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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Out of Left Field 2013 predictions — NL East

1. Nationals — The chic pick for a few last year (*ahem, pats own back*) is the no-brainer pick for almost everyone this year, especially since the Nats have done nothing but get better. They’ll have Stephen Strasburg for a full year, and ponied up the money for closer Rafael Soriano and starter Dan Haren, and traded for CF Denard Span, only adding to a lineup, rotation and bullpen that were already World Series-worthy. Oh, yeah, and they have that Bryce Harper guy (pictured).

2. Braves — There is not a more exciting outfield in baseball, after Atlanta signed B.J. Upton from Tampa Bay, then added his brother, Justin, in a trade with Arizona, putting them next to young star Jason Heyward. The rotation has a good mix of young star power and veteran presence, and the Braves might have the best closer in baseball in Craig Kimbrel.

3. Phillies — Philadelphia is still home to some of the biggest names in baseball — Ryan Howard, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Jonathan Papelbon — but that may not be enough in a stacked division. It appears Philly’s window is closing rapidly, but the offseason did nothing to inspire confidence in the franchise’s ability to carry out a “win now” philosophy.

4. Mets — Everything written about Atlanta’s star-studded outfield will NOT be written about New York’s. The Mets may end up with one of the most nondescript lineups around him, but they still have to feel the offseason was a success after locking up “Captain America” David Wright long-term. Add in a few prospects from the R.A. Dickey trade, and there’s at least a future to look forward to for Mets fans.

5. Marlins — The Marlins won the 2012 offseason, then promptly flopped, and divested themselves of nearly everything of value aside from Giancarlo Stanton and the fountain in left-center field at Marlins Park. Put it this way: The top three spots in the Marlins order could come down to either 35-year-old Juan Pierre or former Tigers prospect Gorkys Hernandez leading off, ahead of 37-year-old Placido Polanco. Good luck with that new managerial gig, Mike Redmond.



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