Champ here. I’m all about having fun. You know, get a couple cocktails in me. Start a fire in someone’s kitchen. Maybe go to Sea World, take my pants off. It’s the NL East today. WHAMMY!
Is it the 90s again? Are the Braves about to begin another decade of dominance? Eh, maybe. The Bravos have quite a few young players ready to make impacts, moreover a few young pitchers just about ready for the big leagues like Mike Minor, Randall Delgado, Julio Teheran, and Brandon Beachy. Maybe Fredi Gonzalez learned his lesson last year and won’t try to destroy Craig Kimbrel’s rotator cuff by running him out on the mound for 35+ pitches every night. Fredi, this ain’t the SEC. These are million dollar athletes with shelf lives. Outside of that, ATL’s offense looks to be pretty decent. Hopefully Jason Heyward can bounce back and Freddie Freeman can grow on what was a solid rookie season. The NL East is wide open this year and the Braves just might find themselves on top in September. Except this time it won’t end up with them having massive diarrhea all over themselves in the final week of the season.
91-71, 1st in NL East
The Marlins completely rebranded their franchise this offseason. New logo, new stadium, new name, new shortstop, new closer, new everything. If the fish can turn that big free agent money into success at the big league level, then they can wear whatever the hell they want and put whatever type of monstrosity they want in center field. I really like the Marlins. Really. Their lineup is fantastic with the addition of Jose Reyes and the development of Giancarlo (formerly Mike) Stanton and Logan Morrison. Hanley Ramirez struggled at the dish last year, but Ozzie Guillen’s tough love approach with him might actually give El Nino the boost he needs to regain his MVP form. If Josh Johnson can stay healthy and Carlos Zambrano can keep a lid on his drunk sorority girl-like emotions, the Marlins will be a contender for sure. Their stock is rising.
85-77, 3rd in NL East
There’s aging gracefully and then there’s whatever the Phillies are doing. Don’t get me wrong, the Phils are still a really, really good baseball team. But you have to wonder if the window has started to close. Roy Halladay still might be the best pitcher in the National League at 35 and after him you’ve got Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels. All still dynamite. Shit, then you add Vance Worley after them and you have the best rotation in the division. When you take a look at the lineup, the age starts to become an issue. Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Shane Victorino, Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz all showed signs of age last year and Utley and Howard both start the season on the DL. I still have faith in the Phils, it’s just a question of whether or not they can stick one last hurrah out before it’s all too late.
89-73, 2nd NL East, 2nd Wild Card
New York Mets
LOL. What a mess. Best of luck to you. Here’s five dollars. No but seriously, the Mets got finagled by Bernie Madoff (cue the Shitty Guy commenting below), built a stadium that they couldn’t afford and Bobby Bonilla is their third highest paid outfielder. Yes, Bobby Bonilla (be careful with deferred contracts, kids). Yeah, there’s Jason Bay, David Wright, Ike Davis and then a collection of who? And another who? Followed by “this guy here is dead!” Poor Mets, you guys never win anything…
64-98, 5th NL East
Hey, lookie there! It’s those awesome baseballers from our nation’s capital. You know what’s awesome? They’re good. The Nats finished 80-81 last season (not a typo, they had one game completely wiped off the schedule), despite losing Strasburg, Adam LaRoche and Ryan Zimmerman for either the entire season or a majority of it. Don’t know about you, but it makes me happy that there’s a chance that DC might be a baseball hotbed by season’s end. Then add the anticipation of Bryce Harper’s debut sometime this season and you’ve got one hell of a PR dream for the Nats. Add into the equation that the Nats signed Edwin Jackson and Brad Lidge and traded for Gio Gonzalez this offseason. DC is a contender, for real. Expect the Nationals to keep spelling their name right on their jerseys and win more games than they lose.
85-77, 4th NL East