The Phillies have had a busy offseason thus far, agreeing to contracts with Trea Turner, Taijuan Walker, and Matt Strahm. While those free agent deals have appeared to help the Phillies’ chances in the National League East, their rivals - or at least some of their rivals - have been busy as well.
Let’s take a look at what the other East teams have been up to:
Braves trade for Sean Murphy
Full trade, per ESPN sources:— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 12, 2022
Atlanta gets: C Sean Murphy
Oakland gets: LHP Kyle Muller, UT Esteury Ruiz, RHP Freddy Tarnok, RHP Royber Salinas, C Manny Piña
Milwaukee gets: C William Contreras, RHP Justin Yeager, RHP Joel Payamps
The biggest takeaway from this trade is that the Oakland Athletics are a disgrace and should probably be contracted if they’re not even going to pretend to field a competitive team. The second is that it seems strange that the Braves traded for a catcher when they already had a decent one on the roster in Travis d’Arnaud. Especially when neither man is even close to being the best catcher in the division.
Grade: C I’m not fully up to date on how the new shifting rules work, but unless they allow teams to play two catchers, this might have been a pointless move.
Mets sign Justin Verlander
The Mets signed a future Hall of Famer who won the American League Cy Young Award winner in 2022. That sounds like a major addition, but there’s one problem: The guy is old. Verlander has given Father Time a decent fight, but at some point, Father Time is going to emerge victorious in this fight as well.
Considering Verlander’s past struggles in the postseason, he might not be the Mets’ best choice if they’re looking to have a more successful postseason run than they did in 2022.
Has a team gone to the World Series with two pitchers as old as Verlander (40) and Scherzer (39) will be next year?— John Stolnis (@JohnStolnis) December 5, 2022
The closest I can think of is Randy Johnson (37) & Schilling (34) with the 2001 D-Backs.
Grade: C+ Maybe Verlander will prove more durable than Jacob deGrom has been, but if durability is what you’re after, I’m not sure I’d sign a guy in his fifth decade on the planet.
Marlins do absolutely nothing
Aside from making some selections in the Rule 5 Draft, the Marlins have seemed content to accept their fate as the fourth best team in the National League East. Although considering they might trade starting pitcher Pablo Lopez, they might have their sights set on surpassing the Nationals for the basement of the division.
Grade: F The Marlins are another franchise that should be contracted.
Mets sign Kodai Senga
Not content to spend a fortune on American players, the Mets also spent a lot of money on a Japanese player.
Newest Mets pitcher Kodai Senga has an absolutely devastating splitter. He also sits mid 90s with a low 80s slider that he manipulates to an upper 80s cutter. This guy could be a MAJOR addition for the Mets. pic.twitter.com/oWeRX1hEa2— Aram Leighton (@AramLeighton8) December 11, 2022
Grade: C I won’t pretend to know anything about Senga, but success in Japan doesn’t always translate to success in MLB, especially for pitchers.
Nationals sign Jeimer Candelario
After trading Juan Soto and Josh Bell last season, the Nationals’ lineup was left a bit lacking. After bringing in Candelario, the offense still appears to be lacking. The former Tigers third baseman did lead the AL in doubles in 2021, which I suppose it something, but he also had an OPS of .633 in 2022, which is something bad.
Nats fans willing themselves to the ballpark every evening to watch [squints at notes] Jeimer Candelario bat cleanup— ric sanchez (@ricsanchez) December 14, 2022
Grade: D Remember a few years ago when the Phillies would sign guys like these in hopes of finding a diamond in the rough? Those years sucked.
Mets sign David Robertson
Robertson will undoubtedly improve the handsomeness level of the Mets’ roster, and as long as he doesn’t get overused or injure himself celebrating a home run, he should help their bullpen.
Grade: B+ Acquiring Robertson always seemed better in theory than reality for the Phillies. Maybe it will work out differently for the Mets?
Nationals sign Trevor Williams
Williams had a good season for the Mets in 2021 when he mostly served as a reliever. But he wants to be a full-time starter which is why he signed with the Nationals. Because when you’re a team coming off a 107-loss season, why not give random guys spots in the rotation?
The Phillies absolutely annihilated Nationals pitching in 2022, and somehow, I don’t see Williams reversing that trend.
Grade: D+ The Nationals will need someone to absorb some innings for them in 2023, and Williams qualifies as someone.
Mets re-sign Brandon Nimmo
Phillies fans despise Nimmo due to the way he sprints to first base after drawing a walk.
According to bWAR, Nimmo was worth over five wins above replacement in 2022, which seems high for a guy who doesn’t hit for a lot of power (Career high of 17) or average (career mark of .269), so I guess his walks are really valuable? 2022 was also the first time he stayed healthy for a full season since 2019.
Grade: C If the goal was to troll opponents, this move would rate an A+. But giving an eight-year deal to a guy who hasn’t shown he can stay healthy seems like a move bound to backfire.