A team-by-team preview of the NL East division.
1 | Washington Nationals
He’s here: RHP Rafael Soriano, RHP Dan Haren, CF Denard Span.
He’s outta here: OF-1B Michael Morse, RHP Edwin Jackson, LHP Sean Burnett, LHP Mike Gonzalez, LHP John Lannan, C Jesus Flores, INF Mark DeRosa, RHP Chien-Ming Wang.
Written in Stone: This is a team with the pieces to not only make the postseason, but do some damage. And this time, they hope to have Stephen Strasburg, controversially shut down last year in early September despite having no arm problems. The Nats will turn Strasburg loose this year, and he’s got the ability to dominate even more than he has. Speaking of dominant ability, that’s Bryce Harper, who is ready to assume the superduperstardom that has always been regarded as his birthright. The Nationals don’t have many weaknesses, and they addressed one of them by signing Rafael Soriano to close. Another signee, Dan Haren, will bolster an already strong rotation, while trade acquisition Denard Span greatly improves the outfield defense. Catcher Wilson Ramos appears to have made a complete recovery from his torn ACL.
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|CF Denard Span||.285||4||41|
|RF J. Werth||.300||5||31|
|LF Bryce Harper||.270||22||59|
|3B R. Zimmerman||.282||25||95|
|1B Adam LaRoche||.271||33||100|
|SS Ian Desmond||.292||25||73|
|2B D. Espinosa||.247||17||56|
|C Wilson Ramos||.265||3||10|
|RH S. Strasburg||15-6||3.16||197|
|LH Gio Gonzalez||21-8||2.89||207|
|RH J. Zimmrmnn||12-8||2.94||153|
|RH Dan Haren||12-13||4.33||142|
|LH Ross Detwiler||10-8||3.40||105|
|RH R. Soriano||2.26||42||4|
2 | Atlanta Braves
He’s here: CF B.J. Upton, LF Justin Upton, 3B Chris Johnson, C Gerald Laird, RHP Jordan Walden.
He’s outta here: 3B Chipper Jones, CF Michael Bourn, INF-OF Martin Prado, RHP Tommy Hanson, C David Ross, RHP Randall Delgado, RHP Jair Jurrjens, RHP Chad Durbin, 1B-OF Eric Hinske, OF Matt Diaz, 1B Lyle Overbay.
Written in Stone: Last year was the end of an era for the Braves, as Chipper Jones retired after a 19-year career. But it doesn’t look like the Braves will stop competing for postseason berths. The addition of brothers Justin and B.J. Upton to join Jason Heyward gives them the NL’s most dynamic outfield. Midseason callup Andrelton Simmons looks like a budding star at shortstop. Julio Teheran has long been regarded as a can’t-miss pitching prospect, and he finally looks ready to show why. Don’t forget about Kris Medlen, who went 10-1 with a 1.57 ERA in 12 starts after joining the rotation on July 31. Much of the concern is around a couple of veterans: second baseman Dan Uggla, who hit just .222 last year, and catcher Brian McCann, who is still recovering from shoulder surgery.
|SS A. Simmons||.289||3||19|
|RF J. Heyward||.269||27||82|
|LF Justin Upton||.280||17||67|
|1B F. Freeman||.259||23||93|
|CF B.J. Upton||.246||28||78|
|2B Dan Uggla||.222||19||79|
|3B Juan Francisco||.234||9||32|
|C Gerald Laird||.282||2||11|
|RH Tim Hudson||16-7||3.62||102|
|LH Paul Maholm||13-11||3.67||140|
|RH Kris Medlen||10-1||1.57||120|
|LH Mike Minor||11-10||4.12||145|
|RH J. Teheran*||7-9||5.08||97|
|RH C. Kimbrel||1.01||42||3|
3 | Philadelphia Phillies
He’s here: 3B Michael Young, CF Ben Revere, RF Delmon Young, LHP John Lannan, RHP Mike Adams. He’s outta here: RHP Vance Worley, 3B Placido Polanco, INF Ty Wigginton, OF Juan Pierre, C Brian Schneider, OF Nate Schierholtz.
