Editor’s note: From now until opening day, Yahoo Sports will be getting you ready for the 2018 MLB season with a series of previews and roundtable discussions with our writers. Today, we’re talking about which teams didn’t do enough this offseason.
We just finished a baseball offseason that will never be remembered for its brisk pace or excitement. Still, a number of teams were able to navigate the frigid free-agent class and improve their rosters. The Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Milwaukee Brewers, Philadelphia Phillies and Minnesota Twins are all teams that, on paper, enter 2018 better than they were in 2017.
Not everyone is so lucky, of course. One team’s gain is usually another team’s loss.
So that means we’re left with some teams that just don’t seem like they did enough. These are the teams that opted to grow from within instead of nabbing a free agent or making a big trade. Or they opted for the cheaper free agent instead of the one who cost $100 million.
For today’s installment of our MLB season preview, we’re talking about the teams that might not have done enough. Our panel of writers drop their picks below. And if you missed ’em, we’ve already talked about the breakout teams of the 2018 and the teams that could disappoint.
MARK TOWNSEND: Cleveland Indians
Even with the losses of Carlos Santana and Bryan Shaw, the Indians will be heavy favorites to win the American League Central and a threat to play deep into October. With that said, it would have been nice to see them find a way to make a splash that better positions them to compete with the Yankees and Astros. This Indians championship window is still open, but it feels like they could be a tier below the elite heading into 2018. Yonder Alonso won’t change that, but the good news is there’s still plenty of time before October to get what they need.
CHRIS CWIK: Los Angeles Angels
The Angels struck early in free agency, picking up Zack Cozart and surprising everyone by winning the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes. Both players will help immensely and might make the Angels a popular wild-card pick. While Ohtani should deliver as a pitcher, the downside of his signing is that the team has moved to a six-man rotation. That strategy can work if you have plenty of productive and reliable pitchers. Unfortunately, the Angels have none of those. You know how many pitchers currently slated for the Angels’ rotation threw 100 innings or more last season? Just one. The rest, including Ohtani, were limited by injuries in 2017. And that might not improve. Tyler Skaggs, Andrew Heaney and Garrett Richards have experienced multiple injury-riddled seasons already. Signing at least one veteran pitcher with a track record of eating innings would have gone a long way.
MIKE OZ: St. Louis Cardinals
First off, I love the move to get Marcell Ozuna, who gives St. Louis a much-needed power boost in its lineup. The Cardinals made some other small moves to fine-tune their roster and they have every reason to think they’ll be good in 2018. Good enough to beat the Cubs, though? That’s really the question. The answer remains no. And if not the Cubs, are they good enough to get a wild-card spot? The Cardinals are betting on the likes of Jedd Gyorko and Kolten Wong this year, who are decent but not great players. It makes you wonder if getting, say, Mike Moustakas to play third might have closed the gap with the Cubs? Or getting a dependable closer that might help immensely come September. It could be the difference between a wild-card spot and another disappointing season.
LIZ ROSCHER: Arizona Diamondbacks
There was one thing the Diamondbacks absolutely had to do this offseason, and that was keep J.D. Martinez. Instead, Martinez signed with the Red Sox and the Diamondbacks got a bullpen cart. Unless it’s a magical bullpen cart, it won’t be able to replace Martinez’s stellar 2017 production. And neither will Steven Souza, the D-backs’ only significant offseason acquisition. He was traded to the D-backs mid-February, but he brings just a fraction of what Martinez would. The team had trouble with its starting rotation, and is now keeping an eye on Zack Greinke’s velocity. After such a strong 2017, the D-backs could have gone all-in and tried to build. Instead, the team looks to have taken a step backward.
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