The MLB season is officially over and boy was it a fun season for all to see. The Boston Red Sox are enjoying a World Series championship after a 108-win season. It's Boston's fourth World Series championship since breaking the curse in 2004. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Dodgers are trying to figure out what it will take to win the World Series as they have now lost the Fall Classic two years in a row. So what does this mean for all of the MLB teams now at home for the offseason? It means that they are focusing on the free agency boards and who is coming up on their contract years. Of course, there are some teams with more free agents and decision to make than others. The real question to consider however is: which teams will regress greatly because of this offseason and which teams will improve because of the talent available?
There are some big named free agents coming into play that will have a lot of teams immediately looking to make a quick jump in playoff contention. Others will probably be looking to keep their cores together to make a deep run into the 2019 postseason. Whatever the case is, every team has their set of free agency problems that they will have to deal with before and after the Winter Meetings begin. So which teams will not be in great shape after the off-season and which ones will be improved when it is all said and done? Let's make some predictions! Let's look at 10 MLB teams who will fall apart this off-season and 10 who will improve.
20 Fall Apart: Arizona Diamondbacks
One team out of the National League West that will certainly fall apart with the off-season looming is the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks find themselves in playoff contention almost every season, but cannot make a deep postseason run. The thing you have to remember with the Diamondbacks is that they have a lot of big name free agents this season and next.
A.J. Pollock and Patrick Corbin could find themselves on their way out the door.
Paul Goldschmidt has a club option this year and is a free agent in 2020. The bottom line is the Diamondbacks won't be keeping their core together for long, and the pieces will start to fall apart this coming offseason.
19 Will Improve: Miami Marlins
The Miami Marlins seemed to tank the 2018 season as soon as they traded Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, and Marcel Ozuna elsewhere. They enter the offseason with having a big advantage on their side: they don't have any big names with expiring contracts. The Marlins could also be making more moves this offseason just like they have in the past. The Marlins could deal veteran players such as Starlin Castro and Martin Prado to get younger pieces in place and their contracts off the books. The Marlins may not compete for the NL East title next season, but at least they will be more competitive than in 2018.
18 Fall Apart: Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers just came up short for the second straight year in the Fall Classic. They now have quite a few problems on their hands as far as free agents are concerned. Manny Machado will most likely be gone because Corey Seager will be back next year. They also have Clayton Kershaw who can opt out of his contract and test free agency. Other names out there are Brian Dozier and Hyun-Jin Ryu. The Dodgers' window of winning the World Series could be closing very soon. With all of these free agents to be, they will fall apart and take a huge step backwards in the NL West.
17 Will Improve: New York Mets
One team that people will be surprised about improving during this next off-season is the New York Mets. The Mets will be under new ownership, which means they could very well go out and spend big money to acquire top free agents. Their own free agency class has Jerry Blevins and Jose Reyes as two of the only six names on that list.
The best part for the Mets is that their impending free agents are not in plans for the team's future.
The Mets have taken a few steps back since their run to the 2015 World Series. But, expect them to get back on track by making improvements during the offseason.
16 Fall Apart: Seattle Mariners
The Seattle Mariners are now in a position where they will now be trying to play catch up to the Houston Astros and the Oakland Athletics. The Mariners have a lot of free agents out there and they are some big names as well. Nelson Cruz and Zach Duke are two of the big names that come to mind with other names like Hisashi Iwakuma and Gordon Beckham to go on the list.
Felix Hernandez will also be a free agent one year from now, and he's already regressed a ton the last couple of years. The unfortunate writing is on the wall for the Mariners and it does not look good.
15 Will Improve: Oakland Athletics
The Oakland Athletics were a lot of fun for baseball fans to watch this season. With one of the lowest payrolls in baseball, the A's found themselves in a pennant chase with the Astros in the AL West. They ended up losing to the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game, but they will certainly be back next season improved. They are not losing much in the starting pitching department and they will more than likely re-sign catcher Jonathan Lucroy.
