With Spring Training in full swing and several recent signings taking a few more players off of the free-agent board, much of the offseason picture is finally now in focus. Of course, as MLBTR’s 2017-18 MLB Free Agent Tracker shows, there are still some big names available. Several organizations clearly also have unfinished business, while others may already feel they’ve addressed their needs or maxed out their resources.
Here are some notes on teams’ plans on the day before the calendar flips to March:
- The Nationals are still eyeing improvements, according to a report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). In particular, the Washington front office “remain[s] engaged” with the top remaining free agent, starter Jake Arrieta. But it seems that he’s not the sole player of interest, as the organization is said to be “monitor[ing]” the market for possibilities. It is worth noting that several other remaining free agents could fit the Nats rather comfortably on paper, potentially including other starters such as Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb, top reliever Greg Holland, and catcher Jonathan Lucroy. Of course, there’s no real indication whether any of those players are presently seen as options within the Nationals organization.
- Quite the opposite impression is being given by the Angels, as Jeff Fletcher of the Southern California News Group tweets. GM Billy Eppler says that the organization is “not looking to pursue anything” else after a busy winter, though he does note that he’s “open-minded to things that come around.” That certainly sounds more like a willingness to entertain bargain-rate signings than any kind of interest in pushing for another significant addition. The Halos could clearly stand to improve their pitching, though it also may be that the front office prefers to allow existing options to rise or fall before addressing any needs at the trade deadline. At present, the Angels seem to have around $25MM in payroll space before bumping against the luxury line, though the organization is surely also loath to add too much to the future balance sheets.
- It seems the Twins also feel their roster-building work is done, with chief baseball officer Derek Falvey telling reporters including Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press (Twitter link) that there’s a “high likelihood” the team has already compiled its Opening Day unit. Minnesota did make quite a few acquisitions over the winter, including recent moves for Jake Odorizzi and Logan Morrison that added fairly significant salary commitments for the 2018 season. Some have wondered whether another rotation piece would make sense, but that doesn’t seem to be in the plans at present. Minnesota is slated to open with a club-record $116MM+ payroll, though the organization had already been in nine figures to open each of the past three years.