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One quick fix for each MLB team

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Not everything that ails a Major League team can be remedied with just a “quick fix.” But there are some problems that can be solved relatively simply and in a straightforward manner if the right pieces fall into place. With the help of each MLB.com beat writer, here’s a look at one quick fix each team could use right now.

Blue Jays: Get George Springer all the way back
Springer stepped up over the weekend in Pittsburgh to help the Blue Jays snap their skid and he’s been showing some encouraging signs for a while now, but getting the star outfielder back to his typical production level would send this lineup into the stratosphere. Springer has been battling an illness and a case of terrible luck with balls in play, both of which should improve soon. Once he’s back to the range of a .350 on-base percentage and .840 OPS in front of Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., he’ll be a run-scoring machine. –Keegan Matheson

Orioles: Get more innings from the starters
Entering Wednesday’s game, the O’s ranked 24th in MLB with 183 2/3 innings from their starters this year. Most members of the rotation haven’t pitched deep enough for much of the season, which has frequently taxed the bullpen. Baltimore ranked eighth in the Majors with 138 1/3 relief innings heading into Wednesday. So many of the Orioles’ games have been close — only three of their first 36 were decided by five or more runs — that manager Brandon Hyde has used his high-leverage relievers, such as closer Félix Bautista and setup man Yennier Cano, more than he’d like. That could be fixed with longer starts. — Jake Rill

Rays: Get the bullpen back
As well as things have been going for the Rays, they probably don’t need to fix anything. But one potential area of concern is the bullpen, which has sustained a couple of key injuries lately with Pete Fairbanks going on the IL and Garrett Cleavinger done for the season. Tampa Bay is adding some veteran depth with lefty Jake Diekman coming in, but it’s more important for Fairbanks to make a healthy return while others — notably lefties Colin Poche and Jalen Beeks — consistently rediscover the strike-throwing that’s made them successful in the past. — Adam Berry

Red Sox: Consistency from the starting rotation
Perhaps the most encouraging thing about the solid start for the Red Sox this season is that they’ve done it with a starting rotation that is 28th in the Majors in ERA. Of course, that is not sustainable over a 162-game season. At some point, the offense is going to cool off. Chris Sale has pitched well in two consecutive starts, and three out of four, so that’s an encouraging sign. It will be interesting to see who comes out of the rotation to account for the returns from the injured list of James Paxton (season debut on Friday) and Garett Whitlock (should return within a week to 10 days). — Ian Browne

Yankees: Bring up a hot bat
The Yankees sure could use an outfielder swinging a hot bat, and it would be a bonus if he played Gold Glove-caliber defense. Sounds too good to be true? They’ve actually got one stashed in Triple-A: Kole Calhoun, who has hit .500 (11-for-22) with three homers, nine RBIs and four stolen bases through six games. Sure, it’s a small sample size, but you could argue that the Yanks have seen a large enough sample from their current left field crop (especially Aaron Hicks) to determine that they’re not going to be the answer. They thought Franchy Cordero would be this year’s Matt Carpenter — maybe Calhoun becomes that guy. — Bryan Hoch

Guardians: Tap into some power
The Guardians have ranked at the bottom of all the leaderboards in every power category you can think of. This team wasn’t expected to be one of the most powerful in the Majors, but the signing of Josh Bell along with the bats of José Ramírez and Josh Naylor should put the club in a better position this year than last. So far, that’s not been the case. The offense has gotten off to a slow start in general, but if Amed Rosario’s four-hit night on Tuesday is an indication that he’s heating up, having him on base in front of Ramírez, Bell and Naylor when they’re at their best should result in many more runs than Cleveland has plated so far this season. — Mandy Bell

Royals: Steer Brady Singer back on track
Singer, the Royals’ first-round Draft pick in 2018, had a breakout 2022 season with a 3.23 ERA across 153 1/3 innings. The start to ’23 hasn’t been as smooth. The 26-year-old has an 8.82 ERA entering Thursday’s start against the White Sox, with a 1.60 WHIP. He’s allowed the most runs (33) in baseball, and hitters are crushing his fastball with a .338 average against Singer’s most-used pitch. Royals pitching must take a step forward this season as the club evaluates what they have in their system. That includes seeing other homegrown pitchers improving like Singer did last season. Now it also includes getting Singer back on that same path.— Anne Rogers

