The “hot stove” season has begun

The 2022 MLB season is officially in the books, and with it, it’s time for the offseason. So we’ll be looking through each team’s needs with the 2023 campaign in mind, as everyone will be looking to dethrone the Houston Astros.

To do that, we will be using some concepts, such as raw value and discipline+. The former is a stat that examines performance on a per-pitch basis, rather than just looking at the outcome of each at-bat. It encompasses plate discipline, quality of contact, and other situations/scenarios.

For raw value (RV+ for hitters, RV- for pitchers), 100 is considered league-average performance. For hurlers, lower is better, and the opposite is true for batters.

Discipline+ uses similar situations and factors to focus on evaluating a hitter’s ability to discern balls from strikes.

Now let’s take a division-by-division look at the team needs:

2022 regular season mlb raw value ranks

What the New York Yankees have to do to catch up with the Astros is become as good as they are in player development, and that’s usually not a one-winter thing. Roster-wise, the pitching is fine (they were sixth in RV-) but retaining Aaron Judge (MLB-best 202 RV+, 62 home runs) is a must if they are serious about remaining competitive.

Otherwise, they need improvements at third base and shortstop, where Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa were underwhelming. They reportedly have brought back Anthony Rizzo at first base, but left field could also be an area to upgrade.

The Toronto Blue Jays have an elite offense (fourth in RV+) even after moving Teoscar Hernández, but their relievers were 21st in MLB in RV- and a team that prides itself on being a contender just can’t have a bullpen in the bottom half. They were able to pick up some help by adding Erik Swanson in the Hernández deal with the Mariners.

Ross Stripling is hitting free agency and Yusei Kikuchi just didn’t have it last season, so the starting rotation is also a priority. If Jose Berrios and his below-average 122 RV- can’t improve in the first half, perhaps they’ll need to look for another top arm around next year’s trade deadline.

The up-and-coming Baltimore Orioles are actually one of the most exciting teams to follow in baseball. They have offensive building blocks all over the field (most notably the formidable Adley Rutschman), although they could use an infielder.

Their biggest need, however, is an impact starter. There have been rumors that they could be players for Jacob deGrom and are doing their homework on several free-agent starters. They do have some talented young arms (Kyle Bradish turned a corner late in the season, and Dean Kremer and Tyler Wells are good and inexpensive, plus they have prospects Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall ready to go), but a top starter could make them instant playoff contenders.

The Tampa Bay Rays really need a left-handed bat. Their lefties ranked 28th in OPS this season and they traded away Ji-Man Choi. Brandon Lowe and the switch-hitting Wander Franco can’t do all the heavy lifting. As per usual, the Rays don’t really have to worry about pitching.

The Boston Red Sox, first and foremost, need to re-sign Xander Bogaerts (113 RV+, Silver Slugger at shortstop). If they can’t, the franchise will be in trouble and could have a hard time getting out of the basement.

Boston’s pitching was disappointing (starters 23rd, relievers 25th in MLB in RV-), so it’s clearly an area of need. Overall, general manager Chaim Bloom has a lot of work to do: Nathan Eovaldi, Rich Hill, J.D. Martinez, Tommy Pham, Matt Strahm and Michael Wacha are all free agents.

2022 regular season mlb raw value ranks

When it comes to relievers and pitching as a whole, the Cleveland Guardians are quietly a factory. They were fifth in bullpen RV- and also in the top half when it comes to starters. What they need is someone who can consistently supply power, preferably from the first base position.

Josh Naylor is really a DH, so the Guardians should bring a slugger to play first base. Other than that, they are pretty much set everywhere, with several quality infielders and a Gold-Glove outfield.

Before getting into potential roster improvements, the Chicago White Sox needed a new manager and better health for 2023. They already got the former, in Pedro Grifol. Will they enjoy the latter?

Basically, the White Sox need some of their youngsters to step up and claim a long-term position on the roster, particularly their hitters. Andrew Vaughn, Gavin Sheets, Jake Burger…they all need to produce consistently to avoid being replaced or bypassed by next summer.

Second base was a problem all year long. They also need to replace the departing José Abreu and his excellent 145 RV+, and that’s where Vaughn comes into play. If Yoán Moncada and Yasmani Grandal can return to form; and Luis Robert and Eloy Jiménez can remain healthy, the team could rebound.

The Minnesota Twins were actually in a prime position in early September, but completely collapsed in the final month. They actually have a lot of work to do, as Chris Archer, Dylan Bundy, Carlos Correa, Michael Fulmer, Gary Sánchez and Miguel Sanó are all hitting the market.

