Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Scouting the NL East

PHILLIES

 Last year: Led the majors with 97 wins. Lost to San Francisco in the National League Championship Series.

Key addition: LHP Cliff Lee (Texas).

Key subtraction: RF Jayson Werth (Washington).

More coverage
  • Daily News preview: Phillies spring training
  • Buy 2011 Phillies tickets
  • Special Section: Rating the Phillies' rotation
  • Gallery: Fan photos of Cliff Lee
  • Phillies' aces in place
  • Phillies under the radar
  • Beach ball has never been so glorious
  • Philly has been to Promised Land before
  • 5 things to watch in Clearwater
  • Spring things

    1. Adding Lee gives the Phillies four No. 1-caliber starting pitchers and has fans already looking ahead to October.

    2. Who will be the fifth starter? Joe Blanton, Kyle Kendrick, Vance Worley? Will there be a trade?

    3. It's about time for prospect Domonic Brown to show he's ready for this level.

    ATLANTA BRAVES

    Last year: Clinched the NL wild-card on the last day of the regular season. Lost to San Francisco in the NLDS.

    Key additions: 2B Dan Uggla (Florida), LHP George Sherrill (L.A. Dodgers).

    Key subtractions: 2B Omar Infante (Florida), 1B Derrek Lee (Baltimore), RP Billy Wagner (retired).

    Spring things

    1. Fredi Gonzalez is the Braves' first manager not named Bobby Cox since 1990. Gonzalez was a third-base coach under Cox for 4 years.

    2. The arrival of Uggla moves Martin Prado to third base. But if Chipper Jones (39 in April) can recover from his knee injury, Prado will play left.

    3. Rookie Freddie Freeman, who homered off Roy Halladay as a September callup, is expected to be the everyday first baseman.

    FLORIDA MARLINS

    Last year: Was a disappointment. The Marlins figured themselves as playoff contenders, but finished well out of the wild-card hunt.

    Key additions: SP Javier Vazquez (N.Y. Yankees), 2B Omar Infante (Atlanta), C John Buck (Toronto), RP Mike Dunn (Atlanta).

    Key subtraction: 2B Dan Uggla

    Spring things

    1. The Marlins are trying to shed their reliance on the longball, hence the trade of Uggla to Atlanta for Infante.

    2. Vazquez will add depth to a decent rotation as long as he's not the underachiever he was with the Yanks when he couldn't crack the Bombers' postseason rosters.

    3. The Miami Herald reports that Hanley Ramirez has vowed such a dramatic rebound from his disappointing 2010 season that he joked he will become the first player to win the Rookie of the Year award twice.

    NEW YORK METS

    Last year: Endured another nomadic season despite a payroll of $132.7 million, which ranked fifth in baseball.

    Key additions: SP Chris Capuano (Milwaukee), SP Chris Young (San Diego)

    Key subtraction: RP Hisanori Takahashi (Angels)

    Spring things

    1. Fiery Terry Collins is the new manager, taking over for Jerry Manuel.

    2. Staff ace Johan Santana, who had shoulder surgery in September, is expected to begin throwing sometime in the spring. Outfielders Jason Bay and Carlos Beltran and closer Francisco Rodriguez also are on the mend this spring.

    3. Petulant, but talented, shortstop Jose Reyes is in a contract year. With Mets owners looking to sell a portion of the club to compensate for losses incurred in the Bernie Madoff scandal, will they be able to pay Reyes? Could be another outrageous season in Queens.

    WASHINGTON NATIONALS

    Last year: Finished last for the fifth time in the 6 years they've been in D.C. They also avoided 100 losses for a third consecutive season. A run at .500 should be next on the to-do list.

    Key additions: RF Jayson Werth (Phillies), LF Rick Ankiel (Braves), SP Tom Gorzelanny (Cubs), 1B Adam LaRoche (Arizona).

    Key subtractions: OF Josh Willingham (A's), 1B Adam Dunn (White Sox), SP Scott Olsen (Pirates).

    Spring things

    1. One of the things manager Jim Riggleman wants to figure out this spring was whether to hit Jayson Werth fourth and Adam LaRoche fifth or vice versa.

    2. Phenom Stephen Strasburg (Tommy John surgery) won't be throwing until September at the earliest.

    3. If youngster Henry Rodriguez, acquired from Oakland for Josh Willingham, can control his flaming fastball, the back end of the Nationals bullpen could be strong for years to come. But that's a big "if."

    ODDS TO WIN NL EAST

    Phillies: 1-3

    Braves 5-1

    Marlins: 10-1

    Mets: 12-1

    Nationals: 15-1

     

    by Ed Barkowitz
    Latest Videos:
    Also on Philly.com:
    Stay Connected