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The W - Baseball - The NL East
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El Nastio
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Since: 14.1.02
From: Ottawa Ontario, by way of Walkerton

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#1 Posted on
Is looking like a two-team division this coming season. The thing that I'm wondering is if the Stems (aka the Mets) will have a good team chemistry or not what with all the moves they made this off season.

Personally, I think they'll take the division, and wind up losing to the Braves in the NLCS in an ironic touch.







"The ability to think does not make one intelligent".


(edited by El Nastio on 14.1.02 1726)
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Spiraling_Shape
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Since: 2.1.02
From: PA

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#2 Posted on
Meanwhile, my Phillies are perfectly satisfied to sign a #4 starter and bench player whose best years were as a Phillie 7 years ago.

I don`t see any reason the Mets won`t take the division.

(edited by Spiraling_Shape on 14.1.02 2206)
BigDaddyLoco
Scrapple








Since: 2.1.02

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#3 Posted on
The Braves look a whole lot better with Sheffield. I still think Smoltz is a big risk at closer, but he might be able to pull of a Dennis Erksley and revive his career.
cfgb
Lap cheong








Since: 2.1.02
From: Ottawa, Ontario

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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.87
I don`t see any reason the Mets won`t take the division.

Ooh, I do. The trade of Sheffield yesterday outta be more than enough to push to the Braves back over the top.

Compare:

1) Rafael Furcal
2) Andruw Jones
3) Chipper Jones
4) Gary Sheffield
5) Vinny Castilla
6) B.J. Surhoff
7) Javy Lopez
8) Marcus Giles

to:

1) Roger Cedeno
2) Roberto Alomar
3) Mike Piazza
4) Mo Vaughn
5) Jay Payton
6) Benny Agbayani
7) Edgardo Alfonzo
8) Rey Ordonez

The top four of the Mets lineup looks hot - but where do you go from there? They have Zeile, but with Vaughn at first and Alfonzo at third, nowhere to play him. The Braves are sure looking good from the top to bottom. Marcus Giles played GREAT for a rookie with no expectations last season. Castilla turned it around once he got off the Devil Rays.

As far as starting pitching goes, I'll take Maddux and Glavine over Leither and Rusch any day of the week. This season should be interesting to see if Kevin Millwood is for real, or if he's the new Steve Avery.




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flaming mo
Mettwurst








Since: 2.1.02
From: Boonville MO

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#5 Posted on
The Braves lineup does look pretty good, but it has a few potential holes. One is B.J Surhoff. He isn't a great hitter and his defense leaves much to be desired. Another is Castilla. Sure he turned it around, but he turned it around after moving to Enron. Turner Field isn't the hitters park that Enron and Coors are.

As for the Mets order, to me it is a question of what Alfonso and Vaugh do. If Alfonso has a year like last year, they'll have troubles. If he has a year like two years ago, watch out. As for Mo, it depends on which Mo shows up, Red Sox Mo or Angels Mo. If it's Angels Mo, they don't have a shot.

As for the whole NL East, as long as someone actually tries to win it this year I'll be happy. Last year, no team ever seemed to want to take control.
Quezzy
Knackwurst








Since: 6.1.02
From: The Moon

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#6 Posted on
Are you kidding me? Edgardo Alfonzo batting 7th?? Two years ago he hand numbers almost the same as Jeff Kent (who won the MVP that year). Then last year they only reason for the big turn around was Alfonzo coming back from injury.
The Mets lineup will likely be
1. Roger Cedeno
2. Edgardo Alfonzo
3. Roberto Alomar
4. Mike Piazza
5. Mo Vaughn
6. Jay Payton
7. Benny Agbayani
8. Rey Ordonez

Maybe Alfonzo and Almoar will be switched and or maybe on of them will be 5th wil Piazz and Vaughn move up.

Plus the Mets aren't done yet. They'll likely pull a trade that will bring Jeromy Burnitz (over 30 HRs the past 4 years and over 100 RBIs 3 of the last 4 years, the fourth year he had 98), send Todd Zeille to Colorado (clears up more money), and send Glendon Rusch to Milwaukee (which won't hurt after signing Pedro Astacio.

