New York Yankees

New York Yankees

FILE - In this Oct. 18, 2017, file photo, Houston Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel walks back to the dugout after the third inning of Game 5 of the baseball team's American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees in New York. Keuchel agreed to a $13.2 million, one-year contract after helping lead Houston to its first World Series title. Pitchers Lance McCullers Jr. and Brad Peacock and catcher Evan Gattis also reached one-year deals Friday, Jan. 12, when players and teams were set to swap proposed salaries in arbitration. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)
Donaldson, Bryant set records ahead of arbitration swap
FILE - In this Oct. 18, 2017, file photo, Houston Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel walks back to the dugout after the third inning of Game 5 of the baseball team's American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees in New York. Keuchel agreed to a $13.2 million, one-year contract after helping lead Houston to its first World Series title. Pitchers Lance McCullers Jr. and Brad Peacock and catcher Evan Gattis also reached one-year deals Friday, Jan. 12, when players and teams were set to swap proposed salaries in arbitration. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 17, 1017, file photo, New York Yankees starting pitcher Sonny Gray throws during the first inning of Game 4 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros in New York. The Yankees have reached one-year contracts with their remaining six players eligible for arbitration, leaving their projected luxury tax payroll at $177 million. Gray agreed at $6.5 million Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Yankees settle with 6, on track to get under tax threshold
FILE - In this Oct. 17, 1017, file photo, New York Yankees starting pitcher Sonny Gray throws during the first inning of Game 4 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros in New York. The Yankees have reached one-year contracts with their remaining six players eligible for arbitration, leaving their projected luxury tax payroll at $177 million. Gray agreed at $6.5 million Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
FILE - In this Oct. 3, 2017, file photo, New York Yankees' Didi Gregorius, right, watches his three-run home run as Minnesota Twins catcher Jason Castro looks on in the first inning of the American League wild-card playoff baseball game in New York. The Yankees have reached one-year contracts with their remaining six players eligible for arbitration, leaving their projected luxury tax payroll at $177 million. Gregorius agreed at $8.25 million Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)
Yankees settle with 6, on track to get under tax threshold
FILE - In this Oct. 3, 2017, file photo, New York Yankees' Didi Gregorius, right, watches his three-run home run as Minnesota Twins catcher Jason Castro looks on in the first inning of the American League wild-card playoff baseball game in New York. The Yankees have reached one-year contracts with their remaining six players eligible for arbitration, leaving their projected luxury tax payroll at $177 million. Gregorius agreed at $8.25 million Friday, Jan. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)
FILE - In this Thursday, May 4, 2017 file photo, Baltimore Orioles' Manny Machado hits a three-run homer in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, Thursday, May 4, 2017, in Boston. The Los Angeles Dodgers will pay baseball's highest luxury tax for the fourth straight year and the New York Yankees owe a penalty for a 15th consecutive season. The Dodgers and Yankees vow to get below next year's tax threshold of $197 million. That would reset their base tax rate from 50 percent to 20 percent going into the 2018-19 offseason, when Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and possibly Clayton Kershaw head a potentially illustrious free-agent class. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)
Donaldson, Machado, Bryant, Rendon in arbitration hot corner
FILE - In this Thursday, May 4, 2017 file photo, Baltimore Orioles' Manny Machado hits a three-run homer in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, Thursday, May 4, 2017, in Boston. The Los Angeles Dodgers will pay baseball's highest luxury tax for the fourth straight year and the New York Yankees owe a penalty for a 15th consecutive season. The Dodgers and Yankees vow to get below next year's tax threshold of $197 million. That would reset their base tax rate from 50 percent to 20 percent going into the 2018-19 offseason, when Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and possibly Clayton Kershaw head a potentially illustrious free-agent class. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)
FILE - In this Dec. 3, 2017, file photo, Derek Jeter, chief executive officer and part owner of the Miami Marlins and former New York Yankees player, sits court side as the Miami Heat played against the Golden State Warriors in an NBA basketball game, in Miami. The latest acquisition by Jeters publishing imprint: A memoir by Robert Scheer, founder of the foster youth charity Comfort Cases. Jeter Publishing told The Associated Press on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, that Sheers A Forever Family will come out in November. (AP Photo/Joe Skipper, File)
Jeter imprint acquires book by Comfort Cases founder
FILE - In this Dec. 3, 2017, file photo, Derek Jeter, chief executive officer and part owner of the Miami Marlins and former New York Yankees player, sits court side as the Miami Heat played against the Golden State Warriors in an NBA basketball game, in Miami. The latest acquisition by Jeters publishing imprint: A memoir by Robert Scheer, founder of the foster youth charity Comfort Cases. Jeter Publishing told The Associated Press on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018, that Sheers A Forever Family will come out in November. (AP Photo/Joe Skipper, File)
FILE - In this May 24, 2017, file photo, fans applaud as a medical employee carrying an injured youngster from the stands after the boy was hit in the head by a piece of New York Yankees's Chris Carter's bat that split during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals at Yankee Stadium in New York. The Yankees are expanding netting to protect seats behind each dugout and for five sections past down both foul lines, a decision announced after several fans were injured last year.(AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)
Yankees expanding protective netting past dugouts
FILE - In this May 24, 2017, file photo, fans applaud as a medical employee carrying an injured youngster from the stands after the boy was hit in the head by a piece of New York Yankees's Chris Carter's bat that split during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals at Yankee Stadium in New York. The Yankees are expanding netting to protect seats behind each dugout and for five sections past down both foul lines, a decision announced after several fans were injured last year.(AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)
New York Yankees' Chris Carter, right, celebrates with Austin Romine (27) after hitting a home run off Oakland Athletics' Sean Manaea during the sixth inning of a baseball game Friday, June 16, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Yankees expanding protective netting past dugouts
New York Yankees' Chris Carter, right, celebrates with Austin Romine (27) after hitting a home run off Oakland Athletics' Sean Manaea during the sixth inning of a baseball game Friday, June 16, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
<p>The Houston Astros have not agreed to a deal for Pittsburgh Pirates ace Gerrit Cole but the talks could pick back up, <a href="https://twitter.com/JeffPassan/status/951152713814958085" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:according" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">according</a> to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.</p><p>Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported that the Astros and Pirates reached an agreement on a trade. Reports followed that Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow noted no deal was imminent.</p><p>Cole went 12-12 in 2017 with a 4.26 ERA and 196 strikeouts. He has a 3.50 ERA in 127 career starts. His best season came in 2015 when he went 19–8 with a 2.60 ERA and 202 strikeouts in 32 starts. He is arbitration eligible for the next two seasons.</p><p>The Astros won the 2017 World Series in seven games over the Los Angeles Dodgers and boasted one of the best rotations in baseball. The addition of Cole would have only made it better as he would join a pitching staff that includes Dallas Keuchel, Justin Verlander, Lance McCullers and Charlie Morton.</p><p>The New York Yankees, who selected Cole in the first round of the 2008 draft, made an aggressive run for Cole in December but were unable to come to any agreement.</p>
Report: Astros, Pirates Have 'No Deal' For Gerrit Cole Yet

The Houston Astros have not agreed to a deal for Pittsburgh Pirates ace Gerrit Cole but the talks could pick back up, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.

Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported that the Astros and Pirates reached an agreement on a trade. Reports followed that Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow noted no deal was imminent.

Cole went 12-12 in 2017 with a 4.26 ERA and 196 strikeouts. He has a 3.50 ERA in 127 career starts. His best season came in 2015 when he went 19–8 with a 2.60 ERA and 202 strikeouts in 32 starts. He is arbitration eligible for the next two seasons.

