Stock(ing) Watch: Where all 30 MLB teams stand now that the big free agents are off the board


As we navigate the holiday season, baseball fans can do so with a rare gift already in place. After a frenetic offseason, the heavy lifting of the hot stove campaign is arguably already complete.

That’s almost unheard of for a sport that in recent years has seen offseasons move at a glacial pace, but so far, this has been a glorious one. Teams still have work to do. There are still middle-tier free agents to be signed, some of whom will play valuable roles for their new teams. And you never know when a splashy trade can alter the MLB landscape.

Still and all, with the elite free agents all locked up, it’s a perfect time to take a snapshot of the league as we head into the rest of the winter.

These numbers here are a rough cut. Underpinning them are the player projections from Steamer, available at I’ve made tweaks to playing time forecasts on my depth charts in order to compile a basic win projection for each team, which I used as the basis for running 10,000 simulations of the 2023 schedule.

Some quick notes on what you see:

• Teams are ranked by projected wins, or the average wins during the simulations.

• Playoffs and title odds are self explanatory, except …

• I also ran simulations based on an estimate of how teams rated based on healthy versions of rosters as they stood before the start of free agency. Following the title odds is a number that tells us how much a team’s championship chances have gone up or down or not all based on its offseason work to date.

• I’ve estimated how much impact new acquisitions will have on the 2023 rosters, based on projected playing time. Since the numbers are rough, rather than sharing that calculation, I’ve simply indicated how a team ranks in terms of offseason “aggression.” This measure is as much about quantity as quality. That’s because …

• Teams also lose players. The “improvement” rank considers the net impact a team’s offseason machinations have had on its 2023 outlook. This is a rating on the moves alone, not on the team’s overall chances to be better, an assessment that should also consider aging patterns, improvement of young players, regression factors, etc.

Here are the top 30 teams in Major League Baseball, as of today.

Projected wins: 102.8
Playoff odds: 98%
Title odds: 18% (up 6.8%)
Aggression rank: 1
Improvement rank: 2

The Mets certainly have been busy. And while you can say the spate of rotation moves has largely resulted in a wash — Justin Verlander, Jose Quintana, Kodai Senga in; Jacob deGrom, Chris Bassitt, Taijuan Walker out — the addition of Carlos Correa (assuming the sides can work through the medical issue that arose during Correa’s physical) has put this New York offseason into the stratosphere. Despite the addition of Verlander, much of the Mets’ gain might come on hitting side, and not just because of Correa but also because of the on-paper upgrade catcher Omar Narvaez represents at the plate, where Mets ranked 22nd in WAR last season, per The Mets’ bullpen certainly looks like a deeper unit behind Edwin Diaz as well, especially after Adam Ottavino reupped with the team last week. It still all has to work on the field, and this is an old roster. The payroll of course is beyond bloated. But the depth of frontline veteran talent on these Mets is staggering.

Projected wins: 99.9
Playoff odds: 96%
Title odds: 14% (up 0.1%)
Aggression rank: 8
Improvement rank: 15

The Padres’ 2023 forecast was going to look better than their actual 2022 results even if A.J. Preller had set out to enjoy a quiet winter. That’s because of two major changes to the roster that had nothing to do with transactions: a regression to the mean by Juan Soto, and the return of Fernando Tatis Jr. Then Preller went out and aggressively re-signed a couple of his own free agents (Nick Martinez and Robert Suarez), then added Seth Lugo, Matt Carpenter and, of course, Xander Bogaerts. Before Carlos Correa suddenly joined the Mets in the middle of the night this week, the Padres rated as the team to beat entering 2023. They’ve been leapfrogged by New York, but San Diego remains very much a front-runner as the new season looms.

Projected wins: 99.4
Playoff odds: 96%
Title odds: 16% (up 3.8%)
Aggression rank: 11
Improvement rank: 4

As my colleague Dave Schoenfield wrote, as crucial as re-signing Aaron Judge was to the immediate future of the Yankees, it technically isn’t a move that makes them better. It just kept them from getting markedly worse. On the other hand, New York’s successful pursuit of free agent ace Carlos Rodon is the kind of move that makes a club’s offseason. There is no better way to improve a club’s projection than to add a four-to-five-win player, and if Rodon stays healthy, that’s what he is. The Yankees could use an outfielder, preferably one with a lefty stick, but it’s all gravy from here.

