It’s been a hectic major league offseason so far this winter, with many teams substantially changing their appearance — and potential outlook — for 2023.
At the same time, there are plenty of clubs that could benefit from making another move or two before pitchers and catchers show up next month. Whether as a result of being relatively quiet up to this point in the offseason or simply needing to do more to gain ground on other title contenders, here’s a look at seven teams that might want to consider making one more splash in the coming weeks.
Greatest need(s): Another bat
To be clear, the Dodgers are still a top World Series contender heading into 2023, and they’re even still a slight favorite in the NL West. But that gap is significantly smaller than going into previous seasons. After all, Los Angeles lost superstar shortstop Trea Turner to free agency, as well as veterans Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger. Justin Turner was an All-Star in 2021 and, despite turning 38 in November, posted a 116 OPS+ in 2022. Bellinger, meanwhile, has slipped sharply on the offensive end in recent years, but still delivered excellent defensively last season, leading to a 1.7 fWAR.
Although the Dodgers re-signed Clayton Kershaw and more recently added 35-year-old designated hitter JD Martinez, it’s fair to wonder if they’ve done enough to make up for those losses. According to FanGraphs, the Dodgers have lost 21.3 WAR from 2022 through free agency, adding only 6.9. That 14.3 WAR drop is by far the biggest in the majors. As it stands, Los Angeles is set to start the season with James Outman and Trayce Thompson starting alongside Mookie Betts in the outfield, with Gavin Lux set to take Turner’s spot at shortstop. Although the 25-year-old Lux made big strides with his bat last season, it remains to be seen if he’s ready to be the everyday shortstop for a title-chasing club.
Biggest need(s): Corner infielder, bullpen depth
It’s more about the other teams the Mariners are trying to nab than anything they’ve done (or haven’t done) this offseason. Although Seattle has been all but silent in free agency (veteran reliever Trevor Gott is the club’s only signing), it has added two-time Silver Slugger winner Teoscar Hernandez and two-time Gold Glove winner Kolten Wong. through exchanges. That should make up for the losses of Mitch Haniger, Jesse Winker, Carlos Santana and Kyle Lewis, but the corner infield slots lack depth right now.
The Mariners are set to enter 2023 with Ty France at first base and Eugenio Suárez at third. That’s far from a weakness, but the question is who replaces any of those players in case of injury. It’s not the biggest problem to have, and an outfield duo of Hernandez and Julio Rodriguez should provide plenty of power, but another bat and some veteran arms in the bullpen certainly wouldn’t hurt. Especially since the Mariners, who snapped their 21-year postseason drought last season, now have their sights set on dethroning the Astros, the team that swept Seattle from the ALDS in October.
Biggest Need(s): Rotation Depth
The Blue Jays traded Teoscar Hernandez and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. this offseason, but acquired up-and-coming outfielder Daulton Varsho. They also lost starter Ross Stripling, but added veteran right-hander Chris Bassitt. So it’s safe to say that Toronto hasn’t gotten any worse against the team that won 92 games last year before being swept by Seattle in the AL Wild Card Series, but has it done enough to get past the rival Yankees?
While Bassitt comes across as a reliable No. 3 starter, there are still some questions about the Blue Jays’ starting staff. Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman provide a formidable double at the top of the rotation, but José Berríos is a big question mark after posting a 5.23 ERA in 2022. A rebound is far from a guarantee, considering he had a xERA of 5.11 in 2022. In fact, Berríos has had xERA below 4.00 just once in his seven-year career (2018). Yusei Kikuchi also struggled, posting a 5.19 ERA before being moved to the bullpen, and it’s unclear when, or if, Hyun Jin Ryu will be able to return from left elbow surgery.
Biggest need(s): Starting pitcher, other bat
This has been a disappointing offseason for the Giants, from coming up short in their pursuit of Aaron Judge to reaching a deal with Carlos Correa, only to fall apart after reviewing medicals. Add in the departures of Carlos Rodón, Tommy La Stella, Evan Longoria and the possibility of free agent Brandon Belt also leaving, and it’s clear the Giants, despite adding Mitch Haniger, Michael Conforto, Ross Stripling and Sean Manaea , They are worse. less than the 81-81 team from a season ago.
Biggest need(s): Second base, rotation depth
Other than the Dodgers, no team has lost more fWAR through free agent departures and additions this offseason than the White Sox. The addition of Andrew Benintendi helped ease the loss of Jose Abreu offensively, plus Chicago hopes their disappointing 81-81 record last season was simply an aberration. An argument can be made that the White Sox are still the team to beat in the AL Central, despite the Guardians claiming the crown in 2022, but another bat or arm to provide safety behind Mike Clevinger certainly wouldn’t be there. the rest.
Biggest need(s): Bullpen depth
It’s hard to find a real weakness on the Brewers’ roster. Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff once again headline a rotation that could be one of the best in the majors. The additions of William Contreras and Jesse Winker should help a lineup that registered slightly above league average in 2022. Devin Williams seamlessly stepped into the closer role following Josh Hader’s shock midseason trade last season. .
And while the Cardinals haven’t done much themselves other than adding Contreras’ brother, three-time All-Star Willson Contreras, it’s still fair to wonder if Milwaukee has done enough following the late-season 2022 collapse.
Biggest need(s): Starting pitcher
The Orioles surprised many with their 83-win season last year, an improvement of 31 wins from 2021. While there was no doubt they had a promising young roster, their sudden rise into contention for a wild-card berth the American League was considered a bit early. It’s reasonable to expect another step forward in 2023 when the O’s get a full season of Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson for the first time, but Baltimore could have thrown itself squarely into the postseason mix by adding a starter like Rodon. Instead, the Orioles’ only veteran addition to this point is Kyle Gibson.
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