The Astros won the 2017 World Series in seven games over the Los Angeles Dodgers and boasted one of the best rotations in baseball. The addition of Cole would have only made it better as he would join a pitching staff that includes Dallas Keuchel, Justin Verlander, Lance McCullers and Charlie Morton.

The New York Yankees, who selected Cole in the first round of the 2008 draft, made an aggressive run for Cole in December but were unable to come to any agreement.

<p>Second baseman Starlin Castro has yet to play a game for the Miami Marlins but already wants to be traded, <a href="https://twitter.com/Ken_Rosenthal/status/951115630014554112" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:according" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">according</a> to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Castro does not want to be part of another rebuilding process like he was with the Chicago Cubs from 2010 to 2015.</p><p>Castro was acquired by the Marlins in the December trade that sent National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton to the New York Yankees. Stanton is expected to be the team&#39;s starting second baseman after the Marlins dealt Dee Gordon to the Seattle Mariners.</p><p>The New York Mets were rumored to have interest in Castro shortly after the Stanton trade, if the Marlins were willing to flip him for more prospects. Castro&#39;s contract has him slated to earn $10 million in 2018, $11 million in 2019 and includes a $16 million option or $1 million buyout for 2020.</p><p>Castro is coming off a season in which he hit .300/.338/.452 with 16 home runs and 63 RBIs in 112 games. He spent just two seasons in New York after rising to stardom with the Cubs. The Cubs traded him to the Yankees in December 2015 for pitcher Adam Warren and Brendan Ryan. The Cubs went on to win the World Series in 2016.</p><p>The Marlins are also reportedly listening to offers for outfielder Christian Yelich and catcher J.T. Realmuto as the fire sale under a new ownership group, which includes Derek Jeter, continues. The Marlins&#39; goal is to get their Opening Day payroll around $90 million.</p>
Report: Starlin Castro Wants To Be Traded From The Marlins

Second baseman Starlin Castro has yet to play a game for the Miami Marlins but already wants to be traded, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Castro does not want to be part of another rebuilding process like he was with the Chicago Cubs from 2010 to 2015.

Castro was acquired by the Marlins in the December trade that sent National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton to the New York Yankees. Stanton is expected to be the team's starting second baseman after the Marlins dealt Dee Gordon to the Seattle Mariners.

The New York Mets were rumored to have interest in Castro shortly after the Stanton trade, if the Marlins were willing to flip him for more prospects. Castro's contract has him slated to earn $10 million in 2018, $11 million in 2019 and includes a $16 million option or $1 million buyout for 2020.

Castro is coming off a season in which he hit .300/.338/.452 with 16 home runs and 63 RBIs in 112 games. He spent just two seasons in New York after rising to stardom with the Cubs. The Cubs traded him to the Yankees in December 2015 for pitcher Adam Warren and Brendan Ryan. The Cubs went on to win the World Series in 2016.

The Marlins are also reportedly listening to offers for outfielder Christian Yelich and catcher J.T. Realmuto as the fire sale under a new ownership group, which includes Derek Jeter, continues. The Marlins' goal is to get their Opening Day payroll around $90 million.

