By: Demarus Dye
Chicago Cubs: 2013: 66-96, fifth in NL Centra lManager: Rick Renteria (first season)Key additions: Emilio Bonifacio, Jason Hammel, George Kottaras, Justin Ruggiano, Jose Veras, Wesley Wright Key losses: Scott Baker, Kevin Gregg, Dioner Navarro. The Cubbies are in clear rebuilding mode, patience will be the key in Chicago with both teams, but the Cubs are a ways away, they are the loveable losers, you will see them on TV a couple of times this season however.
Cincinnati Reds: 2013: 90-72, third in NL Central (Lost wild-card game to Pirates) Manager: Bryan Price (first year) Key additions: Skip Schumaker, Brayan Pena Key Losses: Bronson Arroyo, Shin-Soo Choo, Ryan Hanigan. I think the Reds window of being a top team in the NL Central is closing, losing Chapman until mid-May hurts also. The Reds Bullpen has depth though, the Reds new Manager Bryan Price will be key to watch too, but the Red Machine could have been passed by the Pirates along with the Cards.
Milwaukee Brewers: 2013: 74-88, fourth in NL Centra lManager: Ron Roenicke (fourth season) Key additions: Matt Garza, Francisco Rodriguez, Will Smith, Mark Reynolds, Lyle Overbay Key losses: Norichika Aoki, Yuniesky Betancourt, Burke Badenhop, Mike Gonzalez, Corey Hart. Outside of the Return of the “Lying Braun”, the Brew Crew could make a run in the NL Central, but the back end of their bullpen has issues & unknowns, the best however the Brewers could be is 3rd in the NL Central for now.
Pittsburgh Pirates: 2013: 94-68, second in NL Central (Lost to Cardinals in NLDS) Manager: Clint Hurdle (fourth season)Key additions: Edinson Volquez, Chris Stewart, Chris McGuiness Key losses: John Buck, A.J. Burnett, Marlon Byrd, Justin Morneau, Kyle Farnsworth, Garrett Jones, James McDonald. The Pirates took a step last year in the Postseason & now they must get past the Cards in the NL Central, but with their lack of moves in the Offseason, I think the Pirates will stay 2nd best or lower, I do like them getting Edinson Volquez from the Reds.
St. Louis Cardinals: 2013: 97-65, first in NL Central (Lost to Red Sox in World Series) Manager: Mike Matheny (third season)Key additions: Jhonny Peralta, Peter Bourjos, Mark Ellis Key losses: Carlos Beltran, David Freese, Edward Mujica, Jake Westbrook, John Axford. The Cards still look like the Top Team in the NL Central, gaining Jhonny Peralta was good, losing Beltran & Freese will be huge, but the Cards still will be contending & also the rest of the NL Central didn’t do much to improve either.
My Order of Finish: