The Braves have only spent $3 million in free agency this offseason, yet they are still expected to compete for a World Series come October. That’s a testament to how well they’ve built this team over the last 5+ years. They did make another blockbuster trade this winter, however, acquiring Sean Murphy — one of the best defensive catchers in baseball — from the Athletics in exchange for William Contreras and several pitching prospects. He subsequently signed a six-year extension following the trade, locking up another critical position for the better part of this decade.
Outside of the Murphy trade, the Braves have been rather quiet. Here’s a list of their transactions this offseason.
Offseason Recap (so far) 📋 pic.twitter.com/AmitG7OVH2
— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) January 4, 2023
Of all these transactions (not named Sean Murphy), Joe Jiménez is the one I’m most intrigued to see next season. He sits in the upper-90s with some nasty strikeout stuff. His presence is one of the many reasons the Braves will once again have an elite relief core.
The other three bullpen arms the Braves picked up this offseason are nothing to scoff at, either. Dennis Santana‘s surface level numbers were unsightly. He posted a 5.22 ERA over 58.2 innings, but his 3.35 FIP suggests he might have found something as a 26-year-old for the Rangers.
Lucas Luetge isn’t your typical modern day reliever. He sits in the upper-80s with his cutter, but he’s elite at preventing hard contact, leading to a 2.71 ERA and 2.92 FIP over the last two seasons for the Yankees.
Nick Anderson is the wild card of the group. He’s only tossed six innings since 2020, so there’s a chance he never regains form, but when he was healthy, he was a stud for the Rays. In 87.1 career major-league innings, Anderson has 137 strikeouts (14.1 K/9) and an ERA+ of 149 (49% above league average).
I love the under-the-radar pieces Alex Anthopoulos has added to the bullpen. The position players, on the other hand, leave a lot to be desired. The one I have my eye on as a potential difference-maker is Jordan Luplow. He has some pop in his bat and crushes southpaws. Luplow is also a great defensive player in the outfield. I could see him serving as the Braves’ starting left fielder against lefties this season.
Photographer: Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire