Well, we graded the offseason for all of the American League teams. You know what that means. It’s time to look at the National League. This is really where we get to see baseball’s talent disparity. Of course, the rich Dodgers got even better, while teams like the Pirates and Reds got so, so much worse. The National League also had a run on hitters joining. The new universal designated hitter has teams in the search of one more lineup piece.
Check out the American League grades here.
Atlanta Braves: A-
Generally speaking, loyalty should not factor into this at all, but the Braves did do Freddie Freeman a bit dirty. Instead of bringing him back, they traded for and extended Matt Olson. However, this is still a good move. Olson is in Freeman’s tier, plus he is younger. The reigning champions brought back Adam Duvall and Eddie Rosario after they helped fix the Atlanta outfield. Catching was a weakness at times last year with Travis d’Arnaud out, so Manny Pina was signed to help that.
Former Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, as well as Collin McHugh, are immediate upgrades to the bullpen. The real troubling factor is the rotation depth. After Max Fried, Ian Anderson, and Charlie Morton, the rest of the starting pitching is questionable. The Braves are in no means of danger, but they still did not have a perfect offseason, despite some quality bargains in the free-agent market.
Miami Marlins: B+
Young starting pitching carried the Marlins last year in front of a putrid offense. Upgrades were made to the lineup in outfielders Jorge Soler and Avisail Garcia. They do not fix the defensive issues that the team had. Catcher Jacob Stallings and contact hitter Joey Wendle both improve the squad. Those are all helpful additions as the team looks to climb out of a rebuild.
The pitching requirements fell more on the bullpen, and those weren’t exactly met. Their only significant additions were Louis Head and Yoan Lopez. The ‘pen was not the biggest problem last year, so neglecting it a bit is not a major concern. Miami is more of a dark-horse playoff team than a legitimate contender. They could be a fun team to watch.
New York Mets: A
It is really hard to not give the Mets an A+ for the offseason. Alas, the bullpen needs were mostly ignored. 2021’s most reliable reliever, Aaron Loup, is out. Jeurys Familia and Brad Hand both left, even though that may be for the better. The wildly inconsistent Adam Ottavino is in, along with workhorse Alex Claudio and Chasen Shreve. Is that enough to improve a weak spot?
Enough with the bad. The chaotic Mets lineup received some additions with the signings of Mark Canha, Starling Marte, and Eduardo Escobar. All three are very solid players. After the Mets’ rotation broke down following Jacob deGrom‘s injuries, the Mets had an eventful offseason. Future Hall-of-Famer Max Scherzer is in, and Chris Bassitt will become one of baseball’s best number three starters.
Philadelphia Phillies: B-
An awful bullpen, to begin with, lost Archie Bradley, Ian Kennedy, and Hector Neris. Two of the biggest replacements were Hand and Familia, who are both shells of their former selves. Corey Knebel was good in small doses last year but hadn’t played a significant amount since 2018 before that. The lineup has received help in the forms of Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber. However, they also highlight how atrocious this team will be in the field. Didi Gregorius stayed with the team and is just trying not to collapse until top prospect Bryson Stott is ready. While the hitting has been juiced, many holes were created.
Washington Nationals: C+
The Nationals had no one else left to lose following the trade deadline. They will stick with their starting pitchers, which consists of top prospect Josiah Gray and a bunch of question marks. With the help of the universal DH, the Nats will allow us to get National League Nelson Cruz this year. The bullpen received marginal boosts in aging pitchers Steve Cishek, Tyler Clippard, and Sean Doolittle. The Nats are going to be miserable this season. This offseason didn’t help or hurt that.
Chicago Cubs: B+
As depressing as it was to see the 2016 core get shipped off at the trade deadline, it was for the best. The Cubs were rumored to be in the Carlos Correa hunt but landed on Andrelton Simmons instead. Jonathan Villar and Clint Frazier both have the upside to boost the team. Japanese signing Seiya Suzuki was the big move here. He could become the team’s new face quickly. As Kyle Hendricks starts to fade, Marcus Stroman was signed to be the new ace. Southpaws Wade Miley and Drew Smyly are both low-cost additions. The bullpen looks completely different now, although it is not amazing. Mychal Givens, David Robertson, Jesse Chavez, and Chris Martin are among the adds.
Cincinnati Reds: F
In the American League article, the Oakland A’s received an F that was more symbolic, for shipping off their two stars. The Reds get both a symbolic F and a literal F. Their elite lineup from last year is now depleted with Castellanos walking and Jesse Winker traded to Seattle for pennies on the dime. Sonny Gray and Amir Garrett were both shipped to the AL Central.
