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The MLB offseason is officially underway.This winter should bring plenty of excitement thanks to a free-agent class headlined by Bryce Harper and Manny Machado Jake Smolinski Jersey , and a trade market that could really shift the balance if a few teams on the fringe decide to start rebuilding.With the Red Sox and Dodgers still in the spotlight, let's take a look at what awaits both World Series participants this offseason, including their incumbent free agents and various areas of need.Boston Red SoxNathan EovaldiBob Levey/Getty ImagesNotable Free Agents:RP Craig Kimbrel, SP Nathan Eovaldi, 1B/OF Steve Pearce, 2B Ian Kinsler, RP Joe Kelly, SP/RP Drew Pomeranz, 2B Brandon Phillips, IF Eduardo Nunez (player option)First and foremost, the Red Sox will need to decide whether re-signing closer Craig Kimbrel is a priority.The 30-year-old is the game's active saves leader with 333, including 42 this season in 63 games, while posting a 2.74 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 13.9 strikeouts per nine innings.Craig KimbrelSean M. Haffey/Getty ImagesWhile he nailed down all six of his save chances during the postseason, he struggled to the tune of a 5.91 ERA and 1.59 WHIP over 10.2 innings. As the top closer on the market, a big payday is coming his way, and the Red Sox might prefer to let someone else pony up for his post-prime years.Zach Britton, Cody Allen, Kelvin Herrera, David Robertson and Jeurys Familia are among the alternatives on the free-agent market who have closing experience.Next on the to-do list will be deciding whether to bring back deadline-addition and postseason standout Nathan Eovaldi.Nick Cafardo of theBoston Globeoffered up the following on his likely asking price:"Most executives think a comparable isAlex Cobb, who also came back from Tommy John and landed a four-year, $57 million deal with Baltimore last offseason. Eovaldi's pedigree exceeds Cobb's at this point http://www.athleticsfanproshop.com/authentic-khris-davis-jersey , so his contract should be more lucrative. The Red Sox should be interested in re-signing him, particularly withChris Sale'scurrent physical condition."With Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez likely locked into four rotation spots, the team will need to add at least one starter, whether it's a reunion with Eovaldi or an outside pickup.Beyond those two key free agents, the team could also explore a reunion with World Series MVP Steve Pearce, who made for an excellent platoon partner with first baseman Mitch Moreland thanks to his strong work against left-handed pitching.The team could also conceivably look for upgrades at catcher and second base.Christian Vazquez, Sandy Leon and Dan Butler hit a combined .194/.246/.288 during the regular season, so it wouldn't be hard to find an offensive upgrade behind the plate. Vazquez signed a three-year extension in March and remains a plus defender, so it's unlikely the team will move on from him entirely.What role will Dustin Pedroia play in 2019?Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty ImagesAt second base, the health of 35-year-old Dustin Pedroia is the big question mark. Veterans Brandon Phillips and Ian Kinsler were brought in as stopgap solutions during the season, but they're now free agents.Eduardo Nunez will be back if he exercises his $5 million player option and Brock Holt can play second, but the team might prefer keeping them two in utility roles and exploring more of an everyday solution. A reunion with Kinsler is a possibility at the right price.Beyond that, expect a few bullpen arms to be added the mix. Re-signing Joe Kelly is a possibility, but the Sox will likely cast a wide net.The other focus of the offseason could be on in-house extensions.Sale andXander Bogaerts are free agents in two offseasons and Mookie Betts hits the open market after 2020, so locking up at least one of those cornerstone players would be nice.The rival New York Yankees aren't going anywhere, and both the Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians are built for long-term success, but there's no reason to think the Red Sox won't again be among the World Series favorites in 2019. Los Angeles DodgersManny MachadoSean M. Haffey/Getty ImagesNotable Free Agents:SS/3B Manny Machado, C Yasmani Grandal, SP Hyun-Jin Ryu, 2B Brian Dozier Chad Pinder Jersey , RP Ryan Madson, RP John Axford, RP Daniel Hudson, RP Tom Koehler, SP Clayton Kershaw (opt-out)The Dodgers will have a decision from Clayton Kershaw on whether he'll exercise his opt-out clause by midnight ET on Thursday, and he offered up the following to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com