So let's compare.
1. Rafael Furcal vs. Roger Cedeno - Cedeno
2. Andruw Jones vs. Edgardo Alfonzo - If Alfonzo is back to how he was two seasons ago he'll be great, but Andruw Jones is one the two best all around players (the other being Vladamir Guerrero), so I'll give it to Andruw Jones.
3. Chipper Jones vs. Roberto Alomar - Alomar
4. Gary Sheffield vs. Mike Piazza - Piazza
5. Vinny Castilla vs. Mo Vaughn - Mo Vaughn, no contest
6. BJ Surhoff vs. Jeromy Burnitz - Burnitz, no contest
7. Javy Lopez vs. Jay Payton - Payton could be good one day, they just expected too much too fast. So for now Javy is better.
8. Marcus Giles vs. Rey Ordonez - Giles

Even if they don't pull the Burnitz trade they'll get Bubba Tramell, which is still better than BJ Surhoff.
squiz
Salami








Since: 5.1.02
From: Dover, NH

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#7 Posted on
And the Mets just signed Pedro Astacio, which was a very good move on their part.

And if they also get Jeromy Burnitz (ironic, there's no K in that name), they will have another fine outfielder.

With both Catilla and Surhoff (who is now 38) in the lineup full time, I don't know. But I think Sheffield puts the Braves slightly back over the top to be the favorites.



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- Adam Duritz
BigDaddyLoco
Scrapple








Since: 2.1.02

Since last post: 5 hours
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#8 Posted on

So let's compare.
1. Rafael Furcal vs. Roger Cedeno - Cedeno
2. Andruw Jones vs. Edgardo Alfonzo - If Alfonzo is back to how he was two seasons ago he'll be great, but Andruw Jones is one the two best all around players (the other being Vladamir Guerrero), so I'll give it to Andruw Jones.
3. Chipper Jones vs. Roberto Alomar - Alomar
4. Gary Sheffield vs. Mike Piazza - Piazza
5. Vinny Castilla vs. Mo Vaughn - Mo Vaughn, no contest
6. BJ Surhoff vs. Jeromy Burnitz - Burnitz, no contest
7. Javy Lopez vs. Jay Payton - Payton could be good one day, they just expected too much too fast. So for now Javy is better.
8. Marcus Giles vs. Rey Ordonez - Giles


If last season proved anything it showed us that to win you need pitching, pitching, pitching, and the Braves clearly have the edge on the Mets in this category.
Quezzy
Knackwurst








Since: 6.1.02
From: The Moon

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#9 Posted on
Well I never said the Mets were going to beat the Braves (although I think they will), I was just saying that their lineup is better.

But since you bring up pitching, how come the Braves are so much better? Yeah they got Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine who went 33 - 18 last year, but then what? Kevin Milwood has only had one good season. Jason Marquis had a losing season. Burkett is gone. Odalis Perez is gone.

Mets have Al Leiter, yeah not a great season last year, but with some offense he's fine. Bruce Chen, has some talent, young though, might me a few years away from being great. Shawn Estes, not great ERA, but knows how to win (64 - 50 career record). Glendan Rusch, was supposed to have a bright future, but hasn't done much, but he'll probably be traded soon. And now Pedro Astacio, who once had a 17 - 11 and 209 strikeouts, pitching at Coors Field. So while we have now Glavine/Maddux, our starters as a whole aren't much worse.

I'm sure the Braves probably have better middle relief, but the Mets have the better closer.
cfgb
Lap cheong








Since: 2.1.02
From: Ottawa, Ontario

Since last post: 5 hours
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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.87
The Braves have Albie Lopez in the staff, and he can only get better with the veterans around him. He has shown signs of improvement over the last several years.

Armando Benitez is the better closer COMING IN to this season. I wouldn't be surprised if Smoltz has one of the most dominant years ever by a stopper.




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Quezzy
Knackwurst








Since: 6.1.02
From: The Moon

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#11 Posted on
Originally posted by cfgb
The Braves have Albie Lopez in the staff, and he can only get better with the veterans around him. He has shown signs of improvement over the last several years.

Armando Benitez is the better closer COMING IN to this season. I wouldn't be surprised if Smoltz has one of the most dominant years ever by a stopper.




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Albie Lopez? Albie Lopez is your third starter and is worse than all six of our starters, thanks for proving me right! Oh yeah, and the Jeromy Burnitz deal will also give us Jeff D'Amico, another pitcher better than Albie Lopez.

And Smoltz? Yeah he'll be good, but there's no reason to think he'll have one of the most dominant seasons ever, other than just being a Braves fan.

Do the math people. The Braves and their "wonderful pitching staff" beat the Mets by SIX games last year. A Mets team that was injured for over half the year! If the Mets were healthy the whole season they could've beaten the Braves last year! And then the Mets add Roger Cedeno, Roberto Alomar, Mo Vaughn, Shawn Estes, Pedro Astacio, and probably Jeromy Burnitz and Jeff D'Amico.

