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Every MLB team’s biggest remaining need for 2021

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Spring training is right around the corner and many players remain unsigned

Dodgers and Rays in game six of the World Series at Globe Life Field Photo by Robert Gauthier/ Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Major League Baseball offseason may have gotten off to a slow start, but the position player market has suddenly heated up with Francisco Lindor and Nolan Arnado being traded and Trevor Bauer, J.T. Realmuto, and George Springer landing deals. Still, many free agents remain unsigned. Here’s a look at every team’s biggest remaining need before Spring Training kicks off this month.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Biggest Remaining Need: Relief pitching

The Diamondbacks came into the offseason with a significant need in the bullpen. To make matters worse, they declined options on Junior Guerra and Hector Rondón. They orchestrated some minor patchwork by landing Ryan Butcher and Seth Frankoff, but these two combined for nine runs in just 8.2 innings last season. The relief pitching market can fade fast, so the Diamondbacks must act quickly. They also need help in the outfield and could use depth at starting pitcher.

Atlanta Braves

Biggest Remaining Need: Power bat

Atlanta had two big areas of focus this offseason: starting pitching and replacing Marcell Ozuna. They accomplished both, but all three pitchers signed are in their thirties and started a combined 19 games last year. Therefore, while they likely won’t do much more to address the core of their rotation, taking a chance on a high-reward depth option makes sense. Perhaps someone like Taijuan Walker or Zack Godley could be a worthwhile addition for Atlanta.

Baltimore Orioles

Biggest Remaining Need: Cheap starting pitching

For a rebuilding team, signing cheap starting pitching is the name of the game. The Orioles must continue to look toward the future and hope that they can flip their offseason signings for prospects at the trade deadline. Other than filling out a roster, the Orioles don’t have too much left to accomplish.

Boston Red Sox

Biggest Remaining Need: Starting pitching

After signing Enrique Hernández, the Red Sox are mainly set in the infield. They could pursue someone like Mitch Moreland to platoon at first base, but that’s not a major need. They should make one more addition in the outfield, too, after trading Andrew Benintendi to the Royals. However, pitching remains their most imminent focus. Despite signing Martín Pérez, Daniel Gossett, and Matt Andriese already, their starting rotation could use one more mid-range starter. Meanwhile, the bullpen got a boost via the Adam Ottavino trade, but you can never have enough relievers. Look for the Red Sox to be in touch with several free agent arms over the next few weeks.

Chicago Cubs

Biggest Remaining Need: Young, affordable starting pitching

The Cubs are in a tricky place. They don’t want to rebuild, but they have just one year left before splitting up their core. They probably shouldn’t tear things down, but they have started to become forward-thinking, as evidenced by the Yu Darvish trade. Therefore, the Cubs need to find affordable starting pitching that they can hold on to and then decide to keep or trade at the deadline, depending on where they stand. Chicago added Trevor Williams in January but needs to continue solidifying its rotation.

Chicago White Sox

Biggest Remaining Need: Power bat

The White Sox entered the offseason needing rotation help, but they addressed that by signing Liam Hendriks and Carlos Rodón and trading for Lance Lynn. They might make another starting pitching addition but should turn the majority of their attention to low-risk relief pitching signings and adding a power bat. Chicago should be a contender and could turn heads in 2021 if they solidify their lineup with one more slugger.

Cincinnati Reds

Biggest Remaining Need: Offensive help

The Reds’ lineup will benefit from Nicholas Castellanos staying with the team, but they need at least one more impact bat. Meanwhile, their bullpen is set after several depth additions, but they might want to add an additional mid- to low-end starter before the season kicks off. It will be interesting to see how they prioritize their offensive and pitching needs in the weeks leading up to camp.

Cleveland Indians

Biggest Remaining Need: Cheap pitching

After trading Mike Clevinger last August, the Indians dealt Adam Cimber, Francisco Lindor, and Carlos Carrasco this offseason. They dumped Brad Hand, lost Carlos Santana in free agency, and could also trade Jose Ramirez in the coming weeks. It’s unclear if the Indians are looking at a full rebuild, but they clearly have no interest in being a high-end competitor this season. With that said, Cleveland has done a good job filling out a cheap roster for 2021 with their recent signings of Cesar Hernandez and Eddie Rosario. It might be wise for the Tribe to make a handful of low-risk pitching signings in hopes of flipping them for a few prospects at the trade deadline.

Colorado Rockies

Biggest Remaining Need: Pitching help

It’s been a tough offseason for the Colorado Rockies. They’ve made some positive, low-risk signings here and there, but they also lost David Dahl and traded away the face of their franchise in Nolan Arenado. The Rockies might be rebuilding for a long time, so they should focus on bolstering their bullpen and adding a utility player with a solid bat. Colorado continues to find itself entrenched in mediocrity and could finish 2021 as the worst team in baseball.

Detroit Tigers

Biggest Remaining Need: Utility player

The Tigers may be competitive in 2021, but they won’t be playoff contenders. After hiring A.J. Hinch, Detroit turned its attention to a plethora of affordable, low-risk signings and should continue to focus on similar deals over the coming weeks. One target could be another utility bat. The Tigers would benefit from a reliable bat and versatile fielder who could become trade bait at the deadline.

