30 Realistic MLB Winter Meetings Deals For Each Team

The MLB Winter Meetings are upon us, which means deals aplenty for teams across Major League Baseball. Whether a team is looking to contend immediately or acquire assets for a rebuild, every club has goals in mind going into the annual meetings. Here are some realistic targets, both through free agency and trade, for each team, and how they’ll help contribute next season and beyond.

With this in mind, TSFJ’s baseball department (Matt Whitener and Kyle Madson) has taken each MLB club to task and assessed what it needs to walk away with at the MLB Winter Meetings or be in the process of landing (or shipping out) in order to best serve its 2016 forecast.

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NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST

San Francisco Giants: Gerardo Parra

Given that 2016 is an even year, it doesn’t matter who the Giants sign because apparently they’re going to win the World Series. It wouldn’t be a flashy signing, but Parra fills a need in left field after San Francisco lost Nori Aoki this offseason. Additionally, Parra’s reliability and versatility at all three outfield spots could be an asset, as Angel Pagan has battled injuries the last couple years and their young guys — Mac Williamson and Jarrett Parker — are still unknown commodities. —KM

Arizona Diamondbacks: Tyler Clippard

To call the Diamondbacks simply “aggressive” this offseason would be an understatement of mammoth proportions. They have been the gate-crashers of the hot stove season, jumping in out of seemingly nowhere to swing two of the biggest deals of the winter thus far by landing Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller for ungodly sums of cash and prospects.

But the difference between being winter headline grabbers and ultimately becoming last year’s San Diego Padres on the other side is making the detail additions as well. Inking Clippard would provide them with one of the game’s most versatile bullpen arms, capable of being a plus setup man and an option for the ninth inning as well if Brad Ziegler does not pan out there. It’s time for GM Dave Stewart to do the detail work as well. —MW

Colorado Rockies: Carlos Gonzalez

The Rockies are so far away from contending that the idea of them spending any money in free agency is a little far-fetched. What the Rockies need to do is go all-in with their rebuild and trade Carlos Gonzalez while he’s still a commodity. Gonzalez, 30, has two years left on his contract at just shy of $12 million per year. That’s a great deal for a player as dynamic as CarGo. He would command a large haul in a trade, and that benefits the Rockies more than anything Gonzalez would do on the field this season. Looking at you, Cubs. —KM

Los Angeles Dodgers: Tim Lincecum

This would be fun! Tim Lincecum, whose best years are seemingly behind him, leaving San Francisco for rival Los Angeles and helping the Dodgers get over the hump and win a World Series. Oh man. But this could potentially work for both sides. Lincecum, given his recent struggles, likely won’t command a ton on the free agent market, and L.A. isn’t in need of a top-end starter. Lincecum could slide in as the fourth or fifth guy and be effective in that role. He has also shown some potential to be effective out of the bullpen, which L.A. could take advantage of if he doesn’t pan out as a starter. —KM

San Diego Padres: Ian Desmond

Desmond and the Padres sort of feel like they belong together given how 2015 went for both parties. The Padres tried an abrupt rebuild — no dice. Desmond was in a contract year and had arguably his worst season as a pro. As both sides look to rebound from tough seasons, Desmond could come relatively cheap despite being the best shortstop on the market, and the Padres could find a long-term answer at short. If Desmond bounces back to his pre-2015 form, he could be a key piece to a Padres rebuild over the next couple seasons. —KM

Gordo

AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST

Oakland Athletics: Alex Gordon

First off, it wouldn’t be an MLB offseason without a head-scratching move by Billy Beane. Secondly, the A’s came out publicly to deny reports that they would trade Sonny Gray. The reasoning behind the team not trading Gray was that Oakland needed to “put a representative product on the field” to obtain a new stadium. What better way to look like you’re trying than probably overspending a little on an aging Gold Glove left fielder to fill a need in the field? —KM

Houston Astros: Justin Morneau

The Astros were a tricky hop away from going to the ALCS in 2015 and are probably a year or two ahead of schedule regarding their transformation into an American League powerhouse. The largest hole in their lineup is at first base, and what better way to round out a young roster than with a veteran first baseman who still rakes? Going into his 14th season, Morneau’s production has dipped a little, but he still slashed a very capable .310/.363/.458 last season in 49 games. Coming off an injury at age 34, he could also come relatively cheap. —KM

Texas Rangers: Scott Kazmir

Last season, somewhat unexpectedly, the Rangers won the AL West and pushed the Blue Jays to five games in what was arguably the best series of the postseason. The Rangers have an exciting, young lineup and a pretty deep bullpen. What did them in this past postseason was a lack of starting pitching. Kazmir’s asking price is a little high — reportedly higher than the three-year, $45 million Hisashi Iwakuma got from the Dodgers. However, the 31-year-old southpaw has revived his career with some solid performances the last few seasons. He could shore up a rotation that lacked the depth to upset the Blue Jays and ultimately make a deep run in October. —KM

