1 Winter Meetings goal for each team

December 4th, 2023

With the Winter Meetings set to open Sunday in Nashville, the temperature setting on the Hot Stove could be turned way up as executives from around baseball gather in one location.

Whether it's getting a feel for what's possible this offseason or even making some big moves to propel their teams forward in 2024, MLB decisionmakers could significantly alter the landscape before leaving Tennessee next week.

The next few days could be packed with action, given that one of the most hyped free agents in MLB history is on this year's market, while there is also a long line of teams seeking a limited supply of available pitching. With a reportedly robust trade market developing, there may be some serious wheeling and dealing.

Here's a look at one thing each club can accomplish at this year's Winter Meetings:

American League East

Blue Jays: Find clarity on the left side of the field
Third base is clearly Toronto’s first need, but with Kevin Kiermaier and Whit Merrifield joining Matt Chapman in free agency, the club will also need to fill at least one outfield spot this offseason. Assuming Daulton Varsho becomes the full-time center fielder, the Blue Jays still have internal options for left and third, meaning they will have some flexibility on the free-agent and trade markets. The Winter Meetings will be a good spot to gauge what’s possible, who’s available and what the urgency is to make a deal for either of those positions. -- Julia Kreuz

Orioles: Lay the groundwork for additions to pitching staff
Baltimore is looking for pitching help this offseason, and it has two targets in mind: a starter who can ideally slot into a top-three spot in the rotation and a back-end reliever who could potentially close in the absence of Félix Bautista (out for 2024 after Tommy John surgery). The Orioles can use the Winter Meetings to meet with agents regarding pitchers on the open market and with other executives to discuss potential trades. The latter seems to be a more likely path for the O’s to take to acquire a top pitcher, considering they have extra position-player prospects to deal and they haven’t traditionally been big spenders in free agency. -- Jake Rill

Rays: Figure out where they fit in the starting pitching market
The Rays are in the unusual position of needing to acquire depth for their starting rotation while also likely looking to deal top starter Tyler Glasnow. It’s possible that neither will take place during the Winter Meetings, but further activity at the top of the market -- including free agents like Blake Snell and fellow trade candidates like Corbin Burnes -- could help clarify who might have the greatest need for Glasnow, who’s due $25 million next season before reaching free agency. If free-agent pitchers start flying off the board, will they be better off adding the starter(s) they need through trades? -- Adam Berry

Red Sox: Bolster the starting rotation
There have been very few offseasons where the main need for the Red Sox has been so obvious: the club needs more starting pitching. Chief baseball officer Craig Breslow’s goal is to add one or two starters this winter, and you can be sure he will be in full pursuit in Nashville. Lefties Jordan Montgomery and Blake Snell are two pitchers on the market who could bring instant credibility to the Red Sox. The same could be said if Breslow can make an international splash and sign Japanese free agent Yoshinobu Yamamoto, a 25-year-old righty with a deep arsenal of pitches. -- Ian Browne

Yankees: Shift the narrative
There has been a sour mood in the air on 161st Street, coming off an 82-win campaign that general manager Brian Cashman bluntly described as a “disaster.” A big addition would restore confidence in the franchise’s direction. The Yankees have strong interest in Japanese right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who pitched a no-hitter last September with Cashman in attendance. Cashman even pocketed a ticket stub as a keepsake for his son. They’ve checked in about a blockbuster trade for Juan Soto, who’d lend a powerful left-handed bat to what was a sluggish offense. So, too, could free agent Cody Bellinger. -- Bryan Hoch

AL Central

Guardians: Improve the offense
Whether they trade starter Shane Bieber or someone else, the Guardians need to find a way to acquire a Major League-ready bat (preferably with plenty of power). With all 30 front offices in one building, maybe Cleveland can spark a conversation with a perfect trade partner. Bieber seems to be the most sensible trade candidate given his reputation, but it’s a matter of whether the elbow inflammation that sidelined him for two months in the second half of the regular season and the fact that he has just one year of control remaining will hurt his trade value. -- Mandy Bell

