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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

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Bar none, this is the strangest assortment of players in baseball. This is the Ellis Island of baseball, players from all over the map, not geographically, but all took different paths. You got some reclaimation projects, some minor league journeymen like Redding, a criminal in Dukes, raw talents like Milledge and Pena, has-beens like Boone, blue chippers like Zimmerman, old pros like Young. Very good bullpen. Always a tough series.

Needham gives a good interview. Nice balance between optimistic hopes and realistic refusal to drink kool-aid. He should be a regular beerleaguer (if not already).

Thanks JW.

Really like the job Acta did last season. An eclectic mix of talent to say the least. Some payback due for throwing at Utley. Andy, from previous thread - Feliz comes as advertised. He's a hacker. He can drive the ball, but seems to have same approach regardless of count or situation.

This year's Nationals team reminds me of Major League - getting guys from all over the place (including jail) and trying to mix them together. Barring something totally unforeseen they won't contend, but will be much closer to the top 3 teams in the standings than they will be to the Marlins. Pesky team that definitely hurt the Phils, Mets and Braves. Phillies won the season series vs. the Nats 12-6 last year. The Mets split with them 9-9, but obviously lost 5 of 6 in the final few weeks.

Should say "pesky team that could hurt the Phils, Mets and Braves'

I'm looking forward to watching the Nationals this year (as a DC resident). if they weren't in such a competitive division, they could be an interesting dark horse for the playoffs.

of course, pretty much everything would have to go right for them to even finish at .500, but for a second division team they've got a surprisingly deep roster. and Acta is quickly becoming my favorite manager in baseball. comes off as very smart in interviews and players really respond to him.

also, they should have a big impact on the division race. I don't think they'll be pushovers, even if/when they struggle. that's one reason I think the NL East winner will end up with fewer victories than a lot of people think; without a Pittsburgh to beat up on it would be tough for an East team to win 100.

ae: What about Florida? They look rather weak.

I guess I'm always gunshy of counting out FL, since they always seem to come up with quality pitching out of nowhere. but yeah, they don't look very good on paper.

I am interested in their new yard, especially compared to RFK. It looks like an incredible facility and will keep an eye on how it plays.

Although Matt Chico does not make me drool, he was able to shut down the Phils on the second to last day of the season when they were pretty red hot. I was impressed.

ae: They definitely have talent. You can't deny that. They need someone to step up in the rotation, and I don't know that Olsen is the guy. They could also use a breakout season or two from guys like Hermida and Jacobs. Ramirez is a scary hitter, no matter what.

Wow - didn't realize Hermida finished with an .870 OPS. Not bad. Hmm. Maybe I'm underestimating them.

What I wonder is if the rag-tag rotation approach by the Nats will work in their new ballpark this season. RFK covered up some pretty lousing starting pitch the past few seasons for the Nats. If the Nats new stadium even plays offensively neutral, you are going to see a ton of Nats' starters with ERA well north of 5 (and even some 6s).

Many baseball/fantasy analysts are predicting Hermida for a "break out" year.

Marlins will be the worst team in the NL and among the worst in the NL (vying with the lifeless Pirates and offensively-inept Giants). Their offense won't be as good as last year with Cabrera's departure and my money is on the the Marlins' for having the worst starting rotation in baseball. Mitre is penciled as their No. 1 and tall-stiff Mark Hendrickson is penciled as No. 3? Ugly.

Only way it is not is if Olsen can rebound from injury problems and Miller can show that he his stuff is not completely overrated (i bet he posts an average year for a back-end rotation guy but nothing to write home out).

The only way the Marlins avoid a 95+ loss season is if their underrated bullpen comes through with another solid season and if they get a rebound from Sanchez and/or Johnson in the second half.

I really think the Nationals are a front line starter away from being a contender.

They have a really good bullpen. They have a line-up that could a ton of runs and they have depth as Needham pointed out. Johnson and Belliard could start for some teams and they are bench players.

They have some decent starters in Chico and Bergmann. If Hill can stay healthy he's a good pitcher.

I don't think they'd win the division but I could see them getting 80-85 wins in a season with a top starter

Offensively inept? But they have Aaron Rowand!

Snort.

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