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: Dusty Baker (second season).
2016: 95-67, first place, lost to Dodgers in NLDS.
Training Town: West Palm Beach, Florida.
Park: The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
First Workout: Feb. 16/19.
He’s Here: CF Adam Eaton, C Derek Norris, LHP Enny Romero.
He’s Outta Here: RHP Mark Melancon, C Wilson Ramos, INF Danny Espinosa, CF Ben Revere, LHP Marc Rzepczynski.
Going campin’: After winning the NL East for the third time in five years, and once again losing their opening playoff series, the Nationals made just a couple of significant offseason additions. Instead, GM Mike Rizzo brings his team to its new spring training facility (shared with the Houston Astros) counting on the returning core to be productive, including RHPs Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg (who is coming off an elbow injury), RF Bryce Harper (coming off a disappointing season), and INFs Daniel Murphy and Anthony Rendon. Of particular concern at the start of camp is the bullpen, where closer Melancon left as a free agent and has not been replaced. As of now, while Washington could still be looking for an additional piece, it could wind up giving the ninth-inning job to an in-house candidate such as Shawn Kelley or Blake Treinen. Another key question is whether, at age 32, first baseman Ryan Zimmerman can bounce back from a season in which he hit .218 with a .272 on-base percentage and .370 slugging percentage.
New York Mets
Manager: Terry Collins (seventh season).
2016: 87-75, second place, lost to San Francisco in wild-card game.
Training Town: Port St. Lucie, Florida.
Park: Tradition Field.
First Workout: Feb. 14/19.
He’s Here: LHP Tom Gorzelanny, LHP Adam Wilk, RHP Ben Rowen, 3B coach Glenn Sherlock.
He’s Outta Here: RHP Bartolo Colon, 1B James Loney, OF Alejandro De Aza, RHP Jim Henderson, LHP Jonathon Niese, INF-OF Kelly Johnson, RHP Logan Verrett, RHP Gabriel Ynoa, CF Justin Ruggiano, 3B coach Tim Teufel.
Going campin’: There aren’t many new faces in the clubhouse as the Mets, 2015 NL champs, set out to make three straight playoff appearances for the first time in franchise history. New York quickly re-signed slugger Yoenis Cespedes for $110 million over four years and barely touched last season’s injury-riddled squad during the winter. That could change this spring, with GM Sandy Alderson still looking to clear space in a crowded outfield by trading Jay Bruce. But the team’s No. 1 concern is the overall health of a talented young rotation led by ace Noah Syndergaard. Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler are all coming off surgery and will be watched very closely. Wheeler is yet to return from Tommy John surgery in March 2015. To start, he might need to beat out Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo – the surprising rookies who saved a depleted staff down the stretch last year. First baseman Lucas Duda (back), second baseman Neil Walker (back surgery) and third baseman David Wright (neck surgery) hope to be healthy and productive. Catcher is another question mark after oft-injured Travis d’Arnaud (.629 OPS, 15 RBIs) slumped badly and lost playing time. Veteran defensive standout Rene Rivera was brought back as insurance. But there is plenty of desirable depth on the roster in Jose Reyes, Wilmer Flores, Michael Conforto, Juan Lagares and more. In the bullpen, All-Star closer Jeurys Familia faces a possible suspension under MLB’s domestic violence policy. Steady setup man Addison Reed, with 106 career saves, could slide into the ninth-inning role for a while. Familia, Reyes and Rivera are among at least 13 Mets slated to participate in the World Baseball Classic next month. Then there’s former star quarterback Tim Tebow, ticketed for minor league camp. Meanwhile, the Mets will gear up and try to chase down Washington in the NL East with this number on their side: a 106-74 record the past two seasons with Cespedes in the lineup.
Manager: Don Mattingly (second season).
2016: 79-82, third place.
Training Town: Jupiter, Florida.
Park: Roger Dean Stadium.
First Workout: Feb. 14/17.
He’s Here: RHP Dan Straily, RHP Edinson Volquez, RHP Brad Ziegler, RHP Junichi Tazawa, LHP Jeff Locke, C A.J. Ellis.
