While the MLB offseason had been quiet for most of the winter with splashy moves coming few and far between, the NL East has been on a different wave. Three teams added two All-Stars, and the Nationals, who lost Bryce Harper, may have somehow gotten better. In a division with so many moving pieces and unanswered questions, one thing is clear: don’t expect to hear anything from the Marlins in what might be the best division in baseball.

The Phillies are Coming

The Phillies had a stupid amount of money to spend going into the offseason and with a young core to build around, it was obvious they were going to be big players. After an unrelenting saga, the Phillies landed the “big fish” of free agency by signing Bryce Harper to a record-breaking 13-year, 330 million dollar contract.

However, this was not the only big move Philly made as they also acquired arguably the best catcher in baseball, J.T. Realmuto. Additionally, they signed SS Jean Segura and RP David Robertson while also locking up their young ace Aaron Nola to a four-year 45 million dollar extension. In my opinion, the Phillies won the offseason and could be a powerhouse this year. Don’t be surprised if you see them sitting at the top of the division come October.

Losing Harper is Not a Death Sentence for the Nats

It’s not often a team can lose a potential Hall of Famer and get better. Yet somehow, that’s exactly what the Nationals were able to do, which is a credit to what CEO Ted Lerner and GM Mike Rizzo accomplished. It was pretty clear from the start of the offseason that Harper was not going to be returning, so they focused on spending their money to fill their weaknesses.

The Nats started off their offseason by signing SP Patrick Corbin to a monster six-year, 140 million dollar deal. While a hefty contract, it gives the Nats an elite lefty pitcher which they desperately needed, while also giving the Nats one of the best front rotations in the MLB. The Nationals also added SP Anibal Sanchez who had a sub-three ERA a year ago as well as former All-Stars in 2B Brian Dozier and C Yan Gomes – both will fill positions that failed to put up any production last season.

With young talents Trea Turner, and Juan Soto already looking like stars, Victor Robles ready to step up, Anthony Rendon holding down the middle of the order and ace Max Scherzer still putting up historic numbers, this isn’t just a playoff team but a potential World Series contender. The key? They just need to stay healthy. But knowing D.C. teams, some unlucky shit is going to go down.

Baby Braves Now Have a Target On Their Back

The reigning division champion Atlanta Braves remained relatively quiet compared to their counterparts. However, they were able to resign veteran outfielder Nick Markakis, who hit .297 a year ago and was a key reason to the Braves surprising 90-win campaign.

The Braves also brought in potential difference maker in the “bringer of rain” Josh Donaldson who, when healthy, has the capability to hit 25+ homers.

With a shaky starting rotation headlined by Mike Foltynewicz, the Braves are going to rely heavily on the bats of Ronald Acuña, Ozzie Albies, and Freddie Freeman. This team may not reach the 90-win total they hit last year, but one thing is certain; they are going to be fun to watch.

Mediocre Mets No More?

It seems like ages ago when the Mets made the World Series back in 2015. Maybe it’s because they’ve won 87, 70, and 77 games since and been a relative afterthought. However, the mediocre Mets are going to be competitive again.

Before this offseason started the Mets already had the best player within the division in Jacob DeGrom and, with a rotation headlined by DeGrom as well as Syndergaard, the Mets focused on fixing the issue that’s plagued them for years: scoring runs.

The Mets ranked No. 23 in runs scored and tied for dead last in batting average last season. However, the Mets are hoping that the additions of Robinson Canó, Keon Broxton, Jed Lowrie, and Wilson Ramos a new look line-up will provide them with more offensive firepower than in years past. If their line-up clicks I expect the Mets to be in the playoff race all season.

Is there any talent left in South Beach?

Meanwhile, the Marlins are going to serve as a punching bag for the NL East the entire season. But hey, at least they get to live in Miami.  

Final prediction

This race is going to be intriguing the whole year with four potential playoff teams. In the end, there are going to be two playoff teams to come out of the NL East: the Nationals and the Phillies. It’s going to be a dog fight all year between these two rivals, however, I think the motivated Nationals will get the advantage behind their strong rotation and sneaky deep line-up.

  1. Nationals
  2. Phillies (Wild Card Berth)
  3. Braves
  4. Mets
  5. Marlins

-Sean Hannegan


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