Three MLB teams Who Must Be Active When the Lockout Ends
Embroiled in a bitter lockout and with minimal progress, it’s unclear what the 2022 Major League Baseball season will look like. Free agency has been put on hold. As the weeks roll by, the prospect of a delay to Spring Training becomes a very real prospect.
An MLB odds prediction today is difficult to make as a result. Rosters are not complete despite an explosive few weeks of free agent dealings before the lockout. The format of the season is unknown – could we end up with another shortened regular season after a taste of normality in 2021?
Talks have begun to get the Majors up and running once again. Still at a preliminary stage, though, the sport is eerily quiet aside from occasional tweets from players.
The hope is that there’s a proper conclusion to the offseason, a full Spring Training and a 162-game regular year.
With that idealistic view in mind, let’s take a look at three teams who must be active when the lockout comes to an end.
San Francisco Giants
Farhan Zaidi has retained Anthony DeSclafani, Alex Wood and Brandon Belt. Alex Cobb is an intriguing addition for a team which has helped so many pitchers in recent years.
Buster Posey’s surprise retirement and Kevin Gausman’s move to Canada leaves the reigning NL West champions weaker than they were in 2021, however.
The Giants haven’t been big spenders in free agency over the last few seasons. Zaidi has made superb moves on the margins, and pulled off some remarkable trades, but opening the checkbook could be their only path to battling the Dodgers again in 2022.
Los Angeles Angels
The Angels always fall into this category. Re-upping Raisel Iglesias and landing Noah Syndergaard was exciting, but Los Angeles has a lot more work to do.
Once again, the pitching staff lacks depth. Shohei Ohtani cannot carry a rotation alone, and Syndergaard is a question mark rather than an All-Star right now. The offense needs another bat or two behind its stars, too.
Aaron Loup was a nice addition to the relief corps. Yet, it’s not enough for a group that ranked 17th in wins above average last season. A couple of high-upside free agents would be good to see.
If the Angels are going to finally put together a division push, they not only need Ohtani and Mike Trout to stay healthy. This roster requires more on both sides of the ball.
Finishing 15th in wins above average and with an 82-80 record, the Phillies continue to be stuck in mediocrity. They have hovered around .500 for four straight seasons and haven’t played a playoff game since 2011.
Ranking seventh in payroll as of January 2022, the Phils have plenty of money on the books, but the roster still looks like a wildcard team at best.
There’s work to be done to put enough talent around reigning MVP Bryce Harper and Cy Young caliber pitchers in Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler.
Philadelphia is a candidate to be active on the trade market when the lockout ends as they look to keep their payroll under control. Failing that, Kris Bryant, Trevor Story and Carlos Rodón make sense as free agents.