Tigers: Push the pedal on the bases
The Tigers don’t exactly have a speedy lineup, but they certainly have enough athletic, instinctive players to be a better baserunning club. They entered Wednesday ranked below league average in percentages of runners scoring, stolen bases and extra bases taken. A baserunning metric from Sports Info Solutions that combines stolen-base rate with extra bases taken, sacrifice flies, wild pitches and avoiding double plays ranks the Tigers 27th out of 30 MLB teams. Manager A.J. Hinch said he’d like this to become a team strength. Given the Tigers’ inconsistent offense, it’s one way to become more productive while waiting for hitters to break out. — Jason Beck

Twins: Be more selective at the plate
The Twins’ chase numbers and contact numbers are middle-of-the-road at worst, but during their recent offensive slump, they’ve constantly talked about having to swing at better pitches than they currently are to improve their quality of contact. A perfect example of that is how the Twins sent starting third baseman Jose Miranda down to Triple-A because his contact skills might almost be detrimental in helping him make bad contact with bad pitches. The Twins are pressing out of their game plans and expanding the zone — and they need to stop. — Do-Hyoung Park

White Sox: Get healthy
The team has performed well below expectations through the first six weeks of the season but they also have rarely had their full complement of regulars together. That will change soon, as closer Liam Hendriks and left-handed reliever Garrett Crochet are expected back in the next week and third baseman Yoán Moncada (back) expected back this weekend. Third baseman/designated hitter Jake Burger (oblique) also left Wednesday on an injury rehab assignment. Hendriks’ will be an especially poignant return, as he’s now in remission after battling through treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. — Scott Merkin

Angels: Get the rotation back on track
The Angels pitched well early in the season but the rotation has struggled recently, as even two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani has posted a 6.00 ERA over his last three starts. Lefty Patrick Sandoval has held his own but lefties Tyler Anderson and Reid Detmers have both struggled, while right-hander Griffin Canning was hit hard by the Astros on Wednesday. Lefty José Suarez is also expected to be out roughly two months with a left shoulder strain, so they’ll have to lean on rookie right-hander Chase Silseth. — Rhett Bollinger

Astros: Get well
The Astros are without three key starting pitchers, with hopes that two of them can return by midseason. José Urquidy (shoulder) is expected back around the All-Star break, and perhaps Lance McCullers Jr. (forearm), too (Luis Garcia is out for the season and will undergo Tommy John surgery). Houston is getting healthy on the position player side, though, with both Jose Altuve (fractured right thumb) and Michael Brantley (shoulder surgery) expected back by the end of May after missing the entire season so far with injuries. — Brian McTaggart

Athletics: Improved starting pitching
For as maligned as the A’s have been so far in 2023, their miserable start has come despite young hitters like Brent Rooker, Esteury Ruiz, Ryan Noda and JJ Bleday providing strong production. Oakland’s downfall has come in the pitching department, as starters entered Wednesday with a combined 7.76 ERA that is by far the highest in the Majors. There is hope that 2022 All-Star Paul Blackburn will return soon to bring some stability, but the A’s will need another one of their talented but inexperienced young starting pitchers to develop some consistency. — Martín Gallegos

Mariners: Get Julio going
The most significant piece to the Mariners’ lineup has also been among its most underwhelming, as Julio Rodríguez hit just .216/.286/.410 (.696 OPS) for a 94 wRC+ (league average is 100) through his first 147 plate appearances across 32 games. Rodríguez was also a slow starter last year before blossoming into one of the game’s best players once he hit his stride in the summer. But the swing decisions and whiffs to his game have been concerning. — Daniel Kramer

Rangers: Get Corey Seager back into the lineup
The Rangers have done more than just tread water without their best position player and have put together one of the best offenses in baseball through the first month and a half of the season. But with Ezequiel Duran filling the Seager-sized hole at shortstop — slashing .304/.333/.478 in 28 games — and Travis Jankowski hitting the injured list with a hamstring strain, left field is now a black hole of offensive and defensive production. With Seager’s hopeful return by the start of the homestand on Monday vs. the Braves, Duran can shift to left field and Texas will be able to field the best lineup possible, both on the offensive and defensive ends. — Kennedi Landry

