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1 Winter Meetings question for every team

@williamfleitch
December 8, 2019

The Winter Meetings have arrived, and while some teams will be more active than others, each team has work to do, no matter whether it's building for the future or trying to win the World Series next year. Everybody has a full plate. As things get going in San Diego,

The Winter Meetings have arrived, and while some teams will be more active than others, each team has work to do, no matter whether it's building for the future or trying to win the World Series next year. Everybody has a full plate.

As things get going in San Diego, we take a look at the big question for each team. The question might not be answered by the end of the Meetings, but it’s the most vital one heading into this week … and maybe for this whole postseason.

AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Blue Jays: How many pitchers will they bring in?

Chase Anderson came over from Milwaukee last month, but the Blue Jays essentially need a whole rotation. You want the kids -- Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio -- to take strides in 2020, but you’d rather they not be overcoming 6-1 deficits in the second inning every game.

Orioles: Will they trade Trey Mancini?

Mancini thinks he’s staying, but at the age of 27, will he really be around for the next contending Orioles team?

Rays: Which non-tendered player will they go after?

This is what the Rays do, after all: Ask Avisaíl García. Blake Treinen seems like a perfect fit.

Red Sox: So, are they going to trade Mookie Betts or not?

Although it seems unlikely that Boston will actually trade Betts, this topic might be the biggest question of the whole Winter Meetings … and there are plenty of potential trade partners.

Every team's Winter Meetings wish list

Yankees: How high will they go for Gerrit Cole?

The Yankees are short the dominant starter that recent World Series winners have had, and Cole obviously fits the bill, but will New York get him no matter the cost?

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

Indians: Do they trade Lindor now, or later?

The Francisco Lindor rumors continue to circulate, and it might make more sense for the Indians to get him to a team that can use him for the whole season rather than just the two months after the Trade Deadline. If they trade him.

Royals: Will they get bullpen help, or just see what they’ve got in-house?

The Royals’ bullpen was a nightmare last season (5.07 ERA), but is it worth spending for a short-term fix, or should they let the kids figure it out?

Tigers: Will they grab a catcher?

According to wOBA, Detroit had the worst hitting catchers in the Majors last year, and that's their first offseason priority.

Twins: Will they move after missing out on Zack Wheeler?

The Twins want starting pitching, badly, and there are many options. But Wheeler was probably the best beyond the Gerrit Cole-Stephen Strasburg tier. How badly does Minnesota want someone? How quickly will the market move? The Twins re-signed Jake Odorizzi and Miguel Pineda, but it still feels like they need one more arm.

Winter Meetings forecast: 11 bold predictions

White Sox: How will they move on after missing out on Zack Wheeler?

Reports had the White Sox offering more than the Phillies for Wheeler but still not getting him. So who’s the next target?

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST

Angels: Who's Trout's running mate?

The Angels have signaled that they’re willing to do whatever it takes to support Mike Trout with another superstar. Is it Gerrit Cole? Anthony Rendon? Mookie Betts? They’ll find somebody.

Astros: Who will “replace” Gerrit Cole?

With Cole clearly leaving town, the Astros could use rotation help. They currently have two, maybe three starting pitchers. Who’s the struggling veteran (think Charlie Morton a few years back) who will go to Houston and suddenly turn his career around?

Athletics: Are any under-the-radar bullpen arms available?

The market for relief pitching is thinner than one might expect it to be, and with the non-tendering of Blake Treinen, it’s clear what the A’s are willing to spend.

Mariners: How many trades will they make?

It’s not the Winter Meetings unless general manager Jerry Dipoto makes some deals.

Rangers: Will they go big for Anthony Rendon?

The Rangers are opening their new stadium and are thought to be potentially big bidders for home-stater Rendon (or possibly Josh Donaldson). But are they willing to outbid everyone?

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Braves: Are they done spending?

The Braves have already signed some notable free agents, including Cole Hamels, Travis d’Arnaud and Will Smith. Those are all helpful, but there’s still a Josh Donaldson-size hole in the middle of that lineup.

Marlins: Will they keep beefing up their lineup?

Bringing in Jesús Aguilar and Jonathan Villar showed that the Marlins are eager to get their offense moving a little bit. Are there more bats on the horizon?

Mets: Will they swing big again?

GM Brodie Van Wagenen hasn’t been shy in trying to do whatever he can to improve the Mets in swift, broad strokes. The Winter Meetings are his time to shine.

Nationals: Will they keep the band together?

Two of the three biggest free agents -- Anthony Rendon and Stephen Strasburg -- just won a championship with the Nationals. Can they hang on to one or both of them? Will they look to make a move to replace either if they can’t? (UPDATE: Strasburg has a record deal with the Nationals)

Biggest free-agent deals in Winter Meetings history

Phillies: Who's next?

First it was Zack Wheeler, but Philadelphia is just getting warmed up. Is Josh Donaldson next? Anthony Rendon? Mookie Betts? The Phils will take huge swings, just like they did last year.

NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL

Brewers: Are they trading Josh Hader?

The Brewers say that anyone and everyone (other than Christian Yelich, of course) could be up for grabs. But nothing would be more serious than trading one of the most dominating relievers in the sport.

Cardinals: Will they address the outfield?

The Cardinals have a ton of options to (potentially) replace free agent Marcell Ozuna, including Harrison Bader, Tommy Edman, Tyler O’Neill and José Martínez, but all are flawed or unproven in different ways. The Cards may be looking for a stopgap measure in the outfield to help their already struggling offense.

Cubs: They wouldn’t trade Kris Bryant … would they?

The Cubs are in a period of transition, at least in the dugout. So far the roster mostly looks the same, but rumors that Bryant could be on the market would kick-start the potential extreme makeover. And if Bryant isn't traded, there are rumors that catcher Willson Contreras might be dealt.

Pirates: How quickly will Starling Marte be moved?

New GM Ben Cherington is probably still filling out all of his Human Resources paperwork, but he also has one of the most attractive trade chips on the market to begin his restructuring of this organization.

Reds: How aggressive will they be?

With the signing of Mike Moustakas, and the run they made at Zack Wheeler, the Reds are clearly loading up this winter. How far are they willing to push this?

NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST

D-backs: Will they trade Robbie Ray?

Ray is arguably their ace, and they could contend, but he’s also a year from free agency, and as we learned with the Paul Goldschmidt and Zack Greinke trades in the last year, the D-backs are not shy about making deals for the future while trying to win now.

Dodgers: How big are they thinking?

The Dodgers are going to go one of two ways this offseason: Get aggressive after taking a step back in the postseason (perhaps Anthony Rendon?), or stay the course and remain prudent and even a little passive. We’ll get a hint of which way they’re leaning in San Diego.

Giants: Are they buyers? Sellers? Both?

The Giants have been veering back and forth, and it looks as though they’re going to try to avoid the total reconstruction many anticipated they’d undergo.

Padres: Are they going to try Manny Machado 2.0?

The Padres brain trust has a clear mandate to improve, ASAP. They’ve made some interesting offseason moves already, signing reliever Drew Pomeranz and trading for Tommy Pham and Jurickson Profar, but nothing that you would classify as BIG. Will they be Gerrit Cole’s SoCal destination? Stephen Strasburg's?

Rockies: What does the future hold for Trevor Story?

The Rockies want to sign him to an extension, but if there’s not a deal to be had … Would they have to get creative elsewhere?