The lockout has arrived, and it appears it will be a lengthy one, but whenever it does end, the Braves will be among the busier teams in baseball. They have to sign a first baseman, multiple outfielders and could use help across their pitching staff. Thankfully, there are still plenty of high-quality options available, even after the signing frenzy that occurred just before the lockout. So this begins a series of updated free-agent wish lists at each position, starting with the outfield since that is arguably the Braves’ most glaring need.
Keep in mind, this is my wish list, not a list of the best outfielders on the market. I will also be including Braves free agents in this series.
Conforto is a player that seems destined to sign a bloated one-year contract after a porous 2021 campaign for his standards. We all know how much Alex Anthopoulos loves a one-year bargain, and this could be beneficial for both sides. If Conforto can bounce back towards his career slash line of .255/.356/.468/.824 in 2022, he’ll be in line to sign a lucrative multi-year deal next offseason. We’ve seen it work with Josh Donaldson and Marcell Ozuna in Atlanta, and I believe Conforto would experience something similar.
I would absolutely love to have Eddie Rosario back. He probably won’t command more than a two-year deal, and he did nothing but rake in a Braves uniform, which isn’t anything new. Despite a slow start with Cleveland last season, the lowest OPS Rosario posted from 2017-2020 was .792. This guy straight up knows how to hit, and apparently, he loves the bright lights of October too.
Soler is probably more of a DH, but they will also be included in this piece. The transformation he made with the Braves wasn’t by accident. Alex Anthopoulos and the coaching staff saw something in him, and he couldn’t have responded to their coaching any better. His switch to a more patient approach at the plate was evident, and he became one of the toughest outs in the Braves lineup to go along with his insane power. My only worry is he may have priced himself out of Atlanta with his insane World Series performance.
McCutchen’s not the MVP candidate he once was, but he’s a great clubhouse fit and still packs a lot of pop in his bat. Last season with the Phillies, he blasted 27 homers and posted a .778 OPS, despite a .222 batting average. McCutchen is still an .800 OPS player, and he shouldn’t be more expensive than the other names on this list.
Out of all the names on this list, this is who I am most hopeful for because of the upside. Suzuki is expected to sign with a major league team this offseason, and the Braves are reportedly a top suitor for his services. The 27-year-old already has nine years of professional experience under his belt in Japan, where he’s torn the cover off of the ball, slashing .309/.402/.542 over his career. It should also get Braves fans excited that he’s drawn comparisons to Ronald Acuna Jr.
Seiya Suzuki is the real deal. Not sure if the Dodgers will have any interest, but he’s only 27 years old and has drawn comparisons to Ronald Acuña Jr. https://t.co/KJzvFCTUXL
— Blake Harris (@BlakeHarrisTBLA) November 5, 2021