Where we stand: National League

20 Dec

by Aaron Rife,



Atlanta Braves

Lineup:                                                           Rotation:

Michael Bourn (CF)                                       Tim Hudson

Martin Prado (LF)                                          Jair Jurrjens

Brian McCann (C)                                          Tommy Hanson

Dan Uggla (2B)                                               Brandon Beachy

Freddie Freeman (1B)                                     Mike Minor

Chipper Jones (3B)                                        Randall Delgado

Jason Heyward (RF)

Tyler Pastornicky (SS)                                   Bullpen:

Craig Kimbrell (Closer)

Jonny Venters (8th inning)

What They Need:

Their biggest need is at shortstop but it seems that they’ll be going into the season with Tyler Pastornicky manning that spot. There’s talk that their interested in Ronny Cedeno for a backup role; that wouldn’t be the worst backup plan. They’ve also been shopping around Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado. They’re most likely looking for a Chipper Jones successor and/or a power bat in left field.

Miami Marlins

Lineup:                                                           Rotation:

Jose Reyes (SS)                                              Josh Johnson

Omar Infante (2B)                                          Mark Buerhle

Hanley Ramirez (3B)                                      Ricky Nolasco

Mike Stanton (RF)                                         Anibal Sanchez

Logan Morrison (LF)                                      Chris Volstad

Gaby Sanchez (1B)

John Buck (C)                                                 Bullpen:

Chris Coghlan (CF)                                         Heath Bell (Closer)

Edward Mojica (8th inning)

What They Need:

Right now they’re looking for a center fielder and a 5th starter. They’re hoping Javier Vazquez will quit the retirement talk and come back for another season. He finished strong last year and would give them a solid rotation in the NL. They’ll also be in the Yoenis Cespedes if he’s ever made a free agent. If they can land him, they’ll be in the driver’s seat for one of the Wild Card spots if not the NL East pennant.


New York Mets

Lineup:                                                           Rotation:

Andres Torres (CF)                                        Johan Santana

Daniel Murphy (2B)                                        Mike Pelfrey

David Wright (3B)                                          Jonathan Niese

Ike Davis (1B)                                                      R.A. Dickey

Jason Bay (LF)                                                     Dillon Gee

Lucas Duda (RF)

Josh Thole (C)                                                            Bullpen:

Ruben Tejeda (SS)                                      Frank Francisco (Closer)

Jon Rauch (8th inning)

What They Need:

All they’ve done this offseason is lose Jose Reyes and bolster their bullpen. They can’t afford any of the remaining big name free agents so look for them to sign 1 or 2 outfielders with a little bit of pop: think Cody Ross and Ryan Ludwick. It’s going to be an ugly season (or two, or three, or…) in Queens.

Philadelphia Phillies

Lineup:                                                           Rotation:

Jimmy Rollins (SS)                                         Roy Halladay

Shane Victorino (CF)                                      Cliff Lee

Hunter Pence (RF)                                          Cole Hamels

Ryan Howard (1B)                                         Joe Blanton

Chase Utley (2B)                                            Vance Worley

Carlos Ruiz (C)

Laynce Nix/Domonic Brown (LF)                  Bullpen:

Placido Polanco (3B)                                      Jonathan Papelbon (Closer)

Antonio Bastardo (8th inning)

What They Need:

They don’t need much. They’re not thrilled with having Polanco as their starting third baseman and could use Domonic Brown as a trade piece for someone with more power at the hot corner. They resigned Rollins to keep their lineup essentially in tact. They’ll once again be the favorite to win the NL East.

