Mets NL East Sunday Battleground: Offseason recap and grades
Notable Additions: C Alex Avila, RP Luis Avilan, 1B Josh Bell, RP Brad Hand, 2B Josh Harrison, SP Jon Lester, OF Gerardo Parra, OF Kyle Schwarber, 1B Ryan Zimmerman.
Notable Subtractions: INF Asdrubal Cabrera (ARI), RP Sean Doolittle (CIN), OF Adam Eaton (CWS), INF Howie Kendrick (Retired), SP Anibal Sanchez (FA), C Kurt Suzuki (LAA), OF Michael A. Taylor (KC), 1B/OF Eric Thames (FA)
The 2019 World Series champs had a rough 2020 season going just 26-34, tied with the Mets for last place in the division. They battled through a lot of injuries and underwhelming performances.
The Nationals intend to compete in 2021 and that is shown by their offseason moves. They acquired a good bounce-back candidate in Josh Bell who if right, can be a really solid middle-of-the-order bat for them. He slashed .277/.367/.569 with 37 home runs and 116 RBI for the Pirates and was an all-star in 2019, the last full season. I expect him to do well, even if he’s not quite that good.
They signed a really good reliever in Brad Hand to a one-year $10.5 million-dollar deal to be their new closer. After Sean Doolittle and Daniel Hudson both struggled last season, that was a needed pickup.
They replaced Adam Eaton with Kyle Schwarber, a guy who can provide some more pop in their lineup. They also replaced Anibal Sanchez with Jon Lester, which looks like an upgrade as well.
In order for the Nats to compete, they will need their main guys to be healthy and produce. Stephen Strasburg pitched just five innings in 2020 and is already injured in Spring Training. Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin are coming off of down years, the Nats really need them to find their old form.
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I think this team should be good and I liked their offseason additions. They just play in a really tough division so it’s hard to say they are a sure playoff team, but they look to be close to it.