2. RF Aaron Judge
    3. SS Trevor Story
    4. LF Joey Gallo
    5. DH Giancarlo Stanton
    6. CF Aaron Hicks
    7. 3B Gio Urshela
    8. 2B Gleyber Torres
    9. C Gary Sanchez
    SP Gerrit Cole



    Gleyber Torres is not a shortstop. Four seasons worth of brutal defensive metrics (-23 DRS, -5.8 UZR/150) have made that clear, and he's no longer providing enough offensively to justify his negative value in the field.

    Signing Trevor Story would allow him to shift back to second base where he's a better fit, leaving DJ LeMahieu to once again fill a super-utility role where he sees time all over the infield. Story won't come cheap, but he'd make the entire infield better.

    A healthy Aaron Hicks will be back in center field, and Joey Gallo is capable of playing up the middle if Hicks is not ready to go on Opening Day.

Oakland Athletics

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    Matt Olson
    Matt OlsonRon Schwane/Getty Images

    Projected Lineup

    1. CF Tony Kemp
    2. LF Corey Dickerson
    3. 1B Matt Olson
    4. 3B Matt Chapman
    5. DH Nelson Cruz
    6. C Sean Murphy
    7. RF Seth Brown
    8. 2B Nick Allen
    9. SS Elvis Andrus
    SP Chris Bassitt



    Center fielder Ramon Laureano will have 27 games left on the 80-game suspension he is serving for a positive PED test when the 2022 season begins, so Oakland will at least need a short-term replacement at the position.

    Tony Kemp is athletic enough to handle center field duties for a month, which would open up the second base job for top prospect Nick Allen. Once Laureano returns, Kemp would move into a super-utility role.

    Nelson Cruz might seem like a flashy addition for the small-market Athletics, but he is playing on a one-year, $13 million deal and should be available for something similar entering his age-41 campaign. Veteran Corey Dickerson is a suitable replacement for Mark Canha, who figures to be priced out of Oakland in free agency.

Philadelphia Phillies

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    Bryce Harper
    Bryce HarperIcon Sportswire/Getty Images

    Projected Lineup

    1. 2B Jean Segura
    2. C J.T. Realmuto
    3. RF Bryce Harper
    4. LF Andrew McCutchen
    5. 1B Rhys Hoskins
    6. SS Didi Gregorius
    7. 3B Alec Bohm
    8. CF Odubel Herrera
    9. SP Zack Wheeler



    Don't expect any big moves from the Phillies, at least in terms of their starting lineup. The focus of the offseason needs to be on shoring up the bullpen with multiple high-leverage relievers.

    They do have a big decision to make on Andrew McCutchen, who has a $15 million club option and a $3 million buyout. The 34-year-old has a 120 OPS+ with 20 home runs and 58 RBI this season, so exercising his option appears to be the likely outcome at this point.

    Center field remains the one glaring question mark, but unless they're going to make a run at Starling Marte, there's not much in the way of potential upgrades in free agency.

Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Bryan Reynolds
    Bryan ReynoldsLachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

    Projected Lineup

    1. CF Hoy Park
    2. 3B Ke'Bryan Hayes
    3. RF Bryan Reynolds
    4. 1B Colin Moran
    5. LF Anthony Alford
    6. C Jacob Stallings
    7. 2B Rodolfo Castro
    8. SS Kevin Newman
    9. SP Steven Brault



    Hoy Park, Anthony Alford and Rodolfo Castro will be auditioning for roles on the 2022 roster down the stretch, and they'll be given every chance to provide the tight-fisted Pirates with a low-cost solution in the starting lineup.

    Right fielder Gregory Polanco has a $12.5 million option that will almost certainly be bought out for $3 million, but he could be brought back on a cheap deal if his market fails to develop.

    Outside of Bryan Reynolds and Ke'Bryan Hayes, this entire lineup could be turned over before the next relevant team takes the field in Pittsburgh.

