With the lockout hopefully coming to an end sooner rather than later, it’s time to look at the biggest remaining offseason questions for the Braves. Obviously, the one everybody is focused on is Freddie Freeman, but we’ve talked about that plenty and will continue to discuss that once a new CBA is in place, so we will skip that topic for the time being. This series will focus on the other things Alex Anthopoulos is thinking about before the start of the season, beginning with the rotation.
The Opening Day starting rotation actually has a lot more holes than most people realize. Assuming Max Fried and Ian Anderson head into the season healthy, they’ll be at the top of the rotation. Charlie Morton should also be there with them, but we don’t know just how far he’s come since breaking his fibula in Game 1 of the World Series. There’s a belief he will be ready for Opening Day, but he’s almost 40-years-old. The Braves will take things very cautiously with him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he began the season on the IL.
But let’s assume Morton is healthy for Opening Day; the Braves still need to figure out the last two spots in their rotation. The good thing is they have options. Tucker Davidson, Kyle Muller, Huascar Ynoa, Kyle Wright, Touki Toussaint, and others will all battle it out for an opportunity to begin the season. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the Braves attempted to bolster their rotation once the lockout ends. It’s not a necessity, but an organization can never have too much pitching, and there are some trade and free-agent targets that could intrigue Anthopoulos.
If I had to take a side, I would say the Braves will likely stand pat as far as their rotation is concerned. At most, they will add a veteran arm on a one-year deal to compete with the younger guys. I think two of Davidson, Muller, Ynoa, and Wright will prove to be major-league ready, and my guess is Ynoa and Wright will be the guys beginning the season in the Opening Day starting rotation.