MLB Offseason Grades: National League
Now that every major free agent has signed and most teams have their roster set, I think it’s now time to hand out some offseason grades. I will go with your standard A,B,C, etc. grading format and I will start in the National League.
St. Louis Cardinals: Grade: A
I love the fact that the Cardinals stepped up and re-signed Matt Holliday. They also brought in Brad Penny to replace Joel Pineiro, who is overrated.
The reason the Cardinals get an A is because they re-signed their two most important free agents this offseason—Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan.
Arizona Diamondbacks: Grade: B+
The Diamondbacks took a pounding in the media for their participation in the three-way trade between them, the New York Yankees, and Detroit Tigers.
I was hard on them too, but I think they have recovered and had a very good offseason. They did manage to get two starting pitchers in the deal (Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy), a starting second baseman, who I think will have a bounce back year (Kelly Johnson), and a pretty decent first baseman (Adam LaRoche).
Atlanta Braves: Grade: B
The Braves lost Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez, but replaced them with Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito. The Braves also added Troy Glaus, who was a big score for me. At one-year and $1.75 million, I think he was a steal.
If the Braves would have been able to sign Johnny Damon, they would have earned an A.
Cincinnati Reds: Grade: B
Who would have thought at the beginning of the offseason that the Reds would win the bidding war for Cuban star Aroldis Chapman? I certainly didn’t.
The Reds signed Chapman to a six-year, $30.5 million deal, which wasn’t unreasonable. They also recently added Jonny Gomes to split time in left with Chris Dickerson.
Milwaukee Brewers: Grade: B
The Brewers were desperate for starting pitching and they were able to add two starters this offseason. Randy Wolf and Doug Davis should eat innings and bolster the rotation.
The Brewers also added LaTroy Hawkins and re-signed Trevor Hoffman to stabilize the backend of the bullpen. Milwaukee also added Greg Zaun, who is an upgrade over Jason Kendall as scary as that may seem.
I would have given the Brewers a B+ or an A, if they didn’t get fleeced in the JJ Hardy trade.
San Diego Padres: Grade: B
I know some might be surprised to see the Padres graded this high, but I thought they had a pretty good offseason with all things considered.
They signed Yorvit Torrealba, who brings leadership behind the plate and Jon Garland, who should eat plenty of innings and could be prime trade bait come July.
I also thought they made out in the Kevin Kouzmanoff trade. The trade will allow Chase Headley to move to third and Aaron Cunningham is a good looking prospect.
Colorado Rockies: Grade: B-
The Rockies didn’t add any big pieces because they didn’t need any, but they added some good small pieces, which should give them plenty of depth in the regular season.
The Rockies brought back Jason Giambi and Rafael Betancourt and also brought in Melvin Mora to be a utility infielder and Miguel Olivo as a backup catcher.
Florida Marlins: Grade: B-
The fact that the Marlins added players instead of subtracting was a surprise. They kept Jorge Cantu and Dan Uggla and even inked ace Josh Johnson to an extension.
The Marlins would have gotten a higher grade if they would have added bullpen help. That will be a major weakness for them come the regular season.
Philadelphia Phillies: Grade: C
How could the Phillies only get a C when they added the best pitcher in the game? Here is why.
The Phillies gave away a good portion of their farm system to improve by maybe only one or two games. That wasn’t worth it in my opinion.
GM Ruben Amaro also inexplicably gave Placido Polanco a three-year deal and Brian Schneider a two-year deal. The Phillies could have put the nail in the coffin in the NL and failed to do so.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Grade: C
As usual, the Pirates didn’t do anything major, but I thought they had a good offseason. I liked the trade for Akinori Iwamura and none of their signings will block a prospect.
They improved their bullpen in 2010 by signing Octavio Dotel and Brendan Donnelly.
Chicago Cubs: Grade: C-
Marlon Byrd was the Cubs big acquisition this offseason. They also re-signed John Grabow to a two-year, $7.5 million deal, which was way too much to give to give him.
The Cubs also traded Milton Bradley to the Seattle Mariners for Carlos Sliva. They got the short-end of the stick on that one.
San Francisco Giants: Grade: C-
Sure the Giants added offense, but I believe they didn’t do enough this offseason. The Giants needed to add a big stick to the middle of that lineup.
Mark DeRosa and Aubrey Huff weren’t enough for me.
Washington Nationals: Grade: C-
I liked the fact that the Nationals are doing their best to be competitive in 2010. I didn’t mind the acquisitions of Jason Marquis, Brian Bruney, and Matt Capps. They should help next year.
I didn’t like the Ivan Rodriguez and Adam Kennedy signings at all. Giving Rodriguez a two-year deal was puzzling at best.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Grade: D
In order for the Dodgers to get past a team like the Phillies, they needed to add a quality starting pitcher and thanks to a shaky ownership situation, they failed to do so.
Vicente Padilla was not what I had in mind.
The Dodgers have a good team, but they are very thin in the rotation and really thin across the board.
Houston Astros: Grade: D-
Signing Brandon Lyon to a three-year deal was the worst signing of the offseason. The Astros could have gotten an F just for that move.
However, the acquisitions of Matt Lindstrom and Pedro Feliz I didn’t mind so much. Houston also added Brett Myers.
New York Mets: Grade: D+
Where do I even begin? The Mets have become a national joke and it’s really sad. They needed to get rid of the negativity that surrounded this team last season and the Mets somehow managed to add to it.
They added Jason Bay, but failed to land any other player of impact. The Mets will go into 2010 with question marks at catcher, first, second, center, and starting rotation.
Tomorrow, I will grade each American League team.
You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg
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