The NL East was the most improved division in baseball this winter and it was almost entirely due to the efforts of just two teams. The Marlins and Nationals both made big strides towards joining the Phillies and Braves in what could be a spirited pennant race this season. (Sorry, Mets fans.)
With their new ballpark opening this April, the Marlins decided to take the opportunity to overhaul the entire franchise, debuting new uniforms, a new logo and even a new name, as the Florida Marlins made way for the Miami Marlins. The first major move came when Ozzie Guillen was hired as the team's new manager and then the Fish took the free agent market by storm. Miami signed Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Heath Bell for a combined $191MM --- a stunning outlay for traditional small-payroll club. The starting rotation was further bolstered by trades for Wade LeBlanc and the controversial Carlos Zambrano. Between these moves and Josh Johnson and Hanley Ramirez looking to rebound from injury and a poor season, respectively, it's easy to see why some pundits have picked the Marlins to reach the playoffs this year.
The Nationals are also getting some love from the preseason analysts. Washington's offseason was a bit more low-key to start with, as the club focused on bolstering their minor league depth, re-signing Chien-Ming Wang and adding Ryan Perry to the bullpen. January, however, was much busier, as the Nats dealt four of their best prospects in order to acquire Gio Gonzalez from the A's and then promptly locked the left-hander up in a five-year extension. GM Mike Rizzo then completed his search for starting pitching by signing Edwin Jackson to a one-year contract, thus pairing Jackson and Gonzalez along with Wang, Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann in what could be one of the strongest rotations in baseball.
The Marlins are clearly trying to win now. The Nationals may still be looking to 2013 as their true "go for it" year, but with Strasburg recovered from Tommy John surgery and other impact players like Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse on board, it wouldn't be surprising to see Washington contend right now. With all this in mind, which team's offseason do you think was the most impressive?