Braves: New free agent targets who had their options declined


Before we start, I’m not advocating Atlanta signs every one of these guys. However, it’s surprising to see some of these options get turned down. It’s a little disappointing because it also points to the fact that trading Ender Inciarte may not be so easy. It’s clear the market is going to be moving very slow this winter, which for a team looking to improve and take a next step isn’t ideal. I’m trying to temper expectations, but several of these guys feel realistic. I think we will see a lot of 1 year deals this offseason to let the market reset. It looks like my perfect offseason plan is already crumbling, starting with our first guy.

Darren O’Day

2020 Stats: 16.1 IP, 1.10 ERA, 22 K, 5 BB 2021 Option Price: $3.5 million Let’s get this out of the way, I was hoping Atlanta was going to exercise O’Day’s pretty reasonable $3.5 million option. Maybe they can bring him back for cheaper, but it seems like a no brainer to me. O’Day was excellent for Atlanta last season, and it makes sense to give him one more year to chase a ring as he approaches 40.

Charlie Morton

2020 Stats: 38 IP, 4.74 ERA, 42 K, 10 BB 2021 Option Price: $15 million Like Atlanta, Tampa Bay fell just short of a World Series. Tampa is pretty notorious for not spending, so maybe Morton would be willing to come over on a cheap deal. His numbers aren’t overly impressive, but baseball fans know he has nasty stuff and would be a great addition.

Corey Kluber

2019 Stats: 35.2 IP, 5.80 ERA, 38 K, 15 BB 2021 Option Price: $18 million The Klubot isn’t the same guy he always was, and this could possibly be a Cole Hamels 2.0 situation. He threw exactly 1 inning in 2020. However, Kluber would likely be cheap, and he still has a career 3.16 ERA and 2 CY Young awards. Cleveland picked the right time to trade him. His $18 million option made no sense to exercise.

JA Happ

2020 Stats: 49.1 IP, 3.47 ERA, 42 K, 15 BB 2021 Option Price: $17 million Happ isn’t the sexiest name available, but he’s a lefty who went 21-10 with a 4.13 ERA with the Yankees. I would really like this move if he came on at the right price.

Chris Archer

2019 Stats: 119.2 IP, 5.19 ERA, 143 K, 55 BB 2021 Option Price: $11 million Atlanta dodged a massive bullet not trading for this guy, and Tampa Bay went to the World Series as Pittsburgh keeps sitting in the basement. It makes sense that they would decline his $11 million option and cut bait. I would only want Archer for DIRT cheap. He did not pitch in 2020.

Kolten Wong

2020 Stats: .265/.350/.326/.675, 1 HR, 16 RBI 2021 Option Price: $12.5 million Wong doesn’t really fit with Atlanta’s offseason plan, but he’d be one of the best bench utility guys you could get. He does a little bit of everything, and he’s still appealing. Doubt we see Atlanta put money towards an infielder.

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