Atlanta Braves: Don't cave into trading Freddie Freeman
Freddie Freeman is the face of the Atlanta Braves. Despite being owed over $118 million for the next six years, he's the most valuable trade piece for the rebuilding Braves. The 26-year-old was slowed by injuries in 2015 and was limited to 118 games, but still smashed 18 homers, matching his total from 2014 -- and he played the full 162 games in 2014. The Braves will hear big offers, but if they want to be competitve in 2017 (the year the move to their new ballpark), Freeman needs to be a cornerstone.
Brett Davis-USA TODAY SportsBrett Davis
Miami Marlins: Make headlines on the field
Even after losing 91 games in 2015, it isn't out of the realm that Miami could be competitve in 2016. They will (hopefully) have a healthy Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Fernandez leading a pack of young, dynamic players in Dee Gordon, Adeinny Hechavarria and Christian Yelich, just to name a few. In recent seasons, however, the team is more known for their extracurricular activity (managerial and GM changes, leadership comments to the media, etc). It would be a welcomed change of pace to see Miami in the news for the noise they're making on the field -- not off of it.
New York Mets: Stay healthy
One of these had to be cliche, right? The New Year's resolution for the Mets is simple: stay healthy. With Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz starting the season in the rotation (and Zack Wheeler joining them midseason), the Mets will have one of the best rotations in baseball. All five of those guys are capable of being an ace. David Wright, Curtis Granderson and Travis d'Arnaud are all key pieces to the team that have had trouble staying on the field. If the team remains largely healthy, there's a good chance they can return to the World Series in back-to-back seasons.
Getty ImagesJim McIsaac
Philadelphia Phillies: Stay the course
New GM Matt Klentak is in his first year at the position and he and president Andy MacPhail have a plan to rebuild the Phillies into competitors. There will be plenty of outside pressure this upcoming season -- losses will mount, fans will be sparse at games (but loud in their displeasure) and questions will arise if what they are doing is right. Leadership has been very transparent about their plans and if they stick to it, fans will at least have confidence at the top. They just might have to wait a bit for the plans to translate to on-field success.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY SportsBill Streicher
Washington Nationals: Exceed expectations
Prior to the 2015 season, the Washington Nationals were expected to compete for a World Series. They had a great rotation led by Jordan Zimmermann and the newly-signed Max Scherzer. They had a solid lineup with Bryce Harper, Ian Desmond and Anthony Rendon. Unfortunately, though, they fell flat, winning 83 games and finishing second in the division. This upcoming season, it's the Mets and everybody else in the NL East. The Nats have holes to fill (Zimmermann and Desmond became free agents), but if they exceed their expectations (rather than leave them unfulfilled), they could be a darkhorse contender for the division.