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Who has the edge? WS position by position

Red Sox, Dodgers meet in Fall Classic for first time since 1916
MLB.com @castrovince

The goal here is to do a position-by-position analysis of this World Series, but that will naturally be difficult to do with so many wonderful players involved. This Fall Classic matchup has spoiled us with the likes of Dick Hoblitzell, Zack Wheat, Hi Myers, Jeff Pfeffer, Wheezer Dell, Pinch Thomas, Dutch Leonard and, of course, 21-year-old pitching sensation Babe Ruth. It's a…

Wait, I appear to have mistakenly consulted the rosters from the last time the Red Sox and "Dodgers" (then known as the Brooklyn Robins) encountered each other on baseball's grandest stage, way back in 1916.

The goal here is to do a position-by-position analysis of this World Series, but that will naturally be difficult to do with so many wonderful players involved. This Fall Classic matchup has spoiled us with the likes of Dick Hoblitzell, Zack Wheat, Hi Myers, Jeff Pfeffer, Wheezer Dell, Pinch Thomas, Dutch Leonard and, of course, 21-year-old pitching sensation Babe Ruth. It's a…

Wait, I appear to have mistakenly consulted the rosters from the last time the Red Sox and "Dodgers" (then known as the Brooklyn Robins) encountered each other on baseball's grandest stage, way back in 1916.

World Series presented by YouTube TV, Game 1: Tuesday, 8:09 p.m. ET on FOX

While there won't be any Rube Marquard sightings when the present-day Red Sox and Dodgers begin their best-of-seven series on Tuesday night at Fenway Park, there will be plenty of star power assembled for these two iconic franchises.

:: World Series schedule and results ::

So let's break it down to see who has the edge in a rematch 102 years in the making.

Catcher

Yasmani Grandal was so passed-ball porous in the National League Championship Series that he lost playing time to a guy (Austin Barnes) who is 2-for-18 in the postseason. That said, Grandal was baseball's second-most productive catcher at the plate in 2018, while Boston's catching tandem of Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon hit a combined .192 during the regular season. (Batting average might not tell us much, but sometimes it tells us enough.) If it's still Barnes behind the plate for the Dodgers, he, like Vazquez and Leon, is at least an asset defensively.

Advantage: Dodgers

First base

Right hamstring tightness limited Mitch Moreland to pinch-hitting duties until Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, but he went 3-for-6 with a double in the series. Meanwhile, lefty-pitching masher Steve Pearce has had some big hits against lefties and righties alike this postseason and could be a weapon against Los Angeles' three left-handed starters.

But while out-of-nowhere Dodgers star Max Muncy hasn't replicated his regular season .973 OPS in the postseason, he has hit two big postseason homers. Los Angeles also has World Series hero David Freese (3-for-10 with a homer and double this October) as an option against Boston's two southpaw starters.

Advantage: Dodgers

Video: NLCS Gm6: Freese leads off Game 6 with a home run

Second base

This is where we'll advise the uninitiated that the Dodgers make these position-by-position exercises painful, because manager Dave Roberts' Swiss Army Knife-lineup style involves a lot of moving parts. So you'll see some combination of Muncy, Chris Taylor, Enrique Hernandez and Brian Dozier here. That's added up to a .194/.341/.333 slash from Los Angeles second basemen this postseason.

The Red Sox have moving parts at this particular position, too, with Ian Kinsler and Brock Holt sharing time. Holt had a night for the ages with his Game 3 cycle in the AL Division Series, but on measure, Boston's postseason production hasn't been much better than the Dodgers' at second base. The X-factor is likely AL Most Valuable Player Award winner Mookie Betts, who could see time at second base in one to three games when the Series shifts to NL rules at Dodger Stadium (to keep J.D. Martinez's bat in the lineup). That possibility is enough to swing it.

Advantage: Red Sox

Video: Cora on defensive alignment, Betts at second base

Shortstop

Manny Machado has generated headlines this postseason for not hustling to first, kicking at an opponents' leg, sliding controversially into second, gesticulating rudely toward the crowd at Miller Park and being called a "dirty player." Yikes.

But if you were drafting strictly based upon what you could expect a shortstop to contribute in a short series, you would have to take Machado (.905 OPS in the regular season, .813 in the postseason) over a player even as gifted as Xander Bogaerts (.883 OPS in the regular season, .730 in the postseason).

Advantage: Dodgers

Video: NLCS Gm7: Machado on win over Brewers, reaching WS

Third base

Rafael Devers has made the most of limited opportunities on this postseason stage, with a 7-for-20 showing and a big dinger in Game 5 of the ALCS. It remains to be seen if Red Sox manager Alex Cora will ride the hot hand at the hot corner after Eduardo Nunez nursed a twisted right ankle against the Astros.

For the Dodgers, it's simpler: Justin Turner, in terms of career postseason on-base percentage (.425), is the closest thing this year's Fall Classic has to Babe Ruth (and not the 1916 model). He's actually had a quieter October outside the game-winning homer in Game 2 of the NLCS, but he's always a threat.

Advantage: Dodgers

Video: NLCS Gm2: Turner gives Dodgers lead with go-ahead HR

Left field

Matt Kemp's renaissance has given way to a Taylor/Joc Pederson postseason platoon for the Dodgers. In addition to making one of the most clutch catches of October, Taylor also has a 1.143 OPS in 18 plate appearances as a left fielder this postseason.

But Andrew Benintendi had an awfully clutch catch of his own, on the heels of a breakout regular season (.290/.366/.465 slash with 16 homers, 87 RBIs and 41 doubles). Taylor is by far the hottest hitter either team employs in left, but his impact is also spread across two other positions (second and center). So we'll side with Benintendi here.

Advantage: Red Sox

Video: Benintendi talks Red Sox's clinch with Braun

Center field

It's the ALCS MVP vs. the NLCS MVP. And both of them hit exactly .200 in the round! Talk about making it count.

For the Dodgers, you'll see a little of Taylor and Hernandez in this spot, but by and large, it will be Cody Bellinger, who came through with a couple of huge late-inning hits and a sensational catch in the NLCS. Meanwhile, Jackie Bradley Jr.'s 9-RBI showing on the LCS stage (on three hits) was impressively efficient, too.

Anyway, big samples matter more than small samples, and Bellinger (120 OPS+ to Bradley's 92 mark, with twice as many Wins Above Replacement) is the more productive player.

Advantage: Dodgers

Video: NLCS Gm7: Bellinger blasts a 2-run homer in the 2nd

Right field

The erratic engine that is Yasiel Puig is running awfully hot right now (.321/.406/.536 slash in 32 postseason plate appearances), and opponents have done a terrific job keeping the monster that is Betts (.205/.295/.282) in check. So maybe this is closer than it would have appeared a few weeks ago.

But the Red Sox are going to start two guys (Betts and Martinez) who will likely finish in the top five of the MVP Award voting in right field during this Series, and, well, that's good enough for us.

Advantage: Red Sox

Designated hitter, bench

The Dodgers split the DH duties between Pederson and Turner last year against the Astros, and their overwhelming array of talent, which allows for so much mixing and matching, is a major asset.

But the Red Sox have a lot of versatility and platoon prowess, too, with Holt a particularly big X-factor for them. And it should go without saying that the presence of Martinez looms large. He's hitting .313 with a .946 OPS this October.

Advantage: Red Sox

Video: ALCS Gm5: J.D. Martinez smashes a solo HR to left

Starting pitchers

If you want to get quick and dirty with it, Los Angeles' Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Walker Buehler and Rich Hill combined for a 2.82 ERA in the regular season and a 3.86 mark in the postseason (as starters) and Boston's Chris Sale, David Price, Nathan Eovaldi and Rick Porcello combined for a 3.48 ERA in the regular season and a 3.92 mark in the postseason (as starters).

But the postseason presents plenty of nuance, beginning with the fact that we had to even make that "as starters" notation, with Kershaw and Hill both pitching out of the bullpen for the Dodgers in the NLCS, as well as the Red Sox either using or warming all of their starters as relievers at one point or another. Does Price's minor mechanical tweak that unlocked his Game 5 brilliance have staying power? Do Buehler's innings as a rookie catch up to him? Which postseason Kershaw do we get? What are the lingering effects of Sale's illness and absence?

Red Sox to start Sale in Game 1 of World Series

Lots of interesting questions in two very good rotations. In the end, for the sake of our sanity, we'll just stick with the quick and dirty math.

Advantage: Dodgers

Video: ALCS Gm5: Price leads Sox to pennant with 6 scoreless

Bullpens

The Dodgers had a reputation this season for being too dependent on Kenley Jansen for their own good, and Jansen had a rollercoaster regular season. But for all the concern caused by his irregular heartbeat and inflated homer rate, he has been spotless this October, with 6 2/3 scoreless innings. And the Dodgers' bullpen as a whole has had a sparkling 1.30 ERA in 41 2/3 postseason innings after posting baseball's second-best relief ERA in September.

As evidenced by the fact that Porcello, Price and Sale all pitched in relief in previous rounds (and Price warmed up late in Game 4 of the ALCS), the Red Sox are in more of a scramble for late-inning outs. And four of Craig Kimbrel's five outings this October have been on the shaky side, though there is some thought that he's addressed a pitch-tipping issue. That doesn't mean the Red Sox can't get the job done. They've made it this far, haven't they? But Los Angeles' bullpen appears to be in a better spot right now.

