Brodie Van Wagenen believes the Mets are the favorites in the National League East, but the division may soon become even tougher than expected.
SNY's Andy Martino reports that Manny Machado to the Phillies and Bryce Harper to the Nationals is the most-speculated outcome of the two star free-agents, while MLB.com's Mark Feinsand reports that momentum is "heating up" on making that a reality.
If it indeed does turn out that way, retaining Harper would be a monumental win for the Nationals.
They made major improvements this offseason, adding left-hander Patrick Corbin to their rotation consisting of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Anibal Sanchez and Joe Ross and upgraded at catcher by trading with the Indians for Yan Gomes.
The addition of Harper would allow them to keep a power bat in their lineup and give them a youthful outfield consisting of Juan Soto and Victor Robles for years to come.
Meanwhile, the Phillies have added some key veteran pieces this offseason -- shortstop Jean Segura, outfielder Andrew McCutchen and reliever David Robertson -- but still lack a star to put them over the edge.
Machado can be that star.
The right-handed slugger would thrive in Citizens Bank Park and add power to a lineup that had just one 30-home run hitter in Rhys Hoskins last year and fill a power void left by the Phillies from trading Carlos Santana for Segura earlier this offseason.
While the Mets have improved their roster with the additions of Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia and maintain one of the best starting rotations in baseball, the NL East will become one of -- if not, the -- best division in baseball with Harper and Machado in the mix.