What one move would turn near-miss MLB contenders into 2020 playoff teams?

Michael Wyke/AP Photo

The Hot Stove season is upon us, and thus far, we have seen promising signs of moving past the free-agent freeze of the past two winters in the multiple early signings of major free agents by the Braves and White Sox, two teams not known for spending big. Even so, with competitive imbalance at an expansion-era high -- at least in terms of the standard deviation of team winning percentage, a fancy way of saying the spread between the good teams and bad -- it's not hard to imagine who will be competing for playoff spots in 2020. Primarily, it will be the same teams who did so in 2019.

That at least lends itself to a fun exercise as we consider what the top teams that missed out on this past postseason could do to secure a playoff spot next year, in the form of One Big Move. Granted, no team is going to limit itself to just one offseason transaction, and nobody secures a playoff spot without lucking into more best-case scenarios (and fewer worst-case ones) in terms of injuries and player development than its competition. But as we look out across the baseball landscape, here are a handful of potential moves -- by teams that won at least 81 games last year but wound up on the outside looking in -- which could shake up the 2020 playoff picture.