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Team Previews: Wrapping Up the NL East

So, as many of you know, the team previews have slacked off - well the AL previews never really got started, so I'm going to finish off the NL previews this week by doing them in division sets. Next week I'll begin the AL previews with the rest of the AL East and work my way through each division. It's not as in depth as I'd like, but it's better than nothing.

Florida Marlins
2007 W-L: 71-91
2007 Pythag W-L:
2007 Payroll: ~30 mil
2008 Payroll: ~20 mil
Coming: Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller, Mark Hendrickson, Jorge Cantu, Dallas McPherson, Luis Gonzalez
Going: Dontrelle Willis, Miguel Cabrera

Poor Hanley Ramirez, not only did the team ship out Miguel Cabrera but expect to supplement Hanley with the likes of Jorge Cantu and Dallas McPherson. Both have the chance to be league average or above, but Cantu's mysterious power streak came and went with this "Mongolian beef" cravings, and McPherson combines a power hitter's body with an old man's back.

At least the Marlins will also have Maybin, and he's going to be really, really good. In fact the outfield is a strength for the Fish; both Jeremy Hermida and Josh Willingham are pretty solid players, let's just hope Hermida can stay healthy this year.

Filling out the infield you have the steady if not spectacular Mike Jacobs and Dan Uggla combining with Mike Rabelo and Matt Treanor. Neither should be starting on a major league team, but they're better than Miguel Olivo.

Andrew Miller will have the luxury of growing at his own pace in a pitcher's park, much like Dontrelle Willis did before him, the question is who else will be in the rotation. Scott Olsen will look to rebound following a tough season, Sergio Mitre can't seem to stay healthy, Hendrickson can hopefully be turned into a mid level prospect at the deadline and when that happens the loser of Rick VandenHurk and Ricky Nolasco will step back into the starting five.

Kevin Gregg is the closer, Justin Miller, Matt Lindstrom, Taylor Tankersley, Lee Gardner, and Logan Kensing figure to make up the bullpen. Gregg could be a trade candidate at the deadline - that "proven" closer tag could be applied at any time after all.

The Hook:
They may finish in last this year, but I plead with Jeff Loria; you got your ballpark, now keep Hanley for the loyal fans.

Washington Nationals
2007 W-L:
2007 Pythag W-L:
2007 Payroll: ~37 mil
2008 Payroll: ~55 mil
Coming: Elijah Dukes, Lastings Milledge, Paul Lo Duca
Going: Glenn Gibson, Ryan Church, Brian Schneider

The Nationals have, without a doubt, the least dependable outfield in the majors. Full of tools and issues alike Willy Mo Pena, Lastings Milledge, Austin Kearns, Elijah Dukes, and even Ryan Langerhans will compete for three spots,

I suppose I can break the roster down with three questions concerning the position players:

1.    Why bring in Willie Harris, Rob Mackowiak, and Aaron Boone when you have Matt Whitney and a glutton of outfielders all ready?
2.    Johnny Estrada AND Paul Lo Duca? One would suffice; it seems detrimental to Jesus Flores' growth to bring in two declining catchers. I suppose they can stick him in the minors, but still, not the ideal backstop pair.
3.    Are the Nats really going to sit either Dmitri Young or Nick Johnson? It seems like this should've been taken care of during the winter meetings, although the Yankees could reevaluate their first base predicament late in spring.

Notable NRI: Wil Nieves, Humberto Cota, Bret Boone, Pete Orr, and Jorge Padilla

Shawn Hill is being treated with caution thus far, John Patterson, Jason Bergmann, Matt Chico, Tyler Clippard, Tim Redding, John Lannan, and Garrett Mock are options for the rotation. My best guess would be Hill, Patterson Bergmann, Chico, and Clippard, it seems Hill may be skipped the first time through the rotation. Not good.

It was nice seeing Jesus Colome have success, and I hope he repeats it this year. Chad Cordero will close like usual, Jon Rauch, Luis Ayala, Ryan Wagner, Ry King, Chris Schroder, and Mike Bacsik are others fighting for a rotation spot.

The Hook:
Don't expect big results this or even next year, but if this team can stay clean and hit on some of the risks they've taken you could be looking at a very interesting NL East in 2010 from both Florida and Washington.