Washington Nationals

Lineup:                                                           Rotation:

Ian Desmond (SS)                                           Stephen Strasburg

Jayson Werth (RF)                                         Jordan Zimmermann

Ryan Zimmerman (3B)                                   John Lannan

Michael Morse (LF)                                       Chien-Ming Wang

Adam LaRoche (1B)                                       Ross Detwiler

Wilson Ramos (C)

Danny Espinosa (2B)                                     Bullpen:

Roger Bernadina (CF)                                     Drew Storen (Closer)

Tyler Clippard (8th inning)

What They Need:

They really need a center fielder and will certainly be in the Yoenis Cespedes talks once he’s posted. They’ve also been linked to the A’s involving trading for Gio Gonzalez. They A’s asking price has been thought to be extraordinarily high and the Nationals shouldn’t sacrifice their minor league depth at this point.

NL Central


Chicago Cubs

Lineup:                                                           Rotation:

Starlin Castro (SS)                                          Matt Garza

David Dejesus (RF)                                        Ryan Dempster

Marlon Byrd (CF)                                          Randy Wells

Geovany Soto (C)                                           Andrew Cashner

Bryan LaHair (1B)                                          Carlos Zambrano

Alfonso Soriano (LF)

Ian Stewart (3B)                                             Bullpen:

Darwin Barney (2B)                                       Carlos Marmol (Closer)

Sean Marshall (8th inning)

What They Need:

Oh boy do they need Prince Fielder. Since losing Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena they have minimal power in their lineup. I believe the Cubs will make a lot of their moves shortly into 2012. They could use a couple starters, one reliable and one flier. Edwin Jackson, Rich Harden, Roy Oswalt, and Hiroki Kuroda are all possibilities to fill out their rotation.

Cincinnati Reds

Lineup:                                                           Rotation:

Drew Stubbs (CF)                                          Mat Latos

Brandon Phillips (2B)                                     Johnny Cueto

Joey Votto (1B)                                              Bronson Arroyo

Jay Bruce (RF)                                               Homer Bailey

Scott Rolen (3B)                                             Travis Wood

Devin Mesoraco (C)

Dave Sappelt (LF)                                          Bullpen:

Paul Janish (SS)                                              Nick Masset (Closer?)

Bill Bray (8th inning?)

What They Need:

The Reds gave up way too much for Mat Latos. Yeah he gives them an ace but they gave up a future star 1B, future star C, a future closer, and a solid starting pitcher. Don’t get me wrong, I like Latos plus Alonso and Grandal were blocked but to give up all of that for one pitcher is too much, especially when your team has other holes. They really need some bullpen help after declining Cordero’s option. There are a few guys out there who could close (Madson, Lidge, Wood, flier on Zumaya) or see what Aroldis Chapman can do. Word is they want Chapman in the rotation though, so who knows. I think they’ll wish they didn’t do that deal when we look at it this time next year.

Houston Astros

Lineup:                                                           Rotation:

Jordan Schafer (CF)                                        Wandy Rodriguez

Jose Altuve (2B)                                             Bud Norris

J.D. Martinez (LF)                                         Brett Myers

Carlos Lee (1B)                                               J.A. Happ

Jed Lowrie (SS)                                               Jordan Lyles

Jimmy Paredes (3B)

Brian Bogusevic (RF)                                     Bullpen:

Humberto Quintero (C)                                  Brandon Lyon (Closer?)

Wilton Lopez (8th inning)

David Carpenter (Closer-in-waiting)

What They Need:

Oh, they need a lot. Their M.O. will be that they’re a scrappy team that plays hard every game. That might keep them out of a second 100-loss season but I doubt it. They traded Melancon after a nice season as their closer and got a potential starter (Weiland) and a nice offensive player who may have just needed a change of scenery (Lowrie). They also have a couple solid bullpen arms that can fill in as closer and maybe take the reigns (Lopez and Carpenter); I doubt Brandon Lyon lasts long if given a chance again. Everyone keeps waiting on Wandy Rodriguez to be traded but it’s yet to happen. They’ll be looking for a potential front-end starter and a nice offensive prospect once they do deal him.

Milwaukee Brewers

Lineup:                                                           Rotation:

Rickie Weeks (2B)                                          Yovani Gallardo

Corey Hart (RF)                                             Zack Greinke

Ryan Braun (LF)                                            Shaun Marcum

Aramis Ramirez (3B)                                      Randy Wolf

Jonathan Lucroy (C)                                       Chris Narveson

Mat Gamel (1B)

Alex Gonzalez (SS)                                         Bullpen:

Nyjer Morgan (CF)                                        John Axford (Closer)

Francisco Rodriguez (8th inning)


What They Need:

They need Ryan Braun to not take PEDs; other than that, they need a first baseman. Carlos Pena would fit the bill if they don’t think Mat Gamel is ready to play everyday. They could go a cheaper route and get Casey Kotchman to play there also. They might have the best 8th/9th inning combo in the majors in Axford and K-Rod. The first 50 games are going to be sketchy for the Brewers but once Braun comes back, they shouldn’t miss Fielder too much. They’ll still contend for a Wild Card berth.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Lineup:                                                           Rotaton:

Jose Tabata (RF)                                            James McDonald

Alex Presley (LF)                                           Erik Bedard

Andrew McCutchen (CF)                              Charlie Morton

Neil Walker (2B)                                             Jeff Karstens

Pedro Alvarez (3B)                                         Kevin Correia

Garrett Jones (1B)                                          Brad Lincoln

Rod Barajas (C)

Clint Barmes (SS)                                           Bullpen:

                                                                        Joel Hanrahan (Closer)

Evan Meek (8th inning)

What They Need:

The Casey McGehee trade was a good deal since they weren’t going to keep Veras anyways, and it gives them someone to platoon at first base with Garrett Jones or play third base if Alvarez fails to breakout again this year. They signed Bedard as a low-risk/high-reward starter and their bullpen is essentially the same as last year. It doesn’t seem like they’ll be making any more moves for this season. The only thing I could see them doing is trading Joel Hanrahan for a solid SP prospect or power hitting first baseman.

St. Louis Cardinals

Lineup:                                                           Rotation:

Rafael Furcal (SS)                                           Chris Carpenter

Jon Jay (CF)                                                   Adam Wainwright

Matt Holliday (LF)                                        Jaime Garcia

Lance Berkman (1B)                                       Jake Westbrook

David Freese (3B)                                           Kyle Lohse

Allen Craig (RF)

Yadier Molina (C)                                           Bullpen:

Daniel Descalso (2B)                                      Jason Motte (Closer)

Fernando Salaz (8th inning)

What They Need:

They’ve only lost Albert Pujols from last year’s World Series Championship team (yes, I know…only?). They get Adam Wainwright back but lose Allen Craig until May thanks to knee surgery. They have had some talks with Coco Crisp. He would be a good fit and Jon Jay could easily slide over to play RF until Craig gets back; then he could slide back over to CF when Crisp gets hurt in July like he always does.

NL West


Arizona Diamondbacks

Lineup:                                                           Rotation:

Ryan Roberts (3B)                                         Ian Kennedy

Aaron Hill (2B)                                               Trevor Cahill

Justin Upton (RF)                                          Daniel Hudson

Jason Kubel (LF)                                            Josh Collmenter

Paul Goldschmidt (1B)                                   Barry Enright

Chris Young (CF)

Stephen Drew (SS)                                         Bullpen:

Miguel Montero (C)                                       J.J. Putz (Closer)

Takashi Saito (8th inning)

What They Need:

You wouldn’t think a team that won their division would need to do much improving but the Diamondbacks have been able to do so by adding a top-notch starter (Cahill) and a power bat (Kubel). They are probably not done. They could use another starting pitcher and there are more than a few options available. Hiroki Kuroda would be a great option if they want to spend some more money; if they want to stay cheap they could take a shot with Paul Maholm, Joel Pinero, Ben Sheets, or Rich Harden.

