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NL East team needs heading into winter meetings

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theScore's MLB offseason team needs series breaks down every club's roster and key departures, along with how holes could be filled in free agency ahead of the Dec. 4-7 winter meetings. Division previews will roll out daily through Nov. 30.


Atlanta Braves

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2023 record: 104-58 (1st in NL East)
Projected 40-man payroll: $207M
Key departures: Nick Anderson (KC), Jesse Chavez, Brad Hand, Collin McHugh, Eddie Rosario, Michael Soroka (CWS)
Needs: Starting pitcher, corner outfielder

Where the lineup stands

1 Ronald Acuña Jr. RF 8.3
2 Ozzie Albies (S) 2B 4.0
3 Austin Riley 3B 5.2
4 Matt Olson (L) 1B 6.7
5 Marcell Ozuna DH .3.3
6 Michael Harris II (L) CF 4.0
7 Sean Murphy C 4.2
8 Orlando Arcia SS 2.3
9 Vaughn Grissom LF -0.7

Most of the Braves' core is under contract for a number of years, which puts them in great shape. Still, general manager Alex Anthopoulos will likely look to add another outfielder to replace Eddie Rosario's spot on the roster. Grissom will get a look in left field, but a team with huge expectations and pressure to win in 2024 should aim higher than an unproven commodity in an important position.

How the rotation looks

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1 Spencer Strider R 5.5
2 Max Fried L 1.9
3 Charlie Morton R 2.7
4 Bryce Elder R 1.8
5 Huascar Ynoa R -

The Braves were reportedly a strong contender for Aaron Nola before he re-signed with the Phillies. Anthopoulos could turn to Sonny Gray as a strong No. 3 in the rotation. After all, the Braves need some stability beyond Strider, as the futures of No. 2 Fried and current No. 3 Morton are uncertain beyond next season. The team traded Michael Soroka to the White Sox to acquire left-handed reliever Aaron Bummer. And Anthopoulos has been active in bolstering the bullpen, also signing Reynaldo López and re-signing Pierce Johnson and Joe Jiménez.

Miami Marlins

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2023 record: 84-78 (3rd)
Projected 40-man payroll: $96M
Key departures: Matt Barnes, Johnny Cueto, Yuli Gurriel, Garrett Hampson, Matt Moore, Jorge Soler, Jacob Stallings, David Robertson, Joey Wendle
Needs: Outfielder, starting pitcher, reliever, infielder, catcher

Where the lineup stands

1 Luis Arraez (L) 2B 3.4
2 Josh Bell (S) 1B 0.7
3 Jazz Chisholm Jr. (L) CF 1.9
4 Jake Burger 3B 1.1
5 Bryan De La Cruz LF 0.2
6 Jesús Sánchez (L) RF 1.3
7 Avisaíl García DH -0.3
8 Jon Berti SS 2.1
9 Nick Fortes C 0.2

The Marlins made the postseason in a 162-game campaign for the first time since 2003. Even with Soler's expected departure, NL Manager of the Year Skip Schumaker can feel good about some of the pieces in the lineup. New Marlins president of baseball operations Peter Bendix should prioritize ways to add more talent to surround Arraez and Chisholm to improve an offense that ranked 26th in MLB in runs scored last season.

How the rotation looks

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1 Jesús Luzardo L 3.7
2 Eury Pérez R 1.4
3 Braxton Garrett L 2.9
4 Edward Cabrera R 1.0
5 Trevor Rogers L 0.3

The Marlins are well-equipped atop the rotation: Luzardo and Pérez form a strong one-two punch. There are question marks surrounding the health and consistency of Cabrera and Rogers, though. Starting pitching also became a bigger offseason need following 2022 Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara's Tommy John surgery. The Marlins could add a veteran hurler to help offset that as well as Cueto's departure.

