2014 MLB Free Agency: Looking at Every Team's Offseason Shopping List

Joel ReuterFeatured ColumnistOctober 31, 2013

2014 MLB Free Agency: Looking at Every Team's Offseason Shopping List

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    The MLB offseason has officially arrived, and while things won't heat up for another month or so, teams are already putting together their list of needs with winter approaching.

    Whether it's adding a complementary piece here and there or making a big-splash signing for one of the market's top free agents, every team has at least a few deals in mind this offseason. Really, what team couldn't use another starting pitcher or a bat with some pop if the right situation presented itself.

    So here is a quick rundown of all 30 MLB teams' shopping list heading into the offseason as they look to replace departed free agents and fill any other roster holes before spring training rolls around.

Baltimore Orioles

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    SP Scott Feldman
    SP Scott Feldman

    Key Free Agents

    SP Scott Feldman, SP Jason Hammel, LF Nate McLouth, 1B/OF Michael Morse, 2B Brian Roberts, RP Francisco Rodriguez

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Veteran Starting Pitcher

    The Baltimore Orioles' starting rotation was what held them back for the second straight season, as the deadline acquisitions of Scott Feldman and Bud Norris didn't push them over the top and prospects Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman didn't assume the major roles they were expected to. Expect them to hotly pursue a second-tier veteran starter to fill out their staff.

     

    Second Base

    After 13 seasons with the organization, including four injury-plagued years the past four, Brian Roberts' time as the Baltimore Orioles' second baseman has come to a close. He could be brought back on a low-cost deal, but he won't again be counted on as the everyday option. Prospect Jonathan Schoop is expected to fill the position down the road, but the team will likely look for a veteran stopgap to help ease him into the role.

     

    Designated Hitter

    The Orioles got very little production out of the DH spot last season until Danny Valencia came on strong late. While he'll be back, the team will still no doubt look to add a veteran bat with some pop to bring some added production to that spot.

     

    Left Field

    Nate McLouth was plucked from the scrapheap at midseason in 2012 and has done a nice job as the team's leadoff hitter and left fielder since. He made just $2 million on a one-year deal last year and could be headed for a decent raise in free agency, so the Orioles will need to decide if they want to bring him back or look elsewhere.

Boston Red Sox

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    CF Jacoby Ellsbury
    CF Jacoby Ellsbury

    Key Free Agents

    CF Jacoby Ellsbury, 1B Mike Napoli, C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, SS Stephen Drew

     

    Major Areas of Need 

    Catcher

    Deciding what to do at the catcher position may be the biggest decision of the offseason for the Boston Red Sox—outside of whether or not to re-sign Jacoby Ellsbury. They could very well opt to bring back Jarrod Saltalamacchia after what was the best season of his career, but don't be surprised if they make a serious run at Brian McCann.

     

    First Base

    A failed physical lowered the cost of signing Mike Napoli from a three-year, $39 million deal to a one-year, $5 million deal, though he wound up earning $13 million this year anyway with incentives. He ranked second on the team in home runs and RBI this past season and played a plus defensive first base, so look for the Red Sox to try to bring him back. If not, they'll turn their attention to guys like Kendrys Morales and James Loney.

     

    Middle Relief

    The trio of Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara was great for the Red Sox all season, but beyond those three, the bullpen was inconsistent at best. Brandon Workman could be a solid option, but the team will no doubt look to add another veteran arm or two to fill out the 'pen.

     

    Depth in Center Field?

    With top prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. on the cusp of making a big league contribution and capable of being a legitimate impact player atop the lineup if he can reach his full potential, the Red Sox will have a big decision to make on whether or not to give Jacoby Ellsbury the $100 million-plus he could net in free agency. If they opt to let him walk, signing someone to provide some depth at the position will be a need.

New York Yankees

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    2B Robinson Cano
    2B Robinson Cano

    Key Free Agents

    2B Robinson Cano, SP Hiroki Kuroda, CF Curtis Granderson, SP Phil Hughes, RP Boone Logan, RP Mariano Rivera (retired), Andy Pettitte (retired)

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Starting Pitching

    With Hiroki Kuroda and Phil Hughes departing in free agency and Andy Pettitte retired, the New York Yankees rotation beyond CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova is a major question mark looking ahead to 2014. Expect the team to sign at least a couple veteran starters to round out the rotation.

