Braves: Free agency starting pitching options

Dallas_Keuchel_on_August_25_2015

The Braves have a lot of young arms heading into 2019. Though they are freeing up a ton of money, it does not make sense to just sign any starter. If the Braves allocate dollars to a veteran, it needs to be a gamechanger who can make an impact in the front of the rotation. The Braves have enough solid pitchers to get them by. While they may develop an ace internally, if the team wants to be World Series contenders, they need to get another arm to help out Mike Foltynewicz. So without further ado, let’s take a look at the starters worth pursuing on this year’s free agency market:

Patrick Corbin

Corbin may have had the best season of any pitcher on this list. However, only one dominant season of work makes him an overpay candidate. Corbin bounced back from two pretty mediocre seasons to post some of the best strikeout numbers in baseball, en route to his second All-Star appearance. The lefty is now in his prime, but the question remains whether he is truly an ace, or whether he just pitched like one last season. He will help the Braves tremendously, and they are reportedly interested, but it will be tough to gauge his true value.

Dallas Keuchel

Keuchel has been a bit inconsistent in his career, but we are talking about a former Cy Young Award winner who would likely excel in a transition to the National League. He does not come without concerns, as his strikeout numbers were alarmingly low this season, but he is talented enough to justify rolling the dice regardless. This is the type of pitcher the Braves need to add to take the next step.

Clayton Kershaw*

The best regular season pitcher in baseball may hit the open market, depending on whether he opts out of his deal. Some have mixed opinions on whether this will happen, and it may not make sense for him to opt out after a down year (for his ridiculous standards). If available, the Braves will have to think about writing him a fat check, but it is hard imagining him in anything but Dodger Blue.

David Price*

Like Kershaw, Price would have to opt out of his deal to become a free agent. On Sunday night, Price put away the Dodgers en route to a World Series Championship. Many have been quick to criticize him in the past, but the fact remains that he now has a ring, Cy Young Award, and two ERA titles under his belt. Price can be inconsistent at times, but he always wins a bunch of games. It is not all that realistic, as he would not be cheap, and a lot of fans would probably complain, but Price remains an option.

Charlie Morton

Former Braves farmhand Charlie Morton has stuck around the big leagues for a while. Braves fans likely did not remember about the Nate McLouth trade (which did not pan out) until Morton’s late breakout a few years ago. He has enjoyed a renaissance with the Houston Astros in which he became one of the better pitchers in baseball. Now at age 34, he becomes a great short-term option for the Braves in hope of upgrading their rotation. A hefty two-year deal may benefit both parties here.

Hyun-Jin Ryu

Braves fans saw firsthand what Ryu is capable of. He was arguably the best pitcher in the last two months of the regular season, and this translated over into the playoffs against the Braves, but not so much after that. Ryu has been an underrated option throughout his career, and Alex Anthopolous knows what he is dealing with here firsthand. If he believes Ryu can take the next step as a pitcher and is high on the talent, I could see the Braves pursuing him. However, he is definitely not in the ace conversation just yet.

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