Several teams are in danger of taking a step back going into next season, but we are going to focus on four MLB squads who could see things slip in 2023.
These four MLB teams could take a step back in 2023
It begins in the American League with the two Wild Card teams from last season. The Tampa Bay Rays had problems scoring last year and weren’t close to their normal offensive proficiency, ranking 20th in the league in runs scored. The Cleveland Guardians ranked 15th, but were 29th in home runs.
The Rays have already gone into a reset. They traded Ji-Man Choi to the Pittsburgh Pirates and released Kevin Kiermaier and Ryan Yarbrough. These three have been mainstays with the Rays and now will have to be replaced. They will also likely lose free agents Mike Zunino and Corey Kluber.
With the money, Kiermaier was set to make sure he was always going to be released. Kiermaier was a great defender, but he struggled to stay healthy. Speaking of health struggles, Brandon Lowe, Wander Franco and Tyler Glasnow missing time killed the Rays last year. They need these guys to be fully healthy to have a chance to just make the postseason next year.
The Guardians exceeded expectations last season, but how much will they be willing to spend to upgrade their offense for 2023? The Chicago White Sox have already added former Guardian Mike Clevinger to their rotation, but they did lose Jose Abreu to the Houston Astros. The White Sox will have a new manager and be aggressive in the free-agent market. The Minnesota Twins traded Gio Urshela to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for pitching prospect Alejandro Hidalgo. The Guardians need to add some offense to repeat as AL Central champions. They need power in the worst way possible. They’ve neglected their outfield for way too long. They could also use help behind the plate. Could they make a splash and trade for A’s catcher Sean Murphy?
In the National League, the Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers are in danger of losing ground in their divisions.
The Brewers have already traded outfielder Hunter Renfroe to the Angels and have reportedly entertained the idea of trading aces Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes. Andrew McCutchen will also depart in free agency. They seem reluctant to add payroll and won’t catch the St. Louis Cardinals with that mindset. They could also fall behind the Chicago Cubs if the Cubbies make a few big moves.
The Braves are facing intense competition in their division from the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets. If they lose Dansby Swanson, how do they counter? They have been mentioned in the Justin Verlander sweepstakes, but are a long shot at best for the AL Cy Young Award winner. The Braves could fall to third in the NL East if they sit on their hands.
It will be a very fun offseason to see how the NL East will look going into next year, as well as the other divisions where change could happen at the top.