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Getty ImagesThe MLB offseason is officially underway.

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4 months 1 week ago #20412 by zhangzk
This winter should bring plenty of excitement thanks to a free-agent class headlined by Bryce Harper and Manny Machado Santiago Casilla Jersey , and a trade market that could really shift the balance if a few teams on the fringe decide to start rebuilding.With the Red Sox and Dodgers still in the spotlight, let's take a look at what awaits both World Series participants this offseason, including their incumbent free agents and various areas of need.Boston Red SoxNathan EovaldiBob Levey/Getty ImagesNotable Free Agents:RP Craig Kimbrel, SP Nathan Eovaldi, 1B/OF Steve Pearce, 2B Ian Kinsler, RP Joe Kelly, SP/RP Drew Pomeranz, 2B Brandon Phillips, IF Eduardo Nunez (player option)First and foremost, the Red Sox will need to decide whether re-signing closer Craig Kimbrel is a priority.The 30-year-old is the game's active saves leader with 333, including 42 this season in 63 games, while posting a 2.74 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 13.9 strikeouts per nine innings.Craig KimbrelSean M. Haffey/Getty ImagesWhile he nailed down all six of his save chances during the postseason, he struggled to the tune of a 5.91 ERA and 1.59 WHIP over 10.2 innings. As the top closer on the market, a big payday is coming his way, and the Red Sox might prefer to let someone else pony up for his post-prime years.Zach Britton, Cody Allen, Kelvin Herrera, David Robertson and Jeurys Familia are among the alternatives on the free-agent market who have closing experience.Next on the to-do list will be deciding whether to bring back deadline-addition and postseason standout Nathan Eovaldi.Nick Cafardo of theBoston Globeoffered up the following on his likely asking price:"Most executives think a comparable isAlex Cobb, who also came back from Tommy John and landed a four-year Clayton Richard Jersey , $57 million deal with Baltimore last offseason. Eovaldi's pedigree exceeds Cobb's at this point, so his contract should be more lucrative. The Red Sox should be interested in re-signing him, particularly withChris Sale'scurrent physical condition."With Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez likely locked into four rotation spots, the team will need to add at least one starter, whether it's a reunion with Eovaldi or an outside pickup.Beyond those two key free agents, the team could also explore a reunion with World Series MVP Steve Pearce, who made for an excellent platoon partner with first baseman Mitch Moreland thanks to his strong work against left-handed pitching.The team could also conceivably look for upgrades at catcher and second base.Christian Vazquez, Sandy Leon and Dan Butler hit a combined .194/.246/.288 during the regular season, so it wouldn't be hard to find an offensive upgrade behind the plate. Vazquez signed a three-year extension in March and remains a plus defender, so it's unlikely the team will move on from him entirely.What role will Dustin Pedroia play in 2019?Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty ImagesAt second base, the health of 35-year-old Dustin Pedroia is the big question mark. Veterans Brandon Phillips and Ian Kinsler were brought in as stopgap solutions during the season, but they're now free agents.Eduardo Nunez will be back if he exercises his $5 million player option and Brock Holt can play second, but the team might prefer keeping them two in utility roles and exploring more of an everyday solution. A reunion with Kinsler is a possibility at the right price.Beyond that, expect a few bullpen arms to be added the mix. Re-signing Joe Kelly is a possibility, but the Sox will likely cast a wide net.The other focus of the offseason could be on in-house extensions.Sale andXander Bogaerts are free agents in two offseasons and Mookie Betts hits the open market after 2020, so locking up at least one of those cornerstone players would be nice.The rival New York Yankees aren't going anywhere, and both the Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians are built for long-term success, but there's no reason to think the Red Sox won't again be among the World Series favorites in 2019. Los Angeles DodgersManny MachadoSean M. Haffey/Getty ImagesNotable Free Agents:SS/3B Manny Machado, C Yasmani Grandal http://www.padresfanproshop.com/authentic-manuel-margot-jersey , SP Hyun-Jin Ryu, 2B Brian Dozier, RP Ryan Madson, RP John Axford, RP Daniel Hudson, RP Tom Koehler, SP Clayton Kershaw (opt-out)The Dodgers will have a decision from Clayton Kershaw on whether he'll exercise his opt-out clause by midnight ET on Thursday, and he offered up the following to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com on his current mindset:"I know the future questions are obviously coming for myself. ... I've got three days now to think about all of that stuff before anything happens. And so it will be an eventful three days for me, and I'll try to figure it out.I haven't made the decision yet. We have three days to talk, between us and the Dodgers, see what happens. And then we'll go from there."Even if he does decide to opt out, there's a good chance it will simply