Braves “Wish Away List”: Free Agents to avoid

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Dallas Keuchel

I feel like Keuchel is going to be a guy who gets a fat contract and immediately starts to decline. I could be wrong, but with limited spending, he’s going to be paid way more than he’s worth, and I don’t want him to hamstring the Braves’ cap sheet. I’d rather have Madison Bumgarner, Alex Wood on a cheap deal, or Cole Hamels on a short-term contract if Atlanta is looking for a lefty starter.

The Braves have also seen first-hand that Keuchel isn’t the postseason guy to get them over the hump. I don’t want to foot the bill for a #3 starter that wants to be paid like an ace. If the price tag comes down a lot, snatch him back up. Spoiler alert: It’s not going to.

Rick Porcello

Another Cy Young winner, Porcello, probably had the roughest 2019 of the two I’ve mentioned. His 5.52 ERA was a far cry from his 2016 Cy Young and championship season when he won 22 games. Even that year, he had a 3.15 ERA pitching in the AL. Outside of that, his ERA has only been below 4.00 twice (2009, which he missed 4.00 by 0.04, and 2014). Some team will overpay for his past performance and ink him to a stupid deal that he won’t live up to. Hard pass.

Yasmani Grandal

This one will ruffle some feathers. I’m not in on Grandal. He had a great 2019: .246 with 28 bombs, but this one isn’t as much about performance. Grandal will command a massive deal. With Shea Langeliers and Williams Contreras almost ready, that money can be used elsewhere next offseason. I’d rather bring back Francisco Cervelli as a stopgap instead of dishing out four years to a guy that plays a position the Braves invested a first-round pick in last June.

Martin Maldonado

Maldonado seems like a decent fit for Atlanta, but he’s probably another guy who I’d rather have Cervelli back over. He threw out an eye-popping 49% of base stealers in 2018, but that number regressed to 26% in 2019. Combined with the fact that he’s a career .219 hitter, anything over one year is pretty unappealing to me.

Matt Wieters

Back in the day, I wanted Matt Wieters in Atlanta. I’m glad I didn’t get my wish. Wieters has aged like milk since leaving Baltimore, as he hasn’t hit over .235 and barely cracked St. Louis’ catcher rotation last season. He only played in 67 games. Since 2014, he’s missed 481 games out of 972, that’s almost half. This team has enough problems with catchers who can’t hit and injuries all around as is.

Jedd Gyorko

Gyorko’s consistency and versatility kept him around the league this long, but 2019 was brutal for him. He hit .174 with only 2 HRs – nowhere near his St. Louis days when he was an offensive force. Gyorko has hit a wall and is likely headed for a massive decline, replacing Donaldson with him would be a nightmare, even on a 1-year deal. I’d rather roll with Austin Riley.

Todd Frazier

Frazier and Gyorko are pretty similar, except Frazier will cost more. The home run derby champ didn’t have a terrible 2019 like Gyorko (.251 with 21 Bombs), but I don’t see him being the catalyst this lineup needs in the cleanup spot. He’ll be 34 when 2020 kicks off, and an Austin Riley/Johan Camargo platoon would likely be the more productive and cheaper route.

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