Jim Bowden of The Athletic recently interviewed several executives from around Major League Baseball, asking what the biggest need is for each team in the league. For the Braves, it’s all about starting pitching, especially after the injury to Kyle Wright.
If the Braves had a healthy Kyle Wright, the rotation wouldn’t even be an issue, especially if Charlie Morton comes back. However, it’s possible Morton retires, which leaves the Braves with Spencer Strider, Max Fried, and a whole bunch of hoping when it comes to Bryce Elder, AJ Smith-Shawver, and Hurston Waldrep.
Beyond that, it can’t be forgotten that Fried missed most of 2023 with an elbow injury. Perhaps rest was all that he needed, but his health is not a guarantee going into 2024 as well. The Braves have to add a starting pitcher, and if they are serious about winning another World Series, probably multiple.
As far as the top priority for the Braves division rivals:
Marlins: A president of baseball operations and a general manager.
Mets: Starting pitching and bullpen depth.
Nationals: A veteran starting pitcher and a corner outfield bat.
With the Phillies deep pockets, it’s hard to imagine Aaron Nola walking in free agency, but money talks, and there will be a lot of teams vying for his services. If anybody knows that nothing is guaranteed in free agency, it’s the Braves, who have watched two franchise cornerstones walk in back-to-back offseasons.
I would say finding a President of Baseball Operations and General Manager would be key to making offseason decisions. The Marlins should get on that, and quick.
The Mets are the biggest wild card of any team in free agency. They’ve shown they have no problem outspending everyone, but they’ve also suggested 2024 will be a rebuilding year. I’m not buying that. Guys like Cohen can’t help themselves, and that’s a good thing. Nobody should bash owners for their willingness to spend in an attempt to make their team better.
The Nationals really came alive at the end of the season, and it won’t be long before their #1 overall pick Dylan Crews is in the bigs. They could be a candidate to sneak into the playoffs next year with the proper additions.
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