The MLB offseason is a time for rumors and speculation to run rampant. With that, everyone is trying to figure out what players make sense for which teams and what teams have a need for certain players. Every MLB team has needs, and every MLB team needs to make moves. Whether it is a free agent signing or a trade, every team will make moves this offseason. So here is one move every AL team should make.
*Note: These are not predictions. Just my belief of one move every AL team should make.*
Baltimore Orioles: Sign Yariel Rodriguez
The Orioles have a need for starting pitching, yet they most likely will not be looking to spend top dollar to get the starter they truly need. So instead of going after a top name, an interesting option for them could be Cuban starter Yariel Rodriguez. Rodriguez was a reliever in the NPB for the Chunichi Dragons in 2022, posting a 1.15 ERA in 56 appearances. He started two games for Cuba in the WBC, giving up just two runs in 7.1 innings. Rodriguez defected once Cuba was eliminated from the tournament, yet he had to wait until this offseason to sign because he was still under contract with the Dragons in the NPB. MLB Trade Rumors projects that Rodriguez will receive a four-year deal for $32 million, yet he could fall anywhere in the $30-50 million range.
Boston Red Sox: Sign Yoshinobu Yamamoto
The Boston Red Sox need starting pitching, and the expectation is that they will be in the market for just about every starting pitcher on the free agent and trade market. The top name for the Red Sox should be Yamamoto. Although he has never pitched in MLB, he has a spectacular track record to his name. In the last three NPB seasons, Yamamoto has won three consecutive Triple Crowns (leading the Pacific League in wins, ERA, and strikeouts), Sawamura Awards (NPB equivalent to MLB’s Cy Young), and has won back-to-back Pacific League MVPs (he is now favored to win his third in a row in 2023). MLB Trade Rumors projects Yamamoto to receive a nine-year deal at $225 million.
New York Yankees: Sign Kevin Kiermaier
The New York Yankees are an interesting team due to the mix of high paid players and young players. However, a clear hole the Yankees have after Jasson Dominguez got Tommy John Surgery is a center fielder. With Kiermaier, the Yankees would be getting an elite center fielder to take some pressure off of Aaron Judge in right. If Kiermaier were to stay healthy, it would allow the Yankees to keep Judge away from the physically taxing position of center field. In 2023, Kiermaier won his fourth career gold glove while putting up a 104 wRC+ in 129 games for the Blue Jays. MLB Trade Rumors projects a two-year deal at $26 million for Kiermaier.
Tampa Bay Rays: Sign Victor Caratini
The Rays currently only have one catcher on their 40-man roster, and that is Rene Pinto. It would be a bit of a surprise if the Rays don’t bring in any catchers, even with the free agent class not providing a ton of options behind the plate. Caratini put up a 94 wRC+ in 2023, which was the second highest mark of his career, albeit in only 62 games played. Caratini in 2023 was in the 89th percentile in framing runs. Although he had some struggles at times throwing runners out, the Rays need an MLB caliber catcher, and they might even prefer to have two.
Toronto Blue Jays: Sign Gio Urshela
With Matt Chapman a free agent, the Blue Jays have a clear hole at third base. Minor leaguer Orelvis Martinez could be an option at some point in 2024, but the Blue Jays could use a proven option for the early part of the season and potentially beyond depending on how Martinez fares in 2024 (assuming he starts the season in Triple-A). Urshela has put up a 111 wRC+ over the last two seasons while playing the majority of his time at third base. In a worst case scenario, Urshela would be a very solid bench piece for the Blue Jays, and if it works well he could be their everyday third baseman. MLB Trade Rumors projects a two-year contract for Urshela at $20 million.
Chicago White Sox: Trade Dylan Cease
The Chicago White Sox need a reset, and nothing screams reset as much as trading the 2022 AL Cy Young runner-up. The White Sox did well in their trades at the deadline bringing in some nice prospects, yet it is clear that this team is unlikely to win next season in their current state. Flipping Cease for a sizable return can help kick off a White Sox rebuild, and this could be a trade that brings in potential stars for the future if it is done correctly. Cease had some struggles last season, with his ERA rising to 4.58 from the 2.20 mark he set in 2022. In the last three seasons, Cease has made 97 starts pitching 526.2 innings, meaning that whoever were to trade for him can expect him to eat some innings.
Cleveland Guardians: Trade Shane Bieber
My gut feeling is that the Guardians will not re-sign Bieber after the 2024 season, and other teams are likely to outbid them with him being a free agent. The Guardians have a ton of young pitching in Triston McKenzie, Tanner Bibee, Logan Allen, and Gavin Williams, and getting something for Bieber this offseason would really be the last chance to cash in on him outside of the trade deadline in July. Bieber’s numbers did dip a bit last season, with him posting a 3.80 ERA in 21 starts. The Guardians could still compete for the division without Bieber if their young starters do well, but they are a clear second place to the Twins right now and they would likely get more for Bieber by trading him now instead of waiting until the trade deadline.
