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NL East

Last updated: March 03. 2014 11:13PM - 622 Views
Associated Press



Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Marlon Byrd, left, and teammate right fielder Bobby Abreu walk on the field before an exhibition baseball game Saturday in Tampa, Fla.
Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Marlon Byrd, left, and teammate right fielder Bobby Abreu walk on the field before an exhibition baseball game Saturday in Tampa, Fla.
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NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

Atlanta Braves


Manager: Fredi Gonzalez (fourth season).


2013: 96-66, first place, lost to Dodgers in division series.


He’s Here: RHP Gavin Floyd, C Ryan Doumit, 1B Mat Gamel, 2B Tyler Greene.


He’s Outta Here: RHP Tim Hudson, C Brian McCann, LHP Paul Maholm, LHP Eric O’Flaherty, SS Paul Janish, 2B Elliot Johnson, RHP Cristhian Martinez, LHP Sean Gilmartin.


On Deck: Dan Uggla and B.J. Upton, a pair of high-priced players who hit below .200 and lost their starting jobs in 2013, will be in the spotlight this spring. Upton batted .184 but is expected to begin the season back in center field. Uggla has two years and $26 million remaining on his contract, but his status at 2B is less certain after he hit .179 — his third straight season under .240. Tommy La Stella is a young player to watch in the second base competition. Evan Gattis, who hit 21 homers as a rookie, replaces McCann, a seven-time All-Star, as the starting catcher. Gattis also played LF and 1B in 2013 and must show he can handle the everyday job behind the plate. RHP Brandon Beachy could boost the rotation by showing he has fully recovered from elbow ligament-replacement surgery and a follow-up procedure to clean up the elbow. LHP Alex Wood and RHP Freddy Garcia will lead the competition for the final spot in the rotation.


Washington Nationals


Manager: Matt Williams (first season).


2013: 86-76, second place.


He’s Here: RHP Doug Fister, OF Nate McLouth, LHP Jerry Blevins, INF Jamey Carroll, RHP Luis Ayala, C Chris Snyder, C Koyie Hill, RHP Manny Delcarmen.


He’s Outta Here: Manager Davey Johnson, RHP Dan Haren, INF Chad Tracy, LHP Fernando Abad.


On Deck: It will be worth watching what sort of effect the change from the lame-duck Johnson to the fiery Williams has on the Nationals, who went from the best record in the majors in 2012 to missing the playoffs in 2013. Williams promises to add an emphasis on defensive positioning, and when he was hired by Washington after being Arizona’s third base coach, he even brought along an extra coach to oversee that part of the game. Two big keys for the Nationals will be the health of young stars Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg, a pair of No. 1 draft picks who are coming off offseason surgery. The lineup is expected to be mostly the same as last season, with the only real competition expected at 2B between Anthony Rendon and Danny Espinosa. Also to keep an eye on: How much time will 3B Ryan Zimmerman get at first base, where the team plans to give him some at-bats this season? GM Mike Rizzo upgraded an already strong rotation by trading for Fister, who joins Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and 19-game winner Jordan Zimmermann.


New York Mets


Manager: Terry Collins (fourth season).


2013: 74-88, third place.


He’s Here: OF Curtis Granderson, RHP Bartolo Colon, OF Chris Young, RHP Kyle Farnsworth, RHP Jose Valverde, LHP John Lannan, 1B Brandon Allen, C Taylor Teagarden, RHP Ryan Reid, 1B Matt Clark.


He’s Outta Here: RHP LaTroy Hawkins, LHP Johan Santana, INF Justin Turner, RHP Aaron Harang, OF Mike Baxter, RHP Frank Francisco, RHP David Aardsma, RHP Scott Atchison, OF-2B Jordany Valdespin, LHP Robert Carson, LHP Pedro Feliciano, LHP Tim Byrdak.


