TMS MLB Preview '08 - NL East

8:30 AM | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Just like last season, TMS is previewing the upcoming 2008 baseball season division by division. So strap in and get ready for some of the worst analysis and lack of insight that only we can provide. Today we move on to the Senior Circuit. First on our list is the NL East, ESPN's favorite division next to the AL East. Chaim, LB, Daft Funk, and The Hundley offer their expertise on how this division is shaping for 2008.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST

1. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES by Chaim Witz
2007: 89-73 (1st)

So Long: P Antonio Alfonseca, C Rod Barajas, OF Michael Bourn, P Freddy Garcia, P Geoff Geary, 2B Tadahito Iguchi, P Jon Lieber, P Kyle Lohse, P Jose Mesa, 3B Abraham Nunez, OF Aaron Rowand

Welcome: P Kris Benson, Anna Benson's breasts, 3B Eric Bruntlett, P Chad Durbin, 3B Pedro Feliz, P Brad Lidge, OF Geoff Jenkins, OF Chris Snelling, OF So Taguchi

PROJECTED LINEUP
1. Shane Victorino CF
2. Jimmy Rollins SS
3. Chase Utley 2B
4. Ryan Howard 1B
5. Pat Burrell LF
6. Geoff Jenkins RF
7. Pedro Feliz 3B
8. Carlos Ruiz C

Starting Rotation - Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Jamie Moyer, Kyle Kendrick, Adam Eaton
Setup - Tom Gordon, Ryan Madson
Closer - Brad Lidge

I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to say about the Phillies. They'll compete, sure, but looking at this lineup, it reeks of the Texas Rangers of recent and Detroit Tigers of old. Lots of big bats and a bunch of stiffs (excepting Cole Hamels) on the mound. Adam Eaton? Kyle Kendrick? Brad Lidge. Oh Lord. A dove just cried. So, in light of my ignorance, I give you the Top 5 places in Philly to grab a cheesesteak, courtesy of our good friends at 'the google'!

1. Jim's Steaks
2. Abner's
3. Dalessandro's Steaks
4. Pat's King of Steaks
5. Geno's Steaks

PRESEASON AWARDS
Mr. Sexy Time: SS Jimmy Rollins - The Phillies have a lot of sexiness to choose from. Utley, Hamels, Howard, Rollins...Moyer. You could conceivably have sex with all of them, at the same time even, if that's your thing. But only one of them took home the MVP hardware last year. Jimmy Rollins has the swagger, the hitting streak and the record label. He's like P-Diddy, but talented. So what would that make him, Jay-Z? I defer any rap/hip-hop related questions, comments and distinctions to resident expert 'Lingering Bursitis' (rolls off the tongue doesn't it?) He's the man to see for those matters.

Oh My God, Don't Hit Me!: SP Brett Myers - You didn't think this award was in reference to him being a wife beater did you? Shit. No. I simply meant that he throws the ball with such velocity that it strikes the fear of God into opposing batters...I mean, it would bruise and...oh God no. Brett Myers is a man of principles. I imagine he's probably been born-again and has put that ugly incident behind him, like Scott Erickson. Or Mike Tyson. (Pause) OJ?

Overrated, Like Vampire Weekend: The Phillie Phanatic - Seriously, what is the deal with this oversized, green child molester? This fat son of a bitch is the posterchild for both obesity and mental illness. What kind of lessons is he teaching our children? According to Wikipedia, the Phanatic was voted 'Best Mascot Ever' by Sports Illustrated for Kids. Really? Cause I think that my friend the San Diego Chicken, has something to say about that. The Drunk Hobo also states that in the 2007 NLDS, he (it?) started the short lived "Whammy Hand". This was quickly halted upon the realization that Brett Myers had that move copyrighted. Hey-OOO!

