After one of the most active Winters ever, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports evaluates all the winners and losers so far. Here are the ones I cherry picked from the NL East including the Mets.
Marlins. They got off to a big start with the record $325-million deal for franchise player Giancarlo Stanton (with his out after $107 million and six years) and kept going, adding speedy Dee Gordon, versatile Martin Prado (a poor man’s Ben Zobrist), powerful Michael Morse, talented Mat Latos, ageless Ichiro and (most likely) dependable Dan Haren, who still prefers to pitch on the West Coast. On the cusp. (And if they pull a surprise and add Shields, even a real threat). Only disappointments: not locking up Jose Fernandez and Christian Yelich.
Braves. There’s no question they stepped out of the stalking role in the NL East and look like an also-ran for 2015, and the $44 million on Markakis will only be well spent if he makes a speedy recovery. But Shelby Miller was a nice return for Jason Heyward and Fried-plus is fine work for Upton. I get it more than most, it seems.
Phillies. They were rejected by A.J. Burnett, who bolted Philly to return to the cross-state Pirates for much less money (about a third less, $8.5 million compared to $12.75 million), and are seemingly just getting started in their rebuilding task. GM Ruben Amaro suggested recently he expects to keep Cole Hamels, and let’s hope that changes, as Philly’s rebuild depends on the type of haul they can get for one of baseball’s best pitchers. They are also for the moment stuck with Jonathan Papelbon and Ryan Howard.
Mets. Michael Cuddyer was a nice add but the Mets continue to be ultra-conservative on the trading front, especially compared with some of the teams with new GMs. Wilmer Flores is going to be a nice utility player but it’s questionable whether he’s a starting shortstop. If the Mets are as good as they think they are, they should have found a way to trade for Ian Desmond, Tulowitzki or someone else of that ilk.