He’s Outta Here: LHP Mike Dunn, INF Chris Johnson, C Jeff Mathis, RHP Andrew Cashner, RHP Fernando Rodney, OF Jeff Francoeur.
Going campin’: The Marlins must move on without ace Jose Fernandez, killed in a boat crash the week before the end of the 2016 season. His career record of 38-17 makes him impossible to replace, and there’s no clear No. 1 starter on the roster. The Marlins will try to patch together a rotation, with the most likely combination including newcomers Straily and Volquez, and holdovers Wei-Yin Chen, Tom Koehler and Adam Conley. One key question in spring training is the health of Chen, who battled elbow trouble last year and made only three starts in the final two months. Mattingly will use the spring to assess a deep, talented bullpen that includes several newcomers. The starting lineup returns intact and will be anchored by slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who batted a career-low .240 in 2016. Also back is 43-year-old reserve outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, now a member of the 3,000-hit club. Frugal owner Jeffrey Loria, who has a preliminary agreement to sell the team, has increased the payroll to about $100 million in hopes of ending a 13-season playoff drought.
Manager: Pete Mackanin (third season).
2016: 71-91, fourth place.
Training Town: Clearwater, Fla.
Park: Spectrum Field
First Workout: Feb. 14/17.
He’s Here: LF-INF Howie Kendrick, OF Michael Saunders, RHP Clay Buchholz, RHP Joaquin Benoit, RHP Pat Neshak, OF-INF Chris Coghlan, OF Daniel Nava, C Ryan Hanigan, LHP Sean Burnett.
He’s Outta Here: 1B Ryan Howard, OF-3B Cody Asche, OF Peter Bourjos, 1B-OF Darin Ruf, RHP Charlie Morton, RHP David Hernandez.
Going campin’: The Phillies are coming off their fourth straight losing season and looking to take another step forward in their rebuilding process after an eight-game improvement last year. They added three veterans – Kendrick, Saunders and Buchholz – who should help them win games while holding down a few spots until some of the youngsters are ready. The team retained RHP Jeremy Hellickson and bolstered the starting rotation by acquiring Buchholz from Boston. Both pitchers could be trade bait in July unless the Phillies are in contention. They have a solid group of starters who showed promise last year, including Jerad Eickhoff, Vince Velasquez and Aaron Nola, and several others on the brink of making it to the big leagues. Kendrick and Saunders, a 2016 All-Star with Toronto, give the lineup more balance and allow prospects Roman Quinn, Nick Williams and Dylan Cozens more time to develop. Expectations are modest, with Mackanin already stating his goal is a .500 season.
Manager: Brian Snitker (second season).
2016: 68-93, fifth place.
Training Town: Kissimmee, Florida.
Park: Champion Stadium.
First Workout: Feb. 15/18.
He’s Here: RHP Bartolo Colon, RHP R.A. Dickey, LHP Jaime Garcia, C Kurt Suzuki, INF Sean Rodriguez, 2B Micah Johnson, LHP John Danks, RHP Kris Medlen, C Tuffy Gosewisch, OF Alex Jackson, OF Emilio Bonifacio, LHP Rex Brothers, LHP Luiz Gohara, RHP Blaine Boyer, RHP Luke Jackson, LHP Jacob Lindgren.
He’s Outta Here: OF Mallex Smith, C A.J. Pierzynski, RHP Shae Simmons, RHP Tyrell Jenkins, RHP Williams Perez, RHP Chris Withrow, RHP John Gant, RHP Ryan Weber, RHP Rob Whalen.
Going campin’: Rodriguez could push Jace Peterson and possibly Johnson at second base, but otherwise the starting eight appears set. The trade for left fielder Matt Kemp and the promotion of shortstop Dansby Swanson boosted the lineup and led to a strong 2016 finish that earned Snitker the full-time job. Colon and Dickey were signed to one-year deals to solidify the rotation for 2017 while young starting pitchers gain experience. The team also acquired Garcia, while ace Julio Teheran is the only certain holdover in the rotation. That leaves Matt Wisler, Mike Foltynewicz, Aaron Blair and Josh Collmenter to compete for possibly only one starting job. Collmenter could fill a swing role. A rookie to watch is third baseman Rio Ruiz.