One trade, one signing Braves should make

The Atlanta Braves rode a historic offense to a 104-win common season however noticed their bats go silent towards the Philadelphia Phillies within the Nationwide League Division Sequence. Whereas they’re well-positioned to win the Nationwide League East for a seventh consecutive season, the Braves must make additional enhancements to really feel snug about their World Sequence potential.

This is one commerce and one signing the Braves ought to make this offseason. 

Commerce: Purchase White Sox RHP Dylan Stop

With arguably the highest offensive core in MLB locked up for the higher a part of the subsequent decade, the Braves can flip their full consideration towards their beginning rotation. Atlanta has Cy Younger Award hopefuls in left-hander Max Fried and right-hander Spencer Strider main its workers, however it may stand to realize from including one other high quality arm since the remainder of the rotation has considerations. RHP Charlie Morton will likely be getting into his age-40 season, and regardless of being an All-Star final season, right-hander Bryce Elder is tough to belief after posting a dreadful 5.11 second-half ERA.

Newly-minted White Sox GM Chris Getz has made it clear there “aren’t any untouchables” on his roster and even made Stop accessible earlier this offseason earlier than “pulling again” on commerce talks, per the New York Submit’s Jon Heyman. Nonetheless, Heyman believes Chicago is ready out the Yoshinobu Yamamoto sweepstakes earlier than pursuing a Stop deal additional, stating there’s “an excellent probability” the 27-year-old is on the transfer.

In response to MLB Community’s Jon Morosi, the Braves had been thought of a finalist for Stop, and now that fellow Nationwide League powerhouse Dodgers added Shohei Ohtani, it would be clever for GM Alex Anthopoulos to revisit a deal. Stop, who’s beneath crew management for the subsequent two seasons, struggled mightily in 2023, posting a 4.58 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in 177 innings. Nonetheless, Stop’s 10.88 strikeouts per 9 innings (the sixth-best in MLB) present cause for optimism that he would possibly have the ability to return to ace kind. 

Signing: Ink LHP Max Fried to long-term extension 

Not all 100-win groups can enhance on such a big scale because the Dodgers, which is why Atlanta has gotten artistic by assuming — and flipping — dangerous contracts to accumulate depth items like outfielder Jarred Kelenic and infielder David Fletcher. Since there are few areas in want of serious overhauling, it would be an opportune time to lock up one other homegrown star on a long-term deal just like the Braves have change into accustomed to doing.

The usually sturdy Fried was something however in 2023, with three separate journeys to the injured checklist limiting him to 14 common begins. Nonetheless, Fried’s efficiency wasn’t hindered by the setbacks, as he posted an 8-1 report with a 2.55 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 77.2 innings whereas amassing 80 strikeouts.

Spotrac’s calculated market worth initiatives Fried to signal a six-year, $162.7 contract based mostly on previous comparable free-agent signings. Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported final month that the Braves provided basically the identical contract as Spotrac’s projection for Fried to Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola. Contemplating Fried has been a greater pitcher than Nola when wholesome, Atlanta ought to decide to the southpaw this winter reasonably than danger him elevating his worth with a dominant 2024 season.

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