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Message #808 of 6634  *NEW*
To:  All
Subject:  Ranking of the teams that had the best winter breaks
Date:  3/15/05, 06:44am

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Message #814 of 6634  *NEW*
To:  Anonymous
Subject:  Re: Ranking of the teams that had the best winter breaks
Date:  3/16/05, 11:00am
I'd have to agree with some of Mr. Jacobs' choices, and disagree with others.

One thing I've learned is that you can't doubt the work that Mazzone does down in Atlanta. Tim Hudson should have an excellent year for them. Smoltz is a question mark, with his elbow and all, but I think Atlanta shouldn't have too many problems in the rotation. I could easily see them winning the NL East over an uncertain Philly team and an up-and-down Florida squad.

The Cardinals are a truly scary team this year. A lineup with no easy outs from top to bottom and an improved rotation could mean another trip back to the World Series. Being as I am a Cubs fan, that's a tough sentence to swallow.

While it was a smart decision for the A's to trade two of their big three (especially with Harden and Blanton having shown their stuff), I can't see them making the playoffs with Anaheim in the same division as them. Still, a good choice to trade now while they had value.

Pedro should have better numbers in Shea, and Beltran is certainly an offensive force, but I still can't see that team challenging Atlanta and Florida for the NL East title. Their lineup has some good names, but they really have to produce. Piazza's getting too old, Reyes and Floyd need to prove themselves, and I'm still not sold on Kaz Matsui. Plus, how much will Beltran's offensive numbers change moving from Minute Maid Park to Shea?

I'm sorta surprised to not see the Yankees on this list. Not that I'm pulling for the "Evil Empire", but the addition of Randy Johnson in that rotation is a huge boost. Barring injury, I think he's good for 20+ wins with the run support he's likely to get. Seeing as the Yankee rotation was the big question mark in the offseason, getting a player of the Big Unit's caliber would be a big deal.

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