Projected wins: 99.2
Playoff odds: 96%
Title odds: 11% (down 1.8%)
Aggression rank: 12
Improvement rank: 11

It’s not easy for a team to lose players like Dansby Swanson and William Contreras and still appear to come out ahead, but the Braves have been working from a position of strength pretty much since Alex Anthopoulos arrived to take over the front office. The addition of Sean Murphy shores up the catching position for years to come. Meanwhile, the Braves have focused on their depth, adding complementary players like Sam Hilliard, Jordan Luplow and several veteran relievers. More depth work is likely to come, but the Braves’ roster appears mostly set. Should be another banner season in Cobb County.

Projected wins: 94.4
Playoff odds: 88%
Title odds: 8% (down 2%)
Aggression rank: 28
Improvement rank: 21

The Rays have had a passive offseason, though the addition of Zach Eflin to the rotation on a three-year deal was an aggressive maneuver that took place before the pitching market went into warp speed. Beyond that, the addition of former Guardians reliever Kevin Kelly adds to the bullpen mix, and that’s about it. Still, the Rays look loaded with talent and enter 2023 with the potential to feature a leading MVP candidate (Wander Franco) and Cy Young candidate (Shane McClanahan). That’s a lot of star power for a low-budget franchise that has excelled based on depth, interchangeability and innovation.

Projected wins: 93.2
Playoff odds: 84%
Title odds: 8% (down 1.8%)
Aggression rank: 22
Improvement rank: 19

As the defending champs, you might think the Astros have nothing to prove. Yet if there is one thing that the head-scratching departure of GM James Click accomplished, it was to cast a question mark over this Houston offseason. The departure of Verlander was not a surprise, nor has been the lack of moves to replace him, as the Astros are deep in the pitching department. The addition of 30-something free agent Jose Abreu on a multiyear deal was a bit surprising, but for next season at least, he should be an upgrade over what Houston got last season from Yuli Gurriel.

Projected wins: 92.3
Playoff odds: 84%
Title odds: 5% (up 0.3%)
Aggression rank: 23
Improvement rank: 10

The Cardinals are rarely aggressive when it comes to a quantity of moves to add players from outside the organization. However, St. Louis has been opportunistic when it comes to making a targeted move, and generally those have paid off. The latest maneuver to fit that bill is the signing of catcher Willson Contreras. It’s the only move that as of now figures to impact the big league depth chart in a significant way. Yet it appears to have been enough to give the Redbirds a strong offseason grade, as the roster looks solid. Another starting pitcher would be a good idea, but don’t we always say that about St. Louis?

Projected wins: 89.9
Playoff odds: 73%
Title odds: 4% (up 0.2%)
Aggression rank: 17
Improvement rank: 14

The major moves for Toronto have largely been de facto swaps. On the position player side, the Jays dealt away Teoscar Hernandez, then went out and signed Kevin Kiermaier. The consequences of this kind of switch are hard to capture in a rough projection like this, as the improvement in the Jays’ defense that should result could have a ripple effect. On the pitching side, Toronto lost Ross Stripling to free agency but signed Chris Bassitt, who figures at the very least to give the team more innings. There’s more work to do, and the Jays are a team to watch in trade discussions because of their surplus of starting-caliber catchers.

Projected wins: 89.7
Playoff odds: 72%
Title odds: 3% (down 5.1%)
Aggression rank: 25
Improvement rank: 30

Steamer isn’t particularly excited about the additions of J.D. Martinez and Noah Syndergaard, which plays into a rather surprising ranking for the Dodgers. Why surprising? At this point, I almost take it for granted that the Dodgers will end up ranked first in almost any kind of projection-based ranking that I do. What the forecasts can’t capture is the Dodgers’ uncanny ability to get acquired players to produce at a level a tier or two above what the numbers suggest. You know, players like Martinez and Syndergaard. And, for that matter, how will Cubs fans feel if, all of a sudden, the Dodgers turn Jason Heyward into a feared masher? Still, this doesn’t feel like it’s been a good offseason for L.A. The offseason, though, is only half over.

Projected wins: 88.4
Playoff odds: 71%
Title odds: 4% (down 0.3%)
Aggression rank: 18
Improvement rank: 17

The Guardians made the playoffs last season with the game’s youngest roster. It wasn’t a perfect roster by any means, and there were holes behind the plate and at first base. Free agent first sacker Josh Bell seems like an ideal fit, especially as the Guardians of recent vintage have tended to feature a lot of switch-hitters. At catcher, after Cleveland seemed to be connected to Murphy in the rumor mill, coming away with Mike Zunino is a bit of a letdown if only because he isn’t likely to produce at Murphy’s level, but he does add a long ball threat in addition to his work behind the plate. These limited moves are all you could really expect of a playoff team that features nearly an entire roster of players still on the upswing.