FOR MORE READING
The Good Phight
Beerleaguer
We Should Be GM's


2. NEW YORK METS by Lingering Bursitis
2007: 88-74 (2nd)

SO LONG: C Sandy Alomar Jr., C Mike DiFelice, C Johnny Estrada, P Tom Glavine, OF Carlos Gomez, OF Shawn Green, P Philip Humber, C Paul Lo Duca, OF Lastings Milledge, P Kevin Mulvey, P Aaron Sele

WELCOME: P Tony Armas, OF Ryan Church, OF Brady Clark, OF Angel Pagan, IF Olmedo Saenz, P Johan Santana, C Brian Schneider, P Matt Wise

PROJECTED ORDER
1. Jose Reyes SS
2. Luis Castillo 2B
3. Carlos Beltran CF
4. Carlos Delgado 1B
5. David Wright 3B
6. Moises Alou LF
7. Ryan Church RF
8. Brian Schneider/Ramon Castro C

Starting Rotation - Johan Santana, Pedro Martinez, John Maine, Orlando Hernandez, Oliver Perez, Jason Vargas
Setup - Aaron Heilman, Ambiorix Burgos
Closer - Billy Wagner

I live in New York, and I love baseball. However, I grow incredibly tired of the Mets/Yankees wank-off that populates the airwaves. I'm sick of both of them, and I wish a steroid-stuffed Roger Clemens would swoop down from the clouds and devour both stadiums, managers, owners and rosters. Man, that would be awesome.

The Mets love two things: signing Latin players and making sure that they have the highest number of transactions. This off-season was no disappointment in either area, as they brought in the best pitcher in the history of the world [Johan Santana] while booting out 11 players from their '07 squad. Well done, Omar Minaya!

They look strong yet again from top-to-bottom through the order (although they have perhaps the worst catcher tandem in the NL), except for their defense. Alou and Church are the corner outfielders... they'd be better off cloning someone with Bonds' penchant for laziness and Manny Ramirez' stomach to man left and right.

They're also thinner than Keira Knightley. If any of the injury-prone, 30-something crew goes down, there's precious little to replace them with. Delgado, Alou and Pedro all missed time last season, and although they have white America's baseball dreamboat in David Wright, even he wasn't enough to stop them choking last season. (Oh, and the fact that Jose "I'm like Hanley Ramirez, except more expensive and less talented" Reyes hit like .211 in September)

It's an obvious, self-fulfilling prophecy in the making, one that's dogged the other New York-based team that I also hate: tons of hype, tons of promise, an all-Star lineup, big signings and ultimately, unfulfilled potential. They might bash their way through the summer to win the East, but they'll come unstuck come playoff time. Fuck the Mets.

PRESEASON AWARDS
Mr. Sexy Time: 3B David Wright - Uh, milky white, hits home runs, plays a mean third base, has a smile that instantly removes the panties of all women aged 22-27, gives a good interview, never puts a foot wrong, solved a Rubik's Cube in eleven seconds, prays every night.

Are You Paul Bako in disguise?: C Brian Schneider - It's a good thing you call a reasonable game behind the plate, as you're poison with a bat. This is the best the Mets could do once they got rid of all their catchers? .235, 6 HR, 54 RBI last season?

Check his birth certificate: SP Orlando Hernandez - Should Pedro falter due to injuries again, Santana's gonna need some help from the back end of the rotation. John Maine is young and serviceable like Sunny Lane, but this old bastard will have to put in his innings this season and not force Willie Randolph to run down to AA and AAA to pull young arms up from the farm before they're ready. He's 42 or so this season, and managed 53 starts in '06 and '07. They'll need 20-25 from him again this year to keep the boat steady.

FOR MORE READING
Metstradamus
Yes Joe, It's Toasted


3. ATLANTA BRAVES by The Hundley
2007: 84-78 (3rd)

SO LONG: P Joey Devine, P Octavio Dotel, 1B Julio Franco, OF Willie Harris, OF Andruw Jones, P Ron Mahay, P Chad Paronto, 3B Chris Woodward, SS Edgar Renteria

WELCOME: P Matt DeSalvo, P Tom Glavine, SS Omar Infante, OF Mark Kotsay, P Will Ohman

PROJECTED LINEUP
1. Kelly Johnson 2B
2. Yunel Escobar SS
3. Chipper Jones 3B
4. Mark Teixeira 1B
5. Brian McCann C
6. Jeff Francoeur RF
7. Matt Diaz LF
8. Mark Kotsay CF

Starting Rotation - John Smoltz, Tim Hudson, Tom Glavine, Mike Hampton, Chuck James, Jair Jurrjens, Jo-Jo Reyes
Setup - Royce Ring
Closer - Rafael Soriano

