It's time for Shohei Ohtani to make more room in his trophy case.Ohtani won his third consecutive Edgar Mart nez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award Thursday, putting him in rare company at the position. The Los Angeles Angels superstar joins Hall of Famer David Ortiz, an eight-time winner of this award, as the only designated hitters to claim the honor in three straight seasons.Ohtani also becomes the fourth slugger with at least three DH-of-the-year trophies. The others are Ortiz, Hal McRae, and Mart nez, who won five before MLB renamed the award in his honor in 2004.Despite playing only 135 games for the Angels due to injuries, 2023 was Ohtani's best year in the majors. The 29-year-old hit a career-best .304/.412/.654 with 44 homers and 95 RBIs. He led the majors in homers, OBP, slugging, OPS (1.066), OPS+ (184), and total bases (325) and topped the AL in extra-base hits (78) and fWAR (6.6). Ohtani also stole 20 bases and scored over 100 runs for the second time in his career.His dominant offensive season and excellent pitching for the Angels before suffering an elbow injury helped him unanimously earn the AL MVP earlier in November. Ohtani is the only player ever to win two MVPs unanimously.Ohtani is now a free agent and is expected to sign one of the most lucrative contracts in baseball history this offseason.Atlanta Braves slugger Marcell Ozuna, winner of the 2020 Mart nez Award, was the runner-up for this year's honor, according to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. Houston's Yordan Alvarez, Philadelphia's Bryce Harper, and the Dodgers' J.D. Martinez also reportedly received votes.Copyright © 2023 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.
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 I NL EAST I AL WEST I AL CENTRAL I NL CENTRAL *Bolded names are players traded this offseasonArizona Diamondbacks Norm Hall / Getty Images Sport / Getty2023 record: 84-78 (2nd in NL West)Projected 40-man payroll: $114MKey departures: Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Evan Longoria, Tommy PhamNeeds: Corner outfield, DH, rotation depth, bullpen depthWhere the lineup stands ORDER PLAYER POSITION fWAR 1 Corbin Carroll (L) LF 6.0 2 Ketel Marte (S) 2B 4.2 3 Eugenio Su rez 3B 3.2 4 Christian Walker 1B 3.8 5 Alek Thomas (L) CF 0.5 6 Gabriel Moreno C 1.7 7 Dominic Fletcher (L) DH 0.6 8 Geraldo Perdomo (S) SS 2.7 9 Jake McCarthy (L) RF 0.1 The D-Backs crossed off one need just before Thanksgiving by acquiring Su rez from Seattle. Not only is he a significant upgrade over Longoria at third base, but he'll inject some much-needed power into the middle of the lineup. There's still more work to be done, though. McCarthy's regression this past season, combined with Gurriel's possible departure, makes adding another corner outfielder imperative. A platoon partner for Fletcher at DH would also be helpful given his struggles against left-handed pitching in Triple-A and the majors.How the rotation looks Daniel Shirey / Major League Baseball / Getty ROLE PITCHER THROWS fWAR 1 Zac Gallen R 5.2 2 Merrill Kelly R 3.2 3 Brandon Pfaadt R 0.3 4 Ryne Nelson R 0.7 5 Tommy Henry L 0.7 Pfaadt's emergence during the playoffs gives the D-Backs a third dependable starter behind Gallen and Kelly, but upgrades are still needed. Ideally, Pfaadt would pitch behind a No. 3 starter imported via either trade or free agency. One more starter would push either Nelson or Henry to the bullpen, increasing Arizona's overall pitching depth. The back of the bullpen is in a good spot with Sewald, Franco, and Castro. However, the club would welcome additional depth.Colorado Rockies Dustin Bradford / Getty Images Sport / Getty2023 record: 59-103 (5th)Projected 40-man payroll: $142MKey departures: Chase Anderson, Ty Blach, Tommy Doyle, Chris Flexen, Matt Koch, Brent SuterNeeds: Right field, pitching, bullpenWhere the lineup stands ORDER PLAYER POSITION fWAR 1 Charlie Blackmon (L) DH 0.8 2 Ezequiel Tovar SS 1.6 3 Nolan Jones (L) LF 3.7 4 Kris Bryant 1B -1.2 5 Brendan Rodgers 2B 0.0 6 Ryan McMahon (L) 3B 1.2 7 Elias D az C 0.0 8 Hunter Goodman RF -0.4 9 Brenton Doyle CF 0.9 This lineup needs work and has to add experience. Goodman started last season at Double-A and finished 2023 in Colorado thanks to his solid bat. While he's earned the right to compete for the Rockies' Opening Day right-field job in 2024, the team should still