     

    Catcher

    After deciding against re-signing Russell Martin last offseason, the Yankees relied on Chris Stewart (.211 BA, .566 OPS) and Austin Romine (.207 BA, .551 OPS) behind the plate in 2013. Brian McCann will likely be near the top of their offseason wish list, and one way or another, they'll look to upgrade behind the dish.

     

    Center Field

    It was a disappointing season for Curtis Granderson, as forearm and hand injuries limited him to just 61 games. And after hitting 84 home runs in 2011 and 2012 combined, he managed just seven in 2013. That will lower his cost to the point that the Yankees could look to bring him back, but there will be a number of other teams interested as well.

     

    Late-Inning Relief

    With Mariano Rivera retired, the Yankees will likely give David Robertson the first crack at taking over closer duties. Prospect Mark Montgomery could wind up playing a major role as well, but with Boone Logan and Joba Chamberlain also free agents, the team will need to add at least a few pieces to the bullpen puzzle.

Tampa Bay Rays

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    RP Fernando Rodney
    RP Fernando Rodney

    Key Free Agents

    1B James Loney, RP Fernando Rodney, C Jose Molina, 2B/OF Kelly Johnson, SP Roberto Hernandez, RP Jamey Wright, DH Luke Scott, OF Delmon Young

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Catcher

    Not since John Jaso hit .263/.372/.378 over 339 at-bats in 2010 have the Tampa Bay Rays had a catcher put up even average numbers offensively. They've relied on Jose Molina and his plus defensive skills the past two seasons, but they'll likely look to upgrade over the 38-year-old this offseason.

     

    First Base

    The Rays struck gold on another bargain-basement deal this past offseason when they added James Loney on a one-year, $2 million deal. They'll almost certainly let him walk for a big payday elsewhere now and search for the next buy-low producer. One name that could make sense is Michael Morse, as he is coming off a terrible season but still has plenty of power potential.

     

    Closer

    Signed to a two-year, $4.5 million deal prior to the 2012 season, Fernando Rodney racked up 85 saves in his two season in Tampa Bay. He was nowhere near as dominant this past season as he was in 2012, but he is still one of the top closer options on the market and has likely priced himself out of Tampa. The Rays will no doubt go bargain hunting once again this offseason to fill the role.

Toronto Blue Jays

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    SP Josh Johnson
    SP Josh Johnson

    Key Free Agents

    SP Josh Johnson, RP Darren Oliver, OF Rajai Davis

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Starting Pitching

    For as big of a letdown as the Toronto Blue Jays were in 2013, they will return much of the same core of players to the field in 2014 as they look to turn things around. That said, they'll likely add at least one starting pitcher with Josh Johnson departing in free agency, and they could look to target a front-line arm to slot alongside veterans R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle atop the rotation.

     

    Catcher

    After trading Travis d'Arnaud in the offseason, the Blue Jays relied on J.P. Arencibia as their primary catcher once again this season. While he launched 21 home runs in 474 at-bats, he hit just .194/.227/.365 and was below average at best defensively. Adding a veteran backstop, even if it's just as a platoon option for Arencibia, would help the pitching staff a good deal.

Chicago White Sox

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    1B Paul Konerko
    1B Paul Konerko

    Key Free Agents

    1B Paul Konerko, SP Gavin Floyd

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Starting Pitching

    The trio of Chris Sale, John Danks and Jose Quintana look to be firmly entrenched atop the Chicago White Sox rotation, but adding another proven veteran behind them may not be a bad idea. Young arms like Hector Santiago, Erik Johnson and Andre Rienzo will all be in the mix for a rotation spot, but throwing a proven arm into that competition could make everyone better.

     

    Catcher

    The White Sox opted to let A.J. Pierzynski walk in free agency last season in favor of former top prospect Tyler Flowers behind the plate. However, the 27-year-old hit just .195/.247/.355 in 256 at-bats before going down with a shoulder injury and 25-year-old Josh Phegley (.206/.223/.299) didn't fare any better. They'll likely at least kick the tires on some second-tier catching options. 

