The Braves’ big splash came early in the offseason with the signing of B.J. Upton (pictured) to a five-year, $75.25 million contract. But they are still looking to acquire a corner bat, most likely in left field. The dream scenario would involve acquiring Atlanta native Dexter Fowler from the Colorado Rockies. As far-fetched as that sounds, the Braves have the pitching pieces to pull it off.
Disregard the department store circulars: Plenty of shopping days remain — in the baseball world, that is. Spring training is six weeks away, so general managers have ample time to browse the offseason market’s thinning aisles for the likes of Michael Bourn (pictured) and others. Here’s a look at 10 teams that could be especially active in the Hot Stove’s post-holiday phase. — Jon Paul Morosi
San Diego Padres
The Padres made two of their biggest 2013 moves during the 2012 season, agreeing to contract extensions with outfielder Carlos Quentin and closer Huston Street. And it seems GM Josh Byrnes (pictured) is unlikely to take the drastic step of trading Chase Headley. Still, the Padres could make a meaningful upgrade in the weeks to come because they need a starter and have outfield and bullpen depth to move. They have spoken with the Tigers about Rick Porcello, and Petco Park remains an ideal landing spot for bounce-back candidates such as Jair Jurrjens and Jeff Karstens.
New York Yankees
The mythical $189 payroll limit sure has made things boring in the Bronx. So far this offseason, general manager Brian Cashman (pictured) has busied himself by bringing back his own veterans on short-term deals while securing the services of a former rival (Kevin Youkilis) to fill in for Alex Rodriguez at third base. The Yankees’ roster seems incomplete, needing a starting pitcher and reliever — perhaps even Rafael Soriano. A trade of outfielder Curtis Granderson isn’t completely out of the question.
Raul Ibañez enjoyed a historic postseason run with the New York Yankees. Kendrys Morales looked like an All-Star before his career-altering leg injury in 2010. But they can’t resurrect the Mariners’ lineup all by themselves. Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik (pictured) probably isn’t done dealing yet and has spoken with the Dodgers about outfielder Andre Ethier and lefty Chris Capuano. The Mariners must add an innings-eater (such as Capuano) after trading Jason Vargas to the Angels.
A.J. Pierzynski (pictured) has been one of the most durable and productive catchers in recent years, but no one expects him to be the end of the Rangers’ offensive upgrades. They have interest in free-agent outfielder Michael Bourn and would send away some of their prospect stockpile if the Colorado Rockies truly made outfielder Carlos Gonzalez available. And, for the record, it’s still possible the Rangers could acquire outfielder Justin Upton from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
After riding a gutty, duct-tape rotation to the 2012 postseason, the Orioles would like to add a little more reliability before spring training. They have tried to retain free agent Joe Saunders (pictured) while exploring the possibility of a Rick Porcello trade with Detroit. Baltimore GM Dan Duquette also could upgrade his DH platoon of Wilson Betemit and Danny Valencia. So far, they haven’t seriously pursued the likes of Travis Hafner.
Kyle Lohse is probably too expensive, but wouldn’t he be perfect for the Brewers’ rotation? Milwaukee needs a veteran behind Yovani Gallardo to alleviate the pressure on emerging starters Mike Fiers and Wily Peralta. The Brewers could take Lohse away from the rival Cardinals. Alas, he’s a Scott Boras client and probably too expensive. Brewers GM Doug Melvin (pictured) needs to upgrade the bullpen, too, with a veteran arm such as Matt Lindstrom, Brandon Lyon or Jason Frasor.
Chicago White Sox
The White Sox faded from view with their 4-11 toe-stubbing down the stretch, which cost them a division title. They could use a left-handed hitter to pair with Dayan Viciedo in left field. Oakland’s Seth Smith would be a terrific fit, but it’s not clear how available he is via trade. GM Rick Hahn (pictured) also might add a starter, to insure against regression by young left-handers Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Hector Santiago.
The Indians finally found a major free agent to take their money, with Nick Swisher (pictured) agreeing to a four-year, $56 million deal. They are far from done, though. They'll need to improve their rotation if they hope to make a run at the Detroit Tigers and their vaunted pitching staff.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays were one of the hottest teams in baseball as the 2012 regular season ended, but GM Andrew Friedman (pictured) has a lot of work ahead of him. Yes, the industry applauded his acquisition of Wil Myers. But Myers, who has never played in the big leagues, might not duplicate B.J. Upton’s production right away. Could Friedman acquire Justin Upton or Jason Kubel from Arizona? Meanwhile, James Shields’ reliable innings will be sorely missed in the rotation.