So the major free agent signings are over (though Pedro Astacio's still available). How did the leagues do relative to each other? I seem to remember in last year's offseason there was a mini-exodus of the top hitters from the NL to the AL, with the pitching not changing much -- Schilling and Clemens sort of cancelled each other out. And it sure seemed, to me at least, that the AL was the far better league -- the Feared Cardinals got swept, and probably would've lost to the Yankees or the Angels as well, from what we saw. So what happened this year? Beltran and Clemens stayed put in their leagues, but many of the other major FA's switched leagues (plus there were a number of cross-league trades):
From the NL to the AL: Big Unit, Beltre, Sexson, Sosa, Finley, Wells, Clement, Pavano, Wright
From the AL to the NL: Pedro, Lowe, Glaus, Delgado, Lieber, Offerman
(there are others, Womack/Lima/Loaiza/Milwood/Pierzinski/Renteria/etc, but whatever.)
On balance, I say the AL continued to get a bit better. Hitters probably, pitchers maybe. What's interesting is ALL those pitchers named left or joined the Red Sox or Yankees.
On the topic of comparing leagues, two more points:
1) AL didn't pummel the NL in interleague...won the season by just 2 games. And that's all thanks to none other than the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who posted an obscene 15-3 record. Which is really, really weird. (It's worth mentioning that interleague games happened while St. Louis was never losing, and the soon-to-be-World Champion Red Sox were in their prolonged slump, which may have played a role in the closeness of the IL games.)
2) Seems all three major sports feel dominated by one league: baseball and the AL, football and the AFC, and basketball and the West. There are exceptions of course: the Eagles, last year's Pistons, etc., but I don't remember all the sports ever feeling this imbalanced.