Royals: Find a starter
The Royals set out this winter to acquire one or two starters they can not only rely on for innings in 2024, but someone who can help the rest of the rotation take a step forward as well. While they added Nick Anderson to the bullpen, there’s been little movement in the starting pitching market for the Royals and most teams. That could change in Nashville. General manager J.J. Picollo can use the three days of meetings to set the groundwork for a starter -- or get a deal done there. There are plenty of holes to fill this offseason in Kansas City, and the Winter Meetings can be a good place to start filling them. -- Anne Rogers

Tigers: Add more pitching
The Tigers added a veteran presence to their young rotation earlier this week by signing Kenta Maeda to a two-year, $24 million contract. President of baseball operations Scott Harris made it clear, though, that he’s looking for more, even echoing the oft-used phrase by predecessors Al Avila and Dave Dombrowski that there’s no such thing as having too much pitching. Detroit would like one more starter to ease the reliance on Casey Mize in his return from Tommy John surgery, and could use a lefty reliever to support Tyler Holton after losing Tyler Alexander. -- Jason Beck

Twins: Feel out the market for their trade chips
Two earth-shaking Carlos Correa signings aside, this Twins front office has been most active in the trade market the last few offseasons, and this winter might bring more of the same, as the Twins might not have the financial flexibility to make meaningful splashes in free agency -- and they have a handful of trade chips who could draw interest as they seek to deal from areas of depth to bolster areas of need. Most notably, Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler and Kyle Farmer could be names to watch as the Twins likely seek pitching, Byron Buxton insurance in center field and a right-handed bat. -- Do-Hyoung Park

White Sox: Continue the roster retooling
General manager Chris Getz certainly is making significant roster changes coming off a dismal 61-101 showing in 2023. Shortstop Tim Anderson and closer Liam Hendriks, two organization staples, had their options declined for ‘24, and reliever Aaron Bummer was traded to the Braves for a five-player return. So, who’s next? Starter Dylan Cease is the current focal point, but Getz made it clear there are no untouchables on this roster. Getz will eventually have to fill some starting pitching and bullpen voids on the roster, not to mention right field, and possibly second base and catcher. That process could work hand in hand with his changing of the White Sox identity. -- Scott Merkin

AL West

Angels: Find out where they stand with Shohei Ohtani
The Angels' top target remains Ohtani, who is the most coveted free agent in MLB history. Ohtani has kept his process secretive, but the Angels need to find out their odds of re-signing him. Either way, they need to add plenty of pieces to a club that has won 73 games in consecutive seasons. General manager Perry Minasian has made it clear he plans to try to win under new manager Ron Washington, so they need to start adding to the roster. And knowing whether or not they’ll be paying Ohtani will be a key part of that equation. -- Rhett Bollinger

Astros: Bolster the bullpen
The Astros have had one of baseball’s best bullpens in the last few years, but it’s facing somewhat of an overhaul this winter with three key relief arms -- Hector Neris, Phil Maton and Ryne Stanek -- in free agency. Neris (71 games), Maton (68 games) and Stanek (55 games) combined to throw 185 innings last season -- 33.9 percent of the team’s relief innings in 2023 -- and Neris, in particular, got huge outs all season. Look for the Astros to try to make an impact addition or two to their bullpen ahead of setup man Bryan Abreu and closer Ryan Pressly. -- Brian McTaggart

Athletics: Identify veteran starting pitcher targets
General manager David Forst intimated that the A’s have already been exploring both the trade and free agent markets for a veteran-type starting pitcher who can help lighten the load on a young and inexperienced staff that took its lumps last season. Starting pitching always tends to come at a premium, so the A’s will likely utilize the Winter Meetings as an opportunity to map out their realistic options. -- Martín Gallegos

Mariners: Come away with more lineup clarity
President of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto and GM Justin Hollander have already laid the groundwork for overhauling Seattle’s offense to a more contract-driven group, by not extending Teoscar Hernández a qualifying offer and then trading Eugenio Suárez. Both had among MLB’s highest strikeout rates, but they were also two of the Mariners’ primary run producers. It points to a domino effect, but the ensuing dominos have yet to fall. -- Daniel Kramer