Cleveland Indians

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    SP Ubaldo Jimenez
    SP Ubaldo JimenezJason Miller/Getty Images

    Key Free Agents

    SP Ubaldo Jimenez (mutual option), SP Scott Kazmir, RP Joe Smith, RP Matt Albers

     

    Major Areas of Needs

    Starting Pitching

    The Cleveland Indians rotation was among the biggest surprises in all of baseball this season. Two of the most pleasant surprises, Ubaldo Jimenez (13-9, 3.30 ERA) and Scott Kazmir (10-9, 4.04 ERA), are both ready to cash in on the free-agent market. One or both may get a qualifying offer, but chances are they price themselves out of Cleveland and the team will need to look elsewhere to rework its staff.

     

    Relief Pitching

    With two of their most reliable relievers, Joe Smith and Matt Albers set to hit free agency and closer Chris Perez looking like a non-tender candidate, the Indians bullpen will have little in the way of proven in-house options behind Cody Allen and Bryan Shaw. They'll try their best to keep Smith, but they will likely look to add at least a couple of late-inning arms either way.

Detroit Tigers

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    RP Joaquin Benoit
    RP Joaquin BenoitAl Bello/Getty Images

    Key Free Agents

    RP Joaquin Benoit, SS Jhonny Peralta, 2B Omar Infante, C Brayan Pena

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Closer

    Last time Joaquin Benoit hit the free-agent market, it was as a top-flight setup man and he got a three-year, $16.5 million deal from the Detroit Tigers. He'll likely cost even more this time around after proving he can be a plus closer option as well. And if the Tigers don't want to pay him, they'll have to search elsewhere for a ninth-inning option or hope Bruce Rondon steps up in his second season.

     

    Second Base

    The acquisition of Omar Infante at the deadline in 2012 shored up what had been a revolving door at second base for the Tigers. With very few options on the market, the team could very well give the 31-year-old a deal similar to the three-year, $20 million that Marco Scutaro got last offseason. The Tigers could also let him walk in hopes that 22-year-old Hernan Perez can step into the everyday job.

Kansas City Royals

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    SP Ervin Santana
    SP Ervin SantanaJamie Squire/Getty Images

    Key Free Agents

    SP Ervin Santana, SP/RP Bruce Chen, 2B Miguel Tejada

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Starting Pitching

    The Kansas City Royals have a solid one-two punch for next season locked up in James Shields and Jeremy Guthrie, and flame-throwing prospect Yordano Ventura looks like he could be a good one, but the potential loss of Ervin Santana would be a blow. The Royals have some money to make an attempt to re-sign the right-hander, but if they can't come to terms, they'll need to explore other options on the market to replace him.

     

    Second Base/Utility Infielder

    Depending on what role the team decides to use Emilio Bonifacio in next season, it will need to look for either a starting second baseman or a utility man. The speedy Bonifacio was picked up in August and went on to hit .285/.352/.348 in 158 at-bats at the team's everyday second baseman. That said, he's thrived in a super utility role in the past, and the team could look to add someone like Omar Infante to allow him to return to that role.

Minnesota Twins

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    SP Mike Pelfrey
    SP Mike PelfreyHannah Foslien/Getty Images

    Key Free Agents

    SP Mike Pelfrey

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Starting Pitching

    The Minnesota Twins went bargain hunting in an attempt to fix their starting pitching problems last offseason, adding Mike Pelfrey and Kevin Correia in free agency and trading for Vance Worley. The result was a 96-loss campaign and an MLB-worst 5.26 ERA from their rotation. Chances are they'll take a similar approach this offseason and hope for better results.

     

    First Baseman/Run Producer

    With longtime Twins first baseman Justin Morneau dealt to the Pirates at the deadline, the Twins are slated to rely on Josh Willingham, Ryan Doumit and Brian Dozier to be their primary run producers. Those three are all capable of decent seasons, but adding a first baseman with some pop to slot in the middle of the order would give the offense a nice boost.