Projected wins: 85.7
Playoff odds: 53%
Title odds: 2% (down 1.1%)
Aggression rank: 13
Improvement rank: 29

This could be just the verdict of one projection system, but the players the Brewers have added so far this offseason (Jesse Winker, William Contreras, Abraham Toro, some relievers) don’t forecast as well as what they’ve given up or lost (Kolten Wong, Hunter Renfroe, Narvaez, Esteury Ruiz, Jace Peterson, Andrew McCutchen, Taylor Rogers, others). Milwaukee might be looking to lean on some exciting internal options like Brice Turang and Sal Frelick. According to Craig Counsell, even 18-year-old Jackson Chourio is a possibility at some point in 2023. As of now, though, it hasn’t been a scintillating hot stove season for the new order in the Milwaukee front office.

Projected wins: 85.2
Playoff odds: 50%
Title odds: 2% (up 0.9%)
Aggression rank: 5
Improvement rank: 5

Dave Dombrowski has been at this for a long time. His team last season was flawed, but it was also bolstered by a foundation of big-name veteran talent, and once the Phillies squeezed into baseball’s newest playoff slot, it all came together. Still, while the Phillies were literally two wins from a title in 2022, the roster was not a finished product, and Dombrowski has been characteristically aggressive about adding to it. Trea Turner is a great player who would have a major impact on any team he plays for, and that team is going to be the Phillies for a long, long time. Even better, as a high-average, super-athletic player, Turner adds major doses of skill sets this club badly needed to be better balanced.

Projected wins: 83.3
Playoff odds: 42%
Title odds: 2% (up 0.2%)
Aggression rank: 10
Improvement rank: 16

The window of contention is open in Seattle, and Jerry Dipoto’s always-frenzied style of roster management has been carefully aimed so far this offseason. Teoscar Hernandez gives the M’s a needed upgrade from a power standpoint, though he’s not the all-around performer that Mitch Haniger was. And Kolten Wong, assuming some of his defensive quirks in Milwaukee were temporary, is a great fit as an everyday second baseman in a post-shift world. Seattle could use another bat and has DH at-bats to offer. The big remaining question: Are the Mariners holding out for Jarred Kelenic to become what they’d hoped? The numbers so far are discouraging.

Projected wins: 81.8
Playoff odds: 36%
Title odds: 1% (down 0.3%)
Aggression rank: 21
Improvement rank: 24

At the 1975 winter meetings, White Sox owner Bill Veeck and general manager Roland Hemond hung a sign on a table saying “open for business.” The 2022-23 White Sox, under Jerry Reinsdorf and Rick Hahn, are considerably less flamboyant, both in style and approach. The White Sox at least have balanced their roster by ostensibly exchanging the on-field value of Jose Abreu for that of Andrew Benintendi, comparable players who go about things in very different ways. Benintendi adds things the White Sox needed — speed, outfield defense, though the lineup also needs more home runs and that’s not Benintendi’s calling card. But when you’re taking a passive approach to things, you aren’t going to spring for a player who fills all your needs. The White Sox need to be aggressive in adding quality depth to the back half of their 40-man roster to get them through next season. And, for the love of Veeck, can this team acquire an everyday second baseman?

Projected wins: 81
Playoff odds: 31%
Title odds: 1% (up 0.2%)
Aggression rank: 6
Improvement rank: 7

If the Angels are going to have a breakthrough season, a couple of things have to occur. First of all and most obvious, the stars on the top-heavy roster have to be on the field more often than not. Mostly, I’m talking about Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon. The position group seems deeper with complementary veterans Renfroe, Gio Urshela and Brandon Drury joining the group. The rotation needs health and probably another quality arm or two, but the real key is the bullpen. That’s the other thing that is a prerequisite for a breakthrough season: The Angels need to show they can staff and manage a contention-quality bullpen for the six-month slog of a season.

Projected wins: 80.5
Playoff odds: 30%
Title odds: 1% (down 0.6%)
Aggression rank: 14
Improvement rank: 28

The loss of Correa is a killer to hopes the Twins will enjoy a happy offseason, especially since there aren’t any remaining free agents who approach his stature. As we ponder the question of why a team would finally wave the white flag on hacktastic Miguel Sano and then go out and sign Joey Gallo, it’s fair to wonder if the post-Correa Twins have an identity crisis. The pre-Correa Twins at least were marked by mashers such as Nelson Cruz. But what are they now? Well, they’re a team with solid process, an excellent manager, a middle-of-the-road profile in a weak division, and a $35 million payroll slot that has been opened up. So let’s get cracking.

