March 14, 2019
By Henry Janosick
The NL East is shaping up to be one of the most competitive divisions in baseball this season. Almost all of the teams in this division improved in All-Star talent as well as depth. In this article, I will go through each of the five teams and preview their outlook going into this season.
The Phillies had arguably the best offseason in the MLB, headlined by the signing of Bryce Harper to a mega-deal of 13 years for $335 million. Now that’s a lot of money. The Phillies were also extremely active in the trade front, acquiring two All-Stars in Jean Segura and J.T. Realmuto. Realmuto is widely regarded as the best overall catcher in the MLB, and Segura is known as a top of the order bat with great speed on the basepaths. They also locked up #1 starter Aaron Nola to a four-year extension, securing their anchor. They also signed RHP David Robertson to a two-year deal worth $23 million. The expectations are high this year for Philadelphia, the question will be: Can they live up to the high expectations?
Fresh off of their first playoff appearance since 2013, the Braves key offseason acquisition was signing 3B Josh Donaldson to a one-year “Prove-It” deal, worth $23 million. The Braves didn’t really have to make any large moves, their core already produced a playoff berth one year ahead of schedule. Armed with one of the best farm systems in baseball, the Braves are looking to ride their young core to another playoff berth, with maybe some help from the farm system.
The Marlins finished off their firesale by trading away J.T. Realmuto. Their return was decent, as they got catcher Jorge Alfaro, Phillies top pitching prospect Sixto Sanchez and well as LHP Will Stewart. While the Marlins most likely won’t be in contention this year, they have the pieces to be decent in the years to come. Hey, they got Neil Walker! Other than that, the Marlins most notable offseason move was the rebranding of their logo as well as their jerseys.
The Nationals failed at resigning Bryce Harper, so it will be rookie phenom Juan Soto filling Harper’s large footsteps. The Nationals did sign starting LHP Patrick Corbin to a six-year, $140 million deal in early-December. The signing gives the Nationals a nice little big-three in Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and the aforementioned Corbin. Other than this, the Nationals remained quiet this offseason. I’m not quite sure where the Nationals will fall this season, or what their goals are, but do not count them out this season; while taking a hit with losing Bryce, this team has the potential to be a dark-horse contender.
New York Mets
With new GM Brodie Van Wagenen at the helm, the Mets started their offseason aggressively by trading for 2B Robinson Cano and star closer Edwin Diaz from the Mets. The package they gave was a five-player one, headlined by top-10 system prospect Travis Kelenic. Also, the Mets bolstered their infield in signing 2B/utility Jed Lowrie to a two-year deal. Again, with their solid pitching core in Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, the Mets could be another dark-horse team who could be a spoiler or even a surprise contender.
In the NL East, things are heating up. It will certainly be interesting to see which team will pull out the division championship, and how competitive the teams will be. Follow The Pinstripe Empire for more division previews as well as full Yankees Spring Training and regular coverage. Then as we get into the 2019 MLB season, I will have plenty of more insight for you including some StatementGames picks to help you with your daily picks.