The Braves have plenty of work to do this offseason.
Left field could use bolstering, and the rotation needs addressing, regardless of what Charlie Morton decides to do. However, the one facet that I believe should be overkilled is the bullpen.
The relievers weren’t the reason the Braves lost in the postseason in back-to-back seasons to the Phillies, and they don’t necessarily show up in the regular season as much as an ace or star position player.
Relievers are a lot like insurance. It’s better to have them and not need them than need them and not have them. Elite bullpens win in October. Atlanta’s offseason should revolve around the playoffs, not the regular season.
It starts with getting some juice in the relief core. The Athletic suggests a high-powered arm in Jordan Hicks as a place to start.
30. Jordan Hicks, RHP
Jordan Hicks was finally healthy this season and back to throwing in the triple digits. The Blue Jays acquired him from the Cardinals at the trade deadline and he pitched well for them, posting a 2.63 ERA over 25 appearances including four saves. Overall, he made 66 appearances and registered 12 saves, putting up a 3.29 ERA with 81 strikeouts in 65 2/3 innings.
The Athletc projects a three-year, $30 million deal for Hicks, which isn’t chump change, but a guy that kisses triple digits and punches out 11.1 batters per nine innings is going to garner that kind of money.
He’s only 27 years old and is coming off the best campaign of his career. Typically, the Braves wouldn’t get into a bidding war over a high-valued player, but I think Anthopolos operates under a different strategy this offseason.
A long-term deal could be exactly what the doctor ordered. The Braves need some high-powered arms out of the bullpen, and locking up someone like Jordan Hicks for the next few years could be a wise investment for Atlanta.