A couple of days ago, I talked about Jim Bowden of The Athletic’s offseason grade for the Braves thus far. He gave Atlanta a B, which isn’t too shabby when you consider that all of the Braves’ best work is still in front of them. However, what about the rest of the NL East? How did Bowden think Atlanta’s rivals faired before the lockout commenced?
The direction the Marlins are going is no secret; they plan on competing in the near future. They already feature one of the league’s most underrated rotations, and their focus thus far this offseason has been on adding some offensive firepower. Avisail Garcia was their lone free agent signing, who inked a four-year, $53 million contract. That’s a lot of coin, but the Marlins are hoping he can replicate the season he had with the Brewers last year, as he smashed 29 homers and recorded an .820 OPS. I liked the signing because of the need; however, think about it, they could have had Adam Duvall for a fraction of the price. Thanks, Fish.
In my opinion, Jacob Stallings was their best addition. He’s a Gold Glove catcher behind the plate, which should only help an already tremendous pitching staff. The Marlins’ other big accomplishment was extending Sandy Alcantara, who is a pitcher that I could see being a Cy Young candidate in the coming years. Overall, it’s been a pretty good offseason for Miami, but I expect them to continue to look for some offense once the lockout ends.
New York Mets
The Mets deserve every bit of their A-grade from Bowden. They were already talented, and now they’ve paired Max Scherzer with Jacob DeGrom, giving them the best one-two punch in baseball, assuming DeGrom can stay healthy. They also added plenty of offense in two outfielders — Starling Marte and Mark Canha. Eduardo Escobar is no slouch as a utility man either. For just two years and $20 million, the Mets added a player who has hit 63 combined home runs over the last two full seasons. Steve Cohen isn’t messing around, and the Mets are now a real threat to dethrone the Braves, who are aiming for their fifth consecutive NL East title.
The Phillies, who are usually very active in free agency, were abnormally quiet prior to the lockout. They made a few minor trades, but the only signings they made were reliever Corey Knebel and former Brave Johan Camargo to one-year deals. If they want to compete with the Braves and Mets, they need to do a lot more once the lockout concludes. I would argue that this grade should have been even lower.
The Nationals have done essentially nothing this offseason, but they are clearly in the rebuilding stage, so giving them a D is a little harsh. If anyone deserves a D for their lack of moves thus far, it’s the Phillies.