Seattle Mariners: Adam Lind

Lind would have to come via trade, and reports are that the Mariners are pursuing the left-handed first baseman to platoon with Jesus Montero. While the Brewers picked up his club option this offseason, he will be a free agent after the season. Given that Milwaukee is in the midst of a rebuild, acquiring a couple of prospects for the 32-year-old would assist in its endeavors while the Mariners look to win now. —KM

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Yoenis Cespedes

The Angels fell short again last season despite having the best player in baseball. What better way to take a team over the top than inking one of the most feared power bats in the game? Not only does Cespedes provide production offensively and defensively, but he also provides protection for an already potent top of the order that includes Kole Calhoun, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. Naturally, the 30-year-old wants to go somewhere he can win, and the Angels would be poised to do so with La Potencia manning left field. The only question is whether the Angels are willing to match what’s sure to be an exorbitant asking price. —KM

Cespedes

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Atlanta Braves: N/A, they probably already won the offseason

This was originally going to be Jorge Soler prior to the Shelby Miller trade to Arizona. But since the Braves shipped out Miller for Dansby Swanson, Aaron Blair and Ender Inciarte, their acquisition of Soler seems unlikely. That being said, they grabbed Arizona’s two top prospects and a Major League outfielder for one starting pitcher. Earlier in the offseason, they also acquired the Angels’ top pitching prospect, Sean Newcomb, in the Andrelton Simmons trade. This is the way you rebuild on the cheap. Atlanta may not reap the benefits of these deals this season, but the Braves look primed to contend in the very near future.

But if that is not enough, swinging a deal for Ian Kennedy or Mat Latos as a one-year, high-upside option for the rotation could not hurt them either. —KM

Washington Nationals: Shawn Kelley

Initially, Ben Zobrist’s name was going here, but after he decided to return to the arms of Joe Maddon in Chicago, Mike Rizzo and company should turn their eyes back toward helping their bullpen. The Nationals, while disappointing a season ago, still have a very talented roster. One place they lack is in their bullpen, and Kelley would provide instant relief in that area and would give new manager Dusty Baker a reliable arm in the later innings. —KM

New York Mets: Yoenis Cespedes

After what Cespedes did last year, catapulting the Mets to the postseason after he was acquired from Detroit, it’s hard to believe it’s taken them this long to sign him. Cespedes provides the pop in the meat of the Mets’ lineup that takes them from good to World Series contenders. He becomes even more effective if David Wright and Travis D’Arnaud are healthy, and Michael Conforto lives up to his expectations. Cespedes will demand a hefty salary, but it would be well worth it if it meant playoff berths in 2016 and beyond. —KM

Miami Marlins: Wei-Yin Chen

There’s all sorts of talk about the Marlins shipping out their young talent, but it’s hard to see them doing so a year removed from signing Giancarlo Stanton to a 13-year, $325 million deal. The last thing you want to do is start wasting his prime years with a lengthy rebuild. Instead of shipping out guys like Jose Fernandez and Marcell Ozuna, the Marlins could get better by signing left-hander Wei-Yin Chen. He’d be expensive, but if Miami wants to contend while Stanton is still young, it’s going to mean spending a little extra cash. —KM

Philadelphia Phillies: Doug Fister

The Phillies have very little committed in the way of veteran presence in their pitching staff and are likely to continue to get younger. They are also a team that is (understandably) shell-shocked in regard to making many high-profile expenditures currently, as they are still attempting clean the rest of the oil out of the water from the Ruben Amaro era. Acquiring a cost-effective but potentially high-upside rebound candidate like Fister would be a solid move to build around and not carry any long-term responsibilities when their true rebuilding days begin soon. —MW

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AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST

Boston Red Sox: Johnny Cueto

Pairing Cueto with David Price would instantly give the Red Sox a leg up in the matchup game over nearly any other team in the American League. And since there are still plenty of holes in the Boston rotation, getting off to as strong of a start at the top of it as possible should be a priority for Dave Dombrowski and crew. —MW

Baltimore Orioles: Chris Davis

The O’s could use more pitching, but they could also continue to find value in their elite cleanup hitter as well. Davis could cross over the $25 million barrier, but it would be worth it for the Baltimore to hold on to the perfect hitter for their ballpark. —MW

New York Yankees: Wei-Yin Chen, Mike Leake … or both

There are splashier options available, but the Yankees need a little less sizzle and a bit more steak in their rotation. Chen is familiar with the AL East and the type of dependable presence that the oft-injured Yankee staff needs to have among it.

Likewise, Leake is an ultra-dependable ground issuer who would fare well in the AL East. At age 28, he can be issued a deal that touches five years and not carry any red flags concerning performance downturn on its back end. The Yankees need to invest in safe and dependable rotation choices, and it gets no more innocuous than Leake.

