Who's new: OF Gary Sheffield, C Henry Blanco, P Darren Holmes and Albie Lopez, INF Matt Franco, 3B Vinny Castilla.
Who's gone: OF Brian Jordan, P Odalis Perez and John Burkett, 3B Ken Caminiti, C Paul Bako.
Strengths: The Braves were 13th in the NL in scoring last season, but that should change with the addition of Sheffield, who should provide great lineup protection for Chipper Jones. The top of the rotation is outstanding, and shortstop Rafael Furcal is sound after missing half of 2001 because of a dislocated left shoulder.
Weaknesses: Starter Kevin Millwood is coming off a shoulder injury, and starter Albie Lopez is a question mark. There is little speed after Furcal. 2B Marcus Giles is not a Gold Glove candidate, and there's not much power on the bench.
Outlook: For several weeks, it seemed all General Manager John Schuerholz did was field questions about the Mets' winter trades. Then Schuerholz trumped the Mets by trading for Sheffield. The Braves still have better pitching than the Mets, and they should have just enough offense to win another division title.
At Dodger Stadium: Aug. 23-25.
SS Rafael Furcal
CF Andruw Jones
LF Chipper Jones
RF Gary Sheffield
3B Vinny Castilla
C Javy Lopez
1B Julio Franco/
2B Marcus Giles
NEW YORK METS
Who's new: 2B Roberto Alomar, 1B Mo Vaughn, OF Jeromy Burnitz, Roger Cedeno and Gary Matthews Jr., P Pedro Astacio, Shawn Estes, Jeff D'Amico, Mark Guthrie and David Weathers.
Who's gone: P Kevin Appier, Glendon Rusch and Donne Wall, 3B Robin Ventura, 1B Todd Zeile, OF Benny Agbayani, Alex Escobar, Lenny Harris, Matt Lawton, Tsuyoshi Shinjo.
Strengths: The Mets pack plenty of wallop, though Vaughn (elbow) and Edgardo Alfonzo (back) must make strong comebacks from injury for the offense to click. Overall team speed is good, so New York should manufacture runs as well as slug.
Weaknesses: The rotation drops off dramatically after Al Leiter. Astacio is pitching with a shoulder tear, and D'Amico has a history of health problems. The bullpen is good, but it's not as strong as it has been in recent years.
Outlook: With a payroll of $103 million, the Mets have high expectations, and they have the talent to win a playoff berth. But if the starting pitchers get roughed up, it will put too much of a burden on the bullpen and the offense.
At Dodger Stadium: May 13-15.
RF Roger Cedeno
2B Roberto Alomar
C Mike Piazza
1B Mo Vaughn
3B Edgardo Alfonzo
LF Jeromy Burnitz
CF Jay Payton
SS Rey Ordonez
Who's new: P Terry Adams, OF Ricky Ledee, INF Dave Hollins.
Who's gone: P Omar Daal and Chris Brock, OF Brian Hunter.
Strengths: If pitching and defense win championships, the Phillies have a good foundation. Their starting pitching looks good, though ace Robert Person isn't in the best condition, their bullpen should be solid, and the Phillies set a team record for fewest errors in a season in 2001. Scott Rolen may be the NL's best defensive third baseman, and CF Doug Glanville is underrated.
Weaknesses: Rolen, who turned down a $140-million contract offer this winter, and Manager Larry Bowa are barely speaking to each other, and that relationship could put a strain on the team. Rolen, a free agent after this season, probably will be booed at home, so it will be interesting to see how he responds. There isn't much depth.
Outlook: The Phillies have a good, young nucleus and could contend as they did in 2001, but they don't appear to have the talent to keep up with the Braves and Mets.
At Dodger Stadium: Aug. 9-11.
SS Jimmy Rollins
2B Marlon Anderson
3B Scott Rolen
RF Bobby Abreu
C Mike Lieberthal
1B Travis Lee
LF Pat Burrell
CF Doug Glanville
Who's new: OF Tim Raines, P Julian Tavarez.
Who's gone: OF Jeff Abbott and John Mabry, INF Dave Berg, P Antonio Alfonseca, Matt Clement, Ricky Bones and Jesus Sanchez.
Strengths: The Marlins have one of baseball's best young rotations, a staff of power pitchers led by right-hander Ryan Dempster. The second through seventh hitters all have the potential to hit 25 home runs. The defense up the middle, especially C Charles Johnson, is strong.
Weaknesses: Their power comes at a price; many Marlins are free swingers who lack plate discipline and strike out far too much. Middle relief is a question and defense at the corner outfield positions is weak.