Some great trades, signings, hirings and pickups improved, enhanced or transformed several teams this year, and the surprising thing is that a great majority of them were made by National League teams. If this keeps up, maybe the NL won't stand for the No-chance League anymore.
Here is my roster of the Top 40 player/coach/GM acquisitions of the year (actually 42, since two of them are paired entries). No less than 30 of them were made by NL teams, with an astounding 21 of them made by five teams alone (Mets, Padres, Reds, Dodgers and Marlins).
40. Brian Bruney, RP, Yankees. A great -- and cheap -- pickup for the Yankees, who've seen the beefy right-hander allow one run while striking out 24 in 18 innings.
39. Bobby Howry, RP, Cubs. No, he wasn't able to perform the miracle of making Chicago's North Side team a winner. But his loss surely hurt the Indians.
38. Dayton Moore, GM, Royals. Not a bad idea to hire someone with a Braves pedigree. Now if Kansas City could only replace that tightwad, no-vision owner of theirs.
37. Corey Patterson, OF, Orioles. Practically a giveaway by the Cubs, he regained his legs and bat in Baltimore.
36. Wayne Krivsky, GM, Reds. He gave Cincinnati a shot with his incessant trading and tinkering.
35. Francisco Cordero, closer, Brewers. Of all the players involved in the Carlos Lee trade, he's done the best. With Milwaukee, he's 16 for 16 in save opportunities with a 0.73 ERA.
34. Marlon Anderson, utilityman, Dodgers. As one Los Angeles baseball person wondered the other day, "When does he remember that he's Marlon Anderson?" Anderson, brought in as a useful utilityman, has a .783 slugging percentage and a 1.217 OPS since coming to L.A.
33. David Ross, C, Reds. The power has been startling: 19 home runs in 233 at-bats.
32. Jamey Carroll and Kaz Matsui, 2B, Rockies. Who'd have thought these two closeout pickups would bat .296 and .333, respectively? Colorado GM Dan O'Dowd, apparently.
31. Tom Gordon, closer, Phillies. He's been good to great everywhere he's been, and he's been just about everywhere. I'm still trying to figure out why the Yankees preferred Kyle Farnsworth to him.
30. Ty Wigginton, IF, Devil Rays. The Pirates castoff has found a home at the Trop.
29. Jamie Moyer, P, Phillies. GM Pat Gillick transitioned nicely from seller to buyer, picking up this old, reliable (with emphasis on old) hand he's known for years.
28. Bob Wickman, closer, Braves. The former Indians closer solidified a sorry bullpen situation almost as soon as he got to Atlanta. He's been so good they extended him already.
27. Eric Byrnes, OF, Diamondbacks. He's outplayed Luis Gonzalez and Shawn Green to earn a starting spot at a crowded position after being a lifetime backup.
26. Scott Hatteberg, 1B, Reds. He's Sean Casey at about 20 percent the cost. One of several good moves by Krivsky, who made more moves than most.
25. Lyle Overbay, 1B, Blue Jays. Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi's signings and trades have generally paid dividends, so it has to be frustrating to spend most of the year mired in third place. Overbay came from Milwaukee for pitcher Dave Bush in a sensible trade for both teams. Another Toronto swap that was positive for both sides brought Troy Glaus from Arizona for Orlando Hudson.