Written in Stone: Remember when the Phillies were supposed to be on the verge of a dynasty after acquiring four would-be aces? It hasn’t worked out that way, and now it’s a steep decline that they appear to be on the verge of. One of those aces, Roy Oswalt, is long gone, while Cliff Lee won just six games last year and Roy Halladay is showing very alarming signs of wear and tear. The Phillies still believe Halladay can overcome those issues and remain a frontline pitcher. He’d better, because the Phillies’ once-feared offense is a shadow of its former self. The Phils scored 684 runs last year — down more than 100 from their World Series-winning 2008 season. Much of that fall is due to injuries that have slowed Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Both are back this year but need to show they still can be a semblance of their old selves. Michael Young fills the “veteran leadership” void left by the departure of Placido Polanco.
|SS Jimmy Rollins||.250||23||68|
|3B Michael Young||.275||8||67|
|2B Chase Utley||.256||11||45|
|1B Ryan Howard||.219||14||56|
|RF D. Brown||.235||5||26|
|LF J. Mayberry||.245||14||46|
|C Erik Kratz||.248||9||26|
|CF Ben Revere||.294||0||32|
|LH Cole Hamels||17-6||3.09||216|
|RH Roy Halladay||11-8||4.49||132|
|LH Cliff Lee||6-9||3.16||207|
|RH Kyle Kendrick||11-12||3.90||116|
|LH John Lannan||4-1||4.13||17|
|RH J. Papelbon||2.44||38||4|
4 | New York Mets
He’s here: RHP Shaun Marcum, C John Buck, C Travis d’Arnaud, OF Marlon Byrd, OF Collin Cowgill.
He’s outta here: RHP R.A. Dickey, OF Scott Hairston, OF Jason Bay, C Josh Thole, C Kelly Shoppach, OF Andres Torres, RHP Mike Pelfrey, RHP Chris Young, RHP Ramon Ramirez, RHP Jon Rauch, INF Ronny Cedeno.
Written in Stone: If the Mets were counting on Johan Santana to lead them from the darkness, well, not so fast. Santana will probably never throw another pitch for the Mets (or maybe anyone else) after Thursday’s news that he likely needs another major shoulder operation. That doesn’t bode well for a rotation that was already a mess with the departure of Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey. For Dickey, the Mets got their catcher of the present (John Buck) and future (Travis D’Arnaud). But their present isn’t very promising based on an uninspiring lineup, spotty rotation and mediocre bullpen. Just about the only solace is that they might not be the worst team in the division (thanks to the Marlins) or the city (courtesy of the declining Yankees).
|CF Collin Cowgill||.269||1||9|
|RF Marlon Byrd||.210||1||9|
|3B David Wright||.306||21||93|
|1B Ike Davis||.227||32||90|
|LF Lucas Duda||.239||15||57|
|2B D. Murphy||.291||6||65|
|C John Buck||.192||12||41|
|SS Ruben Tejada||.289||1||25|
|LH Jon Niese||13-9||3.40||155|
|RH S. Marcum||7-4||3.70||109|
|RH Matt Harvey||3-5||2.73||70|
|RH Dillon Gee||6-7||4.10||97|
|RH J. Hefner||4-7||5.09||62|
|RH F. Francisco||5.53||23||3|
5 | Miami Marlins
He’s here: OF Juan Pierre, SS Adeiny Hechavarria, 3B Placido Polanco, 1B Casey Kotchman, RHP Henderson Alvarez, RHP Kevin Slowey, RHP Jon Rauch, RH Chad Qualls.
He’s outta here: Manager Ozzie Guillen, SS Jose Reyes, RHP Josh Johnson, LHP Mark Buehrle, RHP Heath Bell, RHP Carlos Zambrano, 1B Carlos Lee, C John Buck, INF Emilio Bonifacio, LHP Randy Choate, RHP Chad Gaudin.
Written in Stone: By now, the Marlins’ latest talent purge has been well-chronicled. But this one has proved to be the most galling of all, considering it came after the first season in a taxpayer-funded stadium. The level of anger toward Marlins management by fans (those few remaining) is high voltage, and ensures a tense season in Miami. Much of the intrigue will surround the future of Giancarlo Stanton, the 23-year-old budding superstar who would be the logical next shoe to drop if ownership decides that his impending arbitration eligibility makes him too costly for their blood. And if that’s the case, there are 29 teams who will be lining up to make their best offer.
|LF Juan Pierre||.307||1||25|
|3B P. Polanco||.257||2||19|
|RF G. Stanton||.290||37||86|
|C Rob Brantley||.290||3||8|
|CF J. Ruggiano||.313||13||36|
|1B C. Kotchman||.229||12||55|
|2B. D. Solano||.295||2||28|
|SS A. Hechavarria||.254||2||15|
|RH R. Nolasco||12-13||4.48||125|
|RH N. Eovaldi||3-7||4.43||78|
|LH W. LeBlanc||2-5||3.67||43|
|RH H. Alvarez||9-14||4.85||79|
|RH K. Slowey*||0-8||6.67||34|
|RH Steve Cishek||2.69||15||4|