NL East Update: The one where Parnell wants to close

Bobby Parnell is at a crossroads in his career, but does he have what it takes to become a closer?

Parnell is an interesting case. For a guy who throws 100 MPH he hasn’t been very consistent in his major league stints. There is no question Parnell can be a closer someday, and a very good one at that, but he will have to work more on his control and movement, especially on his fastball. He needs to prove that he can learn and make adjustments during Spring Training before any judgments are made.

Nate McLouth will be the starting centerfielder for the Atlanta Braves in 2011… looks like someone believes in second chances.

McLouth had a miserable year in 2010 as he was a victim of Murphy’s Law. Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Poor production, concussions, and a demotion were all things that McLouth had to overcome last season. Those are usually enough to end someone’s career, but thankfully for McClouth, there was no better option for the Braves to put out there. Could he be a fantasy sleeper in 2011?

Marlin Maniac has some bulletin board material for Logan Morrison.

Ouch! Definitely not the harshest criticism I’ve heard all day (just ask Jay Cutler) but still very critical nonetheless. I don’t expect Morrison to be dramatically worse than he was last year, but I think its fair to say that he will stay just about the same. As a natural first baseman, Morrison was forced to switch to the outfield, which is always a challenge no matter who you are. No one had remarkably high expectations for Morrison anyway going into next season so all this “negative” talk can do is motivate him.

After much speculation, it looks like Joe Blanton will NOT be going anywhere and will spend 2011 with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Up until about a week ago I was convinced that the Boston Red Sox had already acquired Blanton. Was I the only one? Blanton and Kyle Kendrick can create an interesting 5a/5b spot in the rotation, where if one is underperforming as the fifth starter you can plug the other guy in, with the struggling man taking over as long relief in the bullpen. But of course as easy as that sounds it isn’t. Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. has to have some plan with them.

Here’s a scary thought…the Nationals will go into next season with much of the same rotation, but does GM Mike Rizzo have one last trick up his sleeve?

You can’t say they didn’t try to acquire someone because they certainly did, but it doesn’t look like Washington is ready to throw in the towel yet. What would it take for the Nationals to pull off a trade for Grady Sizemore and Fausto Carmona? Is this even a realistic possibility and would it be a smart move?