Looking To Do: With youngsters Will Middlebrooks, Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley ready to go from emergency options to everyday players, the Red Sox are pretty set right now despite the free agent losses.
Looking To Do: As always, the Rays make small moves if any early in the off-season, waiting for the market to set so they can analyze trade options (David Price), then swoop in for some bargain free agent bats to fill out the lineup.
Already Did: Lost FA Robinson Cano, Lost FA Phil Hughes, Lost FA Curtis Granderson, Re-Signed FA Hiroki Kuroda, Signed FA Jacoby Ellsbury, Signed FA Brian McCann, Signed FA Carlos Beltran, Signed FA Kelly Johnson
Looking To Do: The Yankees have made tons of moves and aren't done; Alex Rodriguez's fate is still up in the air, they have a glut of extra outfielders, need some bullpen help and there are rotation holes begging for Masahiro Tanaka (who should he be posted).
Looking To Do: The Orioles have been quiet early in the off-season and look like they aren't quite sure what they want to do. They could use some upgrades at a few spots in the lineup and possibly on the pitching staff, but are mulling over what to do with Chris Davis and Matt Wieters, who won't sign extensions as Boras clients are will be free agents in two seasons.
Looking To Do: The Jays have a club that's pretty set at all the key spots and needs to have some rebound performances to compete in baseball's toughest division.
Looking To Do: The Tigers have been loud with lots of splashy moves. I liked the Fielder trade for them but hated the Fister deal, especially with the aim just to clear money to sign a near 40-year-old closer. They're pretty set now, other than a few role players that could be added.
Looking To Do: The Tribe have a solid young core that should compete again in 2014 and didn't need much maintenance, but it wouldn't hurt to add a few veteran arms to the mix.
Looking To Do: I liked the Aoki deal but wasn't nuts about giving four years to Vargas. The Royals, like Cleveland, have a nice young core that didn't need much maintenance and should be in the playoff mix again next year.
Already Did: Signed FA Ricky Nolasco, Signed FA Phil Hughes
Looking To Do: The Twins are awful and a few years from being good, so don't look for many moves this off-season. While they have a couple super premium prospects coming in Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano, the big league product is terrible they're are held back by a lack of creativity and by their franchise player: a 30 year old first baseman due $23 million each of the next five years.
Looking To Do: The Sox were terrible last year but have some talent, added a power bat in Abreu and should bounce back next season from the basement to compete for the division.
Already Did: Lost FA Chris Young, Signed FA Scott Kazmir, Traded Jemile Weeks for Jim Johnson, Traded Michael Choice & Chris Bostick for Craig Gentry & Josh Lindblom, Traded Seth Smith for Luke Gregerson
Looking To Do: The A's have been really busy and I've generally liked what they've done as a whole. They could still add a few extra role players but look to be done with major moves and should compete for the division again.
Already Did: Lost FA David Murphy, Lost FA Joe Nathan, Traded Ian Kinsler for Prince Fielder, Traded Craig Gentry & Josh Lindblom for Michael Choice & Chris Bostick, Signed FA J.P. Arencibia, Re-Signed FA Geovany Soto
Looking To Do: Texas has also been very busy but I haven't been quite as impressed with what they've done, mainly because of an aging Prince Fielder and what his huge contract does to their flexibility. They look to be basically done with their big singings and should again be in the playoff hunt.
Looking To Do: I've been confused by what the Angels were trying to do the last few off-seasons and that theme continues this off-season. They appear to have as much money as they want but continue squandering one of the best players of this generation and still have more than a few holes to fill on the roster.
Already Did: Signed FA Robinson Cano
Looking To Do: Two of the most disappointing regimes in baseball are in the same division, as embattled GM Jack Zduriencik was torched in the local media this week while his transparently desperate off-season plan is now coming into focus. Blow tons of money to sign the biggest name on the market (Robinson Cano was the first player to actually take his money after Carlos Beltran, Josh Hamilton, Prince Fielder and others turned it down the past two off-seasons) and then mortgage the farm to get the top trade commodity (he already tried to trade Taijuan Walker & Nick Franklin for Justin Upton last year and is now trying to do it again this year to get David Price). There are some pieces here to work with, but this is what happens when moral hazard and stupidity have a soon-to-be-unemployed child.
