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Article:NL East: How Have Things Changed?

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The NL East was the tightest division in baseball last season, with the divisional race coming down to the final day, and Atlanta just five games back. The offseason was crucial for each of those teams to assert their dominance and keep pace with each other. So let's take a look at how each team has fared.

My gain/loss net is based completely on the impact of the adds and subtractions. It does not take into account any players coming back from injury, players getting older, or prospects developing - just the impact of their offseason moves.

1.) Philadelphia (89-73) Additions: Closer Brad Lidge, utilityman Eric Bruntlett, OF Geoff Jenkins, 3B Pedro Feliz
Subtractions: RP Geoff Geary, OF Michael Bourn, OF Aaron Rowand, RP Antonio Alfonseca

Net: Even. The addition of Brad Lidge should pay off with a plus gain of 2-3 wins. Even with his struggles the last two seasons, his peripherals have remained very good. Now that he is out of Houston, he should rebound. The move also allows Brett Myers to return to the rotation, which is the Phillies weak point. He now can form a strong young tandem at the front of the rotation with Cole Hamels. The addition of Lidge, however, is negated by the loss of Aaron Rowand. His .309, 27, 89 line in CF last season will be sorely missed.

2.) New York (88-74) Additions: SP Johan Santana, C Brian Schneider, OF Ryan Church
Subtractions: SP Tom Glavine, C Paul LoDuca, OF Shawn Green, OF Lastings Milledge

Net: +7. Mainly from the swap in the rotation of Johan Santana for Tom Glavine. The Mets were just 18-16 in Glavine's starts last season. A conservative estimate for Santana would be a 23-11 Met record in his starts, an easy 5 win gain. The other two wins come from the significant upgrade in defense at catcher and rightfield.

3.) Atlanta (84-78) Additions: SP Tom Glavine, OF Mark Kotsay, RP Will Ohman, IF Omar Infante
Subtractions: OF Andruw Jones, RP Octavio Dotel, RP Joey Devine, SS Edgar Renteria

Net: -3. The offense has gotten significantly worse with the losses of Renteria and Jones. The Braves are hoping that the youngsters all perform, and that's a hard thing to rely upon. Glavine is nothing more than a league average starter.

Its a no-brainer that the Mets have done the most in the East to make themselves better. But what will that mean to the final standings? Well, the Mets have made themselves the favorites, but the Phils have the potential to make it a good race this year. The Braves will need a lot to break right to stay in the middle of the race.


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