And adding Gary Sheffiled and Albie Lopez makes up for all of that? Please tell me you are all just biased Braves fans and aren't really that stupid.
cfgb
Lap cheong








Since: 2.1.02
From: Ottawa, Ontario

Since last post: 5 hours
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#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.87
And adding Gary Sheffiled and Albie Lopez makes up for all of that? Please tell me you are all just biased Braves fans and aren't really that stupid.

This coming from someone who's talking about the wonderful Jeremy Burnitz BEFORE the deal's been triggered?

Look - the Mets have upgraded like mad, but I still think that the Braves have the more dominant staff. Al Leiter cannot carry his team alone. He's the only thing resembling a top started. Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine will each rack up about 17 wins and keep their eras south of the 4.00 zone. Kevin Millwood COULD do the same if he's recovered from last season.

I wouldn't want to screw with the Mets when their hot...but with a team that's got Mo Vaughn, Edgardo Alfonzo, Benny Agbayani, Jay Payton, and Rey Ordonez - they're JUST as prone to slumping which will keep them a team that's just slightly better than .500.




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Evil Buddha
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Since: 10.1.02
From: Somerville, MA

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#13 Posted on
I'm a Mets fan, so you know my bias upfront. I'm really looking forward to seeing how this race shakes out. It should be another nail biter, big games down the stretch, big excitement race. I think that until the Braves get beat, they have to be the favorites, especially as no other team in the division has as consistently strong a 1-2 punch as Maddux and Glavine; plus, the combo of Larry and Gary will undoubtedly make them more potent than last year, where they were almost as offensively pathetic as the Mets. So, both teams have remade their offensive attacks, and for the better. And the Mets will likely add a corner outfielder with power before Spring Training, so that has to be factored in, to. Since there should be some run support, The Mets will have to hope that their starters remain healthy, and that some of "Big Game Al" Leiter's confidence can rub off on Estes and either Rusch or Chen (whoever stays), and that youngsters like Gonzalez and Roberts can develop into legit good big leaguers.
And we can't forget the Phillies, who get Mike Leiberthal back, and the one-year older (better?) Marlins, and if MLB takes over Montreal, might they not spend a little to make this a better team? It looks to be one hell of a division race. Is it spring yet? I can't wait!



"Come to the Dark Side... You Know You Want To!"
The Evil Buddha, spreading Alcoholism, Bad Humor and Chaos since 1971
cfgb
Lap cheong








Since: 2.1.02
From: Ottawa, Ontario

Since last post: 5 hours
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#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.87
The Marlins WILL be interesting. Last year they looked HOT until fizzling out after the All Star break. If the young guns can hang on throughout the season and beat the dog days, they can't be counted out.

The Phils last season were a fluke. They can go ahead and prove me wrong - but I don't see that happening.




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Spiraling_Shape
Bratwurst








Since: 2.1.02
From: PA

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#15 Posted on
The Phils last season were a fluke. They can go ahead and prove me wrong - but I don't see that happening.

Well they won`t be able to prove anything if the organization won`t help them. The Phils were the real deal last year, and it helped that the Braves and Mets slumped around them. And they won it with defense and speed, the hitting was very streaky all year. If Rolen, Burrell, and Abreu can stay hot for more than 2 weeks at a time, the Phillies will certainly be a winning team again. Unfortunately, their rivals went out and got even better.
The Masked Hungarian
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Since: 23.1.02
From: Staten Island NY USA

Since last post: 3336 days
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#16 Posted on
First off, I'm a biased Mets fan who is dating the niece of our Spanish radio announcer. CA-CHING FREE TICKETS!!!! This has been the best offseason in the history of this team and I can't wait to be at Shea for Opening Day. That said, I only have ONE fear about this team, Armando Benitez. My faith in him was squashed the moment he blew Game 6 of the 99 NLCS. In 2000, he started to regain my trust until Game 2 San Fran and JT Snow. Then came Game 1 against the Yankees. I still believe if we had won that game we would have won the Series. 2001 sees a GREAT September run, only to come crashing down on a beautiful Sunday. The 4-1 lead we had on the Braves, which would have completed the sweep and brought us within a game of the division destroyed by Armando. I was in the stands that day, standing for the last out that never came. Finally, the kick in the nuts was the following Saturday. How can we trust this guy to NOT BLOW ANOTHER SEASON??!! Is there any Mets fan who would be confident with him on the mound in a one run game late in the season? Hell, I'm even willing to have "Heart Attack" John Franco head a bullpen by committee. Anything to ensure another season of heartbreak does not happen again.
The Producer
Cotto








Since: 23.1.02
From: Cleveland, OH

Since last post: 4584 days
Last activity: 4290 days
#17 Posted on
The Mets don't have Leo Mazzone and Bobby Cox running their pitching staff. Nobody's been able to squeeze injury-free seasons out of hamburger like those guys.