On Deck: After three years of bargain hunting, GM Sandy Alderson spent more than $87 million on a trio of free agents this offseason. Granderson and Young finally give the Mets some depth and potential power in the outfield, without sacrificing speed and defense. The beefy Colon, who turns 41 in May, is coming off an All-Star campaign with Oakland that followed a drug suspension. New York gave him a two-year deal, putting Colon at the front of a promising rotation that includes Zack Wheeler, Jon Niese and Dillon Gee. The fifth spot is up for grabs in camp. Lannan and Daisuke Matsuzaka are veteran candidates along with youngsters Jenrry Mejia, Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom. But all eyes will be on top prospect Noah Syndergaard, who could get called up by summer. The strikeout-prone lineup has major question marks at first base and shortstop, positions the Mets were unable to upgrade. Ike Davis and Lucas Duda are back to compete for the 1B job. Light-hitting Ruben Tejada is coming off a broken leg at SS. The bullpen may be full of inexperienced arms, and closer Bobby Parnell is coming off neck surgery. Following five straight losing seasons, the roster has improved. Maybe not enough to contend just yet, but the Mets expect to make big strides as they wait for All-Star ace Matt Harvey to return from Tommy John surgery in 2015.


Philadelphia Phillies


Manager: Ryne Sandberg (first full season).


2013: 73-89, fourth place.


He’s Here: OF Marlon Byrd, RHP Miguel Gonzalez, RHP Roberto Hernandez, RHP Brad Lincoln, C Wil Nieves, RHP Chad Gaudin, OF Bobby Abreu.


He’s Outta Here: RHP Roy Halladay, C Erik Kratz, LHP John Lannan.


On Deck: The Phillies are no longer the class of the division after winning five straight NL East titles from 2007-11. They’re hoping to make one more run with an aging group of veterans and some potential young stars mixed in. For the first time in nine years, Charlie Manuel won’t be around for spring training. Sandberg, a Hall of Fame second baseman, enters his first full season as manager after replacing Manuel last August. Manuel has a front-office job with the Phillies but will join them after they leave Florida. LHP Cole Hamels says he won’t be ready by opening day because of left biceps tendinitis. The team has more question marks than answers, but there’s potential for success if several players live up to their contracts.


Miami Marlins


Manager: Mike Redmond (second season).


2013: 62-100, fifth place.


He’s Here: C Jarrod Saltalamacchia, 1B-OF Garrett Jones, 2B Rafael Furcal, 3B Casey McGehee, INF-OF Jeff Baker, RHP Carter Capps, OF Brian Bogusevic, 3B Ty Wigginton.


He’s Outta Here: 1B Logan Morrison, 3B Placido Polanco, OF Juan Pierre, OF Justin Ruggiano, RHP Ryan Webb, RHP Chad Qualls, INF-OF Chris Coghlan, OF-1B Austin Kearns.


On Deck: The Marlins finished last in the majors in 2013 in most of the significant offensive categories, including slugging percentage, on-base percentage, runs and homers. They scored fewer runs than the Marlins’ 1993 expansion team. They ranked last in the majors in slugging at three positions — catcher, first base and third base — and next to last in left field. Feeble offense was the reason Miami lost 100 games, finished last in the NL East for the third consecutive season and missed the playoffs for the 10th year in a row. Mike Hill replaced Larry Beinfest as president of baseball operations, but because the payroll remains small, Hill could afford only modest changes to the roster. Newcomers such as Saltalamacchia, Jones, Furcal and McGehee are expected to start at positions where Miami’s run production ranked among the worst in the majors, but it’s uncertain whether any of them will represent a significant upgrade. OFs Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna are front-runners for starting jobs after strong rookie seasons. The young pitching rotation has abundant promise, led by NL Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez and Henderson Alvarez, who threw a no-hitter on the final day of the season. Another youngster, top prospect Andrew Heaney, could join the rotation soon if he has a strong spring. 3B Colin Moran, the team’s first-round draft pick in 2013 out of North Carolina, might also join the big club at some point this season.


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