Are the Braves in the Race for the NL East?

Mike KentSenior Writer IDecember 29, 2008

The Braves were once kings of the NL East. They won the East 14 times in a row, and it did not look like it was going to end. In 2006 it all changed when the Mets won the division and the Braves ended up in third place. Are they still a factor?

Last year they were not and finished fourth in the division, but can they play better? Young Braves star Brian McCann is just going to get better, and his teammates Jeff Francoeur is getting better too.

But one of their best players, Chipper Jones, will never have a season like he had in 2008 again. They also traded Mark Teixeira in the middle of the season, so the Braves do need to get better on offense

They can get better by getting free agents and trading for more talent. They have done a bit by getting Javier Vazquez and Boone Logan from the White Sox. They were in the race for both Rafael Furcal and A.J. Burnett, but they went to other teams and the Braves were left to dry.

Other teams in the East have just gotten better, like the Mets, who got K-Rod and J.J Putz to fix the bullpen, and the Phillies, who got Raul Ibanez to fill out left field. The Marlins' young players are getting better, and the Nationals are looking to add another good batter.

If the Braves want to contend, they will need to get better—much better. They need more talent both on offense and defense.

Good luck to the Braves. They will need it.