Jim Bowden of The Athletic recently handed out grades for every MLB team’s offseason thus far, and despite a lack of significant transactions, he seemed to like what the Braves have done to this point, giving Alex Anthopolous a B for his work.
The most impactful move the Braves have made actually occurred before the offseason when they inked Charlie Morton to a one-year extension worth $20 million. Assuming he’s ready for the start of the season, that’s an absolute bargain compared to what other starting pitchers were receiving on the open market.
The signings the Braves made weren’t the sexiest, but they could end up paying substantial dividends. Manny Piña will backup Travis d’Arnaud, which was a move the team desperately needed. They learned first-hand how bad things could get behind the plate if d’Arnaud goes down with an injury.
The Braves also added two relievers in Darren O’Day and Kirby Yates. O’Day’s deal is a minor-league pact, but I expect him to be on the Opening Day roster as long as he’s healthy. Yates is coming off Tommy John surgery and won’t be ready until the middle of the season at the earliest. However, his contract reflects that. He will only earn $1 million in 2022 compared to $4.25 million in 2023. Who knows which pitcher the Braves will end up getting when Yates returns, but if he’s anything close to the guy who dominated in 2018 and 2019, this is another bargain.
Outside of that, the Braves were pretty quiet. They did acquire Jay Jackson via trade; he had a decent stint with the Giants last season and will compete for a roster spot in Spring Training. Still, it was enough for Bowden to give the Braves a B, which is a good sign because the best of the Braves offseason is in front of them. The elephant in the room, of course, is Freddie Freeman. The feeling around the league is that he will remain in Atlanta, but that is just one of several big moves I’m expecting the Braves to make once the lockout comes to an end.