Braves fans: I know these last three days have been excruciating, and losing the NLCS will take some time to get over. However, if you’re anything like me, the best way to move on is to start looking towards next season. Before you know it, we will be talking about spring training, but until then, we will have a ton to chat about this offseason — free agency, arbitration, trade rumors — and there’s no better place to keep up with it than here at SportsTalkATL.
We will have extensive coverage on the Braves throughout these winter months, and I will begin by going over the list of pending free agents who are not currently under contract for 2021. There are some critical pieces on this list that the Braves would love to extend. I’ll go into more detail on my thoughts of each of these guys in the coming weeks. But before, I am just going to rattle off the names with a brief description of each.
I’ve never believed in saving the best for last. Ozuna had the best year of his career in a Braves uniform, and if it wasn’t for his horrendous defense, he might have won the NL MVP. That’s going to be key to Atlanta re-signing him. Will there be a DH in the National League going forward? If the answer is yes, the Braves should hand him a blank check.
Melancon isn’t the strikeout heavy guy most teams choose to be their closer. However, he’s been extremely effective in a Braves uniform and was 11/13 in save opportunities with a 2.78 ERA. I’m not sure he should continue to be the closer as he continues to get up there in age, but if he’s willing to take a contract at a much lower rate (he was scheduled to make $14 million in 2020 before pro-rated salaries), the Braves would love to bring him back.
Unfortunately, injuries led to Hamels being a complete waste of $18 million. I’m not sure what the future holds for him. Assuming he’s healthy and wants to continue playing, I could see the Braves bringing him back at a much more affordable rate. However, if Hamels is looking to make anywhere near what he made this past season, it won’t be in Atlanta.
Just like Melancon, the Braves would love to have Greene back in their bullpen next season. However, it’s going to come down to the price-tag at the end of the day.
I wouldn’t be surprised if we have seen the last of Nick Markakis in a baseball uniform. He’s definitely lost a bit over the years and might want to retire. Either way, I can’t see him returning to Atlanta this offseason.
Retaining Flowers will likely depend on what they think of William Contreras. Since I don’t think Contreras is quite ready to be an MLB catcher full time, bringing Flowers back on a one year deal makes sense.
Hard to see him returning after being left off the postseason roster in all three series.
Tomlin has played many different roles over the last two seasons in Atlanta and has been integral to the team’s success. However, based on how he ended the season, it might make sense for both parties to move on. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up signing another minor league contract with the team just before spring training, though, if a better opportunity doesn’t present himself.
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