Braves: There’s no way Alex Anthopoulos should make this mistake twice

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Because of revenue loss from COVID in 2020, the spending by most teams around the league was suppressed, forcing many players coming off fantastic seasons to settle for short-term deals. The Braves opted to let Adam Duvall go to free agency instead of arbitration, and he ended up signing just a one-year, $5 million contract. However, he’s only making $2 million this season; the deal has a $7 million mutual option for 2022 with a $3 million buyout. Either way, he was an incredible bargain for the Marlins, providing them well-above-average production for four months and netting them Alex Jackson in a trade with the Braves. We now know letting Duvall walk for pennies was a mistake — one Anthopoulos can’t make again this offseason.

Unfortunately, it might not be up to him. As I said, Duvall has a mutual option for 2022. It should be a no-brainer for the Braves to accept. They would only be saving $4 million by letting him walk, which he’s undoubtedly worth. However, Duvall may not be interested in playing on another one-year pact. After two good seasons in a row, he’s earned some security in his next contract, and I’ll imagine he’ll get it.

Whether that will be from the Braves or not, we’ll have to see. However, with so much uncertainty surrounding the future of Marcell Ozuna, Anthopoulos will likely be in the outfield market this offseason. They’ll be plenty of intriguing names available, but I’m not so sure the answer isn’t right in front of us. I don’t think Duvall will command some ridiculously ludicrous contract in free agency; most likely, it will be a two or three-year team-friendly deal, something the Braves should pounce on.

Since the start of 2020, Duvall has played nearly one entire season (159 games) in which he has clobbered 41 homers and driven in 111 runs, all while playing plus-defense in the outfield. With his .229 batting average over that stretch, he may not be your grandpa’s cup of tea, but this is a player that is built for today’s game. It’s also overwhelmingly evident that Duvall is very comfortable batting in Atlanta; just look at what he did with the Marlins against the Braves this season.

Given the Braves’ financial restraints last offseason because of Liberty Media and COVID, the decision to let Duvall walk at the time was understandable. His track record was shaky, and the outfield was already full. That won’t be the case going into 2022. Duvall has shown some consistency, and it doesn’t look like Marcell Ozuna is coming through the clubhouse doors anytime soon. Even if Duvall decides to opt-out, the Braves should be looking to bring him back on a reasonable multi-year contract.


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