Some rumblings from around the National League East…
- The Nationals would still like to add another Major League catcher to their roster, MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi reports. Catcher is the only true weak spot on Washington’s depth chart, due to Matt Wieters’ rough 2017 season and Pedro Severino’s lack of hitting at the MLB level (or even in the minors). Miguel Montero is also in camp on a non-roster invite but is also coming off a poor 2017. The Nats are known to have explored trade talks with the Marlins about J.T. Realmuto, and if Realmuto or another catcher can’t be obtained in a trade, D.C. could consider signing a catcher who becomes available in late-Spring Training roster shuffling, or perhaps a bigger-name free agent like the still-available Jonathan Lucroy.
- Scott Kingery is turning a lot of heads in the Phillies’ spring camp, and there’s a chance the second base prospect could crack the Opening Day roster, Matt Gelb of The Athletic writes (subscription required). Manager Gabe Kapler considers Kingery capable of playing several different positions, so a super-utility role would get Kingery in the lineup even with Cesar Hernandez still the regular second baseman. Service time considerations, however, could keep Kingery at Triple-A to begin the season, though there are also some legitimate skills-related arguments to be made that the prospect still need more minor league seasoning.
- Though the Braves enjoyed a 47 percent increase in revenues from 2016 to 2017 thanks to the opening of SunTrust Park, the team projects to have a smaller payroll next season than it did in 2017, Tim Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. The Braves had long intended to time the opening of their new stadium to coincide with the end of their rebuilding plan, though this offseason been a very quiet one for the team, save for a big payroll-shuffling trade with the Dodgers. Of course, Atlanta’s plans were entirely upended by the shocking departures of both former GM John Coppolella and former president of baseball operations John Hart, so perhaps it isn’t surprising that the franchise held back on any aggressive moves. New general manager Alex Anthopoulos even stated in December that he would likely take “a more cautious approach” in his first year running the front office.