I would be lying if I said MLB Free Agency has been very exciting since the end of the season. None of the big names look like they are close to finding new homes, and very few deals have been completed. Perhaps it’s time for Major League Baseball to look into how teams approach free agency each year. Instead of having fans wait around for a tweet to pop up on their phone for months, creating some kind of shorter signing period would likely keep fans engaged and grow the game. However, that’s another story for another time. Today, I’m going to be discussing three guys the Braves should stay away from during this free agency period.
I just talked about the five best outfield targets that could pay substantial dividends on one-year contracts. There are plenty of fantastic options available, but one guy I would like to stay away from is A.J. Pollack, who has been linked to the Braves in previous years. On paper, he makes sense on a one-year deal. He’s a former All-Star with a career OPS of .801. But not only are injuries a concern — he’s only played in 120+ games twice in his 11-year career — his production is as well. Pollack is coming off his worst season as a pro, recording a .245 average and .681 OPS. Things rarely get better once a player is 35, especially in the injury department. Even on a one-year deal, there’s a chance he doesn’t provide replacement-level production for his next team. I’m staying far away from Pollack this free agency period if I’m the Braves.
Despite his incredibly high strikeout rate, Gallo was an All-Star caliber player for the Rangers because of his power, defense, and willingness to take walks. However, his dip in production has been incredible over the last two seasons with the Yankees and Dodgers. Gallo is coming off a year in which he hit a putrid .160 with a .638 OPS. I’m not saying there’s no chance he can turn it around in 2023, but I still think he’s overvalued around the league and could even command a two-year contract. That’s not something the Braves should be interested in. Even on a one-year deal, I believe the risk could be too great for a team like Atlanta that doesn’t have any dollars to waste.
I’m not quite sure what the hype is surrounding Profar, but I’ve seen a lot of people projecting him to earn a three-year contract this offseason, and sometimes even longer than that. I don’t think there’s any way the Braves should be interested in Profar on a multi-year deal, and I’m not sure why many teams would be. Profar is coming off his best season as a professional, recording 2.5 fWAR. But before 2022, he had three seasons with a negative WAR and three seasons with a positive one. A replacement-level player being handed a multi-year contract shouldn’t be on the Braves’ radar.
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