With Opening Day just under 2 months away -59 days to be exact- now is as good a time as ever to size up the opposition. Specifically, we’re going to be taking a look at the NL East. Last year, the Phillies once again took a late season nosedive. However, unlike seasons prior the team went backwards in the standings. The end result was a .500 record of 81-81, and a 4th place finish.
Unfortunately for the Fightens’, many analysts are predicting a similar outcome: A finish towards the bottom of the NL East. Even though the Phillies made some key additions this winter in Didi Gregorious and Zack Wheeler, they are yet to sign another free agent to a guaranteed MLB deal.
TEAM NAME (2019 Record)
ATLANTA BRAVES: (97-65)
The Atlanta Braves, who won the division last season, have been busy reloading to take another run at the NL East Crown. Some of their key additions include:
– Travis D’Arnaud (C)
– Cole Hamels (LHP)
– Adeiny Hechavarría (INF)
– Marcell Ozuna (OF)
– Chris Martin (OF)
– Will Smith (LHP)
This list doesn’t include the likes of Nick Markakis (OF) and Darren O’Day (RHP). Both players were members of the team’s Postseason roster.
WASHINGTON NATIONALS: (93-69)
Another team that made it to October was the Washington Nationals. Along from bringing back Stephan Strasburg, among a plethora of resignings, General Manager Mike Rizzo has been busy beefing up the bullpen. The defending champs added the following players in Free Agency:
– Starlin Castro (INF)
– Will Harris (RHP)
– Eric Thames (1B)
D.C. has a ton of depth, especially in the form of position players. The veteran led group should once again be a threat to win the division, and their pitching staff could once again put the rest of the National League on notice.
NEW YORK METS: (86-76)
Even though the Phillies were able to recruit Zack Wheeler away from their division rival, our neighbors to the north -the New York Mets- still have a rotation to be reckoned with.
Jacob deGrom is coming off consecutive Cy Young Award winning seasons, and Noah Syndergaard could serve as a Number 1 starter on multiple teams. It’s also worth noting that this will be RHP Marcus Stroman’s first full season in Queens. Here are the players 2nd Year GM Brodie Van Wagenen brought in during free agency:
– Dellin Betances (RHP)
– Rick Porcello (RHP)
– Michael Wacha (RHP)
All of the names mentioned above are right handed pitchers. Mets closer Edwin Diaz is also right handed. Hopefully the Phillies offense can make them pay for their mistakes once more in 2020.
MIAMI MARLINS: (57-105)
Despite losing over 100 games last season, Derek Jeter and company had a productive offseason. They signed the following players to MLB contracts:
– Francisco Cervelli (C)
– Corey Dickerson (OF)
– Yimi Garcia (RHP)
– Brandon Kintzler (RHP) –> reported deal
The Fish also claimed slugger Jesus Agular (1B) off waivers from their cross state rival Rays. Don Mattingly’s team appears to be at least a year or two away from being a legitimate contender in the tightly packed NL East. With that being said, I believe their franchise is moving in the right direction both on and off the field.