Okay. That’s a bit better. Things are in motion, albeit in a slower motion than most would like.
The MLB arbitration deadline has now passed, so all 30 teams have made small deals within their clubs. We’ve already seen Max Fried and A.J. Minter agree to new deals while Mike Soroka and Dansby Swanson look towards negotiation. We’ve also seen some big names sign some big deals, like Javy Baez at $11.65M, Aaron Judge at $10.175M, Cody Bellinger at $16.1M, and most recently Trea Turner at $13M, to name a few.
We’ve also seen a plethora of international free agent signings as that deadline approaches. The Braves are finally out of IFA jail, finding themselves able to explore the market since the suspension of former GM John Coppoella. So far, we’ve added an exceptional bat in Ambioris Taveras. Look for the Braves to make a splash in the IFA market after years of being behind the line.
And, of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention D.J Lemahieu’s new 6-year, $90M deal with the Yankees.
Yes, things are finally happening. It may be mostly inter-club stuff, but things are still happening.
They’re just not happening here in Marietta.
Things have changed since we last talked. A while ago, I talked about the seemingly best hitters on the free-agent market. If you recall, it was right around the time Rosario declined his option with the Minnesota Twins, becoming a free agent.
As of right now, the need for the Braves is solely focused on adding a left fielder, according to Jon Morosi.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 11, 2021
With Austin Riley assumedly holding down the hot corner, the spotlight shines on his neighbor to the north. Left field is empty and needs a proper vacancy.
Through all of the potential targets Atlanta has been linked to, Rosario continues to be the best fit to join the lineup.
If you look at his stats over the last few seasons, you see a pattern of consistency in his ability to get on base and hit for power. Hit batting average didn’t dip below .275 (.290, .288, .276) and his home run output didn’t dip below 20 (27, 24, 32) until the unusually shortened season that 2020 brought us. It should be taken with a grain of salt that his stats took a dive this past season. His hitting ability is still at the point it’s been over the last few seasons and fans should expect his bat to be a major contribution next season, wherever he ends up.
Have a year, Eddie Rosario!
HR number 17 on the season!
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) May 29, 2019
The power/average combination behind the reigning MVP is something Atlanta finds themselves searching for often. Rosario joining the lineup would provide Atlanta exactly what it needs to make a legitimate push to October again this season.
There’s just one problem. Lefty-lefty in a lineup doesn’t exactly work.
So what do you do?
You Bring Back Marcell Ozuna
I get it. I know it sounds crazy. Especially right now, as the universal DH is no longer in play. Spending exuberant amounts of money for two players that play the same position is just downright silly.
It should be noted, though, that the universal DH may be making a comeback.
Fearing the potential resurgence of a pandemic, MLB reinforced 7-inning double-headers and runners on second to begin extras. As of right now, the universal DH is still being negotiated. While we may not see it immediately in play, it is wildly believed that it will return, and then stay as a permanent addition.
With all of that in mind, signing both Rosario and Ozuna would make sense. If the universal DH does, indeed, stay for the long haul like it is believed, then Ozuna takes his place back in the 4-spot and Rosario comes up right behind him at 5.
It sounds expensive. It sounds kind of crazy and farfetched. But everyone knows how Anthopoulos has a flair for the dramatic. Signing two players in preparation for a rule and doing so while no one had a single hint of an idea is kind of his modus operandi. We saw it with Donaldson in 2019 and with Ozuna the first time around in 2020. With AA’s known flair for the dramatic and track record for doing things with an exclamation point, a situation like this shouldn’t be immediately written off. Crazier things have happened, after all.
What Happens Next?
As of right now, all we can do is wait. The arb deadlines are just about here, so things are about to slow up again.
After an unusual season like 2020, it was all but expected to come with a slow offseason. I just don’t think anyone expected it to be this slow.
In the meantime, let me remind you that, even if AA does nothing, this team is still well able to win the East again and more than likely would. This is a different team than we’ve seen in the last few years. I don’t know about any of you, but I’m excited to get going again.