This might have the strongest trio of any division in baseball. Washington, Atlanta and Philadelphia all have legitimate World Series aspirations and have made moves this off-season to accomplish just that. The New York Mets and Miami Marlins, meanwhile, seem content to remain in baseball purgatory by trading away stars.
2012 season: 98-64 (first, NL East; lost in NLDS)
New faces: RHP Dan Haren, RHP Rafael Soriano, OF Denard Span
2013 outlook: Nobody won more regular-season games than the Nationals last season, but they were without ace Stephen Strasburg in the playoffs. That shouldn’t be the case this year, and Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez are a formidable 1-2 punch. Their bullpen got better, too, by signing Rafael Soriano.
2012 season: 94-68 (second, NL East; lost in Wild Card round)
New faces: OF B.J. Upton, OF Justin Upton, RHP Jordan Walden, 3B Chris Johnson
2013 outlook: They got the Upton brothers and Jason Heyward roaming the outfield, and there might not be a better one in the game. They also acquired reliever Jordan Walden. Expect the Braves, a wild card team last year, to challenge for the division title again.
2012 season: 81-81 (third, NL East)
New faces: RHP Mike Adams, 3B Michael Young, OF Delmon Young, OF Ben Revere, RHP John Lannan
2013 outlook: With Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee heading the rotation, the Phillies remain a contender. The offense is still a question mark, but it could be in good shape if newcomer Michael Young bounces back and Chase Utley and Ryan Howard return to their All-Star form.
New York Mets
2012 season: 74-88 (fourth, NL East)
New faces: RHP Shaun Marcum, RHP Brandon Lyon, OF Collin Cowgill
2013 outlook: The Mets haven’t been to the postseason since 2006, and it’s hard to see them making it this season. Johan Santana won’t be ready by Opening Day, and they traded away reigning Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey. While they got a nice return, it’s clearly not a win-now move.
2012 season: 69-93 (fifth, NL East)
New faces: SS Adeiny Hechavarria, OF Juan Pierre, INF Placido Polanco, C Jeff Mathis, RHP Jon Rauch
2013 outlook: One of the most dysfunctional franchises in the game, the Marlins are a mess. They went all-in prior to the 2012 season and flopped. That led to a fire sale this off-season when they fired manager Ozzie Guillen and shipped away, among others, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Josh Johnson. They kept one of their stars, though, outfielder Giancarlo Stanton.
— Fort Worth Star-Telegram