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NL East team preview: Marlins could decide NL East ... seriously

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NL East team preview: Marlins could decide NL East ... seriously

This is the fourth of a week-long look around the National League East, baseball’s most competitive division, to assess who the Nationals are dealing with. Today, the Miami Marlins:

Miami Marlins
2018 record:
63-98

Overview: Name the Marlins’ closer. How about half of their rotation? Best returning player by WAR. No? Not coming? A pass is fair.

After all, manager Don Mattingly was asked at the Winter Meetings if he could name one starting position for a player other than Starlin Castro,. A shortstop, first baseman or outfielder...

“I think definitively it's hard to say anyone in particular is going to be at that spot, because we definitely are team building, towards the future, hopefully we're going to take steps forward this year,” Mattingly said. “Obviously last year was a tough year. We knew it was going to be a tough year, but we needed to take steps forward. You see what's going on in the division, what's happening with all the other teams.”

They loaded up. Miami remained stagnant, assuring its position as NL East doormat, but a player nonetheless. Fangraphs projects 84 wins for both the Braves and Mets, 86 for the Phillies and 90 for the Nationals. Two things could have an enormous influence on those totals: injuries and record against Miami. The high level of competition in the division could turn it into a home for only one playoff team. That team can find a slight gap -- and path to the playoffs -- if it outperforms the other three when dealing with the Marlins.

As for the Marlins themselves, the possible development of Lewis Brinson is among the few reasons to watch. Brinson is entering his age-23 season. Last year was a struggle (.577 OPS). He’s been hot this spring (yes, it’s spring training, but this is the Marlins; we’re searching). Byron Buxton is an easy comparison point for Brinson.

If Marlins fans have any luck this season -- unlikely -- they will see starter Sixto Sanchez at some point and outfielder Victor Victor Mesa. Otherwise, another season of lowest attendance and fewest NL wins is in the offing.

Projected lineup (2018 WAR):
Curtis Granderson (LF, 0.9)
Starlin Castro (2B, 3.3)
Brian Anderson (3B, 3.9)
Neil Walker (1B, -0.1)
JT Riddle (SS, 1.3)
Peter O’Brien (RF, 0.7)
Jorge Alfaro (C, 1.2)
Lewis Brinson (CF, -0.2)

Projected rotation (2018 WAR):
Jose Urena (1.0)
Dan Straily (0.7)
Wei-Yin Chen (-0.5)
Trevor Richards (0.3)
Sandy Alcantara (0.4)

Projected bullpen keys (2018 WAR):
Drew Steckenrider (0.0)
Sergio Romo (0.4)
Adam Conley (-0.3)
Tayron Guerrero (-1.2)

NL ranks last season:
HR: 15th
OPS: 15th
Starter ERA: 13th
Reliever ERA: 15th

Fangraphs 2019 win projection: 62

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Why Mike Rizzo is optimistic he'll get a deal done with Anthony Rendon

Why Mike Rizzo is optimistic he'll get a deal done with Anthony Rendon

Nationals manager Mike Rizzo is hopeful that Anthony Rendon will be staying in Washington and that a deal can be done before Rendon becomes a free agent following the 2019 season.

Rizzo joined The Junkies Wednesday morning, one day after NBC Sports Washington's Todd Dybas confirmed reports that the team met with Rendon on Tuesday to talk about his future in Washington. Rendon told Dybas in March that extension talks had come to a halt. 

Rizzo, when speaking on The Junkies, said he was hopeful they would and said the two had had a nice chat about their long history.

We go way back together and we were kind of reminiscing a little bit about where we've been and the next step in our relationship," he said. 

Rizzo has known Rendon since his high school days in Texas, and followed him closely at Rice University before drafting him with the sixth overall pick in the 2011 Major League Baseball draft. 

"We recognize what we have in Anthony, he recognizes what we've meant to him," he said. "Hopefully we can come to some sort of agreement." 

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Washington Nationals Roundup: Brain Dozier left out of lineup with toe injury

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Washington Nationals Roundup: Brain Dozier left out of lineup with toe injury

The Washington Nationals survived a ninth inning scare to beat the San Francisco Giants 9-6 Wednesday.

Here's the latest Nationals and Giants news:

Player Notes: 

NATIONALS:

Second baseman Brian Dozier was left out of the starting lineup Wednesday due to a toe injury. Dozier fouled a pitch off his toe and had to have it drained, according to Nats manager Davey Martinez. Howie Kendrick took Dozier's place at second base.

In other injury news, Martinez told reporters there is still no definitive timetable for shortstop Trea Turner's return to action, but said the shortstop is "doing everything possible" to get back in the lineup. Turner is on the 10-day injured list with a non-displaced fracture in his right index finger. 

GIANTS:

First baseman Tyler Austin tested his right arm after batting practice Wednesday to see if he could return to the lineup Thursday. Austin has been dealing with inflammation in his right elbow. 

Injures: 

2B Brian Dozier: Toe, Sidelined

SS Trea Turner: Finger, 10-Day IL 

RP Koda Glover: Elbow, 10-Day IL

RP Justin Miller: Back, 10-Day IL

Coming Up: 

Thursday, 4/18: Giants @ Nationals, 1:05 p.m., Nats Park

Friday, 4/19: Nationals @ Marlins, 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park

Saturday, 4/20: Nationals @ Marlins, 6:10 p.m., Marlins Park

Source: Rotoworld

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