The biggest crack in each NL East contender


New York Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen certainly has the attention of his peers with his tweets, from the swings in the cage to his offers of autographs and declarations about his confidence in his team.

“That’s not something I would do,” said a rival executive, laughing. “Because this game has a way of taking you down.”

Said another: “He’s doing it his way. A great thing about baseball is it’s been shown there’s more than one way of doing things, and he’s doing it his way. I love it.”

The risk/reward quotient is ramped up because Van Wagenen is promoting the Mets as contenders in what should be one of the most competitive divisions in Major League Baseball. Four of the five teams in the NL East have paid for major upgrades this winter. The Washington Nationals pivoted away from Bryce Harper and signed the most coveted starting pitcher in the free-agent market, Patrick Corbin, for the most money paid to any free agent this winter, $140 million over six years. The Atlanta Braves added the right-handed-hitting thumper they needed, Josh Donaldson. Van Wagenen executed one of the biggest and most surprising deals off the offseason, grabbing Robinson Cano and closer Edwin Diaz, before signing Jeurys Familia, Wilson Ramos and Jed Lowrie.

On Thursday, the Philadelphia Phillies finalized a trade for baseball’s best catcher, J.T. Realmuto, and remain in play for Harper and star infielder Manny Machado, and perhaps others.

But with all of these teams, there are distinct vulnerabilities, apparent areas of concern.

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