theScore's MLB offseason team needs series breaks down every club's roster and key departures, along with how holes could be filled in free agency ahead of the Dec. 4-7 winter meetings. Division previews will roll out daily through Nov. 30. AL EAST AL WEST I NL WEST AL CENTRAL NL CENTRALAtlanta Braves Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images Sport / Getty2023 record: 104-58 (1st in NL East)Projected 40-man payroll: $207MKey departures: Nick Anderson (KC), Jesse Chavez, Brad Hand, Collin McHugh, Eddie Rosario, Michael Soroka (CWS)Needs: Starting pitcher, corner outfielderWhere the lineup stands ORDER PLAYER POSITION fWAR 1 Ronald Acu a Jr. RF 8.3 2 Ozzie Albies (S) 2B 4.0 3 Austin Riley 3B 5.2 4 Matt Olson (L) 1B 6.7 5 Marcell Ozuna DH .3.3 6 Michael Harris II (L) CF 4.0 7 Sean Murphy C 4.2 8 Orlando Arcia SS 2.3 9 Vaughn Grissom LF -0.7 Most of the Braves' core is under contract for a number of years, which puts them in great shape. Still, general manager Alex Anthopoulos will likely look to add another outfielder to replace Eddie Rosario's spot on the roster. Grissom will get a look in left field, but a team with huge expectations and pressure to win in 2024 should aim higher than an unproven commodity in an important position.How the rotation looks Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty ROLE PITCHER THROWS fWAR 1 Spencer Strider R 5.5 2 Max Fried L 1.9 3 Charlie Morton R 2.7 4 Bryce Elder R 1.8 5 Huascar Ynoa R - The Braves were reportedly a strong contender for Aaron Nola before he re-signed with the Phillies. Anthopoulos could turn to Sonny Gray as a strong No. 3 in the rotation. After all, the Braves need some stability beyond Strider, as the futures of No. 2 Fried and current No. 3 Morton are uncertain beyond next season. The team traded Michael Soroka to the White Sox to acquire left-handed reliever Aaron Bummer. And Anthopoulos has been active in bolstering the bullpen, also signing Reynaldo L pez and re-signing Pierce Johnson and Joe Jim nez.Miami Marlins Megan Briggs / Getty Images Sport / Getty2023 record: 84-78 (3rd)Projected 40-man payroll: $96MKey departures: Matt Barnes, Johnny Cueto, Yuli Gurriel, Garrett Hampson, Matt Moore, Jorge Soler, Jacob Stallings, David Robertson, Joey WendleNeeds: Outfielder, starting pitcher, reliever, infielder, catcherWhere the lineup stands ORDER PLAYER POSITION fWAR 1 Luis Arraez (L) 2B 3.4 2 Josh Bell (S) 1B 0.7 3 Jazz Chisholm Jr. (L) CF 1.9 4 Jake Burger 3B 1.1 5 Bryan De La Cruz LF 0.2 6 Jes s S nchez (L) RF 1.3 7 Avisa l Garc a DH -0.3 8 Jon Berti SS 2.1 9 Nick Fortes C 0.2 The Marlins made the postseason in a 162-game campaign for the first time since 2003. Even with Soler's expected departure, NL Manager of the Year Skip Schumaker can feel good about some of the pieces in the lineup. New Marlins president of baseball operations Peter Bendix should prioritize ways to add more talent to surround Arraez and Chisholm to improve an offense that ranked 26th in MLB in runs scored last season.How the rotation looks Brennan Asplen / Getty Images Sport / Getty ROLE PITCHER THROWS fWAR 1 Jes s Luzardo L 3.7 2 Eury P rez R 1.4 3 Braxton Garrett L 2.9 4 Edward Cabrera R 1.0 5 Trevor Rogers L 0.3 The Marlins are well-equipped atop the rotation: Luzardo and P rez form a strong one-two punch. There are question marks surrounding the health and consistency of Cabrera and Rogers, though. Starting pitching also became a bigger offseason need following 2022 Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara's Tommy John surgery. The Marlins could add a veteran hurler to help offset that as well as Cueto's departure. New York Mets Tim Nwachukwu / Getty Images Sport / Getty2023 record: 75-87 (4th)Projected 40-man payroll: $263MKey departures: Carlos Carrasco, Adam Ottavino, Daniel VogelbachNeeds: Outfield, starting pitchers, relieverWhere the lineup stands ORDER PLAYER POSITION fWAR 1 Brandon Nimmo (L) CF 4.3 2 Jeff McNeil (L) 2B 2.6 3 Francisco Lindor (S) SS 6.0 4 Pete Alonso 1B 2.8 5 Starling Marte RF -0.3 6 DJ Stewart (L) LF 0.7 7 Francisco Alvarez C 2.7 8 Brett Baty (L) 3B -0.5 9 Mark Vientos DH -0.9 Despite fielding baseball's highest payroll, the Mets endured a disastrous 2023 campaign. They missed the postseason, traded both Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, and fired manager Buck Showalter. With David Stearns taking control as the new president of baseball operations, it'll be interesting to see how the Mets approach the offseason. Ultra-aggressive owner Steve Cohen is likely hoping to avoid a repeat of 2023, and one of the big orders of business will be Alonso's future. The slugger has just one year remaining before free agency and could be a trade chip if the club can't get him extended.How the rotation looks Elsa / Getty Images Sport / Getty ROLE PITCHER THROWS fWAR 1 Kodai Senga R 3.4 2 Jos Quintana L 1.5 3 Tylor Megill R 0.6 4 Joey Lucchesi L 0.7 5 Jos Butto R 0.6 Outside of Senga, there are major question marks for rookie