consider looking for someone else to man the position, at least in the short term. A natural catcher and first baseman, Goodman only started playing the outfield in 2023. He might benefit from more defensive seasoning at the position in Triple-A. It would also be a good idea for Colorado to add some insurance for the oft-injured Kris Bryant.How the rotation looks Jason O. Watson / Getty Images Sport / Getty ROLE PITCHER THROWS fWAR 1 Kyle Freeland L 1.2 2 Cal Quantrill R 0.7 3 Austin Gomber L 0.9 4 Ryan Feltner R 0.9 5 Peter Lambert R 0.2 Pitching, as usual, remains a major need for Colorado. Adding Quantrill as a potential bounce-back candidate was a nice pickup for this otherwise underwhelming rotation. It wouldn't be surprising if the Rockies signed a few veteran relievers to short-term deals with eyes on flipping them at the trade deadline, as they did this past summer with Brad Hand and Pierce Johnson.Los Angeles Dodgers Denis Poroy / Getty Images Sport / Getty2023 record: 100-62 (1st)Projected 40-man payroll: $151MKey departures: Ryan Brasier, Enrique Hern ndez, Joe Kelly, Clayton Kershaw, Lance Lynn, J.D. Martinez, Shelby Miller, David Peralta, Amed Rosario, Julio Ur as, Kolten WongNeeds: Starting pitching, relief pitching, DHWhere the lineup stands ORDER PLAYER POSITION fWAR 1 Mookie Betts 2B 8.3 2 Freddie Freeman (L) 1B 7.9 3 Will Smith C 4.4 4 Max Muncy (L) 3B 2.9 5 James Outman (L) CF 4.4 6 Jason Heyward (L) RF 2.2 7 Chris Taylor LF 1.9 8 Gavin Lux (L) SS DNP 9 Michael Busch (L) DH -0.5 Everyone knows the Dodgers will be in on Shohei Ohtani, but the offense needs more fine-tuning regardless of whether they sign him. Nevertheless, this is an excellent lineup, but without Martinez, there's an imbalance of left-handed bats. Whether at DH if Ohtani goes elsewhere or a primary left fielder who allows Taylor to move around the diamond, signing one more righty power bat should be on the Dodgers' to-do list. Heyward's return as a corner outfielder is welcomed, allowing Betts to continue in his utility role by playing second base against right-handers. However, he needs a platoon partner.How the rotation looks Ronald Martinez / Getty Images Sport / Getty ROLE PITCHER THROWS fWAR 1 Walker Buehler R N/A 2 Bobby Miller R 2.8 3 Ryan Pepiot R 0.4 4 Ryan Yarbrough L 0.2 5 Emmet Sheehan R 0.5 One way or another, the Dodgers' rotation will look different in 2024. The club will welcome Buehler's return from elbow surgery, and its youngsters provided hope for the future after being pressed into action last year due to a myriad of injuries. Yarbrough brings nice left-handed depth, but L.A. can, and should, easily find an upgrade for the No. 5 spot. More rotation depth is essential for the Dodgers to avoid repeating what happened last summer when multiple starters went down.San Diego Padres Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images Sport / Getty2023 record: 82-80 (3rd)Projected 40-man payroll: $189MKey departures: Scott Barlow, Garrett Cooper, Luis Garc a, Josh Hader, Rich Hill, Tim Hill, Seth Lugo, Nick Martinez, Austin Nola, Gary S nchez, Blake Snell, Michael WachaNeeds: Starting pitching, reliever, catcher, first baseWhere the lineup stands ORDER PLAYER POSITION fWAR 1 Xander Bogaerts SS 4.4 2 Fernando Tatis Jr. RF 4.4 3 Juan Soto (L) LF 5.5 4 Manny Machado 3B 3.5 5 Ha-Seong Kim 2B 4.4 6 Jake Cronenworth (L) 1B 1.0 7 Luis Campusano C 1.1 8 Matt Carpenter (L) DH -0.3 9 Trent Grisham (L) CF 1.7 The most important holes for the Padres to fill right now are at DH and first base. Carpenter turned back into a pumpkin last season, and he should be used, at best, in a platoon DH situation. However, a bench role might suit him best. San Diego could also potentially find an upgrade over Cronenworth, who could return to his roots as a utility player and bounce around the infield. Of course, all of this is assuming that Soto remains with the team. If he's traded, it not only opens up left field as an area of need, but it probably signals a rebuild or that a retool is in the offing. The Padres' offseason strategy would change entirely in that case.How the rotation looks Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty ROLE PITCHER THROWS fWAR 1 Joe Musgrove R 2.1 2 Yu Darvish R 2.4 3 Matt Waldron R 0.1 4 Pedro Avila R 0.6 5 Jay Groome L N/A This entire staff will take a hit with Snell and Hader likely departing in free agency. Musgrove and