<p>It’s 2018, which means it’s time for folks all around the globe to take stock and make resolutions for how to do better in the year to come. The same can be said for all 30 MLB teams, even in an offseason that has seen frightfully little action. From the strongest contender to the dedicated rebuilder, every club has something to strive for over the rest of the winter. But what moves need to be made to make sure the 2018 season is the best it can possibly be? Here are my picks for what each American League team should do before the offseason is out so that, come Dec. 31, they’re not looking back at the year that was and wishing they’d taken a different course.</p><p><strong>Baltimore Orioles: Trade Manny Machado</strong></p><p>For a brief few weeks in December, the moribund Orioles were the center of the baseball world as the team’s front office weighed a question that could reshape the playoff race in either league: Should Baltimore deal away Manny Machado? The cons are stark. No Machado, who will be a free agent at season’s end, effectively means no chance of competing in the AL East for the O’s, and it will not be met well by the fans. But the hard choice here is the right one. Baltimore already has no shot in the division thanks to its horrible starting rotation and uneven lineup, and the team has equally little chance to bring Machado back as a free agent. Move him now and get the most you can for him in prospects. It’ll hurt, but that’s the pain of being pragmatic.</p><p><strong>Boston Red Sox: Sign J.D. Martinez</strong></p><p>At the risk of sounding like a broken record on this, there is no better match between team and player this winter than Boston and Martinez. The former desperately needs power in the lineup and at the designated hitter spot; the latter is a home run machine whose glove is best left at home. The Red Sox reportedly have a five-year offer on the table to Martinez, who is said to be looking for a seven-season commitment, but that feels like a gap that can be bridged—and one that should be in Boston’s case, as the team needs to try to close the enormous power deficit between it and the Yankees.</p><p><strong>Chicago White Sox: Stay the course</strong></p><p>As Machado’s name floated on the trade market, the White Sox—this time last year stripping their roster down to the screws—were frequently and surprisingly mentioned as a contender for his services. How real that interest was is unknown, as the Machado talk has died down in the last few weeks. But it’s a move that Chicago should avoid. Yes, Machado would provide a sorely needed big bat in the lineup, but even at his best, he takes the South Siders from rebuilding team to the fringes of contention. Is that worth the top prospects he would cost? Maybe general manager Rick Hahn figures he can flip Machado at the deadline if things go sour, but that’s a risky bet. Better to stay out of it and keep banking on internal improvement via a superb farm system, or use that prospect stash to improve a weak rotation or bullpen instead.</p><p><strong>Cleveland Indians: Spend like a contender</strong></p><p>The Indians’ biggest move of the winter has been to let Carlos Santana walk, as the burly first baseman signed a three-year, $60 million pact with the Phillies. That’s not exactly breaking the bank, and while Santana has his downsides (namely his age), it’s odd that a 102-win team wouldn’t shell out reasonable dollars to keep an important high-floor bat. Instead, Cleveland replaced him with a discount option, signing Yonder Alonso to a one-year deal. He’s a fine player, but for a team with real World Series hopes, it’s a disappointing choice. The Indians aren’t the Dodgers, but they’re still worlds away from the luxury tax limit and have barely any big long-term deals on the books. Now is the time to spend and bolster a championship-caliber core.</p><p><strong>Detroit Tigers: Find a way to trade Miguel Cabrera</strong></p><p>There’s just about no reason to tune in to Tigers baseball in 2018, as the team set about tearing down the roster in the second half as part of a long-delayed rebuild. But while Detroit has successfully dealt away J.D. Martinez, Justin Verlander and Ian Kinsler, Miguel Cabrera remains, sucking up a gigantic chunk of the Tigers’ payroll as a veteran bat on a team of nobodies. Given the money he’s owed (another $184 million guaranteed over the next six years) and age (35 in April), there’s zero chance the Tigers will get anything of value for him in a trade. But should that matter? There are no half-measures in rebuilds. Get what you can, eat what money you have to, and finish the job. And it would be a gift to Cabrera to let him play his sunset years for a team that won’t be bottoming out for the next few seasons.</p><p><strong>Houston Astros: Start handing out extensions</strong></p><p>As the defending World Series champions, there’s not a whole lot—if anything—the Astros need to do before next season begins; their roster is already strong and secure across the board. Instead, it would behoove Houston to take the windfall of cash that comes with winning a title and invest it into long-term deals for the team’s young core. In particular, buying out the arbitration years of Carlos Correa and George Springer would be a good start. The former won’t get expensive for some time, but it would be both economically prudent and a show of good faith to get him locked up to bigger dollars at the first chance.</p><p><strong>Kansas City Royals: Resist the reunion temptation</strong></p><p>The frozen free-agent market has left dozens of stars in the cold, including the Royals’ title-winning trio of Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain. They looked set to cash in this winter after strong 2017 seasons, but with teams refusing to open their checkbooks, each is looking at a weaker-than-expected market (except perhaps Hosmer, who reportedly has been offered a seven-year deal by the Padres). For the small-market Royals, who looked set to lose all three, the lack of interest elsewhere could be a chance to bring one or more of them back; rumors abound that they <a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2018/01/03/kansas-city-royals-eric-hosmer-offer" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:have a seven-year offer of their own out for Hosmer" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">have a seven-year offer of their own out for Hosmer</a>. But it seems smarter for Kansas City to make a clean break and get started on building the next great Royals team instead of investing lots of years and money in trying to recapture the past.</p><p><strong>Los Angeles Angels: Keep adding to the haul</strong></p><p>Few teams have been busier than the Angels, who have signed Shohei Ohtani and Zack Cozart and traded for Ian Kinsler, at once acquiring a new ace and improving a terrible infield. But Los Angeles can’t stop there. A team that was destroyed by pitcher injuries last year should keep building rotation depth, and the bullpen also needs attention. If the Angels are finally serious about building around Mike Trout, then they need to do everything they can to shore up their weak spots instead of hoping for the best from what they already have.</p><p><strong>Minnesota Twins: Get an ace</strong></p><p>Minnesota surprised everyone last year with its unlikely wild-card berth, and the team is poised for perhaps better in 2018 as its young stars develop. But what is currently separating the Twins from being real contenders is the state of their rotation, which is full of question marks and mediocre arms. Luckily for them, the market has plenty of good options who may be willing to sign below-market deals given the league-wide reluctance to spend. Minnesota should take its chance to make a real splash.</p><p><strong>New York Yankees: Dump Jacoby Ellsbury</strong></p><p>It’s been a magical offseason for Brian Cashman, who landed Giancarlo Stanton for a song, brought back CC Sabathia on a reasonable one-year pact, and got out from under the $13 million owed to the declining Chase Headley. Now, he has two months or so left to pull off his greatest trick yet: convincing an outfielder-needy team to take Ellsbury—and the $68 million still owed to him over the next four seasons—off his hands. That won’t be easy in a day and age when every franchise is tightening its belt, but getting rid of as much of Ellsbury’s salary as possible would be a huge boost to the Yankees in their quest to get under the luxury tax limit and set themselves up even better for next year’s free-agent spending spree. And while Ellsbury is a marginal hitter, his speed and defense can still help the right squad. If Cashman can make that move happen, his winter will have been a total success.</p><p><strong>Oakland Athletics: Find a direction (?)</strong></p><p>Squint hard enough at the Athletics’ roster, and you can see the faint outline of a .500 team with a small chance at being a dark horse contender. But that takes a lot of wishcasting and optimism, particularly with a rotation and bullpen that don’t have much high-upside talent. The A’s are a perpetual enigma, seemingly always rebuilding with an eye on a future that refuses to arrive, but the team as it exists now doesn’t seem to have any purpose. Not every franchise has to be either a contender or a bottom-feeder, but what Oakland has is amorphous at best. An 80-win team isn’t worth much these days, so why not make a move in either direction of that?</p><p><strong>Seattle Mariners: Fix the rotation</strong></p><p>A healthy James Paxton would go a long way toward making the Mariners a better bet for 2018, but Seattle should still aim for adding arms behind him if contention is what it seeks. The old Felix Hernandez is gone and likely never coming back, and the rest of the rotation is a fright. If Jerry Dipoto can tear himself away from trading a minor leaguer every hour, his attention should go toward one of the better pitchers still available in free agency, like Yu Darvish or Alex Cobb.</p><p><strong>Tampa Bay Rays: Continue the rebuild</strong></p><p>Evan Longoria is gone, but he shouldn’t be the only player the Rays send out of town this winter. Always at a disadvantage in the luxury neighborhood that is the AL East, Tampa isn’t a good bet to compete with either the Yankees or the Red Sox, or to make much noise in the wild-card race. Now is as good a time as any to look toward the future, and that begins with moving Alex Colome and Chris Archer.</p><p><strong>Texas Rangers: Figure out the bullpen</strong></p><p>The Rangers have plenty of issues still to address on the roster, from more rotation depth to whether or not top prospect Willie Calhoun is the answer in leftfield. But especially pressing is the relief corps, which was flat-out awful in 2017: a 4.76 ERA, third-worst in the majors, and only 29 saves converted in 50 opportunities. The current closer is soft-tossing lefty Alex Claudio, whose poor strikeout-per-nine ratio (6.1 last year) doesn’t inspire much confidence going forward. But with hard-throwing Matt Bush gearing up to be a starter, where is the heat in the late innings going to come from? With not much left in terms of bullpen help on the market, GM Jon Daniels would be better off keeping Bush in relief and seeing if any of his minor leaguers have what it takes to throw strikes in short bursts.</p><p><strong>Toronto Blue Jays: Get realistic about 2018</strong></p><p>There wasn’t a whole lot to like about the Blue Jays in 2017. Thanks to injuries and forgettable seasons across the roster, Toronto slumped to 76 wins and a fourth-place finish. And while there’s reason to be more optimistic this year, it’s hard to see where the big improvement needed to catch the Yankees and Red Sox comes from without some sizable changes. So is it time to throw in the towel? The future is bright, as the Jays’ farm system is full of excellent young talent; a small step back in the present might help make it even brighter. Dealing away free-agent-to-be Josh Donaldson, who would bring back a king’s ransom in prospects, would be the right way to go.</p>
What Every AL Team Should Do in This Painfully Slow Offseason

It’s 2018, which means it’s time for folks all around the globe to take stock and make resolutions for how to do better in the year to come. The same can be said for all 30 MLB teams, even in an offseason that has seen frightfully little action. From the strongest contender to the dedicated rebuilder, every club has something to strive for over the rest of the winter. But what moves need to be made to make sure the 2018 season is the best it can possibly be? Here are my picks for what each American League team should do before the offseason is out so that, come Dec. 31, they’re not looking back at the year that was and wishing they’d taken a different course.

Baltimore Orioles: Trade Manny Machado

For a brief few weeks in December, the moribund Orioles were the center of the baseball world as the team’s front office weighed a question that could reshape the playoff race in either league: Should Baltimore deal away Manny Machado? The cons are stark. No Machado, who will be a free agent at season’s end, effectively means no chance of competing in the AL East for the O’s, and it will not be met well by the fans. But the hard choice here is the right one. Baltimore already has no shot in the division thanks to its horrible starting rotation and uneven lineup, and the team has equally little chance to bring Machado back as a free agent. Move him now and get the most you can for him in prospects. It’ll hurt, but that’s the pain of being pragmatic.

Boston Red Sox: Sign J.D. Martinez

At the risk of sounding like a broken record on this, there is no better match between team and player this winter than Boston and Martinez. The former desperately needs power in the lineup and at the designated hitter spot; the latter is a home run machine whose glove is best left at home. The Red Sox reportedly have a five-year offer on the table to Martinez, who is said to be looking for a seven-season commitment, but that feels like a gap that can be bridged—and one that should be in Boston’s case, as the team needs to try to close the enormous power deficit between it and the Yankees.

Chicago White Sox: Stay the course

As Machado’s name floated on the trade market, the White Sox—this time last year stripping their roster down to the screws—were frequently and surprisingly mentioned as a contender for his services. How real that interest was is unknown, as the Machado talk has died down in the last few weeks. But it’s a move that Chicago should avoid. Yes, Machado would provide a sorely needed big bat in the lineup, but even at his best, he takes the South Siders from rebuilding team to the fringes of contention. Is that worth the top prospects he would cost? Maybe general manager Rick Hahn figures he can flip Machado at the deadline if things go sour, but that’s a risky bet. Better to stay out of it and keep banking on internal improvement via a superb farm system, or use that prospect stash to improve a weak rotation or bullpen instead.

