As we start the new year, 29 teams are looking to forget 2020, and the defending World Series Champion Dodgers are looking to build for a chance to repeat. Join us as we take a look at what your favorite MLB team needs most in 2021.
The Baltimore Orioles need starting pitching.
The Orioles have two frontline starters in Alex Cobb and John Means, but after that, it gets a little dicey. Depth is everything and that is evident in an ultra-competitive AL East division. Offensively, the O’s would love a healthy Trey Mancini as well. In 2019, he belted 35 home runs and totaled 97 RBI.
The Boston Red Sox need to forget last year.
They traded away a generational talent in Mookie Betts, who helped the Dodgers to their first World Series since 1988. Once that is behind them, the Red Sox can focus on getting Chris Sale healthy from Tommy John surgery and bolstering their starting pitching.
The New York Yankees need to re-sign DJ LeMahieu.
In 2019, he signed a two-year $24 million deal with the Bronx bombers and he’s been worth every penny, winning the Silver Slugger Award in both seasons, and the AL batting title in 2020. However, recent reports suggest LeMahieu has been listening to offers from other teams with the Yankees cautious to meet his salary expectations. New York also needs to add arms to its rotation. Gerrit Cole was a massive addition, and as evident by his $324 million contract, the Yankees aren’t afraid to spend money if it means a shot at winning another World Series title.
The Tampa Bay Rays need starting pitching.
The defending ALCS champions looked poised to make another deep postseason run with a talented started pitching staff and lights out bullpen. However, the Rays failed to re-sign Charlie Morton, and the veteran pitcher bolted for Atlanta on a one year $15 million deal. Before 2020 was over the Rays also dealt 2018 Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell to the Padres. The team acquired catcher Francisco Mejía in that deal who should push Mike Zunino for the starting spot and provide needed depth behind the plate.
The Toronto Blue Jays need a consistent 3rd basemen.
Toronto has a very talented young nucleus with Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., but the one area they lack consistency is on the hot corner. Five different Blue Jays played the position in a shortened sixty game season in 2020. Look for them to find an upgrade over Travis Shaw at third base and actively seek another starting pitcher or center fielder such as George Springer.
The Chicago White Sox need their young rotation to mature.
New manager Tony La Russa would love to see his starting pitching rotation of Lucas Giolito, Dallas Keuchel, Dylan Cease and Dane Dunning take the team from the south side farther than the AL Wild Card round. Can 24-year-old Michael Kopech finally live up to the hype he garnered when he was selected in the first round by the Red Sox in 2014? Chicago has been linked to the top free-agent pitchers this offseason and is in the market for one more quality starter in 2021.
The Cleveland Baseball Team needs a new name, offense in the outfield, and a stronger bullpen.
One of the biggest questions for Cleveland will be their name in the 2021 season, after they announced they will no longer be called the Indians. The team recently traded Francisco Lindor and pitcher Carlos Carrasco to the Mets in return for six players which included infielder Andres Gimenez and shortstop Amed Rosario. Neither will replace the four-time All-Star, but do give Cleveland much needed infield depth. One area this young club, could use a boost is in the offensive production out of their outfielders, a group that ranked last and second to last in all of Major League Baseball in slugging percentage and batting average. Losing closer Brad Hand was a major blow to the back end of their rotation.
The Detroit Tigers need Casey Mize to meet the high expectations around him.
The Tigers finished last in the AL Central for the third time in four seasons. Now, with a new coach in AJ Hinch at the helm and a young nucleus, they will look to turn the tides. That all starts with Mize, the number one overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft. Mize started in seven games in 2020 and went 0-3 with an ERA of 6.99. Other needs include an impact bat and an upgrade behind the plate.
The Kansas City Royals need to find Alex Gordon’s successor.
The Royals finished fourth in a loaded AL Central in 2020 and will need a good amount of help in 2021. One place to start is in left field and who will be the heir apparent to Alex Gordon, the team’s number two overall pick in 2005. Will Jorge Soler who hit 48 home runs and drove in 147 RBI return in 2021? Add that to their wish list along with a need for veteran starting pitching and help in the bullpen.
The Minnesota Twins need a breakout season from Byron Buxton.
One may look at the Twins’ roster and point right to their need for pitching, both in their starting rotation and in the bullpen, but we decided to go a different route. Buxton, has been pegged as a can’t miss prospect since his high school days, was selected second overall in 2012, and won Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year Award in 2013. He won a Gold Glove Award in 2017 and had two of his best years offensively in 2019 and a shortened 2020 season. The centerfielder is entering his 7th season in the Twin Cities, but it still feels like the best is yet to come.
The Houston Astros need to resign George Springer and keep outfield intact.
This is a wish list right? The Astros were one game away from yet another trip to the World Series. Listen, this team knows what it takes to get to the postseason. Outfielders George Springer, Michael Brantley, and Josh Reddick were a large part of that success, but all are free agents. Their actions will dictate the Astros' next move in this offseason chess match. Can they get a healthy and productive Yordan Alvarez? Alvarez was the 2019 AL Rookie of the Year but had surgery on both needs this summer. Lastly, Houston would love a reliable closer with Robert Osuna opting for free agency, and Ryan Pressly struggling with consistency.
The Los Angeles Angels need to give Mike Trout what he deserves.
Mike Trout has been one of the best and most consistent players in all of baseball during the last decade. However, in his time with the Angels, they have made the playoffs just once, in 2014. In 2019, he signed a 12 year, $426 million contract, the richest in all of professional sports at the time, to show his dedication to this franchise. Now, it’s time for the Angels to give him the additional pieces needed to compete for a championship, and it starts with pitching. Los Angeles went after Gerrit Cole last season and missed. With Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer still on the table, they need to move their chips all in.
The Oakland Athletics just need to put all the pieces together.
The Oakland A’s advanced to the ALDS after beating the White Sox in the Wild Card round. Will a healthy Matt Chapman be the difference in moving even farther in 2021? He’s a big-time player who sets the tone for this team when it needs that spark of offense. Much like most playoff-caliber teams, depth is always an added bonus. The starting lineup is solid, but a veteran presence off the bench would be nice as would more experience at the back end of the starting rotation. Depending on how free agency pans out they could also be looking to fill holes at the middle infield and in the bullpen.
The Seattle Mariners need reliable relief pitching.
The Mariners are already checking off items on their Christmas wish list picking up Rafael Montero from Texas. Montero, who notched eight saves in 2020 and throws a 96 MPH fastball, is a start in the right direction, but the bullpen is still bad. Last year, Seattle relievers had a combined 5.92 ERA, the worst in the American League. Look for them to address this issue by adding three or four veteran arms to the fold.
The Texas Rangers need players that score.
You can’t win baseball games if you don’t score runs, just ask the Texas Rangers who ranked last in the AL in that category in 2020, and finished with a league-worst record of 22-37. The Rangers picked up Nate Lowe from the Rays, but that isn’t going to move the needle. Rangers President of Baseball Operations Jon Daniels has stated they love the youth of this team and will rely on their talents to provide offensive firepower in the second year of baseball at Globe Life Stadium.
The Atlanta Braves need to lock up Marcell Ozuna or go get George Springer.
The Braves made it to the ALCS and fell short to the Dodgers in a battle of two of the best offensive teams in baseball. Freddie Freeman hit 13 home runs and racked up 53 RBI, but with Ozuna, on a one year deal similar to that of Josh Donaldson they need to lock up Ozuna to give Atlanta a 1-2 punch in the middle of the order. If Ozuna heads elsewhere, there isn’t a better bat in free agency than George Springer. Lastly, can the Braves get the most out of their pitching acquisitions Charlie Morton and Drew Smyly? With a very talented top three starters can the veteran leadership of Morton who has World Series experience with the Astros and Rays gives them the extra edge.
The Miami Marlins needs someone to step up at second base.
