The Braves officially clinched the NL East on Sunday, and MLB.com's Mark Bowman lists 10 reasons that they were able to take their first division title since 2005. Bowman credits the play of Freddie Freeman and Andrelton Simmons, among others, but also takes the time to praise some of the under-the-radar moves made by GM Frank Wren this offseason. While the acquisition of both Upton brothers made the headlines (one of which obviously worked out better than the other), Wren also claimed Jordan Schafer and David Carpenter off waivers, inked Ramiro Pena to a small one-year deal, and acquired Jordan Walden for Tommy Hanson just hours before Hanson was to be non-tendered.
Here's more from the NL East...
- Andy Martino of the New York Daily News asked Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. if the team's $170MM payroll, the presence of Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez and numerous veterans under contract would prevent him from making big moves this winter, and Amaro replied with a simple, "Nope." Martino replied by asking if that meant Amaro was going to be his "usual creative self" and explore "crazy possibilities," and received another one-word answer in response: "Yep." Martino runs through some of Amaro's most recent blockbusters, including the Roy Halladay trade as well as two separate Cliff Lee trades and the signing of Lee as a free agent.
- Shin-Soo Choo has been rumored to be atop the Mets' wishlist this offseason, and ESPN's Mark Simon runs down the pros and cons of the team's reported interest. Choo will likely be linked to draft pick compensation, as the Reds figure to make a qualifying offer, and Simon notes that it's not yet certain if the Mets will have a protected pick. New York, of course, missed out on Michael Bourn last offseason due to their unwillingness to part with a first-rounder.
- Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said on FM 104.3's Hochman and Zaslow Show that the rumors of his impending dismissal have begun to impact his family (h/t: Craig Davis of the Miami Sun-Sentinel). Beinfest reportedly confronted owner Jeffrey Loria recently asking for a firm answer on his job status.