Over the course of the past month, Tim Dierkes and I have examined the challenges facing each of baseball's 30 teams. The resulting series provides a comprehensive look ahead to the offseason from the perspective of all 30 clubs. Many thanks to Jessica Velez for her contributions as the editor of the series. Here's a link to each piece with a one-sentence summary for every team:
American League East
- Yankees - The Yankees' offseason is all about their search for starting pitching, though they'll look to add bench help and a second left-handed reliever as well.
- Rays - The Rays will work within their budget in an attempt to boost their offense, but they don’t intend to sacrifice run prevention along the way.
- Red Sox - Ben Cherington will try leading the Red Sox to their first playoff appearance since 2009 by improving the pitching staff and tinkering with the offense.
- Blue Jays - The Blue Jays will look for a second baseman, relief pitching and rotation help this offseason. They might consider some of the top free agents available.
- Orioles - Once the Orioles sort out the uncertainty in their front office, they'll have to improve a disappointing rotation and add balance to their promising lineup.
American League Central
- Tigers - The Tigers have openings at second base, the back of the rotation and in the bullpen, but the AL Central champions' core will return in 2012.
- Indians - The Indians face major decisions in center field and in the rotation this offseason. GM Chris Antonetti begins the winter with the expectation that payroll will rise.
- White Sox - Expect the White Sox to consider trading established players as they retool for manager Robin Ventura's rookie season in 2012.
- Royals - The Royals' offseason revolves around their search for top-of-the-rotation pitching.
- Twins - The Twins must add pitching and stabilize their offense this winter if they are to rebound from an awful 2011.
American League West
- Rangers - The two-time defending American League champions will focus on acquiring pitching this offseason.
- Angels - The Angels, soon to be under new leadership, will look to add a minimum of one starting pitcher, improve their offense and tinker with their bullpen.
- Athletics - As the Athletics await resolution on their stadium situation, they’ll look to restore outfield depth and improve their weak offense.
- Mariners - Jack Zduriencik is back and he’ll have to improve Seattle’s tepid offense for the Mariners to be relevant all season long in 2012.
National League East
- Phillies - The Phillies are poised to spend big on a closer and also must consider acquisitions at left field, shortstop, and third base.
- Braves - The Braves are unlikely to do much free agent shopping, but improvements at left field and shortstop are possible.
- Nationals - The Nationals aim to add an outfield bat and a starting pitcher this offseason, which might be enough to vault them into contention in 2012.
- Mets - The Mets' attempt to re-sign Jose Reyes will dominate their offseason and determine how much they can spend on other areas of need, like the bullpen.
- Marlins - Prepare for the most exciting Marlins offseason in recent memory. With new manager Ozzie Guillen's arrival and the opening of the team's new ballpark, ownership wants to make 2012 unforgettable.
National League Central
- Brewers - The Brewers could compensate for the probable loss of Prince Fielder by acquiring corner infielders, a shortstop, and a few late-inning relievers, but payroll flexibility may be limited.
- Cardinals - Their offseason revolves around re-signing Albert Pujols, who is on the brink of free agency for the first time in his career.
- Reds - Look for the Reds to be active on the trade market, as GM Walt Jocketty decides whether to use his trade chips and limited payroll flexibility on a front-of-the-rotation starter or a middle-of-the-order bat.
- Pirates - The Pirates have money to spend this offseason, but their team has more holes than free agency can possibly fill.
- Cubs - The Cubs are at a crossroads this offseason, as they seek a new GM and face the temptation of adding more big free agent contracts.
- Astros - Expect a quiet offseason for the Astros, who conducted their fire sale in July. Intrigue may come from possible ownership, GM, and league changes.
National League West
- Diamondbacks - Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers seems to be planning a quiet offseason, though the team must address second base and determine the future of Joe Saunders.
- Giants - The Giants want to determine the long-term futures of their top starting pitchers, and support them in 2012 with improved offense at shortstop or in the outfield.
- Dodgers - The Dodgers' ownership battle may be coming to a close, but Ned Colletti must endure uncertainty for one more offseason as he tries to improve the team's offense and sign a veteran starter.
- Rockies - The Rockies intend to add an innings-eater and a right-handed hitter this offseason, likely focusing on the trade market rather than free agency due to budgetary constraints.
- Padres - Prepare for another offseason of short-term free agent deals from the Padres in their attempt to stop the bleeding on a perennially lousy offense. The Friars also have more bullpen patchwork ahead than usual.