The National League East always seemed likely to be a place of great intrigue this winter and beyond, but things have been quite a bit more raucous than might have been anticipated. Four potential east coast powerhouses are presently engaged in an offseason arms race that could lead to a riveting regular season.
While there’s still a ton of time left to make acquisitions this winter, the Braves, Mets, Nationals, and Phillies have each already pulled off some notable strikes. (Marlins fans will have to be content with some minor-league signings.) We’ll round up the moves — for all the details, click the provided links — and then leave a question for MLBTR readers to answer.
- Braves: signed Josh Donaldson (link); signed Brian McCann (link)
- Mets: acquired Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz (link)
- Nationals: signed Patrick Corbin (link); acquired Yan Gomes (link); signed Kurt Suzuki (link); signed Trevor Rosenthal (link); acquired Kyle Barraclough (link)
- Phillies: acquired Jean Segura, Juan Nicasio, James Pazos (link)
It certainly wouldn’t be fair to compare these decisions as if they represent the entirety of an offseason. After all, all of these clubs are clearly set up for additional acquisitions — which is a large part of what makes this so fun to witness. Instead, we’ll put it this way: which of these organizations has made the wisest early moves? (Link for app users.)
NL East is going to be a bloodbath
Will it really be any different than last year?
Really? It will be entirely different. The NL east was one of the weakest divisions last season. I’m not discounting the talent level on the Braves, but stacked up against some other divisions the NL east wasn’t that frightening in 2018.
This year will be much more exciting, I have to agree with OP
Wisest? Definitely not the Mets, who got a shutdown closer, but have a garbage pen to bridge the gap to him. So, at this point, they’re out of the question.
That’s how you make the pen stronger is slide everyone back a role.
Freddy, you are EXACTLY CORRECT!! This is why I wanted Diaz so bad for the Braves.
What the Nets have done, solely by adding Diaz, is they’ve increased their versatility and overall effectiveness.
By having Diaz lock down the 9th, it’ll allow the Mets to put their other relievers in more favorable match-ups, better setting them up for success. Diaz’s addition easily helps EVERYONE else in their bullpen..
The Mets still need to address their hole at Catcher, they’re going to need someone to step up for their #5 spot in their rotation, they’re still going to add another arm or two for their pen, but with those tweaks to their roster, the Mets should be ready to contend and fight for the NL East crown.
To win the division, they’re going to obviously need to stay healthy, but the Mets are also going to need to find some better depth for their bench by adding a bat.
One of the biggest additions the Mets will eventually make very well could be the promotion of Alonso. I think Alonso’s bat very well could add a lot of versatility to the Mets lime-up/roster. With Alonso at 1B, it’ll allow Cano to play 2B, and they can move McNeil over to 3B. Alonso’s bat will be better than Frazier’s, especially in being able to produce productive outs, rather than rally-killing strikeouts. I really like the following:
Depending in their Catcher that they choose to add, regardless who it is, that’s still a pretty solid line-up for the Mets. Regardless, with DeGrom, Thor, and with Wheeler’s emergence it isn’t like the Mets really need 5-7 runs a game..
As a side note, I think Dominic Smith should start the year in AAA. He can find some early success, and it should help him regain some confidence. More importantly though, D.Smith really needs to work on his defensive versatility; in doing so, it’ll allow the Mets to bring him back up, and Smith can eventually provide the Mets with a solid bat off the bench, or as a 1B/CO, that can spell a veteran or two in various favorable match-ups.
If they have a garbage pen it was wise to start fixing it with one of the best relievers in baseball controlled for 4 years. And there is still plenty of offseason left.
Let’s go Expos!
The Polar Icecaps!!!
There seem to be those lingering stories of Braves attempting to get Realmuto, if that occurs, and they trade for a front line starter, it will be a formidable roster.
Two catchers and two OF?
That doesnt look like anything special:
Albies, Acuna are gonna regress big time.
Donaldson, injured and out for the rest of the season before the all-star break.
Literally half this line-up wont hit more than 12 homers each next year, Swanson, Albies, Inciarte, Realmuto (big if), hope that outfield bat is a big one.