Advantage: Dodgers

Video: NLCS Gm7: Jansen racks up 3 strikeouts in Game 7

Prediction

I've given the edge to the Dodgers in seven of 11 spots. What does that mean, in real terms? Absolutely nothing, because, as we know well, baseball games and series are decided not on individual positional battles, but by the cohesion of rosters, with plenty of surprise performances sprinkled in.

The Red Sox are, understandably, considered the early favorites, because they not only survived, but thrived in an AL battle that was perceived to be a showdown of superpowers.

That said, I still like the Dodgers here. They just played an NLCS in which they looked awful in three games but won anyway. That's the story of their season, in a nutshell. They have the sheer depth of talent and the versatility to overcome everything (even themselves), and I think they'll avenge last year's Series loss.

Dodgers in seven.

Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.

Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers

Fun facts about only other Red Sox-Dodgers WS

The two franchises previously met in 1916 Fall Classic
MLB.com @dohyoungpark

The Dodgers have won the National League pennant 23 times. The Red Sox have been kings of the American League 14 times. But surprisingly, for all that success, the teams have only met once before in the World Series -- all the way back in 1916, when the Red Sox beat the Brooklyn Robins (named after manager Wilbert Robinson) in five games for the club's fourth championship.

The Dodgers have won the National League pennant 23 times. The Red Sox have been kings of the American League 14 times. But surprisingly, for all that success, the teams have only met once before in the World Series -- all the way back in 1916, when the Red Sox beat the Brooklyn Robins (named after manager Wilbert Robinson) in five games for the club's fourth championship.

:: World Series schedule and results ::

World Series presented by YouTube TV, Game 1: Tuesday, 8:09 p.m. ET on FOX

Needless to say, baseball has changed a lot since then -- there's more than one team playing west of the Mississippi now, for one -- and when the Dodgers and Red Sox clash in Game 1 of the 114th World Series on Tuesday, it won't be anything like their last meeting in the Fall Classic more than a century ago. Here's a look back at some fun facts from the last time these teams met in October, all those years ago.

1. The Red Sox didn't play their World Series home games at Fenway Park
It's tough now to imagine a Red Sox home game anywhere other than America's oldest ballpark, but a five-year-old Fenway Park in 1916 hadn't yet developed the hallowed place in baseball culture that it occupies today. Still one of the smallest ballparks in MLB today, Fenway Park only seated 35,000 until 1947. With that in mind, the Red Sox chose to play their home games for both the 1915 and 1916 World Series at nearby Braves Field, home of the NL's Boston Braves, which could hold more than 40,000 people.

2. The Robins were led by a young outfielder named Casey Stengel
Long before he was the Hall of Fame manager for seven World Series-winning Yankees teams, a young Stengel was the 26-year-old right fielder for the first-place 1916 Robins, second on the team with eight homers and third in hitting with a .279 average. He was 4-for-11 with two runs scored in the World Series, though he didn't start Games 2 and 4 because the Robins were to face a pair of tough left-handers: 18-game winner Dutch Leonard and the American League's ERA leader, a 21-year-old Babe Ruth.

Video: Stengel inducted into the Hall of Fame as manager

3. Ruth threw 13 scoreless innings in Game 2
In one of the greatest World Series games ever pitched, Ruth, a budding star, threw a 14-inning complete game as the Red Sox outlasted the Robins, 2-1. After allowing an inside-the-park homer to Brooklyn center fielder Hi Myers, Ruth threw 13 shutout innings to close out the contest, scattering five more hits and three walks while striking out four in the longest pitching performance of his career. The 13 scoreless frames started a then-record streak of 29 2/3 scoreless innings in the World Series for the Bambino, which stood for 43 years until Whitey Ford broke it in 1961.

4. Game 2 was the longest World Series game (by innings) until 2005
Ruth wasn't the only pitcher with a titanic performance in that marathon Game 2; Brooklyn starter Sherry Smith also went the distance, pitching 13 1/3 innings until finally allowing a pinch-hit, walk-off single to Del Gainer in the 14th. (The first run off Smith was driven in by Ruth himself, on a third-inning RBI groundout.) When all was said and done, the 14-inning contest was the longest in World Series history by innings -- a record that has been tied twice, by Game 3 of the 2005 World Series and Game 1 of the 2015 World Series. Being that it was 1916, the game was still over in a snappy two hours, 32 minutes.

Video: Hosmer, Blum hit World Series game-winners in 14th

5. Boston used a total of five pitchers in the series
This wasn't uncommon in the era -- in fact, Boston only used three pitchers in the 1915 World Series -- but it's worth noting for comparison's sake to today's bullpen-heavy games. Don't tell Craig Counsell, but the Red Sox squeezed 49 innings out of only five arms during the five-game series: Ruth, Leonard, Ernie Shore, Carl Mays and Rube Foster. Ruth, Leonard and Shore pitched complete games in Games 2, 4 and 5, while Shore also lasted 8 2/3 innings in Game 1 before he was relieved by Mays, the Game 3 starter, for a one-out save. Foster pitched three innings of relief in Game 3 after Mays was lifted for a pinch-hitter. In comparison, the 2018 Red Sox have used five or more pitchers in seven of their nine games this postseason.

6. It was the first World Series in which both teams recorded a save
Since starting pitchers went so deep into games in the early days of baseball, the save -- so prominent in the modern day -- wasn't yet a significant factor in most World Series games. In fact, prior to 1916, there had only been one save recorded in the World Series in total, when Doc White of the White Sox registered a three-inning save against the Cubs in Game 5 of the 1906 World Series. Mays' one-out save in Game 1 of the 1916 Fall Classic was followed by Brooklyn right-hander Jeff Pfeiffer, who closed out Game 3 with 2 2/3 perfect innings. The feat wasn't repeated until 1924.

7. Three homers were hit in the series, but only one left the yard
We have funky early 20th-century ballpark dimensions to thank for this one. Myers' inside-the-park homer in Game 2 off Ruth was a shot to right-center at Braves Field, where straightaway center field was 550 feet from home plate and the left-field and right-field foul poles were both situated at 402 feet, leaving a cavernous expanse in which balls could roll. When the series moved to Brooklyn, Boston third baseman Larry Gardner took advantage by clubbing a homer over the short 301-foot wall in right at Ebbets Field. A day later, Gardner took advantage of the marked asymmetry at Ebbets by knocking an inside-the-park homer to left-center, with left field at 419 feet and center at 450 feet away from home plate.

8. Red Sox manager Bill Carrigan retired after the series ...
... to become a banker. Carrigan was the player-manager of the Red Sox for four seasons from 1913-16, leading the team to a fourth-place finish in '13 before finishing second in '14 and winning a pair of World Series rings in 1915-16, becoming the only Red Sox manager to win multiple titles until Terry Francona won a pair in 2004 and '07. Despite that success, he chose to step away from baseball immediately following the 1916 World Series to go into banking in Maine. He tried to make a comeback in the late '20s, but his teams finished in last place in all three seasons.

9. The Red Sox and Dodgers wouldn't meet again until 2002
The 86-year drought between meetings makes more sense when you consider that the Red Sox only won four AL pennants between 1918 and 2004, and Interleague Play wasn't introduced until 1997. The Dodgers swept the Red Sox at Dodger Stadium when the clubs finally met again in 2002, and they've only faced off 12 more times since then. Since that 1916 World Series, the Dodgers are tied for the second-fewest games against the Red Sox in MLB, ahead of only the Reds. In fact, the Dodgers have only won once at Fenway Park since it opened in 1912.

10. The series began the longest gap between World Series meetings in MLB history
Given how infrequently the Dodgers and Red Sox meet in general, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise, then, that the 102 years between matchups in the World Series between the franchises is the longest in Major League history. In second place, the A's and Giants went 76 years between Fall Classic showdowns, while the Phillies and Yankees round out the top three, having played 59 years apart.

Do-Hyoung Park is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter at @dohyoungpark.

Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers

Here's how this year's World Series teams were built

MLB.com @JonathanMayo

A year ago, the World Series pitted the best team in the American League, the Houston Astros, against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The cast has changed a bit this time around, but it's once again the Dodgers facing the best the AL has to offer -- this time, the Boston Red Sox.

For the second year in a row, the AL team with the highest cumulative WAR among the players on its postseason roster is playing for a World Series ring. The Red Sox's 56.3 WAR ranked just ahead of the Astros (56.1), the team they just beat in the ALCS. In 2017, the Dodgers ranked second among NL playoff teams in WAR. This time around, they were easily No. 1, at 54.7, with the just-dispatched Brewers second at 45.0.

A year ago, the World Series pitted the best team in the American League, the Houston Astros, against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The cast has changed a bit this time around, but it's once again the Dodgers facing the best the AL has to offer -- this time, the Boston Red Sox.

For the second year in a row, the AL team with the highest cumulative WAR among the players on its postseason roster is playing for a World Series ring. The Red Sox's 56.3 WAR ranked just ahead of the Astros (56.1), the team they just beat in the ALCS. In 2017, the Dodgers ranked second among NL playoff teams in WAR. This time around, they were easily No. 1, at 54.7, with the just-dispatched Brewers second at 45.0.


(Click here to view a full-size version of this infographic)

In many ways, these two World Series rosters mirror each other, not only in how they were constructed, but in where the value has come from. Both World Series participants have used trades more than any other avenue to build their potential championship squads, with some of the smaller deals being as, if not more, impactful than any blockbusters.

Both teams have a fair amount of homegrown talent, with the Dodgers having the edge there. The Red Sox have played more actively on the free-agent market, while the Dodgers have had some under-the-radar signings pay huge dividends.