Darvish still give the Padres a solid duo atop the rotation, but they need help. Any team with Groome penciled in as its No. 5 should consider finding multiple viable back-end starters essential. Groome posted an 8.55 ERA and 2.10 WHIP in 30 starts at Triple-A in 2023 and has never pitched in the majors.San Francisco Giants Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images2023 record: 79-83 (4th)Projected 40-man payroll: $148MKey departures: Scott Alexander, Brandon Crawford, Jakob Junis, Sean Manaea, Joc Pederson, Alex WoodNeeds: Starting pitching, bullpen depth, center field, first baseWhere the lineup stands ORDER PLAYER POSITION fWAR 1 LaMonte Wade Jr. (L) 1B 2.1 2 Thairo Estrada 2B 3.9 3 Mike Yastrzemski (L) RF 1.8 4 Wilmer Flores DH 2.5 5 Michael Conforto (L) LF 1.1 6 J.D. Davis 3B 2.2 7 Luis Matos CF -0.4 8 Patrick Bailey (S) C 2.8 9 Marco Luciano SS 0.2 Matos had a difficult rookie season on both sides of the ball, so finding an upgrade at center field is essential if the Giants hope to get back into contention in 2024. Although they're less urgent, first base and DH would also be spots where president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi could get help. The next generation is ready to step in, as top prospect Marco Luciano will take over shortstop full time from Crawford next season.How the rotation looks Lachlan Cunningham / Getty Images Sport / Getty ROLE PITCHER THROWS fWAR 1 Logan Webb R 4.9 2 Anthony DeSclafani R 1.0 3 Ross Stripling R -0.3 4 Kyle Harrison L -0.1 5 Keaton Winn R 0.2 Webb is a luxury for the Giants and gives them certainty every five days. Behind him, it's a bit of a mess. Stripling had a difficult first season in San Francisco. While youngsters Winn and Harrison showed flashes of potential during late-season cameos, they're still largely unproven. Alex Cobb is also back but will start 2024 on the injured list after hip surgery. The bullpen, anchored by Camilo Doval and the Rogers twins, is a strength for this club.Copyright © 2023 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.
There are a number of prominent players on the free-agent market this offseason, headlined by two-time AL MVP Shohei Ohtani. While Ohtani figures to dominate the headlines, plenty of names could significantly alter a club's fortunes for the 2024 campaign and beyond.We take a look at 10 of the top free agents available and try to play matchmaker.Shohei Ohtani Loren Elliott / Major League Baseball / GettyLos Angeles Dodgers: Let's be real: Thirty teams (OK, 29 excluding the A's) could be a fit for Ohtani. He's a once-in-a-century baseball unicorn who's doing things on both sides of the ball that are unheard of in this era. Sure, he won't pitch in 2024, but that's only one year of a multi-year contract - and he'll still be the best hitter on the planet while he rehabs his pitching elbow. From an organizational perspective, the benefits of signing Ohtani beyond the wins include increased international exposure thanks to signing one of the world's most famous and visible athletes.That said, only a few big-market teams can probably afford Ohtani if he's not willing to take a shorter-term deal. Ultimately, the team that's been most heavily linked to him for years - the Dodgers - makes the most sense. On the field, he's an obvious upgrade at DH over J.D. Martinez, who was very good for the Dodgers last year. In 2025, he'll return to the mound and stabilize an injury-ravaged rotation for the long term. The Dodgers can easily afford to build an expensive and sustainable winner around what's likely to be a historically large contract while providing Ohtani with the biggest stage of all in Hollywood.Blake Snell Denis Poroy / GettySan Francisco Giants: Snell's market should be robust, but only one team will land the left-hander. He's the top starter available in free agency after securing his second Cy Young thanks to league-leading numbers in ERA and opponents' batting average while finishing top 10 in K/9, HR/9, FIP, WHIP, wins, and fWAR.Snell, who turns 31 in December, has been linked to the Padres, Dodgers, Giants, and Phillies, but his best fit is San Francisco. The Giants want to make a splash after whiffing on top free agents last winter and could use another top arm to pair with NL Cy Young runner-up Logan Webb. Snell is the type of strikeout artist the Giants need after their starters finished 23rd in fWAR and 25th