NL East: Which team had the best offseason?

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Ranking NL East Teams’ Offseason Moves 

 

1(a) – Atlanta Braves

Additions:

LHP Will Smith

OF Marcell Ozuna

C Travis d’Arnaud

LHP Cole Hamels

LHP Chris Rusin (minor league)

3B Yangervis Solarte (minor league)

RHP Felix Hernandez (minor league)

Subtractions:

LHP Jerry Blevins

RHP Dallas Keuchel

3B Josh Donaldson

C Francisco Cervelli

C Brian McCann (retired)

OF Matt Joyce

RHP Anthony Swarzak

RHP Julio Teheran

OF Billy Hamilton

Season outlook: The Braves lost Josh Donaldson, a huge blow to the team in the short term. They were able to find a strong bat for the middle of their lineup in Marcell Ozuna, and have internal options to fill the void. But this Braves team was able to win the division without Donaldson in 2018, and the Nationals losing Anthony Rendon is a much bigger blow. Because the Nationals won the World Series, I went with a 1.a. and 1.b. approach, because I think it can come down to the wire for these two teams. The Braves do have the prospect advantage over the Nationals though in any sort of trade to give them a boost. Though there are more subtractions than additions on this list, the Braves return their young core with more experience, and with significantly more depth, especially in the bullpen. The addition of Will Smith should cement them having one of the best units in the league, the biggest liability the team has been able to overcome in recent memory. Both teams will likely make the playoffs but I will give the Braves the slight edge to come out of the division.

 

1(b) – Washington Nationals

Additions:

RHP Will Harris

2B Starlin Castro

1B Eric Thames

RHP Ryne Harper

LHP Sam Freeman (Minor League)

RHP Dakota Bacus (Minor League)

RHP Javy Guerra (Minor League)

RHP David Hernandez (Minor League)

C Welington Castillo (Minor League)

3B Brandon Snyder (Minor League)

OF Emilio Bonifacio (Minor League)

LF Mac Williamson (Minor League)

LF JB Shuck (Minor League)

3B Jacob Wilson (Minor League)

1B Drew Ward (Minor League)

RHP Derek Self (Minor League)

RHP Kevin Quackenbush (Minor League)

RHP Bryan Bonnell (Minor League)

LHP Fernando Abad (Minor League)

Subtractions:

3B Anthony Rendon

OF Gerardo Parra

LHP Jonny Venters (Free Agent)

RHP Fernando Rodney (Free Agent)

RHP Jeremy Hellickson (Retired)

2B Brian Dozier (Free Agent)

1B Matt Adams

Season Outlook: The Nationals were able to give their bullpen a boost with the signing of Will Harris, and essentially replaced Matt Adams with Eric Thames. While the Starlin Castro signing was solid, they will have a long way to go in replacing Anthony Rendon, even with top prospect Spencer Kieboom waiting in the wings. As things stand, the Nationals are still a scary team with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin as their three-headed-monster, but they figure to take a step back this season. I have them locked in as a Wild Card team, but while they have some very impressive young players in their offensive core in Juan Soto, Victor Robles, and Trea Turner, losing Bryce Harper and Rendon in back to back offseasons may start to show an effect this year. While the Will Harris signing will surely help their bullpen, they still were dead last in baseball last season, and one signing won’t change that. The Nationals are really going to have to rely on Scherzer and Strasburg staying healthy if they want to avenge their title in any way, and that could be a big ask.

 

2 – New York Mets

Additions: 

RHP Dellin Betances

RHP Rick Porcello

RHP Michael Wacha

SS Max Moroff (Minor League)

OF Jarrett Parker (Minor League)

LHP Chasen Shreve (Minor League)

OF Jake Marisnick

OF Ryan Cordell (Minor League)

RHP Pedro Payano (Minor League)

RHP Erasmo Rodriguez (Minor League)

2B Eduardo Nunez (Minor League)

1B Matt Adams (Minor League)

Subtractions:

OF Rajai Davis (Mexican League)

RHP Chris Mazza

LHP Luis Avilan

2B Joe Panik

3B Todd Frazier

RHP Zack Wheeler

OF Juan Lagares

RHP Drew Gagnon

RHP Chris Flexen

2B Sam Haggerty

Season Outlook: The most eventful thing that happened to the Mets this offseason, frankly, was Carlos Beltran being fired before managing a single game. A year after spending a ton of money and “going in” it was a quiet offseason for the Mets. However, I did like the low-risk moves that Brodie Van Wagenan made. He was able to bring in Matt Adams, Eduardo Nunez, Chasen Shreve, Michael Wacha, Rick Porcello, and Dellin Betances for next to nothing with no long-term financial commitment. I think that Betances could be one of the best values from this offseason’s free agency. Of course, these moves do not move the needle much. On paper, the Mets look great. They have a nice young core in Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, J.D. Davis, and Michael Conforto. The rotation still features Jacob de Grom, Marcus Stroman, and Noah Syndergaard even with the loss of Zack Wheeler. Getting Yoenis Cespedes to take a reduction in salary is huge, and while they may move him before the season starts, there will definitely be a chip on his shoulder to perform, assuming he can stay healthy. Staying healthy always seems to be the problem for the Mets, so that will be step one. That will be one of their three X-Factors this season, which also include a bounce-back year from Edwin Diaz, and Noah Syndergaard fixing his release point.

 

3 – Philadephia Phillies

Additions:

RHP Robert Stock

RHP Trevor Kelley

RHP Zack Wheeler

SS Didi Gregorious

2B Josh Harrison (Minor League)

2B Phil Gosselin (Minor League)

OF Mikie Mahtook (Minor League)

OF Matt Szczur (Minor League)

C Christian Bethancourt (Minor League)

2B Ronald Torreyes (Minor League)

OF Nick Martini (Minor League)

LHP Francisco Liriano (Minor League)

1B Neil Walker (Minor League)

RHP Drew Storen (Minor League)

RHP Bud Norris (Minor League)

RHP Anthony Swarzak (Minor League)

RHP Reggie McClain

RHP Deoris Guerra

2B Logan Forsythe (Minor League)

RHP Blake Parker (Minor League)

LHP Tyler Gilbert

Subtractions:

1B Logan Morrison

OF Corey Dickerson

LHP Drew Smyly

RHP Juan Nicasio

2B Brad Miller

RHP Nick Vincent

IF Sean Rodriguez 

RF Kyle Garlick

OF Jose Pirela

RHP Pat Neshek (Free Agent)

RHP Jared Hughes (Free Agent)

LHP Jason Vargas (Free Agent)

2B Cesar Hernandez

3B Maikel Franco

Season Outlook: The Phillies finished .500 last season, and while I think they overpaid for Zack Wheeler, he does add much-needed help to the rotation. Having a healthy Andrew McCutchen should help too, and Didi Gregorious was a nice addition. I just do not think that the Phillies will be able to keep up with the three teams ahead of them on this list. This is not to say they have a bad roster by any means, this is just a tough division. I am a big fan of them getting some quality bullpen help through some minor league signings and the pitching should be better. The Phillies could easily have a winning record this year, but we need to see things finally click for this team.

 

4 – Miami Marlins

Additions:

LHP Josh D. Smith

2B Jonathan Villar

RHP Brandon Kintzler

1B Jesus Aguilar

C Ryan Lavarnway (Minor League)

OF Matt Kemp (Minor League)

RHP Yimi Garcia

P Pat Venditte (Minor League)

OF Corey Dickerson

C Francisco Cervelli

RHP Brad Boxberger (Minor League)

LHP Stephen Tarpley

OF Matt Joyce

Subtractions:

C Bryan Holiday

OF Curtis Granderson (Retired)

1B Neil Walker

LHP Jose Quijada

LHP Jarlin Garcia

IF Martin Prado (Retired)

2B Starlin Castro

LHP Wei-Yen Chen

SS J.T. Riddle

RHP Tayron Guerrero

RHP Tyler Kinley

RHP Austin Brice

OF Austin Dean

RHP Kyle Keller

LHP Brian Moran

Season Outlook: Don’t get me wrong: The Marlins are still the little brother in this division and by a large margin. I have not been crazy about many of the moves they have made in the past. But with that being said, I think they have done a good job of putting a better product on the field for 2020. The only significant loss is Starlin Castro, but pulling off the Jonathan Villar trade to replace him was highway robbery. Jesus Aguilar has some upside as a cheap source of power. They were able to at least put together a makeshift outfield with Matt Kemp, Matt Joyce, and Corey Dickerson. With that being said, there is a good chance Kemp is their best offensive player, and that speaks volumes. The only move I absolutely hate for the Fish is giving up on Jarlin Garcia, who was their best reliever last season.

The Marlins have some young talent on the roster now, to complement having more veterans, it will just be a matter of how they pan out. Can Caleb Smith finally have his breakout season? Can Sandy Alcantara or Jordan Yamamoto take the next step? Surely we will see Sixto Sanchez debut at some point. Can Isan Diaz have a breakout season? Harold Reynolds came on MLB Network and boldly predicted that the Marlins would win 80 games. I certainly am not going that far, but I think they will definitely win more than 57 as they did in 2019 and are headed in the right direction.

 

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