World Series presented by YouTube TV, Game 1: Tuesday, 8:09 p.m. ET/5:09 p.m. PT on FOX

Here's a closer look at how these organizations used the Draft, international signings, the free-agent market and trades to build their teams, with each category broken down by the number of players on the team's postseason roster and the value each player had over the course of the season, as calculated by Baseball-Reference's Wins Above Replacement measurement.

HOMEGROWN (Draft + international)

Red Sox: 9 players, 21.6 WAR
Dodgers: 11 players, 21.6 WAR

DRAFT

Red Sox: 7 players, 17.8 WAR
Matt Barnes (1.1), Andrew Benintendi (3.9), Mookie Betts (10.9), Jackie Bradley Jr. (2.1), Blake Swihart (-0.3), Christian Vazquez (-0.8), Brandon Workman (0.9)

The 2011 Draft has proven to be very fruitful for the Red Sox, even if it's taken some time. Barnes was the team's first pick at No. 19 overall, and while it took him some time to find his niche, he's become an integral part of the bullpen. Seven picks later, Swihart was taken from the New Mexico high school ranks, while the organization got Bradley Jr. coming off of a subpar junior season at the University of South Carolina at No. 40. Of course the steal of the Draft was getting Betts, the MVP candidate, in the fifth round. For most of the year, he, Bradley Jr., and Andrew Benintendi (No. 7 overall pick in 2015) have made up an all-homegrown outfield.

Dodgers: 5 players, 14.3 WAR
Cody Bellinger (4.2), Walker Buehler (3.5), Caleb Ferguson (0.3), Clayton Kershaw (4.0), Joc Pederson (2.3)

While the Dodgers tend to be known for big trades and big free-agent acquisitions, they had as many homegrown players on their postseason roster as any team in this year's playoffs. They didn't miss when given a top 10 pick (Kershaw, No. 7 in 2006) or when they were picking toward the end of the first round (Buehler, No. 24, 2015), but they also did well in identifying talent in later rounds and going over slot to sign them, nabbing Bellinger in the fourth round of the 2013 Draft and Pederson in the 11th round back in 2010.

:: World Series schedule and results ::

INTERNATIONAL

Red Sox: 2 players, 3.8 WAR
Xander Bogaerts (3.8), Rafael Devers (0.0)

Devers had an uneven regular season but is coming off of a big ALCS (.385 with a homer and six RBIs) while Bogaerts has settled in at shortstop quite nicely.

Dodgers: 6 players, 7.3 WAR
Julio Urias (0.3), Pedro Baez (0.7), Kenley Jansen (0.6), Kenta Maeda (0.4), Yasiel Puig (2.7), Hyun-Jin Ryu (2.6)

No team has more international presence than Los Angeles, and the Dodgers have paid handsomely to do it, giving seven figures and then some for Maeda, Puig and Ryu.

FREE AGENTS

Red Sox: 4 players, 13.2 WAR
Dodgers: 2 players, 8.7 WAR 

Red Sox: Ryan Brasier (1.5), J.D. Martinez (6.4), Mitch Moreland (0.9), David Price (4.4)

The Red Sox are looking into manipulating their defensive alignment to get Martinez, whose five-year contract this offseason drew criticism from some, into the lineup in the NL park. Price is coming off perhaps the best postseason outing of his career in Game 5 of the ALCS. But with those big names, it might be Brasier who is the most interesting free-agent signing, and a Minor League one at that. Beginning the year in the Minors after pitching in Japan in 2017, Brasier has become indispensable out of the pen, pitching in seven postseason games and posting seven shutout innings.

Dodgers: Max Muncy (4.2), Justin Turner (4.5)

They may have been small and quiet at the time -- both were Minor League deals -- but it's hard to imagine this Dodgers team being where they are without either of these free-agent signings. Turner's impact has been long-standing, as he's been a top 10 MVP vote-getter twice and an All-Star since signing in 2014. The '17 NLCS MVP has helped the Dodgers reach the postseason every year since he came to Los Angeles. Muncy started the year as a utility type, then settled in at first base, with his 35 homers tying for fifth in the NL this season.

TRADES

Red Sox: 12 players, 22.7 WAR
Dodgers: 12 players, 24.4 WAR

Red Sox: Nathan Eovaldi (1.5), Heath Hembree (1.7), Brock Holt (1.3), Joe Kelly (0.5), Craig Kimbrel (2.3), Ian Kinsler (2.4), Sandy Leon (-0.5), Eduardo Nunez (-1.1), Steve Pearce (1.4), Rick Porcello (3.3), Eduardo Rodriguez (3.0), Chris Sale (6.9)

Boston's postseason pitching staff has largely been built via trades. Five wins and five saves (all from Kimbrel) came from trade acquisitions this postseason. Kinsler was their big Deadline deal, and he's helped solidify second base with Dustin Pedroia hurt, though getting Eovaldi from the Rays may have made more of an impact, as he's been one of the most consistent arms on the staff. They've also found value in smaller deals, like the one in June for Pearce, who has become the regular first baseman on this squad.

Dodgers: Austin Barnes (0.5), Brian Dozier (1.0), Ryan Madson (-0.6), Dylan Floro (1.8), David Freese (2.1), Yasmani Grandal (3.3), Enrique Hernandez (2.8), Rich Hill (1.3), Matt Kemp (1.1), Manny Machado (5.7), Alex Wood (1.3), Chris Taylor (4.1)

As little credit as the Dodgers get for their homegrown-ness, the assessment that they can, and do, go out and make trades to help get them this far is completely on point. Sometimes it's smaller trades, like for Taylor or Hill, that have a larger impact than anticipated. But for two years in a row, they've gone out and made big deals at the Deadline for the postseason. Last year, it was Yu Darvish; this year, obviously, it was Machado, who is coming off a contentious NLCS, but one in which he hit .296 (8-for-27) with a double, a homer and three RBIs.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

No days off: Kershaw spotted in Fenway bullpen

Clayton Kershaw closed out the Dodgers' Game 7 win in the NLCS about a half-hour before midnight ET on Saturday night. That meant he had about 48 hours before he needed to be on the mound as the likely starter for Game 1 of the World Series against the Red Sox.

Kershaw wasn't interested in rest and relaxation, though. Less than a day after the Dodgers' victory, the left-hander was spotted on an empty Fenway Park bullpen mound on Sunday night.

Rumors: Kikuchi, Pollock, Girardi, Corbin

The latest MLB free agent and trade rumors for Hot Stove season
MLB.com

As the postseason concludes, Hot Stove season begins. MLB.com is keeping track of all the latest free agent and trade rumors right here.

• Complete list of free agents this offseason 

As the postseason concludes, Hot Stove season begins. MLB.com is keeping track of all the latest free agent and trade rumors right here.

• Complete list of free agents this offseason 

Report: Seibu Lions will post Kikuchi if left-hander wants to pursue MLB opportunity
Oct. 22: Yusei Kikuchi wasn't ready to discuss his future after the Seibu Lions' season came to an end with a loss in Game 5 of the Pacific League Climax Series on Sunday, but many expect the Japanese left-hander to make a move for Major League Baseball this offseason.

According to a report from the Japan Times, the Lions said Sunday that they would make Kikuchi available to MLB clubs via the posting system if that is the route the southpaw wants to take.

As MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi noted in August, multiple MLB scouts believe Kikuchi has the ceiling of a No. 2 starter in the big leagues.

The 27-year-old has recorded a 2.77 ERA with 903 strikeouts over 1,010 2/3 innings during his career in Japan. He spent some time on the disabled list with left shoulder stiffness in 2018, but still finished with a 3.08 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP over 163 2/3 frames.

After Sunday's loss, Kikuchi said there were no plans yet to sit down with the Lions to discuss his future, and he declined to speculate on his next step.

"The season just ended," Kikuchi said. "I'll spend some time with my family. That's all I'm thinking about."

Pollock shaping up to be best option among available center fielders
Oct. 22: While the corner-outfield market is flush with free-agent options, including Bryce Harper, Michael Brantley, Andrew McCutchen, Nick Markakis and Carlos Gonzalez, A.J. Pollock will likely be the most attractive center fielder available this offseason.

As a result, there should be heavy competition for Pollock's services, even though the veteran is set to turn 31 years old this December and has played fewer than 115 games in each of the past three years due to injuries.

Pollock is eligible to receive a $17.9 million qualifying offer from the D-backs, though it's not a foregone conclusion that the club will extend one his way. If he receives a qualifying offer from Arizona and subsequently rejects it, other clubs would need to forfeit one or more Draft picks to sign him, which could give some teams pause.

But Pollock ultimately shouldn't have a problem finding a home, with the Indians, Mariners, Giants, Mets and Rangers among those in obvious need of a center fielder. The Rockies could also be in that mix if they opt to move Charlie Blackmon to a corner-outfield spot and aren't comfortable with David Dahl as the everyday center fielder.

Is Girardi waiting for managerial position to open up in Chicago?
Oct. 22: Joe Girardi was believed to be a frontrunner for the Reds' managerial job before removing his name from consideration Friday. The industry speculation, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman, is that Girardi, an Illinois native, is waiting for a manager job to open up with one of the two Chicago clubs.

Tweet from @JonHeyman: Girardi surprised reds by pulling out Friday. He had a chance to win job at that point but they never got to point of talking money with him. He also pulled out of rangers derby. Industry speculation: he���s waiting a year on Chicago

Girardi last managed in 2017, taking the Yankees to Game 7 of the ALCS before losing to the eventual World Series-champion Astros. During an 11-year career as a manager with the Marlins and Yankees, Girardi has gone 988-794 (.554) with one World Series title (2009).

