The Braves currently have the best record in baseball, and not a lot is set to change in the coming years — at least as far as the lineup is concerned.
All five players on the infield were recently featured in the All-Star Game for the National League, and all five are locked up for at least three more seasons. In the outfield, Michael Harris and Ronald Acuña Jr. will be around for at least five more years. The only place on the diamond with some uncertainty is in left field, and the designated hitter position will also soon need to be upgraded.
The Braves could go in a number of different directions next offseason. They could swing for the fences for a guy like Ohtani, or perhaps even target Cody Bellinger, who is having a resurgent season for the Cubs, but I think it’s much more likely they continue to try to bolster the position in the short term until a cheaper option becomes available. Which is where some old friends come into play.
I’m perfectly fine with the Braves picking up Eddie Rosario‘s $9 million option for 2023. He hasn’t been great of late, but that’s the type of player Rosario has been his entire career. He’s a streaky bat, but when he’s hot, he’s capable of carrying a team in the postseason. It’s just a matter of time before the flip switches, and he goes on a tear offensively. $9 million may be a slight overpay for his services, but it’s not egregious, and I think Braves fans would be much more comfortable with Rosario if he wasn’t asked to play every day.
Finding him a platoon partner would be the direction I would go if I were Alex Anthopoulos, and three will be available this offseason from the 2021 World Series team. Jorge Soler will certainly opt out of his contract with the Marlins for a longer deal. He’s hit 28 homers for the Marlins this season with an .829 OPS. Meanwhile, Joc Pederson and Adam Duvall are both set to hit free agency this winter as well.
It may seem like I’m blinded by what these guys have done in the past, but all three would be perfect options to platoon in left field and as the designated hitter with Rosario and Ozuna. The Braves could even bring Kevin Pillar back as well for pennies. One of the best aspects of the 2021 World Series team was the versatility of the lineup. Brian Snitker had a surplus of power bats that he could match up with the pitcher on a daily basis. That’s currently missing on this squad, and it’s something that is an easy fix. I would be shocked if Alex Anthopoulos didn’t target at least one of these guys this upcoming offseason.