The Nationals will have to directly protect their NL East lead right out of the gate after the All-Star Break, as Washington's first 14 games of the second are all against division rivals. Here are some items from around the NL East...
- The Nationals may be relatively quiet at the trade deadline, as Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider write that the team is relying more on injured players (Drew Storen and Jayson Werth) returning to fill holes in the roster.
- If the Phillies dealt Hunter Pence, they could use the salary earmarked his possible long-term extension and spend it on re-signing Shane Victorino at a discount and signing another outfielder, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Using Andre Ethier's $85MM extension with the Dodgers as a model for a future Pence contract, Gelb argues that if the Phils don't want to pay Pence that much, they should move him now to create salary relief and add prospects. Pence has one more arbitration year before being eligible for free agency following the 2013 season.
- Chris Young's minor league contract with the Mets can pay him as much as $4.85MM if he reaches all his incentive clauses, reports Adam Rubin of ESPN New York. Young's one-year deal pays him a base salary of $1.1MM.