After outlining the needs for each American League team last week, here’s what every team in the National League will need to do in order to be best set up for 2021. Some teams need to make significant moves, some require just small changes and some, for one reason or another, have nothing to do.
Let’s take a look at these teams’ offseason needs.
Atlanta Braves: Sign a third baseman
This is the only hole on the roster. With Max Fried, Ian Anderson and Mike Soroka in the rotation, along with an excellent lineup and solid bullpen, Atlanta fields a very good squad. But the Braves need someone new to man the hot corner, and then they will become NL heavyweights.
Philadelphia Phillies: I just don’t know
With J.T. Realmuto, the best free agent catcher and possibly the best catcher in the whole league, and Didi Gregorious departing during free agency, the Phillies are losing pieces and have already spent more than $120 million. No bullpen, plus a weakened lineup, does not bode well for 2021.
New York Mets: Spend, Spend, Spend
With new owner Steve Cohen at the helm, plus the vacated $20 million from Robinson Cano’s suspension, the Mets have the resources to sign half the league. With Realmuto, George Springer, Trevor Bauer and maybe more on the radar, the Mets should spend big this offseason. And they’ll become World Series favorites if they do.
Miami Marlins: Sign two veterans
Miami stunned the whole league by making the postseason in 2020. This incredibly young team needs the guidance of two veteran players: one hitter and one starting pitcher. Starling Marte did wonders in the lineup, but they need to replace him and add a veteran hurler to aid this starting core, which is mostly 25 or younger.
Washington Nationals: Bullpen, Bullpen, Bullpen
The Nationals have a core of young hitters who need to develop, and they still have Patrick Corbin, Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer. All they need to add is some solid bullpen arms and they will escape the cellar of their division in 2021.
Chicago Cubs: Keep Kris Bryant
The 2016 NL MVP had an awful 2020 campaign, and that will greatly diminish his trade value. Despite the quantity of trade rumors surrounding him, Bryant remains a Cub and must stay one in 2021. The team has enough talent to get back to playoffs, and they cannot afford to lose Bryant now.
Cincinnati Reds: Nothing
The Reds already have an elite lineup, several strong relievers and three solid starters who can hold down the fort when Trevor Bauer departs. All this team needs to do is get better performances out of the whole core in crunch-time.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Nothing
They were the worst team in the NL, and Major League Baseball, in 2020. Ke’Bryan Hayes and Mitch Keller are decent prospects, but this team is back at its worst — and nothing can possibly change that.
Milwaukee Brewers: Starting pitching
The Brewers have an elite pitching staff led by Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes. However, that rotation needs more than just those two. The lineup as a whole also needs to step up, but that cannot be fixed in free agency.
St. Louis Cardinals: Offense, Offense, Offense
The Cardinals got to the playoffs in 2020 on the back of their solid rotation and excellent bullpen. However, other than Paul Goldschmidt, there is very little to like in the lineup. Everyone either underperformed or is well past their prime. The hitting core needs as much of an overhaul as possible before 2021.
Colorado Rockies: Trade Nolan Arenado for pitching
Despite his albatross contract and rough 2020 campaign, Arenado is still an elite player. However, his clashes with team officials tell me he needs a fresh start somewhere else. Trade him for as much pitching help a single trade can acquire, and the Rockies can get closer to contention in 2021.
San Francisco Giants: Nothing
The Giants were a very fake team in 2020. Their lineup played at an insane level that cannot possibly be sustained in 2021. The pitching staff was bad and will either stagnate, improve or worsen slightly. The Giants are not as good as they seem, and that will be shown in 2021.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Overhaul the pitching staff
The Diamondbacks have enough talent in the lineup to contend for a Wild Card spot in 2021. However, outside of budding ace Zac Gallen, this pitching staff is in shambles. From Madison Bumgarner to the whole bullpen, many fixes are needed to keep this team out of the cellar for next season.
San Diego Padres: Find a catcher
The Padres went 37-23 in 2020. With a performance that strong, there is little improvement needed. The starting rotation is solid, the bullpen is serviceable enough and the lineup can score like few others can. The one glaring need, however, is a catcher. Austin Nola did little to adequately replace Austin Hedges, so another alternative must be considered.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Nothing
The Dodgers are a machine. They have the best and most complete roster in the league. And they will continue to contend for championships in the near future. While they certainly can sign new pieces or trade for them, they very much do not need to. They remain the juggernaut of MLB, and are already favorites for a 2021 title.