Gigantic Sox and Dawgs 2012 MLB Preview – Day 5 – NL East

Welcome to the Gigantic Sox and Dawgs 2012 MLB preview.  Over the next few days you will get a team by team look at its key players, new faces, their potential MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year candidates, their possible starting lineup and rotation as well as a quick summary.

For the second year in a row we will select a MVP candidate and Cy Young candidate for each team no matter what their predicted team outcome is.

This preview was sculpted over a two month period in the off season with some mild tweaking as we went along prior to publication.  It comes from a culmination of reading many baseball magazines, periodicals, articles and websites.

I hope you enjoy this look at the upcoming season.  I know everyone will not agree with me and that’s fine put it in the comments or hit me up on Twitter.  I can assure you I’ll most likely have an argument for each and every objection that you could possibly raise.

Yesterday we looked at the AL Central, Sunday was the NL West, Monday was the AL West, Tuesday we previewed the NL Central and today it’s the NL East.

To continue reading, click on the read more button below if you’re on the home page.

National League East

Philadelphia Phillies1. Philadelphia – Manager Charlie Manuel (8th year/11th overall)

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Roy Halladay (34) wipes his face during the first inning in Game 1 of baseball's National League division series against the St. Louis Cardinals Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011 in Philadelphia.The Philadelphia Phillies will remain the class of the NL East in 2012 as they look to get to their third World Series in the last five seasons under skipper Charlie Manuel.  They have possibly the best pitching staff in baseball and got even better in the back end when they signed free agent closer Jonathan Papelbon away from Boston.  Even with the possible loss of 1B Ryan Howard for the beginning of the season they should be able to stay on top as long as his replacements Jim Thome and Ty Wigginton can carry their part of the load.  They will continue to battle not only Atlanta but also a much improved and refocused Miami for the AL East crown.

Key Players: SS Jimmy Rollins; 2B Chase Utley; RF Hunter Pence; P Roy Halladay; P Cliff Lee; RP Jonathan Papelbon

MVP Candidate: 2B Chase Utley

Cy Young Candidate: P Roy Halladay and P Cliff Lee

ROY Candidate: OF Domonic Brown

Key Additions: RP Jonathan Papelbon (FA-BOS); 3B/OF Ty Wigginton (Trade-COL); 1B/PH Jim Thome (FA-CLE); OF Laynce Nix (FA-WAS); P Dontrelle Willis (FA-CIN); OF Juan Pierre (FA-CWS); OF Scott Podsednik (FA-KC); RP Chad Qualls (FA-SD)

*Possible lineup: Rollins SS; Utley 2B; Victorino CF; Pence RF; Polanco 3B; Thome 1B; Mayberry LF; Ruiz C

Possible lineup: Rollins SS; Utley 2B; Pence RF; Howard 1B; Victorino CF; Polanco 3B; Mayberry LF; Ruiz C

Possible rotation: Halladay, Lee; Hamels; Worley; Blanton

*- lineup with 1B Ryan Howard on DL to start season.

Atlanta Braves2. Atlanta – Manager Fredi Gonzalez (2nd year/6th overall)

Brian McCann #16 of the Atlanta Braves bats against the Los Angeles Dodgers on September 3, 2011 at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia. The Atlanta Braves tried to hang with Philadelphia last year and with all their injuries and players having down years they just couldn’t do it.  But they were in position for the NL Wild Card until they had the biggest late season fade this side of Boston.  They ended up missing the playoffs on the last day when the eventual World Series champion St. Louis swooped in on the last day of the season to claim the wild card spot.  The Braves need better seasons from Dan Uggla and Jason Heyward to compete with Philly and Miami.  This is a strong team and the division looks to be a dog fight until the end even with P Tim Hudson possibly missing the first month as he recovers from off season surgery.

Key Players: C Brian McCann; RF Jason Heyward; 3B Chipper Jones; 2B Dan Uggla; SS Tyler Pastornicky; P Tim Hudson; RP Johnny Venters

MVP Candidate: C Brian McCann

Cy Young Candidate: P Tim Hudson

ROY Candidate: SS Tyler Pastornicky and P Julio Teheran

Key Additions: OF Matt Diaz (FA-PIT); P Julio Teheran (Rookie); SS Tyler Pastornicky (Rookie); RP Dustin Richardson (FA-MIA)

Possible lineup: Bourn CF; Prado LF; Jones 3B; McCann C; Uggla 2B; Heyward RF; Freeman 1B; Pastornicky SS

Possible rotation: Hudson; Jurrjens; Hansen; Beachy; Teheran

*Possible rotation: Jurrjens; Hansen; Beachy; Teheran; Minor

* – possible rotation with Hudson on DL in first month

Miami Marlins3. Miami – Manager Ozzie Guillen (1st year/9th overall)

Miami Marlins third baseman Hanley Ramirez tosses a ball during a spring training baseball workout, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012, in Jupiter, Fla.New name, new logo, new stadium, new colors, new uni’s, new manager and new players.  A quote from my twitter feed asked, “Are the Marlins robbing banks?”  They don’t appear to be but owner Jeff Loria decided to open up the wallet and he has spent big time.  The new manager Ozzie Guillen didn’t come cheap, then they signed free agent SS Jose Reyes, closer Heath Bell and starter Mark Buehrle.  These guys are additions to Hanley Ramirez, who will move to 3B, Gaby Sanchez, Mike Stanton and Josh Johnson.  All of a sudden Miami is loaded with a lot of horses and will contend for the division title/NL Wild Card in 2012.

