Compared to what they did last season, the Nationals may stand to gain the most from their returning players, writes August Fagerstrom of FanGraphs. We all pay attention to the big moves of the offseason – such as the Mets’ signing of Yoenis Cespedes. It’s easy to forget that player performance is not constant. Using projected WAR, Fagerstrom finds the Nationals could gain about seven wins just from 2015 returnees. In particular, Anthony Rendon, Stephen Strasburg, and Jayson Werth are projected for rebound campaigns.
Here’s more from the NL East:
- The Phillies are on the hunt for late opportunities, writes Todd Zolecki of MLB.com. GM Matt Klentak said, “every year, it turns out that somebody who we thought was going to sign early and they don’t, they hold out and there’s a deal to be done…if there’s an opportunity out there, we’re going to push forward.” Klentak is comfortable with the team’s current depth, so there’s no guarantee the club with sign or trade for any additional talent before the start of the season.
- Phillies left-handed starter Matt Harrison is still experiencing an ongoing back injury, per Zolecki. Harrison is unlikely to be ready for the start of Spring Training and may not pitch anytime in the near future. The club acquired Harrison as part of the Cole Hamels trade as a means to balance salary. For now, he’s a lottery ticket for the Phillies if he can ever return to health. At some point, the club may decide they value the 40-man roster spot more (this is less of an issue in-season if he’s on the 60-day DL).
- Freddie Freeman thinks the Braves will return to relevance soon, writes David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Freeman is the last man standing from the 2013 roster, marking a surprisingly quick overhaul for John Hart and company. Freeman is excited about the team’s mix of veteran and young talent. The Braves new SunTrust Park is scheduled to open in 2017, and the Braves would surely like to field a contender.