Braves: Persevere with fractured rotation
With Max Fried and Kyle Wright likely sidelined into July, the Braves need Jared Shuster, Dylan Dodd and Michael Soroka to combine to adequately fill the two vacant rotation spots. If the Braves want to keep Soroka at the Minor League level to monitor his innings, Dodd and Shuster are going to have to prove they can consistently throw strikes at the big league level. They both impressed during Spring Training. But now they must prove they are ready to be key contributors. — Mark Bowman

Marlins: Get more consistency from the rotation
Whether it be reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara or flamethrower Edward Cabrera, Miami’s starting staff has underperformed. It doesn’t help that Trevor Rogers and Johnny Cueto are on the injured list and won’t be back in the foreseeable future. Since the Marlins’ lineup is rarely going to outslug an opponent, the starting pitchers need to set the tone and live up to their potential — or even just their 2022 collective stats (3.70 ERA). — Christina De Nicola

Mets: Starters need to go deep in games
It’s time to give the bullpen a break. Entering Wednesday’s action, New York’s relievers had already pitched a combined 136 1/3 innings. It doesn’t help that the Mets are tied with the Royals for last place in quality starts (five), the last two coming from Joey Lucchesi on April 21 and Kodai Senga on May 5. What hurts New York is that two starters it was relying heavily on — Carlos Carrasco and José Quintana — are on the injured list, while Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander have pitched a combined 28 2/3 innings because of suspension or injury, respectively. Senga has been the Mets’ most consistent starter, but they need better performances from Lucchesi, David Peterson and Tylor Megill. — Bill Ladson

Nationals: Power at the plate
The Nats entered Wednesday with 22 homers, the fewest in the NL. By comparison, the Dodgers are first with 64. Washington has been effective at collecting runs hit-by-hit and moving the line, but the team has yet to see its heavy-hitting potential materialize. One player to watch is DH Joey Meneses, who belted 13 home runs in 56 games as a rookie last season and has hit two in his first 36 contests this year. — Jessica Camerato

Phillies: Aces in the hole
It is no secret the Phillies’ rotation has underperformed to this point. Left-hander Ranger Suarez returns this weekend in Colorado, which should help. But the ineffectiveness of the Phillies’ No. 3-No. 5 starters has only been exacerbated by the early struggles of co-aces Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola — though Wheeler pitched seven strong innings in Wednesday’s 10-inning victory over Toronto. They need to get going to provide some stability to the rotation, and take some pressure off the bullpen.— Todd Zolecki

Brewers: Hit lefties
Clayton Kershaw breezed through seven innings against the Brewers on Wednesday and he wasn’t the first left-handed pitcher to do so. The Brewers own baseball’s worst OPS against southpaws, in part because a number of their right-handed hitters — Willy Adames, Brian Anderson and Luke Voit among them — happen to have reverse splits for their careers. The problem is particularly acute for Voit, who was kept on the Opening Day roster specifically to play against lefties. He was 2-for-30 with 18 strikeouts against them before delivering a booming double off Kershaw. The Brewers hope it’s a start. — Adam McCalvy

Cardinals: Put hitters away with two strikes
A big reason why the Cardinals went into Wednesday with an ERA of 4.48 (20th) is the pitching staff’s struggles with two strikes. The Cardinals have given up 22 two-strike homers, which was tied for 29th with Oakland and ahead of only the White Sox (23). Starters Steven Matz (five), Jake Woodford (four), Jack Flaherty (three) and Miles Mikolas (three) have been the worst offenders, but in all, 11 different Cardinals pitchers have surrendered two-strike homers. St. Louis also ranked 30th in batting average allowed (.214) with two strikes. Catcher Willson Contreras isn’t to blame for that; pitchers must do a better job of keeping the ball out of the middle of the plate. — John Denton

