Decisions, decisions. Major League Baseball teams have to make them all the time, but perhaps the toughest choices come during the winter.
We've gotten ahead of them by pinpointing the biggest dilemma each team will face in the 2019-2020 offseason. These cover difficult calls that teams will have to make regarding trades, signings and, in some cases, the general direction they want to go in.
We'll go division by division, starting in the American League East and ending in the National League West.
American League East
Baltimore Orioles: What Should They Do with Chris Davis?
Whatever hopes the Baltimore Orioles had that Chris Davis would pull out of his brutal 2018 slump in 2019 have been dashed.
The 33-year-old former slugger has only improved from a .539 OPS to a .577 OPS. He's also gone from minus-2.8 wins above replacement to minus-1.1, according to Baseball Reference. The Orioles surely expected more when they inked him to a seven-year, $161 million deal in 2016.
Baltimore won't get out of the $69 million it owes Davis through 2022, so the only question is if he's even worth a roster spot. In other words: Is the team ready to admit defeat by releasing him and swallowing his remaining contract?
Boston Red Sox: What Should They Do with Mookie Betts?
The upcoming hot-stove season will be critical for the Boston Red Sox. And more so than that of J.D. Martinez, chief among their predicaments will be the fate of Mookie Betts.
The Red Sox's efforts to extend the 2018 AL MVP have thus far been met with resistance. With free agency looming after 2020, it's doubtful Betts will alter his position unless the Red Sox top the $200 million offer they made to him after 2017.
According to Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports, it's not out of the question that the Red Sox will give up and trade Betts this winter. Barring an extension, the only alternative would be to keep him and hope for some kind of last hurrah in 2020.
New York Yankees: Who's on Third?
Given how swimmingly things have gone without Giancarlo Stanton, perhaps the New York Yankees will weigh unloading him and as much of his $325 million contract as they can.
But rather than sell low on Stanton, the Yankees might prefer to keep the 2017 NL MVP and see if he can bounce back in 2020. After all, they can afford to carry him.
In lieu of the Stanton question, the situation at third base might be the Yankees' biggest conundrum this winter. Will they assume a strong recovery from shoulder surgery for Miguel Andujar? Or will they buy into Gio Urshela's breakout and shop Andujar on the trade market?
Tampa Bay Rays: What Can They Afford to Do?
Granted, what the Tampa Bay Rays can afford to do is always a good question in any given offseason.
Yet it will be an especially pressing question this winter. The Rays don't have a lot of salary set to come off their books. Meanwhile, notables such as Tyler Glasnow, Tommy Pham and Mike Zunino will be due raises in arbitration, and the salaries of Kevin Kiermaier, Blake Snell and Brandon Lowe will escalate.
But as they did with their two-year, $30 million deal with Charlie Morton last winter, the Rays might have some surprises in them. They'll have an influx of spending money at their disposal if they hammer out a new local TV contract.
Toronto Blue Jays: Is It Time to Add Yet?
The Toronto Blue Jays have had a rough go of things since back-to-back trips to the American League Championship Series in 2015 and 2016. However, things have lately been looking up.
In Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., the Blue Jays have established a young, exciting offensive core. Nate Pearson, who's MLB.com's No. 13 prospect, should take the lead in their rotation sometime in 2020.
The future isn't quite now for the Blue Jays, but it might be close enough for them to consider spending on veteran talent this winter. It's either that or a few more months of rebuilding, which could be a tough sell for their fanbase.
American League Central
Chicago White Sox: Is It Time to Go Big?
The Chicago White Sox were linked to Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and other high-profile free agents on last winter's market. Yet they didn't make any seismic moves.
That was understandable. Though the White Sox had money to spend and a prospect base worthy of big dreams, they were also coming off a 100-loss season. It was a bit soon for them to force their way out of their rebuild.
