Giancarlo Stanton and one player who needs to step up for each NL East team in 2017

Four of the division’s five teams need a slugger to live up to his potential this season.

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The New York Mets and Washington Nationals have been the class of the NL East for a few years now, but the division’s other three teams are on the rise.

However, if the Mets and Nats get better production from a key position player in 2017, they should be able to hold off their challengers for at least one more year.

On the other hand, if the Braves, Phillies or Marlins get a few big-time performances this year, there could be a changing of the guard in the division by the end of the season. Continue reading “Giancarlo Stanton and one player who needs to step up for each NL East team in 2017”

The perfect free agent for every NL East squad

Each of the five squads have holes they should address this offseason.

As the free agency process continues to drag on this offseason, many valuable players are still looking for new homes.

There’s not much urgency from teams or players at the moment, though, as both sides will explore all options before the end of the month when spring-training preparations begin.

However, there are still holes each team in the league needs to fill and we’ll take a look at which free agent best suits each team’s needs.

Here’s a look at one free agent each National League East team should take a flier on this offseason:

New York Mets: Jake Peavy

The Mets lost Bartolo Colon to the Braves this offseason, which was probably a year sooner than they wanted to lose the veteran starter.

New York needs one more year before another young crop of pitchers (featuring Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo, among others) is ready to contribute in a serious way, so adding another veteran should be a priority.

Peavy fits that bill and would likely accept a one-year deal for a chance to contribute to a contending club like the Mets. The ex-San Francisco Giant struggled his way to a 5.54 ERA last season, but could benefit from a change of scenery and one more chance to go for a third World Series title.

Washington Nationals: Greg Holland

The Nationals have turned over their closer job to Shawn Kelley, who handled the role admirably during Jonathan Papelbon’s implosion.

However, he’s only recorded seven career saves, all last season, so the Nats may want to add some insurance in case the 32-year-old righty struggles.

Greg Holland, coming off a missed season because of Tommy John surgery, is a great candidate for a bounce-back year and could be a fantastic setup man if Kelley manages to hold on to the closer job all season.

But, if Kelley struggles, Holland and his 145 career saves will be there to fill in.

Philadelphia Phillies: Jerry Blevins

For some reason, the Phillies signed 39-year-old Joaquin Benoit and 36-year-old Pat Neshek to their bullpen this offseason.

For a team that’s a couple of years away from serious contention, those signings don’t make sense. The two former closers will likely be used in different roles as Philadelphia continues to roll with Jeanmar Gomez as its closer.

However, the bullpen could still use some work. Currently, unproven rookie Joely Rodriguez, who appeared in only 12 games last season, is the only lefty in the Phillies’ pen.

Therefore, a guy like Blevins makes sense for the team. At 33 years old, the lefty reliever could hang around long enough to contribute when the Phillies are ready to contend and could be a good mentor for Rodriguez.

Atlanta Braves: Matt Wieters

If the Braves are serious about opening their new ballpark with an improved squad, landing Wieters, who is the best catcher on the market, would be a good move.

Wieters has been most recently linked to the Los Angeles Angels, but there is seemingly still time for the Braves to make a run at the longtime Oriole.

Though the 30-year-old has struggled to stay healthy in recent years, he hit 17 home runs and had 66 RBI for the O’s in 2016, so he’s got plenty of pop left in his bat and is a better option than Tyler Flowers.

Miami Marlins: Tyson Ross

Following the tragic loss of Jose Fernandez, the Marlins need to scrap together a pitching rotation heading into 2017.

Obviously, there’s no replacing the charismatic and talented Fernandez, but adding Tyson Ross would help the team on the field.

The Marlins will have plenty of competition, though, to sign the 29-year-old righty, as rumors have linked as many as 20 teams to the former All-Star.

Still, making an offer to Ross wouldn’t hurt. If he signs, Miami could make some noise in the division in 2017.