Nobody thought the Marlins would perform as well as they did after a rough start to the season which saw COVID-19 ravage their lineup. A win over the Cubs in the NL Wild Card saw them heading to the ALDS after losing 105 games in 2019. In 2020, the team started six different players at second base and yielded the lowest offensive production at that position of any team in the NL. Other positions of need include catcher and relief pitching. Last on the Christmas wish list for the Fish is the continued success of young prospects Sixto Sanchez, who should take his spot at the front of the rotation, and Jesus Sanchez who is looking to earn a spot in the everyday lineup.
The New York Mets need to continue to create a big splash in the free-agent market.
With the Padres making news on the west coast, the Mets are building a contender in the NL East. First, with catcher James McCann and most recently
with the acquisitions of shortstop Francisco Lindor and pitcher Carlos Carrasco from the Indians. New owner Steve Cohen has made no qualms about his willingness to spend money and make the Mets instant contenders which begs the question who is next? Will it be a free-agent arm like Bauer or Tanaka or an offensive juggernaut like George Springer?
The Philadelphia Phillies need to re-sign J.T. Realmuto and restructure a their bullpen.
The Phillies failed to sign their star catcher to an extension and that makes him the number one need this Christmas. The team dealt away top prospect Sixto Sanchez to the Marlins to acquire Realmuto and now they could lose him after two seasons. With James McCann signing with NL East foe New York, it is now even more important to keep one of the best catchers in baseball at home in the City of Brotherly Love. Next on the list, is restructuring their bullpen which was ranked as the second-worst in all of baseball during the last 90 years.
The Washington Nationals need a big bat.
A big bat is one of those hot ticket items on every team’s wish list. But the Nationals, who went from first to worst in 2020, could definitely use one. One year after winning the World Series in 2019, the team finished 26-34 and dead last in the NL East division. The Nationals recently signed Kyle Schwarber to a one-year deal worth $10 million. Schwarber had a down year in 2020, but is usually good for 30 home runs in a season. Will he be the one to fill the void left by Anthony Rendon, which didn't occur last year? The starting rotation boasts a dominating top three with Max Scherzer, Patrick Corbin, and Stephen Strasburg who they expect to be healthy, but a durable fourth and fifth starter is definitely a priority as well in free agency.
The Chicago Cubs need consistent hitting from start to finish in a season.
The Cubs finished 2020 as the winners of the NL Central, a division that sent four of their five teams to the postseason. If they are going to bring on an impact bat that will be a difference-maker it won’t likely come via free agency but in a trade, and letting Schwarber go doesn't help the situation. On the other side of the ball, the squad from the north side desperately needs starting pitching with Jose Quintana, Jon Lester, and Tyler Chatwood hitting free agency. Last on their list, an effective Craig Kimbrel. Can Kimbrel slightly resemble the closer he was paid to be? If so, that’s an excellent exclamation point at the back end of their rotation.
The Cincinnati Reds need to keep Trevor Bauer.
The Reds made the playoffs and Trevor Bauer became the first CY Young Award winner in franchise history in 2020. Bauer is definitely going to get paid this offseason as the best free agent in the market, but what are the chances he stays put in Cincy? He’s flirted with major market teams like the Mets and Yankees, Angels and Dodgers, but he’s also boasted about his time in Cincinnati and the camaraderie between him and his teammates. Offensively, can the team add a consistent bat? Mike Moustakas, Nick Castellanos, and Shogo Akiyama, were welcome additions last season, but it’s no secret they have been working the market to find a shortstop, and with Lindor off the board their list of options has drastically changed.
The Milwaukee Brewers need Christian Yelich to return to his 2019 form.
Milwaukee finished with a record below .500 but was still able to secure the final playoff spot and a Wild Card round match up with the eventual World Series champion Dodgers. The Brewers' success is in large part to their most valuable player Christian Yelich. Yelich hit a career-best 44 home runs in 2019 with 97 runs batted in. Offensive production is a major key as the Brewers had their lowest batting average and highest strikeout rate in the franchise’s history in 2020.
