The Braves cannot be done with moves this offseason if they are serious about contending for a World Series title. They are short a power bat with the, at least for now, loss of Marcell Ozuna and there is a certain amount of wisdom in replacing the relievers that hit free agency with at least some passable warm bodies.
How to go about those moves has been pretty unclear. The thought process behind trading for Kris Bryant is one possible solution, but it sounds like the Braves have no interest whatsoever in doing that...but with this front office, that means absolutely nothing. The Braves do also have Austin Riley to man third and while he hasn’t done enough to write him in ink there, yet, it does lessen the positional need at the position.
Which brings us to the outfield class. George Springer is the top of the class and that doesn’t SEEM like where the Braves are going to play money-wise especially if they are planning to hold a bit of money back in case a DH doesn’t get instituted again. A team in need of a guy who can play center is also likely going to be willing to pay a lot more than the Braves.
Marcell Ozuna is still an option to play outfield because while his defense has dropped off a lot in the last few years, his bat may be good enough that that combined with having Cristian Pache or Ronald Acuna Jr. next to you may just be enough for that not to matter as much.
However, we have also begun to profile some other, interesting pieces to fill the position. Michael Brantley may end up being better suited for a team with a DH, but the dude can flat out rake and could be a good fit. Eddie Rosario is another guy that could work that we profiled here at Talking Chop, but his offensive profile is far more limited than a guy like Brantley and especially Springer. For platoon options, one could do a lot worse than Joc Pederson who has a ton of upside, but also can disappear for long stretches regardless of what arm the pitcher is throwing with.
There are more than just outfielders, too, as utility man and Braves’ nemesis Enrique Hernandez is a free agent. As a bench piece, he could be invaluable for his versatility and his ability to hit lefties is well-documented. Not all signings can or should be the big name guys...it takes a lot of different types to fill out a roster.
The big news from this weekend across the league is that Corey Kluber who, unless recently, was one of the best pitchers on planet Earth, has a new team as it appears that he is signing a deal with the Yankees. Kluber is betting that 2021 will be a resurgence for him as he looks to show teams that despite being 35, he can stay healthy and shove with the best of them.