MLB Offseason Grades – National League Version

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e are less than a month away from Opening Day 2020. This offseason, we’ve seen nearly all of our top 50 free agents sign deals and there were even a few major trades that went down. So while we continue to wait for meaningful baseball games to return, let’s take a look at what each of the 30 teams have done during this rather busy winter to address roster needs and hand out grades for their offseason work.

We’ll break this report card down division by division, focusing on the National League.

NL East

Atlanta Braves: B
Signing Marcell Ozuna on a one-year deal to replace Josh Donaldson was probably the best option Atlanta had after letting Donaldson walk in free agency this winter. The Braves also added lefty Cole Hamels, left-handed reliever Will Smith, first baseman Yonder Alonso, and catcher Travis d’Arnaud. As far as re-signings go, Atlanta will be bringing back catcher Tyler Flowers, Adeiny Hechavarria, right-hander Darren O’Day and right-hander Josh Tomlin. The Braves also picked up veteran starter Felix Hernandez on a low-risk, high-reward signing. King Felix has looked good so far in spring training.

New York Mets C
Not terrible, but not fantastic either. The Mets lost Zack Wheeler to a division rival, but picked up right-handers Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha to help ease the loss and fill out their rotation. New York also grabbed relief pitcher Dellin Betances and picked up outfielder Jake Marisnick in a trade with the Astros. But otherwise, there weren’t any other standout roster moves.

Washington Nationals: B
The reigning champion Nationals managed to get done the most important task atop of their winter to-do list: re-signing right-hander and 2019 World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg. The club signed him to a seven-year, $245 million deal. Getting a deal done was all the more important considering the Nats let third baseman Anthony Rendon walk in free agency. Some of the other offseason moves included Washington agreeing on deals with right-hander Will Harris, catcher Yan Gomes, right-hander Daniel Hudson and infielders Howie Kendrick, Eric Thames, Asdrubal Cabrera, Ryan Zimmerman and Starlin Castro. It’s a veteran group in D.C., much like the one that one the 2019 World Series.

Miami Marlins: C-
With a rebuilding team like the Marlins, who made fairly minimal and minor moves this offseason, normally we’d go with N/A for their grade. But for this winter, we’re going to hand out a grade of a C-. Not great, but at least they tried something. The acquisition of Jonathan Villar from the Orioles could end up being a nice boost to the offense in 2020. On the free agent market, Miami picked up outfielder Corey Dickerson, catcher Francisco Cervelli, right-hander Brandon Kintzler and right-hander Yimi Garcia. The club also picked up former Rays first baseman Jesus Aguilar on waivers.

Philadelphia Phillies: B
The Phillies’ new addition of Zack Wheeler should fare well at the top of the Phillies rotation after Aaron Nola this season. Philadelphia’s other big addition was shortstop Didi Gregorius, who will bump Jean Segura to second base. The team also acquired plenty of veterans who will try to earn roster spots, including left-hander Francisco Liriano, right-hander Anthony Swarzak and infielders Ronald Torreyes, Josh Harrison and Neil Walker. The Phillies be led by manager Joe Girardi, who will return to managing MLB after two years removed from the game. The Phillies made all-around improvements to their club and should be competing with the Braves, Nats and Mets for the NL East title.

NL Central

Pittsburgh Pirates: N/A
Aside from the Pirates’ Starling Marte trade with the Diamondbacks, the club didn’t make any significant signings. In exchange for Marte, Pittsburgh received right-hander Brennan Malone and shortstop Liover Peguero along with $250,000 international money.

Cincinnati Reds: A-
The Nick Castellanos and Mike Moustakas signings are two huge offensive improvements for the Reds, and they might be a serious contender in 2020. Castellanos and Moustakas both head to Cincy on four-year, $64 million deals. The Reds also signed outfielder Shogo Akiyama out of Japan, left-hander Wade Miley and acquired right-hander Justin Shafer in a trade with the Blue Jays.