Looking To Do: While clearly less talented at the MLB level than Seattle, Houston is doing it the right way, building organically as the talent warrants with this off-season having the club spend some money to supplement the core. There is a very solid system about to start paying dividends, but still too many holes to get out of the basement in 2014.
Already Did: Lost FA Brian McCann, Lost FA Tim Hudson
Looking To Do: The personnel machine in Atlanta marches on despite two notable losses and no additions thus far. They need bounce backs from B.J. Upton and Dan Uggla along with Evan Gattis stepping up into McCann's spot along with a few minor holes to fill, but they should be in the mix to win the division in 2014 again.
Already Did: Lost FA Dan Haren, Traded Robbie Ray, Ian Krol & Steve Lombardozzi for Doug Fister
Looking To Do: Mike Rizzo pulled off the theft of the off-season so far by picking up Doug Fister to fill Haren's spot in the rotation and still could move Adam LaRoche and shuffle the infield to add talent, but otherwise are ready to make a run at Atlanta to take the division.
Already Did: Lost FA LaTroy Hawkins, Signed FA Curtis Granderson, Signed FA Chris Young
Looking To Do: The Mets signed a couple solid bats and are moving in the right direction, but still can't compete with the two clubs ahead of them and don't have the potential All-Stars in the system to make the difference organically. The question here is if the Mets make the huge splash to add a star or two and make a playoff push in the next few years.
Looking To Do: They still have Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels, but most of those players and the rest of the lesser players are over the hill and expensive. This is what happens when you sell out to make a run at a title and don't nail every move. The Phils likely stand mostly pat the rest of the off-season and should have a few lean years.
Already Did: Signed FA Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Signed FA Rafael Furcal, Signed FA Garrett Jones
Looking To Do: Ownership is awful in every way imaginable and while there's some young pieces (like Jose Fernandez and Christian Yelich) the eventual trade of slugger Giancarlo Stanton is looming and there isn't enough here to justify a payroll push, so expect the Marlins to stay in the cellar for awhile.
Already Did: Lost FA Carlos Beltran, Traded David Freese & Fernando Salas for Peter Bourjos & Randal Grichuk, Signed FA Jhonny Peralta
Looking To Do: The model organization in the game keeps on chugging with a solid off-season shuffling pieces to make another run at a title. They could add a few role players but look to be mostly set for another strong club in 2014.
Already Did: Lost FA Marlon Byrd, Lost FA Justin Morneau
Looking To Do: After a big turnaround season, the Buccos still seem a little tentative to make that big splash (Price, Stanton, etc.) necessary to make a legitimate run at a title, opting to instead make incremental changes and keep the farm system strong for a longer window. SS and 1B are the holes to fill, along with a replacement for A.J. Burnett if he isn't re-signed.
Already Did: Traded Ryan Hanigan for David Holmberg
Looking To Do: The Reds look like they will mostly stand pat with a solid club, but should soon lose Shin-soo Choo and could use an extra bat with Ryan Ludwick and Billy Hamilton looking vulnerable as regulars at left field and center.
Already Did: Traded Norichika Aoki for Will Smith
Looking To Do: Quietly possible the hottest GM seat in the game belongs to Doug Melvin, whose club is in a surging division, has a zero down on the farm, has some holes on the big league club and huge question mark over it's highly-paid franchise player, Ryan Braun. 1B and LF are vulnerable here with Khris Davis and Juan Francisco holding the spots down, but 2014 looks like a transition year where the Brew Crew will see what they have with some of their fringy/young players.
