After a busy filing day, let’s see what’s in store for a couple of teams in the NL East…
- Only Shane Greene remains from their arbitration pool. The Braves and Greene have a $500K gap in their filing numbers to reconcile lest the panel get the final say. Greene will figure in the back end mix no matter his price point. With Will Smith in tow and a full season of Mark Melancon, Greene should slot in somewhere closer to the 7th inning along with Chris Martin and Luke Jackson. Overall, the Braves payroll is already set to open at a franchise record $130MM for the 2020 season – and that’s without Josh Donaldson, per The Athletic’s David O’Brien. It certainly says something that the Braves are still trying to bring back Donaldson despite already setting a team record for payroll. Despite the Nationals’ World Series title, the Braves are the back-to-back defending NL East champs, and they’ve been aggressive this winter in their attempt to make it a turkey with a third consecutive division crown in 2020.
- The Phillies came away from filing day with deals with all but two of their arbitration candidates: J.T. Realmuto and Hector Neris. Philadelphia would like to hammer out an extension for Realmuto, with Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer supposing Realmuto to desire “something in the neighborhood of five years and $100 million.” An extension could grant GM Matt Klentak important flexibility. Right now the Opening Day payroll figures to land around $202MM, giving the club about $6MM in wiggle room for in-season additions before exceeding the luxury tax. Phillies managing partner John Middleton is prepared to pay the tax, but not for a team that doesn’t figure for the playoffs. For the second consecutive year, it looks like the Phillies will wait to see where they are in the standings before deciding to pay the tax.
- The Nationals settled with all their arbitration eligible players, but GM Mike Rizzo spoke with the media today, touching on a number of topics. They expect resolution on the Ryan Zimmerman front shortly, per MASN’s Mark Zuckerman. GM Mike Rizzo met with Zimmerman for 90 minutes on Friday, and it’s long been expected that the Nats would bring back Mr. National for the title defense. As for third base, Rizzo considers the position filled without totally shutting the door on a Donaldson signing, per The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli. Asdrubal Cabrera and Starlin Castro figure to get time at third, and speculatively speaking, Howie Kendrick saw a few innings at the hot corner last year as well. Bottom line, the Nats plan on creativity and flexibility for their whole infield this year, and they are okay not naming and everyday starter, per Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post.