Houston Astros

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    SP Erik Bedard
    SP Erik BedardJason Miller/Getty Images

    Key Free Agents

    SP Erik Bedard

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Low-Cost Veteran Starting Pitcher

    The Houston Astros' only free agent, and the only player on the roster making $1 million or more by the end of the year, is left-hander Erik Bedard. As the team continues to rebuild, it's not going to spend any significant money in free agency, but look for it to add someone in the same mold as Bedard to fill out the rotation.

     

    Relief Pitching

    It will be more bargain hunting to fill this role, but adding a few veterans on minor league deals to what is a young assortment of relief arms seems like a good move as the Astros try to protect any leads their young staff may be able to hand over to them.

Los Angeles Angels

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    SP Jason Vargas
    SP Jason VargasThearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    Key Free Agents

    SP Jason Vargas

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Starting Pitching

    The Los Angeles Angels spent a ton on Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton the past two seasons, then tried to piece together the trio of Jason Vargas, Joe Blanton and Tommy Hanson at the back end of their rotation and expected to be contenders. Vargas was solid, but he's also the only one set to hit free agency. If the Angels have any chance of fulfilling expectations, they'll have to assemble a much better group behind Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson.

     

    Relief Pitching

    The starting rotation was not solely to blame for the team's struggles, as bullpen's 4.12 ERA ranked 26th in the MLB. It will need to address that as well this offseason. Michael Kohn, Dane De La Rosa and Ernesto Frieri are solid, and Sean Burnett should be back healthy, but beyond that there's not much to work with.

Oakland Athletics

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    SP Bartolo Colon
    SP Bartolo ColonEzra Shaw/Getty Images

    Key Free Agents

    SP Bartolo Colon, RP Grant Balfour, CF Chris Young ($11 million option)

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Veteran Starting Pitcher

    The Oakland A's were lucky enough to re-sign Bartolo Colon on a one-year, $3 million deal last offseason, due in large part to the fact that his 2012 season ended in a PED suspension. But after going 18-6 with a 2.65 ERA, the 40-year-old likely won't come cheap this time around and will be pitching elsewhere. The emergence of Sonny Gray gives the A's five solid starting options, but they're all 26 or younger, so adding a veteran to the mix makes sense.

     

    Setup Man/Closer

    The A's will either need to re-sign Grant Balfour (unlikely give what he'll cost), sign another free-agent closer or move either Ryan Cook or Sean Doolittle from his setup role into the ninth inning. Regardless of what route they opt to go, they'll be in the market for a late-inning arm of some sort to shore up the back end of their 'pen.

Seattle Mariners

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    1B Kendrys Morales
    1B Kendrys MoralesJim Rogash/Getty Images

    Key Free Agents

    1B Kendrys Morales, RP Oliver Perez, OF/DH Raul Ibanez, OF Franklin Gutierrez

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Center Field

    The Seattle Mariners have brought up a good deal of young talent from their farm system over the past couple years, but one area where they are without a long-term answer is center field. Franklin Gutierrez will be gone in free agency, and while Dustin Ackley saw some time there last year, they'll likely make a play for one of the trio of Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo and Curtis Granderson.

     

    Designated Hitter

    Kendrys Morales proved to be a nice pickup for the Mariners, and their decision not to move him at the deadline is a good indication that they'll try to bring him back on a multi-year deal. If they can't come to terms with him, they'll need to look elsewhere for a run producer to slot in the DH spot.

     

    Relief Pitcher

    The Mariners have some good young arms in their bullpen in the likes of Yoervis Medina, Carter Capps and Danny Farquhar, among others. However, with Oliver Perez likely to depart in free agency, adding a veteran bullpen arm, and perhaps a second left-hander in particular to slot alongside Charlie Furbush, looks to be a need.

Texas Rangers

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    RP Joe Nathan
    RP Joe NathanRonald Martinez/Getty Images

    Key Free Agents

    RP Joe Nathan (option), SP Matt Garza, RF Nelson Cruz, C A.J. Pierzynski, OF David Murphy, C Geovany Soto

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Starting Pitching

    The duo of Yu Darvish and Derek Holland atop the Texas Rangers staff is one of the best around, and Martin Perez looks like he'll be a solid No. 3 option. But if they hope to be serious title contenders, they'll need to add at least one more front-line arm. Matt Garza was not the answer after being acquired at the deadline, and relying on Alexi Ogando or Neftali Feliz seems like a risky proposition.