Cubs manager Joe Maddon has one year remaining on his contract, and there was some chatter that the club would look to go in a different direction this offseason after it lost to the Rockies at home in the National League Wild Card Game, but president of baseball operations Theo Epstein confirmed that Maddon would be back in 2019.

Rick Renteria will also return next season as the manager of the White Sox, but his future beyond 2019 is uncertain. Another uncertainty is whether the club would even want Girardi at the helm, as the Yankees reportedly moved on from the skipper because he had trouble connecting with young players. The White Sox are in the midst of a rebuild that will see many top prospects reach the Majors within the next one to two years to join those who have already debuted, such as 23-year-old Yoan Moncada, making Girardi a questionable fit.

Free agent market for starting pitchers headlined by Corbin, Eovaldi
Oct. 20: In a relatively thin starting pitcher market this year, the field will be headlined by left-hander Patrick Corbin and right-hander Nathan Eovaldi. Corbin, 29, is coming off a breakout season for the D-backs, going 11-7 with a 3.15 ERA over 33 starts, earning his second career All-Star selection. According to the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo, Corbin will be sought after by the Yankees, Dodgers, Giants and Braves. Cafardo also posits Corbin could be offered a deal in the neighborhood of at least five years and $20 million to $25 million.

Eovaldi, 28, has boosted his stock ahead of free agency this winter with two stellar postseason starts for the Red Sox, Cafardo notes. The right-hander has a 1.88 ERA over two starts between the AL Division Series against the Yankees and the AL Championship Series against the Astros. Cafardo compares Eovaldi to Alex Cobb, who also returned following Tommy John surgery and landed a four-year, $57 million deal with the Orioles last offseason.

Cafardo also mentions J.A. Happ, the veteran left-hander who may garner interest from the Yankees and Astros. Happ posted a 2.69 ERA in seven starts for New York after being acquired in a trade with the Blue Jays. Two other notable free-agents-to-be are Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton. Keuchel, 30, posted a 3.74 ERA in 34 starts for the Astros. Morton, 34, had another solid season (3.13 ERA over 30 starts), and could draw interest from the Yankees and Red Sox, according to Cafardo.

Machado's controversial week not expected to impact value to free agent suitors
Oct. 20: Milwaukee fans at Miller Park weren't all too happy to see impending free agent Manny Machado in Games 6 and 7 of the National League Championship Series after his controversial week, and they made their displeasure known with a hearty round of boos as Machado stepped to the plate, which turned to cheers when Wade Miley struck Machado out swinging during Game 6. Machado was seen gesturing to the crowd as if to egg them on as he walked into the dugout following the strikeout.

After hitting a solo homer and two-run single in Game 1 and following that up with a 2-for-3 showing in Game 3, Machado cooled down over the course of the week, going 1-for-12 with two walks (one intentional) in Games 4, 5 and 6. But he had a 2-for-4 showing with a pair of singles in Game 7, which the Dodgers won to advance to their second straight World Series. The first hit was particularly significant, a bunt single ahead of Cody Bellinger in the second inning. Bellinger proceeded to launch a two-run homer to give Los Angeles the lead.

The week, of course, also included the incident in which Machado clipped Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar's foot while running through first base, prompting Christian Yelich to call Machado a "dirty player," and his interview with MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal in which Machado called hustling not his "cup of tea."

But through all of the controversy, Machado is still one of the most tantalizing talents in baseball entering free agency at the young age of 26, and as MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi points out, Machado's 175 homers through his age-25 season ranked fifth all-time among infielders, behind only Alex Rodriguez, Eddie Mathews, Jimmie Foxx and Orlando Cepeda.

Video: NLCS Gm6: Machado on Game 6 loss, handling the boos

Those accomplishments, as well as Machado's bounceback defense with the Dodgers, his positional flexibility and his contact rate, make it difficult for the controversy to move the needle on his free agency significantly -- a high-ranking club executive told Morosi that the impact to Machado should be "minimal," with agreement from others around baseball.

The market as a whole -- not individual front offices -- will ultimately dictate Machado's overall value come free agency, meaning that as long as interest from other clubs holds steady, his ultimate contract shouldn't be too highly affected by all the recent news.

As MLB Network insider Jon Heyman noted in an article for Fancred Sports, the Yankees should be firmly in play for Machado, especially with Didi Gregorius' recent Tommy John surgery. New York has tried to land Machado before, and Machado's interest in joining the Yankees was documented back in August, when Heyman reported that people close to the slugger were suggesting that the club was his first choice in free agency.

Heyman also said in an appearance on "The Rundown" on Thursday that the Phillies are prepared to pursue Machado and fellow uber-free agent Bryce Harper, and many expect them to come away with at least one.

"People around baseball are going to be surprised if [the Phillies] don't get at least one of these two players, and maybe both," Heyman said.

Will Grandal's struggles boost market for Ramos?
Oct. 20: There are going to be a slew of teams in the market for a catcher this offseason, possibly including playoff hopefuls like the Dodgers, Rockies, Rays, Brewers, Red Sox, A's, Astros, Braves, Phillies and Nationals.

Even in light of his well-documented struggles this postseason, Dodgers backstop Yasmani Grandal should still be one of the most highly coveted catchers in free agency -- though any loss to Grandal's stock from his October performance figures to benefit Wilson Ramos, the other premier catcher on the market entering 2019.

The 29-year-old Grandal could hardly have drawn up a worse postseason to cap his walk year. After going 1-for-13 with five strikeouts in the NL Division Series against the Braves, Grandal was 2-for-8 with five strikeouts in his two NLCS starts, but more concerningly, he had three passed balls in those two starts and also committed two errors in Game 1, when he became the first catcher in postseason history with multiple errors and multiple passed balls in a game.

Video: NLCS Gm 3: Grandal discusses defensive performance

For the second straight postseason, Grandal finds himself losing significant playing time to Austin Barnes, who started Games 4, 5 and 6 behind the plate. Last season, Barnes started 13 playoff games, including all seven World Series games, and Grandal started only two. That's concerning in Grandal's last showcase before hitting free agency, but it's worth noting that Grandal is still coming off a regular season in which he posted a career-best full-season OPS+ (121), with his 24 homers and .241/.349/.466 slash line all near his career highs.

Ramos, a year older than Grandal, was sidelined for part of the 2018 season with a hamstring injury and missed his first career All-Star Game start as a result, but posted a .337/.396/.483 slash line for the Phillies in 33 games following his return from injury, capping a season with a career-best 130 OPS+.

The other factor that might slightly increase Ramos' appeal is that due to his midseason trade from the Rays, he's not eligible for a qualifying offer from the Phillies before he hits free agency, whereas Grandal is a solid candidate for a qualifying offer (reportedly valued at $17.9 million for 2019) from the Dodgers. If Grandal were to reject a qualifying offer, the team signing him would forfeit one or more Draft picks, while a Ramos signing would not be subject to such a penalty.

Miley continues surprising 2018 with solid Game 6 start
Oct. 20: Wade Miley might not be one of the premier names on the free agent market this offseason, but he's made a big splash this postseason due to both his solid work on the mound and his unorthodox usage in manager Craig Counsell's unique pitching plan. Couple that with his strong regular season, and he could be a solid option in free agency for teams looking for rotation depth and a veteran presence.

The left-hander hadn't allowed a run in three postseason "starts" prior to his NLCS Game 6 start on Friday, when he went 4 1/3 innings and allowed two runs -- a leadoff homer and RBI double by David Freese -- while striking out four and walking two.

Video: NLCS Game 6: Wade Miley discusses forcing a Game 7

Earlier in October, he pitched 4 2/3 shutout innings at Coors Field to clinch the NLDS for the Brewers and followed that up with 5 2/3 shutout innings of two-hit ball in NLCS Game 2 at Miller Park. Though he faced a first-and-second, two-out jam in the second inning, he induced a foul pop from Freese before retiring the next seven batters in order.

The Brewers might not have been in the postseason at all had it not been for Miley, who helped stabilize the flux in Milwaukee's starting rotation by going 5-2 with a 2.57 ERA in 16 starts, mostly from July on, after he was signed to a Minor League contract in the offseason. Gio Gonzalez will also hit free agency for the Brewers whenever their 2018 season comes to an end.

World Series Game 1: Lineups, bullpens, FAQs

MLB.com

Two of baseball's most historic teams -- the Red Sox and Dodgers -- are set to meet in what should be a thrilling World Series. The fun starts on Tuesday night at Fenway Park when arguably the two most dominant lefties in the Majors face off. Chris Sale will start for the Red Sox, and the Dodgers are waiting to decide whether Clayton Kershaw will be ready to take the ball after pitching the ninth inning of the National League Championship Series clincher on Saturday. Fellow lefty Rich Hill is likely to start if the L.A. ace needs more time (although Kershaw was spotted throwing in the Fenway bullpen Sunday night).

World Series presented by YouTube TV, Game 1: Tuesday, 8:09 p.m. ET on FOX

View Full Game Coverage

Two of baseball's most historic teams -- the Red Sox and Dodgers -- are set to meet in what should be a thrilling World Series. The fun starts on Tuesday night at Fenway Park when arguably the two most dominant lefties in the Majors face off. Chris Sale will start for the Red Sox, and the Dodgers are waiting to decide whether Clayton Kershaw will be ready to take the ball after pitching the ninth inning of the National League Championship Series clincher on Saturday. Fellow lefty Rich Hill is likely to start if the L.A. ace needs more time (although Kershaw was spotted throwing in the Fenway bullpen Sunday night).

