27. Chicago White Sox (67-95)
The White Sox barely have any money on the books for 2018. They have an enviable crop of young MLB talent, and the top-ranked farm system, according to MLB.com. They’ll have the fourth pick in the 2018 draft. And when they’re ready to get competitive, they should have plenty of room to grow in terms of payroll. There’s not a ton to do this offseason, to be honest. I would recommend Rick Hahn do the same thing I suggested for Detroit – sign a few veterans they can flip, and try to “buy” some prospects in exchange for absorbing dead money. The one big move they might decide to make would be to trade Jose Abreu. It wouldn’t be a bad time to do that, as there aren’t many power bats on the open market outside of J.D. Martinez.
26. Cincinnati Reds (68-94)
What a miserable franchise. Technically, it wasn’t that long ago that this team was competing in the NL Central, but boy does it feel like ages. Poor Joey Votto is stuck in the middle of a pretty rough batting order, and is locked in at $25 million per year until 2023. On the pitching side there were steps forward: Raisel Iglesias’s breakout year and Luis Castillo’s dominant stretch. But there’s very little to like on this team, and they seem years away from competing in the Central. Should they try to deal Votto and rebuild? I suppose that’s one route. I’d argue that Votto at least makes this team watchable on a nightly basis, which would totally evaporate with him gone. Top prospect Nick Senzel is a key cog of their future, so Cincy fans will be eager to see him advance through the system. As far as signings, it’s probably best to snag some marginal veterans that can be flipped at the deadline.
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