Cubs: Find a way to keep Morel in lineup
When the Cubs promoted 23-year-old Christopher Morel from Triple-A Iowa earlier this week, manager David Ross said the versatile infielder/outfielder had proven “he’s better than that league.” In 29 games with the I-Cubs, Morel posted a 1.156 OPS with 11 homers, 22 extra-base hits, 31 RBIs and 31 runs scored. In his first start for Chicago, he went 2-for-4 with a homer, while playing an excellent second base in place of the sidelined Nico Hoerner. Morel brings a daily energy on and off the field, and can play all over the infield and outfield. With the Cubs’ lineup struggling of late, finding a way to keep Morel involved could provide a needed spark for the ballclub.— Jordan Bastian

Pirates: Offense getting one big swing  
Not much has been going well for the Pirates since the calendar flipped to May, and part of that has been due to the offense’s shortcomings. Pittsburgh has scored three runs or fewer in each of their last 10 games, often failing to capitalize on their opportunities with runners in scoring position. Manager Derek Shelton has repeatedly said that the team has been searching for that one big swing that can bring some life back into the offense. If the Pirates can get that hit, maybe the offense can get back on track. — Justice delos Santos

Reds: Rotation stability
Cincinnati’s starters are ranked 29th in ERA and WHIP, and 30th in innings as they navigate their way with three second-year starters in Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo and Graham Ashcraft, plus fourth starter Luke Weaver. Fifth starter Luis Cessa was designated for assignment on Tuesday. While Ashcraft has had only one bad start, which was his last time out, Greene and Lodolo have been inconsistent. Greene, especially, has been prone to one long inning that has meant shorter starts. If they can get more solid starts, the club could starting getting more traction. — Mark Sheldon

D-backs: Get the rotation settled
The D-backs started the year with one rookie in their rotation and they now have three thanks to the release of veteran Madison Bumgarner and an injury to Zach Davies. The three rookies — Ryne Nelson, Tommy Henry and Brandon Pfaadt — are all promising young pitchers, but as with any inexperienced pitchers, there’s a learning curve. It has sometimes led to short starts, which has put a strain on the bullpen. The D-backs do have Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly, both of whom have been outstanding, and Davies is due to return in the next couple of weeks, but they’ll need to get the rest of the rotation settled. — Steve Gilbert

Dodgers: Establish stability in the rotation
A rash of starter injuries towards the beginning of this season — plus some inconsistent performances — have made for a more middle-of-the-pack rotation than the Dodgers are accustomed to. Noah Syndergaard, in particular, has struggled, and a cut on his right index finger might force the Dodgers to figure out an alternative, perhaps by turning to a top prospect like Gavin Stone or Bobby Miller. While the bullpen has also had difficulties, a more steady starting situation will mean less demand on L.A.’s relievers. — Juan Toribio

Giants: Get Michael Conforto going
The Giants expected Conforto to be a key piece of their lineup, but he’s struggled to break out of an early season slump, hitting only .168 with 37 strikeouts in 120 plate appearances through his first 31 games. Conforto, who missed the entire 2022 season due to right shoulder surgery, is working through some timing issues at the plate, but the Giants believe he’s still putting together quality at-bats and is close to turning it around. — Maria Guardado

Padres: Soto and Machado need to hit like Soto and Machado
Really, it’s already started. San Diego’s middle-of-the-lineup duo has been on a tear since the team’s trip to Mexico City during the final weekend of April, and it was particularly potent on Tuesday night. Soto went 4-for-4 with a walk. Machado went 2-for-5 with the decisive three-run blast. If those two are hitting like they’re capable of — and not the .197 combined batting average they’d posted over the season’s first four weeks — the Padres’ offense will be a force, even with some issues toward the bottom of the lineup. — AJ Cassavell

Rockies: A bona fide Major League starting pitcher
Losing Germán Márquez last week to an elbow injury challenges the depth of this depth-challenged starting rotation. Can the Rockies land a superstar in a trade? Of course not. Think in terms of what they did around this time last year, when they claimed José Ureña off waivers from the Brewers. The plan didn’t work, as evidenced by the fact the Rockies ended up releasing Ureña. But the Rockies always have to be on the market for a talented if unsuccessful pitcher, with hopes of striking gold. — Thomas Harding

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