Braves: 5 best short-term outfield free agent targets

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It’s well-documented how much Alex Anthopoulos loves handing out one-year contracts to players who come into the offseason undervalued. Whether they are guys coming off injury or just porous seasons, this is where the Braves have been so brilliant in free agency over the years, so I don’t expect that to change. As far as shortstops, there aren’t any stopgap options that could fill the void left by Dansby Swanson. But in the outfield, there are several high-quality free agent targets for the Braves that could be looking to take one-year deals in hopes of improving their value for next offseason.

Michael Conforto

Coming off a down 2021, signing Conforto to a one-year, prove-it deal made a lot of sense. However, injury prevented him from ever joining a team, which makes him even more of a candidate for a one-year contract. Conforto will be 30 next season and has a career .824 OPS. He’s also spent his entire career with the Mets, making him very familiar with the NL East. Providing he’s healthy and ready to go, a move like this makes too much sense for both sides.

Mitch Haniger

It’s already been reported that the Braves have interest in Haniger, who is almost surely guaranteed to accept a short-term contract. Haniger is a legitimate All-Star talent that has not been able to stay healthy. Just twice in his six-year career has he played in over 100 games, but in those two seasons, he combined to blast 55 homers and finished in the top 20 of the AL MVP race both years. Haniger is a high-upside move that would make the Braves lineup nearly unstoppable if he’s able to stay healthy.

Michael Brantley

Brantley is coming off shoulder surgery, which limited him to just 64 games last season, but all signs to him returning for his age-36 campaign in 2023. There might not be a more consistent hitter in all of baseball when he’s healthy, which has led to him being named an All-Star in four of his last six seasons. Brantley boasts a career .298 average, so while he’s not going to hit a lot of homers, he should fit in perfectly with a Braves lineup that could use someone that provides consistent contact and avoids strikeouts. I would love for Brantley to finish his career in Atlanta.

Cody Bellinger

Scott Boras, Bellinger’s agent, has already come out and said that Bellinger is looking for a one-year contract so he can rebuild his value. I can’t think of a better situation than Atlanta, an organization that is known for these types of deals paying substantial dividends. At the very least, Bellinger would be an upgrade over what the Braves currently have because of his defense. But if Kevin Seitzer can tap into his offensive abilities, which he has done so many times before, this would be a slam dunk for both sides.

Adam Duvall

The final man on this list is one of the Braves own, and he might be my favorite option of them all. Coming off season-ended wrist surgery, I doubt there will be teams lining up to hand him a multi-year contract. If there is, so be it. But Duvall is a Gold Glove caliber defensive outfielder that won’t be asked to play centerfield anymore with Michael Harris II in the fold. Last time Duvall was playing in his more natural corner outfield spots, all he did was mash 38 homers.

Photo: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire

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