For the last couple of years, we've asked some of our favorite writers and contributors and known baseball fans to "predict the season," a kind of Hobart version to an expert's panel of predictions on, say, ESPN or Sports Illustrated. You can see last year's here, and 2011's here. This year we are going to space these out some, a different expert or two every Monday, throughout April. This week... Rick Moody!
It's hard for me to believe, at this point, that there is a team more inept and ill-inclined than my beloved New York Mets, but there is, the Miami Marlins, whose sole purpose is to be the plaything of an owner-art dealer. On the basis of the Marlins-Blue Jays trade, infamous in 2012, the Marlins are courting a grim 2013. Nothing says hopelessness like Marlins building years. That doesn't mean that the Mets won't vie for last with all their might. The Mets traded the one person on the team who had genuine star power, R. L. Dickey, and, to my way of thinking, got mere possibilities, none of them a sure thing, in return. Also a classic Mets approach. The Mets don't have building seasons, they have building decades. I don't expect us to flirt with contention again till 2015, which will be only 14 years, or so, since the last dominant season. Meanwhile, I think the years of Philadelphia domination are coming to a close, though I do not discount the remaining pitching they have, which is great. So they will flip-flop with Washington all season. It could go either way at the top. Atlanta is commencing a post-historical period of soul-searching, neither good nor bad, but they'll be over .500. Unlike my team.
So I think the NL East will go like this: Washington on top, Philadelphia (wild card), Atlanta, New York, Miami.