It’s the holiday season, and it’s not too late for gifts. (I would like a robot butler. Thank you.) There’s no actual need for MLB teams to rush to get what they want by the holiday; frankly, considering how slowly things are going so far, it’s obvious no one’s in much of a rush to do much of anything. The holiday is just another deadline to blow past.
That said, every team has all sorts of items on their wishlist, and because it’s the holidays, we might as well go ahead and point out what those are. Some of these are specific players, some of them are positional needs, some of them are just theoretical concepts. But every team has made a list and has checked it … well, hopefully at least twice. Here’s what’s atop each one.
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Blue Jays -- A third baseman: Sure, Vlad Jr. can play there and is saying all the right things, but they moved him to first base for a reason, and it seems unlikely he’ll go back to the hot corner. Getting someone locked in there, via free agency or trade, would solidify a promising lineup for years to come.
Orioles -- A couple more years of patience: Probably just a couple more, though. The tiny step forward last year may be followed by a larger step back, but this organization is already in such a better place than it was two years ago.
Rays -- Innings: The Rays still have top-shelf starters, but the back half of their rotation looks incredibly unreliable. Just getting someone to buy them some innings until the younger starters are ready would go a long way toward getting them back to the World Series.
Red Sox -- Any starting pitcher, anywhere: Chris Mazza might be this team’s fifth starter right now. The Red Sox rotation made 2020 a non-starter in terms of competitiveness. They haven’t fixed that yet, not in the slightest.
Yankees -- DJ LeMahieu: This isn’t complicated: He might be the best and most important lineup piece they have, and their margin for error if they lose him is thinner than you might think.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
Indians -- Some Francisco Lindor resolution: If they’re going to trade him, they need to do it. If they aren’t, they need to be able to plan accordingly. This has already hung over them too long.
Royals -- Bullpen help: The Royals have been impressively aggressive so far, and the additions of Carlos Santana and Mike Minor really do make them look better. But a wobbly bullpen could tank everything they’re trying to do.
Tigers -- Professional hitters: The Tigers have the pitching coming, but it’s tough to develop pitchers if they don’t trust their team to score more than three runs a game.
Twins -- Health: Health for Josh Donaldson and Byron Buxton, at the very least, and better luck around the whole lineup. With Nelson Cruz and Eddie Rosario both free agents and uncertain to return, they can’t afford to lose both Donaldson and Buxton for very long.
White Sox -- Good vibes with the new manager: For all the scrutiny about the hiring of Tony La Russa, he is one of the winningest managers of all time. There is so much talent here. If they can make this work, they’ll have the best of both the old school and the new school. If they can make it work.
AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
Angels -- Help! I know, I know, every team needs help. But, again: Mike Trout is in his prime and has never won a playoff game. It should be a national emergency to get him reinforcements.
A’s -- Matt Chapman’s health: Anybody ready for Chapman to have the full-bore MVP season we’ve all been waiting for him to have? Now’s as good a time as any, but he needs to make sure he’s recovered from the hip injury that derailed his 2020 season.