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Keeping up with the East

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What have the Phillies’ division rivals been up to?

Divisional Series - St Louis Cardinals v Atlanta Braves - Game Five
Josh Donaldson is not currently on the Braves - or any team’s - roster
Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

By this point in the offseason, it feels like the heavy lifting is complete for most teams. Sure, there are a few big names left on the free agent market, and there are still potential trades to be made, but for the most part, rosters have taken shape.

With that in mind, I took a quick look at each of the other National League East teams to see what they’ve been up to, and assessed if they’ve gotten better or worse since the end of last season.

Atlanta Braves

The last time we saw them

After winning the National League East, they did as the Braves usually do: Lose in the NLDS.

Notable losses

Julio Teheran has teamed up with Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon in Anaheim. Dallas Keuchel moved on to potentially choke in postseason games with the White Sox, and Brian McCann has been set free to enforce baseball’s unwritten rules with some other team.

Notable additions

They made a point to emulate the Phillies by adding two former members of their organization in Cole Hamels and Travis d’Arnaud. They’re also apparently trying to build an all-Grammy-Award-winning bullpen by bringing back Chris Martin and signing Will Smith.

Are they better or worse?

Worse

Going from Keuchel and McCann to Hamels and d’Arnaud seem like lateral moves. But assuming Josh Donaldson doesn’t come back, that’s a big blow to their lineup, and Julio Teheran’s departure means they have to replace 174 quality innings.

Washington Nationals

The last time we saw them

They won the National League’s top Wild Card spot, and I kind of stopped paying attention after that.

Notable additions

They rescued Starlin Castro from anonymity in Miami, and signed Eric Thames to bolster their offense. In yet another attempt to shore up a perennially problematic bullpen, they signed reliever Will Harris.

Notable losses

It seems hard to believe, but apparently first baseman Ryan Zimmerman will be spending time on some other team’s injured list in 2020. And after Nats fans assured me that it was okay that Bryce Harper left because they’d be giving that money to Anthony Rendon, Rendon promptly left as soon as he was able.

Are they better or worse?

Worse

Castro and Thames are nice players, but they’re not going to compensate for losing Rendon, who has developed into one of the best players in baseball.

Los Angeles Angels Introduce - Anthony Rendon
Anthony Rendon won’t be hurting the Phillies in 2020
Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

New York Mets

The last time we saw them

Despite the Phillies actually playing well against them in 2020, the Mets managed to finish ahead of the Phils in the standings.

Notable additions

The Mets are hoping that both Michael Wacha and Rick Porcello can bounce back from disappointing 2019 seasons to help bolster their rotation. And despite many Phillies fans hoping he’d come to Philadelphia, Dellin Betances will be pitching out of the Mets’ bullpen in 2020.

Notable losses

Zack Wheeler headed south to join the Phillies’ rotation.

Are they better or worse?

Better

Betances should help the bullpen, and while Wheeler is a loss, Wacha and Porcello provide additional depth.

New York Yankees v Toronto Blue Jays
Dellin Betances would have looked good in red pinstripes.
Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Miami Marlins

The last time we saw them

They fielded an expansion-caliber team and finished in last place. (Yet, they somehow gave the Phillies all sorts of trouble.)

Notable additions

They’ve decided to put actual Major League bats in the lineup by signing Corey Dickerson, Jonathan Villar, and Jesus Aguilar.

Notable losses

There wasn’t a lot of notable talent to get rid of, but it wouldn’t be a Marlins offseason if at least one familiar player didn’t leave. Starlin Castro has wisely sought greener pastures in Washington.

Are they better or worse?

Better

After the fire sale of the last few seasons, it would be tough for them not to improve a little. And thanks to the new additions, the Marlins’ lineup looks halfway competent.