NL East Offseason Review

Another offseason came and went, and a few notable players switched teams. Here’s a look at some of the bigger names, where they left, where they went to, and how they fit in with their new counterparts. Although I will go in-depth, I cannot cover every single move and will ultimately leave out a few big moves at my will. Did you know that since I have nothing better to do, I reviewed nearly every offseason transaction of note? You can view them here, as well as even better and more in-depth analysis from the others who write for this site. So enjoy a quick offseason review for every team in the MLB and reminisce on your team’s decisions over the past few months. Don’t worry, we’re all judging.

NL East Offseason Review

Philadelphia Phillies Offseason Review

Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

No Madson? No problem. Instead of overpaying to re-sign Ryan Madson, the Philadelphia Phillies screwed over their former star reliever in order to overpay for bona fide closer Jonathan Papelbon. It’s easy to get caught up in how relievers are overpaid and hate on this deal a little too much. Sure, the Madson deal would have been a bargain had he not been injured for the season, but it’s much better to overpay for the better reliever with less health concerns. Remember, the changeup maestro isn’t exactly the healthiest pitcher in the world, while Papelbon is nearly a sure bet for 70 good innings per season. He received too much money, but there is no doubt that he helps this team.

Although Chad Qualls best days are behind him, he is a still an average reliever who can help the Phils out next year. He used to close in Arizona and threw some innings for the Rays at different points in his career. Dontrelle Willis was the third relief acquisition that the Phillies made this offseason, and he actually fits as a glorified LOOGY for teams. The D-Train is one of the most polarizing pitchers around because of his fall from prominence and huge control issues. However, he dominates left-handed hitters, but his inability to get righties out is appalling. The Phillies released him anyway, so I just gave my fingers more strain than need be.

Philly will implement a platoon of former Phillies superstar slugger Jim Thome and Ty Wigginton, with Wiggy being the inexpensive acquisition from Dan O’Dowd and the Colorado Rockies. He was a fan favorite and showed promise as a powerful utility player in Tampa, and he played well in Baltimore. However, he was horrible in Colorado and needed a change of scenery. He isn’t all bad, and the platoon of Thome/Wigginton is survivable for about a month and will cost them a win at the most. If Ryan Howard is out for two months, then that total goes up to 1.5 wins or so. At least we get to watch Thome hit in Philly again. Even with Howard out, the Phils are the class of the NL despite their offensive concerns.

Grade: D+

Atlanta Braves Offseason Review

So, who’s psyched after an active offseason in Atlanta? Truth is, the Braves didn’t need to do much anyway and actually had a productive offseason by staying pat. They have a surplus of pitching talent, most namely young guns that are the envy of every Major League team not named Tampa Bay. Their offense was poor last season, but they are bound to see an uptick due to positive regression. They also dumped off Nate McLouth and Derek Lowe, so that’s definitely addition by subtraction.

The only notable move- besides hiring two hitting coaches- was the acquisition of top shortstop prospect Tyler Pastornicky (what an awesome name). Their one major acquisition was worth it, and I’m pumped to be able to watch this guy for the coming seasons. Even the hype is exciting.

Grade: C-

Washington Nationals Offseason Review

Now, time to get over .500. The Washington Nationals added veteran closer Brad Lidge, who went from Mr. Perfect to Mr. Injury to Mr. What Happened to Him? in the span of the last few years. So what if he isn’t what he used to be and is declining; it’s one a year deal for a glue guy who can bring a young bullpen together and teach guys like Drew Storen the ropes. He isn’t a poor pitcher either and is a league-average, 0.3 WAR guy. They want him to be the set-up man, which isn’t necessarily the best plan of action.

But the big additions were in the rotation. Forget that the Washington Nationals parted with A.J. Cole and Brad Peacock (among the four quality prospects in the deal) to land Gio Gonzalez, and instead focus on the most overrated trade commodity of the offseason; Gio himself. Well, he isn’t the best player around, but he’s a 3.5 WAR pitcher and a safe bet to give this team quality innings. I won’t like this trade, unless if Cole busts, because Gonzalez is a good-but-will-never-be-great pitcher.

Now, I am a huge fan of the Edwin Jackson signing, since it shows how foolish the Miami Marlins were for buying into the “consistent veteran starter” rage, and not being smart like the Nationals and waiting for the underrated, oft-hated Edwin Jackson’s price tag to drop. He is a sure bet for 3 WAR, is always healthy, and he is the best innings-eater in baseball. Jackson is better than most people will have you think, and it’s difficult not to like the pitching improvements made by the Nats this offseason.

Grade: C+

Miami Marlins

Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

Nice name, jersey, and stadium; but let’s move on. We don’t care about your hype; we care about your results in free agency. The Jose Reyes deal looks gaudy, but it was a good deal for a shortstop who can field better than Hanley Ramirez. Han-Ram made a wise decision to, in a sense, welcome Reyes by moving over to third; he’s way better off there anyway to hide his defensive deficiencies. You know, if they can be hidden.

The Reyes signing was the biggest of the three big moves for Miami, with Heath Bell being the second biggest one. He is a bit overrated after prospering in PETCO, but the concerns are a bit much at this point. He’s still going to be a solid reliever and is a definite improvement.

While the Mark Buehrle deal was not bad by any means, it’s the classic example of a guy who is lauded as being a “professional” and “consistent”. He is, and those are certainly good qualities, but it’s what made him overrated on the market. It was exactly fair in terms of market value, but one wonders if he is truly worth more than Edwin Jackson per year. Still, the Marlins needed a pitcher like him on their squad. They also acquired Carlos Zambrano, and it will be interesting to see how he fits in with Miami. Is a breakout year in order under new manager Ozzie Guillen? It’s certainly better than trotting out home run machine (and not in a good way) Chris Volstad every five.

Grade: A-

New York Mets Offseason Review

The Mets biggest offseason move- besides losing Jose Reyes- was the trade with the San Francisco Giants that sent Angel Pagan to SF in exchange for reliever Ramon Ramirez and fellow OF Andres Torres. Although Torres is older, this trade would have been a wash had Ramirez not been in the deal. Instead, one of the three relief acquisitions made by the Mets made this a worthwhile deal.

The other two additions were the signings of former Blue Jays Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch. Frankie is known for being a relevant closer with the Texas Rangers for some time, while Rauch is best known for his insane height. Francisco made exactly market value and was a decent, cheap signing for the Mets. The Rauch signing was a bit quizzical when taken at face value, and it’s still a bit sketchy when you dig deeper. He doesn’t help you that much, and yet you pay him $3.5 million.

Grade: D-

Be sure to check out all of Call to the Pen’s transaction breakdowns for the 2011-12 offseason. You can follow Call to the Pen on Twitter at @FSCalltothePen or like us here on Facebook.

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Topics: Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins, New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals

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