On MLB.com, there is an article up now about 5 Questions facing each team across each league. (Starting with the AL West and NL East.) So inspired by that idea, I ask one question for each team in the NL East. (In alphabetical order.)
Have the Braves done enough to sustain the loss of Josh Donaldson?
The Atlanta Braves are a club that has some of the best players in MLB. Players like Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuña Jr are at the core. Losing a player the caliber of Josh Donaldson is significant, however, not insurmountable. The addition of Marcell Ozuna to the lineup will help keep the Braves near the top of the NL East. Atlanta will have a difficult division battle this season to repeat as NL East Champs. But answering the question of whether or not they did enough after losing Donaldson, we will have to wait and see.
What are they doing in South Florida?
The Miami Marlins have been a problematic franchise to root for because of a lack of stability. Every time the Marlins would get to a position to win (or at least compete), the front office deals away all assets. They’ve been the real-life version of the Cleveland Indians of the movie Major League. And when the new ownership group came in, they immediately began trading away all their stars. This left the Marlins fan base (however small it was) with the feeling of “here we go again.” However, since trading away Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich, JT Realmuto, and Dee Gordon, Miami hasn’t made any substantial moves. (And honestly, it’s because they didn’t have anyone of legitimate value left.)
But here we are heading into 2020, and the Marlins were quietly aggressive on the free-agent market. They would bring in Francisco Cervelli, Brandon Kintzler, Matt Joyce, and Corey Dickerson. These moves seem to be intermediary moves (in my opinion) waiting for their process to play out. The Marlins will be interesting in 2020. And while not a contender, the Marlins can easily play spoiler in the NL East.
Mets (New York)
Is this the Met’s time to shine?
The New York Mets have struggled over the past few seasons. Whether because of injury or regression of young players, the Mets haven’t reached the success they wanted. If you look at the way the Mets’ roster they have a lot of premium talent, the rookie homerun champion, Pete Alonso, intends to bring a World Series victory to Queens. And there is a serious level of potential from the Blue & Orange. But the question is, can they push it to the next level?
Can the Nationals repeat as World Series Champions?
In 2019, the Washington Nationals did the unthinkable and won not just a postseason series but won everything. (And even defeated the sign-stealing Astros.) Now, as 2020 approaches, the Nats are faced with the even more difficult task of defending their crown. Washington would lose their All-Star third baseman, Anthony Rendon, to the Angels. This loss is a significant blow to the Nats’ offensive lineup. However, the strength of the Nats has always been starting pitching. And resigning Stephen Strasburg will keep the Nationals a favorite in the NL East. But if they can repeat as World Series Champions, we will have to wait and see.
Can the Phillies win with their current rotation?
The most significant question mark surrounding the Phillies over the past few seasons is about their starting rotation. Even in a down year, Nola was still effective. And adding in Zack Wheeler gives the Phils a solid 1-2 in that rotation. After that, however, the rotation is shaky at best. Jake Arrieta is no longer a front of the rotation type of starter. Honestly, for the Phillies to be successful, Arrieta should be no higher than fourth in the rotation. Pitchers like Zach Eflin and Nick Pivetta would make for a reliable number five starter.
However, when two-fifths of your rotation is built around these pitchers, there are questions about your ability to win. The Phillies have shown a willingness to go out and spend, just ask Bryce Harper, and bolstering that rotation should be the next priority. Philly’s lineup is stacked and a legit contender for the best lineup in baseball. But the Phillies’ rotation will be what makes or breaks the 2020 season for the Phillies.