Countdown To Opening Day 2013: 4 Days

March 28th, 2013 by Mike H. | Filed under Baseball, General, Phillies.
4_days

Til opening day

Instead of focusing on the Phillies today, I’d like to focus on the rest of the division.  While the Phillies made changes that will have long-term ramifications, the rest of the division did too. Some for the better. Some potentially for the worse. So let’s make our way around the NL East.

Marlins

The Marlins may have secured themselves a guaranteed spot in the cellar of the NL East in 2013. After going “all in” for 2012, Mr. Loria went “all out” for 2013, and not in a good way. Basically, the only players most fans will probably recognize are Giancarlo Stanton and Logan Morrison. The Marlins may have made moves that will help them contend in the future, but they appear to be contending for the first pick in the 2014 draft for now.

Mets

It’s not very often a Cy Young award winning pitcher gets traded (to a team other than the Phillies). Even rarer is one being traded weeks after winning the award. Coincidentally, the Mets acquired former Phillies prospect, Travis d’Arnaud as part of their compensation for R.A. Dickey. The Mets are developing pitching and they could arrive in 2013. If everything falls into place, the Mets, at worst, will play a significant part in the playoff picture as a spoiler.

Braves

Frank Wren and the Braves did their best Ruben Amaro impersonation this winter, by acquiring “name” players. With Chipper Jones retiring, and Michael Bourn departing via free agency, the Braves brought in both Upton brothers to complement Jason Heyward in the outfield. B.J. came at the cost of a draft pick, but Justin came at an even higher cost: super utility player Martin Prado. While both will potentially give the Braves a significant increase in power, they will also bring an even higher potential for strikeouts. To me, this season may be a step backwards for the Braves. Still a contender for the second wild card, the Braves will need the same amount of luck as the Phillies.

Nationals

The Nationals are primed for another run at the playoffs in 2013. They have the best rotation in the NL East, if not all of baseball. They added to an already dominant bullpen when they added Rafael Soriano. They’ll have a full season of phenom Bryce Harper and they added one of the top center fielders in the game in Denard Span. The only way the Nats don’t win the division is if they aren’t healthy.

While the Phillies offense has looked very good this spring, they’ll need to have an offensive season similar to 2008 & 2009 to have any chance at the playoffs. If the Phillies can get 15 winds out of Halladay and Kendrick each, that chance improves significantly. The Phillies’ bullpen is more of a sure thing after swapping Chad Qualls for Mike Adams.

With the window just about closed for this core, hopefully they can grab that proverbial lightning in a bottle, and send Charlie Manuel out, in what appears to be his last season as skipper, with a season to remember.

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