Offseason Grades: National League
Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images Sport / Getty

While little has changed in the American League landscape, the National League is wide open. After a hectic offseason with plenty of movement, only the Miami Marlins and San Francisco Giants can definitively be judged as being out of the running before a regular-season pitch is thrown.

American League offseason grades

Here, we grade every NL club's offseason based on initial expectations and how the moves reflect the respective goals of each team.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Norm Hall / Getty Images Sport / Getty
In Out
3B Eduardo Escobar* RP Brad Boxberger
IF Wilmer Flores SP Clay Buchholz
RP Greg Holland SP Patrick Corbin
OF Adam Jones RP Randall Delgado
C Caleb Joseph IF Daniel Descalso
C Carson Kelly RP Jake Diekman
SP Merrill Kelly 1B Paul Goldschmidt
OF Tim Locastro SP Shelby Miller
SP Ricky Nolasco OF A.J. Pollock
RP Marc Rzepczynski
OF Matt Szczur
IF Kelby Tomlinson
SP Luke Weaver

* - Agreed to extension

While locking up Escobar for the next few years is a nice move, this offseason will be remembered for trading franchise stalwart Goldschmidt to the Cardinals and, to a lesser extent, Pollock's defection to the division-rival Dodgers and Corbin's departure to D.C. This hasn't exactly kick-started a rebuild, though, as Zack Greinke remains a fixture in a rotation that looks relatively promising with Robbie Ray, Zack Godley, and newcomer Kelly in the mix. Still, the overall additions have been relatively uninspiring and the return for Goldschmidt was effectively spare parts in St. Louis. Overall, not a train wreck of an offseason, but nothing spectacular, either.

Grade: C

Atlanta Braves

Michael Reaves / Getty Images Sport / Getty
In Out
IF Andres Blanco RP Brad Brach
3B Josh Donaldson 1B Lucas Duda
IF Pedro Florimon SP Brandon McCarthy
OF Ryan LaMarre RP Peter Moylan
OF Nick Markakis* C Rene Rivera
C Brian McCann SP Anibal Sanchez
RP Jonny Venters* C Kurt Suzuki

* - Player re-signed

In most offseasons, simply adding Donaldson would have been a major victory for a team that won its division the year prior. This isn't most offseasons, though, as Donaldson is coming off a pair of disappointing years thanks to a debilitating calf injury. The rest of the NL East - not counting the Marlins - made concentrated pushes toward contention by addressing major issues. The Braves mostly stood pat and didn't upgrade the outfield or bolster a rotation with major health questions surrounding ace Mike Foltynewicz.

Grade: C+

Chicago Cubs

Alex Trautwig / Major League Baseball / Getty
In Out
RP Tony Barnette RP Jorge de la Rosa
RP Christian Bergman SP Jaime Garcia
RP Brad Brach IF Tommy La Stella
RP Xavier Cedeno IF Daniel Murphy
IF Daniel Descalso RP Justin Wilson
SP Kendall Graveman
RP George Kontos
SP Colin Rea
RP Junichi Tazawa

Hamstrung by budget constraints, the Cubs are mostly trotting out the same roster, with only minor support in the form of Brach and Descalso. If the team performs close to its peak with Kris Bryant and Yu Darvish healthy, the Cubs could easily contend for the NL Central crown. But the rotation is aging, and the back end of the bullpen is hurting due to injuries to Brandon Morrow and Pedro Strop, though it appears the latter will be ready for Opening Day. Everything needs to break right. If it doesn't, skipper Joe Maddon may be on the unemployment line entering 2020.

Grade: D-

Cincinnati Reds

Norm Hall / Getty Images Sport / Getty
In Out
RP Matt Bowman SP Homer Bailey
IF Christian Colon IF Jeter Downs
SP Odrisamer Despaigne SP Josiah Gray
IF/OF Derek Dietrich OF Billy Hamilton
RP Zach Duke SP Matt Harvey
3B Kyle Farmer 2B Shed Long
SP Sonny Gray
IF Jose Iglesias
OF Matt Kemp
OF Jordan Patterson
OF Yasiel Puig
SP Tanner Roark
SP Alex Wood

In terms of volume, the Reds made moves that change the fabric of a languishing franchise. But, will the additions of Puig, Wood, Gray, and others push the Reds to the same level as the Cubs, Cardinals, or reigning division champion Brewers? The team is obviously better on paper than it was a year ago, and the lineup doesn't have any real holes now, but the Reds still don't have an especially imposing pitching staff outside of Wood and Luis Castillo. If things don't go their way, expect second baseman Scooter Gennett to be on the move by the trade deadline. But hey, at least they're trying to put a winning team on the field.

