One potential free-agent target for every club
For the next few weeks, teams will begin dancing the annual offseason tango with representatives of available free agents, surveying the landscape as they construct their 2019 rosters.
Most teams have multiple needs, but they all have different budgets, and there's always one player who appears to be an ideal fit.
Here's a rundown of one free agent each club might be most likely to sign this offseason, excluding players who were on their roster last season.
American League West
Houston Astros:Wilson Ramos, C
Martin Maldonado and Brian McCann are free agents, leaving Houston in need of a catcher. J.T. Realmuto remains the ideal candidate, but the Marlins will require a lot to trade the All-Star. Ramos has the best combination of power and on-base ability among free-agent backstops.
Los Angeles Angels:Dallas Keuchel, LHP
Shohei Ohtani won't pitch in 2019 following Tommy John surgery, but he's expected back in '20. Adding a top-notch starting pitcher such as Keuchel would allow the Angels to contend next season and make them a major threat when Ohtani returns to the mound.
Oakland Athletics:DJ LeMahieu, 2B
Jed Lowrie is headed for free agency, leaving a hole at second base. Oakland isn't known for spending big on the open market, but LeMahieu's offensive profile fits the Athletics, and signing a player like him would make a statement that the team wasn't satisfied with last season's one-and-done AL Wild Card berth.
Seattle Mariners:A.J. Pollock, CF
With Dee Gordon potentially remaining second base and Robinson Cano moving to a first-base/DH role, center field will be a need for Seattle. Pollock is the best available option, and the Mariners have never been afraid to make a big splash.
Texas Rangers:Hyun-Jin Ryu, LHP
In need of several starting pitchers, Texas will surely look at some of the top arms available this winter. Ryu pitched brilliantly for the Dodgers, posting a 1.88 ERA in his final nine starts after returning from a groin injury.
American League Central
Chicago White Sox:Anibal Sanchez, RHP
Right-handed prospect Dylan Cease is expected to join the South Siders' rotation before the end of April, but the White Sox need to import at least one starting pitcher this offseason. Sanchez bounced back with a strong season in Atlanta and is quite familiar with the AL Central after pitching for the Tigers from 2012-17.
Cleveland Indians:Adam Jones, OF
Michael Brantley, Melky Cabrera and Rajai Davis are all free agents, so the Indians will be looking to add some outfield help. Jones' best days might be behind him, though the five-time All-Star would likely be energized by a move to a contender. The longtime Oriole would also provide solid leadership for Indians manager Terry Francona, who often relies on veterans to police the clubhouse.
Detroit Tigers:Jeremy Hellickson, RHP
After signing reclamation projects Mike Fiers and Francisco Liriano a year ago, the Tigers will likely look for a veteran or two to fill the gaps in the rotation. Hellickson pitched for four teams over the past four seasons, and while he pitched well for the Nationals in 2018 (3.45 ERA), he was limited to 91 1/3 innings due to hamstring and wrist injuries.
Kansas City Royals:Justin Wilson, LHP
The Royals traded closer Kelvin Herrera to the Nationals last summer, dealing away the final piece of their championship bullpen trio. GM Dayton Moore must rebuild that 'pen this offseason, and while he's unlikely to look at the many high-priced relievers on the market, Wilson is a solid mid-range option with some closing experience.
Minnesota Twins:Cody Allen, RHP
The Twins traded Fernando Rodney and Thomas Pressly last summer, leaving them in need of a closer. Allen stumbled a bit in 2018 after four superb seasons as Cleveland's closer, but Minnesota has seen enough to know what he's capable of doing.
American League East
Baltimore Orioles:Marco Estrada, RHP
Somebody has to throw innings for the Orioles, so why not give Estrada a chance to bounce back after a dreadful 2018 season? He knows the AL East, and the former Blue Jay pitched well at Camden Yards during his career, posting a 3.83 ERA in 10 outings.
Boston Red Sox:Andrew Miller, LHP
Closer Craig Kimbrel is headed for free agency, and the Red Sox are unlikely to give him the top-dollar deal he's seeking. Miller is coming off an injury-ravaged season but remains one of the top relievers in the game. Not only did Miller begin his career renaissance by moving to the bullpen while with Boston in 2012, but Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski was running the Tigers when Detroit selected Miller in the first round of the 2006 Draft.
New York Yankees:Patrick Corbin, LHP
For all the talk we're sure to hear about shortstop Manny Machado, the Yankees' biggest need is starting pitching, and Corbin is the best available arm. Adding a left-handed starter is the ideal situation for New York, and Corbin has said he grew up rooting for the Yankees. With their luxury-tax reset, shelling out a hefty contract or two shouldn't be an issue for the Yankees this offseason.
Tampa Bay Rays:Adam Warren, RHP
The Rays thrived in 2018 despite a lack of depth in the starting rotation, utilizing an "opener" in approximately half of their games. Versatile arms are clearly valuable for Tampa Bay, and Warren has experience pitching in the rotation and out of the bullpen.