Cleveland Indians: Spend like a contender

The Indians’ biggest move of the winter has been to let Carlos Santana walk, as the burly first baseman signed a three-year, $60 million pact with the Phillies. That’s not exactly breaking the bank, and while Santana has his downsides (namely his age), it’s odd that a 102-win team wouldn’t shell out reasonable dollars to keep an important high-floor bat. Instead, Cleveland replaced him with a discount option, signing Yonder Alonso to a one-year deal. He’s a fine player, but for a team with real World Series hopes, it’s a disappointing choice. The Indians aren’t the Dodgers, but they’re still worlds away from the luxury tax limit and have barely any big long-term deals on the books. Now is the time to spend and bolster a championship-caliber core.

Detroit Tigers: Find a way to trade Miguel Cabrera

There’s just about no reason to tune in to Tigers baseball in 2018, as the team set about tearing down the roster in the second half as part of a long-delayed rebuild. But while Detroit has successfully dealt away J.D. Martinez, Justin Verlander and Ian Kinsler, Miguel Cabrera remains, sucking up a gigantic chunk of the Tigers’ payroll as a veteran bat on a team of nobodies. Given the money he’s owed (another $184 million guaranteed over the next six years) and age (35 in April), there’s zero chance the Tigers will get anything of value for him in a trade. But should that matter? There are no half-measures in rebuilds. Get what you can, eat what money you have to, and finish the job. And it would be a gift to Cabrera to let him play his sunset years for a team that won’t be bottoming out for the next few seasons.

Houston Astros: Start handing out extensions

As the defending World Series champions, there’s not a whole lot—if anything—the Astros need to do before next season begins; their roster is already strong and secure across the board. Instead, it would behoove Houston to take the windfall of cash that comes with winning a title and invest it into long-term deals for the team’s young core. In particular, buying out the arbitration years of Carlos Correa and George Springer would be a good start. The former won’t get expensive for some time, but it would be both economically prudent and a show of good faith to get him locked up to bigger dollars at the first chance.

Kansas City Royals: Resist the reunion temptation

The frozen free-agent market has left dozens of stars in the cold, including the Royals’ title-winning trio of Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain. They looked set to cash in this winter after strong 2017 seasons, but with teams refusing to open their checkbooks, each is looking at a weaker-than-expected market (except perhaps Hosmer, who reportedly has been offered a seven-year deal by the Padres). For the small-market Royals, who looked set to lose all three, the lack of interest elsewhere could be a chance to bring one or more of them back; rumors abound that they have a seven-year offer of their own out for Hosmer. But it seems smarter for Kansas City to make a clean break and get started on building the next great Royals team instead of investing lots of years and money in trying to recapture the past.

Los Angeles Angels: Keep adding to the haul

Few teams have been busier than the Angels, who have signed Shohei Ohtani and Zack Cozart and traded for Ian Kinsler, at once acquiring a new ace and improving a terrible infield. But Los Angeles can’t stop there. A team that was destroyed by pitcher injuries last year should keep building rotation depth, and the bullpen also needs attention. If the Angels are finally serious about building around Mike Trout, then they need to do everything they can to shore up their weak spots instead of hoping for the best from what they already have.

Minnesota Twins: Get an ace

Minnesota surprised everyone last year with its unlikely wild-card berth, and the team is poised for perhaps better in 2018 as its young stars develop. But what is currently separating the Twins from being real contenders is the state of their rotation, which is full of question marks and mediocre arms. Luckily for them, the market has plenty of good options who may be willing to sign below-market deals given the league-wide reluctance to spend. Minnesota should take its chance to make a real splash.

New York Yankees: Dump Jacoby Ellsbury

It’s been a magical offseason for Brian Cashman, who landed Giancarlo Stanton for a song, brought back CC Sabathia on a reasonable one-year pact, and got out from under the $13 million owed to the declining Chase Headley. Now, he has two months or so left to pull off his greatest trick yet: convincing an outfielder-needy team to take Ellsbury—and the $68 million still owed to him over the next four seasons—off his hands. That won’t be easy in a day and age when every franchise is tightening its belt, but getting rid of as much of Ellsbury’s salary as possible would be a huge boost to the Yankees in their quest to get under the luxury tax limit and set themselves up even better for next year’s free-agent spending spree. And while Ellsbury is a marginal hitter, his speed and defense can still help the right squad. If Cashman can make that move happen, his winter will have been a total success.

Oakland Athletics: Find a direction (?)

Squint hard enough at the Athletics’ roster, and you can see the faint outline of a .500 team with a small chance at being a dark horse contender. But that takes a lot of wishcasting and optimism, particularly with a rotation and bullpen that don’t have much high-upside talent. The A’s are a perpetual enigma, seemingly always rebuilding with an eye on a future that refuses to arrive, but the team as it exists now doesn’t seem to have any purpose. Not every franchise has to be either a contender or a bottom-feeder, but what Oakland has is amorphous at best. An 80-win team isn’t worth much these days, so why not make a move in either direction of that?

Seattle Mariners: Fix the rotation

A healthy James Paxton would go a long way toward making the Mariners a better bet for 2018, but Seattle should still aim for adding arms behind him if contention is what it seeks. The old Felix Hernandez is gone and likely never coming back, and the rest of the rotation is a fright. If Jerry Dipoto can tear himself away from trading a minor leaguer every hour, his attention should go toward one of the better pitchers still available in free agency, like Yu Darvish or Alex Cobb.

Tampa Bay Rays: Continue the rebuild

Evan Longoria is gone, but he shouldn’t be the only player the Rays send out of town this winter. Always at a disadvantage in the luxury neighborhood that is the AL East, Tampa isn’t a good bet to compete with either the Yankees or the Red Sox, or to make much noise in the wild-card race. Now is as good a time as any to look toward the future, and that begins with moving Alex Colome and Chris Archer.

Texas Rangers: Figure out the bullpen

The Rangers have plenty of issues still to address on the roster, from more rotation depth to whether or not top prospect Willie Calhoun is the answer in leftfield. But especially pressing is the relief corps, which was flat-out awful in 2017: a 4.76 ERA, third-worst in the majors, and only 29 saves converted in 50 opportunities. The current closer is soft-tossing lefty Alex Claudio, whose poor strikeout-per-nine ratio (6.1 last year) doesn’t inspire much confidence going forward. But with hard-throwing Matt Bush gearing up to be a starter, where is the heat in the late innings going to come from? With not much left in terms of bullpen help on the market, GM Jon Daniels would be better off keeping Bush in relief and seeing if any of his minor leaguers have what it takes to throw strikes in short bursts.

Toronto Blue Jays: Get realistic about 2018

There wasn’t a whole lot to like about the Blue Jays in 2017. Thanks to injuries and forgettable seasons across the roster, Toronto slumped to 76 wins and a fourth-place finish. And while there’s reason to be more optimistic this year, it’s hard to see where the big improvement needed to catch the Yankees and Red Sox comes from without some sizable changes. So is it time to throw in the towel? The future is bright, as the Jays’ farm system is full of excellent young talent; a small step back in the present might help make it even brighter. Dealing away free-agent-to-be Josh Donaldson, who would bring back a king’s ransom in prospects, would be the right way to go.

