ESPN’s Jayson Stark is picking the Nationals to win the World Series, and his opinion that they’re baseball’s best team is shared by many scouts and executives around the game. The Nats have depth, playoff experience, an incredible pitching staff and an easy road (on paper) to the postseason since the NL East projects to be a weak division. Also, with so many major free agents after the year, the Nationals have a great sense of urgency to win in 2015 and will surely be aggressive in filling roster needs throughout the season. “They have what everyone wants — a ’now’ team with ingredients they can move if they need to,” one scout told Stark.
Here’s some more from around the NL East…
- As an example of how aggressive the Nationals could get, Stark heard “a lot” of speculation that they could try to obtain Aroldis Chapman from the Reds at the trade deadline if Drew Storen underachieves as closer. This would, of course, likely depend on whether or not the Reds are themselves contenders.
- There’s no progress on extension talks between the Mets and Lucas Duda’s representatives, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin reports. The two sides are still talking but have yet Opening Day as the negotiating deadline.
- No teams are showing any “significant interest” in Mets righty Dillon Gee, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports (via Twitter).
- The Braves are still considering possible trades, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman tweets, but it seems as if Pedro Ciriaco will make the roster as a backup outfielder. Ciriaco signed a minor league deal with Atlanta last October and the Braves will have to create a 40-man roster spot for him if he indeed breaks camp with the team.
- At the moment, the Braves aren’t close to making any trades, according to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link).