On this list, we have teams that have won consistently in recent seasons. They’re looking for upgrades this offseason, possibly dramatic ones. This list also includes teams that believe they’re close to turning a corner back into contention. They see this free-agent market as an opportunity to add a dramatic finishing touch.
Although these teams are coming from different places, they’re poised to make this a fascinating free-agent marketplace. Don’t be surprised if the Rangers, Padres and Giants all do something big.
At the time, though, here are five teams that may feel the most urgency to make a splash:
From Mike Trout in the prime of his career to top prospect Jo Adell ready to make his debut to superstar manager Joe Maddon taking over in the dugout, this franchise has plenty of reasons for optimism. What the Angels do not have is a championship-caliber starting rotation. Last season, only the Rockies' starters had a higher ERA, and unless the Angels change this, they’re likely to miss the playoffs for the 10th time in 11 seasons in 2020. That’s why they may be MLB’s most interesting team this offseason, having targeted not just baseball’s best starter -- Gerrit Cole -- but at least one more rotation piece as well as a bullpen arm or two.
The Phillies won last offseason by miles in adding talent up and down the roster, including No. 1 free agent Bryce Harper. For all their good work, the Phillies improved by just one win, and even though injuries were a huge factor, there’s more work to do. They’re prepared to jump back into the market after missing the playoffs for an eighth straight season, and this time it’s about the pitching staff. Look for the Phils to make a run at the top starters and a reliever or two. There are some questions about the lineup, but those take a backseat to upgrading the rotation.
Any franchise would love to have the success the Dodgers have had in winning seven straight division titles, including back-to-back National League pennants in 2017 and '18. What the Dodgers have not done is win a World Series, and after a bitterly disappointing NL Division Series loss to the Nationals, they seem determined to change the mix. They will not think small -- Anthony Rendon, Stephen Strasburg, Josh Donaldson and Cole are among the possibilities.
New York's 2019 season was so remarkable that another franchise might throw itself a parade after winning 103 games and getting to the American League Championship Series despite a ridiculous number of injuries. On the other hand, there’s a World Series drought to confront. The Yankees haven’t been to one since 2009, and making the playoffs eight times in the last 11 seasons doesn’t ease the sting of that. The Yanks are prepared to make a hard run at a premier rotation piece, so don’t be surprised if Cole, Strasburg or Zack Wheeler is wearing pinstripes in 2020.
5. White Sox
They’ve got so much young talent that they appear to be on the verge of turning a huge corner and would like to supplement the roster with a big-ticket veteran or two, preferably someone with enough name recognition to excite fans while helping the young players get acclimated to a winning environment. Last offseason’s hard run at Manny Machado shows the White Sox are serious.