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Cole Hamels in spring training
The 2009 NL East will be the most exciting division in Major League Baseball, bar none. Last season the world watched as the Philadelphia Phillies, a team thought to be competing for a wild card spot at best, went on to win the division and eventually defeat the Tampa Bay Rays to bring a World Championship to the city of brotherly love. Despite their recent success, this off-season’s transactions have guaranteed one thing: a division title is anything but a guarantee for this 2009 Phillies team. New York Mets GM Omar Minaya went out and imported two flame throwing relievers, J.J Putz and Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez. Atlanta Braves GM Frank Wren signed veteran sinkerballer Derek Lowe to anchor their rotation, and the Washington Nationals signed slugging first baseman/outfielder/Sabermetrics golden standard Adam Dunn to a two year deal. What does this mean? This means that the NL East will have 5 teams with a legitimate shot of finishing the year with a record over .500. If everything falls into place, 2009 should provide some intriguing late season baseball.

Click to continue reading 2009 Season Preview - National League East


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Olsen, tall and left-handed

The Washington Nationals traded for left-hander Scott Olsen and outfielder Josh Willingham from the Florida Marlins for second baseman Emilio Bonifacio, first baseman Jake Smolinski, and righty P.J. Dean. While Bonifacio is a solid defensive second baseman with some on-base ability and tons of speed, and Smolinski may yet be a good hitter one day, this trade seems lopsided in the Nationals’ favor. Smolinski is only 19 years old and in his first 390 at-bats, has just five professional home runs. Bonifacio has no power. P.J. Dean has fifteen starts under his belt.

In the other corner, we have a solid major league left-handed pitcher with some upside still at 24 years old, and an everyday left fielder with middle-of-the-order power and a career .800+ OPS (not to mention his 62 homers in the past three years). Three young prospects with limited upside for two major league regulars controlled at under-market prices for at least the next couple of years - that seems like a slam dunk, even for an embattled GM like Jim Bowden.

Unfortunately, this deal really doesn’t make much sense for both sides in the end.

Click to continue reading Scott Olsen and Josh Willingham to the Washington Nationals

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