The Mets and Indians pulled off a blockbuster trade today that brought the team in Queens some royalty in the form of Francisco Lindor and his +5.6 WAR. If that was not enough, they also got starting pitching help in that same trade package as Carlos Carrasco joins a very good Mets rotation.
Welcome to New York! 🍎
— New York Mets (@Mets) January 7, 2021
The rest of the NL East are looking up at the Mets now. In fact, FanGraphs ranks the best teams in all of Major League baseball with the Dodgers, Padres and Mets as one, two, and three respectively. Keep in mind that the Mets probably could make one more splash in an outfield acquisition and could improve even more. George Springer is a +3.8 WAR player and a free agent signing like that would make the Mets the tops in the NL.
The Nats are still holding steady as the 15th top team in WAR rankings. If you believe the WAR rankings, the Braves would be the fourth rated team in the NL and the Nats would be the fifth rated team. With the top-5 teams making the postseason, the Nats would be a Wild Card team if they were in fact the fifth best team in the NL when the 2021 season ends.
For more good news, there are well over a dozen players who are still available on the free agent market who would add over +2.0 WAR and several others available on trade. The Nats are two key acquisitions away from vaulting over the Braves — if they spend the money.
Yes, player capital. Whoever is spending has a chance to improve even more given how deep the free agent market remains at this point of the offseason. One player who is off the free agency list is the Japanese star pitcher, Tomoyuki Sugano, as he did not come to an agreement on a contract with an MLB team before his posting window expired earlier today. It is expected that he will stay with the Nippon Professional Baseball league for 2021 and be eligible to come to MLB as a free agent in a year when market conditions are more favorable.
For all of the rumors swirling about the Nats, most say general manager Mike Rizzo will add a corner outfielder. Our sources tell us that the Nats could still add an infielder instead of committing to a corner outfielder. Based on the depth charts, it would make sense at the very least to add a right-handed outfielder to the mix, and the Nats could also add a backup catcher and another first baseman. If Rizzo picks the right players off of the ala carte menu, he could add +4 to +5 WAR quite easily. Again, it only costs cash if he goes the free agent route or he could seek out a salary dump in trade.
Ken Rosenthal writes in The Athletic, “The Nationals, after trading for first baseman Josh Bell, want to add a corner outfielder, ideally someone from the free-agent tier that includes Michael Brantley, Joc Pederson and Kyle Schwarber.”
“Marcell Ozuna figures to be too expensive for the Nats, and like Brantley was more of a DH last season. Pederson or perhaps Adam Duvall would be a more logical fit, considering Washington ranked last in the majors with -45 defensive runs saved.”
Every name has been discussed here in detail, and we would add Kevin Pillar to the discussion as an inexpensive right-handed outfielder who can provide above average defense. Again, the names Rosenthal mentions are outfielders. There are several infielders who could fit well also for the Nationals.
Onto bigger and better discussions!