be to secure a longer deal from the Dodgers. You never know, though.At any rate, adding at least one starting pitcher will be on the to-do list, as Hyun-Jin Ryu is also a free agent.That leaves Walker Buehler and Rich Hill as the only two pitchers locked into rotation spots, while Alex Wood, Ross Stripling and Kenta Maeda split their time between starting and relieving last season.Ryan MadsonElsa/Getty ImagesBridging the gap to closer Kenley Jansen was also a struggle at times, so signing a setup reliever or two could go a long way.Ryan Madson filled the eighth-inning role after joining the team in August, and he'll be a candidate to be re-signed. Pedro Baez, Scott Alexander and Dylan Floro will be back, but more help is needed.Second base also looks like an area of need.Brian Dozier is a free agent Hunter Renfroe Jersey , and the team would benefit from leaving Chris Taylor and Kike Hernandez in utility roles. Kansas City Royals standout Whit Merrifield could be a fit on the trade market, while guys like Jed Lowrie, DJ LeMahieu and Daniel Murphy are options in free agency.The recovery of Corey Seager is also a storyline worth watching.While it's unlikely the team will make an attempt to re-sign Manny Machado with theshortstop on the mend, a stopgap addition might be necessary if he's not on track to return by Opening Day.Yasmani GrandalEzra Shaw/Getty ImagesCatcher Yasmani Grandal is also a free agent and is likely headed for a nice payday as the top backstop on the market. Defensive-minded Austin Barnes will be back, but the team could opt to leave the position open with prospects Will Smith and Keibert Ruiz knocking on the door.Signing someone like Kurt Suzuki to a one-year deal to team with Barnes until the young guys are ready might make sense.The Dodgers have won six straight NL West titles, and a seventh could be forthcoming if they can fill in the roster gaps with another busy winter. All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference, unless otherwise noted. Looking for an offensive boost, the Philadelphia Phillies added an All-Star who may not help them for a while.The NL East-leading Phillies acquired injured catcher Wilson Ramos from the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday for a player to be named or cash. They also got left-hander Aaron Loup from the Toronto Blue Jays for minor league right-hander Jacob Waguespack.Ramos is batting .297 with 14 homers and 53 RBIs but is on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain. General manager Matt Klentak said the best-case scenario has Ramos returning in mid-to-late August, though it’s possible he may be sidelined until September.”We’re uniquely positioned to take on a risk like this,” Klentak said in a conference call. ”The fact he may not be active for a few more weeks is not the end of the world for us.”Ramos said he can do everything behind the plate but still feels pain when he runs.When healthy, Ramos should upgrade an offense that has struggled during a four-game losing streak. He’s also solid defensively.”Wilson Ramos is a proven commodity, both behind the plate and at the plate, and also as a teammate,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said.Ramos, who turns 31 next month, has a $10.5 million salary, and the Phillies will be responsible for the remaining $3,443,548. He has 315 plate appearances and can earn $250,000 each for 450, 475 and 500.He is eligible for free agency after the World Series.Jorge Alfaro (.254 Freddy Galvis Jersey , 7 homers, 23 RBIs) has been Philadelphia’s starting catcher with Andrew Knapp (.223, 4, 15) also seeing plenty of action. They’ve combined for 16 errors and 13 passed balls.”My first reaction was surprise,” Ramos said of the trade. ”I was reading a lot of news, but as soon as they told me I was traded to the Phillies, I was happy at the moment but sad at the same time. Happy because that team is in first place and I can do a lot of things to help that team win a lot of games. And sad because I’m very thankful with this team because they helped me a lot. They trust me, give me a contract (after knee surgery in 2016). Now, I’m going to Philadelphia and trying to help that team win the World Series.”The Phillies already added more pop when they acquired infielder Asdrubal Cabrera from the New York Mets last Friday.Kapler said he’s happy the team got stronger ”without sacrificing our future to a large degree.”Loup has a 4.54 ERA in 50 relief appearances this season with 42 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings, and the Phillies will assume the $594,422 remaining of his $1,812,500 salary.Waguespack was 4-6 with a 4.68 ERA in 21 games, including 15 starts, at Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley.”Our bullpen has been among the best in baseball in July,” Klentak said. ”Loup is really good against left-handed hitters. What he can do against lefties to neutralize them is important and something we haven’t had this year.”Infielder Trevor Plouffe and lefty Zach Curtis were designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.—AP Sports Writer Jimmy Golen in Boston and AP freelancer Mark Didtler in St. Petersburg, Florida, contributed to this report.—

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