in K/9 last year, and pitching in Oracle Park would be beneficial for Snell, who's allowed one homer and limited opposing hitters to a .487 OPS in his four starts there.Yoshinobu Yamamoto Koji Watanabe / Getty Images Sport / GettyNew York Mets: Yamamoto is perhaps the most talented and hyped Japanese pitcher to make the move across the Pacific since Masahiro Tanaka, and it's very easy to see why. The reigning three-time Sawamura Award winner (Japan's Cy Young equivalent) is coming off an all-time great season for the Orix Buffaloes, posting a sparkling 1.21 ERA and 0.88 WHIP. Perhaps the most astonishing statistic is that he allowed two homers in 164 innings, and he has never given up more than eight in a season in the world's second-best league.The bids for Yamamoto will be high and involve many suitors. Not only is he going to command a massive salary, but he also reportedly wants to pitch for a big-market team. Within those qualifiers, the Mets feel like Yamamoto's best choice. Owner Steve Cohen has shown he'll spare no expense to field a winner, so he'll very likely be willing to both meet Yamamoto's demands and pay Orix a sizable posting fee. The Mets desperately need starting pitching, with an emphasis on finding an ace. Yamamoto is exactly that. He's a perfect fit for Flushing.Cody Bellinger Quinn Harris / Getty Images Sport / GettyNew York Yankees: Bellinger is the top hitter available after Ohtani following a terrific bounceback campaign with the Cubs, where he resembled the same player who won an MVP in 2019. The 28-year-old should have a bigger market in free agency this winter then last after slashing .307/.356/.525 with 26 homers, 29 doubles, 97 RBIs, and 20 steals while playing an athletic center field and Gold Glove-caliber defense at first base.The Yankees look like the ideal landing spot for Bellinger, who fits several of their needs, including a left-handed hitter who can play center field. Hitting at Yankee Stadium would be a boon for Bellinger, where his pull-happy swing would line up well with the short porch in right.Matt Chapman Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / GettyChicago Cubs: Chapman's 2023 production fell off a cliff after he won AL Player of the Month in April. The third baseman hit just 17 home runs with 54 RBIs in 140 games and batted around .200 over the final few months of the season. Chapman added a fourth Gold Glove to his decorated defensive resume, but there are some legitimate questions about how the 30-year-old's game will age. Despite the risk associated with signing Chapman to a multi-year contract, teams are still likely to be interested considering the dearth of impact position players available - particularly at third base.The Cubs are currently projected to enter 2024 with Nick Madrigal at the hot corner. Signing Chapman would give new manager Craig Counsell one of baseball's best defensive infield alignments with Chapman, Dansby Swanson, and Nico Hoerner anchoring things. The Cubs have been searching for a consistent presence at third base since Kris Bryant, and Chapman could instantly provide stability and consistency at the position for a team looking to take another step toward contention next season.Josh Hader Harry How / Getty Images Sport / GettyBaltimore Orioles: Hader re-established himself as one of the game's premier closers last season after a puzzlingly inconsistent performance in 2022. The 29-year-old has allowed home runs at points during his career, but he can still rack up strikeouts in dominant fashion. Hader could be looking at the five-year, $102-million contract Edwin D az received from the New York Mets as a benchmark in free agency. With four 30-plus-save seasons under his belt, that feels like a fair target for Hader and his representation.The Orioles look poised to make a big splash this offseason. Coming off a 101-win campaign and the first division title since 2014, Baltimore is positioned to add payroll. Orioles general manager Mike Elias said the club will prioritize adding a high-leverage bullpen arm to compensate for All-Star closer F lix Bautista's absence as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. Hader would be as good a replacement as the Orioles could find for a reliever like Bautista, who dominated to the tune of a 16.23 K/9 in 2023. The addition of Hader would also allow All-Star reliever Yennier Cano to pitch in a setup role, where