Is this team fun to write off, or what? Every year they seem to get older in their starting staff, yet they continue to churn out overachieving performances. Equally impressive is the Braves ability to keep churning out prospects and developing other team's leftovers and castoffs. Once again this year, Bobby Cox has his work cut out for him, losing two offensive and defensive mainstays in Andruw Jones and Edgar Renteria. Enter someone named Escobar (Colombian druglord?) and the Mike Morgan of the late aughts, Mark Kotsay. The offense still should have some pop with Chipper, Tex, McCann, and the Frenchman in right. The Bravos hung tough last year, with playoff aspirations until late in the season, but barring a Bobby Cox miracle, America's Team will have a hard time competing in a tough NL East behind NY and Philly.

Always the strong point of the team, the pitching staff will have to overachieve again to be competitive. The starting staff better hope they can continue to bathe in the Fountain of Youth (but without Julio Franco, can they find it?) because the bullpen is shaky. They certainly will need to find some middle relief and Soriano is already showing injury problems in the spring, coupled with his lack of closing experience. Best pray for big offensive outputs, which may be wishful thinking. They were even desperate enough to sign Will Ohman. Good luck. Pitching coach Roger McDowell might have to keep his arm warm and be ready to go.

PRESEASON AWARDS
Mr. Sexy Time: 1B Mark Teixeira - He flourished after moving over from Texas last season, boasting an OBP above .400 and belting a home run every 12 at bats while providing Gold Glove-caliber defense at first. Hard to believe he's still only 27 years old.

Inaugural Chief Illiniwek Award: Chief Noc-A-Homa - We want you back! And with the Braves rarely selling out, you can put your tee pee back in the outfield bleachers. The tomahawk chop isn't the same without you. Chief Noc-A-Homa forever! Homer and Rally never!

How Has This Guy Not Been Accused of PEDs Award:
3B Larry Jones - Seriously, this guy is borderline Chris Chelios amazing. A few nagging injuries aside, the guy keeps putting up monster numbers and playing solid D at an age where most go into Gary Gaetti mode. Last year: .337avg / 29 HR / 102 RBI / .425 OBP. At 35, you have to figure he's due for regression, right? Doubt him at your own peril.

I Love Guaranteed Contracts Award*:
Mike Hampton and his $15 million salary. The Little Lefty hasn't thrown a pitch in the bigs since 2005.

FOR MORE READING
It's Braves Time
Talking Chop
Home of the Braves

*To be renamed Mark Prior Award in 2009


4. WASHINGTON NATIONALS by Lingering Bursitis
2007: 73-89 (4th)

SO LONG: 1B Tony Batista, OF Ryan Church, 1B Robert Fick, P Glenn Gibson, 2B D'Angelo Jimenez, OF Nook Logan, P Mike O'Connor, C Brian Schneider

WELCOME: 1B Aaron Boone, 2B Bret Boone, OF Elijah Dukes, C Johnny Estrada, OF Willie Harris, P Ray King, C Paul Lo Duca, OF Rob Mackowiak, OF Lastings Milledge, P Odalis Perez

PROJECTED LINEUP
1. Felipe Lopez SS
2. Paul Lo Duca C
3. Ryan Zimmerman 3B
4. Wily Mo Pena LF
5. Dmitri Young 1B
6. Austin Kearns RF
7. Lastings Milledge CF
8. Ronnie Belliard 2B

Starting Rotation - Shawn Hill, John Patterson, Jason Bergmann, Matt Chico, John Lannan, Joel Hanrahan
Setup - Jon Rauch, Luis Ayala
Closer - Chad Cordero

It's easy to forget that Washington has a baseball franchise. They're the dregs and cast-offs from the Expos, not to mention the discarded young talent from all around the league. Hey, do you want two guys who didn't live up to their potential in exchange for a recognizable name player of yours? Sounds great! Look at this list: Felipe Lopez, Wily Mo Pena, Kearns (who Hendry's coveted for years now), Milledge, and a green, green pitching staff.

Their ballpark is massive and cavernous, providing little in the way of offensive excitement. Not that this lineup could give you much of that anyway.

They'll limp through 65 wins like Verbal Kint, and start walking again in time for next spring. Enjoy the shitshow, disaffected baseball fans of Politician Land!

