Now that MLB is in full offseason mode, the big question is which teams will spend the most money or make the biggest moves. Here are seven organizations — in order — that are most likely to take home that title by the time next April rolls around.
- New York Mets
The Mets spent big last offseason: they traded for and extended Francisco Lindor and signed James McCann. Add that onto Jacob deGrom’s extension, and the Mets clearly invested top dollars in talent. The Mets may not have landed catcher J.T. Realmuto or outfielder George Springer, but this team was in the sweepstakes. With this in mind, the Mets may be inclined to spend big again this offseason. Were it not for the fact the Mets can not seem to find a manager or general manager that can build a winning culture and a successful team, they would reel in whomever they wanted.
- Philadelphia Phillies
While only a handful of teams have spent more money than Philly over the last few seasons, those teams’ investments led to success. The Phillies spent big on Bryce Harper, Jake Arrieta, J.T. Realmuto and more, all while winning 82 games or less in each of the last three full seasons.
Two facts here can be true at the same time: the Phillies will spend big to try and improve their pitching staff — and maybe the lineup too — and the results may be minimal. With the Braves retaining much of their talent and the Mets having all the money in the world to spend, Philadelphia has a tall task ahead of them to get to the top of their division next season.
- Seattle Mariners
The last two major contracts Seattle offered to players ended up backfiring. Giving $175 million to Félix Hernández seemed smart at the time, but he flamed out halfway through the deal. Then, they gave $240 million over ten years to Robinson Canó less than one year later. Canó, who was already 31 years old when the deal started, later got suspended for steroid use. He became another case of giving too many years to a player too old for the deal.
Despite the trend, Scott Servais seems to be the right skipper for this team, and they put together a 90-win season in 2021. Combine this with payroll flexibility and prospects like Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodríguez just starting their careers, and Seattle looks poised to bring in the right assets to take the Mariners to their first division title since 2001.
- Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox have deeper pockets than more than two-thirds of teams, and they will likely use those assets to keep this team at pace with the Yankees, Blue Jays and Rays in their division. Kyle Schwarber kept raking after getting traded from Washington, and this team has significant pitching needs that free agency can address. Some of last season’s investments, like Martín Pérez and Garrett Richards, failed spectacularly. But other investments like Hunter Renfroe and Kiké Hernandez paid off just as much. More signings like the latter will keep Boston in contention.
- St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals are another team with lots of money to spend and on the verge of getting back to the top of their division. The lineup is already set with the perfect mix of young, old, homegrown and imported talent. From Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado to Tyler O’Neill, Tommy Edman and Harrison Bader, the offense needs minimal help.
The team’s offense gets made up for on the mound. Other than a 40-year-old Adam Wainwright and 26-year-old Jack Flaherty, who missed half of last season, the Cardinals desperately need bullpen arms and rotation depth to get past the Milwaukee Brewers. The good news for them is that they have the resources to fix that problem.
- Toronto Blue Jays
The top-two likely teams to spend big this offseason are two other American League East teams. Toronto built the scariest lineup in baseball in 2021. One of the key contributors was Marcus Semien, who is now a free agent. On the mound, Robbie Ray is also a free agent. He might win the Cy Young Award, and he will demand a big paycheck regardless of whether or not he wins the award.
Toronto will need to spend big to retain these two popular players. If they don’t, they will spend just as much to bring in a new middle-infielder, a new ace pitcher and more bullpen arms.
1- New York Yankees
Who else could be ranked as the likeliest team to make big offseason moves than the team that spent over $2 billion in the last decade? The Yankees payroll can expand big-time this offseason to fill major needs at shortstop, center field, first base and starting pitching. They also have the top prospects — two of which are shortstops who won’t have a place on the team if they sign a free agent — to trade for a star player or two.
The Yankees will need to spend like the Yankees this offseason, otherwise, the Rays, Red Sox and Blue Jays could all distance themselves from the Bronx Bombers next season.