- Buster Olney, Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine
A year ago, Marlon Byrd was coming off a season in which he had been suspended for the use of performance-enhancing drugs and was limited to just 47 games, and he eventually settled for a make-good minor league deal with the New York Mets.
Now he's 36 years old and getting a $16 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, which speaks to the level of desperation in play for teams wanting to get better, needing to get better.
As baseball executives meet in Orlando this week for the GM meetings, these are the 10 biggest holes that have to be filled among would-be contenders:
1. Texas Rangers: middle-of-the-order bats
Josh Hamilton walked away a year ago, Nelson Cruz is prepared to walk away now, and the Rangers -- who have historically posted top-notch, productive lineups in the way Duke has had good basketball teams -- have a problem. With Cruz, they clubbed 176 homers last season, and without him, they will lack thump.
This is why Brian McCann could make sense for them, or Carlos Beltran, or both. This is why they could be the best match for the Dodgers for an outfielder trade. This is why rival executives believe that if and when Giancarlo Stanton is traded, the Rangers will be at the front of the line and sticking their elbows out.