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Braves Mailbag: Freddie Freeman back up plan, Seiya Suzuki and more

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Oakland Athletics v Seattle Mariners Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Thank you to everyone who took time out of their Thanksgiving week schedule to send in questions for this week’s mailbag. Let’s get to it!

Do you think that it is a concern that the Braves have gone nowhere with Freddie so far?

It certainly isn’t ideal for anyone that was hoping there would be a quick resolution. I am still surprised that we have gotten to this point, so yeah, I guess it is concerning. I still believe that Freeman ends up back with the Braves, but the fact that he is free to talk and sign with anyone isn’t an appealing thought.

There has been reports that teams have checked in with Freeman but we haven’t seen anything that suggests he is another team’s priority yet. Perhaps that is because the expectation is that he will ultimately return to Atlanta, but things can certainly change quickly.

Unfortunately, with a lockout on the horizon, it doesn’t appear that this situation is going to end anytime soon.

Do the Braves have any backup plan if they can’t sign Freeman? For instance, have they spoken to Anthony Rizzo’s agent or is he likely to return to the Yanks?

There hasn’t been any indication that the Braves have spoken to any other free agents (that didn’t immediately sign elsewhere), but it is safe to assume that they do have a backup plan. We have seen Alex Anthopoulos pivot in the past, such as signing Marcell Ozuna after Josh Donaldson left for Minnesota. If Freeman were to leave, then Rizzo could be a free agent target, but Athletics first baseman Matt Olson would be a far more appealing option through trade.

Are the rumors true that the Braves are interested in the Japanese OF Seiya Suzuki just posted? If so, is that an indication that they don’t expect to resign Rosario or Soler?

Is there anything to the “reports” Linking the Braves and Rangers as “the most serious” teams pursuing Suzuki or is it just much ado about nothing?

If you follow me on Twitter then you know I am skeptical. There really hasn’t been anything from stateside media linking the Braves to Suzuki, and the initial report out of Japan could have been a simple case of seeing that Atlanta just lost three free agent outfielders to free agency and connecting dots that may not actually be there.

I suspect that the Braves have done their due diligence and checked in, but it will be really interesting to see if anything more develops beyond that. Suzuki is likely a corner outfielder but the Braves will have Ronald Acuña Jr. presumably returning to right and can keep Adam Duvall if they choose to tender him a contract by the November 30 deadline. Duvall finished the season in center field but that probably isn’t something they would want to go with on an everyday basis long-term. So, the need and question mark is likely in center. The universal DH would help, but the situation with Marcell Ozuna remains unsolved.

The question for me is would Atlanta be best served by going after Suzuki or trying to bring back one of Jorge Soler, Joc Pederson or Eddie Rosario? I think I would go with the latter.

Are the Braves considering Jon Gray as a free agent signee as he was not given a QO by the Rockies.

For the last few years, the Braves have been focused on adding veteran starters on short deals with a high average annual value. Gray is likely to get a longer deal so I don’t really think he fits that profile. With that said, I still think Atlanta will look to add another veteran arm to the mix but it may not be one of the bigger names.

It feels like the Braves have a ton of guys in arbitration that could get non-tendered. So, how many will be non-tendered and who will be the biggest name cut loose?

Good question and we will have the answer soon. Going through the list, I think one of Orlando Arcia and Johan Camargo won’t be back. I probably wouldn’t tender either but we will play it safe and go with just one of the group. Sean Newcomb is likely in need of a change of scenery and a fresh start, but his tender won’t be too high dollar-wise so it wouldn’t be very surprising if they elected to keep him. Richard Rodriguez looks like a slam dunk to be non-tendered unless they can get him to agree to a lesser number.

Adam Duvall is a possibility as well but my thinking is that the Braves will tender him and then work out a multi-year deal.

Given their center field options currently, I think they probably keep Guillermo Heredia around, but they may try to sign him to a lower number and avoid arbitration. We touched on that situation earlier, but it really depends on what the plan is for the outfield as a whole.

Non-tender: Camargo, Newcomb, Rodriguez

Tender: Arcia, Duvall, Max Fried, Luke Jackson, Tyler Matzek, A.J. Minter, Austin Riley, Mike Soroka and Dansby Swanson

With his success in the postseason do you think there will be a trade market for Will Smith?

Possibly, but I haven’t seen anything that would suggest that the Braves would try to move on from him. His counting numbers were good and he was solid throughout the postseason run. I’d be really surprised if his name popped up in trade rumors this offseason.