Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sporting News: The Astros had the 4th-best the NL Central

According to Stan McNeal and the Sporting News, the Astros had the 4th-best offseason of all of the National League Central:

Judging by its offseason acquisitions, Houston isn't convinced its strong finish means it is ready to contend. The Astros made two lineup changes that can be considered marginal upgrades. They signed utilityman Bill Hall to play second base and traded for a shortstop, Clint Barmes, who lost his everyday job at second base in Colorado. They also brought in lefthanded starter Ryan Rowland-Smith, discarded by the Mariners after a dismal 2010, and unloaded reliever Matt Lindstrom.

And then your pre-Spring Training prediction:
Expect the Reds and Cardinals to lead the way, with the Brewers coming fast and Cubs closing steadily. The Astros could take another step forward but lack the depth of the contenders. The Pirates will need a lot to go right to end their record streak of consecutive losing seasons at 18.