With the July 31 trade deadline now comfortably in our rearview mirror, we can begin looking ahead to 2013.
Over the next two days we will take a look at each team's projected 2013 Opening Day lineup, with a breakdown of strengths, weaknesses and potential holes to fill. And before you get started, there are a few things to keep in mind.
For starters, we did not attempt to place free agents, as that is almost impossible to predict. Therefore, if a player is set to be a free agent, we replaced him in the lineup with the best internal solution. In some cases, that "solution" will almost certainly not be the Opening Day starter at that position, but that's the point, as it will further illustrate the biggest areas of concern for each club.
We included 2013 salaries in our projected lineups, and for players who are not eligible for free agency we took our best guess based on service time and the recent history of arbitration awards given to similar players.
When it comes to contract options, we took our best guess. If it's a good player with a reasonable club option, we kept them in the lineup for 2013. If it's a good player with a modest player option, we assumed they would opt for free agency.
Teams are listed in order of the current standings. (American League projections coming Friday.)
Full National League lineup projections:
Well on their way to the franchise's first winning season since they were the Expos in 2003, the Nats might be in better shape than any team in the division heading into next season. Once Adam LaRoche declines his end of a $10M mutual option to seek a multiyear deal, the Nats will have only one hole to fill in their lineup. Or they could just move Michael Morse to first base and fill an outfield spot with some combination of Roger Bernadina, Corey Brown, Stephen Lombardozzi and Tyler Moore.