Dayn Perry and FoxSports has one of those stupid slideshows ranking the worst off-seasons of 2008-09. But the content is great - I just don't like the format, though no one really cares what I think. However, Perry lists the Cubs and Cardinals as having two of the six worst off-seasons.
Over the winter, the Cubs parted ways with Mark DeRosa for very little, traded away one of their better setup men (Michael Wuertz), and "sold low" on Rich Hill and Felix Pie. As well, they signed Milton Bradley, a player who's demonstrated no ability to stay healthy (even when DH-ing) to be their everyday right fielder, and they re-signed Ryan Dempster (pictured) to a contract that looks excessive in light of the corrected market. They're still the favorites in the NL Central, but they'll be lucky to get 90 wins in 2009.
The Cardinals have on their roster the best player in baseball -- Albert Pujols. Stated another way, there's no finer starting point toward a contending team than Albert Pujols. But the Cardinals are not doing an optimal job in surrounding Pujols with worthy teammates. They have a foundation and some young talent on the way, and the Cubs and Brewers figure to regress in 2009. But St. Louis isn't doing much with this opportunity. Manager Tony La Russa (pictured) needs help in the rotation and the bullpen, but little was done to address those needs. And then, in a puzzling move, the Cardinals released Adam Kennedy, who's still among the best defensive second basemen in the game. Will their penny-pinching cost them a division title?
Interesting that Perry thinks 89 wins could take the NL Central. If the Astros overachieve (and that's, admittedly, a pretty big "if"), maybe it's our year to get swept by the Dodgers in the NLDS!