The NL East Arms Race is the toughest challenge of Alex Anthpoulos career

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The NL East is the toughest division in baseball. It produced two 100+ win clubs last season, sent three to the postseason, and one to the World Series. The Braves, Mets, and Phillies aren’t slowing down anytime soon either, in what has become an Arms Race of sorts.

The Braves shelled out more than $500 million in contract extensions over the last year or so, which doesn’t include the money committed to Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, and Raisel Iglesias. The club is set up to be a perennial championship contender for the better part of the next decade, but their rivals in New York and Philadelphia are keeping pace.

The Mets kicked off the offseason before it even began by inking Edwin Diaz to a record-breaking deal. Then Steve Cohen’s club replaced Jacob deGrom with Justin Verlander to the tune of $43.3 million per year, along with a lucrative deal to bring back Brandon Nimmo.

They were already having an unbelievable offseason, but things got a little ridiculous last night. While the entire country was asleep, Steve Cohen was signing more checks. This time, a massive one to bring in Carlos Correa on a contract worth north of $300 million. In this offseason alone, Cohen and the Mets have committed almost $800 million to free agents in total money. The Mets will once again prove to be formidable foes, and the Phillies shouldn’t be slept on either.

Philadelphia followed up their World Series appearance with a $300+ million investment in Trea Turner. John Middleton isn’t quite spending Cohen-esque money, but he’s not pinching pennies like the Braves. The Phillies are going to once again have high aspirations for the 2023 season after falling short last year.

It’s easily the most competitive division in the MLB, and Alex Anthopoulos believes it’s more challenging than the AL East when he was with the Toronto Blue Jays, which he divulged to Jon Heyman on his podcast before the Correa signing.

Ironically, Anthopoulos told Heyman the division was more challenging than the AL East back then before the Mets signed Carlos Correa. And the Braves GM noted how dreadful that would be if it happened. Guess what, Alex? It happened. This division is maybe the most talented in recent memory, including the AL East.

Between 2009 and 2015, AA’s tenure as GM with the Jays, the AL East was won by the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, and Orioles, while regularly featuring three 90+ win finishers and multiple World Series champions. It was a gauntlet of a division, and the NL East is just as challenging.

The Mets have the most expensive payroll in baseball and just finished with 100+ wins in 2022. The Phillies have a top-three payroll and just made it to the World Series. The division has also produced multiple World Series winners in recent years, and it’s only going to remain this competitive with the Braves’ core locked up, Steve Cohen’s endless pockets, and the Phillies’ talented roster.

Photographer: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire

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