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Dodgers

Phillies elevate from also-rans to favorites in NL East

Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper swings at a pitch during an exhibition game against the Toronto Blue Jays on March 9.

A look at every team in the National League East and their 2019 predicted order of finish.

1. PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

2018 | 80-82, 3rd in East

Last year in playoffs | 2011

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No team loaded up this winter like the Phillies. They broke records with their 13-year, $330-million contract for Bryce Harper. They won the sweepstakes for catcher J.T. Realmuto. They also added shortstop Jean Segura, outfielder Andrew McCutchen and reliever David Robertson. Kept out of the playoffs since 2011, they might be the favorites to win the East.

2. WASHINGTON NATIONALS

2018 | 82-80, 2nd in East

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Last year in playoffs | 2017

The perpetual underachievers, unable to get past the first round of the playoffs since moving to Washington, were undaunted this winter when facing Bryce Harper’s departure. The team responded by doling out $140 million to pitcher Patrick Corbin, while acquiring catchers Kurt Suzuki and Yan Gomes to shore up their receiving. They still boast phenomenal talent in pitcher Max Scherzer and budding star outfielder Juan Soto.

3. NEW YORK METS

2018 | 77-85, 4th in East

Last year in playoffs | 2016

The arrival of new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, the former high-powered agent with CAA, infused life into the wayward franchise. Van Wagenen retooled the roster over the winter, adding all-star closer Edwin Diaz and second baseman Robinson Cano in a trade with Seattle. With Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard headlining their rotation, the Mets will try to ride their pitching back into the playoffs.

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ATLANTA BRAVES

2018 | 90-72, 1st in East

Last year in playoffs | 2018

The Braves surprised the industry by winning 90 games and the National League East in 2018, buoyed to the top of the division by the emergence of National League Rookie of the Year Ronald Acuña Jr. Despite the success, the team largely stood pat this offseason as the rest of the East loaded up. Outside of a one-year contract for former MVP Josh Donaldson, the Braves are banking on repeat performances from their young players.

MIAMI MARLINS

2018 | 63-98, 5th in East

Last year in playoffs | 2003

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Under the leadership of Derek Jeter, the Marlins remain in a perpetual rebuild. The latest star to be shipped out of town was catcher J.T. Realmuto, who joined an exodus begun the previous winter with the trades of outfielder Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich. Former Dodgers manager Don Mattingly must prepare for another season in his division’s basement.

andy.mccullough@latimes.com

Twitter: @McCulloughTimes


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