After following up their Underdog 2021 Cinderella World Series win with an improved 101-win season, the Braves were knocked out of the 2022 playoffs by the Phillies. With their 2022 season in the rearview mirror, general manager Alex Anthopoulos will work hard to improve the Braves’ already impressive core.
Perhaps the biggest question facing the Braves as they head into the offseason is their hole at shortstop. Originally from Atlanta Dansby Swanson has been the Braves’ starting shortstop since 2016 and will be a free agent for the first time this offseason after receiving a $10 million salary in his last trip through the arbitration process. Jon Heyman of the New York Post reported that the Braves opened extension talks with Swanson in mid-August, but there are no tangible results yet.
Swanson, coming off his fourth straight solid season, slashed .277/.329/.447 while posting the highest Outs Above Average (20) among qualified shortstops en route to his first All-Star appearance. He joins Trea Turnerand, if they exercise their opt-out rights, Carlos Correa and Xander Bogaerts as the best options in a nutshell.
When asked about his thoughts on free agency and the possibility of leaving the Braves, Swanson replied that free agency is “the last thing on my mind“, by Mark Bowman of MLB.com. However, Anthopoulos confirmed at a press conference earlier today that there was mutual interest in reaching a deal, but he did not provide specific numbers. , according to Justin Toscano of Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Braves, who have become notorious in recent seasons for signing “team-friendly” contracts with early-career players (Ronald Acuna, Ozzie Albies, Michael Harris II, Spencer Strider, austin riley), currently have approximately $186 million committed for the 2023 season, excluding arbitration, per Roster Resource. However, of the players eligible for arbitration, only the starter Max fried is expected to have a significant impact on the Braves’ payroll, with other arbitration-eligible players expected to make less than $3 million if they are awarded bidding contracts.
Above all, during the 2021 offseason, the Braves would have offered a longtime first baseman Freddie Freeman a five-year deal in the $135-140 million range. When the talks stalled, the Braves decided to acquire Matt Olson of track and field, signing him to an eight-year, $168 million deal. Freeman then signed a six-year, $162 million contract with the Dodgers.
The Braves, potentially, already have Swanson’s replacement in Vaughn Grissom, who posted a strong line of .291/.353/.440 in 151 at-bats after being called in mid-August. Grissom mostly played second overall in his brief Major League career, but came through the minors as a shortstop. If Swanson is re-signed, Grissom could be forced to move to the outfield or work as a utility player with Riley and Albies patrolling the infield.
Transition to the mound, choke charlie morton was forced out of yesterday’s game in the third inning after taking a line drive to his throwing elbow. Morton initially stayed in the game and finished the inning, but was pulled by manager Brian Snitker after Snitker watched Morton warm up before the third inning. During an in-game interview, Snitker announced that X-rays showed no structural damage to Morton’s elbow and that Morton wanted to try and keep throwing, according to CBS’ Mike Axisa.
Morton had pitched two innings before leaving the game, allowing four hits and three runs, all on a Brandon Marsh Homer. Morton, who turns 39 in November, was a consistent force in the Braves rotation, hitting a 4.34 ERA in 172 innings (31 starts) with a strong 28.2 percent strikeout rate. His strong performance led to a one-year, $20 million contract extension for the 2023 season, with a $20 million club option for the 2024 campaign.
reliever Kenley Jansen enters free agency, but Anthopoulos has made it clear that the Braves “I love that he’s coming back” by Tuscany. After leaving the Dodgers in free agency to join the Braves on a one-year, $16 million contract, Jansen led the National League in saves with 41, posting a 3.38 ERA in 64 innings with a high shrinkage of 32.7%. However, Jansen’s HardHit Percentage dropped from 26.1% in 2021 to 32.5% in 2022, and his ground ball rate dropped from 37.3% to 29.1%, the second lowest rating. of her career.
If the Braves and Jansen can’t get along, they likely have his successor in Raisel Iglesias which was acquired at the 2022 trade deadline in exchange for a pitch prospect tucker davidson and Jesse Chavez. Since joining Atlanta, Iglesias has allowed just one run in 26 1/3 innings, resulting in a tiny 0.32 ERA. These solid numbers are backed up by a high strikeout rate of 30.0%, a low walk rate of 5.0% and a solid ground ball rate of 40.6%.
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