The A's could go out and try to get an ace and a few reliable, supporting starting pitchers. With a good offseason in the front office, the Athletics should be in a position to make the playoffs again, and possibly do some damage.
14 Fall Apart: Texas Rangers
The Texas Rangers have gone from a division power to a division cellar team in the span of five or six years. The Rangers finished last in the AL West and now face a lot of questions. What does the future hold with Adrian Beltre? Will Elvin Andrus opt out and test free agency waters? They also are losing veteran pitchers Matt Moore and Bartolo Colon.
The Rangers have never really been a team to make big splashes in free agency, with a few exceptions here and there.
If the Texas Rangers lose more players in free agency than they re-sign or gain, they will fall apart worse than some might think they already have.
13 Will Improve: Los Angeles Angels
The Los Angeles Angels have a bright future whether baseball fans see it or not. You start off by having one of the best players in the game in Mike Trout, patrolling the outfield. Add in pieces like Justin Upton and Shohei Otani and you have something to build off of in the long term. So this offseason, the Angels are destined to make improvements. They have their core in place and their biggest name heading to free agency is Garrett Richards or Chris Young. They can go out and get starting pitching to put them one step closer to a division title. Look for the Angels to make a lot of moves to improve.
12 Fall Apart: Toronto Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays found themselves in the middle of a fire sale in 2018 as they let go of a lot of their bigger names. Josh Donaldson, Steve Pearce, and Curtis Granderson were just a few of the veterans that found themselves elsewhere.
Unfortunately, it doesn't look like it is going to get any better for the Blue Jays this off-season.
The Blue Jays have a good farm system, but that could take a few more years before their prospects make any Major League impact. They could lose Justin Smoak and Marco Estrada is more than likely gone as well. It is amazing how far the Blue Jays have fallen, considering where they were just a few short seasons ago.
11 Will Improve: Chicago White Sox
People may not believe this in Chicago, but the White Sox can be a lot better in 2019 than people think. They have James Shields who is an impending free agent who they should be begging to go elsewhere. He is not the same "Big Game James" that he was with the Rays. They also will have another year of Yoan Moncada, Matt Davidson, and Jose Abreu to build off.
Unfortunately, they will be without Michael Kopech as he will be sidelined in 2019 while recovering from Tommy John Surgery. However, the White Sox could make a few lower tier signings to give them another positive step forward toward being playoff contenders. When you're in the White Sox's position, there's nowhere to go but up, right?
10 Fall Apart: Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs on the other hand, are going backwards. The Cubs went from winning the World Series in 2016, to losing in the NLCS to the Dodgers in 2017, to losing in the Wild Card game to the Rockies in 2018. They are going in the wrong direction and their situation can get even worse this coming offseason. The Cubs have a lot of free agents such as Daniel Murphy, Cole Hamels has a club option, Jason Heyward can opt out of his contract, etc. The Cubs are linked as a potential suitor for Bryce Harper, but if they strike out on Harper and lose some of the players mentioned in free agency, the Cubs will continue to fall apart.
9 Will Improve: San Diego Padres
The San Diego Padres are in a tough position playing in a very competitive NL West. They finished toward the bottom of the division again. But cheer up Padres fans because brighter times are ahead!
The Padres have proven that they will go out and spend big money, obtaining Eric Hosmer last offseason.
One other key thing to remember is that they only have two free agents that are considered key: A.J. Ellis and Freddy Galvis. The Padres also have young pieces in place along with veterans like Hosmer ready to take a step forward in a few short years. The Padres can really use this offseason to get the ball rolling on their ascension.
8 Fall Apart: Kansas City Royals
The Kansas City Royals need a lot of help. They are nowhere near their 2015 World Series form. The Royals have lost Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, and others while not filling in the holes they left. They also need a lot of help in the bullpen, especially in these times when playoff teams rely heavily on their bullpens, just like the Royals did in their World Series run.
