1st. Philadelphia Phillies. Key addition- Jonathon Paplebon. Key loss- Roy Oswalt.—-The Phillies fell short of most expectations last year. The team’s weakest link appeared to be their bullpen and lack of a consistent closer. They addressed that need this offseason by signing Jonathon Paplebon to a Four year contract. Though their All-star pitching rotation lost veteran Roy Oswalt, they still feature some of the best arms in the game. With a young talented division on the rise, the aging Phillies may start to see their window closing. However, they still have what it takes to win right now, and the NL East is theirs to lose. Predicted Record- 94-68.
2nd. Miami Marlins. Key addition- Jose Reyes. Key Loss- None—Jose Reyes is not the only big ticket name coming to Miami for the 2012 season. The Marlins added a couple of arms to their starting rotation in Carlos Zambrano and Mark Buehrle. They also reeled in all-star closer Heath Bell to their bullpen. Their biggest acquisitions this offseason however may not even be a player. fiery, often times questionable manager Ozzie Guillen will be the man handed the task of turning this team into a winning ball club . It is clear the Marlins are gearing up to make an attempt to dethrone the Phillies atop the NL East. However, it does not come without doubts. How will Jose Reyes and Hanley Ramirez play together? Will injuries come in to play? The Marlins compete, but fail to take home the title of NL East champs. Predicted Record 90-72
3rd. Atlanta Braves. Key addition- None. Key loss- Alex Gonzalez—-Atlanta had a relatively quiet offseason. They will put almost the same team on the field in 2012 that won 89 games in 2011, ultimately losing out on a wild card spot due to a late season slide. If Jayson Heyward can finally emerge as the superstar he is expected to be, America’s team could have an offense potent enough to go with their strong pitching rotation, giving them a chance to compete. expect to see a good team in Atlanta this season, but don’t expect a NL East crown. Predicted Record 85-77
4th. Washington Nationals. Key addition- Gio Gonzalez. Key loss-Laynce Nix—The Nationals could be one of the more interesting teams to watch this coming season. They boast an extremely young and talented pitching staff, highlighted by the giant question mark that is the health of Steven Strasburg. Expect to see a good competitive team this year in D.C. While we don’t see first place right now, the Nats are making all the right moves. A winning record this year should show the baseball world that the Nationals are no longer a punch line. Predicted Record 83-79
5th. New York Mets. Key addition- Andres Torres. Key loss- Jose Reyes—Losing Jose Reyes in free agency marks the end of a frustrating era in Queens. The Mets certainly will not be a contender in a strong NL East division this season. Losing Reyes does however leave the Mets with some extra money, and room to grow. With young, up and coming talent beginning to emerge in their farm system, there is hope for the Mets moving forward. While the future may look bright for the Metropolitans, 2012 should hold nothing but a last place finish in the division, and another year for the young players to progress. Predicted Record 76-86