Yoenis Cespedes has spoken. He will stay with the New York Mets, spurning the long-term advances of the Washington Nationals in favor of a short-term deal and some extra flexibility with the Mets. With an already over-crowded outfield situation on their hands, the Nationals may have been hoping to drive up the final price for the Mets. Having failed to sign Cespedes, the Nationals have been turned down by at least five big stars this winter — Cespedes, Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist, Justin Upton, and Brandon Phillips.
The Mets got their man in Cespedes, and with all of the biggest free-agent names off the board, their starting lineup is likely set for Opening Day. The Mets will enter the 2016 season with a new second baseman and shortstop — Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera. Michael Conforto should see 162 games worth of at-bats, especially following Michael Cuddyer‘s retirement. The Nationals also added a new second baseman who should look plenty familiar to the Mets — Daniel Murphy. Their shortstop situation is still up in the air, but Danny Espinosa appears to be the leading candidate to replace Ian Desmond for now. Ben Revere is the new man in center field with Michael Taylor sliding to the bench or Triple-A for more seasoning. The Nationals have also made some much-needed improvements to their beleaguered bullpen.
With all due respect to the Miami Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies, and Atlanta Braves, the race for the NL East division title will come down to the Mets and Nationals. With the rosters likely finalized barring any surprising late offseason moves, how do New York and Washington stack up at each position?