Already Did: Lost FA Dioner Navarro
Looking To Do: The sleeping giant in the Central has a system loaded with premium talent that isn't that far away. They should be quiet this off-season as they're shopping Jeff Samardzija and hope for a rebound from Starlin Castro with a potential monster lineup in place within the next two seasons.
Already Did: Lost FA Ricky Nolasco, Re-Signed FA Brian Wilson, Signed FA Dan Haren, Signed FA Alex Guerrero
Looking To Do: The drunken Monopoly man running the Dodgers has been surprisingly restrained this off-season, but rumors swirl about Matt Kemp being shopped and Clayton Kershaw rebuffing extension offers. Stephen Drew or Omar Infante makes some sense as a target with two question marks up the middle in Guerrero and Dee Gordon, but the Yankees figure to make a run at both, along with Tanaka.
Already Did: Traded Heath Bell and David Holmberg for Justin Choate
Looking To Do: The grittiest team in baseball has a solid core that doesn't need much maintenance and should take another step forward in 2014 with a chance to top the Dodgers if things fall their way.
Already Did: Signed FA Tim Hudson, Re-Signed FA Tim Lincecum
Looking To Do: They kept their strong pitching staff together, adding Hudson to the mix, along with a scrappy lineup surrounding all-world catcher Buster Posey. They should just be adding role players at this point.
San Diego Padres
Already Did: Traded Luke Gregerson for Seth Smith, Signed FA Josh Johnson
Looking To Do: The Pads have a very strong, underrated pitching staff with Johnson the latest addition and a solid core of the lineup that lacks a standout bat to help them jump the clubs ahead of them in the division.
Already Did: Traded Dexter Fowler for Jordan Lyles & Brandon Barnes, Signed FA Justin Morneau, Signed FA LaTroy Hawkins
Looking To Do: The Rockies have always been a little difficult to understand and are in that in-between level where they aren't rebuilding or making a run in part because of the big contracts and veterans on the roster. They have some solid pieces that are enough to make a run if everything clicks in 2014.
Top 25 Available Players
1. David Price, SP, TB: Price is only trade target I'll rank on the list since there's a good chance he gets moved at or soon after the Winter Meetings, given the Rays unique payroll situation. Some other names are rumored to be available (Giancarlo Stanton, Mark Trumbo, Adam LaRoche, Logan Morrison, Adam Lind, Danny Espinosa, Ichiro Suzuki, Domonic Brown, Brett Gardner, Jeff Samardzija, Matt Kemp, Jose Lobaton, Chase Headley, etc) but aren't as talented or as clearly being put on the market for bidding. The hot rumor is Price will join Cano in Seattle for a package including Taijuan Walker and Nick Franklin, reminiscent on both sides of another shrewd trade Tampa Bay made last off-season, dealing James Shields for a package headlined by Wil Myers.
2. Masahiro Tanaka, SP: Clubs are waiting for final confirmation of the new posting rules and that Tanaka's club will post him, but he's got Yu Darvish-like upside that should spark a fierce bidding war, especially with the Yankees having spare payroll space and a clear need.
3. Shin-Soo Choo, RF: The best true free agent on the market could fit with a number of clubs and can also play center field if needed.
4. Ervin Santana, SP
5. A.J. Burnett, SP
6. Matt Garza, SP
7. Ubaldo Jimenez, SP
8. Stephen Drew, SS
9. Nelson Cruz, RF
10. Kendrys Morales, 1B
11. Juan Uribe, 3B
12. Bartolo Colon, SP
13. Omar Infante, 2B
14. Paul Maholm, SP
15. James Loney, 1B
16. Franklin Gutierrez, CF
17. Joaquin Benoit, RP
18. Corey Hart, 1B
19. Grant Balfour, RP
20. Fernando Rodney, RP
21. Jesse Crain, RP
22. Jason Hammel, SP
23. Joba Chamberlain, RP
24. Bronson Arroyo, SP
25. Andrew Bailey, RP