I love the Mets, but we're really relying an awful lot on Al Leiter and Armando Benitez. If Leiter gets hurt, the wild card will be awfully tough.



When you've got it, flaunt it!
BobHollySTILLRules
Bockwurst








Since: 3.1.02
From: C-Bus, Ohio

Since last post: 4331 days
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#18 Posted on
This offseason killed the Marlins. I mean hell, they still don't have a manager. I'm a Fish fan, one of the 10 or 15, and the only hope they have is if that stupid thing where Vlad Guerrero and Javier Vazquez get to come with Loria when he buys the Marlins. If that happens, we could have a three team race:

Lineup:
1) Luis Castillo, 2B
2) Mike Lowell, 3B
3) Vlad Guerrero, RF
4) Cliff Floyd, LF
5) Charles Johnson, C
6) Preston Wilson, CF
7) Derek Lee/Kevin Millar, 1B
8) Alex Gonzalez/Andy Fox, SS

8 is a hole, Lowell in the 2 would suck, he's a .270-.280 hitter, doesn't fit that role, but who else could hit there, could be a problem

Staff
1) Javier Vazquez
2) Ryan Dempster
3) Brad Penny
4) A.J. Burnett
5) Josh Beckett

That could be one hell of a team. Even without Guerrero and Vazquez they'll hang around for a while, but they're still too young. I can only wish this team gets to stay together because they've still got one of the top 3 farm systems in the league right now, more players are coming.




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The Masked Hungarian
Pickled pork








Since: 23.1.02
From: Staten Island NY USA

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#19 Posted on
I'd put Wilson in the #2 hole there. With Castillo's speed all he's see are fastballs and Preston KILLS fastballs. Doesn't matter though, there is no way baseball lets Loria bring those two
TheCow
Landjager








Since: 3.1.02
From: Knoxville, TN

Since last post: 2396 days
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Y!:
#20 Posted on
Please, PLEASE, do not get me started on Jeffrey Loria, or anything related even remotely to owners and the Expos.

That being said, and assuming what BHSR to be true, I'll dissect that a little bit. Personally speaking, I saw Derek Lee back in AA, and his strikeout percentage was higher than his batting average... now, I do know that has changed, but I'm still not high on him. The same goes for Wilson - sure, you can put him in the 2 spot, but he's still going to strike out way more than you want a 2 hitter to, even with a massive amount of fastballs. At least that's where I stand on it. I'm not familiar enough with the Marlins' staff to make a judgement there.

Moving on to previous arguments, the Braves' staff is NOT what it was even 2 years ago. For that matter, neither is the Mets' staff. (The Mets are my other team, for future reference.) I would count on the Mets bombing out the first 1 and 1/2 months or the season like normal, and then getting HOT. Really hot.

I'm a believer that the Mets have the better lineup (although I'm not high on Vaughn, either... been injured too much, if I remember right, which I may not - don't pay much attention to the Angels, forgive me), and while I know the Braves' acquisition of Sheffield is huge in a divsion sense (in other words, the Braves' management finally figured out offense involved hitting the ball), the Mets' getting Burnitz helps to offset it.

As for the staffs, I believe the Braves' staff stacks up like this:
Maddux
Glavine
Millwood
Lopez
Marquis
(I'm not confident of this, if someone wants to correct me, feel free.)
The Mets' staff looks like this:
Leiter
Astacio
Estes
D'Amico
Chen (maybe Trachsel somewhere in there)

I've never been high on Albie Lopez, even from his days with the Devil Rays, and Maddux and Glavine are getting old. Millwood was injured most of last year, so I'm not sure how he'll turn out. Marquis is still a work in progress.
As for the Mets, Leiter is good, although he may need run support; only truly solid pitcher on the team. Astacio strikes me as a 3 pitcher, the same with Estes (maybe even a 4 with him); D'Amico pitched for the Brew Crew last year, so I'm not sure of the numbers on him. Like Marquis, Chen is young, although he's also a Braves cast-off. Trachsel had a HORRIBLE first half, although he did much better in the 2nd half of the season, so it'll be interesting to see what they'll do with him.

Basically, although it's close, I have to concede that the Braves do have the better staff (not to mention they don't have the walking time bombs that are Armando Benitez and John Franco as your closers), so it comes down to defense, which, to be honest, I'm not even going to dissect. This is long enough already. I'd say it's close, but due to a little bit of luck, the Mets will take the division title. (Stranger things have happened.)
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