The Braves finally made another free agent signing, inking the powerful Jordan Luplow to a one-year deal. The former Arizona Diamondback rakes against lefties and could potentially serve as a platoon option in the outfield or as a DH. Still, he’s more of a bench piece with some upside. If the Braves believe he will seriously fix the dilemma they currently have in left field, they’re fooling themselves.
As things currently stand, the combination of Marcell Ozuna and Eddie Rosario is only projected to combine for 1.0 WAR next season. Luplow’s power and defense will add to that, but not by much. Left field remains a black hole in Atlanta and needs to be addressed before the start of the season.
As things stand, the Braves LF spot of Rosario, Ozuna, and Hilliard is projected to be worth just 1.0 fWAR in 2023. That's the worst LF group in MLB, as well as the biggest positional weakness among all of last season's playoff teams.
— Foolish Baseball (@FoolishBB) December 19, 2022
There is still time, but the Braves haven’t done much this offseason to inspire confidence amongst the fan base. Perhaps money really is an issue. If ownership isn’t willing to spend, there’s not much Alex Anthopoulos can do.
But if the Braves do have more cash left in their pocket, left field should be their top priority. There’s a chance Marcell Ozuna or Eddie Rosario figure things out and becomes contributing members of the ball club, but there’s even more of a chance that they don’t. Ozuna hasn’t been a replacement-level player for multiple seasons, and Rosario was arguably the worst player in the majors last season. I like the addition of Luplow, but none of these guys should be considered everyday players.
At the very least, the Braves need to add another option like Adam Duvall. I would like for them to do even more, but if the options in left field are only Ozuna, Rosario, and Luplow, they are setting themselves up for another mess. With no clear answer at shortstop either, that’s not something they can afford.
Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire
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