As with most baseball teams (especially those that win the World Series), there will be some natural roster turnover in the offseason. The Braves lost a lot of pieces that helped them claw into the playoffs and ultimately win the World Series, but they are returning a lot of good players and even made a few additions. I’ll be judging these based on what each guy brought to the team and also what measures the Braves took to replace them. For the most part, the Braves are running it back, but there are a few key contributors missing.
INF Ehire Adrianza
INF Johan Camargo
RHP Chris Martin
LHP Drew Smyly
Most of these guys had pivotal moments during Atlanta’s World Series run, especially Ehire Adrianza. Chris Martin and Johan Camargo didn’t live up to expectations, but they were long-time Braves, and I’m sad to see them go. They’ve been properly replaced by Kenley Jansen/Kirby Yates and Orlando Arcia, respectively. Drew Smyly gave Atlanta some solid innings at times, but there are multiple candidates to replace him as well.
4. RHP Jesse Chavez
Many forget that Jesse Chavez stepped up when the Braves were on a skid and even made a few critical spot starts. He was also fantastic in the postseason when he was really needed. Chavez is an awesome veteran piece to have in the clubhouse — the Cubs are getting an excellent player.
3. 1B Freddie Freeman
Look, before you get all wound up, hear me out. Yes, Freddie Freeman is one of the greatest players in franchise history, and I’m not being salty about the situation. However, the Braves managed to replace him with a younger, elite fielder at first base — a guy with 50 home run potential while playing his home games at Truist Park. If the Braves hadn’t properly replaced Freeman, he’s obviously number one on this list. That isn’t the case. Olson will do just fine in his place, and Braves fans will quickly grow attached to him, just like they did with Freeman.
2. OF Joc Pederson
Joctober may be over, but he’s still one of my favorite players in team history. Pederson came up clutch so many times during this team’s playoff run, and he’s credited with turning around the Braves’ morale after he was acquired, making baseball fun again when nothing was going right. I’m happy he’s in San Francisco, and I hope he gets a chance to play every day. It will be impossible to replace the energy he brought to the entire city.
1. OF Jorge Soler
The Braves unlocked something in Jorge Soler that he didn’t have in Kansas City, and his monster blast in the World Series will replay in Atlanta until the end of time. Soler began taking a lot more walks in Atlanta, and his improved approach was a big reason he was so successful for the Braves. It stings he went to the Marlins, but I’m happy he got paid. Who knows, maybe an Adam Duvall-esque reunion could be on the table one day. I think he continues to tear up baseball and flirts with 40 home runs next season.