Fast-forward to now, and Tim Anderson, Yoan Moncada and Lucas Giolito are entrenched as stars, while Eloy Jimenez may not be far from that status. Between this and their largely clean long-term books, the White Sox have every excuse to spend. The only question is whether they will.
Cleveland Indians: What Should They Do with Francisco Lindor?
Despite spending all of last winter cutting payroll and trading Trevor Bauer in July, the Cleveland Indians are in line to make the playoffs.
Even still, their payroll will be a central story yet again this winter. Will their lean 2019 spending give way to a heftier payroll for 2020? Or will they stick with their penny-pinching approach?
If the Indians opt for the latter, Francisco Lindor may hit the trading block. Since an extension for the superstar shortstop seems out of the question, the Indians may prefer to cash in his value rather than pay him huge raises via arbitration in 2020 and 2021.
Detroit Tigers: Where Does Their Rebuild Go Next?
The bad news is that the 2019 Detroit Tigers are worse than the clubs that lost 98 games in 2017 and 2018. The corresponding good news should be that at least their farm system is in good shape.
In actuality, it's merely MLB's No. 13 system. If the Tigers want to accelerate their rebuild, they need to push it as close to No. 1 as they can.
But how? The best trade chip they have left is left-hander Matthew Boyd, but he's done nothing but damage to his value over the last three months. If the Tigers can't get a haul for him this winter, they might not get one at all.
Kansas City Royals: Will New Ownership Mean a New Direction?
They may be on track for a second straight 100-loss season, but at least the Kansas City Royals are about to take on new management.
Assuming the rest of MLB's owners sign off on it, ownership of the Royals will pass from David Glass to John Sherman, a Kansas City native who's presently a minority owner of the Indians. The estimated cost: $1 billion.
What will happen after that is anyone's guess. With help from a new local TV deal, Sherman could put some money into the Royals. Or he could facilitate a top-to-bottom restructuring of the club's front office and roster. Or maybe something in between.
Minnesota Twins: Should They Spend on Stars or Depth?
It's looking more and more like the Minnesota Twins will win their first AL Central title since 2010. The next step will involve going as deep into the postseason as they can.
Come the winter, it will presumably be time for the Twins to double down. Their successful 2018 will be an ideal excuse to spend big bucks, and they'll have plenty of holes to fill with Jake Odorizzi, Kyle Gibson, Jonathan Schoop, Michael Pineda and Jason Castro due for free agency.
How the Twins should spend will be the interesting part. They could aim for superstars such as Gerrit Cole and Anthony Rendon. Alternatively, they might aim lower and prioritize more of a depth-based approach.
American League West
Houston Astros: Should They Re-Sign or Replace Gerrit Cole?
The Houston Astros have a bunch of players set to hit free agency this winter, but none bigger than Gerrit Cole.
The 28-year-old was a reclamation project when the Astros acquired him from the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2018. All he's done since is post a 2.84 ERA and strike out 13.0 batters per nine innings. In all likelihood, he's in line for a $200 million contract.
The Astros should be able to afford a contract of that size, but they might determine they don't have to. Instead, they might favor a pursuit of another reclamation project who could be turned into a superstar starter.
Los Angeles Angels: How Can They Fix Their Starting Rotation?
It's almost impressive that the Los Angeles Angels are even 65-74. By all rights, they should have been sunk by a starting rotation that's experienced hardship upon hardship en route to its 5.34 ERA.
Fixing said rotation will be the Angels' top priority this winter. But they don't have many prospects to deal or much money coming off their books.
That could force the Angels to clear payroll, perhaps by rejecting Kole Calhoun's $14 million option or trading the bad contracts belonging to Zack Cozart, Justin Upton and Albert Pujols. In lieu of that, they might simply spend beyond their comfort zone and hope it pays off.
Oakland Athletics: What Can They Afford to Do?
The Oakland Athletics' reputation as one of baseball's cheapest teams precedes them, but their payroll for 2019 is the highest in their history.