San Diego Padres

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    Fernando Tatis Jr.
    Fernando Tatis Jr.Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

    Projected Lineup

    1. 2B Adam Frazier
    2. LF Fernando Tatis Jr.
    3. 3B Manny Machado
    4. SS Jake Cronenworth
    5. RF Wil Myers
    6. 1B Eric Hosmer
    7. C Austin Nola
    8. CF Trent Grisham
    9. SP Joe Musgrove



    In an effort to keep him upright for the stretch run while he battles shoulder issues, Fernando Tatis Jr. is set to shift to the outfield once he's activated from the injured list. What if it turns out to be a permanent move?

    Top prospect CJ Abrams was racing through the minors before his 2021 season ended with a leg injury, but he could still see the majors before the 2022 campaign is over. Slotting Jake Cronenworth in at shortstop until Abrams is ready and simply leaving Tatis in the outfield might be the smartest approach for all involved.

    With Adam Frazier under club control for another year, the infield situation is crowded. The front office could renew its attempts to unload Eric Hosmer by packaging him with a prospect during the offseason, at which point Cronenworth would take over as the everyday first baseman and Ha-Seong Kim would take over at shortstop to start the year.

San Francisco Giants

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    Mike Yastrzemski
    Mike YastrzemskiLachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

    Projected Lineup

    1. 1B LaMonte Wade Jr.
    2. CF Mike Yastrzemski
    3. C Buster Posey
    4. RF Kris Bryant
    5. 3B Evan Longoria
    6. SS Brandon Crawford
    7. LF Alex Dickerson
    8. 2B Tommy La Stella
    9. SP Kevin Gausman



    The Giants front office has done a fantastic job identifying buy-low candidates on the pitching side of things, but re-signing Kevin Gausman to anchor the rotation seems like a must for a team that still has more questions than answers as far as the long-term rotation is concerned.

    The blockbuster deal to acquire Kris Bryant addressed an immediate need for a power bat, but he is also an obvious candidate to be re-signed with Evan Longoria entering the final guaranteed year of his contract and Bryant also capable of lining up in the outfield.

    With Brandon Crawford re-signed to a two-year, $32 million deal, the bridge to top prospect Marco Luciano at shortstop has been built.

Seattle Mariners

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    J.P. Crawford
    J.P. CrawfordAlika Jenner/Getty Images

    Projected Lineup

    1. SS J.P. Crawford
    2. RF Mitch Haniger
    3. 2B Marcus Semien
    4. 1B Ty France
    5. 3B Abraham Toro
    6. DH Kyle Lewis
    7. CF Jarred Kelenic
    8. C Cal Raleigh
    9. LF Jake Fraley
    SP Marcus Stroman



    First and foremost, the Mariners need to decide what to do with a $15 million club option on Kyle Seager.

    The 33-year-old has a 104 OPS+ with 25 home runs and 72 RBI, and he has been a model of consistency throughout his career, but a performance-based buyout that maxes out at $3 million could be the smart move for the organization.

    With an exciting young core and plenty of payroll flexibility, this team is poised to make a splash, and signing Marcus Semien and Marcus Stroman would undoubtedly move the needle. Semien would stop a revolving door at second base and give the team an established run producer, while Stroman would join Yusei Kikuchi atop the rotation.

St. Louis Cardinals

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    Nolan Arenado
    Nolan ArenadoDiamond Images/Getty Images

    Projected Lineup

    1. RF Dylan Carlson
    2. 1B Paul Goldschmidt
    3. 3B Nolan Arenado
    4. LF Tyler O'Neill
    5. C Yadier Molina
    6. CF Harrison Bader
    7. SS Paul DeJong
    8. 2B Tommy Edman
    9. SP Jack Flaherty



    Yadier Molina is just going to play until he's 50, right?

    The Cardinals brought the future Hall of Famer back on a one-year, $9 million contract last offseason, and they'll likely continue to offer him one-year deals as long as he wants to play.

    Pitching will be the focus for the Cardinals in free agency, so don't expect any splashy outside additions in line with the Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado deals we've seen in recent offseasons. The lineup is more or less set; it's just a matter of everyone playing up to their potential.