Alcides Escobar appears to be leaving and the Royals wouldn't mind getting pitcher Jason Hammel off their payroll as well. The Royals have a lot of work to do and it doesn't appear that they're willing to spend money to get better now. It looks like another long rebuild is in store for Kansas City.
7 Will Improve: Philadelphia Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies are in a position where they will be around for years to come. The Phillies are due for a big time move for a positional player in the offseason and this could be the winter that it happens. The Phillies will improve by adding a big bat such as Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. Even if they don't add either player, they can still strengthen their starting pitching behind Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta.
The Phillies have players like Rhys Hoskins, Odubel Herrera, and others to lead the way offensively. Adding one more big bat or another quality starting pitcher can immediately improve the Phillies' chances in 2019.
6 Fall Apart: Cleveland Indians
Cleveland's window to win a World Series title is closing rapidly. It might even be closing faster than they realize with their upcoming offseason. They have a lot of big names that are entering free agency. Where do we begin? Josh Donaldson will be elsewhere next year.
Cody Allen and Andrew Miller could certainly leave which would be a big hole in the back end of their bullpen.
Other guys with expiring contracts include Michael Brantley and Lonnie Chisenhall. The Indians will not re-sign all of these free agents and losing any of them will have them taking a big step backwards.
5 Will Improve: Tampa Bay Rays
One team that people overlooked in the AL East was the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays finished with a record over .500 in a year that saw the Red Sox and Yankees have two of the best records in baseball. The best part is that the Rays do not have Chris Archer's contract on the books, so they can go out and spend some money on starting pitching to back up Blake Snell.
The Rays will continue to improve under Kevin Cash as he has proven he can win despite being in a powerhouse division with two of the biggest spenders in baseball. Everyone should look for the Rays to make significant improvements in the offseason.
4 Fall Apart: Boston Red Sox
The Boston Red Sox were the best team throughout the entire regular season and playoffs. They'd better enjoy this one because as they enter the offseason, they are in some trouble. They have their fair share of big names hitting the free agency market. Craig Kimbrel will surely get a hefty contract somewhere else, despite his ALDS and ALCS struggles. Other pitchers such as Joe Kelly and Nathan Eovaldi made their presence felt with their postseason success.
David Price can opt out of his contract and Chris Sale has a club option. The Red Sox have a lot of decisions to make. It's likely that they'll take a step back from their 108 win season. After all, how many teams are able to replicate that kind of success?
3 Will Improve: New York Yankees
A team that is certain to make improvements in the offseason is the Yankees. The Yankees will be getting guys like C.C. Sabathia and Brett Gardner off their books to try to make another big free agency splash.
A few names that have been connected to the Yankees are Manny Machado and Patrick Corbin.
Machado is one of the best infielders in the game, with a plus arm and great hitting ability. Plus, he hates Boston and vice versa, which is great for the rivalry. Corbin is a quality left-handed pitcher that can lengthen out the Yankees starting rotation. It will come as no surprise when the New York Yankees improve in the offseason.
2 Fall Apart: Washington Nationals
The Washington Nationals are going to be in a lot of trouble next season. They already saw that the Braves and the Phillies are the teams of the future in the NL East. They also realize that they are more than likely going to be losing franchise right fielder Bryce Harper. Harper will leave a big hole in the middle of the lineup and a good outfield option out in right field.
They also have pitchers such as Jeremy Hellickson, Kelvin Herrara, and Greg Holland on the free agency market as well. It really looks like the Nationals missed their window to make it to the World Series.
1 Will Improve: Milwaukee Brewers
The team that everyone should look out for in the offseason is the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers were the Cinderella story of the baseball world in 2018, coming within one game of the World Series. Of course, everyone pointed out that the main problem with the Brewers was their lack of starting pitching. The Brewers were definitely not a one year wonder type of team.
With guys like Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain, Travis Shaw and Jesus Aguilar leading the charge, some additional big time starting pitching will immediately help the Brewers in 2019. One big acquisition could be the difference in getting them to the World Series.