The first baseball win totals released Wednesday by Caesars Entertainment provide an interesting window into how the NL East is being perceived.
The Nationals, despite potentially losing Bryce Harper, are viewed as the team to beat with a projected win total of 88.5.
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• Nationals 88.5
• Braves 84
• Mets 83.5
• Phillies 83
• Marlins 65.5
There is growing buzz that Harper and the Nationals could reunite. Just keep in mind that Washington's 2019 payroll is already nearing $200 million, and the Nationals are already deferring money to Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin. How high can their payroll go? How long can they kick the can down the road? I still don't buy that Harper is returning to the Nats.
It's interesting to find the Braves just a game ahead of the Phillies after finishing 10 games ahead of them in 2018. Atlanta should get even more out of Ronald Acuña Jr. this season, and if Josh Donaldson can stay healthy, he's more of an offensive difference-maker hitting behind Freddie Freeman than Nick Markakis was. The Braves' rotation did tire out down the stretch.
As for the Phillies, this backs up the notion that the Phils currently have the fourth-best roster in the division. We wrote about this 10 days ago (see story).
Obviously, things would change drastically if the Phillies end up with Harper or Manny Machado. If the Phillies end up with one of them and the Nats don't, you'd figure the Phils would vault to the top of the NL East projections.
In other words, if you think they're getting one of those guys, now would be a good time to bet the over.
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