The Braves haven’t sat on their hands early this free agency period. They immediately went out and signed Will Smith for three years, $39 million with a fourth-year option. He sets up to be the potential closer of the future in Atlanta.
Prior to even the Smith signing, the Braves re-signed 37-year-old Darren O’Day to a one-year contract with a club option in 2021. He pitched sparingly over his one and a half seasons in Atlanta, but Anthopoulos must have seen enough to want to bring him back. Or maybe it was just O’Day’s track record, which is among the best in all of baseball.
Which brings us to today; a mere five hours after announcing the Will Smith signing publicly, the Braves informed us they are bringing Chris Martin back as well on a two-year, $14 million deal. Martin had a 4.08 ERA last year, but his peripherals suggest he was much better than that. He recorded a 1.63 FIP, 0.8 BB/9, and 10.5 K/9, and Atlanta will have him available any time after the fifth inning.
With all that money spent on the bullpen, questions have arisen about whether or not the Braves will bring back Shane Greene, who they acquired at last year’s trade deadline. He is headed into his final year of arbitration and scheduled to make around $6.5 million. It’s not an absurd suggestion, but it would be a little odd considering the Braves gave up a promising prospect in Joey Wentz to acquire Greene for not just this year but 2020 as well. If Atlanta is willing to spend this much money to strengthen the bullpen, you’d think they’d pay the reasonable salary Greene is set to make.
According to David O’Brien of The Athletic, that does appear to be the plan as of now. O’Brien tweeted out Tuesday that Alex Anthopoulos told him the Braves are looking to “add to the bullpen, not subtract.”
#Braves' Anthopoulos dismissed some reports that Shane Greene and his projected $6-7M sal might be moved now that Will Smith is on team: “We’re trying to have a deep bullpen. We like Shane, we’re excited to have him. We’re trying to add to the bullpen, not subtract."
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) November 19, 2019
Depending on the circumstances, this could change. But as of now, there is no reason to believe Greene isn’t going to be on the roster next season. His price tag isn’t preposterous, and the Braves are clearly emphasizing their bullpen this offseason. Plus, letting him walk would be admitting defeat in a trade that went down just a few months ago. Unless keeping Greene would be the difference in re-signing Josh Donaldson or not down the road, then he should be in Atlanta, which would give the Braves an elite bullpen in 2020.