Nationals: The Mets And Phillies Are Making Moves; Washington Left At Crossroads

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 30: Adam Eaton #2 of the Washington Nationals holds the Commissioners Trophy after defeating the Houston Astros 6-2 in Game Seven to win the 2019 World Series in Game Seven of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 30: Adam Eaton #2 of the Washington Nationals holds the Commissioners Trophy after defeating the Houston Astros 6-2 in Game Seven to win the 2019 World Series in Game Seven of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 30, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

In a competitive NL East division, the Philadelphia Phillies hired Dave Dombrowski to be the team’s new President, while the New York Mets have a new owner who is ready to spend money.

In 2019, Philadelphia made a flurry of moves that included signing Bryce Harper and Andrew McCutchen while trading for Jean Segura, Andrew McCutchen, and J.T. Realmuto. This culminated in the team finishing 81-81, an entire game better than 2018. Before the start of the 2020 season, Philadelphia doubled down, signing Didi Gregorious and Zack Wheeler. Most notably, they hired Joe Girardi to be their new skipper. With more pieces in place, expectations were high for the Phillies, but they finished the 2020 season 28-32.

Recently rumors have speculated that the Phillies owner John Middleton wouldn’t be able to re-sign Realmuto. In addition, rumors stated that Middleton wanted to cut costs due to his COVID losses and was open to trading Harper, Segura, and Wheeler. Middleton then shot down these rumors and doubled down by signing Dave Dombrowski to be the teams new President. Dombrowski is known for winning the World Series as the Marlins GM in 1997 and also building the early 2010’s Detroit Tigers that made it to the World Series in 2012. He also built and won a World Series with the 2018 Boston Red Sox.

Dombrowski is known for signing players to large, long term contracts and destroying a team’s farm system with  trades. The Phillies have a thin farm system and signing Dombrowski contradicts earlier reports about Middleton wanting to cut costs. With Dombrowski at the helm, expect the Phillies to make a big splash this off-season.

If the Phillies landing Dombrowski to right the ship wasn’t enough, the Mets have also been making moves. After making the World Series in 2015, the New York Mets have been stuck in mediocrity. They are a step below the cusp of contending, but not yet able to push themselves over the edge. Two time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom leads the starting rotation, while 2019 NL Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso, is the face of the offense. However, the Mets are still missing a few pieces, but their future is bright.

Steve Cohen made waves when he bought the team and promised to spend money to improve the roster. After all, Cohen was the only owner who didn’t lose money due to COVID.  He started off by signing reliever Trevor May and catcher James McCann to a two and four year deal respectively. While not major moves, both will be vast improvements. This is just start, as New York has been rumored to be in on ace Trevor Bauer and are the front runners for 2017 World Series MVP, George Springer. Landing both will launch the Mets into instant contention.

The Atlanta Braves are the team to beat in the NL East and with the Phillies and Mets making improvements, Washington is left at a crossroads, rebuild or continue going all in. Washington has an impressive core of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin, Trea Turner, and Juan Soto, but injuries and inconsistencies derailed the team’s 2020 season. 2020 saw the Nationals post their first losing season since 2011. To make matters worse, Washington has holes at first, second, third, outfield, and the back of the rotation, with only $45 million to work with.

After the 2020 season ended, I wrote my perfect off-season plan for the Nationals and targeted James McCann as a perfect fit for D.C. Sadly, the Mets scooped him up. Washington will need to make up their mind and choose a path before most of the cost effective players sign with other teams. Greg Holland, another cost effective reliever signed a one year deal with the Royals earlier today for only $2.75 million. A bargain if you ask me. Holland would have added another reliable option at the back of the bullpen. There are plenty of options left on the open market, but unlike past years, Rizzo and company have been silent. Realmuto or DJ LeMahieu would vastly improve the Nationals offense, but both players are asking for more than Washington can afford. Adam Duvall, Mitch Moreland, and Archie Bradley could all be signed on the low and would swing the needle forward for Washington. And while they have their defensive downsides, Kyle Schwarber and Eddie Rosario would add much needed pop to the lineup.

The other major option is to start a rebuild, something I advocated for in the past. With plenty of holes and over $90 million invested in the starting rotation, Washington is facing an uphill battle when it comes to bolstering the roster. Tearing it down and building around Soto and Turner allows for Washington to restock a barren farm system and clear the books of any large contracts.

Next. Juan Soto named first team All-MLB. dark

The Miami Marlins just made the playoffs and are a year away from being a serious threat in the NL East. Atlanta is the second best team in the NL, behind the Dodgers. With Cohen taking over, New York is ready to make a serious splash. Philadelphia has plenty of questions to answer, but Dombrowski is the man for the job. With the NL East getting stronger, Washington is on the down swing and will need to make a decision on their future and fast.

facebooktwitterreddit