Major League Baseball free agency is in full swing, and teams are in search of ways to upgrade their respective rosters. Here is every National League team’s biggest need.
Atlanta Braves: Backend Relievers
The Braves have some blossoming arms in their starting rotation and a deep lineup; they lack a deep bullpen. Last season, their pen couldn’t serve as a reliable safety net for their starting staff, as they finished 17th in MLB in ERA (4.15) and surrendered the fourth most walks in baseball (273). If the Braves can add some backend relievers, they will be better equipped to defend their NL East division crown.
Washington Nationals: Relievers
The Nationals have an elite closer in Sean Doolittle and have acquired Kyle Barraclough and Trevor Rosenthal, but they need more bullpen arms. They have a young and improving core of position players and a stout one-two pitching punch in Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, but without a reliable pen, the Nationals will miss the playoffs for a second consecutive season.
Philadelphia Phillies: Big Bats
The Phillies are on the hunt for star talent around the diamond, and they have the money and lure to do it. They have building blocks in place such as Odubel Herrera, Maikel Franco, and Rhys Hoskins, but they need more bats to contend for the playoffs. Time will tell if the Phillies can execute this offseason.Having been the little brother to the AL last season, the National League teams have a lot of work to do in free agency. @RPStratakos tells you exactly what each team needs to succeed.Click To Tweet
New York Mets: Bullpen Aid
The New York Mets have one of the best starting rotations in Major League Baseball, but they need a well-rounded pen to make effective use of their biggest asset. In recent memory, their pen has been inconsistent from their long relievers to the ninth inning. Adding proven arms to their pen can get the Mets in the playoff hunt — barring significant injuries to their starters.
Miami Marlins: Outfielders
The Marlins traded away their starting outfield last offseason and are looking for players to fill the positions — which didn’t go well in 2018. They have some reliable infielders, but the Marlins need to add proven outfielders to begin to resemble a respectable offensive attack.
Milwaukee Brewers: Top-of-the-Rotation Arm
The Brewers made it to the NLCS in 2018, but they did so with their starting pitchers going four-to-five innings a start in the postseason. With Wade Miley and Gio Gonzalez hitting the open market, the Brewers need to add a top-of-the-rotation arm to improve their rotation. Defending their division crown will be challenging, but if they don’t add a significant starter, it will be even more complex.
Chicago Cubs: Left-Handed Reliever
The Cubs have a deep starting rotation and one of the best bullpens in the sport. With that said, adding a left-handed reliever could deepen their pen and make that aspect of their ballclub more balanced. The Cubs have a deep lineup, a compact rotation, and a reliable pen, but it could use another arm — especially with lefty Justin Wilson hitting the open market.
St. Louis Cardinals: Backend Reliever/Closer
The Cardinals have an underrated and reliable starting rotation, but their bullpen often put their outings in danger last season. Adding a lockdown setup man could do wonders for the Cardinals pen and pitching staff, as a whole. Or, they could sign someone to close, moving Bud Norris into a setup role.
Potential Candidates: Miller, Robertson, Cody Allen
Pittsburgh Pirates: Fifth Starter
The Pirates have an intriguing lineup, a deep bullpen, and a competent starting rotation. With that said, they could use another starting pitcher. They have Jameson Taillon, Trevor Williams, Chris Archer, Ivan Nova, and Joe Musgrove in their rotation, but Musgrove could serve as a great long reliever and/or setup man. Inserting him into the pen, as well as Chad Kuhl, could put the Pirates pitching staff amongst the elite.
Cincinnati Reds: Starting Pitching
The Reds are looking for positives and some consistent outings from their starters; this offseason, they should be focused on signing proven starters to long-term deals. The Reds are likely years away from contending for the playoffs, but no matter the state of your franchise, starting pitching is a must-have.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Backend Reliever
The Dodgers have a stellar pitching staff from top to bottom, but the backend of their pen presented some problems last season. Kenley Jansen was shaky and gave up pivotal runs late in the year, and, at times, their pen was unable to be the force the sport is accustomed to. With the addition of a lights-out backend reliever, the Dodgers could have a safety net for Jansen and would further weaponize their pen.
Potential Candidates: Kelly, Soria, Britton
Colorado Rockies: Middle-of-the-Rotation Arm
The Rockies have Kyle Freeland and German Marquez, but they need another competent starter in their rotation to make noise in the playoffs. They spent $106 million on their bullpen last offseason and have one of the most dangerous lineups in the sport; those two aspects of their ballclub aren’t being altered. They might as well bolster their rotation.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Starting Pitcher
The D’Backs had one of the best starting rotations in the sport last season, but Zach Grienke is on the trade block, Clay Buchholz is a free agent and suffered a forearm injury in September, and Corbin is testing free agency; the D’Backs have to ensure they have another starter in place next season alongside Robbie Ray, Zack Godley, and whoever else survives the offseason.
Potential Candidates: Morton, Morton, Sanchez
San Francisco Giants: Starting Outfielder
The Giants have a deep starting rotation and a reliable bullpen. Despite the notable names in their order, the Giants offense was abysmal last season, finishing 29th in runs (603). They have a dire need for a starting outfielder with Hunter Pence and Andrew McCutchen (who the Giants traded to the New York Yankees on August 30) on the open market; adding an outfield bat could, at the very least, keep the Giants in the Wild Card mix.
San Diego Padres: Second Baseman
The Padres have some position players worth keeping around, but they need a proven middle infielder who can hit to balance out their order. Their rotation needs some work, but is relatively young. It won’t guarantee a playoff berth, but adding a second baseman, or middle infielder, would benefit the Padres in 2019.