A team-by-team look at the National League East entering spring training, including key players each club acquired and lost, and dates of the first workout for pitchers and catchers, and the full squad:
Manager: Brian Snitker (fifth season).
2019: 97-65, first place, lost to Cardinals in Division Series.
Training Town: North Port, Florida.
Park: CoolToday Park.
First Workout: Feb. 13/18.
He’s Here: LF Marcell Ozuna, C Travis d’Arnaud, LHP Cole Hamels, LHP Will Smith, RHP Félix Hernández.
He’s Outta Here: 3B Josh Donaldson, LHP Dallas Keuchel, RHP Julio Teheran, C Brian McCann, OF Matt Joyce, RHP Anthony Swarzak, RHP Josh Tomlin, LHP Jerry Blevins, OF Billy Hamilton, C Francisco Cervelli.
Going campin’: The Braves are coming off their second straight NL East title, led by one of baseball’s brightest young stars. In his first full season in the big leagues, 22-year-old OF Ronald Acuña Jr. hit 41 homers, led the league with 127 runs and tallied 37 stolen bases to become the second-youngest member of the 30-30 club behind Mike Trout. Acuña, 2B Ozzie Albies (24 HRs, 86 RBIs) and 1B Freddie Freeman (38 HRs, 121 RBIs) are a dynamic trio at the top of the order. The Braves took a big loss in free agency when cleanup hitter Josh Donaldson departed for Minnesota, but Ozuna (29 HRs, 89 RBIs with St. Louis) has the potential to fill the void. Perhaps the biggest issue in spring training will be deciding on Donaldson’s replacement at third base: Johan Camargo or Austin Riley. The pitching staff appears largely set beyond settling on a fifth starter and locking down someone to finish games. The Braves signed Smith (34 saves with San Francisco) to join Mark Melancon, who ended 2019 as the closer and will apparently get first crack at keeping the job. The Braves will be in new digs this spring, moving to Florida’s Gulf Coast after spending the last 21 years at the Disney World complex near Orlando.
Manager: Dave Martinez (third season).
2019: 93-69, second place, wild card, World Series champions.
Training Town: West Palm Beach, Florida.
Park: FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
First Workout: Feb. 13/18.
He’s Here: RHP Will Harris, 1B Eric Thames, INF Starlin Castro, RHP Kyle Finnegan, RHP Ryne Harper.
He’s Outta Here: 3B Anthony Rendon, 2B Brian Dozier, 1B Matt Adams, OF Gerardo Parra.
Going campin’: With the notable exception of Rendon, the Nationals are mostly the same group that finally came through in the postseason, winning the ex-Expos franchise’s first World Series title — and the first for the nation’s capital since 1924 — by beating Houston in seven games. They did it as a wild-card team that was a disaster early in the season, falling to 19-31 after a May 23 loss completed a four-game sweep at the Mets. Martinez told his players to “go 1-0 today” and to “stay in the fight” and it worked: Washington was the first team in more than a century to fall 12 games below .500 and finish with 93 wins or more. A loose clubhouse atmosphere fostered by Parra and other veterans — Washington had the oldest roster in the majors — combined with as good a starting rotation as anyone and an ability to generate offense when it was needed to erase deficits. The Nationals hope the same formula works in 2020. That starting staff is back intact, with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin leading the way. Washington will go as far as that group takes it. The biggest question throughout 2019 will be one of the two biggest story lines to watch this year: What is going to happen with the bullpen? The worst relief corps in the NL got help at the trade deadline, primarily from righty Daniel Hudson, and he is back again, along with lefty Sean Doolittle, plus GM Mike Rizzo’s most important offseason addition, Harris. The other significant doubt for Washington: Who will fill the gap left by Rendon at third base and the middle of the lineup? Sounds as though rookie Carter Kieboom will get a shot, and Martinez also can turn to Castro and Asdrúbal Cabrera to play third.
New York Mets
Manager: Luis Rojas (first season).
2019: 86-76, third place.
Training Town: Port St. Lucie, Florida.
Park: Clover Park.
First Workout: Feb. 12/17.
He’s Here: RHP Rick Porcello, RHP Dellin Betances, RHP Michael Wacha, OF Jake Marisnick, LHP Stephen Gonsalves, 1B Matt Adams, INF Eduardo Núñez, RHP Erasmo Ramírez, LHP Chasen Shreve, OF Jarrett Parker, OF Ryan Cordell, SS Max Moroff, RHP Rob Whalen.
He’s Outta Here: Manager Mickey Callaway, Manager Carlos Beltrán, RHP Zack Wheeler, 3B Todd Frazier, CF Juan Lagares, LHP Luis Avilán, 2B Joe Panik, OF Rajai Davis, RHP Chris Mazza, RHP Chris Flexen, RHP Drew Gagnon, INF Sam Haggerty.
