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NL East Update: April Fools Edition

With the end of Spring Training finally in sight, Chop N’ Change profiles the several candidates for the Braves bullpen. With the four first bullpen spots being occupied by Billy Wagner, Takashi Saito, Peter Moylan, and Eric O’Flaherty, the list of players trying to make the team will have their work cut out for them.

Atlanta will miss relievers Rafael Soriano, and Mike Gonzalez as Soriano is now with the Rays and Gonzalez with Baltimore. Manny Acosta, Jesse Chavez, and Scott Proctor are just a few of the names out there trying to take their spots in the pen. As made evident by the article, each of the hopefuls has a significant amount of risk involved, whether it be control, consistency, or injury.

It looks like not much has changed with the Mets since we last saw them. Daniel Murphy, the teams starting first baseman will now start the season on the DL due to a sprained MCL on his knee he got in a rundown between third and home. Let the panic in Mets World begin.

It’s a shame to see Murphy go down with an injury like this because he was already penciled in to the Opening Day lineup. With Murphy expected to be out the first two to six weeks of the season, all signs are pointing to Mike Jacobs to fill the void. Jacobs, who was fabulous in his first stint with the Mets in 2005, is lucky to be getting this opportunity due to the fact that we were not even sure if he was going to make the team out of camp a few weeks ago. We all know Jacobs can hit for power, but the question now becomes how will spacious Citi Field affect his power numbers?

The Marlins made some noise this week by trading for Tigers left-handed pitcher Nate Robertson in exchange for pitcher Jay Voss, a move that solidifies Florida’s starting rotation.

This is a great move by Florida as they finally found the left-hander that their rotation lacked. Robertson has been up and down throughout his entire career, although the numbers are not too impressive, he is defiantly a worthwhile investment if you are the Marlins. The rotation looks as solid as it will be all season with Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, Anibal Sanchez, Chris Volstad and now Robertson. The move sends Clay Hensley to the bullpen, as he will now serve as the team’s long reliever.

Beer Leaguer breaks down the several role reversals that are happening in the Phillies bullpen, as they draw comparisons to a similar situation from 2006. They also predict that the team’s success will rely solely on the performance of the bullpen.

With only Chad Durbin holding the same role as last year, there are many question marks surrounding some once reliable pitchers. Brad Lidge, who was a perfect 41 for 41 in save opportunites in 2008, hit a wall in 2009 leaving the baseball community wondering what type of pitcher we will see in 2010. Newcomers Jose Contreras and Danys Baez will have high expectations entering the season and undoubtedly have the ability to have a great season, but they have not shown the ability to handle pressure well, which is imperative when playing in a city like Philadelphia. Ryan Madson, who seems like he has been in Philadelphia forever, is also coming off of a disappointing season and did not shine in the closers spot last season blowing seven saves in 17 opportunities with a 7.81 ERA.

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