     

    Closer

    With Joe Nathan all but certain to opt out of his $9 million option and set for a big payday somewhere else, the Rangers will need to make some decisions at the back of their bullpen. There are certainly in-house options like Joakim Soria, Tanner Scheppers, or the aforementioned Feliz—and in the end, they may not add anyone—but the closer spot is at least a question that needs to be answered at this point.

     

    Left Field

    The August acquisition of Alex Rios gives the Rangers a solid replacement for Nelson Cruz, and Leonys Martin looks more than capable of holding down center field for the next several years. But left field is a spot where the team could look to make a splash. David Murphy will be gone in free agency, and the team could make a play for one of the top outfield bats to replace him.

     

    Catcher

    With both A.J. Pierzynski and Geovany Soto entering free agency and top catching prospect Jorge Alfaro still at least a couple years away, the Rangers need to find a catcher for 2014. Bringing Pierzynski back on a one-year, or even two-year deal, looks like the most likely solution, but they could also make a play for someone like Brian McCann or Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Atlanta Braves

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    C Brian McCann
    C Brian McCannKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Key Free Agents

    C Brian McCann, SP Tim Hudson, SP Paul Maholm, RP Eric O'Flaherty, RP Luis Ayala

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Catcher

    Chances are that Brian McCann is on the way out in Atlanta—unless he is willing to give the Braves a major hometown discount, and that seems unlikely given his expected value on the open market. The most likely scenario seems to be turning catcher duties over to Evan Gattis until top prospect Christian Bethancourt is ready, but the Braves could look at the free-agent market for a stopgap option as well.

     

    Starting Pitcher

    The trio of Kris Medlen, Mike Minor and Julio Teheran will fill three rotation spots, but the rest of the staff is a question mark heading into the offseason. A healthy Brandon Beachy would almost certainly warrant a spot, and Alex Wood showed some potential but may still wind up in the bullpen long-term. With Tim Hudson and Paul Maholm departing, the team could look to sign a veteran arm or perhaps pursue a trade for a front-line arm like David Price if the opportunity presents itself.

Miami Marlins

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    3B Placido Polanco
    3B Placido PolancoKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Key Free Agents

    3B Placido Polanco, OF Juan Pierre, RP Chad Qualls

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Veteran Starting Pitcher

    The Miami Marlins' young pitching staff actually looks like it could be a strength in 2014, as 21-year-old Jose Fernandez is already one of the best pitchers in the game and Jacob Turner (22), Nathan Eovaldi (23) and Henderson Alvarez (23) all look to have bright future. Adding a veteran to fill out the staff and help mentor these young arms seems like a wise play for the Marlins.

     

    Third Base

    The Marlins could opt to go with 31-year-old Ed Lucas or prospect Zack Cox at the hot corner in 2013, but with Placido Polanco departing in free agency and no clear-cut choice to take over, it is a spot where they could look to make a free-agent signing. Last year, they waited until the end of the offseason to add Polanco and Juan Pierre on low-cost deals, and they could do the same with a few veterans this winter.

New York Mets

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    SP Johan Santana
    SP Johan SantanaMike Stobe/Getty Images

    Key Free Agents

    SP Johan Santana ($22.5 million option), RP LaTroy Hawkins, RP Frank Francisco, RP David Aardsma

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Outfielder

    Were it not for the New York Mets' complete lack of outfield options, Marlon Byrd may never have gotten a chance to put together the surprising bounce-back season he did. Now, with money to spend, the team looks to be firmly in the mix for someone from the trio of Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo and Curtis Granderson. It has some in-house options in Juan Lagares, Lucas Duda, Eric Young and Matt den Dekker, but upgrading over anyone from that group would be relatively easy.

     

    Late-Inning Reliever(s)

    When the 2013 season came to a close, it was LaTroy Hawkins who was closing games for the Mets with Bobby Parnell on the disabled list. Both Hawkins and former closer Frank Francisco will be gone in free agency, and aside from Parnell and Scott Rice, the Mets don't have much to work with in the bullpen as far as returning players.