Chicago Cubs: F
The Cubs’ offseason included little to no signs of improvement, or even a willingness to improve. Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant led the offseason discussion with trade talks, and his arbitration case outcome means that his trade value has only increased. Overall, Chicago only made minor tweaks to its roster, and the team could very well miss the playoffs for the second straight season in 2020. The Cubs signed outfielder Steven Souza Jr., right-hander Jeremy Jeffress and left-hander Tyler Olson. Two of Chicago’s biggest losses this winter included outfielder Nick Castellanos and lefty Cole Hamels.

Milwaukee Brewers: C
Milwaukee made a few solid trades this winter, but the Brewers are still going to be without sluggers Yasmani Grandal and Mike Moustakas next season. In a trade with the Padres, Milwaukee picked up infielder Luis Urias and lefty Eric Lauer. The Brewers also added first baseman Chad Spanberger in a trade with the Blue Jays and catcher Omar Narvaez in a trade with the Mariners. The club signed outfielder Avisail Garcia, first baseman Justin Smoak and left-hander Brett Anderson and will try to reach the playoffs for the third year in a row this season.

St. Louis Cardinals: D
The Cardinals had a pretty disappointing offseason. Losing Marcell Ozuna and Jose Martinez this winter without adding an impact bat to replace them is going to hurt the club. St. Louis did add a lefty in Kwang-Hyun Kim, which the team desperately needed, but overall, it was underwhelming for the reigning NL Central champs.

NL West

Arizona Diamondbacks: B+
The Diamondbacks made their most notable signing after this year’s Winter Meetings with the get of Madison Bumgarner, who agreed to a five-year, $85 million deal. Bumgarner’s going to be the club’s front-end starter, and the 30-year-old should be able to give the club a solid 200 innings (as long as he doesn’t encounter any rodeo-related injuries). The D-Backs’ moves didn’t stop after the Bumgarner signing; they inked outfielder Kole Calhoun to a two-year deal, added veteran right-hander Junior Guerra and right-hander Hector Rondon to their bullpen and acquired outfielder Starling Marte from the Pirates via trade. The moves are solid, and could very well help get Arizona to be a contender for a playoff spot in the NL.

Los Angeles Dodgers: A+
Just when you thought the Dodgers power-packed lineup couldn’t get any stronger, they added former AL MVP Mookie Betts. Los Angeles traded for Betts, along with left-hander David Price, in the winter’s biggest blockbuster. After a dull outing from the Dodgers at the Winter Meetings where they missed out on Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg, the club rebounded their entire offseason with the Betts trade. They were able to acquire one of the game’s best players to add to their already potent roster and a solid veteran starting pitcher to help fill in the rotation gaps.

The Dodgers also successfully made the trade without letting go of either of their top two prospects: Gavin Lux and Dustin May. They’re heading into the 2020 season as the overwhelming favorites to win the National League. It’s World Series or bust in L.A.

Colorado Rockies: F
The Rockies did not actively pursue top free agents, or any other additions for that matter, this winter. It’s not a good look for a club that’s seemingly falling more and more behind the rest of the division. But, even worse than that, Colorado angered its franchise player, star third baseman Nolan Arenado, with the front office’s complacency. The Rockies gave shortstop Trevor Story a two-year extension but there wasn’t much else that can count as a significant move this winter.

San Francisco Giants: C-
The rebuilding giants had a relatively quiet winter. San Francisco acquired infielders Zack Cozart and Will Wilson from the Angels and also signed right-hander Kevin Gausman to a one-year deal worth $9 million. But the team lost franchise icon Madison Bumgarner to the division rival Diamondbacks.

San Diego Padres: B
The up-and-coming Padres are receiving a solid B for their efforts. It likely won’t be enough to push the club to the playoffs, but they should see improvement from their 70-win 2019. Under rookie manager Jayce Tingler, San Diego will welcome the additions of left-hander Drew Pomeranz, outfielders Tommy Pham and Trent Grisham, right-hander Zach Davies and infielder Jurickson Profar. Plus, there’s the fact that the Padres still have a high-quality farm system with many of their top prospects close to getting their promotion to the big leagues.