MLB: NL East Winter Moves

The Mets, Braves, and Phillies are expected to dominate baseball in 2023

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Grady Gore, Contibuting Writer

For the last few years, baseball has been dominated by a single division: the National League East. Three teams from the NL East have established themselves as big powerhouses with strong pitching rotations and lineups:  the Mets, Phillies, and Braves. The National League East has had multiple World Series champions in the last five years, more so than any other division. In the 2022 season, the Phillies made it to the World Series. In recent rankings, the NL East earned three of the top six spots in power rankings. The Mets come in at number two, the Braves at three, and the Phillies at six. In pitching rankings, the Mets come in at second again, the Braves at fifth, and the Phillies at seventh. That said, these three teams have looked to make massive improvements to their rosters this off-season. 

In the last few years, the Braves have solidified a young team that performs well in the playoffs. In 2022, the Braves made many off-season moves including signing players for multiple positions, either for backup or starting roles. For a catcher, the Braves signed Sean Murphy to a six-year contract. For starting pitchers, the Braves signed Mike Soroka to a one-year deal. For relief pitchers, the Braves signed Lucas Luetge, Jackson Stephens, Joe Jimenez, Tyler Matzek, and Nick Anderson. To play right field, the Braves signed Jordan Luplow. For center field, the Braves signed Eli White. With these new additions to an already young and talented staff, we can expect the Braves to return to the World Series soon.

The Phillies had a tremendous 2022 World Series run, coming close to winning the title. The Phillies are a team that especially values offense over defense, which directly correlates to their power rankings within the MLB. Adding this an already exceptional pitching staff, the Phillies are a force to be reckoned with in 2023. For starting pitchers, the Phillies signed Ranger Suarez and Taijuan Walker. For relief pitchers, the Phillies signed Gregory Soto, Vinny Nittoli, Yunior Marte, Craig Kimbrel, Erich Uelmen, and Matt Strahm. At first base, the Phillies re-signed Rhys Hoskins. At second base, the Phillies signed Kody Clemens. For shortstop, the Phillies signed Edmundo Sosa and Trea Turner. For third base, the Phillies signed Kody Clemens. For left field, the Phillies signed Jake Cave. The Phillies signing big names such as Trea Turner and Gregory Soto will better increase their chances at a World Series title. 

The Mets’ 2022 regular season was an electric start for Mets fans. Considering the fact that the team has a new owner, Mets fans can be excited for a World Series run either in 2023 or 2024. However, the Mets’ playoff run in 2022 was a disappointing show of what the Mets seem to do best: lose in the playoffs. For starting pitchers, the Mets signed superstars Justin Verlander, Jose Quintana, Joey Lucchesi, and Kodai Senga. It was a risky move for the Mets to sign Kodai Senga because of the difference between the Japanese league, where Senga is from, and the MLB. For starters, the ball in Japan is smaller and easier to create spin rotations. Senga is known for his “Ghost Forkball” which is a pitch that depends on spin levels. WhenKodai uses a regular MLB ball, his spin rotations likely will be much lower, decreasing the effectiveness of his pitches. The Mets are therefore taking a large chance on their third starting pitcher. For relief pitchers, the Mets have Drew Smith, Jeff Brigham, Elieser Hernandez, Adam Ottavino, David Robertson, and Brooks Raley. For catchers, the Mets re-signed Tomas Nido and added Omar Narvaez. At second base, the Mets re-signed Luis Guillorme. For first base, the Mets re-signed big-hitting Pete Alonso. For shortstop, the Mets signed Danny Mendick from the White Sox. For center field, the Mets re-signed Brandon Nimmo to a long-term deal. The improved bullpen for the Mets will help supply the team with good defense. Losing Jacob deGrom was a huge setback; however, the Mets patched the hole in the rotation very well. The Mets also filled gaps in hitting lineups by signing Omar Narvaez, a catcher who specializes in hitting home runs. He is not the only catcher known for hitting home runs on the team because Francisco Alvarez has great power from both sides, especially lefty, making him a good DH hitter as well. 

Only time will tell how these off-season moves will affect teams. No one is one hundred percent sure how these new or returning players will fare against new teams and new conditions. The only thing certain is that the 2023-24 seasons will be seasons to remember.