Their whole offseason will depend on Correa and whether he comes back. If he does, it will likely be on a huge long-term deal, limiting the Twins’ ability to spend much elsewhere. If he doesn’t, the team will probably hand shortstop to Jorge Polanco and have more financial flexibility, while the rehabbing Royce Lewis works his way back.

Their starters ranked 21st in RV- last year but will have Kenta Maeda back next year. Though Minnesota’s offense was actually sixth in RV+, a lot of that was thanks to Correa. He is, again, the key of the offseason.

The Kansas City Royals are slowly adding some talent to their next contending core. Bobby Witt Jr., Vinnie Pasquantino (147 RV+!), and MJ Melendez broke through last year, and they still have Salvador Pérez. Their 17th-ranked offense needs some more thump: they seem to prioritize defense (Michael A. Taylor, Adalberto Mondesi and Nicky Lopez, for example, are all excellent fielders), but need several impact hitters.

Their biggest need, however, is pitching. They ranked 27th and 28th, respectively, in starters and bullpen RV-, as their young guys outside of Brady Singer just haven’t developed as expected. They are not one, two, or even three pieces away from contending in 2023.

Miguel Cabrera is under contract with the Detroit Tigers for another season, but he’s not really as problematic as their prospects’ inconsistency. Riley Greene (99 RV+) was decent and Spencer Torkelson’s 103 RV+ paints a much more encouraging picture than his triple slash line, but the organization needs much more from them.

Injuries and inefficiency have halted the development of their young pitchers, but there is still hope on that front. Signing Javier Báez (.671 OPS in 590 plate appearances) last offseason was probably a mistake, though. It somewhat limited their flexibility and they have a lot of needs to focus on.

2022 regular season mlb raw value ranks

The World Series champion Astros’ biggest need at the moment is, oddly, not an on-field position: it’s a general manager. James Click was let go last week after a successful run and the organization hasn’t said who will make baseball decisions yet.

The next man in charge will have a winning roster with no flaws. Now that the Astros have re-signed Rafael Montero, they just need to secure Justin Verlander’s (third in MLB with a 66 RV-, MLB-best 1.75 ERA) return or find a suitable replacement. This roster has no weaknesses.

The Seattle Mariners are one of the up-and-coming American League forces for the foreseeable future. Their pitching staff is deep and talented.

Their offense ranked 12th in RV+ but really needed some thump, especially now that Mitch Haniger is a free agent. Reigning AL Rookie of the Year Julio Rodríguez needs a consistent sidekick: Ty France and Eugenio Suárez can only do so much. They took a step toward filling that need by acquiring Teoscar Hernández from the Blue Jays. But they probably still could use a second baseman as Adam Frazier is no longer a Mariner.

It’s safe to say we all know the Oakland Athletics have more than just one need. Their starters ranked 28th in RV-, their relievers were 26th, and their offense was 28th in RV+. They knew they were going to be awful after trading/failing to retain all their expensive assets in the last year and a half.

The rebuild is just starting and they’re not particularly close to making a run at a postseason spot.

The Texas Rangers have one organizational objective: get as much quality pitching as they can. They spent some big bucks last offseason in re-tooling the offense, now it’s time to focus on pitching.

Martín Pérez and his brilliant 85 RV- (20th in MLB) need to be retained, and it was reported on Monday that he intends to take the qualifying offer. The team has had discussions about going for deGrom and there seems to be mutual interest. Could we see a rotation with deGrom, Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter in a couple of years?

The Los Angeles Angels have said they won’t trade Shohei Ohtani (56 RV- as a pitcher, 147 RV+ at the plate), so either it’s posturing or they will be going for it this year. If that’s the case, they need to surround him with good hurlers. They took a step in that direction by inking Tyler Anderson, who went 15-5 with a 2.57 ERA for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

It’s time to get Mike Trout back to the playoffs, where he hasn’t been since 2014.

2022 regular season mlb raw value ranks

The Atlanta Braves may have lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL Division Series, but they are still a powerhouse. Their rotation and bullpen are both elite (fifth and first in RV-, respectively), but their offense has a couple of areas to take care of.

Dansby Swanson is a free agent: retaining him would be ideal, but Vaughn Grissom would be ready to take over at shortstop if he leaves. They also need a corner outfielder since Marcell Ozuna (97 RV+) was not at his best and Robbie Grossman and Adam Duvall are free agents.

The National League champion Phillies need a middle infielder and are willing to pay for a top one. They are reportedly very interested in Trea Turner (122 RV+), who will command a hefty free-agent deal.

