This is the second part of a series where I will be ranking the best free agents for the Braves by position. As I said in the first piece, these aren’t just the best players left at each position. Fit and potential contract value will also be taken into consideration. If you missed the first part of this series, click the link below:
10. Chris Archer
Archer is most known for the trade that built the Rays franchise. Tampa Bay fleeced the Pirates when they traded Archer to Pittsburgh for Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow. Archer never looked like the same pitcher for the Pirates that he was for the Rays and only made it through two seasons in Pittsburgh. Due to injuries, he’s only pitched 19.1 innings over the last two years, but he could be worth a flier on a cheap deal.
A two-time All-Star, Martinez has fallen off a cliff over the last two seasons, posting a 6.95 ERA in 102.1 innings. Perhaps he never regains his form, but he will only be 30-years-old next season. Martinez is the perfect candidate to accept a one-year deal that could pay substantial dividends for whoever signs him.
8. Johnny Cueto
Cueto’s another former All-Star that has had a rough run of late, but he performed decently last season for the Giants, recording a 4.08 ERA over 21 starts. He could be a nice veteran addition to the Braves rotation at a reasonable price.
Kim’s had a tremendous start to his MLB career, posting a 2.97 ERA in his first 145.2 innings, but his peripherals suggest some severe regression could be in line. Still, Kim shouldn’t cost too much and could be a valuable piece that rounds out the Braves rotation.
6. Matthew Boyd
Boyd’s a pitcher I thought the Braves might target at the trade deadline, but the Tigers apparently never made him seriously available. Detroit probably regrets that now, as they opted to non-tender him earlier this offseason. I was a bit surprised, but because he will not be available until the middle of the season after undergoing surgery, it’s understandable why the Tigers decided to part ways with him. For a team like the Braves, it could be worth it to make him a one-year offer and hope he can contribute when it matters down the stretch.
Pineda hasn’t blossomed like many expected him to when he was a young star with the Mariners, but he’s still a more than respectable starting option that should come with a reasonable price tag. Over the last two seasons, Pineda has posted a 3.57 ERA (136 innings).
4. Danny Duffy
Duffy was having a career year before injuries halted his 2021 campaign, posting a 2.51 ERA over 13 appearances (12 starts). He should be ready for the start of 2022 and won’t cost too much to bring on board.
3. Zack Greinke
Greinke has regressed significantly over the last two seasons, but he showed in the World Series exactly why he’s still a valuable piece. At 38-years-old, he should be looking to latch on to a team with World Series aspirations. If Houston lets him walk, Atlanta could be the perfect fit.
If the Braves add to their rotation, I expect it to be a short-term deal with high upside, but the last two names on this list are the best remaining arms on the market. Kershaw wasn’t as dominant in 2021 as he has been, posting a 3.55 ERA. However, he’s a year removed from recording a 2.16 ERA and comes with loads of experience. I’m not sure he will be worth the money he will fetch in free agency, but on paper, he might make the Braves rotation the most feared in baseball.
1. Carlos Rodón
Rodón was unbelievable in 2021, making his first All-Star game and finishing fifth in the AL Cy Young race, thanks to a 2.37 ERA over 24 starts. At 29-years-old, his best baseball looks to be in front of him, but he’ll cost a pretty penny once the lockout ends.