The Braves made a boatload of moves yesterday, a lot of which seemed to be motivated by shedding salary. Could that mean a big splash is on the horizon?
Atlanta has already been linked to some of the top free agents of the class. Most notably, Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported the Braves are seen as “strong possibilities” for Aaron Nola and Sonny Gray. That came right after Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that the Braves would spend for the right starting pitcher. Adding more fuel to the fire, Jeff Passan of ESPN said in an interview with 680 The Fan that the expectation among MLB executives is for the Braves to sign one of Nola or Gray.
“Executives on other teams believe that the Braves will wind up with one of those two [Nola or Gray],” Passan said on 680 The Fan, via Phillies Nation. “I don’t know which one. I don’t know how soon it’s going to be.”
The Braves have yet to be big spenders in free agency since Alex Anthopoulos took over as general manager. He’s preferred to do most of his damage through trades and subsequent extensions as we’ve seen with Matt Olson and Sean Murphy. However, with a farm system barren of talent, that might be more difficult to accomplish ahead of the 2024 season.
The most simple avenue for the Braves to fix their most glaring issue is free agency. Nola is a workhouse that has been critical to the Phillies last two postseason runs. Stealing him away from a division rival also has to be extra appealing. Gray is a little older than Nola, but that also means he won’t require as significant of an investment. He’s also coming off the best season of his career, finishing second in the AL Cy Young race.
Either player would be a huge boost to a rotation that seems to be missing one more frontline guy. The Braves are in win-now mode, and if they want to get back to the top of the mountain, they may have to spend some substantial cash to do so.
Photo: Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire