I noticed that we didn't have a thread on this, so here it be. Get your prognostication on.
1. Atlanta Braves - I know that one of these years the Braves won't win their division, but even without Leo Mazzone I like their chances. They've got good young players filtering in around a solid veteran core. Though they could use more guys named Jones.
2. New York Mets - This is their "Kill Arthur Dent" body and that sort of plan never works. They lack a #3 starter and they currently employ Darren Oliver and Endy Chavez. At least Julio Franco is on hand to tell stories about the days when he faced a young Satchel Paige.
3. Philadelphia Phillies - Mostly a retread pitching staff and there's no help if the club loses a key bat to injury. It would take multiple surprises for this club to win the division (e.g. Randy Wolf goes back in time to 2002 while Jimmy Rollins and Aaron Rowand have career seasons). Tom Gordon's pitched in Boston, New York and Chicago. He probably thinks he's heard it all. Little does he know the horror that awaits him in Philly.
4. Washington Nationals - The NL East has been a bear of a division for the last four years. That ends this season. This team sucks and it won't even get within spitting distance of last place. Though it should mean lots of extra wins for the top three clubs in the division.
5. Florida Marlins - Just because you've gone about detaching all your limbs and replacing them with new ones the right way doesn't mean it won't be a painful, time-consuming procedure. Though everyone needs to love Dan Uggla, because that's one crazy name.
1. St. Louis Cardinals - Expounding on all of the reasons why the Cardinals won't be as good this year as last year has become its own cottage industry. No one ever factors in the stuff on the plus. The Birds have improved their defense and they get back the best 3B on the planet. And be prepared to be amazed at how good a season Aaron Miles turns in, possibly Sidney Ponson too. How Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan do this all the time baffles me, but they've made a habit out of finding treasure in other people's trash.
2. Milwaukee Brewers - I expect the Brewers to give St. Louis all it can handle. This might be the deepest team in the NL. What it may not have is anyone taking a star turn this season. I'd have paid good money to be around for the moment when new employee Dan O'Brien declared "Hey, this Jared Fernandez guy can pitch a bit!"
3. Houston Astros - You do not replace Roger Clemens with Taylor Buchholz and not suffer for it. If the Astros want to get back to the playoffs, it will have to involve a massive offensive breakout from guys like Adam Everett, Jason Lane and Preston Wilson.
4. Cincinnati Reds - Do I think the Reds will be a factor in the division? No. Do I think they'll finish above .500? No. But I do expect a 2nd half run from this club after it commits to more youth and makes a few more trades.
5. Pittsburgh Pirates - Yeah, they've got young, talented pitching, but there's a chasm to cross from young to good. In 2008, the Bucs will be all the rage.
6. Chicago Cubs - The national sports media will be rubbernecking to gawk at the car wreck that will be this club.
1. San Diego Padres - Once again, someone has to win this division. Kevin Towers will win GM of the year for getting Chris Young and Adrian Gonzalez from the Rangers.
2. Arizona Diamondbacks - The new home of the eternal Terry Mulholland.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers - Despite the presence of Tim Hamulack (All Hail Ham-U-Lack!), this club is built to disintegrate. Watching the front office malcontents go cannibal now that they've devoured Paul DePodesta should be fascinating.
4. San Francisco Giants - These guys would be old in a local softball league.
5. Colorado Rockies - Lousy offense in a park that mutilates pitching. Why is Dan O'Dowd still employed?
NL MVP - Albert Pujols
NL Cy Young - Roy Oswalt
NL Rookie of the Year - Paul Maholm
1. Boston Red Sox - They got just a little bit younger this offseason and that should be enough to carry the division for the first time in 11 years. Yet what will Boston newspaper scribes do once they're run out of cuckoo for Coco Crisp and Riske business jokes?
2. New York Yankees - They're old and they've got nothing in the upper minors if injuries hit them. Sooner or later that's got to take a toll on a club.
3. Baltimore Orioles - I believe in Leo Mazzone. He'll make Sendy Rleal into a Chesapeake Bay area deity before all is said and done. Plus, Melvin Mora's going to have a huge season.
4. Toronto Blue Jays - J.P. Ricciardi will be bald after all the head scratching he does this season.
5. Tampa Bay Devil Rays - Nothing to do and nothing to say, only one thing that I know, it's the only way ... I said hit it! Born to lose, born to lose, born to lose, baby I was born to lose.
1. Chicago White Sox - The bullpen could explode on them, but they should be able to piece it together well enough to eke out the division.
2. Minnesota Twins - I'm not sure why the Twins have decided against scoring, but I am sure that lack of offense will cost them any shot at the playoffs.
3. Cleveland Indians - Take the Twins pitching and the Indians offense and you'd have a juggernaut. Unfortunately the Indians will need to use their own pitching staff.
4. Detroit Tigers - Sometime in mid-May Jim Leyland will take a cigarette break from which he never mentally returns.
5. Kansas City Royals - When Scott Elarton is your opening day starter, you're on the verge of reinventing awful.
1. Oakland A's - Because I worship at the altar of Billy Beane. Though someone needs to get Eric Chavez back in touch with Victor Conte, pronto.
2. Los Angeles Angels - They have their talents, but they also have some of the stupidest hitters alive.
3. Texas Rangers - How many decades can a team go before it figures out it needs pitching? As a Reds fan I need to know.
4. Seattle Mariners - This franchise is on its way to being so bad that people may forget that it ever was good.
AL MVP - Melvin Mora, no joke Melvin Mora
AL Cy Young - Johan Santana
AL Rookie of the Year - Jeff Mathis