NL East Roundup: News and links from around the division


Prior to the start of the 2015 season, most of the baseball world agreed that the NL East would be one of the most predictable divisions in baseball. As the first two months of the season have shown, however, the division has been anything but predictable.

With most of last year’s talented, division-winning roster staying on board for the 2015 season, the Washington Nationals were already expected to run away with the division crown in 2015 before they signed free agent Max Scherzer. Once Scherzer was on board, the Nationals were expected to not only repeat as NL East champs, but also to pace the entire National League.

But baseball is an unpredictable game and offseason predictions often times die early in the season. For a while, it looked like that was exactly what was going to happen to the Nationals in 2015.

The Nationals got off to a terrible start to the season and were playing like a Double-A team for the entire first month. On April 27, the Nationals were dead-last in the NL East with a 7-13 record—trailing the first place Mets by a whopping eight game margin. While the Nationals were struggling, the Mets were absolutely dominating, prompting many fans and analysts alike to predict that the Mets would shock everyone and win the NL East.

In recent weeks, however, the Nationals have been playing like they were supposed to play all season long. The offense is clicking, the defense is improved and the pitching staff is as dominant as ever. The Nationals have climbed all the way back to first place and lead the Mets by 1.5 games. The Braves are in third and trail the Nationals by 4.5 games, while the Phillies and Marlins are 10 and 10.5 games back, respectively.

More from Nationals News

Needless to say, the landscape in the NL East has changed significantly in the month of may, and it’s starting to look more and more like many predicted it would before the season. As the Mets and Nationals showed in April, however, it only takes one hot—or bad—month to shock everyone and turn the division upside down. While the Nationals are the hottest team in baseball right now and expected to continue to play well throughout the rest of the season, anything can happen.

For this reason, it’s important to keep an eye on everything that is happening throughout the NL East so that we know where the other teams in the division stand. With that in mind, checkout some NL East articles from around FanSided to get caught up on all the news in the division:

Atlanta Braves

Braves Trade Callaspo To Dodgers For Uribe

(Fred Owens, Tomahawk Take)

Prior to Monday night’s game word came from Mark Bowman that Alberto Callaspo had been scratched and might not be a Brave much longer. So began a soap opera like series of Twitter fed frenzy of rumor and comments that lasted until well into last night’s game. In the end the trade was done, Callaspo is a former Brave and the roster is again in flux.

The Trade

The Braves send one of their worst signings since the return of Greg Norton in Callaspo to the Dodgers along with a reliever who can’t find the strike zone – Juan Jaime – a starter who throws mostly batting practice to opposing teams – Eric Stults – and lefty reliever Ian Thomas to the Dodgers. Read full article here.

What Did the Atlanta Braves Acquire in Chris Withrow?

(Alan Carpenter, Tomahawk Take)

Now that the dust has settled on the Callaspo/Uribe trade, there’s another question that we should investigate:  who is this Chris Withrow and why is he now a Brave?

Chris Withrow is a 26 year old right-hander who stands 6-4/215 that was drafted out of Midland high school (TX) as the 20th overall pick in 2007.  In 2011-2012, he was positioned in the middle of some Dodgers’ top ten propsects lists, though that was while still a starting pitcher.  He made the majors in June of 2013 as a reliever and stuck around in the Dodgers bullpen for long enough he’s no longer considered to be a rookie. Read full article here.

Miami Marlins

Miami Marlins News: Michael Morse latest to hit 15-day DL

(Travis Honeycutt, Marlin Maniac)

The injuries keep piling up for the Miami Marlins, and first baseman Michael Morse has become the latest Fish to shore up on the disabled list. On Tuesday, the club placed Morse on the 15-day DL, retroactive to May 24, with a strained ligament in his right finger, according to ESPN.

Morse’s injury is a major setback for a team that sits 11 games below .500, but it hurts a little less knowing that Morse has struggled mightily this season. The 33-year-old who in the offseason signed a two-year deal to become Miami’s full-time first baseman is hitting .211/.268/.289 with two home runs and 10 RBI in 38 games. He is just 2-for-his-last-22 and hasn’t been in the starting lineup since May 20. Read full article here.

Miami Marlins Must Overcome Depleted Pitching Staff

(Miller Lepree, Marlin Maniac)

A mere 12 months ago, the Miami Marlins boasted one of the deepest young pitching staffs in all of baseball. Today? they face uncertainty in three of the five rotation spots after injuries to Mat LatosJarred Cosart, and Henderson Alvarez.

When Alvarez hit the 60-day  disabled list to start 2013, the Marlins turned to 21-year-old rookie Jose Fernandez, and we know how that turned out. Fast forward to 2015, and the former Rookie of the Year is about a month away from returning from Tommy John surgery. While he finishes recovering, the organization will again have to turn to their minor league depth, but this time there are far fewer options. Read full article here.

New York Mets

Mets trade Kirk Nieuwenhuis to Angels for cash considerations

(Ryan Punzalan, Rising Apple)

The Kirk Nieuwenhuis era in Queens has ended. The Mets traded Nieuwenhuis to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for cash considerations on Wednesday.

Nieuwenhuis, who was designated for assignment last week, needed to be traded on Wednesday or placed on waivers. If he had been placed on waivers and cleared, Nieuwenhuis would’ve been able to refuse an assignment to the minors in order to become a free agent. If Nieuwenhuis had been placed on waivers and claimed, the Mets would’ve lost him for nothing. Read full article here.

Black, Parnell take another step forward

(Danny Abriano, Rising Apple)

Vic Black and Bobby Parnell took steps forward during their rehab assignments with Double-A Binghamton on Tuesday, and Black in particular could be ready for a return to the Mets.

For Black, who hasn’t yet appeared in a game this season for the Mets due to shoulder fatigue and a herniated disk, his scoreless appearance on Tuesday was the first time this season he’s pitched back-to-back games. Read full article here.

Philadelphia Phillies

Howard Again a Big Phillies Piece

(Tyler DiSalle, That Ball’s Outta Here)

Admit it, you gave up on Ryan Howard. After three consecutive unimpressive seasons following his torn Achilles in Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals, it looked as if the “Big Piece” had become more like a tiny, “misfit” piece.

Struggles over the past three seasons resulted in much criticism being heaped upon Howard by the Philadelphia media and fans. Much of the negative scrutiny had to do with the 5-year, $125 million contract extension he signed in April of 2010. Read full article here.

Amaro Arrogance Again Gets in Way of Truth

(Ethan Witte, That Ball’s Outta Here)

Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. has gotten himself into a bit of hot water once again with some choice comments he made in an interview with Jim Salisbury. In the interview, Amaro discussed many things, such as potential trade chips, the progress of the team’s pitching prospects, and the development of Cody Asche in his conversion to the outfield.

Yet, the thing that is getting him the most ink this morning is this comment about Philadelphia fans… Read full article here.

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