1 Sentence to Describe Every MLB Team Heading into the Lockout

Zachary D. Rymer@zachrymerMLB Lead WriterDecember 2, 2021

1 Sentence to Describe Every MLB Team Heading into the Lockout

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    The defending champs are missing some pretty important pieces.
    The defending champs are missing some pretty important pieces.John Bazemore/Associated Press

    As the great William Shakesports once said, brevity is the soul of sportswriting.

    So, with Major League Baseball locked out after the league and the union failed to agree on a new collective bargaining agreement Wednesday, we're going to give it to you straight about where each of the league's 30 teams stand. One sentence, and that's it.

    We sought to sum up what teams have—or, in too many cases, haven't—been doing since the 2021 season concluded on Nov. 2. Another aim was to hint at how teams' contention timelines have been affected in the process.

    When the lockout eventually ends, you might want to refer back to this as a 30-pronged set of reminders of what the landscape was like when it started.

    We'll go division by division, starting in the American League East and ending in the National League West.

American League East

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    Wander Franco
    Wander FrancoCharles Krupa/Associated Press

    Baltimore Orioles

    They're reportedly open to trading their best hitter and pitcher, so Orioles fans who've been holding their breath waiting for the end of the organization's rebuild would be better off letting out a beleaguered sigh.

         

    Boston Red Sox

    Michael Wacha, James Paxton and Rich Hill (here) are good rotation options and old friend Jackie Bradley Jr. will upgrade their defense, so all they really need now are the capable late-inning relievers that they lacked in 2021.

         

    New York Yankees

    The rumor mill went from connecting the Yankees to the likes of Corey Seager to those of Isiah Kiner-Falefa, so maybe the payroll increase general manager Brian Cashman promised in November will be smaller than expected.

         

    Tampa Bay Rays

    With the Rays spending $182 million on Wander Franco and $18 million on Corey Kluber (here) and Brooks Raley (here), Rays fans have basically experienced the equivalent of an ornithologist spotting a Kakapo in the wild.

        

    Toronto Blue Jays

    Even if the signing of Kevin Gausman was technically a win, the subsequent departures of Marcus Semien and Robbie Ray somehow make the Blue Jays feel like one of the offseason's bigger losers.

American League Central

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    Byron Buxton
    Byron BuxtonColin E. Braley/Associated Press

    Chicago White Sox

    After winning their first AL Central championship since 2008, it's refreshing to see the White Sox pushing their payroll to new heights—notably via a $24 million deal for Kendall Graveman—rather than simply letting it ride.

         

    Cleveland Guardians

    You'd hope their new name would beget a flurry of additions for a proper fresh start in 2022, but there's been nary a peep about them adding to a payroll that's about as low as it gets.

         

    Detroit Tigers

    Maybe Eduardo Rodriguez and Javier Baez (here) aren't the kind of players that will get them over the hump after a 77-85 season, but the idea of them teaming with Casey Mize and up-and-comers Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene sure is exciting.

         

    Kansas City Royals

    They've been about as quiet as the Guardians, but at least the Royals have the excuse of being nearly ready to harvest cream-of-the-crop talents from an elite farm system.

         

    Minnesota Twins

    It would have been easy for the Twins to dismantle their roster after a disastrous 89-loss season, so kudos to them for effectively re-committing to contention by finally extending Byron Buxton for the long haul.

American League West

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    Justin Verlander
    Justin VerlanderJulio Cortez/Associated Press

    Houston Astros

    Lest there were any doubts about their contention window after their third World Series in five years, they quickly retained manager Dusty Baker and ace Justin Verlander, and they also reportedly want to replace Carlos Correa with a similarly talented shortstop.

         

    Los Angeles Angels

    Noah Syndergaard is a nice start, but the Angels will need more than a guy with just two innings since 2019 if they expect their starting pitching to leap from awful to respectable in 2022.

         

    Oakland Athletics

    Put simply, they're unsurprisingly open for business with their payroll in an area the organization typically doesn't want it to be.

         

    Seattle Mariners

    They probably weren't as solid this season as their 90-72 record indicated, so good on them for trying to look more like a proper contender by trading for Adam Frazier and especially for signing AL Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray.

        

    Texas Rangers

    Their $556 million splurge on Corey Seager (here), Marcus Semien (here) and Jon Gray (here) pretty much amounts to lipstick on a 102-loss pig, but, hey, better that than tanking.

National League East

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    Max Scherzer
    Max ScherzerAssociated Press

    Atlanta

    Freddie Freeman and the MVPs from both the National League Championship Series and the World Series are still missing from Atlanta's roster, so it's fair to say that the defending champs are in disrepair.

           

    Miami Marlins

    As active as they've been—notably extending Sandy Alcantara and signing Avisail Garcia—their road back to the playoffs still goes through further and more substantial improvements to their league-worst offense.

        

    New York Mets

    In seemingly no time at all, they went from not even having a general manager to winning the offseason after successive signings of Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar and Mark Canha (here) and Max Scherzer (here).

        

    Philadelphia Phillies

    Between their long list of free agents and mostly (though not entirely) empty list of new additions, they'll arguably have more work to do than any other contender when the offseason boots back up again.

        

    Washington Nationals

    Cesar Hernandez is a nice stabilizer for their infield, but a signing like that doesn't exactly clarify how their "reboot" is any different from a garden-variety rebuild.

National League Central

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    Nick Castellanos
    Nick CastellanosJeff Dean/Associated Press

    Chicago Cubs

    There's plenty of debate to be had about how much they've recovered from their 91-loss season, but getting Wade Miley off waivers and Marcus Stroman in free agency at least ensures that their starting pitching won't be a dumpster fire again.

         

    Cincinnati Reds

    The notion of the Reds seeking better things after an 83-win season pretty much went out the door when GM Nick Krall waved a white flag by saying the team "must align our payroll to our resources."

        

    Milwaukee Brewers

    The Brewers front office knows the team's offense needs fixing after it vanished in the final weeks of 2021, which only makes the departures of Avisail Garcia and Eduardo Escobar and the lack of new additions that much more frustrating.

        

    Pittsburgh Pirates

    With Jacob Stallings out the door in exchange for prospects, really the only question now is if the Pirates will lean even further into their rebuild by also dealing hidden superstar Bryan Reynolds.

        

    St. Louis Cardinals

    It feels weird to say this about any team after just one month of offseason action, but the otherwise talent-rich Cardinals might actually have completed their offseason shopping when they added Steven Matz to their rotation.

National League West

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    Brandon Belt
    Brandon BeltJeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Arizona Diamondbacks

    Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen claimed he didn't want to be "unrealistic" about the team's contention timeline after a 110-loss season, which makes it that much weirder that he just spent $14 million on, of all things, a closer.

         

    Colorado Rockies

    Between promoting Bill Schmidt to the GM post and extending C.J. Cron, Antonio Senzatela and Elias Diaz, the Rockies apparently (and mistakenly) think that their many problems are best solved in-house.

         

    Los Angeles Dodgers

    It hurts to lose players like Max Scherzer and Corey Seager, but all the more so when you're a deep-pocketed super-organization that easily could have matched the $455 million they got elsewhere.

         

    San Diego Padres

    By ditching Adam Frazier and otherwise not adding any new players, they seem to be calculating that new manager Bob Melvin might have been the only missing ingredient in a 2021 season that ended with a hugely disappointing 79-83 record.

        

    San Francisco Giants

    Their 107-win roster was never built to last, yet Buster Posey's retirement and Kevin Gausman's exodus have driven home just how much work the Giants will have to do if they want to sustain this year's success.

         

    Stats courtesy of Baseball Reference.

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