Going campin’: After changing managers twice during a tumultuous offseason and scrapping the proposed sale of a controlling share of the team to hedge fund manager Steve Cohen, the Mets are surely eager to shift some focus back to the field. Callaway was fired and initially replaced by Beltrán, who lasted just 2½ months and never managed a game. The former slugger was let go days after being implicated in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, and New York pivoted in January to the 38-year-old Rojas — the son of longtime major league player and manager Felipe Alou, and brother of six-time All-Star Moises Alou. Rojas was elevated from quality control coach after only one season in a big league dugout. But he has eight years of experience managing in the minors as high as Double-A and is popular among Mets who played for him on the way up. Now, he takes over a team expecting to win in a rugged division that includes World Series champion Washington. Playoff optimism starts with Jacob deGrom, winner of consecutive Cy Young Awards, and Pete Alonso, the reigning NL Rookie of the Year after leading the majors with a rookie-record 53 homers last season. Four prominent pitchers on the staff grew up in the New York metropolitan area: Porcello, Betances, Marcus Stroman and Steven Matz. Porcello, the 2016 AL Cy Young winner, replaces Wheeler in the rotation after he signed with the rival Phillies. If all the starters are healthy, Wacha or Matz could get bumped into a problematic bullpen that appears deeper this year. The 6-foot-8 Betances, a four-time All-Star with the crosstown Yankees, can make a huge difference if healthy — shoulder, lat and Achilles tendon injuries limited him to one appearance last year. New York is also counting on bounce-back seasons from closer Edwin Díaz, starter Noah Syndergaard, reliever Jeurys Familia and 37-year-old second baseman Robinson Canó. J.D. Davis and All-Star Jeff McNeil are likely to get work at both third base and left field this spring. Minor leaguer Tim Tebow, the former star quarterback, returns to big league camp as the finishing touches are put on a $57 million renovation of the complex and Mets ownership looks for another buyer. Still, all eyes will be on enigmatic slugger Yoenis Céspedes as he attempts his comeback from a long injury layoff.
Manager: Joe Girardi (first season).
2019: 81-81, fourth place.
Training Town: Clearwater, Florida.
Park: Spectrum Field.
First Workout: Feb. 12/17.
He’s Here: Manager Joe Girardi, RHP Zack Wheeler, SS Didi Gregorius, LHP Francisco Liriano, RHP Bud Norris, INF Josh Harrison, INF Neil Walker, RHP Drew Storen, INF Ronald Torreyes, OF Matt Szczur, C Christian Bethancourt, OF Nick Martini, INF Logan Forsythe, RHP Anthony Swarzak, RHP Trevor Kelley.
He’s Outta Here: Manager Gabe Kapler, 2B Cesar Hernandez, 3B Maikel Franco, OF Corey Dickerson, LHP Drew Smyly, LHP Jason Vargas, RHP Blake Parker, RHP Pat Neshek, RHP Tommy Hunter, RHP Jerad Eickhoff, RHP Mike Morin, RHP Jared Hughes, INF-OF Sean Rodriguez, INF-OF Brad Miller, 1B Logan Morrison.
Going campin’: The Phillies didn’t live up to lofty expectations following the arrival of Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto and other high-profile players last season. The team’s failure to reach the playoffs for the eighth straight year cost Kapler his job after only two seasons. Girardi arrives with a winning pedigree, having led the Yankees to three AL East titles, six postseason appearances and a World Series championship. The additions of Wheeler and Gregorius in free agency help, but the Phillies still have several question marks in the bullpen and the starting rotation. Left fielder Andrew McCutchen returns from a knee injury that ended his season last June and coincided with the team’s decline after the Phillies led the division for two months. Realmuto was an All-Star and Harper rebounded nicely after a slow first half. Wheeler teams with Aaron Nola to give the Phillies a solid 1-2 punch in the rotation. A declining Jake Arrieta will have a spot because he’s making $20 million. Inconsistent righties Zach Eflin, Vince Velasquez and Nick Pivetta will compete for the final two spots. Former first-round pick Adam Haseley gets a shot to prove he can be the everyday center fielder, and Scott Kingery will likely be the third baseman with Jean Segura moving from shortstop to second to make room for Gregorius.
Manager: Don Mattingly (fifth season).
2019: 57-105, fifth place.
Training Town: Jupiter, Florida.
Park: Roger Dean Stadium.
First Workout: Feb. 12/17.
He’s Here: INF-OF Jonathan Villar, 1B Jesus Aguilar, LF Corey Dickerson, RHP Brandon Kintzler, OF Matt Joyce, C Francisco Cervelli.
He’s Outta Here: 2B Starlin Castro, LF Curtis Granderson, INF Neil Walker, LF Austin Dean, C Bryan Holaday, RHP Tayron Guerrero, RHP Tyler Kinley, LHP Wei-Yin Chen.
Going campin’: Mattingly has been with the Marlins longer than any of his players, and the roster turnover is dramatic again this year as they enter Year 3 of a rebuilding effort under executive Derek Jeter. Mattingly will spend spring training sorting out prospects for a rotation that should be the team’s strength. He also must figure out who will play where, because Villar, Brian Anderson, Garrett Cooper and Jon Berti can all play the infield or outfield. The Marlins should be better but are probably still a year or more away from their first winning season since 2009.
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