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CBSSports.com Senior Writer

Red Sox, Phillies, Brewers reign over winter's carnival


Here comes a winter's worth of negotiating, hard-lining, heavy breathing, wheeling, dealing, signing, late-night pizza-ordering, texting, trading, e-mailing, ranting and raving in one final two-minute blast -- just before we begin taking orders for sun block and spring-training Maui Jims.

Kings of the winter carnival

Red Sox: They acquired Adrian Gonzalez. They stunned the baseball world by signing Carl Crawford. They've all but plundered the rest of the AL East and it's not even opening day. Next they're coming after the Yankees' girlfriends. Look out, Minka Kelly!

Adrian Gonzalez checks his reflection in Red Sox red and white at his official signing on Dec. 6. (Getty Images)  
Adrian Gonzalez checks his reflection in Red Sox red and white at his official signing on Dec. 6. (Getty Images)  
Phillies: Cliff Lee is to Roy Halladay as filet is to mignon. Pass the A-1.

Brewers: Adding Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum to Yovani Gallardo will even have the Green Bay Packers envious by October.

Can plow our driveway anytime

White Sox: Adam Dunn, Paul Konerko, pilfering reliever Jesse Crain from the Twins ... nobody will be questioning the toughness of these Chicago guys this summer.

Twins: Bizarro World when Carl Pavano even looks good to the Yankees. Of course, Bizarro World has a way of changing to Real World in October. But it's good for April through September!

Tigers: No "I" in "team," but there is a Victor (Martinez) in victory. And Joaquin (Benoit) rhymes with "win," doesn't it? Close enough?

Braves: With Dan Uggla aboard, new skipper Fredi Gonzalez might need reminding he's no longer in Florida wearing a Marlins uniform. It will not be difficult.

Athletics: Look out, the folks in Oakland may even notice the Athletics now that David DeJesus and relievers Grant Balfour and Brian Fuentes join a great young rotation.

Reds: Spent most of their time looking inward, extending the contracts of Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Bronson Arroyo and Johnny Cueto. Edgar Renteria in and Orlando Cabrera out as shortstop? We'll stop by Skyline Chili and check back.

Rockies: Locked up Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez for years and retained underrated Jorge De La Rosa. No blockbusters, but extremely talented and dangerous.

Tricky as black ice

Blue Jays: It has been discovered that young GM Alex Anthopoulos, who stunningly was able to excise Vernon Wells' contract from the repositioning Jays' books, was a magician in a previous life.

Improving forecast

Orioles: Manager Buck Showalter's jersey number will be retired by Chipola College. Not sure whether it's because he's an alum or because of heightened expectations with Mark Reynolds, Derrek Lee, J.J. Hardy and future stars like Brian Matusz getting another year older.

Cubs: Will Matt Garza, Carlos Zambrano and Carlos Silva channel the Three Musketeers, and not the Three Stooges? I like Carlos Pena in Wrigley and with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo.

Diamondbacks: No more whiffs from Mark Reynolds, that's a wrap. But the key is, with J.J. Putz, Daniel Hernandez and others, the bullpen's threat level improves from red to orange.


Nationals: OK, so the Nats wildly overpaid for Jayson Werth. But if Bryce Harper doesn't make the team this spring, they'll save on face paint.

The snowdrifts were too much

Yankees: Missed on Cliff Lee and GM Brian Cashman acknowledges they're one starting pitcher away from being a World Series contender. Snow removal trucks are dumping salt over A.J. Burnett as we speak.

Rays: Little-known fact: After alarming bullpen exodus, Tampa Bay is adding Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon as relievers.

Angels: Halos dreamed of Carl Crawford. You dreamed of Reese Witherspoon. Didn't matter, did it?

Marlins: Bullpen tinkering (Randy Choate, Ryan Webb, Edward Mujica) successfully has camouflaged fact that it has been months since Hanley Ramirez has failed to hustle.

Jury still out

Giants: The Giants' heads are so swollen from winning the World Series, they think Miguel Tejada for Juan Uribe is the only big move they need. Wait, sorry, that's just manager Bruce Bochy's noggin.

Rangers: Adrian Beltre + Mike Napoli + Arthur Rhodes - Cliff Lee = Are you sure you don't wanna move Neftali Feliz into the rotation?!

Cardinals: Spring PFP drills will include Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright covering their eyes as well-meaning Lance Berkman and Matt Holliday are set to play corner outfield spots.

Royals: No more Zack Greinke is one less reason to go to ballpark during the long drought in Kansas City. But a farm system now ranked No. 1 in the majors by Baseball America is a sign the winter thaw is coming soon.

Dodgers: They've taken their share of knocks this winter, but with Jon Garland and Ted Lilly, their rotation is in far better shape than it was last opening day. However ... Jay Gibbons as a left fielder? Ahem.

Padres: Yes, Adrian Gonzalez leaves a crater-sized hole at first. But the club is better up the middle with Jason Bartlett, Orlando Hudson and Cameron Maybin. Plus Jorge Cantu's bat ... let's just say, at least there are parts with which to work.

Astros: Drayton McLane is still too fatigued from the Roy Oswalt trade to do much else this winter.

Waiting for the ice to melt

Mariners: Maybe things aren't as rosy as they were a year ago (before the reality hammer crushed them), but there's one ace in hole: If Milton Bradley's court date for felony assault can excise him from their landscape. ...

In need of more snow days

Mets: But in hiring experienced, savvy GM Sandy Alderson, who presumably will operate without interference from Jeff Wilpon, things are looking up.

Pirates: In need of more snow decades.

Indians: Big winter move: New uniforms. Unfortunately, these uniforms don't say "Yankees."


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