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NL East No Longer Home of the Braves

The Braves wont win the NL East this year. Oh, I know, we've been hearing that for a half-dozen years now. Last year was to be 'the' year -- the year that the house of Turner came crumbling down. Castilla: gone - Maddux: gone - Sheffield: gone - Lopez: gone ... and so it went throughout the winter. But this year IS the year the string of 13 consecutive championships is broken. Here is a breakdown:
Franco is 46 - no way he can have another .300 year. LaRoche tops out at.270 - 20 - 70. Good but not what the Braves need from an infield corner position..
Marcus Giles is a good fielder and should produce another 300-20-70 season
Rafael Furcal - count on outstanding range and another 30 throwing errors. I think he's topped out offensively too, .280-12-50 w/30 stolen bases
Chipper Jones - strange year last year, but should produce a .300-35-100 for 2005
? Your guess is as good as mine
Andrew Jones - His career was to have been better than Vlad's. Never happened. Seems to be slipping offensively, though his defense is still the best. 265-30-85? Perhaps.
? Your guess is as good as mine
Johnny Estrada - Tailed off at the end of last year. Count on .270-6-65 -- good numbers for a defensive gem

The Braves are a .500 team, which makes me very happy. After 21 years of being a stalwart Brave's fan (I followed them because Dale Murphy was a member of my church), it will be very easy to change my allegiance to the Nationals.

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