Toronto Blue Jays:Matt Harvey, RHP
The Blue Jays' rotation was the primary culprit for their disappointing season, but it's unlikely that they'll pay what it takes to land a top starter this winter. Harvey enjoyed a bit of a renaissance in Cincinnati and has shown an ability to be an impact starter at the front of a rotation, making him a good risk/reward candidate.
National League West
Arizona Diamondbacks:Wade Miley, LHP
With Corbin expected to depart as a free agent, Arizona will need to replace him in the rotation. Miley -- who broke in with the D-backs in 2011 and earned his only All-Star appearance with them in '12 -- bounced back from a tough '17 in Baltimore with an outstanding season in Milwaukee.
Colorado Rockies:Marwin Gonzalez, IF/OF
LeMahieu and Carlos Gonzalez are free agents, and Nolan Arenado is a year away from hitting the market. Marwin played every position but pitcher and catcher for the Astros, giving his next team the versatility to play him anywhere. Putting him on the same roster as the versatile Ian Desmond could be invaluable to the Rockies.
Los Angeles Dodgers:Adam Ottavino, RHP
The Dodgers could use a lockdown setup man to get the ball to closer Kenley Jansen, a role Ottavino filled to perfection in Colorado. Ottavino struck out 112 batters in 77 2/3 innings and had a sub-1.00 WHIP, and signing him away from the Rockies would give the Dodgers the added bonus of weakening a division rival.
San Diego Padres:Giovany Gonzalez, LHP
The Padres will be in the market for at least a couple of starting pitchers, with mid-range arms such as Gonzalez, Derek Holland and Trevor Cahill among the possibilities. Gonzalez, who was traded from Washington to Milwaukee last season, has a 2.35 ERA in five career starts at Petco Park.
San Francisco Giants:Bryce Harper, OF
What better way for a new head of baseball operations to make a big splash than to sign one of the game's biggest stars? The Giants have been rumored as a potential destination for Harper for quite some time, and it would be surprising if they didn't make a run at the 26-year-old six-time All-Star.
National League Central
Chicago Cubs:Charlie Morton, RHP
Even if the Cubs pick up Cole Hamels' $20 million option, Chicago is likely to pursue at least one more starting pitcher. Going into his age-35 season, Morton may be content to sign a one- or two-year deal.
Cincinnati Reds:Lance Lynn, RHP
Lynn's 2.17 FIP after joining the Yankees in late July suggests he pitched far better than his 4.14 ERA suggests. The Reds need rotation help, and new manager David Bell was on the Cardinals' coaching staff when Lynn pitched in St. Louis.
Milwaukee Brewers:Jeurys Familia, RHP
Milwaukee reached the NL Championship Series largely on the strength of its powerful bullpen, and although Josh Hader, Corey Knebel and Jeremy Jeffress are set to return, adding another arm with late-inning experience makes sense, given the Brewers' heavy reliance on their bullpen.
Pittsburgh Pirates:Jose Iglesias, SS
Pittsburgh could turn to incumbent Jordy Mercer to fill the shortstop spot, but with prospect Kevin Newman not quite ready for the full-time job, the Pirates could look to Iglesias to hold down the spot.
St. Louis Cardinals:Josh Donaldson, 3B
Jedd Gyorko and Matt Carpenter manned third base for the Cardinals last season, but the two versatile players can move elsewhere around the diamond, leaving the hot corner open for a free-agent acquisition. There was plenty of talk about St. Louis trading for Donaldson over the summer, so perhaps the Cardinals will finally close the deal and sign him as a free agent.
National League East
Atlanta Braves:Craig Kimbrel, RHP
Kimbrel won 2011 NL Rookie of the Year honors and made four All-Star teams with the Braves, signing an extension with Atlanta before being traded to the Padres and then to the Red Sox. The Braves have some money to spend and are in need of a closer, making a reunion a legitimate possibility.
Miami Marlins:Logan Morrison, 1B/OF
Miami isn't expected to be a major player in the free-agent market, but given Morrison's subpar season in Minnesota last year, the 31-year-old will likely look for a one-year contract to reestablish himself in 2019.
New York Mets:Yasmani Grandal, C
Catcher would appear to be the Mets' top need entering the offseason, though it remains to be seen what approach new GM Brodie Van Wagenen takes. Grandal and Ramos should be targets.
Philadelphia Phillies:Manny Machado, SS
The Phillies are expected to swim in the deep end of the free-agent pool this winter, and there's no bigger name available than Machado. He's believed to be Philadelphia's No. 1 target, though Harper is surely on the Phillies' radar as well.
Washington Nationals:J.A. Happ, LHP
Washington's top-heavy rotation could use some depth behind Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. Happ is a solid No. 3 who would take some pressure off the bullpen as the Nationals try to get back to the postseason.