Phillies: NL East’s bidding war for 2020

LAKELAND, FL - MARCH 02: A group of official Rawlings Major League baseballs and a Sharpie marker sit on a railing prior to the Spring Training game between the Miami Marlins and the Detroit Tigers at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium on March 2, 2018 in Lakeland, Florida. The Tigers defeated the Marlins 8-3. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
LAKELAND, FL - MARCH 02: A group of official Rawlings Major League baseballs and a Sharpie marker sit on a railing prior to the Spring Training game between the Miami Marlins and the Detroit Tigers at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium on March 2, 2018 in Lakeland, Florida. The Tigers defeated the Marlins 8-3. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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Another combination for $14 million AAV is Givens ($3 million AAV) paired with Smith ($11 million AAV). Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images. /

Eastern rivals:       

While some Phillies fans believe the Braves, Nationals and Mets have superior bullpens, those three organizations would have interest in Hector Neris. For instance, Atlanta has Mark Melancon closing because Shane Greene‘s success with the Detroit Tigers was in low-stress situations, not a playoff run. Yes, they were July acquisitions.

After the Braves had moved their injured closer to the Seattle Mariners, they demoted their setup man to Triple-A. In other words, their pen was iffy and is still a shortcoming. Plus they are on the hook for $14 million in ’20 for Melancon, and that could be around 30 percent of their available finances to defend their NL East crown.

Regarding Washington, their manager had extended his top starters into the seventh and eighth frames with only Sean Doolittle finishing off the opposition. Their eighth inning had been an abyss until they picked up Hudson from the Toronto Blue Jays. Unfortunately, he will be a free agent unlike their other additions.

With Anthony Rendon cashing in on a hefty contract, the Nats will either have limited funds to re-up Hudson if they re-sign their third sacker, or they’ll spend on a middle-of-the-order bat and Hudson. Again, it will be a challenging winter for their front office.

As for the Metropolitans, they had accepted Cano’s $120 million commitment for five remaining campaigns to acquire Edwin Diaz, but the flamethrower had trouble pitching under York City’s glaring lights. To make matters worse, they had re-signed Jeurys Familia, their 2018 closer, as his setup man; and he also proved unreliable.

Ending the 162 with Seth Lugo performing two-frame saves, their first-year GM will be under the microscope with the vocal New York fandom. This offseason, though, the Mets will have money due to their upcoming free agents, but they’ll need those dollars for replacements and relievers.