Colorado Rockies

Lineup:                                                           Rotation:

Dexter Fowler (CF)                                        Jhoulys Chacin

Carlos Gonzalez (RF)                                     Juan Nicasio

Michael Cuddyer (LF)                                    Esmil Rogers

Troy Tulowitzki (SS)                                     Jason Hammel

Todd Helton (1B)                                           Drew Pomeranz

Ramon Hernandez (C)                                    Alex White

Jordan Pacheco (3B)

Chris Nelson (2B)                                           Bullpen:                    

                                                                        Rafael Betancourt (Closer)

Matt Lindstrom (8th inning)

Rex Brothers (Closer-in-waiting)

What They Need:

They need starting pitching. They need a solid veteran to help mold the young corps that they currently have and a long-term third baseman. They have Nolan Arenado waiting in the wings for 3B and he’ll probably be up sometime in 2012 to start the takeover. As for pitching, the same veteran guys are out there that other guys are milling through (Maholm, Kuroda, Oswalt, Marquis), I think they’ll sign Marquis or maybe bring back Jeff Francis.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Lineup:                                                           Rotation:

Dee Gordon (SS)                                             Clayton Kershaw

Mark Ellis (2B)                                               Chad Billingsly

Matt Kemp (CF)                                            Ted Lilly

Andre Ethier (RF)                                           Aaron Harang

Juan Rivera (LF)                                             Chris Capuano

James Loney (1B)

Russ Mitchell (3B)                                         Bullpen:

A.J. Ellis (C)                                                   Javy Guerra (Closer)

Kenley Jansen (8th inning)

What They Need:

First thing they need is an owner. They’ve locked up Matt Kemp and now they need to put some parts around him. They need to give up on James Loney and find a long term 1B and they need a 3B. It looks like their big splash was the Kemp contract. It’s highly doubtful that they make another significant signing this offseason. They’ll finish similarly to where they did last year and possibly worse.

San Diego Padres

Lineup:                                                           Rotation:

Will Venable (LF)                                           Cory Luebke

Cameron Maybin (CF)                                   Tim Stauffer

Yonder Alonso (1B)                                       Edinson Volquez

Jesus Guzman (RF)                                        Clayton Richards

Chase Headley (3B)                                        Dustin Moseley

Nick Hundley (C)

Jason Bartlett (SS)                                          Bullpen:

Orlando Hudson (2B)                                     Huston Street (Closer)

Luke Gregerson (8th inning)

What They Need:

The Padres have quietly improved their team from last season. They stole Yonder Alonso from the Reds and he’ll immediately be plugged in at first base. Their pitching staff will always be decent in the cavernous Petco Park so downgrading from Heath Bell to Huston Street isn’t that big of a deal. They lose Latos but maybe the change of scenery will bring Volquez back to when he was dominant. They probably won’t have any more moves to make unless it’s for a role player. They’ll be an interesting team in 2012; they’ll finish ahead of the Dodgers.

San Francisco Giants

Lineup:                                                           Rotation:

Angel Pagan (RF)                                            Tim Lincecum

Melky Cabrera (CF)                                       Matt Cain

Pablo Sandoval (3B)                                       Ryan Vogelsong

Buster Posey (C)                                            Madison Bumgarner

Aubrey Huff (1B)                                           Barry Zito

Brandon Belt (LF)

Freddy Sanchez (2B)                                      Bullpen:

Brandon Crawford (SS)                                  Brian Wilson (Closer)

Jeremy Affeldt (8th inning)

What They Need:

They need to trade Brian Wilson while he still has some value. They have a few guys who could take his place as the team’s closer and they could finally get a decent shortstop. They currently have Barry Zito penciled in as their 5th starter. I think Paul Maholm would be a perfect fit for them. Maybe Freddy Sanchez is putting in a good word for him with management. They don’t have a lot of other moves to make. If they’re not confident in Brandon Belt, they could look for another outfielder to platoon with him.

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Posted by on December 20, 2011 in Aaron Rife, Baseball, Sports


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