World Series presented by YouTube TV, Game 1: Tuesday, 8:09 p.m. ET on FOX

View Full Game Coverage

Managers Alex Cora and Dave Roberts are good friends and former teammates. In fact, Cora and Roberts both played for the Red Sox and Dodgers. Look for Roberts to get a nice ovation when he is introduced at Fenway prior to Game 1. His stolen base in Game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship Series against the Yankees will never be forgotten.

:: World Series schedule and results ::

Here is a primer to get you ready for a Fall Classic that features two star-studded rosters and solid role players on both sides.

What might the starting lineups look like?
Dodgers: Roberts used a different leadoff hitter in each of the last four games in the National League Championship Series. Good luck guessing his lineup, but here's one possibility:

1. Chris Taylor, LF
2. Justin Turner, 3B
3. David Freese, 1B
4. Manny Machado, SS
5. Matt Kemp, DH
6. Brian Dozier, 2B
7. Cody Bellinger, CF
8. Yasiel Puig, RF
9. Austin Barnes, C

Red Sox: The most balanced lineup in MLB this season now takes its act to the World Series. With Kershaw expected to pitch Game 1, Cora will likely stack the deck with right-handed hitters, as he's done against other lefties in this postseason. This means that Steve Pearce will start at first base instead of Mitch Moreland, and Eduardo Nunez at third base instead of Rafael Devers, who belted a three-run homer in the clinching Game 5 of the ALCS against the Astros. Though Cora has more or less turned the catching reins over to Christian Vazquez of late, the slumping Sandy Leon has caught Sale all season, and that could again be the case in the World Series.

1. Mookie Betts, RF
2. Andrew Benintendi, LF
3. J.D. Martinez, DH
4. Xander Bogaerts, SS
5. Steve Pearce, 1B
6. Eduardo Nunez, 3B
7. Ian Kinsler, 2B
8. Sandy Leon, C
9. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

Who are the starting pitchers?
Dodgers: The Dodgers on Sunday were not quite ready to commit the start to Kershaw, who made the final 15 pitches on Saturday night in Milwaukee. Roberts said if Kershaw doesn't start the opener against the Red Sox, the nod will go to Hill and Kershaw will start Game 2 on Wednesday night. 

Video: Debating which team has the pitching advantage in WS

Red Sox: Red Sox ace Sale (12-4, 2.11) has been the best lefty starter in the AL over the past several years, so it's only fitting he faces the guy who has that same distinction in the NL. Sale will be fired up for his first World Series game. He did have issues down the stretch, pitching just 17 innings from July 28 through the end of the regular season due to left shoulder inflammation. After Sale had an impressive showing against the Yankees in Game 1 of the AL Division Series, his velocity and command were lacking in his no-decision in Game 1 in the next round against the Astros. Sale had a stomach virus right after that start against Houston and will be on nine days' rest when the World Series starts. Extra rest has generally been a good thing for Sale this season.

Video: ALCS Gm1: Sale strikes out 5 over 4 innings in Game 1

How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Dodgers: The Dodgers' bullpen had a 1.45 ERA in the NLCS. Not only is Kenley Jansen back, Pedro Baez remains unexpectedly dominant and Ryan Madson is the calm in a storm. Kenta Maeda hasn't been the impact setup man as expected, but with Dylan Floro, Caleb Ferguson and Alex Wood, Los Angeles' bullpen is deep and versatile. Of course, the Dodgers thought they had a superb relief corps going into last year's World Series, when Jansen and Brandon Morrow appeared to wilt under a heavy workload.

Video: NLCS Gm7: Madson K's 2 over 1 2/3, earns Game 7 win

Red Sox: Boston's bullpen, much-maligned despite finishing fourth in the AL in ERA this season, had a strong showing in the ALCS. Pitchers have found their roles, and Cora has gained confidence in them. Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier are the two relievers Cora trusts the most in the setup role. Closer Craig Kimbrel had struggled in this postseason until the Game 5 clincher against Houston, when he fixed an issue of tipping pitches that former Dodgers closer Eric Gagne pointed out to him, and he was dominant in closing out the Astros. The addition of Steven Wright, who missed the first two rounds of the postseason due to a right knee injury, could be a big boost for Cora and lessen the need for him to use his starters in relief.

• Wright making case to be on Sox's WS roster

Video: ALCS Gm5: Red Sox win the American League pennant

Are there any relievers who are unavailable?
Dodgers: No.

Red Sox: Everyone is available, assuming Wright is placed on the roster.

Any injuries of note?
Dodgers: None known. Joc Pederson started Game 7 after being hit by a 96-mph fastball on the right wrist in Game 6 but had only one at-bat, a groundout, before he was replaced after a pitcher change.

Video: NLCS Gm6: Pederson stays in after getting hit on hand

Red Sox: Nunez has been bothered by right ankle issues since the regular-season finale, so the rest between rounds will likely do him some good. Moreland injured his right hamstring in Game 2 of the ALDS and has only started once since then. He still isn't running at full speed but will probably start against right-handed starters in the World Series.

Who is hot and who is not?
Dodgers: Taylor hit a quiet .364 against the Brewers and Puig hit .333, including his crucial three-run home run in Game 7. But even in the clincher, the Dodgers went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, so there are still chinks in the offensive armor, but the one hit was Puig's blast. Max Muncy and Enrique Hernandez really struggled in the NLCS, Muncy with 13 strikeouts in 22 at-bats and Hernandez going 1-for-14 with eight strikeouts. The bullpen has been nearly untouchable, but the starting rotation unpredictable.

Video: NLCS Gm7: Puig smashes 3-run homer to center in 6th

Red Sox: Considering Bradley hit .200 in the ALCS, it's hard to classify him as hot. But he has made his hits count. The three he had against the Astros added up to nine RBIs and led to the center fielder earning ALCS Most Valuable Player Award honors. Betts has shown flashes of brilliance in the postseason, but he hasn't gotten hot yet. This probably means he will. In 39 postseason at-bats, Betts is hitting .205 with no homers and three RBIs. The Dodgers have a rotation that is lefty-dominant, so it will be interesting to see how Cora deploys left-handed hitters Devers and Moreland, who have both swung the bat well when they've played this postseason. Leon continues to be close to an automatic out. Since Aug. 25, the switch-hitter has two hits in his last 52 at-bats. He has a .149 OPS over that stretch.

Video: ALCS Gm5: Bradley Jr. named MVP of the ALCS

Anything else fans might want to know?
There's a 50 percent chance of showers in Boston on Tuesday night with forecasted temperatures in the mid-40s. … This is the first time the Dodgers have played at Fenway Park since 2010. … The last time the teams met was 2016, when Los Angeles took two out of three. … Kershaw has never faced the Red Sox. … Sale doesn't have much more history with the Dodgers. He last faced them on June 15, 2012, taking a no-decision at Dodger Stadium. Sale's only other appearance against them was in relief in 2011. ... These two iconic franchises have met just once in the World Series, in 1916, when the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn and known then as the Robins. The Red Sox won in five games in the second of three World Series titles won in four years from 1915-1918 prior to a drought that lasted until Boston again won the World Series in 2004.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers

Marlins make big splash, ink Mesa brothers

No. 1 international prospect Victor Victor signed for $5.25 million
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

MIAMI -- The Marlins have become major players on the international stage.

After nearly two decades of not dabbling significantly in Latin American prospects, the Marlins on Monday announced the signings of Cuban outfield prospects Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Mesa Jr., sending a signal to the industry that Miami intends to be active on the international front.

MIAMI -- The Marlins have become major players on the international stage.

After nearly two decades of not dabbling significantly in Latin American prospects, the Marlins on Monday announced the signings of Cuban outfield prospects Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Mesa Jr., sending a signal to the industry that Miami intends to be active on the international front.

The brothers were introduced at a news conference attended by Marlins chief executive officer Derek Jeter and president of baseball operations Michael Hill.

Video: Derek Jeter discusses Marlins signing Mesa brothers

"From Day One, we stressed as an organization, the importance of building this organization with depth in the Minor League system, and the need to invest in the international market," Jeter said. "Today, we have done just that. We have had the opportunity to sign two of the top prospects in the international class."

• Marlins changed their Twitter name to celebrate

Victor Victor, 22, is considered to be Double-A ready, but the Marlins will wait to see how he performs in big league camp in Spring Training before deciding where he will start off in 2019. This offseason, he may play winter ball in the Dominican Republic.

Video: Victor Victor Mesa discusses signing with Marlins

Victor Jr., 17, has been a switch-hitter, who likely will hit exclusively left-handed in pro ball. He likely will get some playing time in a few weeks with the Marlins' Dominican instructional league squad.

According to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez, Victor Victor will receive about $5.25 million, and his younger brother agreed to $1 million.

"Since they left Cuba, it's just been training for them," Hill said. "We're excited that they're signed now. We're going to continue the discussion of what's next for them, because it's late October now. We do have our Dominican instructional league that just started, and the Dominican Winter League is going on. We still have to decide what's next, but the first part of it was making them Marlins."

Victor Victor is ranked No. 1 on the international prospects list by MLB Pipeline.

Video: Top International Prospects: Victor Victor Mesa, OF

Signing the Mesa brothers is the Marlins' biggest international free-agent splash since securing the services of Miguel Cabrera as a 16-year-old from Venezuela in 1999. Cabrera came to terms for around $2 million, and he's gone on to build Hall of Fame-worthy credentials.

"I'm just very proud to be part of the organization, and be part of the city," Victor Victor said through an interpreter. "All the culture here is one of the things I like the most."

For the Marlins, the signings are expected to help the organization on and off the field, in a market that has a large Cuban community. But Jeter added that ultimately, it is about putting a winner on the field.