he excelled last season.Sonny Gray David Berding / Getty Images Sport / GettyCincinnati Reds: Gray is one of the more intriguing arms available. He's coming off a career-best season with the Twins, and he was the runner-up to Gerrit Cole for the AL Cy Young after posting a league-best 2.83 FIP and allowing only eight homers. Gray also boosted his K/9 rate for the first time in three years and surpassed the 180-inning mark for the first time since 2015. The three-time All-Star may not be an ace, but he's proven himself time and time again as a reliable option for most contenders.Gray's past struggles in New York and his consistent success in smaller markets may point him toward another quieter destination in free agency. Since a return to the Twins may be out given Minnesota's plans to cut payroll, Gray should look into rejoining the Reds. He enjoyed some of his best seasons during his three-year run in Cincinnati, and he seemed to do fine pitching in homer-friendly Great American Ball Park. The Reds are on the rise in the wide-open NL Central, and they need a veteran starter to help stabilize a young rotation that took its lumps in 2023. A Reds-Gray reunion checks off a lot of boxes for both parties.Jordan Montgomery Daniel Shirey / Major League Baseball / GettySt. Louis Cardinals: Montgomery positioned himself well for a lucrative free-agent deal with an impressive showing down the stretch and into the playoffs for the Texas Rangers. The southpaw posted a career-low 2.79 ERA in 67 2/3 regular-season frames before logging a 2.90 ERA in 31 postseason innings during the Rangers' World Series title run.A reunion with the Cardinals would be a good fit. The Cardinals entered the offseason on the hunt for multiple starting pitchers and could use one more after signing Lance Lynn and Kyle Gibson. They are familiar with Montgomery, who made 32 starts for them over two seasons before they traded him to the Rangers. Montgomery pitched well during his brief stay in the Midwest, logging a 3.31 ERA, 3.50 FIP, and 1.19 WHIP in 184 2/3 innings for St. Louis.Jorge Soler Megan Briggs / Getty Images Sport / GettyToronto Blue Jays: Soler rebounded from a dismal 2022 campaign by hitting the second-most home runs (36) of his career. The 31-year-old also cut his strikeout rate by nearly 5 percentage points from the previous season. Soler's been inconsistent in his career but remains one of the game's best pure power hitters. He would instantly provide a tremendous boost to the lineup of any team looking for more home runs.The Blue Jays make a lot of sense for Soler. Toronto struggled to hit homers in 2023, finishing the season 16th after ranking seventh and first in MLB over the previous two campaigns. Soler could help provide George Springer, Bo Bichette, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. with more protection in the lineup and make Toronto more difficult to attack for opposing pitchers.Eduardo Rodriguez Mark Cunningham / Getty Images Sport / GettyDetroit Tigers: Rodriguez opted out of his deal with the Tigers after a solid season. He's coming off a career-best year as the veteran rock of a young Detroit staff, and while he will secure a nice payday, the 30-year-old will be a slightly cheaper option than some other left-handers on the market. E-Rod may not be an ace on a contender, but he's an experienced and dependable left-hander who can help get a rotation to the next level.But why mess with a good thing? Although Rodriguez will certainly garner interest, returning to the Tigers is the best fit for him long term. He can continue to guide their up-and-coming staff while also being the dependable veteran atop the rotation that they sorely need. The AL Central remains fairly wide-open, and Rodriguez is the type of pitcher who could help the Tigers make a surprise push in 2024. In two years, he's become part of the foundation in Detroit. The two sides may just need each other.Copyright © 2023 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.
