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MLB offseason preview: What's next for teams that lost in the playoffs

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For MLB teams that didn't go all the way in the postseason -- and those that didn't get there at all -- there's only so much time to spend on reflection before starting in on identifying what they need to get done during the offseason. Whether it's re-signing a key free agent, addressing a key weakness that undermined their bid to win in 2020 or investigating a big trade that could turn around their fortunes, we look at the priority items on every team's agenda heading into hot stove season.

Eliminated NL playoff teams

Atlanta Braves

The Braves were so close they could taste it, but after holding a 3-1 lead in the National League Championship Series, Atlanta lost three straight to the Dodgers and will have to watch the World Series from home. What's next for Braves

Chicago Cubs

It's hard to know how 2020 will affect the numbers, but Javier Baez wasn't far from signing a deal before baseball shut down in March. That wasn't long after Christian Yelich signed for nine years and $215 million with the Brewers. Baez won't get that much, though the Cubs might like a lengthy deal to spread out the annual hit. Where Cubs go next

Cincinnati Reds

The rotation carried the team in 2020, but there is no way the Reds will be able to afford to keep Trevor Bauer, who played for $17 million and could command $30 million on a one-year contract in free agency. He has said he plans to sign only one-year deals to maximize his annual salaries. Reds face big questions

Miami Marlins

Reaching the playoffs wasn't the only surprise the Fish had in store for 2020 -- they eliminated the Cubs before getting taken down by the Braves. But are they ready to afford a lasting move into the ranks of the contenders? Building on a surprise

Milwaukee Brewers

Will they trade closer Josh Hader? The Brewers gauged interest in him before this season's trade deadline as his production is quietly -- and sometimes not so quietly -- falling. His strikeout-to-walk ratio dropped from 6.9 in 2019 to 3.1 in 2020. Can Brewers keep contending?

St. Louis Cardinals

Veteran starter Adam Wainwright will be a free agent, as will catcher Yadier Molina, who told ESPN in April he'll play in 2021 after scrapping his plans to retire. This puts pressure on the team to re-sign them, as both are fan favorites. What's next for the Birds

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San Diego Padres

A breakthrough season for the Pads' enviable collection of talent might have come a year early, but that makes questions about their rotation and the future of Fernando Tatis Jr. that much more urgent to answer this winter. Padres' to-do list as contenders


Eliminated AL playoff teams

Chicago White Sox

The White Sox probably were a year ahead of schedule in making the postseason in 2020, but it still stings to get knocked out after three games, much less losing the first winner-take-all game in franchise history. Where do they go from here? Sox winter agenda

Sox aim for franchise first: Making playoffs in consecutive years

Cleveland Indians

Will they trade Francisco Lindor? This isn't just Cleveland's biggest question but one of the biggest questions of the entire offseason. Given the recent trades of Trevor Bauer, Corey Kluber and Mike Clevinger, we know Cleveland will deal star players before they hit free agency -- no matter the potential competitiveness of the team. With Lindor entering his final season before free agency, the rumors will be hot and hotter all offseason. Cleveland's priorities

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Houston Astros

After witnessing their attempt to come back from down 3-0 in the ALCS fall short in Game 7, the Astros finished their season in the wake of their sign-stealing scandal facing questions about who will be back in 2021. How many Astros All-Stars could leave?

Minnesota Twins

The four-year, $92 million contract the Twins gave to Josh Donaldson last winter is a huge investment for the team. The deal was a gamble that the Donaldson who annually played in 150-plus games for most of his career was not the player who couldn't stay on the field in 2017 and 2018. Do they need a contingency plan for 2021? Upgrading a contender

Twins torture: Breaking down Twins' record MLB playoffs losing streak

New York Yankees

After losing to the Rays to extend their title drought to 11 years, the Yankees face tough questions about what they have to do just to get back on top of their own division. Can they add pitching depth? And can they figure what to do with Gary Sanchez? Yanks can't let it ride

Why Sanchez isn't catching Gerrit Cole in the playoffs

Oakland A's

Before losing in the ALDS, the A's won their first postseason series since 2006. But can they build on that this winter considering how many free agents they stand to lose? And what happens if they can't convince Marcus Semien to stick around to man shortstop? A's face high turnover

Tampa Bay Rays

Would you have pulled Blake Snell in Game 6? The Rays did. Although they won the American League East for the first time since 2010 and made it to the World Series for the first time since 2008, they came up short of the franchise's first title. How Rays can come back stronger

Toronto Blue Jays

While they certainly benefited from the expanded playoff field, the Blue Jays were a pleasant surprise in making it to the postseason for the first time since 2016 behind an exciting young core of position players. Their stay didn't last long. What's next? How Jays build from this


Clubs who didn't make the postseason

What's next for 14 teams that didn't reach the playoffs