They also need several arms for the rotation with Kyle Gibson and Noah Syndergaard free agents, along with converted reliever Zach Eflin. David Robertson, Brad Hand and Corey Knebel will also hit the market, so they also need several relievers.

The New York Mets need two or three quality rotation arms. Jacob deGrom, Chris Bassitt and Taijuan Walker are all free agents. That, and bringing back underrated outfielder Brandon Nimmo (107 RV+, 125 discipline+) are their biggest priorities.

Both the Washington Nationals and Miami Marlins are in rebuilding mode, but the latter are closer to contention. The Marlins need offensive help after ranking 23rd in RV+. Besides Jazz Chisholm Jr., no hitters have really stood out and secured a long-term spot. What the Nationals need is time.

2022 regular season mlb raw value ranks

The NL Central champion St. Louis Cardinals could really use a catcher now that Yadier Molina is gone and Andrew Knizer and his 83 RV+ don’t appear to be the answer. They can also use a lefty-killer, the role Albert Pujols fulfilled this past season.

The Milwaukee Brewers didn’t get too much production from third base last year, and it could be an area to improve. Rotation quality and depth are not an issue, but their 11th-ranked bullpen is losing Brad Boxberger, Taylor Rogers and Trevor Rosenthal to free agency.

The 2022 season didn’t go the way the Chicago Cubs planned. Most of the prospects they received in their busy 2021 trade deadline didn’t contribute in the bigs, but the pitching took a step forward in the second half and the rotation has some solid pieces with Marcus Stroman, Kyle Hendricks, Justin Steele and promising righty Hayden Wesneski.

The offense, however, needs a lot of work. Willson Contreras (124 RV+) is leaving a giant hole at catcher, the team could use an impact middle infielder, and the outfield, first base and designated hitter positions are also thin.

The Cincinnati Reds started from scratch before the 2022 season, and need time for their prospects to develop. They do have some talented youngsters such as Nick Lodolo, Hunter Greene, Jonathan India, Alexis Diaz and Tyler Stephenson, among others. Patience is required.

The Pittsburgh Pirates already covered one of their needs by trading for underrated on-base machine Ji-Man Choi (131 RV+, 122 discipline+). The outfield beyond Bryan Reynolds is a mess, though.

Pittsburgh starters ranked 25th in RV-. Perennial disappointment Mitch Keller actually took a step forward (3.91 ERA in 159 innings), and Roansy Contreras was good, too. Beyond that, there is not much, and the organization will need to show it can thrive in player development to have a chance to return to relevancy in the years to come.

2022 regular season mlb raw value ranks

The Los Angeles Dodgers have already stated they are going to be very active in the starting pitching market. They’ve re-signed Clayton Kershaw (68 RV-), but Andrew Heaney is headed elsewhere, Tyler Anderson has signed with the Angels and Trevor Bauer doesn’t appear to be coming back. They had the best starting pitching in baseball this past season (2.75 ERA), but turnover is forcing their hand.

The San Diego Padres were this close to making the World Series, and are getting Fernando Tatis Jr. back at some point next April. Since Sean Manaea and Mike Clevinger are hitting the market, they will need a quality arm or two to complement Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Joe Musgrove. Relief ace Robert Suarez was re-signed, so they have already started addressing needs.

The Arizona Diamondbacks were much improved in 2022 and had several breakthrough performances. Zac Gallen (81 RV-) morphed into an ace, starter Drey Jameson impressed, Christian Walker hit 36 home runs, Daulton Varsho 27, and Corbin Carroll and Alek Thomas made their debut.

The bullpen is an area of need, though. They were not that far from contending in 2022 and will likely go for it in 2023, but to do that, they need to improve a bullpen that ranked 29th in MLB in RV-.

After winning 107 games in 2021, the San Francisco Giants fell back to earth with 81 victories in 2022. What do the Giants need? Youth, that’s it. They should get a lot younger.

On offense, they ranked 15th in RV+, so if they want to contend they need to bring in some quality bats. Brandon Belt, Evan Longoria and Joc Pederson are all free agents, making Farhan Zaidi’s quest for bats more urgent. They are likely losing Carlos Rodón and his excellent 72 RV- (seventh in MLB). So for the second straight season, they need to find (or develop) an ace.

Outside of Kris Bryant (when healthy), CJ Cron and maybe Ryan McMahon, the Colorado Rockies’ offense doesn’t have much to offer. The unit ranked 25th in RV+ in 2022 and needs an injection of talent.

The problem for the last-place Rockies is that their pitching is even worse. There is no quick, easy solution to this problem.

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