Welcome to the first edition of theScore's MLB Power Rankings for the offseason. We rank each team on where they sit heading into the winter.1. Atlanta BravesAtlanta remains the most complete team heading into the offseason. The Braves return the core of their 104-win club with the biggest pieces - Austin Riley, Matt Olson, Ronald Acu a Jr., and Sean Murphy - all signed through at least 2028. Alex Anthopoulos said payroll is set to increase, so look for him to add starting pitching help and beef up the bench depth.2. Philadelphia PhilliesPhiladelphia moves into the winter with its loaded lineup intact, allowing Dave Dombrowski to focus on the pitching staff. It's up in the air whether Aaron Nola returns or if the front office pivots to another starter. The Phillies need to add a front-of-the-rotation arm, especially with Zack Wheeler a year away from free agency. Bryce Harper's transition to first base is expected to force out Rhys Hoskins, freeing up some additional money Philadelphia could use on the bullpen.3. Houston AstrosThe Astros have some questions to answer this offseason. Now that they've found their replacement for Dusty Baker in Joe Espada, the attention turns to the roster. Houston will need to add some relief help and have to consider if it will bring back Michael Brantley. The offense remains strong but could always use at least one more addition. Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman have only one year remaining before free agency. Will the Astros find a way to keep both and extend their window?4. Texas RangersTexas will return most of the core roster that won the franchise's first World Series. Rangers general manager Chris Young will have to decide how to proceed with free-agent lefty Jordan Montgomery, a crucial piece of the puzzle this past October. The club could slot Dane Dunning into the rotation if Montgomery departs, but depth could be an issue.5. Baltimore OriolesThe Orioles were the 2023 darlings of MLB, claiming the AL East for the first time since 2014 with 101 wins. Baltimore's stable of homegrown talent continues to emerge with a host of prospects in the system ready to make an impact. The time seems right for MLB Executive of the Year Mike Elias to go out and make a splash by trade, free agency, or both to take the next step toward World Series contention. Douglas P. DeFelice / Getty Images Sport / Getty6. Tampa Bay RaysThe Rays could enter into uncharted territory in terms of payroll commitments. Tyler Glasnow's $25-million price tag might make him a trade candidate if Tampa is looking to cut payroll to some extent or spread that money around the roster. The Rays will also seek some clarity on Wander Franco's status and how that might pertain to roster construction and financial planning.7. Los Angeles DodgersWith an eye on this offseason and pursuit of Shohei Ohtani, it feels like the Dodgers have been tailoring everything over the past few years. Los Angeles is a strong contender to sign the two-way star but must also address a rotation that fell apart in the postseason. Clayton Kershaw won't be an option until the second half of 2024, at the earliest, if they re-sign him. And the Dodgers need to replace several offensive pieces in J.D. Martinez, David Peralta, and Jason Heyward.8. Toronto Blue JaysIt's a critical offseason in Toronto. The Blue Jays have a number of areas to address and need to replace a handful of key veteran contributors who are likely to depart, including Matt Chapman, Kevin Kiermaier, and Whit Merrifield. General manager Ross Atkins must find a way to add an impact bat to help boost a lineup that struggled to consistently score and hit home runs.9. Arizona DiamondbacksThe Diamondbacks are coming off a surprise run to the World Series after an 84-win regular season. With a solid young core of players and more set to arrive soon, expect the front office to continue to build out the roster. Arizona should prioritize adding a corner outfielder and third baseman, while the rotation could use at least one addition. This club bottomed out in 2021 with 110 losses. It's time to really invest in the roster.10. Seattle MarinersSeattle was one of the more disappointing teams this year, failing to reach the playoffs after an encouraging 2022 season. Expect Jerry Dipoto to be active again - the man loves a trade - in search of more offense. The Mariners spoiled a great performance from their pitching staff by finishing 12th in runs and 16th in OPS. With Teoscar Hern ndez hitting free agency, Seattle needs at least one more power bat. Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty11. Milwaukee BrewersThe first order of business in Milwaukee is finding a new manager after Craig Counsell's shocking departure to the division rival Cubs. Seeing someone else perched on the top step of the Brewers dugout after Counsell's long and successful run will be strange. With just one year of club control remaining, this could be the best chance for the club to maximize a return on Corbin Burnes if re-signing him seems unlikely. Does Milwaukee blow things up or try to keep building with this core?12. Minnesota TwinsThe Twins have several key free agents, including Cy Young finalist Sonny Gray. It'll be interesting to see what ownership approves regarding payroll commitments. One of the big questions heading into 2024 is whether Byron Buxton's troublesome knee will enable him to play center field. If it doesn't, that'll alter what Derek Falvey and Thad Levine need to do to address the position.13. New York YankeesThe Yankees enter the offseason in a bit of an identity crisis. Despite missing the postseason for the first time in seven seasons, New York brought back Aaron Boone and Brian Cashman. However, the team has vowed to look under the hood and think differently. That said, recent press conferences from Hal Steinbrenner and Cashman make it sound like more of the same is coming. The Yankees need to address their pitching and have to get more athletic. With Gerrit Cole and Aaron Judge in their primes and the club coming off an embarrassing season, there's no excuse for New York not to be aggressive.14. Boston Red SoxThe Red Sox are throwing new chief baseball officer Craig Breslow into the fire. Boston is expected to be aggressive this winter following back-to-back last-place seasons. The club will primarily focus on the mound after their starters ranked 22nd in ERA and 27th in innings pitched. Breslow could have money to spend but might start dealing from a much-improved farm system. Boston also needs to add some right-handed bats.15. San Diego PadresNo team will be under the microscope more this offseason than the Padres. Coming off an incredibly disappointing campaign, San Diego has a number of key departures, including Blake Snell and Josh Hader. The team must also figure out what to do with Juan Soto, as he's a year away from free agency. The team is reportedly looking to cut significant salary but also want to remain competitive. If the front office can't agree to an extension with Soto, trading the star outfielder makes a lot of sense. Not only would the Padres clear out salary - Soto is projected to earn $33 million in 2024 - but they could bring in pieces to build up the depth the team lacked a season ago. Dylan Buell / Getty Images Sport / Getty16. New York MetsIt's hard to pinpoint how the Mets will approach the first offseason with new president of baseball operations David Stearns in control. New York is expected to contend for Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto. The starting rotation should be Stearns' biggest area of importance to address. New York will pay Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander close to $60 million in 2024 to pitch for someone else.17. Miami MarlinsThe Marlins are hoping the arrival of president of baseball operations Peter Bendix from Tampa Bay will stabilize things after Kim Ng's surprising departure. Bendix should continue to look for ways to improve an offense that finished the regular season 26th in runs scored.18. Cincinnati RedsWith the Brewers and Cardinals facing uncertain times, the path to NL Central contention appears wide open for the ascending Reds. Cincinnati is loaded with homegrown players on the position side of things, but the team's rotation lacks to an extent. The Reds will look to Hunter Greene, Andrew Abbott, and Nick Lodolo to take another step forward in 2024. However, executive Nick Krall should look to bring in at least one impact starting pitcher this offseason.19. Chicago CubsThe Cubs' offseason revolves around the dilemma surrounding Cody Bellinger. The 2019 NL MVP enjoyed a renaissance season in Chicago while playing on a one-year contract. Bellinger is one of the most interesting free agents on the market, as teams will have to navigate how much stock to put into his 2023 performance against his struggles over the previous three campaigns. The Cubs are rumored to have money to spend and plan to be aggressive this winter. Suzanna Mitchell/San Francisco Giants / Getty Images Sport / Getty20. San Francisco GiantsIs this finally the offseason the Giants land the star free agent they've coveted for years? After striking out on