The National League East has been one of the busiest divisions in baseball during the offseason. Most teams have made plenty of moves focused on improving their pitching and contenders have reinforced their hopes to, well, contend again.
Since the beginning of December, for example, the Phillies inked Zack Wheeler and the Nationals re-signed Stephen Strasburg to a record-breaking deal.
But let’s be thorough. Here is every major transaction for all five teams of the NL East.
Biggest addition: RHP Zack Wheeler (signed a five-year, $118MM contract)
The Phillies are doing their best to compete for their first playoff berth since 2011. They spent an unbelievable amount of money a year ago on free agents Bryce Harper, David Robertson, and Andrew McCutchen, but haven’t stopped during this offseason.
Recently, Philadelphia added right-hander Zack Wheeler and shortstop Didi Gregorius. The first of them was inked to a five-year, $118MM contract and will join a nice rotation that includes Aaron Nola and former Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta. Gregorius is set to make $14MM on a one-year deal.
Spending on major-league deals: $132MM
Biggest addition: LHP Will Smith (signed a three-year, $39MM contract)
Departures: C Brian McCann (retired)
The Braves haven’t signed their top target yet (Josh Donaldson). According to GM Alex Anthopoulos, they’re still looking for a middle-of-the-order batter, but they haven’t fallen asleep in a busy division. In fact, they’ve spent almost $100 million filling their holes.
Atlanta improved their pitching by signing veteran starter Cole Hamels (one-year deal), efficient closer Will Smith (three-year deal), and resurgent catcher Travis d’Arnaud (two-year deal). On those free agents, they’re spending $73MM in total.
Although, that’s not all. Anthopoulos re-signed a bunch of players, including relievers Chris Martin (two-year deal, $14MM) and Darren O’Day ($2.25MM for 2020), plus outfielder Nick Markakis and backstop Tyler Flowers (both will earn $4MM for 2020). Utility man Charlie Culberson and outfielder Rafael Ortega are also back in Atlanta.
Spending on major-league free agent deals: $97.25MM
Biggest addition: RHP Stephen Strasburg (re-signed to a seven-year, $245MM contract)
Departures: RHP Koda Glover (retired), 3B Anthony Rendon (signed with Angels)
The Nationals are reigning World Series champs. Their challenge this offseason is putting the puzzle back together again, knowing that several key pieces command pay raises.
Carrying huge contracts—such as Max Scherzer’s and Patrick Corbin’s—made it impossible for them to afford both Stephen Strasburg and Anthony Rendon. They signed the first one and let the latter go to the Angels.
Strasburg’s new $245MM contract broke David Price’s record for a pitcher ($217MM) and will make him stay in D.C. for seven seasons; of course, Gerrit Cole has since surpassed Strasburg by plenty after receiving $324 million from the Yankees. The Nats also re-signed hero Howie Kendrick for a more modest price ($4MM for 2020, with a mutual option for $6.5MM or a $2.25MM buyout for 2021). Catcher Yan Gomes accepted a two-year, $10MM deal.
The only new member of the Nationals is the reliever Kyle Finnegan. An unproven relief pitcher who’s never made it into MLB regular season action before, Finnegan joins the organization on a major-league contract, anyway. The amount of money is unknown.
GM Mike Rizzo also brought back veteran RHP Javy Guerra on minors deal.
Spending on major-league free agent deals: $261.25MM (plus Kyle Finnegan’s contract).
Biggest addition: RHP Rick Porcello (signed a one-year, $10MM contract)
Departures: RHP Zack Wheeler (Phillies)
The Mets, with a lineup that could be categorized as dangerous if healthy, focused on improving their starting pitching and make their rotation a deeper one with the help of a couple of veterans.
New York added former Cy Young winner Rick Porcello on a one-year, $10MM deal to a staff that includes Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Marcus Stroman, and Steven Matz. Also, they acquired righty Michael Wacha on a contract that guarantees $3MM, with up to $7MM in possible incentives.
LHP Chasen Shreve, OF Jarrett Parker, IF Max Moroff, and RHP Pedro Payano have been acquired on minor league deals.
Spending on major-league free agent deals: $13.85MM
Biggest addition: INF Jonathan Villar (via trade from the Orioles)
Departures: LHP Wei-Yin Chen (released), RHP Tayron Guerrero (claimed by White Sox), RHP Tyler Kinley (claimed by Rockies)
After the World Series, the Marlins lost several of their veterans: Martín Prado, Starlin Castro, Curtis Granderson and Neil Walker. They began their offseason by acquiring two hopefully important pieces for 2020 in speedy INF Jonathan Villar and slugger 1B Jesús Aguilar on a waiver claim from the Brewers. Getting Villar cost the Fish 23-year-old lefty Easton Lucas, who was just drafted last summer.
They signed free agent reliever Yimi García, who registered a 3.61 ERA across 64 appearances for the Dodgers in 2019. The amount of money isn’t known yet. They also got infielder Gosuke Katoh to minors deal. Rule 5 Draft selection RHP Sterling Sharp has a solid chance of sticking on the active roster.
Even though Miami is expected to hand out a contract to a veteran outfielder, the team has been quiet about starting pitching. It’s interesting to see how confident they are about the future of their rotation, with names such as Caleb Smith, All-Star Sandy Alcántara, Jordan Yamamoto, Pablo López, Eliéser Hernández, and José Ureña, a group that might include promising top prospect Sixto Sánchez in the near future.