<p>It’s 2018, which means it’s time for folks all around the globe to take stock and make resolutions for how to do better in the year to come. The same can be said for all 30 MLB teams, even in an offseason that has seen frightfully little action. From the strongest contender to the dedicated rebuilder, every club has something to strive for over the rest of the winter. But what moves need to be made to make sure the 2018 season is the best it can possibly be? Here are my picks for what each American League team should do before the offseason is out so that, come Dec. 31, they’re not looking back at the year that was and wishing they’d taken a different course.</p><p><strong>Baltimore Orioles: Trade Manny Machado</strong></p><p>For a brief few weeks in December, the moribund Orioles were the center of the baseball world as the team’s front office weighed a question that could reshape the playoff race in either league: Should Baltimore deal away Manny Machado? The cons are stark. No Machado, who will be a free agent at season’s end, effectively means no chance of competing in the AL East for the O’s, and it will not be met well by the fans. But the hard choice here is the right one. Baltimore already has no shot in the division thanks to its horrible starting rotation and uneven lineup, and the team has equally little chance to bring Machado back as a free agent. Move him now and get the most you can for him in prospects. It’ll hurt, but that’s the pain of being pragmatic.</p><p><strong>Boston Red Sox: Sign J.D. Martinez</strong></p><p>At the risk of sounding like a broken record on this, there is no better match between team and player this winter than Boston and Martinez. The former desperately needs power in the lineup and at the designated hitter spot; the latter is a home run machine whose glove is best left at home. The Red Sox reportedly have a five-year offer on the table to Martinez, who is said to be looking for a seven-season commitment, but that feels like a gap that can be bridged—and one that should be in Boston’s case, as the team needs to try to close the enormous power deficit between it and the Yankees.</p><p><strong>Chicago White Sox: Stay the course</strong></p><p>As Machado’s name floated on the trade market, the White Sox—this time last year stripping their roster down to the screws—were frequently and surprisingly mentioned as a contender for his services. How real that interest was is unknown, as the Machado talk has died down in the last few weeks. But it’s a move that Chicago should avoid. Yes, Machado would provide a sorely needed big bat in the lineup, but even at his best, he takes the South Siders from rebuilding team to the fringes of contention. Is that worth the top prospects he would cost? Maybe general manager Rick Hahn figures he can flip Machado at the deadline if things go sour, but that’s a risky bet. Better to stay out of it and keep banking on internal improvement via a superb farm system, or use that prospect stash to improve a weak rotation or bullpen instead.</p><p><strong>Cleveland Indians: Spend like a contender</strong></p><p>The Indians’ biggest move of the winter has been to let Carlos Santana walk, as the burly first baseman signed a three-year, $60 million pact with the Phillies. That’s not exactly breaking the bank, and while Santana has his downsides (namely his age), it’s odd that a 102-win team wouldn’t shell out reasonable dollars to keep an important high-floor bat. Instead, Cleveland replaced him with a discount option, signing Yonder Alonso to a one-year deal. He’s a fine player, but for a team with real World Series hopes, it’s a disappointing choice. The Indians aren’t the Dodgers, but they’re still worlds away from the luxury tax limit and have barely any big long-term deals on the books. Now is the time to spend and bolster a championship-caliber core.</p><p><strong>Detroit Tigers: Find a way to trade Miguel Cabrera</strong></p><p>There’s just about no reason to tune in to Tigers baseball in 2018, as the team set about tearing down the roster in the second half as part of a long-delayed rebuild. But while Detroit has successfully dealt away J.D. Martinez, Justin Verlander and Ian Kinsler, Miguel Cabrera remains, sucking up a gigantic chunk of the Tigers’ payroll as a veteran bat on a team of nobodies. Given the money he’s owed (another $184 million guaranteed over the next six years) and age (35 in April), there’s zero chance the Tigers will get anything of value for him in a trade. But should that matter? There are no half-measures in rebuilds. Get what you can, eat what money you have to, and finish the job. And it would be a gift to Cabrera to let him play his sunset years for a team that won’t be bottoming out for the next few seasons.</p><p><strong>Houston Astros: Start handing out extensions</strong></p><p>As the defending World Series champions, there’s not a whole lot—if anything—the Astros need to do before next season begins; their roster is already strong and secure across the board. Instead, it would behoove Houston to take the windfall of cash that comes with winning a title and invest it into long-term deals for the team’s young core. In particular, buying out the arbitration years of Carlos Correa and George Springer would be a good start. The former won’t get expensive for some time, but it would be both economically prudent and a show of good faith to get him locked up to bigger dollars at the first chance.</p><p><strong>Kansas City Royals: Resist the reunion temptation</strong></p><p>The frozen free-agent market has left dozens of stars in the cold, including the Royals’ title-winning trio of Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain. They looked set to cash in this winter after strong 2017 seasons, but with teams refusing to open their checkbooks, each is looking at a weaker-than-expected market (except perhaps Hosmer, who reportedly has been offered a seven-year deal by the Padres). For the small-market Royals, who looked set to lose all three, the lack of interest elsewhere could be a chance to bring one or more of them back; rumors abound that they <a href="https://www.si.com/mlb/2018/01/03/kansas-city-royals-eric-hosmer-offer" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:have a seven-year offer of their own out for Hosmer" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">have a seven-year offer of their own out for Hosmer</a>. But it seems smarter for Kansas City to make a clean break and get started on building the next great Royals team instead of investing lots of years and money in trying to recapture the past.</p><p><strong>Los Angeles Angels: Keep adding to the haul</strong></p><p>Few teams have been busier than the Angels, who have signed Shohei Ohtani and Zack Cozart and traded for Ian Kinsler, at once acquiring a new ace and improving a terrible infield. But Los Angeles can’t stop there. A team that was destroyed by pitcher injuries last year should keep building rotation depth, and the bullpen also needs attention. If the Angels are finally serious about building around Mike Trout, then they need to do everything they can to shore up their weak spots instead of hoping for the best from what they already have.</p><p><strong>Minnesota Twins: Get an ace</strong></p><p>Minnesota surprised everyone last year with its unlikely wild-card berth, and the team is poised for perhaps better in 2018 as its young stars develop. But what is currently separating the Twins from being real contenders is the state of their rotation, which is full of question marks and mediocre arms. Luckily for them, the market has plenty of good options who may be willing to sign below-market deals given the league-wide reluctance to spend. Minnesota should take its chance to make a real splash.</p><p><strong>New York Yankees: Dump Jacoby Ellsbury</strong></p><p>It’s been a magical offseason for Brian Cashman, who landed Giancarlo Stanton for a song, brought back CC Sabathia on a reasonable one-year pact, and got out from under the $13 million owed to the declining Chase Headley. Now, he has two months or so left to pull off his greatest trick yet: convincing an outfielder-needy team to take Ellsbury—and the $68 million still owed to him over the next four seasons—off his hands. That won’t be easy in a day and age when every franchise is tightening its belt, but getting rid of as much of Ellsbury’s salary as possible would be a huge boost to the Yankees in their quest to get under the luxury tax limit and set themselves up even better for next year’s free-agent spending spree. And while Ellsbury is a marginal hitter, his speed and defense can still help the right squad. If Cashman can make that move happen, his winter will have been a total success.</p><p><strong>Oakland Athletics: Find a direction (?)</strong></p><p>Squint hard enough at the Athletics’ roster, and you can see the faint outline of a .500 team with a small chance at being a dark horse contender. But that takes a lot of wishcasting and optimism, particularly with a rotation and bullpen that don’t have much high-upside talent. The A’s are a perpetual enigma, seemingly always rebuilding with an eye on a future that refuses to arrive, but the team as it exists now doesn’t seem to have any purpose. Not every franchise has to be either a contender or a bottom-feeder, but what Oakland has is amorphous at best. An 80-win team isn’t worth much these days, so why not make a move in either direction of that?</p><p><strong>Seattle Mariners: Fix the rotation</strong></p><p>A healthy James Paxton would go a long way toward making the Mariners a better bet for 2018, but Seattle should still aim for adding arms behind him if contention is what it seeks. The old Felix Hernandez is gone and likely never coming back, and the rest of the rotation is a fright. If Jerry Dipoto can tear himself away from trading a minor leaguer every hour, his attention should go toward one of the better pitchers still available in free agency, like Yu Darvish or Alex Cobb.</p><p><strong>Tampa Bay Rays: Continue the rebuild</strong></p><p>Evan Longoria is gone, but he shouldn’t be the only player the Rays send out of town this winter. Always at a disadvantage in the luxury neighborhood that is the AL East, Tampa isn’t a good bet to compete with either the Yankees or the Red Sox, or to make much noise in the wild-card race. Now is as good a time as any to look toward the future, and that begins with moving Alex Colome and Chris Archer.</p><p><strong>Texas Rangers: Figure out the bullpen</strong></p><p>The Rangers have plenty of issues still to address on the roster, from more rotation depth to whether or not top prospect Willie Calhoun is the answer in leftfield. But especially pressing is the relief corps, which was flat-out awful in 2017: a 4.76 ERA, third-worst in the majors, and only 29 saves converted in 50 opportunities. The current closer is soft-tossing lefty Alex Claudio, whose poor strikeout-per-nine ratio (6.1 last year) doesn’t inspire much confidence going forward. But with hard-throwing Matt Bush gearing up to be a starter, where is the heat in the late innings going to come from? With not much left in terms of bullpen help on the market, GM Jon Daniels would be better off keeping Bush in relief and seeing if any of his minor leaguers have what it takes to throw strikes in short bursts.</p><p><strong>Toronto Blue Jays: Get realistic about 2018</strong></p><p>There wasn’t a whole lot to like about the Blue Jays in 2017. Thanks to injuries and forgettable seasons across the roster, Toronto slumped to 76 wins and a fourth-place finish. And while there’s reason to be more optimistic this year, it’s hard to see where the big improvement needed to catch the Yankees and Red Sox comes from without some sizable changes. So is it time to throw in the towel? The future is bright, as the Jays’ farm system is full of excellent young talent; a small step back in the present might help make it even brighter. Dealing away free-agent-to-be Josh Donaldson, who would bring back a king’s ransom in prospects, would be the right way to go.</p>
What Every AL Team Should Do in This Painfully Slow Offseason