manager Carlos Mendoza in the rotation. Quintana is a good back-end option in the rotation but will be exposed if he's expected to be the No. 2. Meanwhile, the Mets have been one of the teams connected to Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Even if they sign him, Stearns should try to add at least one more starting pitcher.Philadelphia Phillies Mitchell Leff / Getty Images Sport / Getty2023 record: 90-72 (2nd)Projected 40-man payroll: $237MKey departures: Rhys Hoskins, Craig Kimbrel, Michael LorenzenNeeds: Starting pitcher, outfielder, relieverWhere the lineup stands ORDER PLAYER POSITION fWAR 1 Kyle Schwarber (L) DH 1.4 2 Trea Turner SS 3.8 3 Bryce Harper (L) 1B 3.3 4 Nick Castellanos RF 1.0 5 Alec Bohm 3B 1.1 6 Bryson Stott (L) 2B 3.9 7 J.T. Realmuto C 1.5 8 Brandon Marsh (L) LF 3.4 9 Johan Rojas CF 1.4 The Phillies are returning most of the group that made consecutive trips to the NLCS. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is never shy about addressing a need and another outfielder would be beneficial as Schwarber is best utilized as a more permanent DH. Bryce Harper serving as the full-time first baseman helps things.How the rotation looks Mitchell Leff / Getty ROLE PITCHER THROWS fWAR 1 Zack Wheeler R 5.9 2 Aaron Nola R 3.9 3 Ranger Su rez L 2.4 4 Taijuan Walker R 2.5 5 Cristopher S nchez L 1.8 Dombrowski checked one of the biggest boxes by re-signing Nola to a seven-year, $172-million contract despite interest from a handful of other clubs. The Wheeler-Nola combination should remain one of baseball's very best starting pitcher duos. However, beyond that, there's a pretty glaring need for another quality starter. Phillies owner John Middleton has proven he's more than willing to spend, so Philadelphia could be a contender for some of the top free-agent hurlers still on the market.Washington Nationals Mary DeCicco / Major League Baseball / Getty2023 record: 71-91 (5th)Projected 40-man payroll: $123MKey departures: Michael Chavis, Corey Dickerson, Carl Edwards Jr., Chad Kuhl, Dominic SmithNeeds: Starting pitcher, reliever, second base, third baseWhere the lineup stands ORDER PLAYER POSITION fWAR 1 CJ Abrams (L) SS 2.1 2 Lane Thomas RF 2.7 3 Keibert Ruiz (S) C 0.0 4 Joey Meneses 1B -0.2 5 Luis Garc a (L) 2B 0.1 6 Stone Garrett LF 1.2 7 Jake Alu (L) DH -0.4 8 Carter Kieboom 3B -0.1 9 Victor Robles CF 0.4 The Nationals showed some signs of growth in 2023, with Abrams and Thomas emerging to put together strong seasons at the plate. With two years of club control remaining and prospects like James Wood and Dylan Crews waiting in the wings, it's worth monitoring whether Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo explores trading Thomas to a club in need of outfield help.How the rotation looks Mitchell Layton / Getty Images Sport / Getty ROLE PITCHER THROWS fWAR 1 Josiah Gray R 1.6 2 MacKenzie Gore L 1.3 3 Jake Irvin R 0.8 4 Patrick Corbin L 0.9 5 Trevor Williams R -0.1 Gray and Gore have the makings of long-term pillars atop Washington's rotation. But there isn't much else manager Dave Martinez should feel married to heading into 2024. Corbin's six-year, $140-million contract has one year remaining. That deal coming off the books should give Rizzo and the Nationals some financial flexibility.Copyright © 2023 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.
The Kansas City Royals are interested in signing star shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. to a contract extension, and it looks like the 23-year-old would be interested in staying with the organization that drafted him."We are working on that," Royals general manager J.J. Picollo said, according to The Kansas City Star's Jaylon Thompson. "I don't really want to comment on it more than that (it's) a goal of ours. It would be exciting to do so, as he is a special player. We want to keep special players in our uniform."Witt, who hit 30 home runs and stole 49 bases for the Royals in 2023, confirmed the two sides are discussing a deal, and he's just waiting for something to get done."I think there is some talks here and there, so we're just kind of waiting to see," Witt said. "I love this organization and love this team. It's just kind of one of those things. If the time is right, the time's right."Witt isn't set to hit free agency until 2028 and won't be arbitration-eligible for the first time until 2025. Should the native Texan ink a long-term contract, he'd join a group of budding MLB superstars who've agreed to similar pacts early in their careers.The Seattle Mariners and Julio Rodr guez agreed to a 12-year deal in August 2022, while the Arizona Diamondbacks signed Corbin Carroll to an eight-year pact in March.Meanwhile, the Atlanta Braves have a pattern of locking up core pieces early in their careers, committing to stars Ronald Acu a Jr., Ozzie Albies, Michael Harris II, and Spencer Strider with long-term contracts before they turned 23 years old.Copyright © 2023 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.