The NL East was one of the most competitive divisions in baseball this season and if a few things fell into place, it's reasonable to believe that three of the five teams in the division would have been competing for a World Series championship at the beginning of October.
While the Washington Nationals' season will continue in Game 2 of the 2019 World Series on Wednesday night, it never hurts to take a prospective look ahead into the offseason. With that in mind, here are some key moves that each NL East contender should make this offseason.
4. Philadelphia Phillies: Sign Dallas Keuchel
The Philadelphia Phillies have enough offensive firepower to make the postseason in 2020, but actually getting there will require a stronger rotation. Phillies starters had a 4.66 combined ERA (No. 17 in MLB) in 2019 and could be in the market for up to three starting pitchers if Jake Arrieta (player option), Jason Vargas (club option) and Drew Smyly leave via free agency. His numbers (3.75 ERA, 1.37 WHIP in 2019) don't really jump off the page when you look at them, but Dallas Keuchel would be a great fit in Philly due to his ability to induce ground balls. The 31-year-old owns a career 58.9 percent ground ball rate, which should help keep damage at a minimum at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park.
3. New York Mets: Sign Will Smith
The New York Mets have several key pieces in place to give them another shot at October baseball in 2020. However, that might not become a reality unless the club signs a quality reliever or two, as the Mets' bullpen finished the year with a 4.95 ERA (No. 25 in MLB) and 27 blown saves (No. 21 in MLB). Will Smith, who finished the season with a 2.76 ERA, would be an excellent high-leverage arm that can keep leads late in games (85 career holds) and serve as the team's closer (34-of-38 save opportunities converted in 2019) just in case current closer Edwin Diaz (5.59 ERA, 26-of-33 in save opportunities) struggles again next year.
2. Washington Nationals: Sign Wade Miley
The Washington Nationals are playing in their first World Series thanks to a postseason for the ages from their rotation. However, adding another arm or two this offseason would go a long way in making a return trip to the Fall Classic possible. Stephen Strasburg (player option) could walk in free agency and finding a solid fifth starter would go a long way. Gerrit Cole would command more money than the cap-strapped Nationals could afford, but bringing in another Houston Astros pitcher in Wade Miley would be a solid move worth making. The 32-year-old southpaw owns a 3.52 ERA over the last two seasons as a back of the rotation starter.
1. Atlanta Braves: Sign Anthony Rendon
What's more satisfying than improving your roster than stealing a premier free agent from a division rival? Anthony Rendon had an MVP-caliber season for the Washington Nationals in 2019, slashing .319/.412/.598 with 34 homers, an NL-best 44 doubles and an MLB-best 126 RBI. With an incredibly talented young core already in place, the 30-year-old third baseman would be a perfect long-term replacement for impending free agent Josh Donaldson and could put Atlanta immediately among the World Series favorites.
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Mike Esposito is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Esposito also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username espo6891. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.