"They're both great players," Jeter said. "Obviously, on the business side [it helps], but the bottom line is we feel like we got two of the top players on the international market. We're going to invest in international talent. We're not just doing it to appease fans. We're doing it because we want these players to come up and perform and help us win.

Exactly what to expect from the Mesas is still relatively unknown, because the two departed from Cuba in May, and there isn't a long history of evaluations on either of them.

Victor Victor batted .354 with seven home runs and 40 stolen bases in the 2016-17 season for Serie Nacional in Cuba. In the '17 World Baseball Classic, he was 3-for-7 with two doubles.

Victor Jr., hit .320 (8-for-25) for the Cuban 18U team in the 2017 World Cup.

Video: Hill discusses impact of Mesa brothers on Marlins

What is known is that the Mesa brothers have strong baseball bloodlines. Their father, Victor Mesa Sr., was a star outfielder in Cuba for nearly two decades. He's also been a longtime coach on the island.

"I think this was a family decision," Hill said. "You're talking about two very talented brothers. You could see that the dad was very proud of both, and we're very happy we were able to get both."

The general opinion is if Victor Victor had been in the June MLB Draft, he would have been considered a first-round talent.

Instagram from @victormesajr10: A legend of baseball 🙏⚾️ #mikelowell

On Friday night, Victor Victor Mesa posted a photo on Instagram of himself and his brother sitting in the Marlins' clubhouse. The two held the Cuban flag, and behind them were white Marlins jerseys, sporting their names and the No. 32.

Instagram from @victorvictormesa: 5 de octubre 2018Representando 🇨 #victorvictormesa

The picture was taken on Oct. 5 when the Mesa brothers and fellow Cuban prospect Sandy Gaston held their showcase for more than 75 scouts at Marlins Park.

To secure their services, the Marlins made three trades in October to acquire international bonus pool money. Earlier in the month, they dealt Minor League right-hander Ryan Lillie to the Reds for $750,000 and a few days later sent reliever Kyle Barraclough to the Nationals for $1 million.

Video: Victor Mesa Jr. talks about signing with Marlins

Last Tuesday, prospects Adonis Gaston and Brayan De Paula were dealt to the Astros for $500,000.

The three trades boosted Miami from $4.3 million of international pool money to around $6.55 million. Only the Orioles had about the same amount of bonus money to spend.

With Miami's large Cuban community, the Marlins sold to the Mesa brothers that the market was a natural fit for them.

"When I was doing the showcase, I was thinking this could someday be my park," Victor Jr. said in Spanish.

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Miami Marlins

Will the Yankees chase Machado this winter?

MLB.com @BryanHoch

NEW YORK -- With the Yankees idle for their ninth consecutive World Series, the framework for their offseason will be constructed beginning on Monday, as general manager Brian Cashman prepares to head the club's annual professional scouting meetings at Yankee Stadium.

Cashman's baseball operations department is gathering the analytics numbers-crunchers with their more traditional scouts, spending the better part of three days highlighting which areas the club can improve upon to ensure they play deeper into the autumn of 2019.

NEW YORK -- With the Yankees idle for their ninth consecutive World Series, the framework for their offseason will be constructed beginning on Monday, as general manager Brian Cashman prepares to head the club's annual professional scouting meetings at Yankee Stadium.

Cashman's baseball operations department is gathering the analytics numbers-crunchers with their more traditional scouts, spending the better part of three days highlighting which areas the club can improve upon to ensure they play deeper into the autumn of 2019.

The Yankees' decision-makers will evaluate the free-agent market and list their preferences, engage other clubs about what is available on the trade front, then weigh that information against the internal talent pool.

"I think it's been a very healthy process for us to run through every year, to set up the winter program," Cashman said. "It'll take us wherever it takes us, so we'll be in a better situation to evaluate any outside opportunities, be it trade or free agency, whether it's pitcher or position player. We'll factor it all in."

Here are some of the most significant topics that will likely be discussed:

Manny Machado
Didi Gregorius' surprise Tommy John surgery inspired calls for the Yankees to pursue Machado, who will become one of the premier free agents in this class when his Dodgers' World Series run concludes. His recent "Johnny Hustle" comments aside, the Yankees expressed interest in acquiring Machado from the Orioles in July and little has changed to sway that viewpoint -- even with a price tag that could exceed $300 million. Another piece of a Machado pursuit: if he were to slide to third base at some point, how would that impact Miguel Andujar, who may well be the American League Rookie of the Year Award winner?

Middle infield
What if Machado signs elsewhere? With a June-to-August window for Gregorius' anticipated return, the Yankees will need help in the keystone. Gleyber Torres is considered their most capable internal shortstop and could slide over to the other side of the second-base bag, with Tyler Wade and Ronald Torreyes having been listed among their other in-house options. Neil Walker is about to become a free agent, but he could be amenable to a return. Adeiny Hechavarria was also a useful pickup and would be worth considering.

Starting pitching
Cashman said that seeking starting pitching will be a "focus point." There are vacancies to be filled, with J.A. Happ and CC Sabathia eligible for free agency, and the club open-minded toward moving Sonny Gray in a trade. Patrick Corbin is believed to be among the Yankees' top targets and has made no secret of his desire to wear pinstripes. The left-hander would probably fall behind Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka as a solid mid-rotation starter, albeit one who could be immensely valuable. Cashman said that he hopes the Yankees are "lucky enough to sign" Happ, and Sabathia would like to return. Lance Lynn is also about to become a free agent.

Video: Cashman on Gray's future with the Yankees

First base
Did Luke Voit prove that he is the real deal? Does Greg Bird deserve another chance after his lost season? Those viewpoints will certainly be volleyed as the Yankees debate their first-base situation. Some in the organization believe Bird was never fully healthy in 2018 and could still provide the impact left-handed bat that was expected, though Voit has earned first crack at the job. Cashman said Voit "kicked the door in" and turned out to be the best bat moved at this year's non-waiver Trade Deadline.

The outfield
The longest-tenured Yankee has an uncertain future in the Bronx, as Brett Gardner's $12.5 million team option comes with a $2 million buyout. The 35-year-old is an important part of the team's chemistry and an excellent defender, but he batted a below-average .236/.322/.368 in 2018. The mix is crowded with Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton all requiring playing time, plus the expected returns of Clint Frazier and Jacoby Ellsbury from injuries. Could it be time to extend Hicks? Also, Andrew McCutchen fit in nicely after his Aug. 31 acquisition and could entertain a return.

Bullpen
The relief crew should still be a strength leading up to closer Aroldis Chapman, but there are calls to be made here. The most prominent could be Zach Britton, who was a nice pickup in late July and has said he doesn't necessarily need to be the ninth-inning guy. David Robertson would also like to return; it is interesting that Robertson has elected to forego an agent and will be representing himself this winter. Dellin Betances is in his last year of arbitration eligibility.

Dollars and cents
Cashman said that it represented "mission accomplished" to keep payroll below $197 million in 2018, resetting the penalty rate for the competitive balance tax. As such, managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner should be more amenable to huge expenditures as he outlines the budget for '19. That's why a spending spree for the top free agents -- Machado, Bryce Harper, perhaps even Clayton Kershaw -- can't be ruled out. The Yankees could be the biggest noise-makers at the upcoming Winter Meetings, to begin Dec. 9 in Las Vegas.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

New York Yankees

Victor Victor Mesa joins ... Miami Miami Marlins

The Marlins announced on Monday the signings of Cuban outfield prospects Victor Victor Mesa and his brother, Victor Mesa Jr. Victor Victor is the No. 1 ranked international prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. This is big news to the team. So big, in fact, they wanted to make sure its Twitter account reflected it. 

Mets cut GM search to three candidates

MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

NEW YORK -- The Mets have pared their general manager search to three candidates, who will receive callback interviews this week, according to a source. Chaim Bloom, Doug Melvin and Brodie Van Wagenen are the finalists.

Bloom, 35, is the youngest and most analytically minded interviewee. Overseeing all baseball operations functions in Tampa Bay, from contract negotiations to international scouting, Bloom helped construct a team that finished 90-72 this year in the ultracompetitive American League East.

NEW YORK -- The Mets have pared their general manager search to three candidates, who will receive callback interviews this week, according to a source. Chaim Bloom, Doug Melvin and Brodie Van Wagenen are the finalists.

Bloom, 35, is the youngest and most analytically minded interviewee. Overseeing all baseball operations functions in Tampa Bay, from contract negotiations to international scouting, Bloom helped construct a team that finished 90-72 this year in the ultracompetitive American League East.

"You talk to him for a minute, and it becomes obvious he's a really smart guy," said one person who has worked with Bloom.

Melvin, 66, has served as GM in Texas and Milwaukee. Now a senior advisor for Milwaukee, Melvin helped engineer the Brewers team that fell one game shy of making the World Series. He may appeal in particular to Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon, who, according to sources, prefers candidates with extensive scouting and player-development experience.

Van Wagenen is the lead baseball agent at CAA, where his clients include Mets players Yoenis Cespedes, Jacob deGrom, Todd Frazier and Minor Leaguer Tim Tebow. Although Van Wagenen would be blazing a new path as a super-agent transitioning to a GM role -- and doubt exists within the industry that he would leave CAA to pursue a baseball operations position -- his inclusion in the interview process signals the Mets' willingness to consider candidates with different perspectives.

The Mets plan to make their finalists available to the media as they interview this week.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.

New York Mets

Key 2018-19 free agents for all 30 MLB teams

MLB.com

An impressive collection of talent will hit the open market when free agency gets underway this offseason, and players are eligible to sign with a new team five days after the conclusion of the World Series. Here is a division-by-division breakdown of the key free agents for all 30 Major League clubs.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

An impressive collection of talent will hit the open market when free agency gets underway this offseason, and players are eligible to sign with a new team five days after the conclusion of the World Series. Here is a division-by-division breakdown of the key free agents for all 30 Major League clubs.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Atlanta Braves
Key free agents: RHP Brad Brach, 1B Lucas Duda, 3B Ryan Flaherty, OF Nick Markakis, C Rene Rivera, RHP Anibal Sanchez, C Kurt Suzuki, LHP Jonny Venters

Markakis was a valuable member of a youthful Braves club in 2018, providing veteran leadership and making the All-Star team for the first time in his career. Atlanta has a stellar farm system that is loaded with pitching prospects, which is one of the reasons why Sanchez is unlikely to be back after his impressive rebound campaign. But without an obvious replacement for Markakis in right field, the door remains open for the soon-to-be 35-year-old to return. Suzuki has formed a productive catching tandem with Tyler Flowers over the past two seasons, but the 35-year-old may be too expensive to bring back for a part-time role.

Miami Marlins
Key free agents: None

The Marlins' roster is replete with players who are at the early stages of their big league careers, putting them years away from free agency. After trading multiple big-name players last offseason, Miami will likely now look to deal veterans Starlin Castro and Martin Prado, as they are owed nearly $27 million combined in 2019.

New York Mets
Key free agents: LHP Jerry Blevins, OF Austin Jackson, C Devin Mesoraco, RHP AJ Ramos, INF Jose Reyes

There's a chance the Mets won't bring back any of these players after they combined for -1.7 Wins Above Replacement in 2018, per FanGraphs. With Travis d'Arnaud, T.J. Rivera and Juan Lagares returning from injuries, the Mets have obvious replacements for Mesoraco, Reyes and Jackson next year. Blevins is more likely to be back than Ramos, whose recovery from right shoulder surgery is expected to extend into next June and possibly longer.

Philadelphia Phillies
Key free agents: 3B/OF Jose Bautista, INF Asdrubal Cabrera, LHP Aaron Loup, C Wilson Ramos

All four players on Philadelphia's list were acquired late in the 2018 campaign as the Phillies made a playoff push that ultimately fell short. Instead of bringing back Ramos, who is sure to fetch a sizable multi-year deal, the Phils may give 25-year-old Jorge Alfaro another chance to show he can handle starting duties behind the plate. Cabrera could be a fallback option if the Phillies are unable to land Manny Machado in free agency.

Washington Nationals
Key free agents: OF Bryce Harper, RHP Jeremy Hellickson, RHP Kelvin Herrera, RHP Greg Holland, 1B Mark Reynolds, C Matt Wieters

Harper will be one of the top free agents available this offseason, and the Nats will likely make a major push to keep him in Washington. The club might also be interested in bringing back Holland and Hellickson, but the two righties are sure to draw interest from other clubs after boosting their value with the Nats. Washington is expected to try to upgrade at the catcher spot, which could leave Wieters looking for a new home.

NL CENTRAL

Chicago Cubs
Key free agents: RHP Jesse Chavez, LHP Jorge De La Rosa, LHP Jaime Garcia (club option), LHP Cole Hamels (club option), OF Jason Heyward (can opt out of his contract), RHP Brandon Kintzler (club and player options), 2B Daniel Murphy, RHP Pedro Strop (club option), LHP Justin Wilson

The Cubs have many decisions to make this offseason, most notably regarding the $20 million club option for Hamels, who was acquired from the Rangers at the non-waiver Trade Deadline and recorded a terrific 2.36 ERA over 12 starts. They also have a bevy of bullpen arms that are set to depart or have club options. The Cubs could try to retain Chavez and Strop, and Murphy could also be back (particularly given Addison Russell's suspension), as president of baseball operations Theo Epstein spoke highly of the second baseman's contributions after his acquisition from the Nationals.

Cincinnati Reds
Key free agents: RHP Matt Harvey

Cincinnati elected to keep Harvey at the non-waiver Trade Deadline instead of flipping him to a contender, and now face a decision about the right-hander, given that he has expressed openness to returning and the Reds will be seeking starting pitching depth this offseason. Outside of Harvey, the Reds don't have any key departures or options to worry about this winter, though Scooter Gennett and Billy Hamilton are due for free agency following the 2019 season.

Milwaukee Brewers
Key free agents: LHP Gio Gonzalez, OF Curtis Granderson, RHP Jeremy Jeffress (club option), LHP Dan Jennings, C Erik Kratz, RHPJordan Lyles (club option), LHP Wade Miley, 3B Mike Moustakas (mutual option), IF Eric Sogard, RHP Joakim Soria (club option)

The Brewers have most of their pitching depth locked up beyond this season, with Gonzalez, an in-season acquisition, and Miley, who was initially signed to a Minor League contract before the season, the only two starters set for free agency this offseason. Soria, a key piece of the Brewers' bullpen in their playoff run, has a $10 million team option for 2019, while closing option Jeffress has a much cheaper $3.175 million team option. The 38-year-old Kratz and 37-year-old Granderson are also bound for free agency. Given their security all over the roster, the Brewers are set to contend again in 2019 even if they don't make a big offseason splash.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Key free agents: IF/OF Josh Harrison (club option), IF Jung Ho Kang (club option), SS Jordy Mercer

After making a splash by trading for Chris Archer in 2018, the Pirates appear to be mostly set with their pitching staff but will be looking for a bat in the offseason, likely at shortstop, especially if they don't end up bringing Kang back after his late-season cameo. Even if they don't make a Manny Machado-sized splash at shortstop, the market is deep this offseason, with Jose Iglesias, Freddy Galvis and Adeiny Hechavarria among the names that will be in play. It seems unlikely that the Pirates will pick up Harrison's $10.5 million option.

St. Louis Cardinals
Key free agents: 1B Matt Adams, RHP Bud Norris, C Francisco Pena, RHP Tyson Ross

Adam Wainwright already avoided free agency by agreeing to a one-year deal to return for his 15th season with the Cardinals. Improving the bullpen to build around Jordan Hicks will be a priority for the Cardinals, especially with the departure of Norris, who provided stability at closer for much of the season. Though Adams likely won't be on the Cardinals' radar again, St. Louis is thought to be looking for an impact left-handed hitter, with needs at outfield and third base.

NL WEST

Arizona Diamondbacks
Key free agents: RHP Clay Buchholz, LHP Patrick Corbin, RHP Randall Delgado, 2B Daniel Descalso, LHP Jake Diekman, 3B Eduardo Escobar, 1B Paul Goldschmidt (club option), OF Jon Jay, C Jeff Mathis, OF A.J. Pollock, C Chris Stewart, OF Yasmany Tomas (player option)

The D-backs could lose two key contributors this winter, with Corbin and Pollock likely to exceed Arizona's price range, but Buchholz, Descalso and Mathis are strong candidates to return. Neither Goldschmidt nor Tomas is expected to hit the open market. The D-backs are sure to pick up Goldschmidt's $14.5 million club option for 2019, and Tomas will undoubtedly exercise his player options for '19-20, valued at $15.5 million next year and $17 million in '20, after spending all of '18 in the Minors.

Colorado Rockies
Key free agents: C Drew Butera, OF Carlos Gonzalez, OF Matt Holliday, 2B DJ LeMahieu, RHP Seunghwan Oh (club option), RHP Adam Ottavino, OF Gerardo Parra

The Rockies will have to decide whether they want to compete for LeMahieu this winter or if they're ready to turn the reins at second base over to one of their middle-infield prospects, Garrett Hampson and Brendan Rodgers. They also face decisions in the outfield, where Gonzalez, Parra and Holliday are impending free agents, and in the bullpen with Ottavino and Oh, who has a $2.5 million option for 2019 with a $250,000 buyout.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Key free agents: RHP John Axford, 2B Brian Dozier, C Yasmani Grandal, RHP Daniel Hudson, LHP Clayton Kershaw (opt out), SS Manny Machado, RHP Ryan Madson, LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu

Machado is among the headliners in this year's star-studded free agent class, and longtime Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw could add his name to the mix if he opts out of his contract. The Dodgers will try to retain Machado, whom they acquired from the Orioles at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, but they'll have stiff competition as he's likely to cash in for a big payday. The oft-injured Ryu posted a 1.97 ERA through 15 regular season starts in 2018 and pitched well in the playoffs to improve his stock heading into free agency.

San Diego Padres
Key free agents: C A.J. Ellis, SS Freddy Galvis

The Padres' 2018 roster will remain mostly intact with only Galvis and Ellis entering free agency, and both are candidates to return. Ellis is less likely to be re-signed, however, with young catchers Austin Hedges and Francisco Mejia in the mix. San Diego may also let Galvis walk if he wants a multi-year deal, with Fernando Tatis Jr. (San Diego's No. 1 prospect, per MLB Pipeline) nearing big league readiness and Luis Urias (San Diego's No. 4 prospect) likely to take over as the club's starting second baseman in 2019.