     

    Starting Pitcher

    The trio of Zack Wheeler, Dillon Gee and Jon Niese figure to be back in the rotation in 2014, but with Matt Harvey out following Tommy John surgery and a the fifth spot up for grabs all season, the Mets will no doubt look to add at least one viable starting option. Prospects Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero could make some noise in the second half, but neither will be ready for Opening Day.

     

    First Base

    Ike Davis has been a huge disappointment so far. The 26-year-old will be arbitration-eligible for the first time this offseason, so the team has a decision to make regarding his future. The power potential is certainly still there, but until he starts making more consistent contact, he'll never be able to full tap into it. A non-tender is not completely out of the question at this point.

     

    Shortstop

    Finding a stopgap option at shortstop may be easier said than done, but the Mets could look to take a chance on someone like Rafael Furcal on a one-year deal to help shore up their middle infield situation. Ruben Tejada may still get a chance to prove he can be the guy at shortstop, but adding some insurance there seems wise.

Philadelphia Phillies

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    SP Roy Halladay
    SP Roy HalladayDrew Hallowell/Getty Images

    Key Free Agents

    SP Roy Halladay, C Carlos Ruiz

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Catcher

    The Philadelphia Phillies' primary catcher since 2007, Carlos Ruiz followed up a career-best offensive season in 2012 with one of his worst in 2013, and the 34-year-old now hits free agency. The Phillies have nothing in the way of an in-house option capable of stepping in, so they'll either make a play for another free agent or simply bring back Ruiz on a short-term deal.

     

    Starting Pitcher

    This all depends on what the Phillies think their chances of being competitive are for the 2014 season. Behind Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, the team has a number of young arms it could slot in the rotation. Ethan Martin, Jonathan Pettibone and top prospect Jesse Biddle will all be in the running, as will Cuban defector Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, but the team could still look to add a proven arm to that mix.

Washington Nationals

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    SP Dan Haren
    SP Dan HarenNorm Hall/Getty Images

    Key Free Agents

    SP Dan Haren

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Starting Pitcher

    The past two seasons, the Washington Nationals have given one-year deals to Edwin Jackson and Dan Haren to fill out their starting rotation, and they could take a similar approach this winter. They could also stay in-house and go with some combination of Ross Detwiler, Tanner Roark and Taylor Jordan behind their big three, though adding a veteran seems like the more likely scenario.

Chicago Cubs

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    C Dioner Navarro
    C Dioner NavarroChristian Petersen/Getty Images

    Key Free Agents

    C Dioner Navarro, RP Kevin Gregg, SP Scott Baker

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Center Field

    As the Chicago Cubs continue to reshape their roster for a potential run at contention in 2015, this could be the offseason when they look to make a splash signing and add a key piece to the offensive puzzle.

    Their farm system is loaded with impact bats, but with the failure of former first-round pick Brett Jackson, they have no long-term answer in center field. Ryan Sweeney and Brian Bogusevic could hold it down short-term, but signing someone like Shin-Soo Choo or Jacoby Ellsbury seems like a very real possibility.

     

    Relief Pitching

    The Cubs were lucky enough to pluck Kevin Gregg from the scrapheap at the beginning of the season and have him lock down the closer job, or a bad bullpen likely would have been even worse. Blake Parker had a nice breakout season, and the setup duo of Pedro Strop and James Russell is solid, but the team needs at least another reliable arm or two.

     

    Starting Pitcher

    The Cubs did a nice job signing and then flipping Scott Feldman last offseason, and they could look to make a similar move to fill out their rotation this year. Chris Rusin and Jake Arrieta will likely get every chance to win a spot behind Jeff Samardzija, Travis Wood and Edwin Jackson, but signing another upside veteran to a one-year deal seems likely.

Cincinnati Reds

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    CF Shin-Soo Choo
    CF Shin-Soo ChooJared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Key Free Agents

    CF Shin-Soo Choo, SP Bronson Arroyo, RP Manny Parra

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Low-Cost Starting Pitching Depth

    The Cincinnati Reds will likely part ways with Bronson Arroyo in free agency, but with Tony Cingrani ready to step into his rotation spot. they don't need to make a splash signing. Instead, adding a veteran like Bruce Chen who could serve as a swingman in the 'pen and give the team some depth would be the better move.

