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MLB Division Previews: NL East Edition

Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies have been relatively quiet for the last few years and this offseason was the same. On December 19, they traded their shortstop Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers for two pitching prospects, Tom Windle and Zach Eflin. Another notable move was the signing of pitcher Aaron Harang, who posted a 12-12 record and 3.57 ERA last year for the Atlanta Braves. Harang could contend for a rotation spot or could find his way into the bullpen. Expect the Phillies to continue to be middle of the pack for this year.

Atlanta Braves

One of the biggest movers and shakers this offseason, the Braves started their offseason overhaul with the trading of fan-favorite outfielder, Jason Heyward, to St. Louis. In return, the Braves bolstered their rotation with the addition of Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins. This proved to just be the start of GM Tom Hart’s offseason plan. Then, in December, the Braves traded another fan-favorite, Justin Upton, to the Padres, for more prospects. The Padres sent: Jace Peterson, Dustin Peterson, Mallex Smith, and their prize prospect Max Fried. At this point, the Braves had traded their starting corner outfielders and kept the continuously inept B.J. Upton. The signing of of RF Nick Markakis soon found the replacement for Heyward. The signings of Jason Grilli and A.J. Pierzynski added veteran leadership to an extremely young team. The latest blockbuster trade occurred on January 14, when the Braves traded C/OF Evan Gattis to the Houston Astros for prospects Rio Ruiz (3B), and pitchers Andrew Thurman and Michael Foltynewicz. Foltynewicz was one of the Astro’s top prospects and could come in and compete for a rotation spot. The Braves are clearly looking towards the future and they made many gambles this offseason by trading star players who were also fan-favorites. Only time can tell whether the Braves set themselves up for success or ruin in the future.

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New York Mets

For the most part, the Mets stayed the same during this offseason. A notable addition is RF Michael Cuddyer, who hit .332 in 49 games with the Rockies last year. The Mets should continue to be just average this season. They still have star David Wright, who looks to lead the Mets again this year. He is expected to be at the start of spring training.

Miami Marlins

The Marlins were one of the surprise teams of the NL East last year. Being a relatively weak division, the Marlins rose to the top on the power hitting of star Giancarlo Stanton and the pitching of Jose Fernandez up until his season ending injury. Their most notable move this offseason was the addition of Dee Gordon and others via trade with the LA Dodgers. Another addition was the signing of Ichiro Suzuki, the man who defies age with his continued ability to hit above average even at age 42.

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Washington Nationals

The Nationals ran away with the NL East last year thanks to the collapse of the Braves after the All-Star break. Their biggest offseason addition was signing FA Max Scherzer to a 7 year, 210 million dollar contract. Their rotation now consists of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez, and Doug Fister. Without a doubt, they have the best rotation in baseball and their pitching should lead them far into the playoffs and possibly to a World Series next season.

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