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The Daily Chop: Rotation improvement, Johan Camargo and more

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Will Atlanta’s rotation be a strength in 2021?

Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Two Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The biggest weakness of the 2020 Atlanta Braves was the starting rotation which lost both Mike Soroka and Cole Hamels to injury, Felix Hernandez to an opt out and Mike Foltynewicz and Sean Newcomb to ineffectiveness. A strong bullpen, a great offense and a shortened season allowed the Braves to overcome their rotation struggles, but addressing the starting unit was a priority for Alex Anthopoulos this offseason.

Anthopoulos acted quickly adding veteran right-hander Charlie Morton and lefty Drew Smyly with a pair of one-year deals joining Max Fried and Ian Anderson. The Braves are hopeful that Soroka will be ready to return while Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson give them depth. What was a weakness in 2020 could very well be a strength in 2021. MLB.com ranked the 10 best rotations in the league with the Braves at No. 6. They trail four NL teams in the Dodgers, Padres, Mets and Nationals, but it still should be a substantial improvement over what we saw last season.

Braves News

Per The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the Braves did talk with the Rockies about Nolan Arenado and could have built a trade package around third baseman Austin Riley. The deal would however put Atlanta in a payroll bind according to Rosenthal as they still need to work out an extension with Freddie Freeman and will see players such as Dansby Swanson, Max Fried and Mike Soroka become more expensive through arbitration.

FanGraphs’ Jay Jaffe breaks down Marcell Ozuna’s return to Atlanta.

Johan Camargo homered and made a highlight real play at third base to help lead the Dominican Republic to a victory over Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Series final.

Braves Podcasts

Grant McAuley and Gabe Burns discuss the return of Marcell Ozuna to Atlanta and what else remains for the Braves.

MLB News

Despite a lot of chatter to the contrary on social media, Cleveland is not interested in moving third baseman Jose Ramirez at this juncture according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.

ESPN’s Buster Olney writes that we shouldn’t completely shut the door on expanded playoffs or the Universal DH for 2021.

Here is a list of the prospects that just missed out on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 list.

The Cincinnati Reds agreed to a minor league deal with Dee Strange-Gordon Sunday. Gordon will receive an invite to spring training and is expected to compete for a utility role on the team’s bench. The Reds are also reportedly in discussions with free agent infielder Jonathan Villar.

The New York Mets agreed to a deal with former Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. and he will likely serve as a right-handed complement to Brandon Nimmo in center.

The Oakland A’s are bringing back veteran right-hander Mike Fiers and apparently were the only team to make him an offer.

The Houston Astros and shortstop Carlos Correa avoided arbitration by agreeing on a one-year, $11.7 million contract for the 2021 season.