some big fish, expect San Francisco to make a hard run at Ohtani. New manager Bob Melvin will likely want several offensive upgrades to a club that ranked 19th in homers and 24th in runs scored last season. Is top prospect Marco Luciano ready to take over at shortstop for Brandon Crawford?21. St. Louis CardinalsIt's all about pitching for the Cardinals this winter following an embarrassing season. After the rotation posted the fifth-worst ERA in the majors, John Mozeliak will be shopping for multiple starting pitchers. Expect St. Louis to add arms in free agency and trades, dealing from a surplus of position players.22. Cleveland GuardiansMuch like the Brewers, baseball fans in Cleveland will have to get used to seeing someone other than Terry Francona in the dugout for the first time since 2012. Ace Shane Bieber has one year left before free agency, and it wouldn't be surprising if the Guardians tested the waters to see what he might fetch in a trade. Cleveland can afford to move Bieber with Triston McKenzie, Tanner Bibee, Gavin Williams, and Logan Allen ready to pick up the slack.23. Los Angeles AngelsWhere do the Angels go from here? Ohtani likely isn't returning, and the front office needs to think of which direction it wants to take. Does the team continue to frivolously spend on veteran free agents to try and build around Mike Trout, or does it shop the future Hall of Famer this winter and try to rebuild? Some young, intriguing pieces are on the roster, but this club is so far away from resembling a contender.24. Detroit TigersThe Tigers' most significant offseason move was poaching former White Sox television broadcaster Jason Benetti to call games. While that's certainly a great move off the field, Detroit needs to get things going in a positive direction on it. Riley Greene, Spencer Torkelson, and Kerry Carpenter are an intriguing trio, but the Tigers will only take meaningful steps forward if the starting rotation improves. Replacing Eduardo Rodriguez is a necessity. Adding Mark Canha from the Brewers shows that the team plans to be competitive.25. Pittsburgh PiratesThe Pirates took a meaningful step forward in 2023, posting a respectable 76-win season. There's a lot to like in the lineup with Bryan Reynolds' extension and a slew of talented homegrown players. Pirates general manager Ben Cherington needs to decide what right-hander Mitch Keller's future is with only two years of club control remaining. Ron Vesely / Getty Images Sport / Getty26. Chicago White SoxThe White Sox have seen former stalwarts Tim Anderson and Jos Abreu depart over the past two years. It appears the club is turning the reigns at shortstop over to talented prospect Colson Montgomery. White Sox general manager Chris Getz should prioritize improving the starting rotation in his first offseason in charge, but he's already said no player is untouchable.27. Washington NationalsThe Nationals can see the stars aligning for the next era of baseball in Washington. C.J. Abrams, Lane Thomas, and Keibert Ruiz are on the position player side, while Josiah Gray and Mackenzie Gore are in the rotation. With Dylan Crews, James Wood, and Brady House waiting in the wings, things are looking up for the Nationals after a rough stretch since winning the 2019 World Series.28. Kansas City RoyalsAfter a breakout sophomore season, the Royals should do everything possible to sign shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. to a long-term contract extension. Kansas City needs more in the rotation beyond 2023 breakout star Cole Ragans. Developing pitchers has been an issue for the team for several years, and it might need to overpay in trade or free agency to bring in the type of impact it needs.29. Colorado RockiesThe Rockies are always a candidate to surprise in the offseason. They shocked the baseball world in 2022 by giving Kris Bryant a seven-year, $182-million contract. Colorado should look to surround Ezequiel Tovar and Nolan Jones with more talent in the lineup.30. Oakland AthleticsThe Athletics have dealt most of their marquee players over the past few years. It's hard to imagine Oakland doing much this offseason outside of signing a few veteran stopgaps to plug holes across the roster. Hopefully, there's a resolution on where the team will be playing moving forward.Copyright © 2023 Score Media Ventures Inc. All rights reserved. Certain content reproduced under license.