Rangers: Fortify the rotation 
The Rangers aren’t lacking rotation depth, but general manager Chris Young already said they are looking to acquire at least one more starter to join Max Scherzer, Nathan Eovaldi, Jon Gray, Andrew Heaney and Dane Dunning. They’ve continued conversations with Jordan Montgomery, whom Texas acquired at the 2023 Trade Deadline to help with the World Series push, and there are a number of other quality arms on the market. Whether it’s by trade or free agency, the Rangers would surely like to have one more starting pitcher by Christmas. -- Kennedi Landry

National League East

Braves: Strengthen rotation
They could use a left fielder, but the more significant need seems to be finding immediate and future value for a rotation that could lose Max Fried and Charlie Morton after the 2024 season. The Braves have shied away from giving long-term deals to free agent starting pitchers. But they may be willing to use some pitching prospects or one of their veterans to bid for somebody like Dylan Cease, Corbin Burnes or another available frontline starter. -- Mark Bowman

Marlins: Begin laying the groundwork for Bendix’s vision
President of baseball operations Peter Bendix's first day on the job came at the General Managers Meetings, so he relied heavily on his assistant GMs to show him the ropes and make roster decisions. After a month, Bendix will arrive in Nashville with a better idea of the organization, and thus, an opportunity to execute his blueprint for sustainable success. Miami has just one catcher on the 40-man roster, so there's a start. -- Christina De Nicola

Mets: Add another starting pitcher
Before the offseason is through, the Mets must acquire two or three starters to join Kodai Senga and José Quintana in their rotation. One landed earlier this week when the Mets agreed to terms with Luis Severino. Another, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, could see his market begin to move at the Winter Meetings. But even if Yamamoto remains unsigned until later in December, the Mets would do well to grab some additional depth while in Nashville. -- Anthony DiComo

Nationals: Determine who starts at first
The Nationals will have to name a new starting first baseman in 2024 after designating Dominic Smith for assignment in November. Smith made 140 starts last season. Washington could shift Joey Meneses from the designated hitter role back to first, where he started in '22. Or, the Nats could look outside the organization. Their free-agent signings in recent years have been short-term deals while they develop for the future. -- Jessica Camerato

Phillies: Look for something big
If Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is to be believed, then the Phils finished their heavy lifting this offseason the moment they signed Aaron Nola to a seven-year, $172 million contract. So, maybe they add a reliever or two to replace free agent Craig Kimbrel before Spring Training. Maybe they find a bench bat. Or, maybe Dombrowski and Co. see if there is a trade (i.e. Corbin Burnes) to be made or a free agent to be signed (i.e. Yoshinobu Yamamoto) that sends a jolt through the NL. -- Todd Zolecki

NL Central

Brewers: Decide on Corbin Burnes
Often, the most productive time at the Winter Meetings is spent gauging a certain market. The starting pitching market has moved early, with Aaron Nola (Phillies) and Sonny Gray (Cardinals) off the board. NL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell, Japanese right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto and lefty Jordan Montgomery are the top free agents still available. Dylan Cease and Tyler Glasnow are the top names believed to be available via trade. Burnes would jump to the top of the “best available” list should the Brewers opt to entertain offers, and it’s important that they emerge from Nashville with a good feel for his value. -- Adam McCalvy

Cardinals: Revamp the bullpen
Now that they have addressed their starting pitching woes with the additions of Sonny Gray, Lance Lynn and Kyle Gibson, the Cardinals must add arms to a bullpen that got badly overexposed last season. Reupping with Jordan Hicks isn’t out of the question after the club and the flame-throwing right-hander nearly reached an extension last July before the talks collapsed and Hicks was traded to the Blue Jays. JoJo Romero and John King were revelations amid the rubble of last season, but the Cardinals almost assuredly will pursue another lefty reliever this offseason. Finding a deal to unclog their overcrowded outfield might allow them to also address their bullpen needs. -- John Denton

Cubs: Gain momentum in acquiring pitching
Once Shohei Ohtani makes his decision on where to sign, plenty of Plan B’s will start to come to fruition. In the meantime, what could the Cubs tackle? On the pitching front, Chicago needs at least one impact starter and will be aiming to add depth (and maybe some late-inning help) to the bullpen. If the Cubs remain in a holding pattern on the position player front, they could still make a push for arms at the Winter Meetings. On the trade front, starters like Tyler Glasnow, Shane Bieber or Corbin Burnes could be among the names on the radar. In the bullpen, could free-agent lefty Josh Hader reunite with manager Craig Counsell? The meetings will offer an opportunity to gain momentum in any and all negotiations. -- Jordan Bastian

