1. Boston Red Sox– Sign Jose Bautista or Carlos Gonzalez. The Red Sox and and J.D Martinez have stalled all off season on getting a deal done. The Sox don’t want to overpay another outfielder that will eventually end up a DH. This is more true when you consider that Hanley Ramirez is still getting paid on a high contract to fill that position. Jose Bautista isn’t the defensive guy you want roaming the outfield, but the team who signs him is likely getting him on a considerable discount. He is still a power threat, and if he converts to left his range wouldn’t be as much of an issue at Fenway. As far as Cargo goes, he’s coming off a down year but he still has the defensive tools that can help a team in the outfield. The Red sox want to get rid of Bradley in the last year of his contract. Cargo would be a downgrade on both sides of the ball, but he would be a cheaper option that would be able to take advantage of the green monster. Just 2 seasons ago he hit for 100 RBI’s and the year before that went off for 40 homers. Definitely someone to take a chance on that will be cheaper than Martinez.
2. Washington Nationals– Sign Greg Holland. It’s hard to find weaknesses with the current Nationals team, but if the playoffs have shown us anything it’s how important a good bullpen is. Greg Holland is coming off a 41 save season. His ERA was a little higher than you would like at 3.61, but he was also pitching in Colorado. His career ERA is at 2.60 and was the closer during the Royals World Series run. This is the Nationals last year with Bryce Harper which means their World Series window could be closing. This is the year they need to take it home.
3. Chicago Cubs– Sign Alex Cobb. Everyone is waiting for Yu Darvish to finally sign a deal, but once that shoe drops Alex Cobb is the man everyone will be hoping for. Cobb has spent his career in Tampa Bay, but has been a very reliable pitcher. His ERA + is consistently above league average. His traditional numbers won’t blow you away, but he’s a solid 3 possibly a low end 2 in any rotation. His contract will be cheaper than Darvish’s, and possibly for a shorter time. The one thing to love about Cobb is that he averages a very good ground ball rate at around 54% for his career (including minros). To put that into perspective the average is a little under 50% and an elite ground ball rate is around 55%. He would help keep the ball in the park in windy city.
4. Cleveland Indians– Bring up Francisco Mejia to start the season. Mejia is their 22 year old catching prospect who figures to come to the Majors at some point this season. The Indians just lost Carlos Santana, which at one point was their switch hitting catcher prospect that was going to take them to the promise land. That never quite happened, and while he did perform well at first base, those type of numbers would have more of an impact from the backstop position. The Indians are lucky enough to get a second chance at this. The reason it’s essential to bring him up in April is because other than pitching, catching is the hardest major league position to adjust to. This is why guys don’t get brought up till their mid 20’s or later. Mejia has hit for average in the minors, and seems like he could also develop some power. Despite Yan Gomes heroics last year in the ALCS, the Indians could pretty visibly use an upgrade behind the plate. Let Mejia struggle and learn the Major League game during the first half, and hope he’s ready to perform in the post season.
5. Los Angeles Angels– Trade for JT Realmuto. The Angels have made it very clear that they intend on competing with the Astros. While their pitching isn’t even close, that doesn’t mean it can’t get better through some mid level free agents. Realmuto is the disgruntled catcher for the rebuilding Miami Marlins. He has said he wants out and there’s no reason to think he won’t be getting that wish granted. For the Angels it would mean getting controllable catcher who is an instant upgrade to what they currently have. Even though Martin Maldonado is a gold glover, his offense leaves a lot to be desired. JT has a higher W.A.R, and is considered the most athletic catcher in the MLB. It is very likely he’ll have a Gold Glove of his own one day. For the Angels this means getting yet another player that is closer to Mike Trouts level. Better players mean better records.