Projected wins: 79.5
Playoff odds: 24%
Title odds: 1% (up 0.5%)
Aggression rank: 3
Improvement rank: 1

Not only have the Rangers acquired an entire rotation over the past couple of seasons, but in this particular offseason, it’s all been adding. None of the 2022 Rangers who don’t figure to be back are likely to be missed on the field. At some point soon, all of this spending is going to have to be bolstered by the two things championship organizations do beyond aggressive, targeted spending. First, their development system maintains a flow of winning roster options. Second, the major league staff — medical and coaching — shows it can get the most out of those high-priced veterans. These are the things that new lead exec Chris Young will have to get into place as he looks to make the Rangers relevant.

Projected wins: 76.9
Playoff odds: 15%
Title odds: 0% (no change)
Aggression rank: 9
Improvement rank: 18

Boston’s biggest money splurge has been for Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida, so we’ll see how that goes. I’m still not sure there’s enough power with this group, though the decision to turn first base over to Triston Casas — aided by Bobby Dalbec — opens up a wider range of possibilities at that spot. On the pitching side, Boston has targeted veteran relievers, led by new closer Kenley Jansen. I’m not sure what to make of the rotation, which to some extent will be hoping for injury comebacks from Chris Sale and James Paxton. It feels like too much finger-crossing. The Red Sox need to add more. They could also use a league-average (at least) center fielder with a plus glove.

Projected wins: 76.1
Playoff odds: 13%
Title odds: 0% (no change)
Aggression rank: 7
Improvement rank: 6

The entire dynamic of the Giants’ offseason flipped when the Correa deal fell through, and now the loss of ace Rodon in the rotation looks that much more difficult to stomach. Still, that group should remain a strength after adding Sean Manaea and Ross Stripling, which gives Frisco a rotation crowd that goes seven deep. But the primary hope for an improvement in the position group was a free agent class headed by a superstar — Correa, Judge, somebody — but the Giants came out of that part of the free agent derby empty-handed. So now we are left, once again, with the Giants’ incessant process of roster iteration in pursuit of heightening value, one move at a time. Signing Correa or Judge would have been much simpler — and exciting.

Projected wins: 75.8
Playoff odds: 12%
Title odds: 0% (down 0.1%)
Aggression rank: 30
Improvement rank: 26

There is not a more frustrating franchise in baseball. A few years ago, the Marlins reached a point where, with a lineup led by Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and J.T. Realmuto, they projected to field the best everyday group in the National League. The pitching was weak, but perhaps some smart spending … uh, never mind. It’s the Marlins. All those guys were traded for a collective return that has been mostly disappointing. But the rebuild did yield an exciting flow of pitching, so if the Marlins could bolster the offense … uh, never mind. It’s the Marlins. So far this offseason they have done, in the immortal words of Kurt Vonnegut, doodley-squat.

Projected wins: 74.3
Playoff odds: 9%
Title odds: 0% (no change)
Aggression rank: 15
Improvement rank: 20

Pittsburgh is an underrated city. It’s clean, vibrant, lovely. The funicular ride up the Monongahela Incline is exhilarating. The food is great. The people are great. There are more good bars than one can count. There are a number of interesting museums, such as the Andy Warhol Museum, and those outings can fill a few days on a short getaway. The ballpark is gorgeous and picturesque. The city is easy to get around without a car. Fred Rogers is from Pittsburgh. The NFL team is one of the most successful in league history. The baseball team has a rich history, and you should definitely check out the wall at the old Forbes Field site that commemorates Bill Mazeroski’s home run. But the baseball team’s current incarnation, the one we’re rating here, I’m not quite sure I understand what the hell they’re doing.

Projected wins: 73.7
Playoff odds: 8%
Title odds: 0% (no change)
Aggression rank: 27
Improvement rank: 23

I’m high on the Diamondbacks over the long haul, even if there are more young lefty-hitting outfielders than I really know what to do with and the bullpen kind of looks like a new jigsaw puzzle with the pieces dumped out onto the coffee table. But you have to start somewhere, and the lineup spearheaded by all those young outfielders — Corbin Carroll, Alek Thomas, Jake McCarthy, Daulton Varsho and recently acquired Kyle Lewis — is exciting. The rotation has an elite one-two punch in Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly. There are some real foundation players here and they are growing in number.