You got Folty as a #2 or 3 and Newcomb as a #4 or #5 but what else?
Literally this team will be lucky to make the WC this year.
None of those players you mentioned NEED to hit more than 12 home runs – Swanson and Ender are big time defenders, and even 17 of 24 of Albies’ homeruns came with no one on, so it’s not like the Braves were depending on his homeruns to win games.
Also, what makes you so sure Acuna will regress “big time”? He’s a high ceiling player, and there is no reason to believe he won’t fit that mold again next year.
Also, there’s a lot of offseason remaining – they Braves are a good bet to make the WC, not “lucky to make the WC”. Literally.
How come every other team’s players are going to regress, but you think the Giants have a realistic chance at the wildcard… Something seriously doesn’t add up.
Umm giants??? Who said that. If you mean Padres, I’ll say it for the millionth time…rebuilding. find a dictionary. Look it up.
not going to happen at the price. Marlins are starting the conversation with albies
The Nationals if they resign Harper, the Braves if they don’t. The Mets aren’t close enough to real contention to make the move they did, I like the Phillies moves so far, but I’m not sure Segura moves the needle for them given the additions everyone else has made.
Braves have work to do. Trade for Haniger and a starting pitcher. Send Julio to Seattle.
I’m not sure I’m sold on the Nationals moves. While the bullpen arms improve the team on paper, it seems to qualify as a typical Nationals dumpster dive move for arms. They can’t seem to get the ‘pen sorted out.
The Mets trade was a bit of a headscratcher.
Nice moves by the Braves as there is no such thing as a bad one year contract. The corner infield just got a massive upgrade.
The Phillies fleeced the Mariners. Crawford is going to be a bust and the M’s bought into the prospect hype. This wouldn’t have been a bad gamble for the Mariners for 2016 Crawford, but he’s been exposed in limited action. He has a nifty glove, but his swing is so long.
We were let on to believe Crawford was a plus fielder. He wasn’t.
The Nats have made five significant acquisitions this off-season, it’s not just Corbin and Gomes, there’s a second catcher, Kurt Suzuki, plus relievers Klye Barraclough and Trevor Rosenthal.
Starting pitching, catcher, and the bullpen were GM Mike Rizzo’s three real needs this off-season and he’s already addressed all three. He needs a lefty 1B to give Ryan Zimmerman some off-days (Matt Adams-type, who is still available), plus a couple of depth guys for the rotation, and maybe a lefty middle reliever, and the Nats will be set.
That’s a lot considering the money they’ve already allocated.
I think that is between Atl (yes I am a homer) and the Nats.
Atl has not committed future payroll to the books yet, but have still improved their team. Also they have not traded from their farm system at this point which is a huge advantage.
Washington has add the top fa stating pitcher to their rotation, but committed a lot of money to a guy that has not proven to be consistent at this point in his career. Also some of that money is deferred which helps now, but could drastically impact them in the future. I have not seen how much was deferred, but you add that with deferrals from Scherzer, Joe Blanton (2019 final year), Strasburg, Murphy, and Weiters at what point will it effect their future payroll? Maybe it will never really effect them.
New York was able to add Cano and Diaz, but took on significant money and gave up significant prospects in the process. How long will Cano stay productive? This contract runs until he is 40 so it is a huge risk.
Philadelphia has added a very good ss without a doubt. That trade improved their defense at ss as well as 1st. They just got outbid on Corbin, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However it opens up the thought that most St. Louis Cardinals fans are seeing the last couple years and being “outbid” or the player picking another team over them. Will Machado or Harper sign in Philadelphia? That is the big question of this off season. Will they be outbid for both? Or will both take less money to go somewhere else? So far the Phillies have been wise, I think, but are still behind the other 3 teams in what they have done so far.
Hey, the Marlins got new uniforms!!!!!
And after I post this it comes out that Corbin has 10 mil deferred. Payments starts from Nov 2024 through Jan 2026. So this isn’t significant money deferred.
Wisest? Braves. Potential impact bat on short term deal. Most interesting? Mets by far.
Pretty much my sentiments too. You can tell AA learned the importance of depth and keeping a strong farm from the Dodgers. I like the Donaldson deal for them. Still leaves more moves to be pursued as well
Impact bat as well as an impact arm
I am a Braves fan and voted Nationals.
