MLB free agency begins Thursday, and the Braves are sure to be active in rumors with a hole at shortstop. There are four marquee free agents on the market, and I’d bet my bottom dollar Atlanta lands one of Dansby Swanson, Trea Turner, Carlos Correa, or Xander Bogaerts. However, much of Braves Country seems fixated on Jacob deGrom. And for a good reason. He’s the most talented pitcher on the planet, and Atlanta has been tied to deGrom for some time.
Still, those are nothing more than rumors. The team has stated that payroll will rise once again on multiple occasions, but there’s little chance the Braves could fill the void at shortstop and sign deGrom to a $40 million AAV deal. Moreover, the Braves have a logjam of starters waiting in the wings behind Charlie Morton, Spencer Strider, Kyle Wright, and Max Fried.
On Wednesday, Alex Anthopoulos might have put an end to all of those rumors, telling the media the fifth spot in the rotation will be an open competition.
The fifth-starter spot, Alex Anthopoulos said, will be an open competition.
Ian Anderson, Mike Soroka, Kyle Muller, Kolby Allard and Bryce Elder will be in the mix for the job.
— Justin Toscano (@JustinCToscano) November 10, 2022
All of those options are major league ready. Anderson was the team’s third starter in their World Series run and would be one of baseball’s best fifth starters if he regains his form. Muller is a towering left that has shown an ability to succeed at the Triple-A level. It’s just a matter of time before he’s in Atlanta regularly. Elder threw a complete game shutout earlier in the season. Soroka was once a Cy Young candidate if he could ever catch a break in the injury department.
With all of these arms fighting for one spot, it makes little sense for the Braves to give an aging, injury-prone Jacob deGrom a $40+ million AAV contract. Unless the Braves have limitless money to spend this offseason, thanks to Liberty Media, their focus should be on adding the best shortstop possible.
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