It’s 2018, which means it’s time for folks all around the globe to take stock and make resolutions for how to do better in the year to come. The same can be said for all 30 MLB teams, even in an offseason that has seen frightfully little action. From the strongest contender to the dedicated rebuilder, every club has something to strive for over the rest of the winter. But what moves need to be made to make sure the 2018 season is the best it can possibly be? Here are my picks for what each American League team should do before the offseason is out so that, come Dec. 31, they’re not looking back at the year that was and wishing they’d taken a different course.

Baltimore Orioles: Trade Manny Machado

For a brief few weeks in December, the moribund Orioles were the center of the baseball world as the team’s front office weighed a question that could reshape the playoff race in either league: Should Baltimore deal away Manny Machado? The cons are stark. No Machado, who will be a free agent at season’s end, effectively means no chance of competing in the AL East for the O’s, and it will not be met well by the fans. But the hard choice here is the right one. Baltimore already has no shot in the division thanks to its horrible starting rotation and uneven lineup, and the team has equally little chance to bring Machado back as a free agent. Move him now and get the most you can for him in prospects. It’ll hurt, but that’s the pain of being pragmatic.

Boston Red Sox: Sign J.D. Martinez

At the risk of sounding like a broken record on this, there is no better match between team and player this winter than Boston and Martinez. The former desperately needs power in the lineup and at the designated hitter spot; the latter is a home run machine whose glove is best left at home. The Red Sox reportedly have a five-year offer on the table to Martinez, who is said to be looking for a seven-season commitment, but that feels like a gap that can be bridged—and one that should be in Boston’s case, as the team needs to try to close the enormous power deficit between it and the Yankees.

Chicago White Sox: Stay the course

As Machado’s name floated on the trade market, the White Sox—this time last year stripping their roster down to the screws—were frequently and surprisingly mentioned as a contender for his services. How real that interest was is unknown, as the Machado talk has died down in the last few weeks. But it’s a move that Chicago should avoid. Yes, Machado would provide a sorely needed big bat in the lineup, but even at his best, he takes the South Siders from rebuilding team to the fringes of contention. Is that worth the top prospects he would cost? Maybe general manager Rick Hahn figures he can flip Machado at the deadline if things go sour, but that’s a risky bet. Better to stay out of it and keep banking on internal improvement via a superb farm system, or use that prospect stash to improve a weak rotation or bullpen instead.

Cleveland Indians: Spend like a contender

The Indians’ biggest move of the winter has been to let Carlos Santana walk, as the burly first baseman signed a three-year, $60 million pact with the Phillies. That’s not exactly breaking the bank, and while Santana has his downsides (namely his age), it’s odd that a 102-win team wouldn’t shell out reasonable dollars to keep an important high-floor bat. Instead, Cleveland replaced him with a discount option, signing Yonder Alonso to a one-year deal. He’s a fine player, but for a team with real World Series hopes, it’s a disappointing choice. The Indians aren’t the Dodgers, but they’re still worlds away from the luxury tax limit and have barely any big long-term deals on the books. Now is the time to spend and bolster a championship-caliber core.

Detroit Tigers: Find a way to trade Miguel Cabrera

There’s just about no reason to tune in to Tigers baseball in 2018, as the team set about tearing down the roster in the second half as part of a long-delayed rebuild. But while Detroit has successfully dealt away J.D. Martinez, Justin Verlander and Ian Kinsler, Miguel Cabrera remains, sucking up a gigantic chunk of the Tigers’ payroll as a veteran bat on a team of nobodies. Given the money he’s owed (another $184 million guaranteed over the next six years) and age (35 in April), there’s zero chance the Tigers will get anything of value for him in a trade. But should that matter? There are no half-measures in rebuilds. Get what you can, eat what money you have to, and finish the job. And it would be a gift to Cabrera to let him play his sunset years for a team that won’t be bottoming out for the next few seasons.

Houston Astros: Start handing out extensions

As the defending World Series champions, there’s not a whole lot—if anything—the Astros need to do before next season begins; their roster is already strong and secure across the board. Instead, it would behoove Houston to take the windfall of cash that comes with winning a title and invest it into long-term deals for the team’s young core. In particular, buying out the arbitration years of Carlos Correa and George Springer would be a good start. The former won’t get expensive for some time, but it would be both economically prudent and a show of good faith to get him locked up to bigger dollars at the first chance.

Kansas City Royals: Resist the reunion temptation

The frozen free-agent market has left dozens of stars in the cold, including the Royals’ title-winning trio of Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain. They looked set to cash in this winter after strong 2017 seasons, but with teams refusing to open their checkbooks, each is looking at a weaker-than-expected market (except perhaps Hosmer, who reportedly has been offered a seven-year deal by the Padres). For the small-market Royals, who looked set to lose all three, the lack of interest elsewhere could be a chance to bring one or more of them back; rumors abound that they have a seven-year offer of their own out for Hosmer. But it seems smarter for Kansas City to make a clean break and get started on building the next great Royals team instead of investing lots of years and money in trying to recapture the past.

Los Angeles Angels: Keep adding to the haul

Few teams have been busier than the Angels, who have signed Shohei Ohtani and Zack Cozart and traded for Ian Kinsler, at once acquiring a new ace and improving a terrible infield. But Los Angeles can’t stop there. A team that was destroyed by pitcher injuries last year should keep building rotation depth, and the bullpen also needs attention. If the Angels are finally serious about building around Mike Trout, then they need to do everything they can to shore up their weak spots instead of hoping for the best from what they already have.