Detroit Tigers: Sign Frankie Montas
Frankie Montas missed all of 2023 due to injury, yet he could provide teams with an intriguing option in the rotation that they could cash in on at the trade deadline should they be out of the playoff race. For that reason, Montas could make a ton of sense for the Tigers. Montas could rebound in Detroit by signing a one year deal, and then he would enter free agency new and improved. The Tigers would get a year of Montas, or they could flip him at the deadline for young pieces to help their rebuild. Montas had a 3.18 ERA in 18 starts for Oakland in 2022 before being dealt to the Yankees, where in 8 starts he put up an ERA over 6.00. MLB Trade Rumors projects a one-year deal worth $15 million for Montas.
Kansas City Royals: Extend Bobby Witt Jr.
The Royals have a franchise star in Bobby Witt Jr., and with them being a small market team they need to lock up Witt before he gets too expensive. A Witt extension will cost a lot of money even at this point, but the longer the Royals wait, the higher the price will be. Witt nearly put up a 30/50 season in 2023, hitting 30 homers and swiping 49 bases while putting up a 115 wRC+ and 5.7 fWAR. Witt finished seventh in MVP voting as well, and he has an extremely bright future that may include winning an MVP down the road.
Minnesota Twins: Sign Marcus Stroman
The Twins had a very solid 2023, winning the AL Central and making it to the ALDS. However, the Twins are losing Kenta Maeda to free agency, as well as Tyler Mahle, although Mahle will be out until at least mid-season due to Tommy John surgery. The Twins already have three solid starters in Pablo Lopez, Joe Ryan, and Bailey Ober, and adding an arm like Stroman would give them a very solid rotation. Stroman started off 2023 looking like a Cy Young candidate, pitching to a 2.47 ERA in just over 100 innings through June. However, Stroman then allowed 28 runs in his next 26.2 innings before being placed on the IL, and his late season return provided some struggles due to the lack of any rehab assignment. MLB Trade Rumors projects a two-year deal for Stroman worth $44 million.
Houston Astros: Sign Matt Moore
The Astros didn’t reach their goal of winning a World Series in 2023, and it probably makes it worse that their in-state rival Texas Rangers won it. The Astros don’t have a ton of needs heading into 2024, but they could use a lefty reliever for their bullpen. Across the last two seasons, Moore has pitched 126.2 innings out of the bullpen with a 2.20 ERA. Moore would provide the Astros with a lefthanded option later in games, which is something they currently do not have. Moore would likely be a one-year deal, but a two-year deal wouldn’t be a shock due to Moore only being 34.
Los Angeles Angels: Sign Teoscar Hernandez
With Shohei Ohtani potentially leaving in free agency, the Angels are going to need to make some moves if they want any chance of competing in 2024. A move that fits the Angels would be signing Teoscar Hernandez. Hernandez put up a wRC+ of just 105 in 2023, but he was hurt due to playing at the pitcher-friendly T-Mobile Park. Hernandez slashed .217/.263/.380 in home games, but in road games he slashed .295/.344/.486, which is much more in line with what you would expect from Hernandez, who could DH and play the outfield for the Angels. MLB Trade Rumors projects Hernandez to receive a four-year contract worth $80 million.
Oakland Athletics: Find A Way To Remove John Fisher As Owner
Oakland is in a terrible spot, as they are one of the worst teams in baseball, have one of the lowest payrolls in baseball, and have an owner who might as well not care for the fans of the team. The A’s will be moving to Las Vegas in a few years, but until then don’t expect anything out of the A’s as John Fisher lines his pockets with the revenue of the team, including the proceeds from MLB’s revenue sharing deal. If anyone can find a way to get Fisher out as owner and keep the A’s in Oakland, they need to do it. Oakland fans do not deserve what is happening to them, and they certainly do not deserve to lose another team to Las Vegas.
Seattle Mariners: Sign Joc Pederson
The Mariners could use some offense, especially with the potential loss of Teoscar Hernandez through free agency, and a name that makes sense is Joc Pederson. Although Pederson was mostly a DH in 2023, he played almost 800 innings in the outfield in 2022 and should still be able to play the field if needed. However, Seattle’s DH spot is also available and they could use a lefty slugger in their lineup. Pederson put up a 111 wRC+ in 2023 after putting up a 146 wRC+ in 2022. Moving to a pitcher friendly-park may not be ideal for Pederson, but the Mariners are a good fit for him.
Texas Rangers: Sign Josh Hader
The Rangers are coming off of a World Series win in 2023, yet the one thing they don’t have is a true closer. Jose Leclerc did a great job in the postseason, but Leclerc only recorded four saves in the regular season. Bringing in Hader would give the Rangers an elite closer while pushing Leclerc into a more favorable set-up role. In 61 appearances in 2023, Hader recorded 33 saves while putting up a 1.28 ERA. Hader is a perfect fit for the Rangers, and they should be the favorites to land him. MLB Trade Rumors projects a six-year deal for Hader worth $110 million.
Every MLB team will be making moves of some sort this offseason, and this was one move that I believe every AL team should make. Not all of these will happen. In fact, many of them will not happen. But if the teams asked me what they should do this offseason, this is what I would respond with.