MLB’s New Top Division: NL East?

Will the Orange trump the Teal?

On November 11, the Florida Marlins shed half their name, changed their uniforms and officially marked the end of the a rather interesting chapter in baseball history. The Marlins managed to win two World Series titles while playing in Dolphins Stadium (or whatever it’s called today), which is one more title than any other NL East team won during that time. It was a schizophrenic time for the Marlins who put together two championship teams before selling the bulk of the team’s players. In less than a month since becoming the Miami Marlins, the team made the first two major off season signings with closer Heath Bell and shortstop Jose Reyes. Now, baseball writers claim the Marlins are making a serious run at future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols, trying to lure the recent 2-time World Series champ to South Beach.

What has happened to the Marlins and the NL East?

The Phillies continue to be big spenders, spending an outrageous amount of money in an attempt to buy a World Series title. The Nationals, among the newer group of spenders in the division, are making a serious run at signing starting pitcher C.J. Wilson and are apparently the only team offering Wilson a sixth year. The Braves are waiting idly for all the big moves to happen, but expect them to make minor adjustments to help prevent another historic collapse in 2012. The Mets continue to spend oodles of cash (and are hemorrhaging about as much) but have little to show for it.

The AL East be damned! It’s your older brother in the National League that’s quickly becoming the benchmark division in baseball.

Even if the Marlins don’t sign Pujols (and I’m not entirely sure they will), they will be a far superior club next season. Ditto for the Nationals who have Stephen Strasburg back in their starting rotation and Bryce Harper should make it to D.C. by midseason. The Phillies will be the team to beat and the Braves, without the disastrous Derek Lowe, should be pretty solid. The lowly Mets should bring up the rear, but the other four teams could conceivably compete for the title well into the middle of the season. Despite Washington’s distant third place finish, 21.5 games behind Philadelphia, they were only a game under .500. This in a season where the didn’t have their ace and the pieces of the puzzle were still being put together. Mark my words, injuries aside, they’ll compete well into the season.

Sure, the Phillies and the Braves are still the smart picks to finish first and second in the East next season and just because Miami is making big moves, doesn’t mean their team will jell and knock the Phillies from their throne.

Whatever happens, this is quickly becoming the offseason of the NL East and until another major signing, the press will be abuzz with what the division’s teams do.

The Hot Stove is simmering!

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