- Jim Bowden, ESPN Insider
In the offseason, teams bid for the same free agents, try to negotiate trades for many of the same players, and even vie for the same players in December’s Rule 5 draft at the annual winter meetings. However, that doesn’t mean the teams are on a level playing field as they compete for those players. Some teams will have definite advantages going into the offseason, and not simply because of financial wherewithal.
Indeed, the teams that are best-positioned for the offseason already have gone to great lengths to ensure they have trade assets on their major league rosters and in their farm systems as well as adequate money to spend on free agents. And these teams usually feature a general manager who’s ready to wheel and deal. The teams that have this positioning usually are the ones that are playing deep into October.
On Friday we discussed which general managers had the toughest jobs this offseason. Let’s take a look at the four teams best-positioned for this offseason. I evaluated them using five categories: major league roster, farm system, payroll/money to spend, trade bait and needs (plus a quick look at the GM's priorities).