Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Though all the free agents haven't signed, it's time to take an early look at who changed teams and/or leagues and how they should do in their new environment.
A new address has different consequences to different players. Some take to their new teams or leagues with ease (see Adrian Gonzalez) and some, like Adam Dunn for the Chicago White Sox last year, fail to ever find their comfort zone and post disastrous numbers.
Previously we evaluated the American League rosters, today we check out the National League.
American to National League
Erik Bedard, Seattle/Boston-to-Pittsburgh - Shuffling between Seattle and Boston, Bedard was just 5-9 despite a solid 3.62 ERA. He has the talent, but is too injury-prone for you to rely on over a full season. The Pirates may be willing to take this kind of risk, you shouldn't.
Jonathan Papelbon, Boston-to-Philadelphia - Going from one elite team to another, Papelbon should continue to produce saves at a nice clip. However, 40+ saves is probably a pipe dream. Last year's 31-save total was his lowest in six seasons with Boston and now he goes to a team where Roy Halladay (8 CG) and Cliff Lee (6 CG) prefer to pitch all nine innings.
Mark Buehrle, Chicago White Sox-to-Miami - This team has all the offensive weapons to challenge for a title in the National League if they can just get their rotation together. To that end, the Marlins signed Buehrle to a four- year deal and he should be the No.2 guy behind Josh Johnson. The veteran left- hander went 13-9 with a 3.59 ERA and has pitched 200+ innings for 11 consecutive years. He's never pitched in the NL which means his strikeout total should rise now that he gets to face opposing pitchers. He also goes from a hitter-friendly park to one where the pitcher should have a slight advantage.
Michael Cuddyer, Minnesota-to-Colorado - Cuddyer's home run total took a hit when the Twins moved into their new home at Target Field. He averaged just 17 HRs in two seasons there and hit a homer once every 33.47 at-bats versus one every 25.88 at-bats in the four previous seasons. He'll find Colorado more to his liking, as most hitters do, so long as he doesn't change his swing. He could easily hit 25-30 HRs next season.
Jason Kubel, Minnesota-to-Arizona - Kubel joins a team that can put up plenty of runs and he should benefit from the change. He also leaves pitcher-friendly Target Field. Kubel should start in left field and get 500+ at-bats and a season like he had in 2009 (.300, 28 HR, 103 RBI) is possible. He could be an excellent sleeper selection.
National to National League
Aramis Ramirez, Chicago-to-Milwaukee - Ramirez moves within the division and should be comfortable from Day 1. Coming off his first healthy season since 2008, his value is all about making it into the starting lineup. He played 149 games last year and batted .306 with 26 HR and 93 RBI. He played just 85 and 124 games the previous two years. Miller Park is one of the best hitters parks, but with Ryan Braun missing 50 games due to a suspension and Prince Fielder a free agent, the Brewers will be depending heavily on Ramirez. You should be less dependant because of the injury factor.
Ramon Hernandez, Cincinnati-to-Colorado - Hernandez has been a low-end starter and the move from the Reds to the Rockies can't hurt. With Chris Iannetta gone, Hernandez figures to get more work than last season when he played just 91 games. It's possible he could hit 20 HRs this season.
Jose Reyes, New York Mets-to-Miami - Reyes is a great addition to Miami as long as two things happen; he doesn't have his usual injury problems and he and Hanley Ramirez get along. Reyes hasn't played more than 133 games in any of the last three seasons and has dealt with hamstring problems almost every year. Reyes joins a team that already had an All-Star shortstop and that could cause a rift between stars. So long as Ramirez moves to third without incident, the addition of Reyes as a premier leadoff hitter and all the quality hitters behind him could make for a "monster year" for the new Miami shortstop.
Ryan Madson, Philadelphia-to-Cincinnati - Madson successfully saved 32-of-34 chances last season in Philadelphia, but the Phillies opted for Papelbon. Madson should be able to produce just as well in Cincinnati and is a top-10 closer.
Carlos Beltran - New York Mets/San Francisco-to-St.Louis - Beltran put up solid numbers last year, his first full season since 2008. The six-time All- Star batted .300 with 22 HR and 84 RBI in 142 games after playing just 145 games in the previous two seasons. He's expected to bat second in the Cardinals lineup between Rafael Furcal and Matt Holliday. It's a nice spot for him and he should continue to produce...if he stays healthy.
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