Some teams have no unfinished business. In a slow free-agent market, this part of the story can get overlooked.Let's use the Yankees as an example. Does general manager Brian Cashman really need to do anything else?When you've opened your offseason by adding National League Most Valuable Player Award winner Giancarlo
Some teams have no unfinished business. In a slow free-agent market, this part of the story can get overlooked.
Let's use the Yankees as an example. Does general manager Brian Cashman really need to do anything else?
When you've opened your offseason by adding National League Most Valuable Player Award winner Giancarlo Stanton and his 59 home runs to a team that lost in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series, is there really any pressing business?
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Cashman has talked to the Orioles about third baseman Manny Machado and the Pirates about right-hander Gerrit Cole. He has checked the prices on free-agent starting pitchers, including Yu Darvish.
Don't be surprised if the Yankees still do something else, perhaps even something dramatic. But without another tweak, they have baseball's best offense and potentially its best bullpen.
As for that rotation, it could be good enough, too, especially with 23-year-old right-hander Chance Adams on the cusp of the big leagues.
The Yanks aren't alone feeling good about their team, and that appears to be one more reason this Hot Stove season has been so strange.
Here are five teams that are ready for Opening Day:
Cashman has to at least consider the possibility that doing nothing is his best option, which would position the Yanks to have top infield prospectsMiguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres in the lineup by midseason. Cashman has the payroll space to sign another starting pitcher while remaining under the luxury-tax threshold to make a run at Bryce Harper or Machado (or someone else) next offseason.
The 2017 World Series champions have a deep rotation, a great lineup and a bunch of prospects expected to push for jobs in Spring Training. General manager Jeff Luhnow's signing of Joe Smith and Hector Rondon has shored up the bullpen. Like Cashman, Luhnow could still make a splash, say, by trading for Marlins outfielder Christian Yelich or Rays closer Alex Colome. With Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton in the final years of their contracts, Darvish would make sense as well. But the Astros appear to be good enough to win again without a single additional tweak.
This team isn't without questions -- Michael Brantley's health and where Jason Kipnis will play, if he's not traded. And that's about it. The Indians won 102 games last season and are solid favorites to win the AL Central for a third straight season. They'll be different, though. First baseman Carlos Santana signed with the Phillies, and president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti signed Yonder Alonso to replace him. Setup man Bryan Shaw signed with the Rockies, but the bullpen is still one of baseball's best. And the Tribe's rotation is one of the two or three best as well. Antonetti could shop for a right-handed hitter or a reliever, but his team is plenty good enough already.
Would general manager Mike Rizzo like to sign one more starting pitcher? Yes, absolutely. On the other hand, his team is almost certainly going to win the NL East for the fifth time in seven seasons, and in Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, he has two starters that could carry a team to a championship. There's also young pitching lined up in the farm system. As for the offense and the bullpen, they're both as good as any. If this is the last waltz for Harper in Washington, it has a chance to be a special one.
They're looking for another bullpen arm or two and at least one more starting pitcher if the price is right. Regardless, the Dodgers appear to be a slam dunk to win the NL West for a sixth straight season with or without another move. Los Angeles' farm system is deep enough that it can add another starting pitcher during the season if needed.
Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter @RichardJustice.