Of the 15 teams with losing records in 2014, it's highly likely that a majority of the general managers of those teams expected they would be much better in 2015. Heck, that's probably the case for many of the teams with winning records as well.
While a handful of those "underperforming" teams had some bad luck, including injuries to key players, chances are that in many cases, the front office simply misjudged how much talent and/or depth the organization had prior to the season.
In fact, it's the nature of the business. A player is in an organization for a reason, and that's because the management, or at least the baseball operations department and/or coaching staff, believes in that player. As a result, roster holes that appear to be obvious to those outside the org aren't filled because the franchise believes in its internal options. Here are some examples of glaring holes and why they could become a problem:
Boston Red Sox, No. 1 starter
Heading into the offseason with an abundance of talented outfielders and solid pitching prospects in the upper minors, it was fairly obvious that Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington would go the trade route to fill out a starting rotation that had several holes.
Sure enough, over a two-day period, he acquired three veteran starters to join Clay Buchholz and Joe Kelly in the rotation. On Dec. 11, Cherington traded Yoenis Cespedes to the Tigers for Rick Porcello and agreed to a one-year deal with Justin Masterson. The next day, he flipped Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster to the Diamondbacks for Wade Miley.
While depth was no longer an issue, it was still apparent that the team lacked a top-of-the-rotation anchor.
No problem: Jon Lester, Max Scherzer and James Shields all still were available on the free-agent market. While we don't know how aggressively the Red Sox tried to pursue them, the bottom line is they didn't sign any of the three.
Fast forward to mid-March and there are clear concerns with the rotation.