on his current mindset:"I know the future questions are obviously coming for myself. ... I've got three days now to think about all of that stuff before anything happens. And so it will be an eventful three days for me, and I'll try to figure it out.I haven't made the decision yet. We have three days to talk, between us and the Dodgers, see what happens. And then we'll go from there."Even if he does decide to opt out, there's a good chance it will simply be to secure a longer deal from the Dodgers. You never know, though.At any rate, adding at least one starting pitcher will be on the to-do list, as Hyun-Jin Ryu is also a free agent.That leaves Walker Buehler and Rich Hill as the only two pitchers locked into rotation spots, while Alex Wood, Ross Stripling and Kenta Maeda split their time between starting and relieving last season.Ryan MadsonElsa/Getty ImagesBridging the gap to closer Kenley Jansen was also a struggle at times, so signing a setup reliever or two could go a long way.Ryan Madson filled the eighth-inning role after joining the team in August, and he'll be a candidate to be re-signed. Pedro Baez, Scott Alexander and Dylan Floro will be back, but more help is needed.Second base also looks like an area of need.Brian Dozier is a free agent, and the team would benefit from leaving Chris Taylor and Kike Hernandez in utility roles. Kansas City Royals standout Whit Merrifield could be a fit on the trade market, while guys like Jed Lowrie, DJ LeMahieu and Daniel Murphy are options in free agency.The recovery of Corey Seager is also a storyline worth watching.While it's unlikely the team will make an attempt to re-sign Manny Machado with theshortstop on the mend http://www.athleticsfanproshop.com/authentic-khris-davis-jersey , a stopgap addition might be necessary if he's not on track to return by Opening Day.Yasmani GrandalEzra Shaw/Getty ImagesCatcher Yasmani Grandal is also a free agent and is likely headed for a nice payday as the top backstop on the market. Defensive-minded Austin Barnes will be back, but the team could opt to leave the position open with prospects Will Smith and Keibert Ruiz knocking on the door.Signing someone like Kurt Suzuki to a one-year deal to team with Barnes until the young guys are ready might make sense.The Dodgers have won six straight NL West titles, and a seventh could be forthcoming if they can fill in the roster gaps with another busy winter. All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference, unless otherwise noted. The deal could reportedly keep Acuna in Atlanta through the 2028 season."WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections Talking Chop User’s GuideTalking Chop PodcastAround the NL EastBaseball Analysis PrimerBraves sign Ronald Acuna Jr. to 10-year, $124M extension (UPDATED)New,535commentsThe deal could reportedly keep Acuna in Atlanta through the 2028 season.EDTShareTweetShareShareBraves sign Ronald Acuna Jr. to 10-year, $124M extension (UPDATED)Aaron Doster-USA TODAY SportsThe Braves have reached a 10-year, $124 million extension with star outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr.According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the deal starts this season, includes two club options and runs through 2028. The club options in 2027 and 2028 are reportedly worth $17 million each with a $10 million buyout.Prior to signing the extension, Acuna was under the Braves’ control through 2024. The deal buys out four years of free agency.Acuna, 21, burst onto the Major League scene after skyrocketing through the minor leagues. He owns a .291/.366/.548 batting line through his first 115 games. His tremendous second half of 2018 propelled him to National League Rookie of the Year honors.We are awaiting specifics for how the money will break down on an annual basis. As soon as those are announced we will update this post.This is, obviously, a big day for the Braves and their star outfielder. It locks in cost certainty for the front office in a time where arbitration figures are skyrocketing, and it provides Acuna and his family with financial security for life and the ability to become a free agent at the age of 31 if he so chooses. Acuna signed for just $100K as a teenager in Venezuela.Two weeks ago, Talking Chop wrote that now is the time to extend Acuna.UPDATEThe Braves have officially announced Acuna’s new deal. This is the second largest contract in team history trailing only Freddie Freeman’s eight-year, $135 million deal from 2014. The deal begins this season will last through the 2026 season. It also includes club options for 2027 and 2028.
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