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Atlanta Braves Preview

ABOUT BASEBALL breaks down & previews the 2005 Atlanta Braves.


2004 Record: 96-66, 1st in NL East
'04 Playoffs: lost to Houston in NLDS
Home Ballpark: Turner Field
Manager: Bobby Cox

2005 Prediction: 87-75, 3rd place in NL East

Braves Brought In:
Tim Hudson (SP, rhp) via trade from A's
Danny Kolb (RP, rhp) via trade from Brewers
Raul Mondesi (OF) via free agency from Angels
Jay Powell (RP, rhp) via free agency from Rangers
Jorge Vasquez (RP, rhp) via trade with Royals

Nice Knowin' Ya:
Antonio Alfonseca (RP, rhp) via free agency to Marlins
Paul Byrd (SP, rhp) via free agency to Angels
Juan Cruz (RP, rhp) via trade with A's
Mark DeRosa (IF) via free agency to Orioles
J.D.

Drew (OF) via free agency to Dodgers
Eli Marrero (OF) via trade with Royals
Dan Meyer (RP, lhp) via trade with A's
Charles Thomas (OF) via trade with A's
Jaret Wright (SP/RP, rhp) via free agency to Yankees
 

Lineup:
Rafael Furcal SS
Marcus Giles 2B
Chipper Jones 3B
Andruw Jones CF
Brian Jordan RF
Johnny Estrada C
Raul Mondesi LF
Adam LaRoche 1B

Rotation:
Tim Hudson RHP
John Smoltz RHP
Mike Hampton LHP
John Thomson RHP
Horacio Ramirez LHP

Outlook: Sure, the Braves, who have won a U.S-pro-sports-record 13 straight division titles, brought in ace Tim Hudson to lead their starting staff. But Smoltz, at 37, is risky as the club's no. 2 starter - especially after serving as the team's closer for the past four years. Outfielder J.D. Drew left for the Dodgers, and that hurts the Braves - as injury-prone & inconsistent Raul Mondesi & Brian Jordan are two of the three starting outfielders. Atlanta will finally not finish first. A third-place spot in the division standings makes sense.

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