Grade: B

Colorado Rockies

Alex Trautwig / Major League Baseball / Getty
In Out
3B Nolan Arenado* C Drew Butera
1B Daniel Murphy OF Carlos Gonzalez
C Brett Nicholas 1B Matt Holliday
1B Mark Reynolds 2B DJ LeMahieu
RP Chris Rusin** RP Adam Ottavino
OF Michael Saunders OF Gerardo Parra

* - Agreed to extension
** - Player re-signed

Unlike the Cubs, the Rockies' relative minor free-agent expenditures have more to do with freeing up roster spots for young players than they do with being constrained by a tight budget. Extending Arenado to man the hot corner for what could be the rest of his career took precedent. Meanwhile, allowing Gonzalez, LeMahieu, and Parra to walk provides more space for David Dahl, Ryan McMahon, Garrett Hampson, and eventually Brendan Rodgers to inject the Rockies with a youth movement. They might not return to the postseason in 2019, but the core is in place and could keep them in the conversation for years.

Grade: B+

Los Angeles Dodgers

Norm Hall / Getty Images Sport / Getty
In Out
RP Tony Cingrani** RP John Axford
IF Jeter Downs 2B Brian Dozier
1B David Freese** 3B Kyle Farmer
RP Joe Kelly C Yasmani Grandal
SP Clayton Kershaw* RP Daniel Hudson
C Russell Martin OF Matt Kemp
IF Brad Miller 3B Manny Machado
OF A.J. Pollock RP Ryan Madson
SP Hyun-Jin Ryu** OF Yasiel Puig
C Josh Thole SP Alex Wood

* - Agreed to extension
** - Player re-signed

You could argue a healthy Corey Seager belongs in the "In" column, but that's not a sign of a successful offseason. Sure, the Dodgers can point to Pollock as evidence of a concerted effort to improve, but they were rumored to be in the running for Bryce Harper and came up empty. This was doubly confusing after they shipped out Puig, Kemp, and Wood to the Reds as a salary dump in exchange for a package that included Homer Bailey, whom they promptly cut. Yes, the roster will largely be comparable to the one that has gone to back-to-back World Series, but simply making it to the Fall Classic isn't good enough anymore. It's win or bust, and they may not have made the necessary improvements to make it happen.

Grade: C

Miami Marlins

Mary DeCicco / Major League Baseball / Getty
In Out
C Jorge Alfaro RP Kyle Barraclough
1B Pedro Alvarez C J.T. Realmuto
RP Austin Brice
RP Riley Ferrell
OF Victor Victor Mesa
OF Victor Mesa Jr.
OF Curtis Granderson
RP Sergio Romo
SP Sixto Sanchez
1B Neil Walker

The Marlins have the distinction of being the only NL East team without a snowball's chance in hell of winning the division. But, that doesn't mean the offseason wasn't a success. They arguably got a better return for Realmuto - Sanchez and Alfaro, specifically - than they did for Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, or Marcell Ozuna in the previous offseason. Neck deep into a rebuild, they still need to field a team, so the additions of Granderson, Romo, and Walker will do the trick without breaking the bank or rushing the likes of Mesa or Sanchez.

