Braves expected to lose out on Sonny Gray

MLB: MAY 17 Twins at Dodgers

There have been numerous reports surrounding the Braves interest in both Aaron Nola and Sonny Gray.

Atlanta reportedly had a deal on the table that was set to pay Aaron Nola six years, $162 million. However, that forced the Phillies to up the ante on their offer, and the two sides settled on seven years, $172 million. It’s a lower AAV for Nola, but he gets more money and the opportunity to stay in Philadelphia, where he has spent his entire professional career.

Soon after Nola’s deal with the Phillies was finalized, Jon Morosi of MLB Network continued to report the Braves were among the “top suitors” for Sonny Gray, who is a few years older than Nola but coming off a stellar 2023 campaign in which he finished second in the AL Cy Young race.

It would have been quite the consolation prize; however, it seems the Braves have once again lost another bidding war in free agency, as Jon Heyman is now reporting that Gray is expected to sign with the St. Louis Cardinals.

We’ll see if this deal indeed comes to fruition. It wouldn’t be the first time a reporter jumped the gun on a signing that ended up falling through, but Gray appears on his way to the NL Central.

Most likely, it came down to the length of the deal. Gray has been one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball since 2019 and would be a huge addition to a Braves rotation that desperately needs one more high quality piece, but at 34-years-old, there’s a lot of risk in any deal longer than a few years.

Regardless, it’s another one of the best starting pitchers off the market. The Braves still have options in free agency, but the best ones won’t be any cheaper than Gray. It feels more and more likely by the day that if the Braves are going to land a frontline starter this offseason, it’s going to happen through trade rather than free agency.

Photographer: Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire

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