Season Preview: NL East

By luck of the die, I drew the ability to preview the NL East and home of your Phillies. The only shifting that appears to go on in the division will be the battle for last between New York and an improved Washington. Other than that, expect the Phils to remain dominant and the Braves to continue their run at retaking their place at the top of the East.

Expectations: Win the division with 23 men on the DL.
Key Addition: Cliff Lee
Key Loss: Jayson Werth
Projected Record: 102-60

Summary: I think it’s obvious to say that the Phillies are not only the best team in the division but quite possibly the best team in the National League. The Phillies struggled offensively for most of the season last year while the starting pitching kept them afloat in the NL. So what they lose offensively and dropping Jayson Werth, they gained in pitching with Cliff Lee. Stop scratching your head because that could prove to be a move in the right direction. The game may be turning back to  a pitcher’s game and with the super rotation the Phils created, it could be the advantage that gets them past the other teams in the NL.

But the other main concern is health. seven of the eight every day starters are older than 30 and with Chase Utley starting the season on the DL, age and health have the fans worried. But the adversity aside, the Phillies are experienced and know how to overcome the obstacles as they look to win their fifth straight NL East crown.

Atlanta Braves
Expectations: Blow their load in the first four months before choking again.
Key Additions: Dan Uggla, Rodrigo Lopez.
Key Losses: Billy Wagner, Melkey Cabrera, Derrek Lee, Matt Diaz.
Projected Record: 91-71

Summary: The Braves scare me this year. They really do. Their team is young and budding with potential. Freddy Freeman and Jason Heyward together can be the future of the Braves like Chipper and Andruw Jones 15 years ago. Their pitching is also very sturdy in Tommy Hanson, Tim Hudson and Derek Lowe (let’s face it, Jair Jurrjens really sucks). The bull pen is also strong with Craig Kimbrel, Johnny Venters and Peter Moylan. They lost a lot in Billy Wagner, who was one of the best closers last year but Kimbrel and Venters will look to close by committee. The Braves will give the Phillies trouble early but much like last year, the youth will wear down and the Braves won’t be able to keep up with the pitching and strong play of the Phillies. A wild card berth is very possible.

Florida Marlins

Expectations: To have the same attendance all year as the Phillies will have in April.
Key Addition: Javier Vazquez.
Key Loss: Dan Uggla, Will Ohman.
Projected Record: 80-82

Summary: The Fish have a lot of potential on their team. They bug the heck out of the Phils and Braves each year but never have enough in the tank to be a serious threat within the division. They lost big when Uggla was traded to Atlanta but that was expected as they couldn’t sign him. Florida does boast some very young talent with Logan Morrison, Mike Stanton and Chris Coughlin in the outfield. They also feature the best short stop in the game in Hanley Ramirez and Gabby Sanchez, who is full of potential, at first. But outside of Josh Johnson, one of the best pitchers in the game, the Fish have no pitching and that will kill them. Johnson will have another fantastic year with the run support he’ll get he can’t do it alone.

Washington Nationals

Expectations: To learn that Jayson Werth should have been paid $24 million for seven years or $124 million for 70 years.
Key Additions: Jayson Werth, Jerry Hairston Jr.
Key Losses: Adam Dunn, Kevin Mench.
Projected Record: 78-84

Summary: I can’t wait until the Nats see their over-paid super star in action:

A man on second, two outs and Werth at the plate. The Nats trail one and they need a base hit to tie. Werth will drive him in. He’s super duper clutch…. Are you kidding me? He struck out again?! $124 million my ass.

That will be a familiar scenario on Washington again. I can’t wait until they stop drooling over his ass. Besides Werth, the Nats do have some decent talent. They have everybody’s favorite player in Nyjer Morgan, the ancient Ivan Rodriguez and their ace is Livan Hernandez. But seriously, the only diamond on that steaming pile of doo doo called the Nats is Ryan Zimmerman, who is arguably the best third baseman in baseball and is wasting his talents in the Nation’s Capital. Run for your life, Zimm. It’s not too late!

New York Mets

Expectations: Hahahahaha.
Key Additions: Chris Young, Chris Capuano
Key Losses: none.
Projected Record: 60-102.

Summary: Do I really have to do this? Okay fine…

The Mets flat out suck. They won’t have Johan Santana for a good portion of the season, their closer Francisco Rodriquez and short stop Joes Reyes are scum bags and broken down outfielders in Carlos Beltran and Jason Bay. To be honest, the only bright spots this team has are Daniel Murphy at first, Josh Thole at catcher and pitchers Mike Pelfrey and R.A. Dickey. They won’t even come close to fourth in this division. The Mets are in a deep hole that they won’t get out of for quite a bit.

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