One holiday gift for every team
It’s the holidays! And if you think we are not going to use that as an excuse to come up with a column about one perfect gift for every team to find under its tree, you don’t know us very well. It’s the holidays! Let’s have some fun!
So, today at the Thirty, we come up with the one gift every team still needs. Some of them are specific on-field needs, and some of them are nods to the future. But everybody needs something. Giving is the spirit of the season, after all.
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Blue Jays -- A first baseman. They have filled out their rotation with the free-agent additions of Tanner Roark and Hyun-Jin Ryu, but with Justin Smoak officially gone (he signed with Milwaukee), it might be asking too much of Rowdy Tellez to immediately take over at first. There are plenty of first basemen still available on the market, including Eric Thames (a former Blue Jay!) and Mitch Moreland.
Orioles -- Any middle infielder. The Orioles basically have one right now, Hanser Alberto, and he can’t play everywhere. Baltimore is planning for the future, but you do, in fact, still need someone to play in the middle of the diamond.
Rays -- An extra outfielder or two. As noted by MLB.com Rays beat reporter Juan Toribio, the Rays have only three outfielders on their 40-man roster. They are short on power now, too. Could someone like Yasiel Puig be a fit?
Red Sox -- Clarity. So, are the Red Sox trading Mookie Betts? David Price? Andrew Benintendi? The Yankees are gearing up, and the Red Sox are still in flux. Which direction are they going to go?
Yankees -- More relievers! The Yankees have more than taken care of their rotation, but they lost reliever Dellin Betances to the crosstown Mets. Would they go after Josh Hader?
AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
Indians -- A decision on Francisco Lindor. The trade of Corey Kluber made many wonder if the Indians were done trying to contend, but there’s still talent on this team. For now.
Royals -- Some bullpen arms. The Royals had one of the worst bullpens in baseball last year, and the relievers are going to face an innings crunch considering Kansas City's current rotation.
Tigers -- More patience. Detroit has holes everywhere, and it’s going to be a while until they are entirely filled. The Tigers have a long haul ahead of them. It takes a village.
Twins -- That top-shelf starting pitcher they’re waiting for. The Twins have made several attempts to bring in a free-agent starter, with no results as of yet. There are fewer options out there, and they can’t be shut out.
White Sox -- A designated hitter. The White Sox have filled their holes at catcher (with Yasmani Grandal) and in the rotation (with Dallas Keuchel), but they still have a big one at DH. They might want to use the spot to rotate in position players, but they could use another big bat, and there are some DH types out there.
AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
Angels -- Pitching, pitching, any pitching. Anthony Rendon is obviously a terrific addition, but he can’t pitch. If the Angels are in for a penny, they have to be in for a pound, and recent additions Dylan Bundy and Julio Teheran are not going to be enough to catch Houston -- or Oakland, for that matter.
Astros -- Someone to make the Cole Pain go away. The Astros won't find another Gerrit Cole on the market, of course. But if Forrest Whitley isn't able to immediately throw 200 innings -- and he won't be -- there's definitely going to be an innings shortage from this group.
Athletics -- A lefty hitter. The A’s lineup is way too right-handed, so they need to bring somebody in to balance them out. If he can play second base, that’d be great, too. Jason Kipnis is still out there, ya know.
Mariners -- Something, anything to happen! It’s downright bizarre to see the Mariners being so quiet this offseason. A flurry of moves has to be coming, right?
Rangers -- A third baseman. They missed out on the one they desperately wanted (Rendon), and it doesn’t seem like Josh Donaldson is going to happen for them. Can they talk Adrián Beltré into coming back?
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Braves -- Also, a third baseman. The hardest part about potentially losing Donaldson is not just that he would leave a hole at third base; it’s that he could end up going to a division rival.
Marlins -- Matt Kemp making the roster! The Marlins are still a ways away from figuring all this out, so they might as well have our old pal Kemp -- who just signed a Minor League deal -- break through. He was an All-Star just 16 months ago!
Mets -- A true center fielder. The position has been a bugaboo for the Mets for a while, as they’ve mixed in a number of guys (such as Brandon Nimmo and Michael Conforto) who are better suited for a corner. They recently traded for Jake Marisnick, but he’s more a bench piece.
Nationals -- All the commemorative World Series champion videos. One of the best parts of winning the World Series is that everybody knows what to get all their loved ones the next holiday season: Championship swag, everywhere.
Phillies -- Bullpen arms. For all their injuries, the Phillies' bullpen was the main reason for their woes last year. And it’s not any different right now than when the season ended.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
Brewers -- The other shoe dropping. The Brewers have lost a ton of players this offseason and added a bunch, but none of their acquisitions would be classified as “major.” Many have speculated that it has all been preparation for a series of big moves. It’d be nice to see those moves happen.
Cardinals -- An impact bat. Right now, the Cardinals' offense looks exactly like last year’s offense … and it might lose Marcell Ozuna and get worse.
Cubs -- Some of these guys sticking around. The Cubs could still blow up the rest of this offseason by trading away one of their stars, such as Kris Bryant or Willson Contreras. But Cubs fans can be forgiven if they would like some of the best, most beloved players from their 2016 championship team to, you know, stick around.
Pirates -- A juicy return for Starling Marte. The dynamic center fielder is the best player they have to offer to kick-start any sort of rebuild.
Reds -- Francisco Lindor. The Reds are thinking big this offseason. Nothing’s bigger than finding a way to get the MVP candidate from across the state.
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
D-backs -- More pitching. Again: Every team in baseball needs starting pitching. But the thing about the Madison Bumgarner signing is that, well, he's only one guy. It's possible Robbie Ray gets moved, but even if he doesn't, it still feels like the D-backs are a starting pitcher short. For that matter: How many relievers currently on this roster do you trust? Two? Maybe?
Dodgers -- Mookie Betts. The Dodgers still haven’t made that big move. It’s possible the Betts move may have to wait until next holidays.
Giants -- A bat that won’t hurt the future. The younger the bat they can bring in, the better: The Giants need a right-handed hitter (and there have been some Nicholas Castellanos rumors), but the focus should be on the future more than that. Castellanos, who will be 28 on Opening Day, is at least young enough to potentially be a part of the team’s future.
Padres -- A home for Wil Myers that isn’t San Diego? That’s probably not fair, but that’s what the Padres might need more than anything else. Myers has turned out to be less than great, and he doesn’t really have a position with Eric Hosmer locked up for years.
Rockies -- Some peace of mind for Nolan Arenado. Arenado wants to stay in Colorado. But can you blame him for looking around and saying … is this all there is?