Baseball Reflections

NL East 2023 Free Agent Guide

Atlanta Braves

Notable FA’s: SS Dansby Swanson (5.7 WAR), OF Robbie Grossman (0.8 WAR), OF Adam Duvall (-0.1 WAR), OF Guillermo Heredia (-0.3 WAR), IF Ehire Adrianza (-0.4 WAR), RHP Kenley Jansen (0.9 WAR), RHP Jay Jackson (0.1 WAR), RHP Darren O’Day (0.1 WAR), RHP Jackson Stephens (0.0 WAR), RHP Silvino Bracho (-0.1 WAR)

               The big question in Atlanta right now is where does Dansby Swanson end up. Coming off the best season of his career and first All Star appearance (.280 avg, 25 HR, 99 R, 96 RBI & 18 SB) Swanson is due to cash in this offseason and joins the trio of Xander Bogaerts, Trea Turner and Carlos Correa as one of the most prominent group of free agent shortstops in recent years. Given that the majority of the core of this team is locked up for the long term a Swanson departure wouldn’t be the end of the world, however, it definitely will sting. It’s not an easy task to replace a stat line like Dansby’s but the Braves may feel confident in up-and-comer Vaughn Grissom who hit .291 during a 41 game stint last year while filling in for injured Ozzie Albies & Orlando Arcia. I predict that Atlanta will make a strong offer to keep their middle infield intact but will ultimately fall short and have to explore other options. Swanson isn’t the only talented player the Braves may lose, closer Kenley Jansen is hitting the market after saving a league leading 41 games last season. The Braves have expressed interest in bringing Jansen back but they do have a strong, deep bullpen and many capable arms should the need arise.

Miami Marlins

Notable FA’s: 3B Brian Anderson (0.3 WAR)

               Headlined by newly minted CY Young award winner, Sandy Alcantara, the Miami Marlins approach 2023 with their talented, young rotation as their biggest strength. It makes the most sense for Miami to tap into that depth through trade to pursue offensive upgrades. With some highly touted arms set to return from injury next year such as Max Meyer, Sixto Sanchez and Jake Eder, the movement of Pablo Lopez, Edward Cabrera or Trevor Rogers would be mitigated and net a nice return to help improve the cast around 24 year old All Star Jazz Chisholm Jr. The Marlins should be looking to add to their outfield this winter after down years from both of their big 2021 free agent signings Asivail Garcia and Jorge Solar. The only significant offensive departure is Brian Anderson, a top 100 draft selection who has been a regular on the roster since his callup in 2017. Anderson spent time at both 3B and the outfield in 2022 and takes one of the longest tenured Marlins out of the club house.

New York Mets

Notable FA’s: RHP Chris Bassitt (3.2 WAR), RHP Taijuan Walker (2.6 WAR), RHP Adam Ottavino (2.3 WAR), RHP Jacob deGrom (1.4 WAR), RHP Trevor Williams (1.4 WAR), RHP Mychal Givens (0.8 WAR), RHP Seth Lugo (0.7 WAR), LHP Alex Claudio (0.1 WAR), RHP Sean Reid-Foley (0.0 WAR), RHP Trevor May (-0.1 WAR), LHP Joely Rodríguez (-0.2 WAR), OF Brandon Nimmo (5.1 WAR), OF Tyler Naquin (-0.3 WAR), 1B Dominic Smith (-0.4 WAR)

               The New York Mets enter the 2023 offseason in the unique position of potentially being one of the league’s biggest winners and biggest losers, simultaneously. It’s a scary prospect for any team having to face losing 3/5th of it’s starting rotation, which becomes an even more daunting task when one of those pitchers is starter Jacob deGrom. Retaining deGrom is certainly a priority but maybe not a necessity. If the pursuit of deGrom falls short there are other “Ace” options on the market such as Justin Verlander and Carlos Rodon. There are 2 other members of the rotation saying goodbye, right handers Chris Bassitt & Taijuan Walker (5.8 combined WAR) and both require consideration. After trading for Bassitt last offseason, it is hard to believe that an extension won’t be agreed upon. Unfortunately for the New York faithful, it’s not just the rotation that’s losing pieces, the bullpen is taking some big hits too. Even though the Mets already made a huge move by re-signing stud closer Edwin Diaz to a record contract, they are going to need to find another way to get him the ball with their next best, late inning options like Adam Ottavino and Seth Lugo taking offers from other teams. Both sides have expressed interest in a new Brandon Nimmo contract, however, Scott Boras’ clients typically do not sign quickly and the Mets can be left with few options if the process drags on too long.

Philadelphia Phillies

Notable FA’s: RHP David Robertson (2.6 WAR), RHP Noah Syndergaard (1.8 WAR), LHP Brad Hand (0.9 WAR), RHP Zach Eflin (0.9 WAR), RHP Kyle Gibson (0.7 WAR), RHP Corey Knebel (0.6 WAR), 2B Jean Segura (1.8 WAR)

               After their magical World Series run in 2022, the Philadelphia Phillies look to the 2023 season with anticipation after picking up the club option on Aaron Nola to return their dominant 1-2 punch. The bullpen, which was a big part of the team’s success last season, is headed towards a retooling facing the loss of David Robertson and Brad Hand. The offense is already bracing for superstar Bryce Harper to miss time in the beginning of next year but there are some big time bats in Philly who should be able to weather the storm until he returns. Losing Jean Segura might hurt a bit, however Segura has appeared open to working out a new contract with the Phils even though his team option was declined.

Washington Nationals

Notable FA’s: RHP Erasmo Ramírez (1.5 WAR), RHP Aníbal Sánchez (0.9 WAR), RHP Steve Cishek (0.3 WAR), RHP Erick Fedde (-0.7 WAR), RHP Carl Edwards Jr. (1.3 WAR), 2B César Hernández (0.8 WAR), 1B/DH Luke Voit (0.8 WAR), DH Nelson Cruz (0.1 WAR)

               Full rebuild mode is on in Washington, the Nationals have some good young players in the likes of SS Luis Garcia, C Keibert Ruiz, SS CJ Abrams, LHP Mackenzie Gore, RHP Josiah Gray and Victor Robles who should continue to improve for the foreseeable future but it doesn’t seem like this team will be ready to compete in this division for a little while longer. A best case scenario of a healthy Stephen Strasburg and a renaissance season from Patrick Corbin could provide some trade interest and could help bring back a few players who may be able to push the rebuild along.

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