Projected wins: 73.2
Playoff odds: 8%
Title odds: 0% (no change)
Aggression rank: 4
Improvement rank: 3

The Cubs have had a good offseason, one that raises their floor entering 2023. Dansby Swanson gives the position group a kingpin, while Jameson Taillon is both a source of quality innings and the possessor of a bit of untapped potential. And speaking of potential, if the Cubs can dispose of the demon that has haunted Cody Bellinger the past couple of years, he has the talent to be the biggest upgrade any team made this winter. Or maybe he’ll hit .203. Again, the floor has been raised. The ceiling? That’s a matter of the work the Cubs have done on their system paying off sooner than later.

Projected wins: 72.4
Playoff odds: 6%
Title odds: 0% (no change)
Aggression rank: 19
Improvement rank: 8

While I was hoping for a splashy Orioles winter — Correa! Jacob deGrom! — I also understood that the team couldn’t operate as if last year’s playoff contention was a real thing. Well, of course it was real, and it was spectacular. But the Orioles weren’t as good as their record. They were a team still in rebuild mode that had an emergent bullpen and saw the ascension of some key young players, including new franchise face Adley Rutschman. Allowing the new young core to coalesce is probably smart, even as Baltimore tries to be opportunistic in the star market going forward. But a real splash would have been fun.

Projected wins: 67.8
Playoff odds: 2%
Title odds: 0% (no change)
Aggression rank: 26
Improvement rank: 22

It’s a bad sign when a team that designed its rebuild on developing a cluster of starting pitchers signs Jordan Lyles and Ryan Yarbrough to stabilize the rotation. But the Royals need to find out what their young core, led by Bobby Witt Jr., is going to become before they can really make a free agent splurge. Hopefully the picture starts to clarify in 2023.

Projected wins: 66.3
Playoff odds: 2%
Title odds: 0% (no change)
Aggression rank: 16
Improvement rank: 13

Kind of like the Royals: The young starting pitchers were supposed to lead the way. But the Tigers signed Matthew Boyd and Michael Lorenzen to bolster the rotation because that simply wasn’t happening. While Detroit’s 2023 narrative will be dominated by Miguel Cabrera‘s likely farewell tour, in the bigger picture the Tigers are desperate for some good news on the development front. Can Riley Greene start to look like a star? Can Spencer Torkelson fully climb out of last season’s sinkhole? Can Javier Baez return to All-Star contention? Can Matt Manning and Tarik Skubal make strides, assuming the latter is able to get back from his arm trouble? That’s what 2023 will be about.

Projected wins: 63.1
Playoff odds: 1%
Title odds: 0% (no change)
Aggression rank: 2
Improvement rank: 12

The A’s have been active in adding a mix of floor-raisers like Jace Peterson, Aledmys Diaz and Trevor May with some younger players acquired in the never-ending sell-off. It adds up to an aggressive approach that doesn’t dovetail exactly with the immediate impact. But this is a long-term play for the Athletics, the franchise perpetually stuck in limbo. There’s probably a Hamlet soliloquy that could explain this franchise.

Projected wins: 62.4
Playoff odds: 0%
Title odds: 0% (no change)
Aggression rank: 20
Improvement rank: 9

The Nationals once again lead the league in Doolittles, having re-signed Sean to a minor league pact this offseason. It’s a formula that led the way to a title in 2019, but it might take more than that in 2023. Quiz time: Where are you at in your rebuild? Is one of your most impactful additions a player who was non-tendered by the Tigers (Jeimer Candelario)? Yes? Well then, you have a ways to go, and not because Candelario doesn’t make you better. It’s because he does.

Projected wins: 61.8
Playoff odds: 0%
Title odds: 0% (no change)
Aggression rank: 29
Improvement rank: 25

I like the addition of Nolan Jones, who became extraneous in Cleveland. And Brent Suter is one of my favorite personalities in baseball. But this franchise is utterly spinning its wheels.

Projected wins: 60
Playoff odds: 0%
Title odds: 0% (no change)
Aggression rank: 24
Improvement rank: 27

The Reds lost 100 games last year, and yet the players that they lost, led by Kyle Farmer, Mike Minor and Donovan Solano, profile as a hair better than the group of pickups, led by Kevin Newman, Nick Solak and Luke Maile. I, as I am sure are many Reds fans, am very much looking forward to the eventual ascension of shortstop Elly De La Cruz. He’s not alone in terms of future Cincinnati hopes, but he’s on the 40-man roster and he’s exciting.

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