Tampa Bay Rays

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    Brandon Lowe
    Brandon LoweGreg Fiume/Getty Images

    Projected Lineup

    1. RF Brandon Lowe
    2. SS Wander Franco
    3. LF Randy Arozarena
    4. DH Austin Meadows
    5. 1B Ji-Man Choi
    6. 3B Joey Wendle
    7. 2B Vidal Brujan
    8. CF Kevin Kiermaier
    9. C Mike Zunino
    SP Shane McClanahan



    When is the last time the Rays made a splash in free agency?

    Charlie Morton fits the bill, and they could make a run at a rotation anchor on a short-term deal with Tyler Glasnow recovering from Tommy John surgery, but it's more likely they simply tap into their tremendous pitching depth.

    Despite not appearing in the projected lineup, Francisco Mejia, Yandy Diaz, Manuel Margot and Brett Phillips will all continue to see regular playing time on a roster in perpetual flux.

    Will Wander Franco and Vidal Brujan show enough down the stretch to be the starting middle infield in 2022?

Texas Rangers

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    Adolis Garcia
    Adolis GarciaRon Jenkins/Getty Images

    Projected Lineup

    1. SS Isiah Kiner-Falefa
    2. 2B Nick Solak
    3. CF Adolis Garcia
    4. 1B Nate Lowe
    5. 3B Josh Jung
    6. LF Eddie Rosario
    7. DH Willie Calhoun
    8. C Jonah Heim
    9. RF DJ Peters
    SP Kolby Allard



    Now that they are fully committed to a rebuild and a youth movement, the Rangers will likely be hunting for bargains in free agency.

    Eddie Rosario seems like the type of player who could slip through the cracks after a forgettable 2021 campaign, but he's just two years removed from a 32-homer, 109-RBI season hitting in the middle of a contending Minnesota Twins lineup.

    Top prospect Josh Jung is hitting .307/.366/.548 with 10 home runs and 40 RBI in 42 games at Double-A, and he's one of the most polished prospects in the minors. He's ready; it's just a question of when they want to start his arbitration clock.

Toronto Blue Jays

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    Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
    Vladimir Guerrero Jr.Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    Projected Lineup

    1. DH George Springer
    2. SS Bo Bichette
    3. 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
    4. RF Teoscar Hernandez
    5. CF Randal Grichuk
    6. LF Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
    7. 3B Kyle Seager
    8. 2B Cavan Biggio
    9. C Reese McGuire
    SP Hyun Jin Ryu



    The Blue Jays have a deep enough lineup to let Marcus Semien walk, especially with his asking price likely to skyrocket after a fantastic bounce-back season.

    If the Mariners decide to cut ties with Kyle Seager, he would be an excellent veteran addition to a young lineup, and slotting him in at third base and shifting Cavan Biggio back to second base sorts out the infield alignment. Prospects Kevin Smith and Jordan Groshans could also factor into the infield plans in 2022.

    It's a coin toss between Hyun Jin Ryu and Jose Berrios for the Opening Day start, and there's also a very real chance the team re-signs Robbie Ray to a long-term deal.

Washington Nationals

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    Juan Soto
    Juan SotoNick Wass/Associated Press

    Projected Lineup

    1. CF Victor Robles
    2. SS Freddy Galvis
    3. LF Juan Soto
    4. 1B Josh Bell
    5. RF Michael Conforto
    6. 3B Carter Kieboom
    7. C Keibert Ruiz
    8. 2B Luis Garcia
    9. SP Patrick Corbin



    Where do the Nationals go from here?

    Their approach to free agency will likely be an opportunistic one on the heels of a fire sale, and Michael Conforto is a prime candidate for a one-year, prove-it deal that could pay huge dividends to a team like the Nationals that can afford to roll the dice.

    Shortstop is a question mark with Trea Turner gone and Carter Kieboom settling in at third base, so a stopgap veteran like Freddy Galvis plugs the hole.


    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted.