Braves: The Athletic puts Atlanta’s offseason atop the division

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Thanks to the lockout, this offseason was painfully long and slow, but the Braves made the most of it. On a YouTube video last week, Alex Lord and I gave our final grades for all of Atlanta’s offseason moves, and there was little doubt in my eyes. The Braves deserved an A+. If it were a percentage, Alex Anthopoulos should receive a 100/100.

The Braves locked up an All-Star first baseman at a much lesser cost per year than Freeman ended up receiving from the Dodgers. They patched up the weakest link from last year’s team — catcher. They brought back Eddie Rosario, and finally, they put together the best relief core in baseball. In my wildest dreams, I couldn’t have imagined Atlanta’s offseason turning out any more perfect, so it’s no surprise Jim Bowden from The Athletic agrees.

Earlier today, Bowden released his offseason grades for all 30 teams, and the Braves received an A, which was the highest mark handed out to any of the teams.

The defending champs did not rest on their laurels. The Braves’ offseason was defined by their willingness to let Freddie Freeman leave in free agency to the Dodgers, but the real story is that they upgraded at first base for the long term with the Matt Olson trade. Olson is a better defender, has more power and is 4 1/2 years younger. On balance, he should outperform Freeman over their respective contracts. The Braves also significantly improved their bullpen by adding right-handers Kenley Jansen and Collin McHugh, among others such as righty Kirby Yates (expected to be activated in August), to an already deep bullpen.

The Mets also received a well-deserved A for all of the signings they made, while the Phillies and Marlins each received a B+. According to Bowden, Washington had the worst offseason in the NL East, earning a C-, which makes sense given they are currently amid a rebuild. No other National League team outside of the NL East finished with a grade higher than a B+.

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