TODAY'S PAPER
67° Good Evening
67° Good Evening
SportsBaseball

Offseason winners and losers: National League

On the heels of yesterday's American League review, let's slide over to the National League:

WINNERS

1. Cincinnati. The Reds went for it, trading for Mat Latos and signing Ryan Madson to a great contract. The price for Latos might be too high, but it's a good risk.

2. St. Louis. I never thought it would be possible for the Cardinals to lose Albert Pujols and land in this column, yet St. Louis scored points for the way it handled the negotiations, winning the PR battle. And then to sign Carlos Beltran as Pujols' de facto replacement, with Beltran in rightfield and Lance Berkman shifting from rightfield to first base? That's gold, Jerry! Gold!

3. Washington. The Edward Jackson deal was a coup, and the Gio Gonzalez trade was a worthwhile risk.

WINNERS WITH DOWNSIDE

1. Arizona. Added Trevor Cahill to an already respectable rotation. The only question is, did the Diamondbacks give up too much for Cahill?

2. Cubs. There's little reason to think they'll be competitive this year, but at least they have a plan in place now. David DeJesus should help, and it was good to finally divorce Carlos Zambrano.

3. Miami. With Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell aboard, and with the dynamic Ozzie Guillen leading the way, they have the potential to be a special team. Of course, there's also the possibility that Reyes gets hurt, Guillen shows his dark side, Hanley Ramirez is miserable at third base and Zambrano just can't pitch anymore.

4. Philadelphia. I didn't hate the Jonathan Papelbon signing as much as others did, but I acknoweledge its obvious downside. The Phillies' front-office aggressiveness had paid off far more often than not these past five-plus years.

LOSERS WITH UPSIDE

1. Atlanta. I credit the Braves for boldness, in their own way. They certainly didn't make any emotional decisions in response to their meltdown of last September. Maybe that pays off. Or maybe the inertia makes it more difficult for the club to move forward.

2. Colorado. Michael Cuddyer. Jeremy Guthrie. Casey Blake. Ramon Hernandez. Doesn't do much for me, but I'm occasionally wrong.

3. Houston. They weren't able to dump Carlos Lee or Brett Myers, and they opted to keep Wandy Rodriguez. I liked getting Jed Lowrie for Mark Melancon, though, and switching Myers to closer is smart.

4. Dodgers. The upside comes in extending Matt Kemp and moving closer to the end of Frank McCourt's reign. The losing comes in pretty much everything else they did. Juan Rivera, Tony Gwynn Jr., Mark Ellis and Jerry Hairston is a whole bunch of meh.

5. Milwaukee. Losing Prince Fielder was tough, even if it was inevitable. The Ryan Braun saga actually gives them a boost, because of the way it played out. If it had never leaked in the first place, then the Brewers wouldn't have been so terrified of losing him. The Aramis Ramirez deal wasn't terrible.

6. Mets. The upside is their actual additions; the bullpen should be much better, and what the heck on Andres Torres for Angel Pagan. The loser part is not trading Jose Reyes last summer and, you know, the whole "Everything they're doing is being clouded by ownership malaise" thing.

7. Pittsburgh. I'm not sold on the value of Rod Barajas or Clint Barmes, and we'll see if A.J. Burnett's eye is all right. If Burnett is OK, though, he could prove to be a worthwhile pickup.

--UPDATE, 2:16 p.m.: Burnett is undergoing surgery on Friday to repair a fractured right orbital bone. Terrible news for the pitcher and his team.

8. San Diego. They moved further away from contention by trading Latos, yet the return from Cincinnati is interesting. As are the pickups of Carlos Quentin and Huston Street.

LOSERS

1. San Francisco. Jonathan Sanchez for Melky Cabrera? No thanks, I'm good. Surprising, too, that the Giants didn't try harder to re-sign Carlos Beltran after traidng Zack Wheeler for him _ and knowing that Beltran wouldn't bring back any compensatory draft picks.

--Here's my column on Johan Santana from Mets camp yesterday.

--Have a great day.

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

New York Sports