After a slow first month of the offseason, the hot stove is heating up on all fronts heading into MLB’s Winter Meetings. Most recently, All Star outfielder Randy Arozarena is rumored to be on the block.
Big news regarding the outfielder market: The Rays are shopping OF Randy Arozarena, and there’s a good chance that he is moved, sources tell @MLBNerds.
— Jack Azoulay-Haron (@AzoulayHaron) November 29, 2023
If true, Arozarena would net a haul in return. It’s a bit surprising the Rays would even want to deal him, given he still has three years left on his contract, but as I’ve stated several times when talking about Tampa Bay, this is what they do.
The Rays refuse to pay players. Their payroll is consistently near the bottom of the league, and when it’s time for their guys to earn a significant salary, they usually auction them to the highest bidder. Randy Arozarena is projected to earn $7 million in arbitration for the 2024 season, and his price tag will only rise in each of the next two years.
The Braves don’t have many areas where they need to upgrade as far as their lineup goes, but the one position that must be addressed is left field. Randy Arozarena would be a considerable upgrade over Eddie Rosario and is actually going to cost less than what the Braves would have paid Rosario had they picked up his club option.
Set to turn 29 this offseason, Arozarena has at least 20 homers and 20 steals in each of the last three seasons. He’s recorded no less than 2.7 fWAR over that time frame and has a career 128 wRC+ (28% above league average).
Perhaps even more appealing to a team like the Braves, who are focused solely on winning championships, are Arozarena’s postseason numbers. In 33 playoff games, he has a slash line of .336/.414/.690/1.104 with 11 homers and 17 RBIs. That’s no coincidence. When the lights are the brightest, Arozerana is at his best, something this Braves lineup — which was historically good this year — has been missing in each of the last two postseasons.
Acquiring an All-Star caliber outfielder with three years of control is going to take quite a haul. If the Braves go that route, it will be nearly impossible for them to land a frontline starter in another deal. Atlanta just doesn’t have the prospect capital to complete two blockbuster trades.
Starting pitching should still be at the forefront of the Braves’ priorities. However, as we’ve seen in the past, Anthopoulos’ primary focus is on making the team as good as possible, regardless of the avenue. If trading for a frontline starter isn’t in the cards, acquiring an affordable upgrade in left field that has dominated in October certainly makes the Braves a much better club.
Photo: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire