Major League Baseball spring training is in full swing and teams are, for the most part, finished constructing their roster for the 2019 season. But there are still moves they can make to deepen their rosters before opening day. Here is one signing every National League team could still make.
Atlanta Braves: Starting Pitcher
The Braves sported an inconsistent bullpen last season, but they’re a young unit that should improve in 2019. On the other hand, while they have a reliable starting rotation, the backend of their staff could use fine-tuning. With Anibal Sanchez signing a two-year, $19 million deal with the Washington Nationals, the Braves lost a pitcher who was one of their most steady arms in 2018. The addition of a proven starter would balance out a semi-young Braves starting rotation.
Washington Nationals: Backend Reliever
Sure, the Nationals have an elite closer in Sean Doolittle and added Trevor Rosenthal and Kyle Barraclough this offseason. But counting on bounce-back seasons from Rosenthal and Barraclough is a risk for the Nationals considering how they want to return to the postseason. They have a stellar starting rotation and a productive lineup, but adding a proven backend reliever would significantly benefit their bullpen — an aspect of their roster that has plagued them in years past.
Philadelphia Phillies: Backend Reliever
Signing David Robertson to a two-year, $23 million deal was a plausible start, but the Phillies bullpen could use more new faces in 2019. The Phillies fell off a cliff last season after holding first place in the NL East, and their pen was a pivotal reason for that occurrence. If they added another reliable backend reliever, it would provide depth and give manager Gabe Kapler more relief in the late innings.Even if they're mostly set, all 15 National League teams can still make some savvy offseason moves to set themselves up for 2019.Click To Tweet
New York Mets: Outfielder
The Mets have been one of the most active teams in MLB this offseason. And while Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo form a youthful duo, the Mets outfield rotation could use a veteran presence. There are still plenty of outfielders available, and the addition of one would round out the Mets starting lineup and give them depth around the diamond; it could be the signing that puts them in contention for the pennant.
Miami Marlins: Outfielder
The Marlins are in the midst of what is going to be a long rebuild, especially considering their competition in the NL East; they need to find players to build a foundation around. The Marlins could also use outfield reinforcements. While he provides a veteran presence, Curtis Granderson isn’t going to solely transform their starting lineup and outfield rotation; the Marlins have to show a willingness to, at the very least, compete.
Milwaukee Brewers: Starting Pitcher
The Brewers have one of the deepest pitching staffs in MLB and, most notably, a lockdown bullpen. With that said, there isn’t an alpha dog in their starting rotation. They surely have a lineup capable of performing at a high level and a bullpen that can pitch four-to-five innings, but the addition of a starter who can pitch deep into games and is a steady force would be beneficial for the Brewers.
Chicago Cubs: Reliever
There are few teams in MLB who have been more silent this offseason than the Cubs. Meanwhile, they could use another reliever with Brandon Morrow likely out to begin 2019. They have a reliable starting rotation, but the Cubs need to shore up their bullpen to make themselves better equipped to finish out games considering how competitive the NL Central will be this season.
St. Louis Cardinals: Long Reliever/Sixth Starter
The Cardinals have added Paul Goldschmidt and Andrew Miller to a ballclub that won 88 games in 2018; they’re a World Series contender. With that said, their starting rotation and pitching staff, in general, could use another arm. Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha made a combined 23 starts last season, and Carlos Martinez‘s health is an area of concern in spring training. This is a rotation that has been hit by the injury bug and needs depth.
Potential Candidates: Warren, De La Rosa, Jackson
Pittsburgh Pirates: Reliever
The Pirates have been on the outside looking in at the playoffs in recent memory, but they’re a well-constructed roster that could potentially give the rest of the NL a run for its money in 2019. While their pitching staff is one of the most underrated units in the sport, another reliever would be beneficial for the Pirates bullpen. Their pen was in the middle of the pack last season and having another arm in front of Felipe Vazquez would pay dividends.
Potential Candidates: Vincent, Warren, Wood
Cincinnati Reds: Long Reliever
The Reds acquired right-handers Sonny Gray, Alex Wood, and Tanner Roark this offseason — who all bolster their starting rotation. But if the Reds want to compete in the NL, they need a more complete pitching staff. Raisel Iglesias is an exceptional closer, and Jared Hughes is a reliable right-hander, but the Reds could use a long reliever who can pitch two-to-three innings, if need be. Plus, with the sport becoming a bullpen-centric game, adding a versatile reliever would fit the fill.
Potential Candidates: Warren, De La Rosa, Jackson
Los Angeles Dodgers: Outfielder
It’s no secret that you have to be able to play six positions to be a member of the Dodgers (or, at least that’s how it feels), but adding a pure outfielder would further weaponize manager Dave Roberts depth chart. Having versatile players is an enormous asset, especially when injuries present themselves. At the same time, the Dodgers are going to have a handful of individuals playing different positions on a consistent basis this season; having another veteran outfielder would be a comforting presence, even with the arrival of A.J. Pollock.
Potential Candidates: Jones, C. Gonzalez, Denard Span
Colorado Rockies: Outfielder
The Rockies offense is electric, and their pitching staff is nearly set in stone. Concurrently, their outfield rotation could use another proven commodity. Ian Desmond, who is expected to start in center field this season, has consistently started at the position just once (back in 2016 with the Texas Rangers), and David Dahl has never played a full season. Having a fourth outfielder would give the Rockies more options in the regular season.
Potential Candidates: C. Gonzalez, Bautista, Span
Arizona Diamondbacks: Starting Pitcher
Taijuan Walker is rehabbing from an elbow injury, Patrick Corbin signed a six-year, $140 million deal with the Nationals, and Robbie Ray and Zack Godley are coming off discouraging seasons; the Diamondbacks could use another starting pitcher. Yes, when healthy, this could still be one of the best rotations in the sport, but, for the meantime, the D-Backs would benefit from the presence of a veteran starting pitcher.
Potential Candidates: Buchholz, Santana, Gonzalez
San Francisco Giants: Outfielder
The Giants have a deep infield and pitching staff, but they need more offensive firepower to make a postseason push. They currently have one of the youngest outfields in the sport and few veterans in place. With the addition of a starting outfielder — or two — the Giants lineup could begin to resemble a productive offense and give their pitching staff the run support it has been deprived of in recent memory.
Potential Candidates: Jones, C. Gonzalez, Bryce Harper
San Diego Padres: Starting Pitcher
The Padres took the MLB world by storm Tuesday afternoon agreeing to a 10-year, $300 million deal with Manny Machado, making it the second consecutive offseason that they inked the best position player on the open market (last offseason they agreed to an eight-year, $144 million deal with first baseman Eric Hosmer). But their starting rotation is still an unreliable unit, young, and needs to drastically improve for the Padres to sniff the postseason in the near future.
Potential Candidates: Dallas Keuchel, Santana, Gonzalez