NL Power ranking as of today...
Okay kids- here's the skinny. Yesterday I spent the whole day working up a breakdown of the AL and where everything stood. Today, it's my turn to take a crack at the NL. Now, I will be up front so consider this a disclaimer, I prefer the AL, but no one can deny the talent there in that league. Let me know what you think when it's all said and done.
1. Arizona Diamondbacks-
Come on- is that a surprise to anyone? Yes they moved the farm to acquire Haren but they got a allotment for Valverde from Houston. Now they have about the same kinda farm they had before but they acquired one of the best pitcher in the game to round out an already great rotation. Now, speculation is that Johnson is well on the way to recovery and will be throwing again soon. If that's the case this team is set to take themselves all the way to the World Series this coming season.
2. Chicago Cubs-
The glaring gap in the line-up? The centerfield side show of platoon players? Solved. By a player by the name of Fukudome who has had a fantastic career in Japan is the kinda lefty bat that can rake and find all kinds of holes for extra bases. Now, before you start, yes, Fukudome sound's like one of the names of the Japanese twins from that last Austin Powers movie- but that's where the similarities end. The Cubs line-up is great now- they have every part now to make the machine. The only reason they aren't in first is Big Z and the rotation. Those guys are just one "Boo" away from breakdown every game. We'll see how run support helps those guys confidence.
3. Philadelphia Phillies-
Still got a good line-up and did the smart thing and didn't sign Rowland to anything foolish like what he got with the Giants. The rotation is questionable out side of Cole Hamels but their line-up is a supportive one. They still need a centerfielder that can hit the ball well and it seems that Mike Cameron is the best still left out there on the market. We will see what they do to address this situation to secure their position that I am ranking them at now. But without that they may fade fast from this 3rd ranking.
4. New York Mets-
Their line-up isn't a question, but their rotation sure as heck is. They need an established ace in the rotation. They lost Glavine and Martinez is not what he used to be. If they could land Bedard or the likes of Santana they overtake the 3 spot. If not they own lower positions, and a Wild card is the best they could hope for therefore. But with the super highly contentious west- they'll have their work cut out for them.
5. Milwaukee Brewers-
Okay sunshine, everyone has had these guys on lists last year and they fell apart at the 2nd half of the season to give it to the Cubs. They lost Cordero to a insanely high amount offered by the Reds and got Gagne in free agency for a replacement. If Gagne can pull himself together they stand a chance but remember, he was apparently only so dominant when he was on the juice.
6. Colorado Rockies-
Okay, get it outta the way now, "What the hey- they were just at the World Series last year, why 6th?" Number one, no movement. Number two, every team in the NL after the Diamondbacks and the Cubs have holes and glaring gaps in their line-up or rotations, some more than others. Why the Rockies take in with the best of the rest from this point down the ticker is that this is the same squad that came in went on a winning streak that only the Red Sox could break. When the Rockies get on a tear the whole world should watch out. But they lost a bit of their magic to free agency.
7. Los Angeles Dodgers-
Who ever thought that picking up a Boras client like Andruw Jones could be done at such a steal- and then sign Kudora as well? The Dodgers are doing what they have to just to stay competitive in the NL West. I see this as still just an example of keeping up with the Steins but to me they have moved out of the Cali shadow cast from San Diego personally.
8. San Diego Padres-
Similarly to the White Sox in the American League, the Pads had been linked to numerous trade possibilities and free agent possibilities. They do have Jim Edmonds now from the Cards but it's his bat that brings value to this organization. Not his fielding, nor his age, and well his up and down stints on the disabled list for that matter either. But they have a solid rotation and a moderate hitting line-up. But outside the Pads hitting a few really good streaks I don't see them in any chases.
9. Cincinnati Reds-
The Big Red Machine hits the middle ground with the potential to climb up the charts as well in their bartering with the O's for Bedard. If they can land him they have a fantastic chance to break the top 5 here. They have good hitters they just don't have the rotation. Bedard would bring some legitimacy to their crazy contract given to Cordero. Without doing that it looks like more silly money spent on a reliever that can be red hot one day and a cold fish the next...
10. Houston Astros-
A lot of moves but not much that will be really fruitful outside of bringing in Valverde. If Milton Bradley can get his head straight and his knee healed that man might have found the team where he will finally rake. And he is really due for a break out year, but he has been due for that for the last couple of seasons so we will really see if he breaks out or breaks his hand hitting someone...
11. Washington Nationals-
I see an unseating of Atlanta form 3rd place by the overall end of the coming season by a feisty and upstart Nationals. Taking on Dmitri last season was one thing when they turned him around. Now they are marketing themselves as a half-way house for baseballs troubled in picking up Milledge, Dukes, and now Lo Duca. I don't see them necessarily winning 10 more games this season- but I do see the braves losing that many more and the Nats coming in 3rd in the NL East. With a few more wins than last time as well.
12. Atlanta Braves-
So much to do- so little time, and resources... Once a true contender now more of a pretender. They resemble a piece of Swiss cheese with all those hole and gaps so I cannot reasonable speculate still. But their background and ability to make things work for them keeps then above the worst 4.
13. St. Louis Cardinals-
Goodness didn't these guys win a World Series a year ago?
No- seriously, I forgot- didn't they? You have to be kidding me right, cause I have not even seen a team bomb this fast this quickly since well- the White Sox when they won it all in 05 I guess... Never mind.
14. San Francisco Giants-
To me people, they climbed out of the bottom considerably when they let Bonds walk, but then they picked up Rowland for a silly 5 year contract and it threw them down to cellar dweller placement again. Not the complete worst since they have seemingly bright stars on the horizon in pitching and if Zito can pull himself together to deserve some of the pay he is getting, well, all you can do is move up.
15. Florida Marlins-
They traded some of the best things they had to the Tigers and got a plethora of players in return. Miller will probably start. Maybin is very close to being an every day centerfielder, Robello looks to be their every day catcher. They might have gotten themselves a good return but the problem is this is looking at 08. And the Marlins are looking for the earliest return being 2010 I believe. That said, the consistent rebuilding is getting old, but they have a lot of future in their team.
16. Pittsburgh Pirates-
Yeah, no real moves and they really haven't even released their good players for prospects. This club isn't looking to compete; they're just trying to keep a heartbeat. And it's very shallow. I have stepped in puddles deeper than this team's line-up and rotation included. It's time to find a real taker for Bay- they are out there, just pull the trigger, and with all the pitching needs out there you can't hold out forever, just let them go to a place where they will compete, be valued, and where you will have a tidy return and start building a club with a hope of a future. Because whatever you have going on at that club isn't working for anyone...