Houston Astros

Biggest Remaining Need: Low-cost pitching

The Astros are expected to be quiet after re-signing Michael Brantley and inking deals with Jason Castro, Steven Souza Jr., Pedro Baez, and Ryne Stanek. They might add one more versatile bat and explore the pitching market, but they won’t make any big moves.

Kansas City Royals

Biggest Remaining Need: Utility player

The Royals have been busy this offseason, trading for Andrew Benintendi while signing Hanser Alberto, Michael A. Taylor, Bubba Starling, Greg Holland, Ervin Santana, Carlos Santana, Mike Minor, Wade Davis, Foster Griffin, and Erick Mejia. Kansas City seems set for 2021 and could be a dark-horse candidate to make the postseason. Still, you can never have enough offensive depth, so perhaps the Royals will look for a fringe utility player in the next few weeks.

Los Angeles Angels

Biggest Remaining Need: Pitching depth

It’s no secret that the Angels need help in the rotation. They signed José Quintana, as well as catcher Kurt Suzuki, and struck trades for Jose Iglesias, Alex Cobb, Dexter Fowler, Aaron Slegers, and Raisel Iglesias. The main focus for the Angels continues to be starting pitching. They likely won’t make too many additional moves between now and the time they break camp, but pitching depth is always valuable. If anything, the Halos will be content with a flurry of patchwork signings.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Biggest Remaining Need: Third baseman

Justin Turner is still a free agent and certainly not a lock to return. The World Series champions signed Trevor Bauer last week and remain in touch with Turner but need to shift their attention to alternative solutions if they cannot bring him back. Marwin Gonzalez could be an intriguing fall-back option, though moving Corey Seager to the hot corner and adding a shortstop is not out of the question, either. Beyond the left side of the infield, the Dodgers are stacked and eager to run it back.

Miami Marlins

Biggest Remaining Need: Second baseman

Second base was an area of inconsistency for the Marlins in 2020 and they have not done anything to address this revolving door. After setting themselves up for success with pitching signings, the Marlins must look at the available second basemen in order to fill out a complete and strong roster. A veteran like Joe Panik and Brad Miller would make sense, though splurging for Marwin Gonzalez isn’t out of the question, either.

Milwaukee Brewers

Biggest Remaining Need: Infield bat

The Brewers ranked 27th in runs last year and desperately need to bolster their lineup. At the same time, they’ve been hit with a void at third base. Marwin Gonzalez and Justin Turner both make sense for the Brewers, but Milwaukee will surely have competition in these sweepstakes. A trade is also possible, with someone like Jose Ramirez being an expensive but interesting fit.

Minnesota Twins

Biggest Remaining Need: More starting pitching

The Twins made two huge moves by re-signing Nelson Cruz and landing Andrelton Simmons. They also inked a deal with J.A. Happ and several relievers. Still, starting pitching remains an area of need. Jake Arrieta, Jake Odorizzi, James Paxton, and Rick Porcello are all intriguing options for Minnesota. The thick class of free agent pitchers means the Twins don’t have to act with extreme urgency, but they would surely appreciate one more addition to their rotation before Spring Training begins.

New York Mets

Biggest Remaining Need: Outfield depth and starting pitching

The Mets suffered heartbreak when Trevor Bauer signed with the Dodgers. While their rotation is still one of the best in baseball, they likely aren’t done. Much like the Twins, New York should sign one of the top remaining free agent starters. Elsewhere, their outfield continues to need help despite the recent signing of Albert Armora Jr. and could benefit from adding Jackie Bradley Jr., Nomar Mazara, or Danny Santana.

New York Yankees

Biggest Remaining Need: Rotation depth

The Yankees lost J.A. Happ and Masahiro Tanaka this offseason and are set to lose James Paxton, too. They signed Corey Kluber and traded for Jameson Taillon but need to keep working. Outside of the annual Brett Gardner signing, the Yankees should turn their entire focus to the available starters.

Oakland Athletics

Biggest Remaining Need: Bargain deals across the board

After losing Kyle Hendriks and Marcus Semien, the low-budget Athletics need help. Their offseason has been headlined by a swap of Khris Davis for Elvis Andrus that took place on Saturday. Their only other big-league moves? Trading for left-handed relievers Cole Irvin and Nik Turley. They have yet to make a Major League signing and need to act fast. At this point, any young player who can be signed for below market value is a must-add for the Athletics.

Philadelphia Phillies

Biggest Remaining Need: Random bargain deals

The Phillies made quick work following the hires of Dave Dombrowski and Sam Fuld. Philadelphia worked diligently to re-sign Didi Gregorius and J.T. Realmuto while bolstering their pitching staff with various moves. The Phillies appear to be ready for the 2021 season to begin, but they should continue to patrol the market for value signings. Trading for a utility bat isn’t out of the question, either.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Biggest Remaining Need: Center field help and cheap starting pitching

The Pirates have traded away Josh Bell, Nik Turley, Jameson Taillon, and Joe Musgrove this offseason. Their lone signings are Chasen Shreve and Chase De Jong, though they also added an eye-popping number of prospects (including MLB-ready pitcher Miguel Yajure) through trades. In the weeks before Spring Training, look for the Pirates to sign a cheap outfielder such as Kevin Pillar or Jarrod Dyson. They could also add another starter or two in hopes of trading them for a nice haul in July.

