Major League Baseball free agency is in full swing, and teams are in search of ways to upgrade their respective rosters. Here is every American League team’s biggest need.
Boston Red Sox: Backend Relievers
With Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly on the open market, the World Series champions could have a dilemma in the backend of their bullpen. To avoid the Achilles heel of their ballclub from worsening and opening a door for the rest of the AL, the Red Sox have to prioritize beefing up their pen.
New York Yankees: Top-of-the-Rotation-Arm
The Yankees are coming off a 100-win season, but their starting rotation was mediocre in 2018. Outside of Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka, they don’t have many arms who they can definitely rely on. With the addition of a top-of-the-rotation starter, the Yankees will be able to solidify their rotation and make themselves formidable for the 2019 season.
Tampa Bay Rays: Starting Outfielder
The Rays have one of the most productive lineups in the major leagues, but their outfield depth is thin. Kevin Kiermaier is one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball and Tommy Pham has been an impactful bat in manager Kevin Cash‘s lineup, but if the Rays want to compete for the playoffs, they need another proven outfielder — even if Austin Meadows comes into his own.
Toronto Blue Jays: Relievers
The Blue Jays have a starting rotation that needs to improve in the coming years, but they’re young and it looks like management is committed to their growth. To complement their starters, the Blue Jays need to rebuild their bullpen. Their pen was one of the worst in the majors last season and didn’t do their starting staff any favors; without improvements in that area, it could be another long season in Toronto.
Baltimore Orioles: Starting Pitching
The Orioles have compiled just 122 wins from 2017-18, and starting pitching has been the biggest reason for their struggles. While 2019 likely doesn’t feature a playoff appearance for the young and rebuilding Orioles, they have to try to improve their ballclub this offseason. No matter the state of your franchise, having reliable starting pitching is a necessity.Though the American League is coming off a historically competitive season, each team has improvements to make on the roster. @RPStratakos takes a look at what each club is seeking in free agency.Click To Tweet
Cleveland Indians: Backend Relievers
The Indians have one of the deepest rosters in the sport, but their bullpen was among the league’s worst in 2018. The Indians can get back to the postseason with an underwhelming pen, but their World Series aspirations are small if they don’t make changes. Adding multiple backend relievers could make them a force to be reckoned with once again.
Minnesota Twins: Starting Pitching
The Twins have some promising young players, but their pitching was abysmal in 2018, outside of Jose Berrios and Kyle Gibson. The American League Central was the least competitive division in baseball last season. If the Twins can add some proven starting pitchers, they could give the Indians a run for their money for the division.
Potential Candidates: Keuchel, Eovaldi, Happ
Detroit Tigers: Outfielders
Nicholas Castellanos is one of the best young outfielders in the sport, but the Tigers outfield, as a whole, is underwhelming. This is a rebuilding team who is years away from competing for the playoffs, but they have to address some of the holes on their roster, and outfield depth is an imminent issue.
Chicago White Sox: Starting Pitching
Reynaldo Lopez is becoming a reliable starting pitcher, but outside of the 24-year-old righty, the White Sox have a great deal of uncertainty in their rotation. They have a very deep core of positional players, but they have to get respectable starting pitching for it to be effective at some point.
Kansas City Royals: Pitching
The Royals won 58 games last season and have one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball; their rotation is shaky and their bullpen is unreliable. They could start from the backend of their pen up, but the Royals have to begin building a pitching staff they can rely on to compete for 162 games.
Houston Astros: Starting Pitcher
The Astros went into the postseason with the best pitching staff in baseball, but with Lance McCullers out for 2019 due to Tommy John surgery and Keuchel and Morton currently being free agents, their once deep starting rotation could be downgraded. If the Astros go into spring training with just Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and flex pitchers in their rotation, they could be in trouble.
Potential Candidates: Gonzalez, Sanchez, Richards
Oakland Athletics: Starting Pitching
The Athletics are coming off a 97-win season, but they have many key components to their 2018 success hitting free agency this offseason, such as righties Trevor Cahill and Edwin Jackson; they’re also going to be without lefty Sean Manaea in 2019 due to a shoulder injury. They have a promising young core, but if the Athletics want to return to the playoffs, they need to add veteran starting pitching.
Potential Candidates: Gonzalez, Sanchez, Ross
Seattle Mariners: Middle-of-the-Rotation Arm
The Mariners have a respectable rotation trio in James Paxton, Wade LeBlanc, and Marco Gonzales, but they need another proven arm to chase an AL Wild Card seeding. They have a deep and talented lineup, but if the Mariners can add a middle-of-the rotation arm, they could build off their 89-win 2018 season.
Los Angeles Angels: An Ace
The Angels have missed the playoffs in each of the last four seasons. But after Jaime Barria, Andrew Heaney, and Tyler Skaggs gave them competent outings in 2018, adding an ace, or top-of-the-rotation arm, could get the Angels in the playoff mix. A respectable starting rotation could do wonders for one of the best lineups in the sport, headlined by the best baseball player in the nation (Mike Trout).
Potential Candidates: Corbin, Keuchel, Eovaldi
Texas Rangers: An Ace
The Rangers are devoid of a true ace and have an unreliable starting rotation for that matter. They’ve missed the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, but do have some power bats in their order. If the Rangers want to turn the corner, they have to start by signing, or trading, for a starter to anchor their pitching staff.
Potential Candidates: Corbin, Keuchel, Eovaldi