Going to go ahead and say this....the Braves not securing Nolan Arenado, in a vacuum, is not indication of anything. The contract the Rockies signed him to was essentially tailor-made to make it really hard to trade him both from the outside looking in (other teams will see that much money with opt-outs and no trade clauses and will immediately have pause) as well as from a logistical and legal perspective. The Cards are dealing with that right now.
However, in the context of the entire offseason which has seen them as “in” on various bats until the end or not even connected to them at all, it becomes frustrating. In addition to being connected to the Arenado talks, Joc Pederson has a new team that is not the Braves on a surprisingly inexpensive deal and he would have likely been a good fit. The Braves also checked in on George Springer before he signed with the Blue Jays, but that feels like AA’s obligatory “would you take a one-year deal?” type of check-in rather than a genuine interest late in the process.
The Braves are very clearly still in a very good spot as they have one of the best young cores in baseball and, as evidenced by Keith Law’s recent top 100 list or MLB Pipeline’s top 100, the Braves have some top end talent in their farm system. However, their top two rated prospects are expected to be in the majors next year in important roles and one wonders what they are waiting for. Even if they are adverse to free agency for whatever reason, we are seeing trades that aren’t including top 75 prospects or even top 100 prospects for players that would make the Braves better or at least give them someone to play left field.
Of course, the elephant room is Marcell Ozuna. It sounds like he wants more than three years for a good bit of money. He was also amazing offensively for the Braves. Defense....not so much and we still don’t know for sure if the DH is coming in 2021. I have made the argument previously that the Braves should pull the trigger, but there is certainly a point where the Braves just have to make a decision. Until then, we wait.
Free agency continues to roll along as Didi Gregorius reached a two year deal with the Phillies. That, combined with the return of JT Realmuto, essentially puts the Phillies offense right where it was in 2020...which was pretty good.
The White Sox also reunited with Carlos Rodon on a one year deal despite the team nontendering him earlier this offseason. The 2020 season was one to forget for Rodon, so we shall see if he can realistically compete for a spot in the White Sox rotation. On a related note, that White Sox team looks really, really interesting.