     

    Center Field

    Shin-Soo Choo will no doubt get more money than the Reds are willing to offer elsewhere, and after the show Billy Hamilton put on down the stretch, he will likely get every chance to win the everyday center field job this spring. The Reds will be rooting for him to win the job as well, but bringing someone in to push him and serve as a backup plan seems wise.

Milwaukee Brewers

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    1B Corey Hart
    1B Corey HartMarc Serota/Getty Images

     Key Free Agents

    1B Corey Hart, RP Mike Gonzalez, IF Yuniesky Betancourt

     

    Major Areas of Need

    First Base

    A steady force in the Milwaukee Brewers lineup for a number of years, Corey Hart missed the entire 2013 season with knee issues and will now hit free agency. The team could look to bring him back on a one-year deal, but it will need to figure something out at first base. Kendrys Morales, James Loney and Michael Morse are among the free-agent options.

     

    Starting Pitcher?

    It was a rocky season for the Brewers staff, but at this point, the foursome of Yovani Gallardo, Kyle Lohse, Wily Peralta and Marco Estrada doesn't look all that bad for 2014. Johnny Hellweg, Jimmy Nelson and Tyler Thornburg will all be in the mix for a rotation spot as well, but adding a veteran to that mix as insurance should injury strike could make sense.

Pittsburgh Pirates

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    SP A.J. Burnett
    SP A.J. BurnettDavid Maxwell/Getty Images

    Key Free Agents

    SP A.J. Burnett, RF Marlon Byrd, 1B Justin Morneau, SS Clint Barmes

     

    Major Areas of Need

    First Base

    The Pittsburgh Pirates got by with a platoon of Garrett Jones and Gaby Sanchez for much of the season at first base before adding Justin Morneau in August and giving him everyday at-bats. If the Pirates are going to make a splash, this is where it will be, and adding a power bat like Kendrys Morales or re-signing Justin Morneau seem like the most likely moves.

     

    Right Field

    The Pirates' other August acquisition, right fielder Marlon Byrd, is also set to depart in free agency, and the Pirates will likely let someone else overpay for his services in 2014. They could stand pat at this spot, with Jose Tabata capable of holding down the position and prospects Andrew Lambo and Gregory Polanco also options.

     

    Backup Shortstop

    Jordy Mercer unseated Clint Barmes as the Pirates' starting shortstop, providing an offensive boost and still playing capable defense. He'll be the starter in 2014, but bringing on a capable backup should he falter would be a good insurance policy. That could be as simple as re-signing Barmes, or it could mean signing someone like Brendan Ryan or John McDonald.

St. Louis Cardinals

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    RF Carlos Beltran
    RF Carlos BeltranJeff Gross/Getty Images

    Key Free Agents

    RF Carlos Beltran, RP Edward Mujica, SP Chris Carpenter, SS Rafael Furcal

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Shortstop

    Thanks to a well-balanced lineup top to bottom, the St. Louis Cardinals were able to trot out Pete Kozma as their shortstop in 2013. He was a plus defender, but make no mistake, he was among the worst everyday player in the game from an offensive standpoint. Jhonny Peralta and Stephen Drew are the only real options in free agency, and while they will both be considered, a trade seems to be like the more likely route.

     

    Right Field

    The Cardinals can either bring back Carlos Beltran as their right fielder for the next couple years and put top prospect Oscar Taveras in center field when he's ready, or they can let Beltran walk and sign a stopgap option for right field until Taveras is ready to step in. This will be one of the more interesting decisions any team has to make this offseason.

Arizona Diamondbacks

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    UT Willie Bloomquist
    UT Willie BloomquistChristian Petersen/Getty Images

    Key Free Agents

    UT Willie Bloomquist, 3B Eric Chavez

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Late-Inning Relief

    With J.J. Putz and Heath Bell in place at the back end of the bullpen, it was surprising, to say the least, to see Brad Ziegler wind up spending much of the season in the closer's role. The Arizona Diamondbacks are more or less stuck with Putz and Bell given their contracts, and adding a premium setup man like Jesse Crain to the mix could help improve the 'pen as a whole.

