The Winter Meetin

December 08, 1991|By Jim Henneman NL West

NL East

Chicago Cubs

Wish list: Even after adding free-agent RHP Mike Morgan, the starting rotation still needs help, with Danny Jackson and Mike Harkey coming off injuries.

Tradable: OF Jerome Walton and OF Dwight Smith are mosfrequently mentioned, but the Cubs may have to go deeper to get a front-line starter.

Outlook: With new GM Larry Himes and assistant Syd Thrifcalling the shots, the Cubs are expected to be active. They tried the free-agent route without success last year, will be inclined to trade this time around.

Montreal Expos

Wish list: Other than making sure Olympic Stadium remains upright, the Expos need a first baseman to replace Andres Galarraga and reportedly are interested in the Orioles' Randy Milligan. They also are looking for a French-Canadian player to spark some interest.

Tradable: 2B Delino DeShields has been on, off and possiblback on the block. Middle reliever Barry Jones has exercised his option to demand a trade and will be accommodated.

Outlook: Struggling to stay respectable, the Expos brought bacformer hero Gary Carter, but the aging catcher won't completely fill the void if free agent Mike Fitzgerald leaves, as expected. The Expos' best hope for improvement is a strong minor-league system.

New York Mets

Wish list: The Mets have followed the same path as the Dodgers -- going from pitching-rich to pitching-poor. They need a dependable starter to go with Dwight Gooden and David Cone. The defense also needs improvement.

Tradable: With Eddie Murray and Bobby Bonilla in the bank, thMets are actively shopping OF Kevin McReynolds and 1B Dave Magadan.

Outlook: The Mets almost certainly will be among the mosactive teams in the trade market. They are talking to free-agent RHP Rick Sutcliffe, but need more help than he can provide. New manager Jeff Torborg would like to sign Carlton Fisk, but the Mets are committed to Todd Hundley as their catcher next year. Atlanta Braves

Wish list: Since they can't get another chance for Lonnie Smith to run the bases in the World Series, the Braves' biggest hope is to hold the ground they gained a year ago. They could use an outfielder and, despite the success of Greg Olson, probably still will be looking for a catcher.

Tradable: The Braves have a host of young pitchers and couldeal from strength in that department but are unlikely to tinker with their strongest asset. They aren't likely to deal any of their front-line players.

Outlook: Sid Bream and Terry Pendleton solidified the infield year ago, and the Braves could be players in the free-agent market again this winter. After waiting for the young pitching staff to mature, however, they will probably make only minor adjustments -- especially if they re-sign free-agent OF Otis Nixon.

Cincinnati Reds

Wish list: They got a jump start by adding Greg Swindell and Tim Belcher in an effort to build a dominant pitching staff. They'll probably look for an outfielder to replace Eric Davis and would like to improve team speed.

Tradable: Eric Davis was the most attractive. OF Reggie Sanderhad been mentioned, but might be off the block with Davis gone. LHP Randy Myers is almost certain to go, probably to San Diego for Bip Roberts.

Outlook: With other teams looking for a pitcher who can provid200 innings, the Reds have 4 (Tim Belcher, Greg Swindell, Jose Rijo and Tom Browning) who have averaged 230 the past 4 years. Roberts could give manager Lou Piniella the leadoff hitter he wants.

Houston Astros

Wish list: The top priority is a short man in the bullpen. Ex-Oriole Curt Schilling was given the role last year, but couldn't keep it. They're looking for an experienced middle reliever who might be able to become a closer. They also need a right-handed-hitting outfielder.

Tradable: RHP Mark Portugal, who might help a contender, anOF Eric Anthony.

Outlook: Astros GM Bill Wood says, "We probably won't bgrabbing headlines, but hope to do something." However, it won't be with expensive free agents.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Wish list: All of a sudden, the Dodgers are like most teams in baseball -- looking for pitching. With Mike Morgan and Tim Belcher gone, they have 2 holes in their rotation. They also need a first baseman to replace Eddie Murray. Free agent Danny Tartabull, who had some infield experience in the minors, is mentioned as a possibility.

Tradable: Forget about Kal Daniels moving to first base. That's smoke screen to protect his market value, which has diminished. They're unsure of their ability to keep him after this year, the Dodgers will listen to offers for LHP Bob Ojeda.

Outlook: The Dodgers remain poor defensively, and they mahave to rush Pedro Martinez, who won 18 games at 3 minor-league levels last year. Eric Davis gives them a needed right-handed hitter. This is the year Jose Offerman is handed the shortstop job. Baltimore Orioles

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