PRESEASON AWARDS
Mr. Sexy Time: 3B Ryan Zimmerman - He's still finding his feet in the league, but goddamn, this guy can hit. He turned 23 in September, and has a promising bat. His strikeouts could do with coming down (125 to 61 walks last season), but he does hit for power. There aren't many other bright spots in this lineup, so Zimmy takes the Sexy prize by default.

Someone get them a Den Mother: Lastings Milledge, Dmitri Young and Elijah Dukes - Fuck. The Washington Nationals just became the nexus of awesome and fucking awesome. Milledge releases rap CDs about all sorts of misogynistic shit. Dukes threatens his pregnant girlfriend with text messages. Young fucking loves hamburgers and smiling. It's gonna be a glorious day in DC when these guys get to play side-by-side.

Um....: The Nationals Rotation - These guys don't show up on baseball cards very often. Why? Because most of them will start 8 or 9 games and then get buried in the bullpen. John Lannan was Philadelphia's Public Enemy #1 for a while. Now he's just crap. John Patterson came within 3 outs of a no-hitter last season before ESPN did one of their fabled "Live Look-ins" and ruined it on the very first pitch they televised. Shawn Hill? Jason Bergmann? Matt Chico? Joel Hanrahan? Note to any and all aspiring armchair baseball enthusiasts: move to the D.C. area. The chances of you earning a spot in the rotation after an impromptu pitching session are very high indeed. For warmups, I suggest throwing rotten eggs and your excrement off an improvised explosive mound outside the White House.

FOR MORE READING
Federal Baseball
District of Baseball
The Curly W


5. FLORIDA MARLINS by Daft Funk
2007: 71-91 (5th)

SO LONG: P Armando Benitez, 1B Aaron Boone, 3B Miguel Cabrera, P Byung-Hyun Kim, C Miguel Olivo, P Dontrelle Willis

WELCOME: OF Luis Gonzalez, P Mark Hendrickson, OF Cameron Maybin, P Andrew Miller, 3B Dallas McPherson, C Mike Rabelo

PROJECTED LINEUP
1. Hanley Ramirez SS
2. Dan Uggla 2B
3. Jeremy Hermida RF
4. Josh Willingham LF
5. Mike Jacobs 1B
6. Cody Ross CF
7. Jorge Cantu 3B
8. Mike Rabelo/Matt Treanor C

Starting Rotation - Scott Olsen, Sergio Mitre, Ricky Nolasco, Andrew Miller, Mark Hendrickson, Wes Obermueller, Rick Vanden Hurk
Setup - Logan Kensing, Matt Lindstrom, Taylor Tankersley
Closer - Kevin Gregg

Good thing Miami has all those drug dealers and prostitutes, because there isn't much going on with the Marlins this year. Take a look at that lineup. Hanley Ramirez = absolute stud. Dan Uggla may not be setting the world on fire with his batting average, but he sure knows how to hit the long ball, even in the hitter's nightmare that is Pro Player Stadium. Jeremy Hermida is 2 seasons away from joining Rocco Baldelli in the "Fantasy Baseball Cocktease Hall Of Fame". Everyone else I give a big "Who?" to.

Speaking of "Who?", check out that rotation! When Sergio Mitre is being relied on for quality innings, you know you're in trouble (See the 2005 Chicago Cubs).

PRESEASON AWARDS
Mr. Sexy Time: SS Hanley Ramirez - Cameron Maybin is supposedly the future, but Hanley is an absolute beast. The fact that he's a potential 30 home run/50 steal threat coming into his third full season is mind blowing. He's already the Carl Crawford that we've been telling ourselves Carl Crawford was going to become for the last 5 years.

Don't You Know Chris Shelton?: SP Mark Hendrickson - Fooling fantasy baseball managers everywhere last year was Mark Hendrickson. His line of 2-0 with a 1.95 ERA a month and a half into last season had people claiming him off waivers left and right. Hendrickson rewarded them for bombing for most of what was left of the season, and continuing to look like a serial rapist in his bio pictures.

The Best Team By Default!: Florida Marins - People in Miami have a very good reason to be pissed. How about the season the Heat are having? How about them Dolphins? Would Miami be the first city ever to have 3 last place teams in the same year?

FOR MORE READING
Fish Chunks
Marlins Today
Fish Stripes

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