2009: 86-76 third place
3B Chipper Jones .264 avg., 18 HR, 71 RBI, .388 OBP
CF Nate McClouth .256 avg., 20 HR, 70 RBI, 19 SB
C Brian McCann .281 avg., 21 HR, 94 RBI, 137 runs
LF Melky Cabrera
RP Takashi Saito
RP Billy Wagner
Cabrera bolsters a talented outfield for the Braves, which already includes McClouth and Matt Diaz. Eric Hinske was also brought in to spell those three. Both Saito and Wagner can close and gives Atlanta some options late in games.
OF Garret Anderson
OF Ryan Church
SP Tom Glavine
1B Adam LaRoche
SP Javier Vazquez
RP Rafael Soriano
Anderson and Glavine were past their prime last season, so no harm there. With the additions in the outfield and veteran Troy Glaus, the Braves won’t miss Church or LaRoche
The Braves were a winning team last year and they should be again in 2010. They are, however, a far cry from division rival Philadelphia. Atlanta could surprise some people if their young talent learns from the experienced veterans.
2009: 87-75 2nd place
SS Hanley Ramirez .342 avg., 24 HR, 106 RBI, 27 SB
2B Dan Uggla .243 avg., 31 HR, 90 RBI, 92 BB
3B Jorge Cantu .289 avg., 16 HR 100 RBI, 42 2B
SP Josh Johnson 209 IP, 3.23 ERA, 2 CG, 191 Ks
RP Hunter Jones
The Marlins retained several of their core players and haven’t made much noise on the free agent front. They traded Jeremy Hermida for reliever Hunter Jones.
1B Ross Gload
OF Jeremy Hermida
1B Nick Johnson
The Marlins shouldn’t worry too much about the guys who have gone. Their core of infielders and young pitching have produced the last few seasons and should continue to do so this year.
Around the horn - with Cantu, Ramirez and Uggla – Florida is tough. All-star Josh Johnson leads a young pitching staff that only has room to grow. Outfielders Chris Coughlan and Cody Ross seem to fit the mold of young talented players coming up in the Marlin’s system.
New York Mets
2009: 70-92 4th place
3B David Wright .307 avg., 10 HR, 72 RBI, 27 SB
SS Jose Reyes .279 avg., 147 AB (injured)
2B Luis Castillo .302 avg., 40 RBI, 77 runs
CF Carlos Beltran .325 avg., 100 hits, 48 RBI
SP Johan Santana 3.13 ERA,166.2 IP, 146 Ks
OF Jason Bay
OF Gary Mathews Jr.
P Kelvim Escoba
P Josh Fogg
The Mets wrote some checks to bring in the big names listed above. But, history has shown us that just because a pay roll is increased, doesn’t mean the win column will increase.
1b Carlos Delgado
RP JJ Putz
OF Gary Sheffield
RP Brian Stokes
If there is such a thing as addition by subtraction, the Mets may have found it. Sheffield and Delgado are old and Putz isn’t needed when Francisco Rodriguez is in the bullpen.
Recently, the Mets have fallen below expectations. The big-name signings feel a little desperate. New York has found a way to lose lately, and something in the air says the Mets will fall flat again in 2010.
2009: 93-69 1st place
P Cole Hamels 4.32 ERA, 193.2 IP, 168 Ks
P Joe Blanton 4.05 ERA, 195.1 IP, 163 Ks
P Brad Lidge 61 Ks, 31-of-42 Saves
CF Shane Victorino .292 avg., 102 runs, 62 RBI, 25 SB
2B Chase Utley .282 avg., 31 HR, 93 RBI, 112 runs
SS Jimmy Rollins .250 avg., 21 HR, 77 RBI, 31 SB
1B Ryan Howard .279 avg., 45 HR, 141 RBI, .360 OBP
SP Roy Halladay
P Jose Contreras
IF Placido Polanco
RP Danys Baez
The biggest player move of the offseason was Halladay coming to Philly. He will bolster an already stellar starting rotation that features Hamels, Blanton, JA Happ and Jamie Moyer. Polanco will start at third, but his ability to fill the utility-man role gives Philadelphia injury insurance.
SS Miguel Cairo
SP Cliff Lee
SP Brett Myers
Cliff Lee was a big part of the Phillies’ post-season run, but Philadelphia had to give him up to secure Halladay. Philadelphia still came out ahead.
After a pair of World Series appearance, it comes as no surprise the Phillies are the team to beat in the east, and maybe even the NL. Starting and relief pitching are stacked and Howard, Utley, Rollins, Werth and Victorino are studs at the plate.
2009: 59-113 5th place
1B Adam Dunn .267 avg., 38 HR, 105 RBI
3B Ryan Zimmerman .292 avg., 33 HR, 106 RBI
CF Nyger Morgan .307 avg., 144 hits, 7 3Bs, 43 SB
SP Jason Marquis
RP Matt Capps
2B Adam Kennedy
C Ivan Rodriguez
The Nationals made some noise this offseason, with their biggest signing being Marquis. The right-hander got off to a great start with Colorado last year. It will be much easier to pitch in Washington. Speaking of pitchers, the Nationals also drafted highly-touted and crazy-talented Stephen Strasburg with the No. 1 overall draft pick. If he develops the way scouts think he can, look out.
C Josh Bard
OF Austin Kearns
P Livan Hernandez
Bard only batted .230 last season. With Pudge Rodriguez behind the plate, offering veteran leadership, Bard won’t be missed.
The Nationals are certainly improved, but hold off the celebratory parade in D.C. until it can be seen how the many new faces will gel with the guys in clubhouse. All in all, a lot of upside for the Nats.
Final NL East breakdown
Champion: Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies are the best team in the NL East. That’s why they’ve won the division the last three years running and gone to consecutive World Series. Florida (because of youth) and Washington (because of free agent signings) are on the rise though. The Mets signed plenty of big names, but will probably remain about a .500 team. Atlanta is treading water in the middle of the pack.