NL East teams at the start of spring training
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: Dave Martinez (first season).
2017: 97-65, first place, lost to Chicago Cubs in NLDS.
Training Town: West Palm Beach, Florida.
Park: The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
First Workout: Feb. 16/21.
He’s Here: 1B-OF Matt Adams, C Miguel Montero.
He’s Outta Here: Manager Dusty Baker, LF Jayson Werth, C Jose Lobaton, 1B-LF Adam Lind, RHP Matt Albers.
Going campin’: It’s become an all-too-familiar story for the Nationals and their fans: terrific regular season, followed by quick playoff exit, followed by a managerial change. Martinez will be the latest skipper to try to lead the club to postseason success — and GM Mike Rizzo has made it clear that ownership expects nothing less than a World Series championship. Martinez has been Joe Maddon’s right-hand man with the Chicago Cubs and Tampa Bay Rays and now gets his first shot in charge of a team. He replaces Baker, who lost his job after two NL East titles in two years as Washington’s manager — and two one-run Game 5 defeats in the NLDS. The core of the team did not change at all, with RF Bryce Harper leading the lineup in what could be his last go-round with the team that drafted him No. 1 overall. He can become a free agent after this season and is expected to command a record-breaking contract. 2B Daniel Murphy (coming off knee surgery), 1B Ryan Zimmerman (coming off a career year of .303, 36 HRs, 108 RBIs but also 33 years old), 3B Anthony Rendon and SS Trea Turner should provide plenty of offense, while three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg anchor the rotation. The back end of the bullpen (Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler) returns intact. Not much in the way of camp competition anywhere.
Manager: Don Mattingly (third season).
2017: 77-85, second place.
Training Town: Jupiter, Florida.
Park: Roger Dean Stadium.
First Workout: Feb. 14/19.
He’s Here: INF Starlin Castro, OF Lewis Brinson, RHP Sandy Alcantara, RHP Jorge Guzman, 1B Garrett Cooper, RHP Jacob Turner, OF-1B Scott Van Slyke, RHP Jumbo Diaz.
He’s Outta Here: RF Giancarlo Stanton, LF Marcell Ozuna, CF Christian Yelich, 2B Dee Gordon, RHP Tom Koehler, OF Ichiro Suzuki, RHP Dustin McGowan, C A.J. Ellis.
Going campin’: The perennially downtrodden Marlins reboot yet again, this time under a new ownership group led by former Yankees captain Derek Jeter. The group has already antagonized the tiny fan base by trading major league home run champion Stanton, stolen base champ Gordon, All-Star Ozuna and Yelich, netting in return Castro and prospects. Jeter says the payroll dump was necessary because budget discipline and a stronger farm system are the only path to sustained success. The Marlins haven’t had a winning season since 2009, and .500 may now be at least a few more years away. Mattingly’s challenge during spring training will be to find five starting pitchers and build a lineup around Castro and catcher J.T. Realmuto — although both could exit in trades for more prospects.
Manager: Brian Snitker (third season).
2017: 72-90, third place.
Training Town: Kissimmee, Florida.
Park: Champion Stadium.
First Workout: Feb. 14/19.
He’s Here: RHP Brandon McCarthy, LHP Scott Kazmir, INF Charlie Culberson, OF Preston Tucker, OF Ronald Acuna, 3B Austin Riley, OF Jeff Decker, 2B Christian Colon, RHP Shane Carle.
He’s Outta Here: OF Matt Kemp, RHP R.A. Dickey, 3B Adonis Garcia, 1B Matt Adams, INF Jace Peterson, RHP Jason Motte.
Going campin’: It would be no surprise if top prospect Acuna makes a big push this spring to open the season in Atlanta. For at least a few weeks, however, Lane Adams and Preston Tucker might share the job in left field. Similarly, Johan Camargo and Rio Ruiz may lead the competition at third base, but Riley is another top prospect who could try to show this spring he’s ready for the job. Julio Teheran, Mike Foltynewicz and McCarthy should have spots in the rotation, and leading contenders for the other two slots are left-handers Sean Newcomb and Luiz Gohara, plus Lucas Sims, Max Fried and Kazmir, if healthy. The Braves are concerned about a lack of power in the lineup after losing Kemp and Adams. The team might add a bat on a short-term contract. Left-hander A.J. Minter, who impressed in a late-season audition, could eventually push Arodys Vizcaino for ninth-inning work.
