Five teams that can still win the offseason

February 15th, 2019

We're reluctant to finalize our list of offseason winners because, as you may have heard, there are some prominent unsigned free agents. Not just and , either.

There are plenty of chances for teams to win the offseason, and between now and Opening Day that's likely to happen as both teams and players reconsider their options.

One thing almost certainly slowing the market at this point doesn't get enough attention: With the game trending younger and with so many prospects being fast-tracked to the Major Leagues, dozens of teams are eager to get a better look at their top prospects.

Having seen what , Juan Soto, did last season, other teams want to give their best kids every chance to succeed before pursuing veteran free agents.

That pursuit will happen at some point because, let's face it, not every kid is going to burst onto the scene the way Acuna and the others did in 2018.

That said, here's the up-to-date look at the offseason winners:

  1. Mets

  2. Yankees

  3. Cardinals

  4. Phillies

  5. Nationals

    Now for the fun part. So many really good players are still available that a bunch of teams could still win. Again, while we rightfully focus on Machado and Harper, there are options available for the bullpen (), rotation ( and ), third base (), outfield () and designated hitter ().

    That's a partial list. Let's consider a modest proposal or two and check out what the final standings could look like:

    Phillies

    Proposal:
    Machado would like nice in a Phillies uniform. So would Harper. How about both of them? You just blew my mind.

    Bottom line: The Phillies have had a very good offseason in adding , , and . But there's going to be a brutal fight for the five National League postseason berths, with at least 11 teams seeing a realistic path to October. The Phils still have some work to do and remain in the mix for one of the superstars. If the Phillies do get to the postseason, they've got a rotation that might get them to the World Series.

    Nationals

    Proposal: Re-sign Harper.


    Bottom line: Whether that happens or not, the Nationals are better positioned to get to the World Series than at any other time in the past eight seasons. Rather than being held hostage by the Harper negotiations, general manager Mike Rizzo added the No. 1 free-agent starter () and upgraded his team at second base (), bullpen (), catcher ( and ) and bench (). He added two other rotation pieces in and .

    Red Sox

    Proposal: Re-sign .


    Bottom line: Let's not bury the lead: the Red Sox might be baseball's best team, whether they do anything else or not. In re-signing and and having a healthy for the bullpen, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has checked all the boxes. Only thing is, with the Red Sox and Yankees, everything is connected. While the Yanks were building the game's best bullpen this offseason, Dombrowski appears to be counting on relievers with closer stuff ( and ), which is not the same as actually having done it. Kimbrel would be an excellent finishing touch, and we're not even sure Boston needs him, other than to win the coveted "We Won the Offseason" title.

    Braves

    Proposal: Sign Kimbrel.


    Bottom line: We won't even mention to GM Alex Anthopoulos that Keuchel would be a nice fit, too. To add and Kimbrel in the same offseason is all anyone can ask. Combine those two with a nice core and a very good farm system, and the Braves appear to be off and running for another string of postseason appearances.

    Astros

    Proposal: Sign Harper and Keuchel.


    Bottom line: Let's think big. The Astros have a championship window that will not be open forever. Harper would give them another cornerstone player with , , and headed for free agency after the 2020 season. It helps that Harper hits left-handed, since Houston's core players are right-handed hitters. With four veteran starters headed for the open market after this season, Keuchel would give the Astros a veteran presence beyond 2019.