Before the feeding-frenzy that is Major League Baseball's free agent signing period starts to really heat up, it's time to take an early look at some teams to be wary of, despite decent odds to win next year's World Series. There a few teams with higher expectations, but still have plenty of work to do to before teams report to spring training.
Los Angeles Angels (14-1)
The Angels were one of the most disappointing teams in 2012. They finished the season 74-88, which placed them third in the A.L. West, 18 games behind the Oakland A's. Although the Angels were a solid hitting team, their high paid superstar free agents Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton struggled. They both hit under .260 and combined for 38 HRs and 143 RBIs. That's $1.15 million per HR. But where the Angels really struggled was pitching and fielding. Aside from C.J. Wilson (17-7 3.39 ERA) and Jered Weaver (11-8 3.27 ERA), the Angels ranked 24th in team ERA (4.23) and 26th in opponents batting average (.261). So the Angels will have to sure up the back end of their rotation and bullpen if they want to be the contender many peg them to be.
New York Yankees (16-1)
Any time the Bronx Bombers don't make the playoffs it's a disappointing season. Mix in the fact that the rival Boston Red Sox won the World Series and then it becomes even more vital the Yankees succeed next season. Unfortunately for the Yanks, what was already an anemic offense, may be losing their best position player in second baseman Robinson Cano. Cano is looking for a $300 million contract this offseason and if the Yankees don't offer something close to that, he may walk. On a team that ranked 24th in batting average (.242), 23rd in on base percentage (.307) and 26th in OPS (.683), Cano led the Yankees in
all three categories. He also led them in HRs (27), RBIs (107) and runs scored(81).
Chicago White Sox (40-1)
Even at 40-1 those are favorable odds for a White Sox team that lost 99 games last season. It was the first time the Sox had fewer than 70 wins since 1995. The biggest problem for the White Sox last season was producing runs. Look for the White Sox to add a bat or two this offseason to try and
beef up a lineup that also only had one player hit more than 20 HRs. The White Sox also only hit .249 last season and Adam Dunn was the only Chicago player to drive in more than 80 runs, no one else has more than 62. The White Sox finished last season ahead of only the lowly Miami Marlins in runs scored with 598 and ranked 28th in total RBIs with (574).