The Pittsburgh Pirates need a franchise player.
How do you make the worst team in baseball better? Give them a leader, a player to rally around, a face of the franchise. Andrew McCutcheon was that player for years and it looked like it would be Josh Bell in 2019, but he took a massive step back. Whether it’s a big free-agent signing or young players stepping up, they need a “star” to spark excitement in a team that went 19-41 in 2020.
The St. Louis Cardinals need bats, bats, and more bats!
The Cardinals lost to the Padres in the opening round of the postseason, but if they want to reach the next level they need an impact bat. Offensively, only the Pirates scored fewer runs than the Cardinals in the National League. Their payroll has been right around $170 million each of the last four seasons so they aren’t afraid to spend which is exactly what they will have to do to get one of the top free-agent power hitters on the market like George Springer or Marcel Ozuna. Other needs include third base, and a utility player to give them much-needed depth if they lose Kolten Wong.
The Arizona Diamondbacks needs help in the back end of their bullpen.
The status of relievers Junior Guerra and Hector Rendon remains unknown and the Diamondbacks dealt Andrew Chafin to the Cubs and closer Archie Bradley to the Reds during the trade deadline. As a matter of fact, the club has had a different closer the past several years. Add in hopes for a healthy Madison Bumgarner, vastly improved hitting, and improvements from Kole Calhoun and Eduardo Escobar after a sub-par 2020, and Arizona’s wish list isn’t exactly short.
The Colorado Rockies need Nolan Arenado bounce-back.
If Nolan Arenado stays with the Rockies (the rumor mill is always swirling), he will need to put up the 40 home run, 100 plus RBI season that fans are accustomed to seeing. Especially when they are paying him a massive contract to put up MVP candidate numbers. Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon were productive offensively as well but look for Colorado to add another impact bat to the middle of the lineup. The Rockies needs that offensive firepower for a club that ranked near the bottom in the league in on-base percentage, home runs, OPS, and finished with a sub .500 record for the second consecutive year.
The Los Angeles Dodgers need to re-sign Justin Turner.
When you win the World Series your team doesn’t need a whole lot of bolstering assuming everyone comes back the following season. The Dodgers can straight up mash the ball and have one of the best offenses in baseball. Turner is the lone high-profile free agent this offseason for LA and if he bolts for greener pastures, they will need to replace the 36-year-old who has been rock solid in his time in Dodger Nation. Lastly, they need David Price or another starter to step up. Price opted out of the 2020 season and the team relied on a trio of Julio Urias, Dustin May, and Tony Gonsolin to fill that void.
The San Diego Padres need Gore!
The San Diego Padres are one of the most exciting young teams in all of baseball. Slam Diego showed they can slug it at the plate and made strides to improve their pitching at last year’s trade deadline. If they want to surpass their might neighbors to the north, the defending World Series champion Dodgers, they need MacKenzie Gore to make his big league debut. The top pitching prospect baseball in baseball didn’t see any innings in the Majors. If Gore can replicate Fernando Tatis’ success in the batting order in the Friars rotation, 2021 could be even more special than their 2020 postseason run. Add in the recent additions of Blake Snell from the Rays and 2020 NL Cy Young Runner-Up Yu Darvish from the Cubs and the Friars starting pitching could be one of Major League Baseball's best.
The San Francisco Giants need pitching, and maybe some more pitching.
San Francisco finished the year third behind the Padres and Dodgers in a wild, wild, NL West. Despite their fourth consecutive losing season, they were just one game out of a playoff spot, spotlighting a glimmer of hope for the franchise. Their biggest need of the offseason? Pitching at all ends. Four of their top pitchers, Kevin Gausman, Jeff Samardzija, Trevor Cahill, and Drew Smyly are all free agents with Smyly heading to Atlanta. Tony Watson served as the veteran presence in the bullpen and recorded two saves in 2020, but is also a free agent.
What do YOU think your team needs this offseason? Hit us up on twitter and let us know!
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