Minnesota Twins: Get an ace

Minnesota surprised everyone last year with its unlikely wild-card berth, and the team is poised for perhaps better in 2018 as its young stars develop. But what is currently separating the Twins from being real contenders is the state of their rotation, which is full of question marks and mediocre arms. Luckily for them, the market has plenty of good options who may be willing to sign below-market deals given the league-wide reluctance to spend. Minnesota should take its chance to make a real splash.

New York Yankees: Dump Jacoby Ellsbury

It’s been a magical offseason for Brian Cashman, who landed Giancarlo Stanton for a song, brought back CC Sabathia on a reasonable one-year pact, and got out from under the $13 million owed to the declining Chase Headley. Now, he has two months or so left to pull off his greatest trick yet: convincing an outfielder-needy team to take Ellsbury—and the $68 million still owed to him over the next four seasons—off his hands. That won’t be easy in a day and age when every franchise is tightening its belt, but getting rid of as much of Ellsbury’s salary as possible would be a huge boost to the Yankees in their quest to get under the luxury tax limit and set themselves up even better for next year’s free-agent spending spree. And while Ellsbury is a marginal hitter, his speed and defense can still help the right squad. If Cashman can make that move happen, his winter will have been a total success.

Oakland Athletics: Find a direction (?)

Squint hard enough at the Athletics’ roster, and you can see the faint outline of a .500 team with a small chance at being a dark horse contender. But that takes a lot of wishcasting and optimism, particularly with a rotation and bullpen that don’t have much high-upside talent. The A’s are a perpetual enigma, seemingly always rebuilding with an eye on a future that refuses to arrive, but the team as it exists now doesn’t seem to have any purpose. Not every franchise has to be either a contender or a bottom-feeder, but what Oakland has is amorphous at best. An 80-win team isn’t worth much these days, so why not make a move in either direction of that?

Seattle Mariners: Fix the rotation

A healthy James Paxton would go a long way toward making the Mariners a better bet for 2018, but Seattle should still aim for adding arms behind him if contention is what it seeks. The old Felix Hernandez is gone and likely never coming back, and the rest of the rotation is a fright. If Jerry Dipoto can tear himself away from trading a minor leaguer every hour, his attention should go toward one of the better pitchers still available in free agency, like Yu Darvish or Alex Cobb.

Tampa Bay Rays: Continue the rebuild

Evan Longoria is gone, but he shouldn’t be the only player the Rays send out of town this winter. Always at a disadvantage in the luxury neighborhood that is the AL East, Tampa isn’t a good bet to compete with either the Yankees or the Red Sox, or to make much noise in the wild-card race. Now is as good a time as any to look toward the future, and that begins with moving Alex Colome and Chris Archer.

Texas Rangers: Figure out the bullpen

The Rangers have plenty of issues still to address on the roster, from more rotation depth to whether or not top prospect Willie Calhoun is the answer in leftfield. But especially pressing is the relief corps, which was flat-out awful in 2017: a 4.76 ERA, third-worst in the majors, and only 29 saves converted in 50 opportunities. The current closer is soft-tossing lefty Alex Claudio, whose poor strikeout-per-nine ratio (6.1 last year) doesn’t inspire much confidence going forward. But with hard-throwing Matt Bush gearing up to be a starter, where is the heat in the late innings going to come from? With not much left in terms of bullpen help on the market, GM Jon Daniels would be better off keeping Bush in relief and seeing if any of his minor leaguers have what it takes to throw strikes in short bursts.

Toronto Blue Jays: Get realistic about 2018

There wasn’t a whole lot to like about the Blue Jays in 2017. Thanks to injuries and forgettable seasons across the roster, Toronto slumped to 76 wins and a fourth-place finish. And while there’s reason to be more optimistic this year, it’s hard to see where the big improvement needed to catch the Yankees and Red Sox comes from without some sizable changes. So is it time to throw in the towel? The future is bright, as the Jays’ farm system is full of excellent young talent; a small step back in the present might help make it even brighter. Dealing away free-agent-to-be Josh Donaldson, who would bring back a king’s ransom in prospects, would be the right way to go.

<p>Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter expects to the team to turn a profit this upcoming season, according to documents <a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/barry-jackson/article192646499.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:obtained" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">obtained</a> by the <em>Miami Herald</em>.</p><p>The team has already cut almost $40 million in payroll this offseason due to a number of trades.</p><p>According to the paper, Jeter circulated a document in August letting potential investors know that they can expect big returns in the next few years.</p><p>The document was entitled Project Wolverine because of Jeter&#39;s ties to the state of Michigan, and gave a blueprint to goals that expected to be reached in ticket sales, television rights and sponsorship deals that go along with the rapidly decreasing payroll.</p><p>Coupled that with a $50 million payout that his MLB team will receive this season because of the league&#39;s sale of its stake in the digital media company BAMtech, the Marlins expect a &quot;cash flow&quot; profit in 2018 of around $70 million.</p><p>Project Wolverine expects the team&#39;s profits to increase to at least $22 million by the 2021 season, according to the August version of the document.</p><p>The offseason has seen many changes for the Marlins, who have not made the playoffs since winning the World Series in 2003.</p><p>The team traded current National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton to Jeter&#39;s former team, the New York Yankees. They also sent outfielder Marcell Ozuna to the St. Louis Cardinals and shipped second baseman Dee Gordon to the Seattle Mariners.</p>
Report: Marlins CEO Derek Jeter Projects Revenue Increase in 2018

Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter expects to the team to turn a profit this upcoming season, according to documents obtained by the Miami Herald.

The team has already cut almost $40 million in payroll this offseason due to a number of trades.

According to the paper, Jeter circulated a document in August letting potential investors know that they can expect big returns in the next few years.

The document was entitled Project Wolverine because of Jeter's ties to the state of Michigan, and gave a blueprint to goals that expected to be reached in ticket sales, television rights and sponsorship deals that go along with the rapidly decreasing payroll.

Coupled that with a $50 million payout that his MLB team will receive this season because of the league's sale of its stake in the digital media company BAMtech, the Marlins expect a "cash flow" profit in 2018 of around $70 million.

Project Wolverine expects the team's profits to increase to at least $22 million by the 2021 season, according to the August version of the document.

The offseason has seen many changes for the Marlins, who have not made the playoffs since winning the World Series in 2003.

The team traded current National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton to Jeter's former team, the New York Yankees. They also sent outfielder Marcell Ozuna to the St. Louis Cardinals and shipped second baseman Dee Gordon to the Seattle Mariners.

