The March 28th Philadelphia Phillies‘ season opener against the Atlanta Braves will have all eyes on the newest additions of the Phillies. There is no doubt that the National League East was the most active division in all of baseball this offseason and, possibly along with the NL Central, is now viewed as the toughest in all of baseball.
Spring training is officially in full swing and there are only a handful of big-name free agents remaining.
So, here are the offseason grades (based on moves made to get the team closer to competing for a 2019 playoff spot) for every team in the National League East!
Philadelphia Phillies: A
Players acquired: Bryce Harper, Jean Segura, J.T. Realmuto, Andrew McCutchen, David Robertson, Juan Nicasio, James Pazos
Owner John Middleton‘s “stupid money” comment had the entire Phillies fanbase on the edge of their seats during the pursuit of Manny Machado and, more so, Bryce Harper. 13 years and $330 million looks like incredibly “smart money” with all the added talent GM Matt Klentak put together around Harper. Due to the additions Klentak, ownership, and the rest of the front office made this offseason, the Phillies are in the best position possible to compete for a spot in the playoffs. Every weak spot on the roster was addressed, apart from a potential left-handed starting pitcher. The Phillies’ offseason falls just short of an A+ based off their lack of adding a quality starting pitcher.
Washington Nationals: B
Players acquired: Patrick Corbin, Brian Dozier, Jeremy Hellickson, Anibal Sanchez, Matt Adams, Kurt Suzuki, Trevor Rosenthal, Kyle Barraclough
The Nationals conceded Harper to division rival Phillies, but were not quiet in their quest to add quality players. The most sought after pitching free agent, Patrick Corbin, signed for the next six years in D.C. The Nationals three-headed-monster of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Corbin puts the team in a great position to compete for first place in the NL East. The Nationals don’t receive a higher offseason grade because in their quest to sign Corbin, they hamstrung their payroll by having to significantly outbid the Yankees and Phillies.
New York Mets: B-
Players acquired: Jed Lowrie, Justin Wilson, Wilson Ramos, Jeurys Familia, Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz
The Mets improved their injury-prone roster from top to bottom. The B- grade is fairly conservative, but players like Robinson Cano, Wilson Ramos, and Edwin Diaz (if they avoid the Mets injury curse) could be a significant thorn in the Phillies’ and Nationals’ dreams of reaching the playoffs. Newly hired Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen still has to find a way to extend Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom to make their offseason a bigger success.
Atlanta Braves: D+
Players acquired: Nick Markakis, Josh Donaldson, Brian McCann
The Braves added quality veteran players to help mold their young core, but project to take a significant step back in the standings. There is zero risk in the Braves’ signing Josh Donaldson to a one-year deal to see if he can return to his former MVP self. Outside of that, though, Atlanta stood pat, and is relying on their young players to live up to their potential in their quest to repeat as division champs.
Miami Marlins: F
Players acquired: Neil Walker, Curtis Granderson, Jorge Alfaro, Sixto Sanchez
Marlins fans can look forward to an inconsistent Jorge Alfaro, whose highlights would include throwing people out at second or hitting towering home runs. Miami receives an honorable mention for giving up the best catcher in baseball to division foe: the Phillies. Oh… and they changed their logo.
As of March 1st, the PECOTA-based projected standings for the National League East 2019 season are:
Disregarding the Marlins, this will be the most competitive season fans have ever seen from the National League East.
Photo Credits: Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images