Pirates: Sign or single out one veteran starting pitcher
Mitch Keller is the most experienced pitcher on the Pirates’ starting staff right now. And while he now has five seasons under his belt as well as an All-Star Game appearance, he is still just 27 years old and only just reached the 100-start mark for his career. The Pirates arguably need more than one addition to their rotation, but adding someone with experience who could reliably handle innings for staff that has dealt with some tough Tommy John surgeries and some growing pains from prospects has to be at the top of the list for the Bucs. -- Justice delos Santos

Reds: Keep pushing for more moves
Coming off of a surprising 82-win season where they challenged for the postseason with a young roster, the Reds have been aiming to further improve their chances in 2024. On both Wednesday and Thursday, they agreed to a pair of two-year deals with a couple of veteran pitchers -- reliever Emilio Pagán and swingman Nick Martinez -- to shore up a need for innings. But they likely aren’t done trying to upgrade the bullpen and could also use a right-handed bat for the outfield. Even if those moves aren’t completed in Nashville, Reds president of baseball operations Nick Krall can still lay the groundwork for deals later in the winter. -- Mark Sheldon

NL West

D-backs: Gauge the starting pitching market
The D-backs' biggest need this offseason is finding a starter to slot in after Zac Gallen, Merrill Kelly and Brandon Pfaadt. While they’ve been working already to get a feel for the starting pitching market, the Winter Meetings afford them a chance to figure out whether they will need to pick up a starter via free agency or trade. They have some money to spend and they also have some trade chips that teams would be interested in. They just need to figure out which they have to use for a starter and then they can use what’s left to add depth to the bullpen and bench. -- Steve Gilbert

Dodgers: Sign Shohei Ohtani
Coming into this offseason, the Dodgers laid out their needs. They need at least two frontline starters and maybe one more depth piece in the rotation. The bullpen is solid, but they could always add. They also need to figure out what they want to do at the shortstop position in order to add more offense. All of that is still true. But in the end, the Dodgers’ offseason will likely be graded on whether or not they land Ohtani. It’s been long speculated that the Dodgers and Ohtani are a perfect match. The Dodgers have been dreaming about Ohtani for nearly a decade. The Winter Meetings in Nashville seem like the perfect time to finally make it a reality. -- Juan Toribio

Giants: Land a big star
After missing the playoffs in two consecutive seasons, pressure is building on the Giants to make serious upgrades to a roster that has lacked a face-of-the-franchise-type player since Buster Posey retired at the end of the 2021 season. They missed out on Aaron Judge and Carlos Correa last offseason, but they’re expected to shop at the top of the market again this year, with Japanese stars Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto reportedly at the top of their wish list. The Giants certainly have the financial resources to make a splash, so it may only be a matter of time before they finally manage to reel in the big fish. -- Maria Guardado

Padres: Talk with Juan Soto’s camp; talk with other teams about Soto
For all the buzz around a potential Soto trade, it seems unlikely to come to fruition in Nashville. The winter is still young, and the Padres have left the door open to the possibility of Soto fitting long-term in San Diego. But if Soto is keen to hit the free-agent market next offseason, well, it’s time to start finding out what he’d fetch in a trade. And what better time to listen to those offers than the Winter Meetings? That doesn’t mean the Padres have to deal Soto. He’s an elite hitter in his prime on a team with October ambitions. But if they were to be blown away by a trade offer -- and if they’ve reached the point where they’re confident Soto would leave via free agency -- it’s at least time to start listening. -- AJ Cassavell

Rockies: Try to speed the timetable by improving pitching
As the Rockies sped toward 103 losses, they went into full rebuild mode by trading veterans for pitching prospects and turning the lineup over to rookies such as Ezequiel Tovar, Nolan Jones and Gold Glove Award winner Brenton Doyle. While building a strong 2024 rotation would be a longshot with Germán Márquez and Antonio Senzatela out for much of the upcoming season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, a competent rotation could make the team competitive. There is prospect depth in the outfield, the middle infield and catching from which to make potential trades. The route to winning looks long, but making the right pitching moves could make it shorter and less painful. -- Thomas Harding