Help wanted: 11 clubs with biggest FA needs

November 18th, 2017

Not all needs are created equal.

When the Astros floundered in 2016, they realized they were missing experience. They added , and , who helped put them in position to go add one final piece on Aug. 31: .

The 2016 Cubs knew they had some proven pieces after reaching the postseason in '15. They added and , who helped put them in position to go get for an October run.

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You can't get everything you need in the offseason, but you better fill the holes you have then, or it could be a long season. Here are the biggest needs among teams chasing the Astros, along with some possible fits to get them to the Trade Deadline next July:

1. Rangers: No. 1/2 starter/closer

Pitching figures to be the most sought after commodity this offseason, with the demand for front-of-the-rotation and ninth-inning arms bigger than the supply. Texas is one of at least four ambitious clubs that need both. It's been a while since the Rangers' World Series in 2011-12, but ownership is determined to get back to the postseason. General manager Jon Daniels admits he needs "to remake half the staff,'' and he should have some financial flexibility to do so.

Viable solution: Sign TCU product and a middle-market reliever like and  for ninth-inning duties.

2. Cubs: No. 1/2 starter/closer

The Cubs are in better position than the Rangers because they already have and behind unstated ace , who has a 2.94 ERA over 590 career innings. They badly need bullpen depth, as well as a closer to replace , who tops of this year's closer market.

Viable solution: Sign and use position-player surplus to trade for the Rays' Alex Colome, who led the American League with 47 saves.

3. Red Sox: First baseman who hits for power

Despite a long lineup that includes , and , Boston was last in the AL in home runs. The situation could be worse in 2018, as is likely to miss the start of the season after surgery on his left knee.

Viable solution: Never count out a bold move like signing J.D. Martinez or even trading for but it's more likely they'll sign first baseman .

4. Indians: First baseman or designated hitter

Re-signing seems the obvious choice, but he's in broad demand and Cleveland spent heavily last winter to grab , who can play first but presents a backward step defensively.

Viable solution: Sign the underrated Mitch Moreland, who remains a solid two-way player at first base.

5. Cardinals: Closer/No. 3 starter

Despite talk about Martinez or another big bat, the emergence of and Tommy Pham put the offseason focus back where it should be, on the staff. The struggles of and  in 2017 make it imperative to add a proven closer, and the rotation needs a veteran to replace .

Viable solution: Sign Davis to close and starter Alex Cobb.

6. Orioles: Two starting pitchers

and are a good start on a strong rotation, but Baltimore is losing , , Chris Tillman and , who together made 86 starts last season. There's financial flexibility to chase proven free agents, but this traditionally hasn't been a team that relied heavily on that avenue.

Viable solution: Sign Lynn and trade closer Zach Britton for a starter like the Astros' or the Dodgers' .

7. Mariners: Center fielder

Give Jerry Dipoto for being one of the few general managers to have already filled a hole with last week's trade for first baseman . That was a low-cost move, so this can be a more aggressive addition.

Viable solution:. He may not be defensively, but he's a pro's pro who can still handle center. Cain has been worth 20.5 fWAR the last five years, which ranks 22nd among position players. He'd fit perfectly behind previous free-agent signings and to try to wring some more fun out of the era.

8. Twins: Closer/starting pitcher

There's a lot to like about the position-player inventory, with the clear challenge being to build a pitching staff that can support it. The payroll is probably going to have to go up to get an immediate infusion, but back-loaded deals could work, as Joe Mauer and are in the last season of their contracts.

Viable solution: Sign Greg Holland and . It would be great to add a starter who is more of a known quantity, but Chatwood seems ready to thrive moving away from Coors Field and would present an opportunity for new pitching coach Garvin Alston and the organization's pitching infrastructure.

9. Diamondbacks: Right fielder with power

There's probably no hanging on to Martinez, who homered his way to the top of this free-agent class. But the market presents a way to add a slugger who may outperform him in 2018.

Viable solution: Sign . He's been something of an enigma the last few years but closed 2017 with a roar (.325, 8 homers, 31 RBIs and a .990 OPS in his last 50 games), no doubt benefitting from the excitement of a playoff race. is also an option, but taking a flier on Gonzalez could pay off big.

10. Angels: No. 1 and 2 starters

Billy Eppler is forced to try to pull off the ultimate offseason Hail Mary. It's unrealistic to think he can fill those needs, but maybe he can hit a home run with one signing.

Viable solution: Sign Shohei Ohtani (maybe he's always wanted to play with ?) and Zack Cozart. Might as well strength the lineup and hope for big things from young starters , and .

Bonus: Dodgers: Bullpen depth in front of

and Tony Watson, who were key pieces of manager Dave Roberts' bullpen, are free agents, and the rotation is likely to get younger with arriving at some point during the 2018 season.

Viable solution: Sign and Jake McGee. Shaw, who has appeared in 442 games over the last five seasons, has a rubber arm. He and the left-handed McGee would be a formidable setup combo.