At 5:00 Eastern Time yesterday, MLB Free agency began. So far, not many significant deals have been inked, but starting this weekend, the hot stove will begin flaming. I’ve covered pretty much every scenario the Braves could face this offseason, so now it’s time to talk about what I would love to see in a perfect world. However, I have to put some parameters on the situation to make it somewhat realistic.
- No absurdly one-sided trades
- The Braves payroll is capped at $225 million, about $10 million below the first level of the luxury tax
The Braves currently have around $160 million committed to their 2023 payroll, but that’s before arbitration. Assuming they extend deals to Max Fried, A.J. Minter, and Mike Soroka — at the very least — they will already be around $180 million. That’s where I’ll start.
Here. We. Go
Braves sign Trea Turner to an 8-year, $245 million contract
I’m impatient, so let’s begin with a bang. I love Dansby Swanson as much as anyone, but Trea Turner has long been one of my favorite players in baseball, and it’s the first time I actually think the Braves have a chance at signing one of these mega-star free agents. Put him at shortstop for the next eight years in the middle of Atlanta’s championship window, and this team will be a lock to win 100+ games every year.
Braves trade Manny Piña
I didn’t even want to come up with a potential trade partner, but this is something I expect to happen after William Contreras blossomed this past season. Piña’s services are no longer needed behind Travis d’Arnaud, and it should be fairly easy to offload the $4.5 million he’s owed this season in return for a low-level prospect.
Braves sign Adam Duvall to one-year, $6 million contract
With the Braves inking Trea Turner to a monster contract, they’ll have to be wise with their remaining dollars. Left field was a mess for this team last year after Adam Duvall went down for the season. I want him back. At they very least, he serves as a platoon option in left field, and when he’s hot, he can start every day.
Braves sign Luke Jackson to a one-year, $2 million contract
Jackson has been one of the Braves most productive relievers for years until he suffered Tommy John this past season. He should be back for the start of next season, though, and I would love to have him back in the bullpen. He’s a fantastic clubhouse presence, and the Braves need to replenish their relief core with Kenley Jansen, Tyler Matzek, and Jesse Chavez all gone next year.
Braves sign Robbie Grossman to a one-year, $4 million
I’m not in love with the idea of bringing back Grossman, but the money is getting tight, and he’s a decent outfield option for the Braves to turn to if shit hits the fan.
Braves attach one of their top prospects to trade Marcell Ozuna or Eddie Rosario
I’m not sure how it happens, but I think the Braves will have the opportunity to attach some prospects and move on from the contract of either Ozuna or Rosario. I would be surprised if both of them were on the 2023 Opening Day roster. Let’s say this trade saves the Braves $8 million next season, leaving them with enough room for my final move.
Braves sign Adam Ottavino to a two-year, $10 million contract
The Braves bullpen has been a strength for this team over the last two seasons, and I would like to keep it that way. On a one-year deal, retaining Kenley jansen will likely be too pricey, but Ottavino is doable, and I’ve always wanted him to be a Brave. He has some of the filthiest stuff in all of baseball, and he’d slot in perfectly between A.J. Minter and Raisel Iglesias.
Photo: John McCoy/Icon Sportswire