A look at every team's holiday wish list
One can only assume Santa Claus is a big baseball fan, what with all that North Pole downtime in the summer months.
And if Ole St. Nick really is as jolly and generous as we've been led to believe, perhaps he wouldn't mind perusing the holiday wish lists of Major League Baseball's 30 teams and come through in the clutch.
What follows is a rundown of each team's remaining needs ... some more serious than others:
Angels: Let's face it, an Angels team on the hook to pay Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols, Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson nearly $100 million in 2016 (when their average age will be 34.8) is probably better off not focusing too far into the future. But with the bulk of the offseason activity taken care of, this might be a good time to deliver a long-term extension for Mike Trout that works for both parties.
Astros: A copy of the bestselling self-help book, "The American League and You: Coping with Life in the West." Figures to be a tough transition year.
Tigers: Very possible the Tigers are right about Bruce Rondon. Nevertheless, it would be easier to feel good about their chances of repeating as American League champs if they had a more experienced option at closer.
Giants: Far be it from me to critique a club that has gotten so many things right the last few years. But it at least seems worth considering that the Giants could use a little more left-field thump. Gregor Blanco made some sensational plays in the postseason, and Andres Torres' return tugs at the 2010 heartstrings, but it's hard to know if either will be particularly productive at the plate.
A's: Other than a new stadium? Well, the atrophy the A's experienced in the starting five over the course of 2012 demonstrates that you can never have enough help in the starting-pitching department, and it might behoove the A's to find a veteran innings-eater to take a spot.
Rays: Other than a new stadium? They could still use another bat. Or failing that, a fast forward button on Wil Myers' development.
Nationals: Earmuffs for general manager Mike Rizzo. Because if Stephen Strasburg gets hurt this season, after his controversial early shutdown in 2012, the poor guy will never hear the end of it.
Reds: Their primary need (think Mariah Carey singing "All I Want For Christmas Is Choo") is already taken care of. But how about a handbook from the White Sox on how Chris Sale went from 71 innings in 2011 to 192 in 2012? Because for a clear contender like Cincinnati, a Strasburg-like plan for Aroldis Chapman seems a poor course of action.
Rangers: A worthy lineup replacement for Hamilton. There are a lot of those available out there, right?
D-backs: A phone call from the Rangers, with the perfect offer for Justin Upton.
Blue Jays: What do you get the team that suddenly has everything? How about new printers for the payroll department? Frankly, the old ones aren't used to printing the kind of numbers that are going to be on those 2013 checks. Toronto might need new printers for the previously defunct playoff ticket department, as well.
Marlins: Nametags might be helpful to new manager Mike Redmond as he gets acquainted with this inordinately young club. And perhaps some flowers and chocolates for Giancarlo Stanton, to smooth things over.
Rockies: Nothing would impact this organization quite like a hypnotist who can convince those Rockies pitchers that they are not hurling at mile-high altitudes at home.
Padres: Same thing they've needed for months: starting pitching. Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello is a worthwhile target.
Cubs: They've aligned some nice pieces for their rotation, but they still need young bodies in waves. Would be nice if somebody would come calling for Alfonso Soriano.
Pirates: After a second-half slide in 2011, manager Clint Hurdle ordered up T-shirts that said, "Finish!" for 2012. New T-shirt for 2013: "No, really. Finish!"
Brewers: The more relief options, the better. Had the bullpen been even remotely effective in the first half last year, this could have been a playoff club.
Twins: They've already added four starting pitchers this winter. Five if you count Rich Harden. Still think this is a really good time to explore the trade market for Justin Morneau or Josh Willingham and keep stockpiling the system.
Cardinals: They can go as is, or, more helpfully, they can land another middle-infield option, especially with Rafael Furcal in the final year of his contract. In a perfect world, Asdrubal Cabrera would be delivered to their doorstep. In the real world, the Indians' asking price for him is steep.
Mets: Great haul in the R.A. Dickey trade. But if there are any other Minor League free-agent options out there who are ready to blossom into Cy Young winners, would you mind reporting to Flushing?
White Sox: With A.J. Pierzynski officially gone, they need a new option to win those "most hated players in baseball" polls. Somehow don't think Paul Konerko's going to take that honor. More pressingly, they need a left-handed bat. Maybe they sell high on Alex Rios to get it.
Orioles: Any time Buck Showalter is involved, it's tempting to make a joke about the need for cotton uniforms. But more than cushy comfort, the O's need a power bat. The hesitancy to fork over Draft-pick compensation for a guy like Adam LaRoche is understandable, but the pickings are slim out there.
Braves: Even after adding B.J. Upton, they still need a leadoff-type bat for their outfield. The Rox's Dexter Fowler would sure fit the bill.
Red Sox: Hard to know what to make of the Red Sox's costly (and aging) free-agent haul, to this point. The gut tells me they still need at least one more reliable starting-pitching option if they're going to significantly improve on last year's 76-win output.
Royals: They're better. And they gave up a lot, in terms of money and prospects, to get better. But to truly reach their potential, they need a healthy shoulder and a clear head for Eric Hosmer. Some kind of assurance that he won't be facing those defensive shifts would be nice, too.
Mariners: One big bat was taken care of with the trade for Kendrys Morales. But they've averaged 582 runs over the last four years so, you know, another wouldn't hurt.
Phillies: Nice speed pickup in Ben Revere, but they still need more power from the outfield. And a guarantee of a healthy spring for Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, while you're at it.
Indians: They lured Nick Swisher with the help of his Buckeye best friends (and $56 million). But high-upside starting pitching options is still the more glaring need for the long-term future of the franchise, even after the acquisition of Trevor Bauer.
Dodgers: Talk about a team that's tough to shop for these days. But they still need a leadoff hitter. Michael Bourn's still out there, and he's not cheap. But hey, it's only money, right?
Yankees: You know, Olay has a really nice line of anti-aging products.