Bleacher Report predicts thrilling offseason for the Braves

Bleacher Report Braves DeGrom

Bleacher Report recently wrote an article on their Way Too Early Free Agent Predictions, which focused on ten of the best players set to hit the open market this winter. Unsurprisingly, the Braves, who have recently entered the room with some of the biggest spenders in baseball, are predicted to once again be extremely active this offseason.

Dansby Swanson

One of the players on the list was one of the Braves own, who Bleacher Report has staying in Atlanta long-term.

Swanson has elevated his play since the World Series last fall. The 28-year-old has the third-highest OPS of all shortstops in the league behind Turner and Bogaerts, he has the highest WAR at the position (4.7), and he recently made became an All-Star for the first time.

Swanson will likely cost less than someone like Turner, Bogaerts or even Carlos Correa, another opt-out candidate, receiving a contract along the lines of eight years at $120 million. This one should be a no-brainer for general manager Alex Anthopolous and the rest of the Atlanta brass. It’s good business to retain the hometown star who has become one of the top shortstops in the league.

Prediction: Swanson doesn’t get to free agency and extends with his hometown Braves.

A few weeks ago, I actually talked about the Braves getting an extension done with Swanson before the end of the season. Last year, Alex Anthopoulos and company made their best offer to pending free agent Freddie Freeman after the trade deadline. I imagine they are having similar conversations with Swanson’s representatives now. The Braves don’t want Swanson to hit the open market. If he does, he’ll likely get overpaid. But this is a very similar situation to Freeman. If Swanson wants to be in Atlanta, it will happen. Like Bleacher Report, I believe Swanson wants to play for the Braves until he retires.

Jacob DeGrom

The other top tier free agent Bleacher Report linked to the Braves was Jacob DeGrom, but they predicted he would stay in New York or pack his bags and head south to their biggest rival.

Cohen is going to do everything in his power to re-sign the franchise face, and if the Mets win a World Series this year, then that could certainly help make the decision for deGrom. He’s spent his entire career with the Amazins, but that tenure has been amazin’ly rocky. The Mets haven’t made the playoffs since 2016. when they lost to the Giants in the NL Wild Card game, and he didn’t receive much run support in his two Cy Young seasons.

The Florida native walks out to the mound to the song “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd, and he is every bit a simple man. He’s a cowboy who just wants to pitch, but playing for the Mets is never simple.

DeGrom has long looked up to the Braves’ historic trio of John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux. He’s asked Smoltz, in particular, for pitching tips. Atlanta is not quite as far from his DeLand, Florida home, and the Braves have their spring training facility in Florida as well. He’d be away from the fanfare of New York.

The fans are confident that Cohen can bring deGrom back to Flushing, and I’m inclined to agree, but if not, the Braves fit the bill for a darkhorse contender.

If you remember, Buster Olney reported in early July that DeGrom is expected to opt out of his contract at the end of the season and that many people around the league believe the Braves will be the favorites to land him.

I’m pretty confident Atlanta will have interest and make him a substantial offer, but if this is about money, the Braves don’t have a shot. Steve Cohen’s pockets are limitless, and the Mets’ success this season will only make their owner even hungrier for success.

However, suppose DeGrom is really interested in getting out of New York, moving closer to home, and joining a more stable franchise that is set to compete for championships every year over the next decade. In that case, the Braves have a legitimate chance at signing him. He’s going to get paid regardless; it’s all dependent on what his top priorities are as his career winds down.



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