The Braves will have a handful of critical decisions to make once the lockout ends. Most importantly, they’ll have to decide whether or not to offer Freddie Freeman the lucrative contract he desires, but after that, their most important in-house decision could surround Jorge Soler, who is also an unrestricted free agent.
Soler found himself again after the Braves traded for him before the deadline, recording an .882 OPS and blasting 14 home runs in 55 games. Of course, that was only the beginning, as he earned World Series MVP honors, thanks to three timely home runs. The Braves would love to have him back; keeping him in the fold along with Freeman might give Atlanta the most powerful lineup of all time. However, the Braves might be unable to afford him. So where else might he land? Bleacher Report recently listed the best destinations for the right-handed slugger.
10. Colorado Rockies
9. Miami Marlins
8. Milwaukee Brewers
7. Chicago Cubs
6. Boston Red Sox
5. Seattle Mariners
4. Texas Rangers
3. Tampa Bay Rays
2. St. Louis Cardinals
1. Atlanta Braves
I’ll go through some of the fits that intrigue me before talking about the obvious — the Atlanta Braves.
I’m not sure why the Rockies would be spending money this offseason. They are miles away from competing, but rarely does anything they do make much sense, so perhaps they attempt to sign Soler. One thing I do know is that he would absolutely mash baseballs in the Rockies. It wouldn’t surprise me for a second if he hit 50+ bombs as an everyday player for Colorado.
They may be on the west coast, but the Mariners are a budding team in the league that should be around for a while. They are rarely in on top free agents, but adding a big bat like Soler at a reasonable price to be their DH could be the push they need to make the playoffs.
The Rangers proved before the lockout that they are ready to compete, signing Corey Seager and Marcus Semien. And who knows, they may not be done yet. Adding Soler would undoubtedly get them one step closer to the postseason.
I wasn’t positive Bleacher Report would put the Braves at the top spot, but I couldn’t agree more. Something clicked once Soler came to Atlanta, and I don’t think it was a fluke. Will he be able to replicate that success elsewhere? Potentially, but I feel much more confident in him doing it with the Braves. On top of that, this is an outfield that desperately needs another piece. I’m aware signing Soler would create a hole defensively. Either he or Ozuna would have to play in the field every day, but I’m not too worried about that because of what they bring to the table offensively. The Braves’ priority #1 should be Freddie Freeman, but after that, I hope they shift their focus to Jorge Soler.
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