Grade: B

Milwaukee Brewers

Norm Hall / Getty Images Sport / Getty
In Out
RP Alex Claudio RP Xavier Cedeno
OF Ben Gamel OF Keon Broxton
C Yasmani Grandal SP Gio Gonzalez
3B Brett Lawrie OF Curtis Granderson
2B Mike Moustakas* SP Wade Miley
IF Cory Spangenberg OF Domingo Santana
SP Josh Tomlin 2B Jonathan Schoop
RP Bobby Wahl

* - Player re-signed

How will Moustakas fare as the Brewers' second baseman? He's never played the position as a pro, but he's entering the season with the gig. Baffling as that move is, his bat will continue to be welcomed, and the Brewers did address their most glaring problem by inking Grandal to set up behind the plate. The rotation was concerning, too, but Corbin Burnes and Brandon Woodruff are candidates to make the shift from the bullpen and ace Jimmy Nelson is getting closer to full health, so it may not be so dire. It might not be enough to keep up with the improved Cardinals or a healthy Cubs squad, but the Brewers defied expectations a year ago ... perhaps they can do it again.

Grade: B-

New York Mets

Rich Schultz / Getty Images Sport / Getty
In Out
RP Luis Avilan RP Jerry Blevins
OF Keon Broxton OF Jay Bruce
2B Robinson Cano SP Justin Dunn
3B J.D. Davis IF Wilmer Flores
OF Rajai Davis OF Jarred Kelenic
RP Edwin Diaz C Kevin Plawecki
RP Jeurys Familia RP AJ Ramos
OF Carlos Gomez SS Jose Reyes
SS Adeiny Hechavarria RP Anthony Swarzak
IFJed Lowrie RP Bobby Wahl
C Devin Mesoraco*
C Wilson Ramos
RP Hector Santiago
RP Justin Wilson

* - Player re-signed

Big changes are afoot in Queens, and none involved the previously rumored trade of right-hander Noah Syndergaard. With the rotation intact, the arrivals of Cano, Ramos, and Diaz - along with Familia's return - the Mets are vastly improved. If Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo continue to take strides forward and Pete Alonso arrives with a bang, it wouldn't be a shock to see the Metropolitans make it back to the postseason. The bolstered roster also takes the pressure off the team to rush back injured outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. If Cespedes gets healthy, he'll be a nice addition for a playoff push. The biggest key, once again, will be whether all of Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, and Steven Matz can stay healthy over an entire season.

Grade: B+

Philadelphia Phillies

Joe Robbins / Getty Images Sport / Getty
In Out
RP Jose Alvarez C Jorge Alfaro
C Drew Butera RP Luis Avilan
OF Bryce Harper 1B Justin Bour
OF Andrew McCutchen IF Asdrubal Cabrera
RP Juan Nicasio SS J.P. Crawford
SP Aaron Nola* RP Aaron Loup
RP James Pazos C Wilson Ramos
C J.T. Realmuto SP Sixto Sanchez
RP David Robertson 1B Carlos Santana
SS Jean Segura

* - Agreed to extension

After crashing and burning in pitiful fashion to close out the 2018 season, changes needed to be made in Philly. If any team can be credited with winning the offseason, it's the Phillies - at least on paper. And it's not just the addition of Harper or swinging the trade for Realmuto. Signing McCutchen and Robertson as well as landing Segura while moving Santana to free up space at first base for Hoskins helped overhaul the squad while holding onto key pieces. Ensuring Nola sticks with the club after almost winning the NL Cy Young is another coup. If the Phillies bomb in 2019, it's not for lack of trying.

Grade: A+

Pittsburgh Pirates

Joe Robbins / Getty Images Sport / Getty
In Out
OF Melky Cabrera 2B Josh Harrison
OF Lonnie Chisenhall IF Jordy Mercer
SS Erik Gonzalez SP Ivan Nova
3B Jung Ho Kang*
RP Francisco Liriano
SP Jordan Lyles

* - Player re-signed

The Pirates did very little to change the minds of those who expected them to finish in the NL Central basement. The plan seems to be to tread water as long as possible and hope the team punches above its weight to maybe sneak in as the second wild card. Alternately, the NL landscape may have looked too difficult and general manager Neal Huntington figured it would be better to pack it in until 2020 or later and hope prospects Mitch Keller and Ke'Bryan Hayes land with a boom. Both scenarios hinge on the notion of hope, and that's not the kind of currency that can turn the Pirates back into contenders.

