While the Braves aren’t done on the free agent or trade market, they’ve been one of the most active teams when it comes to signing players. Drew Smyly and Charlie Morton were both fantastic additions on one year contracts, and with Mike Soroka likely out for a few weeks of the season — Atlanta should get a good look at everyone. I wrote here about what these signings mean for Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson, and they undoubtedly have an uphill climb to make the roster. So who are the candidates for the 5th rotation spot when Soroka returns?
The locks: Mike Soroka, Max Fried, Ian Anderson
The mix: Drew Smyly, Charlie Morton, Kyle Wright, Bryse Wilson, Kyle Muller, Sean Newcomb, Tucker Davidson, Jeremy Walker, Patrick Weigel, Touki Toussaint
Anthopoulos didn’t pay Drew Smyly and Charlie Morton a combined $26 million to have them sit on the bench. I fully expect both of them to start the season with the Braves, especially with Soroka’s injury. So who gets the final 5th spot before Soroka returns? It most likely comes down to Kyle Wright or Bryse Wilson. Everyone else on the list isn’t ready yet or has already received numerous chances. I think Wright gets the edge based on what he showed before the season ended. However, I wouldn’t be shocked if he gets yanked in favor of Wilson if he slips up to start 2021.
The signings of Morton and Smyly ensure (knock on wood) that we will not have to see a pitcher like Robbie Erlin or Tommy Milone in the regular season or AJ Minter in the postseason. Injuries killed Atlanta in the playoffs, and Alex Anthopoulos wisely wants to have plenty of options going into a season after losing his ace to a torn achilles.
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