Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Mets for 2020

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 01: Pete Alonso #20 of the New York Mets and Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies during a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 1, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 01: Pete Alonso #20 of the New York Mets and Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies during a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 1, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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Former Mets starter joins the Phillies rotation. Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. /

Beginning with pitchers and catchers, the Phillies will compete with three National League East rivals for the divisional pennant, so let’s firstly examine and compare their offseason changes, resources and weaknesses with the Mets.

Us versus them:   

Many faithful supporters of the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets usually have either high or minimal expectations, but the midpoint is the closest to reality until mid-April. Besides, each 162 has surprises, disappointments and injuries. Plus question marks, no?

"IN OTHER WORDS: “There are two ways to be happy: improve your reality, or lower your expectations.” – Jodi Picoult"

In the NL East, four organizations will again compete for the divisional crown, and the healthiest clubs will have a solid opportunity, while injuries will limit the others to a wild-card shot. And as the Washington Nationals proved last September, a hot team can win the Wild Card Game on their way to a championship.

With 12 games remaining, the 2019 Mets were 9-3 to finish at 86-76, while the Phils went 3-9 to play .500 ball at 81-81. But each franchise had adversity and unhappy fans, who expected more than the product on the field. Against each other, though, the Fightins had 12 wins to New York’s seven.

Financially, both organizations have payrolls slightly over $183 million, but Philadelphia is at $204.6 million AAV (average annual value) to New York’s $202.2 million AAV. And both will either move some salary or exceed the CBT (competitive-balance threshold) of $208 million AAV to compete after the All-Star break.

This winter, the Mets spent $24.35 million on free agents (NL eighth) and outbid the Phils for Dellin Betances ($10.5 million), plus he will take some pressure off the weakest part of their 25-man roster. As for the red pinstripes, they signed Zack Wheeler ($118 million) plus Didi Gregorius ($14 million) for $132 million (NL third).

Division-wise, the Atlanta Braves inked a closer but lost their hot-corner slugger. In the bullpen, their three mid-season acquisitions will return as question marks. And even though the Nationals are the defending champs, they lost their top bat but will have the same pen they had relied on from August through October.

Expectations: The Metropolitans have a solid one-through-four rotation, have streaky hitters, but could agonize over the final three innings of many contests. Meanwhile, the Fightins’ five-man staff and offense are stronger, but the relief corps will feature the same cast of characters with improvement depending on their health.