The Cardinals' off-season wheelings and dealings have failed to impress New York Post columnist Joel Sherman.
With the acquisition of a first baseman who will play right field as their centerpiece, Sherman ranked the Birds 24th amongst major league clubs in their hot stove league performance.
"Lance Berkman needs a different body from last year if he really is going to be an everyday right fielder. And is Ryan Theriot really an everyday shortstop?" Sherman asks. "Their big news of the offseason still is pending: Do they extend Albert Pujols long-term before spring training or not?"
According to reports -- and photos -- Berkman DOES have a different body from last year. A much trimmer and lighter one. So we'll see if that turns back the clock to half a decade ago or more when Berkman was at least a servicable flychaser.
On the bright side, the Cardinals did outrank the Astros (26th) and the Pirates (28th) in off-season performance. The Brewers fared best amongst the NL Central competion (10th.)
"They emptied an already dubious farm system to obtain Zack Greinke and Marcum to join Yovani Gallardo and, at last, give the Brewers a real rotation," Sherman opined. "Milwaukee still has a lot of holes (center field, bullpen, catcher) and the pressure to win now with Prince Fielder in his walk year."
The Cubs ranked right behind Milwaukee in 11th place.
"If you believe Garza will find his inner Cy Young liberated from the AL East, then he certainly was worth the prospect outlay to acquire from Tampa Bay," Sherman wrote. "Kerry Wood and Carlos Pena on one-year deals seem worthwhile gambles."
Cincinnati checked in at 19th.
"They committed $151 million to sign Bronson Arroyo, Jay Bruce and Joey Votto long-term," Sherman said. "But their only additions help marginally, at best: Edgar Renteria and Fred Lewis."