Key Players: SS Jose Reyes; 3B Hanley Ramirez; RF Mike Stanton; LF Logan Morrison; P Josh Johnson; P Mark Buehrle; RP Heath Bell

MVP Candidate: SS Jose Reyes

Cy Young Candidate: P Josh Johnson and P Mark Buehrle

ROY Candidate: P Alex Sanabia

Key Additions: SS Jose Reyes (FA-NYM); RP Heath Bell (FA-SD); RP Wade LeBlanc (Trade-SD); SP Mark Buehrle (FA-CWS); OF Aaron Rowand (FA-SF); SP Carlos Zambrano (Trade- CHI); OF Austin Kearns (FA-CLE); Mgr. Ozzie Guillen

Possible lineup: Reyes SS; Bonafacio CF; Ramirez 3B; Stanton RF; Morrison LF; G. Sanchez 1B; Buck C; Infante 2B

Possible rotation: Johnson; Buehrle; Zambrano; Nolasco; A. Sanchez

Washington Nationals4. Washington – Manager Davey Johnson (2nd year/16th overall)

Washington Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman doubles to right field during the first inning of a baseball game against the Florida Marlins, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2011, in Washington.The Washington Nationals are looking to make some noise but it still may be another year or two away.  Davey Johnson starts his first full season as the manager after he took over on June 25 when Jim Riggleman resigned unexpectedly two days earlier.  The Nats beefed up their rotation with a trade for Gio Gonzalez from Oakland and by adding free agent Edwin Jackson.  They also expect to have a 100% healthy Stephen Strasburg for the entire season and possibly another 1st pick in LF Bryce Harper could be with the big club right out of camp.  Also C Wilson Ramos returns after a harrowing off-season in which he was kidnapped in Central America.

Key Players: SS Ian Desmond; 3B Ryan Zimmerman; RF Jayson Werth; P Stephen Strasburg; P Gio Gonzalez; RP Drew Storen

MVP Candidate: RF Jayson Werth

Cy Young Candidate: P Stephen Strasburg

ROY Candidate: LF Bryce Harper

Key Additions: LF Bryce Harper (Rookie); SP Gio Gonzalez (Trade-OAK); INF/OF Mark DeRosa (FA-SF); RP Brad Lidge (FA-PHI); 2B Andres Blanco (FA-TEX);  P Edwin Jackson (FA-STL)

Possible lineup: Desmond SS; Bernadina CF; R. Zimmerman 3B; Morse LF; Werth RF; LaRoche 1B; Espinosa 2B; Ramos C

Possible rotation: Strasburg; Gonzalez; Jackson; J. Zimmerman; Wang

New York Mets5. New York – Manager: Terry Collins (2nd year/ 8th overall)

David Wright #5 of the New York Mets hits a RBI double to left field in the eight inning during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on September 24, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.In the wake of the Bernie Madoff disaster the Mets at one point were looking for someone to buy into the team.  After not being able to attract a minority buyer in time the Mets turned to Bank of America for a $40 million dollar bridge loan until they can sell some minority shares plus they’ve already borrowed $25 million from MLB that they haven’t been able to re-pay.  Then they failed to retain free agent SS Jose Reyes who bolted to division rival Miami after New York never even made their former star player an offer.  So if the Mets are borrowing money to survive, even with a brand new stadium, how are they supposed to compete in the NL East with Philadelphia, Miami and Atlanta and an improving Washington?  It will be a long season again in Queens. 1986 was a long time ago.

Key Players: 3B David Wright; 1B Ike Davis; LF Jason Bay; P Johan Santana

MVP Candidate: 3B David Wright

Cy Young Candidate: P Johan Santana

ROY Candidate: P Matt Harvey

Key Additions: RP Jon Rauch (FA-TOR); RP Ramon Ramirez (Trade-SF); OF Andres Torres (Trade-SF); RP Frank Francisco (FA-TOR); P Matt Harvey (Rookie); SS Ronny Cedeno (FA-PIT)

Possible lineup: Torres CF; Tejada 2B; Wright 3B; Davis 1B; Bay LF; Duda RF; Thole C; Cedeno SS

Possible rotation: Santana; Pelfrey; Neise; Gee; Harvey

Tomorrow, in Day 6, we will preview the AL East.

Follow Steve on Twitter @SteveMichaelsII

Photo credits: AP Photo, Getty Images, AP Photo, AP Photo, Getty Images