New York Mets

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2023 record: 75-87 (4th)
Projected 40-man payroll: $263M
Key departures: Carlos Carrasco, Adam Ottavino, Daniel Vogelbach
Needs: Outfield, starting pitchers, reliever

Where the lineup stands

1 Brandon Nimmo (L) CF 4.3
2 Jeff McNeil (L) 2B 2.6
3 Francisco Lindor (S) SS 6.0
4 Pete Alonso 1B 2.8
5 Starling Marte RF -0.3
6 DJ Stewart (L) LF 0.7
7 Francisco Alvarez C 2.7
8 Brett Baty (L) 3B -0.5
9 Mark Vientos DH -0.9

Despite fielding baseball's highest payroll, the Mets endured a disastrous 2023 campaign. They missed the postseason, traded both Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, and fired manager Buck Showalter. With David Stearns taking control as the new president of baseball operations, it'll be interesting to see how the Mets approach the offseason. Ultra-aggressive owner Steve Cohen is likely hoping to avoid a repeat of 2023, and one of the big orders of business will be Alonso's future. The slugger has just one year remaining before free agency and could be a trade chip if the club can't get him extended.

How the rotation looks

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1 Kodai Senga R 3.4
2 José Quintana L 1.5
3 Tylor Megill R 0.6
4 Joey Lucchesi L 0.7
5 Luis Severino R -0.6

Outside of Senga, there are major question marks for rookie manager Carlos Mendoza in the rotation. Quintana is a good back-end option in the rotation but will be exposed if he's expected to be the No. 2. Meanwhile, the Mets have been one of the teams connected to Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Even if they sign him, Stearns should try to add at least one more starting pitcher.

Philadelphia Phillies

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2023 record: 90-72 (2nd)
Projected 40-man payroll: $237M
Key departures: Rhys Hoskins, Craig Kimbrel, Michael Lorenzen
Needs: Starting pitcher, outfielder, reliever

Where the lineup stands

1 Kyle Schwarber (L) DH 1.4
2 Trea Turner SS 3.8
3 Bryce Harper (L) 1B 3.3
4 Nick Castellanos RF 1.0
5 Alec Bohm 3B 1.1
6 Bryson Stott (L) 2B 3.9
7 J.T. Realmuto C 1.5
8 Brandon Marsh (L) LF 3.4
9 Johan Rojas CF 1.4

The Phillies are returning most of the group that made consecutive trips to the NLCS. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski is never shy about addressing a need and another outfielder would be beneficial as Schwarber is best utilized as a more permanent DH. Bryce Harper serving as the full-time first baseman helps things.

How the rotation looks

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1 Zack Wheeler R 5.9
2 Aaron Nola R 3.9
3 Ranger Suárez L 2.4
4 Taijuan Walker R 2.5
5 Cristopher Sánchez L 1.8

Dombrowski checked one of the biggest boxes by re-signing Nola to a seven-year, $172-million contract despite interest from a handful of other clubs. The Wheeler-Nola combination should remain one of baseball's very best starting pitcher duos. However, beyond that, there's a pretty glaring need for another quality starter. Phillies owner John Middleton has proven he's more than willing to spend, so Philadelphia could be a contender for some of the top free-agent hurlers still on the market.

Washington Nationals

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2023 record: 71-91 (5th)
Projected 40-man payroll: $123M
Key departures: Michael Chavis, Corey Dickerson, Carl Edwards Jr., Chad Kuhl, Dominic Smith
Needs: Starting pitcher, reliever, second base, third base

Where the lineup stands

1 CJ Abrams (L) SS 2.1
2 Lane Thomas RF 2.7
3 Keibert Ruiz (S) C 0.0
4 Joey Meneses 1B -0.2
5 Luis García (L) 2B 0.1
6 Stone Garrett LF 1.2
7 Jake Alu (L) DH -0.4
8 Carter Kieboom 3B -0.1
9 Victor Robles CF 0.4

The Nationals showed some signs of growth in 2023, with Abrams and Thomas emerging to put together strong seasons at the plate. With two years of club control remaining and prospects like James Wood and Dylan Crews waiting in the wings, it's worth monitoring whether Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo explores trading Thomas to a club in need of outfield help.

How the rotation looks

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1 Josiah Gray R 1.6
2 MacKenzie Gore L 1.3
3 Jake Irvin R 0.8
4 Patrick Corbin L 0.9
5 Trevor Williams R -0.1

Gray and Gore have the makings of long-term pillars atop Washington's rotation. But there isn't much else manager Dave Martinez should feel married to heading into 2024. Corbin's six-year, $140-million contract has one year remaining. That deal coming off the books should give Rizzo and the Nationals some financial flexibility.

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