Until the Braves address their bullpen it’s probably the Nationals
The Nationals do this without a TV deal.
The Phillies fleecing Seattle should be higher. Offloaded a toxic contract in Carlos Santana and got a young pitcher and an all star SS who barely strikes out in Jean Segura..
The additions by the other 3 easily outweigh the Segura addition. I hope you don’t expect Segura to be the main RBI guy because you’ll just disappoint yourself. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a good shortstop, but he’s not that much of a lineup changer. Now if Machado comes on board, that’ll definitely push them to the front, but they’re ranked where they should for what they’ve done so far.
Carlos Santana has what I thought was an immovable contract.. the fact the Phillies got out of that and into Segura’s with the addition of a young pitcher is highway robbery.
How can you NOT include the Marlins?
They signed Pedro Alavarez and Devon Marrero!!
(a lot of empty space)
I think Jeff listed them the way he thought the results would end up and he was right!
As much as it pains me to say it, the Nats have done an excellent job this offseason.
Honestly, the best part about the Segura deal is that it makes them less likely to spend $400 million on Manny. Seriously think that’s a bust contract waiting to happen.
So the Phillies sign him for what, 300 or 350?
I do not see a single player signed or acquired by the NLE to change anything at all. Only impact so far is the payroll wasted. I just hope the Phillies waste their future on Machado or Harper, or the Mets trade pitching for Realmuto. Braves need to continue to work toward a package of Mitch Haniger and Marco Gonzales from Seattle. Braves could offer Julio Teheran, Kolby Allard, Adam Duvall and Christian Pache. This will replace the Mariners starters for next couple years and offer top prospects for their future. Add Bryce Wilson or Chad Sobotka if needed.
Horrible. Why would the Braves want a 27 year old LHP pitcher who has had TJ surgery and one sub par season at the MLB level. We got a farm full of younger lefties with no arm issues. Haniger is about to be 28 and had one good season. I like trying to get him but it should be more along the lines of Duvall, Touki, Wilson, and a low level prospect.
Signing Brantley or McCutchen is affordable and would move the Braves forward. Trading for Jose Leclerc, Tony Watson, or Will Smith would raise the bullpen. Stay away for big money relievers.
A three-way where Realmuto and Soroka go to Kansas City, Salvadore Perez and Brinson come to Atlanta and Pache, Allard and Merrifield go to Miami is worth pursuing.
This makes no sense. KC doesn’t need Realmuto, they are rebuilding. Miami doesn’t need Merrifield, they are also rebuilding. And why would Miami want to get rid of Brinson?
I’m not sure which one has made the wisest moves but I would think the Mets moves are the riskiest
The Nats’ rotation looks really scary. If they can add an impact bat and a stud reliever, I think they win the division hands down(barring injuries).
what, are we pretending that Miami didn’t sign either Mesa brother. where is at least the option for the Marlins, geez.
I said Phillies because the Segura trade looks to me like a pure win. I like the way the Braves are set up too, but I think the Nats and Mets have overspent.
Besides Corbin move, I like all other moves made by Rizzo this off-season. I have doubts about Corbin’s consistency. I would have liked Greinke even if it meant paying lot of his contract. Rizzo still has lots of work to do. They still need to address 2B and starting depth. I would feel more confident about bullpen if they added couple of veterans, especially a left-handed one.
Having said that, Marlins won the off-season in October when they got rid of home run sculpture from their stadium. No other NL East team can beat that. They should have been one of the options in the poll.
For all those Mets fans that feel like trading for JT Realmuto wouldn’t make sense, let me share these facts:
Highest WAR among catchers, 2018
1. J.T. Realmuto, 4.8
2. Yasmani Grandal, 3.6
3. Francisco Cervelli, 3.3
4. Willson Contreras, 2.6
5. Wilson Ramos, 2.4
Highest WAR among catchers, 2016-18
1. J.T. Realmuto, 12.3
2. Buster Posey, 10.0
3. Yasmani Grandal, 9.0
4. Gary Sanchez, 8.9
5. Willson Contreras, 8.1