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2009 Season Preview - National League East

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.

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Javier Vazquez Traded to Braves

Vazquez to Bravos

Javier Vazquez was traded from the Chicago White Sox to the Atlanta Braves today and the balance of power shifted in the National League East.

Okay, nothing quite so impressive happened. And the reports differ on who the Braves gave up - was it Tyler Flowers, the brawny powerful catcher with great on-base ability that was the cornerstone of the deal? Or was it Jo-Jo Reyes, the mercurial lefty with poor results so far in the major leagues? The reports agree that speedy infielder Brent Lillibridge is in the deal either way, but Lillibridge doesn’t sting too much, as he’s struggled to reclaim his former top prospect status since hitting the high minors. And the remaining players will surely be long-shots from the low minors.

In order to really get at whether or not this trade was worth it, let’s assume the more expensive trade, the one with Flowers, is the real trade. Was it worth giving up a top offensive catcher prospect for two years of Javier Vazquez?

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