Buy or Sell: Braves interest in top MLB free agents

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The Braves have most of their 2023 roster set in stone, thanks to Alex Anthopoulos locking up nearly the entire team to long-term contracts. That’s a nice thing to have in your back pocket when coming off a 101-win campaign, but there are still some holes left to fill. And with the Braves hoping to be a top-five payroll in the upcoming years, you can expect them to be very active in free agency every offseason. This winter will be no different, especially with Dansby Swanson testing free agency.

In this version of Buy or Sell, I’ll be going through the top free agents in this class that fit one of the Braves needs. Atlanta only has a few openings, so I’ll be focused on starting pitchers, relievers, outfielders, and shortstops.

Aaron Judge

Outside of shortstop, the biggest need the Braves have is in left field. Eddie Rosario and Marcell Ozuna can’t be relied on as starters entering next season, so I expect them to add at least one outfielder this winter. Aaron Judge would be spectacular, but let’s be real. The Braves aren’t handing him $400 million.

Sell

Carlos Correa

In a tremendous shortstop free agent class, Correa is likely to set the market at the position. The Braves had interest in Correa last offseason, so I expect them to be in contact again this winter. However, I see Correa being the one free agent shorstop that is likely out of the Braves price range.

Sell

Trea Turner

Turner is arguably the best shortstop in baseball, and he’s been a Braves killer throughout his career. I believe he would be an upgrade over Dansby Swanson, but will the Braves pony up the $250 million it will likely take to land Turner? In years past, I would say no way, but I think the Braves will be very interested in bringing Turner to Atlanta.

Buy

Xander Bogaerts

It looks like Bogaerts’ time in Boston is coming to an end. You could argue he has been an even better offensive player than Turner over the last few years, and he will likely command less in free agency. Typically, that should mean the Braves will be interested, but I feel like if Anthopoulos is going to hand a shortstop north of $200 million, it will be to Turner, not Bogaerts.

Sell

Dansby Swanson

I’ve said it several times already – the Braves are going to land one of these top free agent shortstops. There aren’t any other stopgap options, and I don’t see them making another trade because of how thin their farm system already is. So, I’ll take it a step further in this piece. If the Braves don’t land Trea Turner, they will re-sign Swanson.

Buy

Jacob deGrom/Carlos Rodon

Both of these guys are set to sign long-term deals this offseason. The Braves should have interest; everyone with money to spend should. However, I don’t see the Braves spending big money on a frontline arm that is looking for a lengthy deal. If one of these guys were willing to take a shorter contract with a high AAV, I could see the Braves making them a priority. However, they will likely want longer deals, so I don’t see the Braves having much interest.

Sell

Justin Verlander

Verlander is a little different because he will be 40 years old. There’s the potential for him to settle for a one or two-year contract, but I still don’t see the Braves ponying up the necessary cash to pry Verlander away from Houston. Bringing back Charlie Morton solidified Atlanta’s rotation for next season. I don’t think they will spend big money on a starter.

Sell

Andrew Benintendi

Benintendi is coming off arguably the best year of his career. With an opening in left field, I see the Braves having interest. Although, I think they could be more focused on finding a stopgap option on a one-year deal rather than an All-Star that will command a multi-year contract.

Buy

Joc Pederson

It feels like Pederson was dead set on heading back west last offseason, which is why the Braves didn’t re-sign him. However, perhaps Anthopoulos will take another stab at trying to bring him back this winter. His clubhouse presence and clutch October gene were sorely missed during this year’s playoff run. I’m buying the Braves trying to bring him back this offseason, but I’m selling a deal actually coming to fruition.

Sell

Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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