The Missing Piece

New York, NY – Sadly, not every single team comes into Spring Training with a realistic hope of playing meaningful baseball in August, much less October. Nonetheless, typically at least 2/3 of the league has some glimmer, even if faint. But every team, including the stalwarts of the league, could improve somewhere or make one final move to get over the hump. Let’s check out these potential contenders and the missing piece for each as Spring Training dawns…​

Trade Julio Urias, cash and a quality infield prospect to a team willing to absorb maybe half the contract
The Red Sox have enough pitching depth to do this, and they’ve essentially given up on Urias as a quality piece to the team having decried him publicly all winter. They have prospect depth in the infield, and this will be the best thing to get them back under budget for the 2027 season.

Sign Eric Hosmer to platoon with Paul Goldschmidt/Giancarlo Stanton and provide depth
The Yankees’ lineup doesn’t scare anyone, and that’s an issue. Yes, Griffith and Quinn are stars, but the others are aging players or young, relative unknowns. Hosmer certainly isn’t a star, but he would help to balance things out. Plus, championship-caliber teams can never have enough depth.

Sign Anthony Ranaudo to bolster the back-end of a young and thin rotation
The Rays have talent at the top of the rotation, but the entire thing is really young compared to other competitors. They need a veteran innings-eater that can provide stability and slot into the middle of the rotation. Someone like Ranaudo, who was great in Miami, fits the bill.

Sign John Cummins to improve the depth in the bullpen because you can never have enough arms
If there’s one thing my Pappy always said, it’s that you can never have enough arms in baseball. “Stockpile those jokers!,” he’d say. And he was right. If the White Sox, who are always right there, have visions of October baseball, adding a veteran guy like Cummins can’t be a bad idea.

Sign Griffin Murphy using the funds they have to ensure the rotation isn’t full of babies
The Tribe have a formidably impressive rotation, but all of them are really, really young. Ron Fields, the guy who most likely would go to the pen if someone were brought in, is only 27, and he’s the veteran. They need a horse that can provide guidance and innings.

Sign Paul Givens to platoon with Chris Adams and provide some depth on the bench
The Twins might be the most talented team in the American League top to bottom, but even talented teams have holes. Minnesota needs to bolster its bench, and Givens, a professional hitter, does just that. Best of all, he won’t cost much at all.

Sign Christian Colon to provide a little veteran depth to an otherwise young infield circuit
The A’s always seem to push the right buttons so who am I to tell them how to run their club on the doorstep of the season? Nonetheless, if I were running things in the bay, I’d grab a guy like Colon as insurance in the infield. He’ll provide quality veteran leadership at an affordable price.

Sign Karsten Whitson to ensure Chris Newman has enough time on the farm to develop
The Braves have gone crazy this winter shelling out over $140 million in possible contracts on the market while adding two guys capable of earning another $135 million in the next three seasons. What’s a few more million to get a veteran innings eater for the back-end of the staff?

Sign Christian Morrison to give the outfield some depth and wiggle room in case of injury
The Mets’ outfield isn’t very good. I don’t think anyone, including the Mets would argue that. Morrison isn’t going to move the needle in a significant way, but he does provide flexibility and a decent bat to absorb some playing time should the need arise.

Sign Ubaldo Jimenez, the ageless wonder, because at this point it’s just a feel good story
Rudy. Eddie the Eagle. Michael Oher. Ubaldo Jimenez. Am I right? The man is now 43 and is the pitching version of Julio Franco. He says he wants to pitch another five years, and while that seems absurd, he’s still capable of quality starts. That’s something the Phillies will need.

Draft pick be damned! Sign Albert Almora and become the favorite in the NL Central
The Cubs have already lost their first round pick thanks to signing Julio Teheran. Losing a second rounder is nominal, especially for a player the caliber of Almora. He’d immediately become a force at the top of the Cubs’ order and give them a fighting chance in the division.

Sign Tim Collins, quality veteran loogy, to give the pen more depth and veteranism
I don’t know if veteranism is a word, but it sounds good. And the Brewers could use it in the pen. Collins isn’t the guy he was two seasons ago when he posted one of the most ridiculous relief seasons in baseball history, but he is capable of getting outs at a relatively affordable cost.

Sign Nick Franklin. Something about veteran leadership, versatility and flexibility.
Nick Franklin was honestly very good in Atlanta when called upon the past three seasons. You don’t have to dig much into his stat line to see that. And the Pirates, boasting a starting infield with Cruz, Anderson and Gennett, could use some of that versatility and flexibility Franklin brings.

Sign Nolan Arenado because he’s ostensibly better than the 23rd pick in the draft will be
I have no idea what the Cardinals are doing given how much money they have to spend and how quiet they’ve honestly been. Arenado isn’t a superhero but he’s leaps and bounds better than anything the Cards have playing third base right now, and he’ll put up 2.0-3.0 WAR for about $7 million. Worth it.

Sign Jesse Hahn so you start the season with a reliable ninth inning man who has been there before
The Astros don’t have a closer. Jesse Hahn has over 200 career saves. He’s done it before. The end. Oh, I have to write more stuff now to fill up the area so all of the text goes to the top. I wish we could swap the Astros and Diamondbacks so we look normal. Can someone make this happen?

Sign Kevin Gausman to replace the much departed rotation depth lost with Moak, Harvey, Hensley and Turner
The World Champs essentially lost 4/5 of their rotation from last season and look almost nothing like the team that won it all on the mound. Gaussian won’t come in and win the Cy Young, but he’s a better pitcher than most of the guys the Padres are counting on now.

Sign Christian Yelich to play some outfield, first base and occasionally even DH
No one will argue that Christian Yelich knows how to hit. His .305 line last season only furthers that (ignore the BABIP as it hurts my argument). The Giants could use a veteran bat for the bench with the potential to fill in as needed, and Yelich, asking only $2.2M, is that guy.