There are some real additions, which some teams can’t say. Tommy Pham was a good signing. Colin Moran and Mike Minor were acquired with the intentions of being trade bait later on. The team did not trade Tyler Mahle or Luis Castillo, which is good. Otherwise, this could have been somehow worse than an F. The Reds have a long way to go to earn back fan respect.
Milwaukee Brewers: A-
The Brewers let Garcia, Pina, and Escobar leave, among others. They still made some solid acquisitions in Andrew McCutchen and Hunter Renfroe, both players fitting the team well. The elite rotation returns, and the bullpen does not look too bad despite little change. The Brewers ran away with the Central last year and with the team not too different from 2021, there is not a great reason to think that they cannot do it again.
Pittsburgh Pirates: D+
The pathetic Pirates did not trade Bryan Reynolds this offseason, which could be considered a win. Dealing Stallings for a package including 2021 breakout Zach Thompson was the big move. The rest of the offseason was extremely boring. Daniel Vogelbach, Heath Hembree, Jose Quintana, and Roberto Perez were notable acquisitions. This team is in the awkward stage of a rebuild where they are running out of trade chips while still being atrociously bad. It is not a fun place to be in.
St. Louis Cardinals: D
The Cardinals were extremely average last season, carried into a playoff berth by a late-season hot streak. This run gave them momentum for a big offseason. Instead, they mostly slept. The big signing was Steven Matz, who is painfully mediocre. Corey Dickerson and Nick Wittgren, who are also good but nothing special, were brought in on cheap deals too. While St. Louis is not a bad team, they did not upgrade much in the offseason.
Arizona Diamondbacks: B-
For how bad Arizona was last season, on paper, they do not look as bad as the Pirates or Nationals. They signed veteran relief pitchers Mark Melancon and Ian Kennedy to give them some credibility along with innings-eater Zach Davies. Caleb Baragar and Keynan Middleton are both low-risk options with upside. An incredibly tough division will silence Arizona, but at least they tried to make themselves more respectable.
Colorado Rockies: B-
Despite how nonsensical giving Kris Bryant a huge contract was, the Rockies gave their fans something to cheer for this offseason. Unlike other teams, the Rockies went on some spending sprees, also bringing in Chad Kuhl, Alex Colome, and Jose Iglesias. They dealt Raimel Tapia to Toronto for Randal Grichuk as well. It should be noted that these deals will almost certainly backfire and that the Rockies are still a miserable team. But at least they created some fan service, which is something to applaud.
Los Angeles Dodgers: B+
There wasn’t a spot for him, but of course, the Dodgers signed Freddie Freeman. They have one of the best lineups ever with the 2019 MVP being their worst player. It’s almost impossible to criticize the Dodgers at this point. But, you have to remember how their pitching broke down in the playoffs last year. As the Trevor Bauer situation gets sorted out, the Dodgers have both Andrew Heaney and Tyler Anderson in their rotation. Neither fit the team’s strategy of an all-star at every spot.
Plus, the bullpen only added Daniel Hudson while losing Knebel, Jansen, and Joe Kelly. They are relying on Blake Treinen and a bunch of guys without amazing pedigrees. They can get it done, but the Dodgers are playing with fire a bit. Their streak of NL West titles ended by a game last season. They still beat the Giants in the playoffs, but that should frighten Los Angeles a bit.
San Diego Padres: B
The Padres did not panic after their seemingly super team faltered. They got a DH in Luke Voit, who is an amazing hitter when fully healthy. They also dabbled in the Japanese market, bringing Nick Martinez and Robert Suarez over. San Diego also signed Luis Garcia, who had intriguing numbers for the Cardinals last season. The Padres still look very good on paper, even after losing Pham, Melancon, and Hudson. None of their problems last year could have been fixed by an offseason. Their real biggest acquisition was new manager Bob Melvin. It’s his job to get these problems sorted out.
San Francisco Giants: B-
The Giants’ player development staff kept taking victory laps in 2021. The team was able to keep most of themselves intact, but losing Kevin Gausman to Toronto will hurt. The replacements are Carlos Rodon and Alex Cobb, who were both huge surprises last year with good stuff. Jakob Junis and Matthew Boyd are familiar American League names making their way to the bay. Former rival Joc Pederson will boost the lineup even more.
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