NL East: Key Offseason Acquisitions for Each Team

Sam StrykerContributor IIIMarch 12, 2013

NL East: Key Offseason Acquisitions for Each Team

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    The National League East was one of the busiest divisions in baseball this offseason, with all five teams wheeling and dealing to set themselves up for success in 2013 and beyond. 

    Some teams—like the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals—are built to win now, and their moves reflect that mentality. 

    But for the New York Mets and Miami Marlins, the future is what matters. Both teams made major trades that shook up their rosters but could pay major dividends down the road, while also adding solid role players.

    Here are the key offseason acquisitions for each NL East team. 

    All statistics via ESPN.

Atlanta Braves: B.J. Upton

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    The Braves signed center fielder B.J. Upton to a five-year, $75.25 million deal this offseason in one of the biggest free-agent signings of the winter. 

    While Upton doesn’t really hit for average—the last time he hit .300 was 2007—he does add some pop and speed to the Atlanta lineup. 

    Last year with the Tampa Bay Rays, Upton hit 28 home runs, had 78 RBI and swiped 31 bases.

    Upton is also durable. He is the only center fielder to have played at least 144 games each of the last five seasons, according to USA Today.

Atlanta Braves: Justin Upton

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    The Braves decided to complete the Upton brother set when they traded for 25-year-old Justin this winter. The former Arizona Diamondback adds some power and speed to the Braves lineup.

    The younger Upton had a bit of a down year in 2012, hitting .280 with 17 home runs and 67 RBI.

    But if he can come close to repeating his 2011 numbers—when he hit .289 with 31 home runs and 88 RBI, with 21 stolen bases to boot—the left fielder could be an even more valuable acquisition than his brother.

Miami Marlins: Placido Polanco

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    The Marlins made big waves this offseason when they made a blockbuster deal that sent shortstop Jose Reyes and others to the Toronto Blue Jays.

    Although the Marlins made bigger news with who left the team over the winter rather than who joined, the second baseman Polanco was a solid signing by the Marlins.

    Polanco struggled in 2012, playing in just 90 games with two home runs, 19 RBI and a .257 batting average for the Phillies.

    But the 15-year veteran adds experience to the young Marlins. He has skills in the field—he’s a three-time Gold Glove winner—and at the plate.

    If Polanco can return to the level that saw him reach the All-Star game in 2011, he’s a great deal for the Marlins.

Miami Marlins: Juan Pierre

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    The Marlins brought back outfielder Juan Pierre in the offseason and the veteran adds some speed to the Miami lineup.

    Pierre hit .307 with 37 stolen bases in 130 games for the Phillies last year.

    While the 35-year-old is a fairly one-dimensional player, he’s a sight for sore eyes in an offseason where the Marlins saw much of their 2012 major-league lineup head out of South Beach.

New York Mets: John Buck

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    Buck was the significant major-league acquisition that came the Mets' way in the team’s trade that saw defending NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey head north to the Toronto Blue Jays.

    The veteran catcher had a rough 2012, batting .192 with 12 home runs and 41 RBI with the Marlins.

    But Buck is a one-time All-Star with the Blue Jays in 2010, when he hit .281 with 20 home runs and 66 RBI. The Mets would love to see him return to that form.

New York Mets: Travis D'Arnaud

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    The Mets also acquired this catching prospect from the Blue Jays in the R.A. Dickey trade, and d’Arnaud should be a major part of the New York lineup for years to come.

    D’Arnaud is the No. 6 prospect in all of baseball, according to MLB.com. The scouting report describes d’Arnaud as a “natural leader” capable of hitting for power and average.

    He still has to break into the big leagues, but d’Arnaud could be the most significant long-term acquisition on this list.

Philadelphia Phillies: Michael Young

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    The Phillies acquired Young in a trade with the Texas Rangers this offseason, and the veteran will fill in at third base.

    Not only does Young add leadership to the team, but the third baseman brings some serious skill both in the field and at the plate.

    Young may be 36, but he won the American League Gold Glove at shortstop in 2008 and is a seven-time All-Star. 

    He had a bit of an off-year in 2012, hitting .277 with eight home runs and 67 RBI. But Young will be a steal for the Phillies if he can return to his 2011 form when he hit .338 with 11 home runs and 106 RBI.

Philadelphia Phillies: Delmon Young

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    The Phillies may have gotten a major bargain when they signed the 27-year-old outfielder to a one-year, $750,000 deal

    Young was the MVP of last year’s American League Championship Series for the Detroit Tigers. He hit .313 with three home runs and a team-leading nine RBI in the playoffs. 

    Young didn’t look too shabby in the regular season either, when he hit .267 with 18 home runs and 74 RBI.

    Look for Young to provide some major value to the Phillies this season when he returns from an ankle injury.

Washington Nationals: Rafael Soriano

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    The Nationals bullpen got much stronger this winter when the team signed former New York Yankees closer Rafael Soriano to a two-year, $28 million deal.

    With Washington relievers Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard each having 30-plus save seasons under their belt, Soriano absolutely seals the deal at the end of the game for the Nats. 

    Soriano had 42 saves filling in for Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera last season and 45 in 2010 for the Rays. He had an ERA of 2.26 and 1.73 in those seasons, respectively.

    Soriano is exactly the type of closer Washington needed to add to make the next step in their quest for a World Series title.

Washington Nationals: Dan Haren

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    The Nationals added some serious depth to their rotation when they signed right-hander Dan Haren to a one-year, $13 million deal this offseason.

    While Haren didn’t have a spectacular year in 2012 with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim—he pitched to a 12-13 record with a 4.33 ERA and 142 strikeouts—he is a three-time All-Star.

    If Haren can return to form, he complements a dangerous Nationals rotation headlined by Gio Gonzalez.