San Francisco Giants
Key free agents: OF Gregor Blanco, RHP Madison Bumgarner (club option), LHP Derek Holland, C Nick Hundley, RHP Mark Melancon (can opt out of his contract), OF Hunter Pence, 3B Pablo Sandoval

The Giants are expected to pick up Bumgarner's $12 million option, and Melancon is almost certainly staying put for the final two years of his four-year, $62 million deal, but the club will likely part ways with veterans Pence and Blanco. The Giants may try bring back Holland, who enjoyed a bounceback campaign and anchored an injury-riddled Giants rotation in 2018, and Hundley, who capably backed up Buster Posey.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Baltimore Orioles
Key free agents: OF Adam Jones

The O's list has just one man on it, as they traded nearly every player on an expiring contract, including Manny Machado, Zach Britton and Brad Brach, during their 2018 roster purge. Baltimore would have dealt Jones as well, but he was unwilling to waive his 10-and-5 rights. Jones may be interested in returning, but he would likely need to accept a significantly reduced role as the Orioles look to the future.

Boston Red Sox
Key free agents: RHP Nathan Eovaldi, RHP Joe Kelly, RHP Craig Kimbrel, 2B Ian Kinsler, IF Eduardo Nunez (player option), 1B/OF Steve Pearce, 2B Brandon Phillips, LHP Drew Pomeranz, LHP David Price (can opt out of his contract), LHP Chris Sale (club option)

Even if the Red Sox pick up Chris Sale's $15 million club option for 2019, which they likely will, and David Price doesn't opt out of the four years and $127 million remaining on his contract, they still have a number of important players hitting free agency. Kimbrel is the biggest name among them, though it's unclear if Boston will be willing to hand out a big contract for a player who regressed some from '17 to '18 and was shaky in the playoffs. The Red Sox will probably look to re-sign Eovaldi, who excelled after joining the club in a July trade (3.33 ERA, 2.88 FIP).

New York Yankees
Key free agents: LHP Zach Britton, OF Brett Gardner (club option), LHP J.A. Happ, SS Adeiny Hechavarria, RHP Lance Lynn, OF Andrew McCutchen, RHP David Robertson, LHP CC Sabathia, 2B/OF Neil Walker

The Yankees have a busy offseason ahead of them, especially on the pitching side of the ledger. Even if prospect Justus Sheffield is ready to claim a rotation spot behind Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka, that still leaves two open starting jobs. Meanwhile, the Yankees' vaunted bullpen could lose two key pieces in Robertson and Britton. Gardner was New York's longest-tenured player in 2018, but the club may pass on his $12.5 million club option ($2 million buyout) after the veteran outfielder posted a .690 OPS this past season.

Tampa Bay Rays
Key free agents: OF Carlos Gomez, RHP Sergio Romo

Romo was an integral member of the Rays' pitching staff for much of the 2018 season, racking up 25 saves and making five appearances as an "opener." However, he recorded a 10.00 ERA in September and will be 36 years old on Opening Day in '19. The cost-conscious Rays may opt to move on and give an opportunity to a younger alternative. As for Gomez, the veteran outfielder is unlikely to be back after posting a .634 OPS over 118 games in 2018.

Toronto Blue Jays
Key free agents: RHP Tyler Clippard, RHP Marco Estrada, 1B Justin Smoak (club option), INF Yangervis Solarte (club option)

Much like Baltimore, Toronto dealt many impending free agents during the 2018 season, including Josh Donaldson, J.A. Happ, Steve Pearce, Curtis Granderson and John Axford. With Rowdy Tellez looking ready for an expanded role at first base, the Jays could pick up Smoak's reasonable $8 million club option and then trade the veteran this offseason. Estrada is likely gone after recording a 5.27 ERA with a 4.97 FIP in 61 starts over the past two years, as the Blue Jays can likely get similar production from a younger and cheaper pitcher.

AL CENTRAL

Chicago White Sox
Key free agents: RHP Jeanmar Gomez, RHP Miguel Gonzalez, RHP Nate Jones (club option), LHP Hector Santiago, RHP James Shields (club option)

The White Sox are close to emerging from their rebuild, and the club could look for more pitching help this offseason, since Michael Kopech is now sidelined for 2019 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. They have a $4.65 million option for Jones that they could exercise, but it seems unlikely that they'd exercise Shields' $16 million club option.

Cleveland Indians
Key free agents: RHP Cody Allen, OF Michael Brantley, OF Melky Cabrera, RHP Carlos Carrasco (club option), OF Lonnie Chisenhall, OF Rajai Davis, 3B Josh Donaldson, OF Brandon Guyer (club option), LHP Andrew Miller, LHP Oliver Perez, IF Adam Rosales, RHP Josh Tomlin

Miller headlines a productive crop of prospective free agents departing Cleveland this season, with outfield and the bullpen being the two areas that stand to be hit hardest by the departures. Allen, Brantley and Miller are eligible for the $17.9 million qualifying offer. The Indians do have some security in the bullpen with midseason acquisitions Brad Hand and Adam Cimber both controllable for several more seasons, but bolstering the relief corps will be an offseason priority for the Tribe, who got subpar seasons from both Allen and Miller in 2018. Outfield is also an area of need, especially if Brantley departs, with no clear-cut starter at any of the three spots entering the offseason.

Detroit Tigers
Key free agents: SS Jose Iglesias, LHP Francisco Liriano, C Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Iglesias, Liriano and the retiring Victor Martinez are the key departures for the rebuilding Tigers, who also dealt impending free agent Mike Fiers to the A's in August. The Tigers will likely be in the market for a shortstop, as they don't have an immediate heir lined up in the event of Iglesias' departure, and will likely look to add to the rotation.

Kansas City Royals
Key free agents: SS Alcides Escobar, RHP Jason Hammel (mutual option), RHP Wily Peralta (club option)

After trading Jon Jay, Lucas Duda, Kelvin Herrera and Mike Moustakas this season, the Royals figure to let Escobar walk, as Adalberto Mondesi is now their starting shortstop. The Royals will almost certainly pay a $2 million buyout to get Hammel off the books instead of exercising his $12 million mutual option for 2019, but they could bring back Peralta, their closer, on a cheaper $3 million team option, especially since they'll likely be looking for bullpen help this offseason.

Minnesota Twins
Key free agents: RHP Matt Belisle, 2B Logan Forsythe, C Chris Gimenez, 1B/DH Joe Mauer, 1B/DH Logan Morrison (club option), RHP Ervin Santana (club option)

The most pressing offseason question for the Twins will be at first base with the possible departure of Mauer to either free agency or retirement and Morrison's disappointing performance in 2018, after which the Twins are not expected to pick up his $8 million option for 2019. The departures of Forsythe, Brian Dozier (traded to Dodgers) and Eduardo Escobar (traded to D-backs) also leave openings in the middle infield for the Twins. The Twins need lots of help in the bullpen and could always use more starting depth, with Santana's option unlikely to be picked up.

AL WEST
Los Angeles Angels
Key free agents: RHP Jim Johnson, RHP Garrett Richards, RHP Junichi Tazawa, OF Chris Young, OF Eric Young Jr., RHP Blake Wood

The Angels will retain much of their core. Johnson will likely draw interest on the open market for clubs in need of dependable bullpen arms. Richards pitched well in 16 starts this season, but will be out of action until 2020 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Young also suffered a season-ending injury (labral tears in both hips) but is expected to be ready for Spring Training.

Houston Astros
Key free agents: DH Evan Gattis, UTIL Marwin Gonzalez, LHP Dallas Keuchel, C Martin Maldonado, RHP Charlie Morton, LHP Tony Sipp

Keuchel figures to be one of the most sought-after starting pitchers on the market this winter. The 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner has spent his entire career with the Astros, but could anchor another team's staff in 2019. Morton also figures to draw considerable interest coming off his first All-Star season at age 34. Maldonado will be part of a deep class of veteran backstops.

Oakland A's
Key free agents: LHP Brett Anderson, RHP Trevor Cahill, RHP Jeurys Familia, RHP Edwin Jackson, OF Matt Joyce, 2B Jed Lowrie, C Jonathan Lucroy

The A's looming free agents are headlined by a pair of veterans in Lucroy and Lowrie. Lucroy is more likely to return with Franklin Barreto ready to take over as Oakland's everyday second baseman. Joyce is likely the odd man out in a crowded A's outfield. It's unclear if the A's will try to retain any of their veteran starting pitchers.

Seattle Mariners
Key free agents: 2B Gordon Beckham, DH Nelson Cruz, LHP Zach Duke, RHP Hisashi Iwakuma, OF Cameron Maybin, RHP David Phelps, UTIL Andrew Romine, OF Denard Span (mutual option), RHP Adam Warren

Cruz represents the biggest free agent choice for the Mariners this winter. Both sides have expressed interest in a reunion, but Seattle must decide whether it wants to commit to a multi-year deal with the 38-year-old slugger or utilize that money elsewhere, with needs on the pitching staff and in center field. Span has a $12 million mutual option with a $4 million buyout. Iwakuma left the Mariners in September to pursue pitching opportunities in Japan.

Texas Rangers
Key free agents: SS Elvis Andrus (can opt out of his contract), 3B Adrian Beltre, C Robinson Chirinos (club option), RHP Bartolo Colon, RHP Doug Fister (club option), RHP Yovani Gallardo, LHP Matt Moore (club option), LHP Martin Perez (club option)

The Rangers are awaiting Beltre's decision on his baseball future, and if the third baseman opts to continue playing, they could re-sign him. Andrus could opt out of his contract, leaving four years and $58 million on the table, but is more likely to stay put. The Rangers will likely pick up Chirinos' option, and decline their options on Moore and Fister. Perez's option is for $7.5 million and it remains to be seen what Texas will do with the left-hander coming off a down year. Colon and Gallardo aren't expected to return.

Thomas Harrigan is an editor for MLB.com.

Do-Hyoung Park is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter at @dohyoungpark.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.