Grade: F

San Diego Padres

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty
In Out
IF Greg Garcia C A.J. Ellis
2B Ian Kinsler 2B Freddy Galvis
RP Aaron Loup SP Clayton Richard
3B Manny Machado IF Cory Spangenberg
SP Garrett Richards 3B Christian Villanueva
RP Sammy Solis
RP Adam Warren

It's all about Machado and building toward a sustainable future. Ignoring last year's puzzling - and potentially catastrophic - eight-year contract given to Eric Hosmer, the Padres clearly have a plan to somewhat slow-play their ascent. Machado alone will not be enough to make them perennial contenders, but it's a fantastic foundation alongside Hosmer, Wil Myers, Francisco Mejia, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Luis Urias. Consider the wealth of young pitching either at the big-league level (Matt Strahm, Chris Paddack, Joey Lucchesi) or in the pipeline (Logan Allen, Cal Quantrill, Luis Patino, MacKenzie Gore, etc.) and the Padres are looking at a bright future. Maybe they trade from their pitching depth to bulk up the outfield at some point. The important thing is for fans - and the club - not to get impatient.

Grade: A-

San Francisco Giants

Jennifer Stewart / Getty Images Sport / Getty
In Out
SP Derek Holland* OF Gregor Blanco
OF Cameron Maybin C Nick Hundley
OF Gerardo Parra OF Hunter Pence
SP Drew Pomeranz RP Hunter Strickland
C Rene Rivera
IF Yangervis Solarte
C Stephen Vogt

* - Player re-signed

The Giants don't feature a promising major-league roster nor do they have a farm system in good standing. The one asset remaining, Madison Bumgarner, enters camp possibly not on the trade block. They whiffed on Bryce Harper and mostly called it a day on the free-agent market. As disappointing as the offseason was, the Giants have won three World Series championships this decade, so it's a slightly less bitter pill to swallow. This will be a transition season as manager Bruce Bochy rides off into the sunset and new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi ushers in a new regime.

Grade: F

St. Louis Cardinals

Dylan Buell / Getty Images Sport / Getty
In Out
1B Paul Goldschmidt 1B Matt Adams
1B/OF Jose Martinez* C Carson Kelly
RP Andrew Miller RP Bud Norris
SP Miles Mikolas* SP Tyson Ross
OF Drew Robinson SP Luke Weaver
C Matt Wieters 3B Patrick Wisdom
SP Adam Wainwright**

* - Agreed to extension
** - Player re-signed

Adding Goldschmidt, the best first baseman in baseball, helps solidify the offensive core while Miller will help buoy a bullpen that struggled to find an identity in 2018. The Cardinals have so much pitching depth that it isn't integral for Mikolas to replicate his fantastic 2018. Jack Flaherty's emergence as a potential ace and the looming return of Alex Reyes (still technically a rookie) made Weaver expendable in the Goldschmidt trade. If it all works, they could win the World Series. If it blows up, Goldschmidt and Marcell Ozuna walk in free agency next year and there's still a strong, young core to build around going forward.

Grade: A

Washington Nationals

Rich Schultz / Getty Images Sport / Getty
In Out
RP Kyle Barraclough OF Bryce Harper
SP Patrick Corbin RP Kelvin Herrera
2B Brian Dozier RP Greg Holland
C Yan Gomes 1B Mark Reynolds
SP Jeremy Hellickson SP Tanner Roark
RP Trevor Rosenthal RP Sammy Solis
SP Anibal Sanchez C Matt Wieters
RP Tony Sipp
C Kurt Suzuki

No Harper, no problem. Juan Soto's rookie onslaught could not have come at a more convenient time for the Nationals. He cushioned the blow of losing Harper to free agency - which, in turn, opened up a roster spot for Victor Robles - and allowed the team to spend more freely on the pitching staff by signing the best available starter in Corbin. The bullpen has caused its share of headaches in recent years but general manager Mike Rizzo went to great lengths to address it by signing reclamation project Rosenthal, Sipp, and trading for Barraclough. They're rumored to be in on free agent Craig Kimbrel, too, which would go even further toward ensuring bullpen supremacy. Finally, after suffering through Matt Wieters' anemic bat behind the plate, they added Gomes and Suzuki to form a low-key impressive tandem at catcher. The Nats were contenders with Harper, and so they'll remain now that he's gone.

Grade: A-

Offseason Grades: National League
  Got something to say? Leave a comment below!
Daily Newsletter
Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox