When it comes to the “Win-Curve” in MLB, there are three stages. Those stages are Win-Now, Rebuild, Undecided. And for this post, we will look at 9 Teams in that “undecided” section that need to make some determinations.
Boston Red Sox: Decision on Whether to Trade Mookie Betts?
The Red Sox are in a strange position. Because Boston still has the makings of a club-ready to compete in 2020. But all offseason long, the conversation around the BoSox is about whether or not Mookie stays in Boston by year’s end. Mookie Betts is arguably the second-best player in MLB, behind Mike Trout. So should Boston decide to move Mookie, it will be a signal to a die-hard fan base of folding and surrendering the 2020 season. And that is a move that will unquestionably be met with much disdain.
But should the Red Sox trade Mookie for the right deal, Boston can recoup enough in “future” assets to make the deal seem passable. It’s not an easy move as no team is going to be overly willing to part with the future of their franchise for just one season of a player, even a player, the caliber of Mookie Betts.
Chicago Cubs: Decision on What to do with Kris Bryant
We detailed a little bit of the Cubs situation with Kris Bryant on a previous piece. But the Cubs need to have a plan in place following the grievance hearing’s results. Kris Bryant is among the best players in MLB and provides a ton of versatility for any club. So moving a piece like Bryant can be done from an interesting perspective. But the tricky part is about the number of years are left on his initial deal. Are the potentially acquiring clubs getting one or two years of service time? Because that will change the possible package in return.
The second aspect of moving on from Bryant is about replacing the vacancy left by Bryant’s absence. It is not easy to replace a player that puts up an average of 32 Homeruns and 92 RBIs with an average OPS of .901. The Cubs are in a unique position as they have a lot of versatility within their organization. But losing Bryant would leave a scar on an otherwise stellar front office.
Cleveland Indians: Decision on Trading Francisco Lindor!
Much like the Red Sox and the Cubs, the Indians are in a unique, however, uncomfortable position. Cleveland must decide whether or not to trade their All-Star Shortstop, Francisco Lindor. Trading Francisco is both easy and hard, both simple and complex. Lindor is without question among the best in MLB and would be a welcomed addition to any ballclub. However, getting back the right package will be the difficult part of any deal.
The other option in this is to keep Lindor and take your chances in attempting to sign him long-term. And by the way that the Indians front office approached the offseason, it’s believed that a long-term deal with Lindor is unlikely. And if that is the organization’s belief, then no is the time to move Francisco Lindor.
Colorado Rockies: Decision on Nolan Arenado?!
We have seen the drama unfold in Denver. The Rockies GM, Jeff Bridich, and All-Star Third Baseman Nolan Arenado have had a war of words in the press. And it’s all based on the perceived direction of the Rockies. We have discussed the potential options for the Rockies in a previous piece. But the Rox will have to make a decision quickly because Spring Training is approaching.
Houston Astros: Finding a General & Field Manager
Following the Sign Stealing Scandal, the Houston Astros are in a vulnerable position. And the ‘Stros will need to find a new captain to pilot the ship. Before their suspension and subsequent firing, AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow were considered among the best and the manager and general manager positions, respectively. So finding the right people to come in and replace them will not be easy. But the future of the Astros organization depends on these decisions.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Add More Pitching
The Angels have the best player in baseball and the Japanese Babe Ruth. And now the Angels added arguably the most underrated Superstar in baseball. But what the Angels don’t have is pitching. This year the Angels have a prime opportunity to capitalize on the chaos down in Houston. But to supplant the reigning AL West Champs and the WildCard, Oakland A’s, the Angels need some pitching.
Philadelphia Phillies: Pitching, Pitching, & More Pitching
Much like the aforementioned, LA Angels, the Phillies also need to add on some pitching. The Phillies have a dynamic lineup that can do damage from leadoff through the 7th spot in the order. At present moment the Phillies have a solid one-two punch with Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler. But outside of those two, things get a little murky. Jake Arrieta is better as a 4th or even 5th starter based on the past few seasons. And there isn’t a lot of positive history from the other starter options. I have believed that the Phillies should have gone after Dallas Keuchel for the past two seasons. That is now not an option as Dallas has signed with the Chicago White Sox. But there remain viable options on the free agent and even trade markets the Phillies can pursue. If the Phils plan to compete in 2020, they will need more pitching. Because as they’re presently constructed, they are at best the third seat in the NL East.
San Francisco Giants: Choose a Direction
The Giants have been a state of limbo since their last World Series win in 2014. The aging ballclub has gone through several losing seasons in a row. And with those repeated losses have not yet begun to rebuild their franchise. San Francisco had an opportunity to move Madison Bumgarner and recoup some value at last year’s deadline. They did nothing. And so the Giants would lose Bumgarner to free agency and worse so a Division rival. (Madison Bumgarner to the Diamondbacks.)
Now San Francisco needs to make a decision on its rebuild and try to gain value wherever possible. One such move, however blasphemous to Giant fans, may be to move talents like Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford. Such ideas are likely to be met with hostility, but the Giants are falling behind everyone in the NL West. And they must stop the bleeding, and moving Buster Posey could aide that goal.
Texas Rangers: Offense & Pitching & More of Everything
The Texas Rangers are in a tight spot. They are moving into a new ballpark that should be the most exciting time for a franchise. However, as this offseason has unfolded, the Rangers were looking for a big splash to draw interest in the club. That big move has repeatedly not happened. Throughout the offseason, the Rangers have been connected to many of the top free agents, but nothing has materialized. Thus the Texans have pivoted to the second tier options to fill out their ballclub.
The Rangers made their most significant move by acquiring Corey Kluber from the Indians. Kluber’s recent struggles have lessened the significance of this move greatly. But Kluber can still be an impactful arm to lead the Rangers. But the Rangers NEED MORE. Rumors have the Rangers, among many other clubs, inquiring about the availability of Nolan Arenado and Kris Bryant. If the Rangers can make a trade for Arenado or Bryant, that can be the big marquee name to plaster across all the banners at Globe Life Field.