FILE - In this July 17, 2017, file photo, Minnesota Twins third baseman Miguel Sano throws to first after fielding a ball hit by a New York Yankees batter during the first inning of a baseball game in Minneapolis. Sano will have surgery for a persistent leg injury that knocked him out for six weeks during the season. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn, File)
Photographer: Twins' Sano grabbed, tried to kiss her in 2015
FILE - In this July 17, 2017, file photo, Minnesota Twins third baseman Miguel Sano throws to first after fielding a ball hit by a New York Yankees batter during the first inning of a baseball game in Minneapolis. Sano will have surgery for a persistent leg injury that knocked him out for six weeks during the season. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn, File)
Iowa running back Akrum Wadley (25) rejoices after Hal Steinbrenner, right, principal owner, managing general partner and co-chairman of the New York Yankees presented him with the Most Valuable Player trophy after Iowa defeated Boston College 27-20 to win the Pinstripe Bowl NCAA college football game, Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Iowa rallies to beat Boston College 27-20 in Pinstripe Bowl
Iowa running back Akrum Wadley (25) rejoices after Hal Steinbrenner, right, principal owner, managing general partner and co-chairman of the New York Yankees presented him with the Most Valuable Player trophy after Iowa defeated Boston College 27-20 to win the Pinstripe Bowl NCAA college football game, Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
FILE - In this Oct. 14, 2017, file photo, Houston Astros&#39; Jose Altuve reacts after scoring the game-winning run during the ninth inning of Game 2 of baseball&#39;s American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees, in Houston. Altuve was named The Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year on Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)
Astros star Jose Altuve named AP Male Athlete of the Year
FILE - In this Oct. 14, 2017, file photo, Houston Astros' Jose Altuve reacts after scoring the game-winning run during the ninth inning of Game 2 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees, in Houston. Altuve was named The Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year on Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)
FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2017, file photo, Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch and Jose Altuve hold the championship trophy after Game 7 of baseball&#39;s American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees, in Houston. Altuve was named The Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year on Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
Astros star Jose Altuve named AP Male Athlete of the Year
FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2017, file photo, Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch and Jose Altuve hold the championship trophy after Game 7 of baseball's American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees, in Houston. Altuve was named The Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year on Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
C.C. Sabathia of the New York Yankees is baseball&#39;s active leader with 2,846 career strikeouts and 3,317 innings pitched over 17 major league seasons (AFP Photo/ELSA)
C.C. Sabathia of the New York Yankees is baseball's active leader with 2,846 career strikeouts and 3,317 innings pitched over 17 major league seasons
C.C. Sabathia of the New York Yankees is baseball's active leader with 2,846 career strikeouts and 3,317 innings pitched over 17 major league seasons (AFP Photo/ELSA)
Aug 23, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (52) throws against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters Picture Supplied by Action Images
MLB: New York Yankees at Seattle Mariners
Aug 23, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (52) throws against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters Picture Supplied by Action Images
Aug 23, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (52) throws against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters Picture Supplied by Action Images
MLB: New York Yankees at Seattle Mariners
Aug 23, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (52) throws against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters Picture Supplied by Action Images
File- This Oct. 21, 2017, file photo shows New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia throwing during the first inning of Game 7 of baseball&#39;s American League Championship Series in Houston. Sabathia&#39;s $10 million, one-year contract has been finalized by the Yankees, a deal that raises New York&#39;s projected luxury tax payroll for next year to about $178 million. The deal was announced Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017, about 10 days after the sides reached an agreement pending a physical. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
Sabathia's $10M deal finalized by Yanks; payroll up to $178M
File- This Oct. 21, 2017, file photo shows New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia throwing during the first inning of Game 7 of baseball's American League Championship Series in Houston. Sabathia's $10 million, one-year contract has been finalized by the Yankees, a deal that raises New York's projected luxury tax payroll for next year to about $178 million. The deal was announced Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017, about 10 days after the sides reached an agreement pending a physical. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)
<p>Joe Garagiola, a major league baseball catcher who had stints with the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburg Pirates, Chicago Cubs, and New York Giants, died on March 23 and age 90. After retiring from the MLB, Garagiola was well known as an announcer and television host. — (Pictured) NBC sport personality Joe Garagiola prior to the start of a Major League Baseball game against the New York Yankees circa 1983 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Focus on Sport/Getty Images) </p>
Joe Garagiola

Joe Garagiola, a major league baseball catcher who had stints with the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburg Pirates, Chicago Cubs, and New York Giants, died on March 23 and age 90. After retiring from the MLB, Garagiola was well known as an announcer and television host. — (Pictured) NBC sport personality Joe Garagiola prior to the start of a Major League Baseball game against the New York Yankees circa 1983 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

<p>MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred complained to the management of ESPN after his interview with Dan Le Batard concerning the sale of the Miami Marlins, <a href="http://thebiglead.com/2017/12/22/mlb-rob-manfred-complained-espn-dan-le-batard-interview-marlins-derek-jeter-giancarlo-stanton/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:reports" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">reports</a> the Big Lead. </p><p>During an interview on the Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz on Wednesday, Le Batard grilled Manfred from the start of the interview, questioning the Marlins plans with their team, including trading multiple players to cut payroll.</p><p>&quot;South Florida is really mad,&quot; Le Batard told Manfred at the beginning of the interview, &quot;baseball has been really bad to South Florida for many years, and I don&#39;t believe that baseball deserves a single customer in South Florida.&quot;</p><p>The interview remained testy when Manfred took exception to the way he was being questioned.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;m not gonna be deposed like this is some adversary thing. You wanna ask me some questions, I&#39;ll answer them the way I want to answer them. If that&#39;s not enough, we can move on,&quot; Manfred said.</p><p>ESPN confirmed with The Big Lead that they had a discussion with MLB concerning the interview, saying, &quot;We have a terrific relationship with Major League Baseball and we’re in constant communication at all levels, so it’s not uncommon that we would discuss both issues and opportunities in the course of that communication.”</p><p>The Marlins agreed to be sold in August for $1.2 billion to a group that included former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and businessman Bruce Sherman.</p><p>After the season, the Marlins traded National League Most Valuable Player Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees and also shipped Marcell Ozuna to the St. Louis Cardinals and second baseman Dee Gordon was dealt to the Seattle Mariners.</p>
Report: Rob Manfred Complains to ESPN After Interview

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred complained to the management of ESPN after his interview with Dan Le Batard concerning the sale of the Miami Marlins, reports the Big Lead.

During an interview on the Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz on Wednesday, Le Batard grilled Manfred from the start of the interview, questioning the Marlins plans with their team, including trading multiple players to cut payroll.

"South Florida is really mad," Le Batard told Manfred at the beginning of the interview, "baseball has been really bad to South Florida for many years, and I don't believe that baseball deserves a single customer in South Florida."

The interview remained testy when Manfred took exception to the way he was being questioned.

"I'm not gonna be deposed like this is some adversary thing. You wanna ask me some questions, I'll answer them the way I want to answer them. If that's not enough, we can move on," Manfred said.

ESPN confirmed with The Big Lead that they had a discussion with MLB concerning the interview, saying, "We have a terrific relationship with Major League Baseball and we’re in constant communication at all levels, so it’s not uncommon that we would discuss both issues and opportunities in the course of that communication.”

The Marlins agreed to be sold in August for $1.2 billion to a group that included former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and businessman Bruce Sherman.

After the season, the Marlins traded National League Most Valuable Player Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees and also shipped Marcell Ozuna to the St. Louis Cardinals and second baseman Dee Gordon was dealt to the Seattle Mariners.

Sep 26, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) throws out New York Yankees third baseman Chase Headley during the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees
Sep 26, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) throws out New York Yankees third baseman Chase Headley during the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 26, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) throws out New York Yankees third baseman Chase Headley during the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees
Sep 26, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3) throws out New York Yankees third baseman Chase Headley during the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2011, file photo, Tampa Bay Rays&#39; Evan Longoria, center, celebrates with teammates Sean Rodriguez, left, and Elliot Johnson after his home run that defeated the New York Yankees 8-7 and clinched the AL wild card for the Rays, after a baseball game in St. Petersburg, Fla. The San Francisco Giants have acquired infielder Evan Longoria and cash from the Tampa Bay Rays for outfielder Denard Span, infielder Christian Arroyo and two minor league pitchers. The teams announced the moves Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris O&#39;Meara, File)
Giants acquire Evan Longoria from Rays for 4 players
FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2011, file photo, Tampa Bay Rays' Evan Longoria, center, celebrates with teammates Sean Rodriguez, left, and Elliot Johnson after his home run that defeated the New York Yankees 8-7 and clinched the AL wild card for the Rays, after a baseball game in St. Petersburg, Fla. The San Francisco Giants have acquired infielder Evan Longoria and cash from the Tampa Bay Rays for outfielder Denard Span, infielder Christian Arroyo and two minor league pitchers. The teams announced the moves Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)

What to Read Next