San Diego Padres

Biggest Remaining Need: Nobody knows, but they’ll do something

If we’ve learned one thing about the Padres over the past six months, it’s this: A.J. Preller loves to make moves and doesn’t care about “areas of need.” Sure, the Padres won’t sign a shortstop or third baseman, but they are more than willing to bolster an area of strength. Look for the Padres to make a few more moves at [insert position here] in an effort to one-up the Dodgers, who inked Bauer last week.

San Francisco Giants

Biggest Remaining Need: Starting pitching

The Giants brought back Kevin Gausman and inked a deal with Alex Wood, but that likely isn't enough, especially after Jeff Samardzija, Drew Smyly, and Trevor Cahill departed in free agency. An affordable, veteran hurler should be on the Giants’ radar right now. It is no secret that Farhan Zaidi likes to add former Dodgers players, so perhaps southpaw Rich Hill, who turns 41 in April, could be on San Francisco's radar. Right-handers Mike Leake and Julio Teheran are also good fits.

Seattle Mariners

Biggest Remaining Need: Relief pitching

The Mariners have added four relievers so far this offseason. That’s not going to cut it. The Seattle bullpen was the worst in baseball last season and desperately needs help. The Mariners aren’t playoff contenders and don’t need to make a major splash, but they can’t have a repeat of 2020 again. In regards to the free agent market, Mark Melancon could be an interesting option for Seattle. Giving him a one-year deal means he could be trade bait in July. Of course, they shouldn’t stop there. Seattle isn’t an attractive landing spot, but the Mariners must continue to peruse the market and act on any chance they get to bring in a solid arm.

St. Louis Cardinals

Biggest Remaining Need: Perhaps middle infield depth

This offseason has been wild for the Cardinals. After going three months without a Major League signing, the Cardinals brought back Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina near the end of January. Then, they pulled off a huge trade for Nolan Arenado, acquiring the star third baseman and money to pay his salary in exchange for four prospects whose absences won’t obliterate the St. Louis farm system. The Cardinals also dumped Dexter Fowler’s contract for a player to be named later and acquired right-hander Johan Quezada from the Phillies. So, while the Cardinals were quiet in free agency, they made a huge splash by landing Arenado and are likely done making moves. (If anything, they’ll peruse the market for cheap depth up the middle after parting ways with Kolten Wong.) All in all, St. Louis baseball fans should be excited for 2021.

Tampa Bay Rays

Biggest Remaining Need: Bench bat

People are quick to forget that the Rays have had a huge offseason. The American League champions were busy in December, signing Michael Wacha, Mike Zunino, and Kevan Smith. They also traded star pitcher Blake Snell to the Padres in exchange for a plethora of prospects, including a pair of catchers, and flipped Nate Lowe to the Rangers. Tampa Bay signed Hunter Strickland and Chris Archer in the first week of February, too. The Rays seem to have filled a catching void with all types of moves and we know their pitching staff is dominant, so their biggest goal right now should be finding an impact bat off the bench. Travis Shaw and Joe Panik, who both spent 2020 with the Blue Jays, could be of interest for the Rays. A reunion with Eric Sogard isn’t out of the question, either.

Texas Rangers

Biggest Remaining Need: Low-risk minor league signings

The Rangers have been busy this offseason, making a flurry of additions and subtractions with a forward-thinking approach. Texas parted ways with Lance Lynn by trading him to the White Sox before striking a deal to acquire Nate Lowe from the Rays. Their signings have been low-profile, with David Dahl headlining the bunch. They also signed former Braves hurler Mike Foltynewicz in hopes of restoring his ace qualities. However, perhaps their biggest move of all was trading fan-favorite infielder Elvis Andrus to the Athletics in exchange for Khris Davis, among other players. With these moves in the rearview, the Rangers should focus on handing out minor-league deals to some of the younger and less-pursued free agents in hopes of finding a hidden gem during spring camp.

Toronto Blue Jays

Biggest Remaining Need: Bullpen depth

This winter has been a successful one for the Jays. They struck deals with George Springer, Kirby Yates, Robbie Ray, and Marcus Semien while trading for Steven Matz. They’re in a pretty good place ahead of Spring Training, though they might want to make another relief pitching addition. After all, having a solid bullpen in place will be imperative as they fight for a postseason berth down the stretch.

Washington Nationals

Biggest Remaining Need: Starting pitching and low-cost power

Among their offseason moves, the Nationals brought back Ryan Zimmerman, signed Kyle Schwarber, and traded for Josh Bell. They also added Brad Hand and Jon Lester as valuable arms. Despite their addition of power at the plate, the Nationals would benefit from continuing to peruse the offensive market. They don’t need to make a major splash but adding another bat with pop would be incredibly beneficial. They might sign another low-end rotation arm before the end of February, too.