Mets Offseason Update: Checking in the rest of the NL East
By Allen Settle
The New York Mets have officially joined the San Diego Padres as the most fascinating and improved teams of the offseason. The Steve Cohen-era Mets got off to a hot start with the retention of former All-Star Marcus Stroman. They also added key pieces in catcher James McCann and reliever Trevor May.
New York Mets
The franchise dropped the hammer later in the offseason by completing a blockbuster trade for superstar Francisco Lindor and starter Carlos Carrasco. Add in their other depth moves and the team is quickly becoming a favorite in 2021. Even without addressing needs at CF and SP, the team receives a clear A+ grade for their transactions thus far.
While New York fans have their gaze squarely focused on what may be the best offseason in team history, their National League East competition is also gearing up for the new year.
How does the rest of the super-competitive division stack up to the Mets? Here’s a quick review:
The Braves have had an interesting offseason so far. On one hand, they have managed to add legitimate talent to an already skilled depth chart.
Atlanta reached a one-year agreement with former Rays pitcher Charlie Morton. While the 37-year-old is toward the end of his career, he is still a dangerous pitcher with a major postseason pedigree.
The team also bolstered their pitching staff by adding pitcher Drew Smyly. Despite posting an inconsistent seven-year major league career, the lefty starter enjoyed one of his best seasons in 2020.
The team has also managed to add depth in the form of RHP Josh Tomlin, RHP Luke Jackson, infielder Jack Mayfield, and OF Abraham Almonte.
Overall, the Braves have had a productive offseason. The franchise already has one of the most dangerous offenses in the league. Now, they’ve managed to add some legitimate pitching to complement their younger arms.
However, the Braves still have a noticeable gap in their lineup that was formerly held by Marcell Ozuna. The former All-Star, who was a massive part of the team’s offense in 2020, is currently a free agent. Atlanta needs to find a way to retain their star hitter or sign a comparable talent to complete their offseason. Otherwise, they will have a noticeable hole in the lineup.
Offseason Grade: A (with Ozuna) / B (without Ozuna)
The Phillies feel lightyears away from their breakout off seasons of years past. The team that once offering huge contracts to Bryce Harper and Zack Wheeler now find themselves in a quite rebuilding mode.
Philly was able to address their biggest need, the bullpen, by declining the option of former closer Hector Neris and trading for flamethrower lefty Jose Alvarado. They also supplemented this move with the recent signing of former closer Archie Bradley. Both of these additions will make a noticeable impact on the next incarnation of the team. Otherwise, Philadelphia has added some veterans on minor league deals and made a handful of other small moves.
However, the team also appears likely to lose superstar catcher JT Realmuto in free agency. This will have a noticeable impact on their offense and defense in 2021 and beyond. Should Realmuto spurn Philly and sign elsewhere, it would severely hamper their offseason success.
At the end of the day, the Phillies are at serious risk of losing a key member of their team in exchange for two solid relief arms. They must find a way to keep Realmuto. Or, at the very least, salvage the loss by adding someone else to fill his role.
Offseason Grade: C-
Miami has had a slow, but steady, offseason. The surprise 2020 postseason team saw their transition from rebuilder to contenders happen far quicker than anyone expected.
The franchise’s major transactions with on-field talent involve names that most baseball fans are unfamiliar with. However, the team has filled their GM position with a universally praised addition of Kim Ng.
The team needs to address holes in their bullpen. They should also be seeking depth in several other areas. However, the small market team seems to be in a good position to add players as needed later in the offseason.
Offseason Grade: B
The 2019 World Series champs seem to be preparing for another run at the postseason. Despite playing in ridiculously deep NL East, the Nats are building a win-now 2021 roster.
Washington’s most notable move was the acquisition of former All-Star 1B Josh Bell. They also added a second impact bat in OF Kyle Schwarber.
Additionally, the Nationals tendered contracts to superstars Juan Soto and Trea Turner. They also re-signed starter Joe Ross, as well as a plethora of more minor moves.
Washington expects to have their three-headed pitching monster of Max Scherzer, Patrick Corbin, and Stephen Strasburg back in full form. They have also made enough additions to complete for a playoff spot this season.
Offseason Grade: B+
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