The Marlins kick off there final season as the franchise known as the Florida Marlins, as the Marlins will move into their new ballpark in 2012 and subsequently change there name to the Miami Marlins. So while we buy up all our priceless Florida Marlins gear, and anticipate the opening of a fabulous new home, we must remember there is a season to be played.
With the addition of Cliff Lee over the off season and the mid-season trade for Roy Oswalt instantly gave the Phillies one of the best pitching staffs in MLB history (on paper). However, the injuries suffered by an aging offense is something of a concern for the Phillies. Chase Utley will start the season on the 15-Day DL but some thought he may have been place on the 60-Day DL, so who knows when he will return. Jimmy Rollins is coming off an injury stricken down year and is hoping to bounce back as an offensive leader. The big question is who will fill the whole left by Jason Werth in left field? Dominic Brown is another Phillie to start the season on the DL and with the signing and then cutting of Luis Castillo in the past 72 hours there are still many questions to be answered about this Philadelphia offense.
Atlanta and Florida made the first blockbuster trade of the off-season by swapping second basemen Dan Uggla for Omar Infante and relief pitcher Mike Dunn. The trade on paper appears to be a winner for the Braves who are looking for some offense, but with the strikeouts and mediocre defense that Uggla brings could be a negative the Braves will have to come to terms with. However with the trade of Dan Uggla the Marlins saved nearlier $40 million dollars on a 4 year contract offered to Dan Uggla. So in return they are able to bring in an all-star second basemen in Infante as well asa a much needed catcher, with John Baker on the DL, in John Buck. combined last year Buck and Infante combined for 28 Homeruns as opposed to Uggla's 30. Not to mention the two combined for nearly 50 less strikeouts. The Braves have an excellent pitching staff in Derek Lowe and Jair Jurrjens at the top, as well as a phenomenal manager in Freddi Gonzalez and could definitely be the favorite to win the NL East.
However, as we have all come to learn the Florida Marlins are overlooked as a team to finish under .500 and possibly 4th in the division. Four of the Marlins opening day starting five pitchers finished last season with less then a 3.9 ERA. The bullpen has been upgrade with additions like Randy Choate and Mike Dunn to go with pitchers like Chad Hensley and Leo Nunez. So there is hope that the Marlins bullpen can be improved. As for the Marlins lineup the only questions are at third base and who will be the consistent everyday third basemen. Other then that with Ramirez, Infante, Sanchez and Buck in the infield that's four solid bats to spread through the lineup. And I would like anyone to challenge that the Florida Marlins have the best young outfield in all of baseball. Logan Morrison is starting to get his feet wet and come into his own. Chris Couglan who is coming off of a knee injury is looking to bounce back to form where he was the 2009 rookie of the year. And there is very little to be said about Mike Stanton other then the fact that if you ever have the chance to see this guy play and take batting practice it is a MUST do. My prediction is that Stanton puts up 40 homeruns in his first full season in the majors.
The Marlins have the starting staff, an improved defense, a tremendous young offense in a division where they are overlooked. If there bullpen can come through (like just about every other team is saying) then I believe the Marlins have a chance to win the Wild Card in the National League. The question will be if they are in the playoff picture by the trade deadline and they don't have a solid third basemen or a struggling bullpen will they go out and get what it takes to win. With the track record of the Fish it is easy to say they will get it done if they are put in the opportunity to.
Who will win the NL East
Atlanta Braves (3 votes)
Florida Marlins (5 votes)
New York Mets (0 votes)
Philadelphia Phillies (2 votes)
Washington Nationals (0 votes)
10 total votes