The owners of the MLBPA and MLB haven’t made much progress on a new collective bargaining agreement since the lockout began, but just because it will take a while for the two parties to reach some sort of resolution doesn’t mean we have. stop discussing what could / should happen when the sport finally resumes.
Because when you do, and teams can sign free agents and trade again, you’ll see a flurry of activity. It’s probably going to be a lot of fun, honestly, to watch free agents sign contracts and watch teams trade one after another. After all, what else are the main office guys going to do during the lockout besides planning their reassembly strategy?
So we’re looking at division by division what’s on the record for all 30 teams. Today, it’s the American League West.
POST-BLOCKLOCK PRIORITIES: AL East | AL Central | NL East | NL Central | NL West
Summary prior to blocking: The uncertainty of Justin Verlander’s situation – his deal to return was reported long before the lockout, but not officially announced – was finally resolved when MLB signed the deal after the lockout. However, the uncertainty of Carlos Correa’s situation (he is expected to leave, especially after Houston’s lukewarm offer) persists. Yes, he will probably still sign elsewhere, but two of the teams expected to bid on his services have already found their shortstops (the Tigers signed Javier Baez and the Rangers signed Corey Seager). Then, who knows? It was also smart to bring in manager Dusty Baker. And bringing in Hector Neris, who had 98 strikeouts and a 3.63 ERA in 74 1/3 innings for the Phillies last year, was a nice addition to later innings.
The first thing to do: Find out who will play shortstop in 2022 and beyond. Will they reevaluate and offer Correa a market value deal to come back? When you have guys like Martín Maldonado, a highly respected player, saying things like this, the door on return can’t be shut with autogenous: “That guy is the heart and soul of this team,” Maldonado said, as quoted in the newspaper. Houston Chronicle right after the World Series. “People love him, people respect him. People listen to him. Hopefully this is not the last time we play together.”
If it’s not Correa, then maybe a shorter deal for Texas native Trevor Story, a free agent with a solid track record but coming off a poor 2021, relatively speaking. Maybe insider options, with a combo of Aledmys Díaz and prospect Jeremy Peña? Maybe a very short-term fix like free agent Andrelton Simmons?
Also on the list: The Astros are actually in pretty good shape. Correa is the only starting position player to lose from his World Series team. The rotation loses veteran Zack Greinke, but Cristian Javier slides into that spot without a hitch. The bullpen could use another arm or two, but that’s the same with literally every team in baseball. Still, don’t be surprised if they hire a southpaw to replace Brooks Raley, who allowed just two hits and two runs in six combined innings of the American League Championship Series and the World Series.
Summary prior to blocking: The Ms replaced a solid southpaw in their rotation (Yusei Kikuchi exercised his opt-out clause) with a dynamic southpaw, 2021 Cy Young winner Robbie Ray. That’s good, if somewhat risky, due to Ray’s up / down trajectory. Seattle also traded for Adam Frazier, who hit .305 last year between the Pirates (where he was an All-Star) and the Padres and can play across the field, though he’s primarily a second baseman. His versatility – he has started all three outfield positions, plus third baseman and shortstop in his career – cannot be underestimated.
The first thing to do: The lineup needs more power. Although the late Kyle Seager wasn’t very good on base (.285 OBP), he hit 35 home runs last year; He was the only player besides Mitch Haniger (39) who hit more than 18. You know who makes a lot of sense? Kris Bryant, that’s who. He would replace Seager very well at third position, and his versatility – he can play all three field positions or first base for extended periods – is a huge advantage. Maybe get Trevor Story and pass him to the third one? Possibly bringing back Nelson Cruz as designated hitter? There are many options and it is also necessary.
Also on the list: With Ray, Marco Gonzales, Chris Flexen and Logan Gilbert, the Ms have a solid rotation and have several good options for fifth place. Yet nearly all of those options come with uncertainty (mostly just from a lack of experience at the major league level), so Seattle’s front office has been open about wanting to add depth to the rotation. What it looks like, trading for a guy like Sonny Gray or maybe signing some recovering candidates, remains to be seen.
Summary prior to blocking: The club allowed manager Bob Melvin to go to the Padres, which should be all everyone needs to know about his offseason intentions. Everyone is available for the right price. No major deals were made before the lockout, but all signs point to an imminent takedown.
The first thing to do: If the main office, at the request of the owner, really plans to exchange everyone, just one request – do it quickly. Take off the band-aid. According to an MLB source, clubs cannot discuss potential trades during the lockout. But the groundwork was set up before the outage, so wrap up those conversations and spend the first week after you finally finish wrapping up the deals. Send both Matts, Olson and Chapman, who are eligible to become free agents after 2023, away from the day after the lockout ends. He knocks down the rotation, saying goodbye to Chris Bassitt (FA after 2022), Frankie Montas (FA after 2023) and Sean Manaea (FA after 2022) immediately.
Also on the list: It is difficult to know what needs the team may have without knowing which established incumbents they will face.
MORE: Each Team’s Holiday Wish List
Angels of los angeles
Summary prior to blocking: Stop me if you’ve heard this before: The Angels signed some recovery candidates to the rotation. Someone remind me of the definition of insanity. Michael Lorenzen’s signing is interesting, but you can see how signing a guy with five starts and 263 relief appearances in the last six years is not a sure thing. But the signing of Noah Syndergaard? That could work fine. He returned from Tommy John surgery to pitch a couple innings at the end of the season and could be the Angels’ best pitcher next season. The Angels also added left-hander Aaron Loup, who owned a 0.95 ERA in 65 games for the Mets last year, to the bullpen and brought closer Raisel Iglesias back to a long-term contract.
The first thing to do: More pitching. Some kind of certainty in the rotation.
Also on the list: See if they can find a buyer for Justin Upton. He owes him $ 28 million in 2021, the last year of his contract, and the Angels are going to pay that back one way or another. No other team is helping with that. Hell, maybe they just cut it like they did Albert Pujols last year; Pujols was more productive in his later years with the Angels than Upton has been recently. Check this out: Over the past three seasons, Upton played 194 out of 384 possible games, posted a bar line of .211 / .299 / .414, with an OPS + of 90 and a bWAR of minus-2.1. At this point, they are a better team without him.
Summary prior to blocking: Yes, they have been busy. The Rangers allocated $ 500 million to center infielders Corey Seager and Marcus Semien, signed former Rockies right-hander Jon Gray for four years and signed veteran outfielder Kole Calhoun. That was impressive loot for a team that lost 102 games last season.
The first thing to do: Gray was a good start, but the rotation still probably needs at least two established starters if the Rangers are to compete for a playoff spot in 2022. Maybe he will rock the sport and convince Texas native Clayton Kershaw to leave the Dodgers and join Seager in Arlington. ? Even if he only makes 20-25 starts, having a presence like Kershaw in the clubhouse would be huge.
Also on the list: Finding an established bat in left field would be a huge boost.