Re: Looking at our division
The way I look at it the Reds are the best in this division and it isn't even close. With Choo they may have taken a step backwards on defense but their lineup will be much much much better. I also think you will see some improvement from Frazier, Cozart, and Mes next year, or at least you would hope these guys would get better after their rookie season. Their bench is also going to be improved without the services of Cairo and Valdez. I think Chapman over Leake in the short run will be an improvement, but it will put more stress on the pen.
In the past two seasons the Cards have been the last team in the playoffs. My questions for them are how do their young pitchers do this season? How many game do Furcal and Beltran play? Allen Craig is a .900 OPS guy, really? Can Yadi continue to produce at the level he has without breaking down? As a catcher the guy plays 140 games, that has to take its toll. And finally what does the starting pitching staff do? Can Carpenter continue to defy age? What does Wainwright look like next season? How is Garcia's arm? I think they are second in this division but may be in a dog fight with the Pirates.
I think this is the season the Pirates make a run at .500 and get it. I also wonder if this is the year the Pirates begin to flip some minor league prospects for a legit playoff run. As it is their lineup isn't good enough to compete and their rotation is solid but nothing spectacular. Do they find another Charlie Morton of 2012 or McDonald of 2011? I think they are 3rd in this division but wouldn't be surprised if they finished above the Cards or below the Brewers.
If I were a fan of the Brewers I would be disappointed. They show up in droves and the organization tries, but it just doesn't pan out. Their has been talk of the Brewers doing something this off season but as it looks now they weren't players trying to get Grienke back. There was talk about getting Hamilton but that was just talk. Can their pitching hold up this season?
The Cubs will get better this season but they will still be the Cubs.