They could pursue both pitchers as well. New York has a large sum of money slated to come off the books in the upcoming years and could couple Chen’s and Leake’s primes around Masahiro Tanaka at the top of the rotation, with Michael Pineda’s and Luis Severino’s development within it. It does not match the big splash deal that Red Sox made in headline value, but such a bold move would certainly place the best rotation in the AL East (and perhaps the entire American League) squarely in the Bronx. —MW

Tampa Bay Rays: Ian Desmond

The Rays need power, and Desmond needs a home that is not as concerned with his defensive limitations as it is with allowing him to just get his cuts in while still staying at shortstop. He may come in a bit expensive for their taste, but he’s the right type of stretch for them to open their checkbook for. —MW

Toronto Blue Jays: Tony Sipp

Sipp instantly upgrades the entirety of the Toronto bullpen, as he is equally adept at working in situational middle relief or setup roles. The Jays are reworking the image of their pitching staff, and Sipp would ensure it was a successful winter at doing so. —MW

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AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

Detroit Tigers: Cliff Lee

While they can be rather dubious in their financial tactics and prone to being very opportunistic in jumping out to grab a player who may be blowing in the wind without a clear home, the Tigers have been very up-front about the fact they are not looking to make any further major deals after issuing $110 million to Jordan Zimmermann. However, it does not change the fact that they still have holes in their rotation to fill. By inking Lee as a bounce-back option, the Tigers could potentially land the obviously enticing upside of the former Cy Young Award winner, and do so at a price that neither cripples them if he cannot make it to the mound or changes their stated course of being financially conservative. —MW

Kansas City Royals: Scott Kazmir

With a World Series in hand and a taste for more inevitable, the Royals will definitely look to make some competitive grabs that keep them close to the level they have lived at for the past few years. However, they also will continue to be realistic about spreading out their available dollars, while stashing a few away for the plethora of upcoming free agent negotiations that populate their roster (Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer all have decisions regarding their futures upcoming soon). Finding a way to bring Kazmir to town fits their model of obtaining two to three high-end middle-of-the-rotation arms to fill out the top of their staff. —MW

Chicago White Sox: Brett Lawrie

Since the A’s acquired Jed Lowrie back from Houston, there’s been a lot of speculation about how Oakland will handle its surplus of talented infielders. Lawrie’s name has been mentioned in several trade rumors, and one of them that makes a ton of sense is the White Sox. Lawrie could play second or third for Chicago and would provide some added pop to a lineup that underperformed after being many people’s pick to make the playoffs in the American League in 2015. —KM

Cleveland Indians: Rajai Davis

There haven’t been a ton of rumors swirling around the Indians. However, one involves veteran outfielder Rajai Davis. Davis, 35, isn’t going to lift the Tribe over the hump, but he does give some needed outfield depth to a good, young outfield. —KM

Minnesota Twins: Matt Thornton

The Twins surprised a lot of people last season, pushing for a playoff spot right down to the last week of the season. Reports say Minnesota has interest in the 39-year-old Thornton. Despite being almost 40, the big righty still throws hard. As Kansas City has shown the last couple years, an effective bullpen is vital to success, and if the Twins are following that model, Thornton would be a good addition. —KM

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NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL

Chicago Cubs: Denard Span

Having already addressed their middle-of-the-rotation strength via the John Lackey signing and fortified virtually every positional scenario possible in the game of baseball by signing Ben Zobrist, the Cubs are less in need of another big, splashy add like Jason Heyward or Alex Gordon and more in need of a player whoworks in regard to both fit and purpose. Span checks both of those boxes, as he can instantly become the type of high on-base percentage lead-off presence they need and provides another veteran for their everyday core. —MW

Cincinnati Reds: Doug Fister

While the Reds are locked completely in to “everything must go” mode, they could still benefit from bringing a veteran in the mold of Fister. A year removed from setting a Major League record for most consecutive starts made by rookies, bringing in the veteran Fister is a solid add in regard to a mature presence in the clubhouse, as well as a sinker ball specialist who would fare well in the fast track that is Great American Ballpark. —MW

Milwaukee Brewers: Fernando Rodney

While a closer is not a necessity for a team that is on the sort of downward trend that the Brewers are, having a confident presence in the ninth inning could do well to secure the victories that are within reach. —MW

Pittsburgh Pirates: Mat Latos

Pittsburgh has become a destination location for once strong starters who have seen their careers fall off the tracks some. 2015 was that year for Latos, who spent 2015 bouncing between the Marlins, Dodgers and Angels. Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage could likely do wonders with the lively, armed 28 year old, who could be a very strong No. 3 option behind Gerrit Cole and Francisco Liriano, potentially. —MW

St. Louis Cardinals: Jason Heyward

Sometimes familiar is the best path. The 26-year-old Heyward would check multiple boxes for the Cardinals, as he affirmed he fit in well in the balanced St. Louis lineup, provided a young cornerstone to build around and provided a game-changing defensive presence as well. Heyward is likely to be the big name whose negotiations carry out the longest, but the Cardinals are prone to wait it out see where the “cards” fall, as they have ample in-house options that can contribute in right field as well in case they do lose out on Heyward in the end.

As they proved with their big bid for David Price, the Cardinals are ready to put up the major sum it will require to bring him back to town. —MW

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