2010 NL East Preview
This Philadelphia Phillies are the frontrunners in the N.L. East. The addition of Halladay and the return of a starting rotation that includes three lefties gives them a stable of dependable starters. Manager Charlie Manuel is one of the best skippers in the league and the front office, which now features Ruben Amaro Jr as the GM, is manned with premium baseball people. Yes, this is the team to beat in not just the East but in the entire league. It’s a long season and injuries could prove to hamper the hopes for a third straight World Series appearance.
The two other teams that look like they can do some damage are the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves. The Mets had a disastrous 2009 and are looking to rebound in a major way. The Braves were certainly in the mix throughout much of the season but could not quite make it to the post-season.
It’s true that the New York Mets suffered through numerous injuries last season. Their ace and about half of the pitching staff were out of it at times and the offense also suffered from various maladies. Omar Minaya spent a lot of cash to see the team go nowhere. Although there is hope that the club can rebound, there are plenty of concerns as far as the pitching staff goes. There are some good performers but many can be inconsistent. The signing of Jason Bay will help the sputtering offense. It’s hoped that high profile power hitter Carlos Beltran will have the type of season of that defines him as a premium player.
Bobby Cox is set to retire after this season. Will baseball even exist without the man who sat in the Atlanta dugout from 1978- 1981, was in the front office as GM from 1986- 1990 and then back on the bench from 1990 to the present? He’s the fourth-winningest manager and he holds the record for most ejections (143). Cox will once again try to shepherd his team to the post-season. The pitching staff is one of the better ones in the league. This is a team that needs hitting. If they can get some offensive clout, they could be the surprise team in the N.L.
Looking at the Florida Marlins, you have to say that they possess some fine potential. Hanley Ramirez and Jorge Cantu are top offensive players. The pitching staff lacks a true number one starter but the two and three guys have great potential. These guys can be true spoilers.
The former Montreal Expos, now the Washington Nationals, are dedicated to building a team that is competitive. They have some good pieces on board, including franchise player Ryan Zimmerman, and have garnered good draft picks. New GM Mike Rizzo is a smart baseball guy who has brought in a bunch of solid baseball minds to help him build the team of the future. This team is a good four years away from being where they want to be.
If it all shakes out the way it’s expected to, then the Phillies will be once again be tops. But they face challenges from an Atlanta team that has more pitching than any other club in the league and a New York club that has a lot of pop. The Marlins will stay in the hunt throughout the season.
2010 National League East Predictions
Projected Order of Finish:
Click on team name for individual team preview.