     

    Power Hitting 3B/OF

    The Diamondbacks need someone to protect Paul Goldschmidt in the lineup, and the most likely spots for an addition seem to be left field or third base if the team opts to move Martin Prado to left field. The D-Backs could look at Carlos Beltran or Curtis Granderson on the free-agent market, but a trade seems like the more likely option given the their farm system depth and the lack of free-agent options.

Colorado Rockies

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    SP Jeff Francis
    SP Jeff FrancisDoug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Key Free Agents

    SP Jeff Francis, SP Roy Oswalt

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Starting Pitcher

    A return to health for Jhoulys Chacin and Jorge De La Rosa gave the Colorado Rockies two plus starters at the top of their rotation, and Tyler Chatwood was a solid No. 3 when healthy. But the rest of the rotation was a mess. The bullpen threw an NL-high 555.2 innings as a result, and adding a workhorse veteran to the back of the staff would go a long way.

     

    Right Field

    With Todd Helton retired, it looks like Michael Cuddyer will move in to play first base, with some combination of Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson currently slated to play right field. The team likely won't be able to spend the money to land someone like Jacoby Ellsbury or Shin-Soo Choo, but Nelson Cruz may be a fit, and he could put up some monster numbers in Coors Field.

Los Angeles Dodgers

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    SP Ricky Nolasco
    SP Ricky NolascoStephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Key Free Agents

    SP Ricky Nolasco, 3B Juan Uribe, RP Brian Wilson, 3B Michael Young, 2B Mark Ellis (option), RP J.P. Howell, SP Edinson Volquez, RP Carlos Marmol, SS Nick Punto

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Third Base

    The third base market is incredibly thin this year, as Los Angeles Dodgers free agents Juan Uribe and Michael Young represent the two best available options. The team could pursue a trade for someone like Aramis Ramirez or Chase Headley, but bringing back Uribe on a two-year deal seems like the most likely scenario.

     

    Starting Pitcher

    The trio of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu is rock solid at the top of the Dodgers rotation, and they have a number of young arms capable of stepping into the No. 5 spot. But filling out the rotation with a proven veteran as the No. 4 starter is a must. Re-signing Ricky Nolasco is certainly an option.

     

    Relief Pitcher

    Kenley Jansen was terrific in the closer's role for the Dodgers, but two of the team's top setup men down the stretch, J.P. Howell and Brian Wilson, are set to hit free agency. Ronald Belisario, Chris Withrow and Paco Rodriguez will all be back, but bringing in a veteran or two to replace the potentially departed free agents will be on the to-do list.

San Diego Padres

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    SP Jason Marquis
    SP Jason MarquisDilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Key Free Agents

    SP Jason Marquis, OF Mark Kotsay, SS Ronny Cedeno

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Starting Pitching

    The emergence of Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross, along with the July addition of Ian Kennedy, already has the San Diego Padres rotation looking better for 2014. However, it is still far from a strength of the team, and adding a bounce-back candidate like Phil Hughes or a mid-level veteran like Roberto Hernandez could help shore things up.

San Francisco Giants

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    RP Javier Lopez
    RP Javier LopezEzra Shaw/Getty Images

    Key Free Agents

    RP Javier Lopez, SP Chad Gaudin, OF Andres Torres

     

    Major Areas of Need

    Starting Pitching

    The San Francisco Giants already re-signed Tim Lincecum and will likely exercise their option on Ryan Vogelsong. But they'll still have an open rotation spot for 2014, and they could look to bring in a front-line arm like Ervin Santana or even Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka in an effort to get their pitching back to its previously dominant level.

     

    Left Field

    Assuming Brandon Belt stays at first base and does not wind up in the outfield, the Giants' biggest offensive hole is undoubtedly in left field. Gregor Blanco is a decent all-around players, but he's far from an impact bat and is better suited as an often-used fourth outfielder. The Giants opted against making a splash signing here last offseason, but with a number of impact outfielders on the market, they could change their tune this winter.