Buy or sell: Braves free agents

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Alex Anthopoulos will be focusing strictly on the few areas the Braves can look to upgrade this offseason. In 2019, Atlanta was among the most complete teams in baseball, but it still wasn’t enough for them to take that next step. With the restrictions placed on them by ownership, for them to improve, Anthopoulos is going to have to make some gut-wrenching decisions on guys who were pivotal to the Braves 97-win season.

Josh Donaldson

Buy or Sell: Buy

Donaldson was one of the primary reasons the Braves took a substantial step forward towards being a championship-caliber baseball team. Austin Riley isn’t quite ready to be trusted, and it would be a shame to waste another year of this core’s talent. There’s mutual interest – and there should be – it is a perfect fit, and if the Braves don’t land Donaldson or Rendon, they will be forced to settle for a downgrade.

It’s all going to come down to money. The Braves aren’t normally one to overpay, which will leave the door open for desperate teams that are willing to throw three years with an AAV over $25 million at him.

Dallas Keuchel

Buy or Sell: Sell

Keuchel was a key cog in the Braves run towards their second consecutive NL East title, but he also proved he wasn’t the type of player that is going to take this team over the top. He’s a fantastic #3 option that wants to be paid like a #1. For the right price, I’d be interested in bringing back Keuchel; I just don’t think that’s going to be an option this offseason. Some team will give him the lucrative multi-year deal he is looking for now that they don’t have to forfeit a draft pick to do so.

Julio Teheran

Buy or Sell: Sell

This one is a toss-up. Teheran has been consistently pretty good for the Braves his entire career. Is he going to be a trusted arm in the postseason? No. But can he eat close to 200 innings over the regular season and win more games than not? Yes, and that’s worth something. However, when looking at where the Braves can upgrade this offseason, it begins with the starting rotation. That $11 million Atlanta would save by cutting ties with Teheran can be better allocated elsewhere. This wouldn’t be the case if Alex Anthopoulos didn’t have to pinch pennies in order to add to his roster because of poor ownership.

Nick Markakis

Buy or Sell: Buy

This is another tough one. By the end of next season, I think the Braves have to upgrade at right field if they want to win a World Series. Nick Markakis just isn’t cutting it anymore in October, but there aren’t a ton of sexy options out there, and the Braves have two budding prospects that could be ready in 2020. Say what you want about Markakis, but his regular-season production is easily worth the $6 million the Braves are scheduled to pay him if they pick up his option. I see Atlanta keeping him around for one more year, hoping that either Drew Waters or Cristian Pache will be ready to take over in the outfield by season’s end.

Chris Martin

Buy or Sell: Buy

Martin filled in nicely as a set-up man for the Braves after a rocky start with the team. His phenomenal command was sorely missed out of the pen in the NLDS, and he shouldn’t cost too much to bring back on a two-year deal or so. Atlanta will have interest in retaining him, but I don’t see them spending a whole lot more on the bullpen with Melancon and Greene set to cost over $20 million in 2020.

Tyler Flowers

Buy or Sell: Buy

If you listen to the podcast, or have followed the site for a while, you know we’ve been rough on Tyler Flowers. He’s not exactly the most inspiring person behind the plate. The problem is there just aren’t many sexy options at catcher these days. Most can’t hit, and the ones that can, usually have trouble defensively. Flowers is iffy in both areas, but he knows the pitching staff, is cheap, and the Braves don’t have too many other places they can turn.

Francisco Cervelli

Buy or Sell: Sell

One of the people that could replace Flowers is Francisco Cervelli. The Braves could opt to keep both, but I think they are most likely to roll with one and find another option for their two-man platoon. Alex Anthopoulos might keep Cervelli and let Flowers walk, and most people would not bat an eye, but I give a slight edge to Flowers in that race.

Matt Joyce

Buy or Sell: Buy

How could you not love what Matt Joyce brought to the Braves? I don’t want him in the starting lineup come October, but he is a great bench piece Anthopoulos should want to hold on to.

Darren O’Day

Buy or Sell: Buy

This one might be more up to Darren O’Day. I’m not sure if the 37-year-old will want to retire after back-to-back injury-plagued seasons or keep chugging. He was damn effective in his return – even if it was a minuscule sample size. The Braves need as much quality bullpen help as they can get, so I would love to have a healthy O’Day back in the pen.

Anthony Swarzak

Buy or Sell: Sell

Swarzak was a savior for the Braves last year, helping the bullpen close games when it was in complete shambles. However, I don’t think there will be room for him.

Josh Tomlin

Buy or Sell: Buy

Tomlin is not a slam-dunk to be back in 2020, but I’d love him too. He has tremendous poise and experience, allowing him to pitch in a bevy of different situations. Every bullpen needs a Josh Tomlin.

Billy Hamilton/Adeiny Hechavarria

Buy or Sell: Sell

You have to love what both of these guys gave the Braves in 2019, but there isn’t going to be a spot on the roster for them in 2020, as several other players return from injury.

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