New York Mets
Manager: Mickey Callaway (first season).
2017: 70-92, fourth place.
Training Town: Port St. Lucie, Florida.
Park: First Data Field.
First Workout: Feb. 14/19.
He’s Here: 3B Todd Frazier, RF Jay Bruce, RHP Anthony Swarzak, 1B Adrian Gonzalez, C Jose Lobaton, INF-OF Ty Kelly, LHP Matt Purke, OF Zach Borenstein.
He’s Outta Here: Manager Terry Collins, LHP Josh Smoker, LHP Josh Edgin, RHP Chasen Bradford, OF Norichika Aoki, RHP Erik Goeddel, LHP Tommy Milone, OF Travis Taijeron.
Going campin’: While many teams were reluctant to spend in free agency, the Mets shopped around for sensible deals and filled a few holes with Frazier, Bruce and Swarzak. It’s enough to give them hope for a bounce-back season, but their chances to contend probably depend on the 3-4-5 spots in the rotation. Can injury-plagued Steven Matz, Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler provide quality innings? If not, can Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo fill in adequately the way they did in 2016? Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, back from a torn lat muscle, give New York a 1-2 punch to rival anyone at the top of the rotation. But the Mets are counting on Callaway, coming off an impressive stint as Cleveland’s pitching coach, and new pitching instructor Dave Eiland to repair the rest of a staff that ranked 28th in the majors with a 5.01 ERA. There are three or four jobs available in a bullpen that could be solid at the back end with Jeurys Familia, AJ Ramos, Jerry Blevins and Swarzak. Bruce, Frazier and Yoenis Cespedes provide power in a plodding lineup that hopes to get All-Star slugger Michael Conforto (shoulder surgery) back in May. Until then, Brandon Nimmo and Juan Lagares figure to platoon in center field. Nimmo, a first-round draft pick who turns 25 next month, quietly made strides last season and might be ready to make an impact. New York will be looking for marked improvement from 22-year-old prospects Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith, too. Both struggled in their first taste of the majors. A slimmed-down Smith will compete at first base with the 35-year-old Gonzalez, a five-time All-Star beset by a bad back with the Dodgers last season. Also in big league camp, former star quarterback Tim Tebow as the minor league outfielder begins his second pro baseball season. It’s hard to envision the Mets challenging star-studded Washington for NL East supremacy, but with better health in a weak division they could rejoin the wild-card hunt.
Manager: Gabe Kapler (first season).
2017: 66-96, fifth place.
Training Town: Clearwater, Florida.
Park: Spectrum Field.
First Workout: Feb. 14/19.
He’s Here: 1B Carlos Santana, RHP Pat Neshek, RHP Tommy Hunter, RHP Francisco Rodriguez, INF Will Middlebrooks.
He’s Outta Here: Manager Pete Mackanin, SS Freddy Galvis, INF Andres Blanco, OF Daniel Nava, OF Hyun Soo Kim, RHP Clay Buchholz.
Going campin’: The Phillies have had five straight losing seasons and finished last three times in the past four years, but they have reason for optimism. They were 35-35 in the last 70 games after young hitters Nick Williams, Jorge Alfaro, Rhys Hoskins and J.P. Crawford joined the team. The addition of Santana bolsters a lineup that includes Odubel Herrera, Cesar Hernandez, Maikel Franco and Aaron Altherr. It could be quite formidable. Neshek and Hunter add depth in the bullpen, giving the team a potentially strong 7-8-9 setup with closer Hector Neris. The rotation lacks a proven ace but there’s talent led by Aaron Nola. If a couple of starters step up and Jerad Eickhoff and Vince Velasquez return to 2016 form, it could be solid. Kapler has limited managerial experience but he’s a progressive thinker who embraces analytics and sports science. It’ll be interesting to see how he handles his first spring training.
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