Washington shocked the MLB world by winning the World Series as they came back after being down three-two. They were able to knock off the heavily favored Houston Astros in game seven. Since then the Nationals have deservingly been celebrating. But now the off-season is upon us, and Washington has plenty of free agents to take care of. At the top of to-do list is re-signing ace Stephen Strasburg and MVP candidate Anthony Rendon. However, both players are in line for huge paydays and each of them has plenty of suitors. Washington has stated they want to re-sign both of them but nothing has come to fruition. The Nationals have 103 million on the books next year, way under the luxury tax set at 208 million.
However, re-signing both Rendon and Strasburg will cost close to 70-75 million a year. Washington also has holes in the bullpen, at first and second. The teams 2019 first base platoon of Ryan Zimmerman, Howie Kendrick, and Matt Adams are all free agents. Top prospect Carter Kieboom might finally get the nod and get promoted to take over at second moving forward. More than likely Zimmerman will return to the only franchise he has ever played for on a cheap deal. The Nationals have an opportunity to make some noise by spending money but are hesitant to pull the trigger. The NL East will be more competitive this year with the Braves, Phillies and Mets all making moves to compete for the division title. But with the taste of victory still in their mouth, now is the time for the Washington Nationals to go all in.
Now is the time
The Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets are all contending and are making moves to improve their clubs. All three teams are projected to start the 2020 season under the luxury tax, meaning they all have money to spend.
Atlanta made the first splash of the off-season by signing arguably the best reliever available Will Smith to a three-year deal worth $39 million. He will help shore up the Braves bullpen which was their biggest weakness last season. The Braves have the number three farm system in baseball according to Bleacher Report. Top prospects Christian Pache, Ian Anderson, Drew Waters and Kyle Wright all finished the 2019 season at Triple-A and have the opportunity to make the 2020 roster. They will join Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, Freddie Freeman, and Mike Soroka to make the Braves NL East favorites. Now is the time for Atlanta to spend big to complement their young core and they have a huge hole at third base. Atlanta is debating if they should re-sign Josh Donaldson, allow Austin Riley to take over, or go after Rendon.
Meanwhile, Philly made a splash last year by signing Bryce Harper, Andrew McCutchen, and David Robertson as well as trading for Jean Segura, and J.T. Realmuto. This led to the team going 81-81 and the firing of manager Gabe Kapler. The front office replaced him with the accomplished Joe Giraldi. Now the Phillies will need to add to a pitching staff that was the team’s Achilles heel in 2019. Adding talent to accompany ace Aaron Nola is a must. The team has its sights on top pitchers Gerrit Cole and Strasburg.
Over in New York, the Mets have one of the best pitching staffs in the league made up of Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Marcus Stroman. Add in Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, and Amed Rosario, and the Mets have a stellar core. New York already has $162 million on the books for next season, so they are all in. They need to add to their bullpen, but are on the cusp of making it back to the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
Washington needs to go all in or they will fall behind in the very competitive NL East. The Phillies will improve drastically this year thanks to the help of Giraldi at the helm. New York also has a new manager in Carlos Beltran. He was brought in to get the team over the hump. Atlanta’s top farm system will provide the team with top tier talent. Now Washington will need faces a pivotal road as they need to flex their muscle to stay ahead or risk falling behind.
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