Kerry Miller of Bleacher Report recently wrote a piece where he gave eight bold predictions for the MLB offseason. While none of them were directly tied to the Braves, there are a couple of talking points from the article that could impact how Alex Anthopoulos moves this offseason.
Shohei Ohtani Is the Only Current MLB Free Agent to Eclipse $160 Million
Please note the “Current MLB Free Agent” qualifier here. That does not include Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who has not yet been officially posted by the Orix Buffaloes. Nor does it include candidates for big-time extensions, like Juan Soto, Pete Alonso, Corbin Burnes, Adley Rutschman, etc. If we factor those guys into the mix, there could be a couple of $200+ million contracts handed out this offseason.
But from a ‘current free agents’ perspective, one year removed from eight players—Aaron Judge, Trea Turner, Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa, Jacob deGrom, Dansby Swanson, Brandon Nimmo and Carlos Rodón—signing contracts worth at least $162 million each, it’s going to be Shohei Ohtani standing alone in this year’s $160+ million club.
There are several good candidates for massive deals, though, with Aaron Nola being the player most likely to derail this prediction.
This paints a picture of the free agent class this offseason. It’s not nearly as loaded at the top as in recent years, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing for the Braves, who aren’t typically involved in discussions with free agents who are set to make north of $200 million. However, it also sets up for players to get overpaid.
Are guys like Aaron Nola, Blake Snell, and Cody Bellinger really worth contracts in the $150-200 million range? Probably not, but with fewer options available, it could create a bidding war for those players. That’s not something I see Alex Anthopoulos eager to get involved in, which brings us to Miller’s next bold prediction of note.
Multiple Multi-Time All-Stars Get Traded
But correct me if I’m wrong, the only multiple-time All-Star who got traded was Gregory Soto. And, with all due respect, the former Tigers closer would not have been an All-Star in 2021 or 2022 were it not for the rule that every team has to be represented at the Midsummer Classic.
However, there will be several colossal names on the move via trade this offseason.
In the past two offseasons, the Braves haven’t gone big-game hunting in free agency. Instead, their two most substantial additions have come via trade in the form of Matt Olson and Sean Murphy. That could be the case again this offseason.
The issue with that is the Braves farm system is barren. They do have a couple of very intriguing pieces in AJ Smith-Shawver and Hurston Waldrep, but I’m not so sure Alex Anthopoulos is going to be willing to part ways with them given the uncertainty surrounding the starting rotation in 2024 and beyond. In all likelihood, if the Braves are going to swing another blockbuster trade for a star player, they will have to include one player from the major-league roster. I don’t know who that would be, but we saw Anthopoulos do it last offseason with William Contreras.
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