MLB National League Offseason Review

The calendar has officially turned to 2017 and that means it’s time to start talking some baseball. The NFL has been extra stupid this season with all the bad teams and quarterback injuries affecting the playoffs, meanwhile the Hot Stove reached some pretty high temperatures this winter. We broke down the American League yesterday and are back to do the same with the National League today.

Arizona Diamondbacks – The D’Backs cleaned house this offseason firing GM Dave Stewart who was well on his way to completely ruining the franchise. New GM Mike Hazen quickly put his stamp on things by dealing middle infielder Jean Segura fresh off a career year in exchange for shortstop Ketel Marte and young hurler Taijuan Walker. Arizona also signed Fernando Rodney because apparently it’s just hard to pass up 40 year old relievers with a 1.40 WHIP. Grade: B

Atlanta Braves – The team that may have benefited the most from Dave Stewart’s stupidity (Hello Dansby Swanson) have stayed fairly under the radar this offseason. Atlanta added veteran starting pitchers Bartolo Colon, Jaime Garcia and R.A. Dickey who the Braves hope will eat innings while the front office continues to search for the next great group of young Atlanta starters. Atlanta also continues to take shots on former top prospects who haven’t panned out yet as seen with their acquisition of outfielder Alex Jackson from Seattle. Grade: C+

Chicago Cubs – Your World Series champion Chicago Cubs lost Dexter Fowler and Aroldis Chapman in free agency, but do they even care? This team is still loaded and they have help on the way from their farm system. Trading for Wade Davis could go south quickly if his elbow issues from 2016 continue, but again does it really matter that much? This team will sleepwalk it’s way to 90+ wins in 2017. Grade: C+

Cincinnati Reds – Cincinnati is in the middle of a big rebuild and have done next to nothing this offseason(Update. The Reds signed Drew Storen a couple hours after finishing this piece). They took chances on former prospects like Richie Shaffer which is exactly what the Reds should be doing in their situation. However, it will be at least another season before this team can even think about competing. Grade: C

Colorado Rockies – The Rockies are not a smart organization. They signed Ian Desmond for some reason which doesn’t make sense considering offense is easy for them to manufacture playing half their games in Coors Field, but they also decided to double down on their stupidity by reportedly moving Desmond to first base. Looks like another long season for Rockies fans. Grade: D

Los Angeles Dodgers – The Dodgers shelled out some big money to re sign Kenley Jansen, Justin Turner and Rich Hill. They could still use some bullpen help in front of Jansen, but the Dodgers should be back in the Playoffs this year. Grade: B

Miami Marlins – The Marlins tried to get crazy this offseason as they were reportedly in on Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, but in the end they showed some self control and didn’t overpay for something they didn’t need. Miami added veteran pitchers Edinson Volquez, Jeff Locke and Brad Ziegler as well as veteran catcher AJ Ellis. 2017 will more than likely be another underwhelming Marlins season. Grade: C

Milwaukee Brewers – The Brewers are still in rebuild mode, but cannot fully get there as long as they are still holding on to Ryan Braun. If Braun is still on the roster on Opening Day, that will overshadow most of what could be a fun season for Milwaukee as they have quietly added a lot of fun young players over the last two seasons. The Brewers also just flat out released the NL home run leader Chris Carter this winter. This is something that would have never happened 20 years ago, but with more and more teams changing their way of thinking about players like Carter, he could be sitting out there for awhile with very little offers coming his way. Grade: B-

New York Mets – The Mets re-signed slugger Yoenis Cespedes early in the offseason, but have been unusually quiet since then. I do not expect that to last however, as they have to make a trade in the offseason with one of their outfielders. The ideal situation would be to trade one of Jay Bruce or Curtis Granderson to free up an everyday spot for Michael Conforto. However, I’m hoping they just trade Conforto as it has been pretty clear that manager Terry Collins just doesn’t like the young outfielder for whatever reason. This is also further proof that Collins is one of the worst managers we have in the league right now. #FreeConforto Grade: C+

Philadelphia Phillies Ryan Howard’s contract is finally off the books and the Phillies look like the next young team to make a big jump into contention. The Phillies did a nice job of adding veterans Joaquin Benoit and Pat Neshek to what was a pretty weak bullpen. The young pitching trio of Aaron Nola, Jared Eickhoff and Vincent Velasquez look poised to make a big jump this year assuming they’re all healthy. The Phillies farm system is loaded with potential big time position players led by JP Crawford and Jorge Alfaro who should both be in the lineup everyday by the end of 2017. The future is bright for this team. Grade: B

Pittsburgh Pirates – Other than piss off the face of their franchise, the Pirates have done basically nothing this offseason. Andrew McCutchen isn’t the player he was a few years ago and trading him is the right move, but the way Pittsburgh has gone about the process has not sat well with Cutch and I’m sure a lot of their other players as well. Hopefully for the sake of both sides, the Pirates will be able to move Cutch before the season starts and avoid disaster in 2017. Grade: D

San Diego Padres – There are some really bad teams in the National League and San Diego might be the worst of them all. They’ve slowly started adding prospects over the last year with the trades of Kimbrell, Shields and Pomeranz, but most of that talent is over a year away from really contributing. Poor Padres. Grade: C-

San Francisco Giants – The Giants did what they needed to do and signed closer Mark Melancon. Now the last year or two of that deal could be ugly depending on how much Melancon has left in the tank, but for this year it’s a slam dunk. The Giants will likely continue to pursue another outfield bat (Ryan Braun should already be on this team, what are you waiting for Brewers?) to add to a pretty solid top half of the lineup. The Giants will be back in the playoffs in 2017 like it or not. Grade: B

St Louis Cardinals – It was business as usual for the Cardinals this offseason. They needed a center fielder and they needed bullpen help. So of course they went out and signed Dexter Fowler and Brett Cecil. Move along, nothing else to see here. Grade: B+

Washington Nationals – When I first saw the tweet that the Nationals traded top pitching prospects Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez along with Dane Dunning (the Nats first round pick last year) for Adam Eaton, I thought it was a typo. Considering it was a rumored they had offered a similar package for Chris Sale just days earlier, it seemed crazy. However, a typo it was not and the Nats have put a lot of pressure on a player who is good, but will never be great. Lost in all the talk about the trade is the Nats bullpen could be a big issue. Mark Melancon is gone and there is no clear path of them acquiring an elite reliever. Shawn Kelley is a nice reliever, but is not dominant and the team just doesn’t seem to fully trust Blake Treinen to be the anchor of their pen (even though they probably should). Washington will still be good this year despite their flaws as the Braves and Phillies aren’t ready yet and the Mets are still the Mets. Grade: C-

-Randy Haines

Statistics courtesy of Baseball reference

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