Spring Training is up and running, and the Braves are missing a lot of familiar faces in 2021. Guys like Cristian Pache and William Contreras have showed up early, but you can never project the season based on these exhibition games. Atlanta still needs some help off the bench, so what are the chances some of the key pieces from the amazing 2020 season return to Atlanta?
LHP Cole Hamels
Is there a number less than 0?
I honestly thought Nick Markakis would have retired by this point, and I’m really shocked a young team that needs a veteran presence hasn’t brought him in on a cheap deal yet. Markakis had a bad postseason, but he’s still a crafty veteran that can help a young club. I even figured a team like Baltimore would bring him back to sell some tickets. I love Kakes, but I think his time is over in Atlanta with Marcell Ozuna back, Cristian Pache waiting in the wings, and Drew Waters not very far behind.
RHP Shane Greene
I figured Shane Greene would have been scooped up pretty quickly, but perhaps he’s playing the waiting game. My guess is that his desired contract isn’t matching up with the market. With guys like Carl Edwards Jr. Nate Jones, Jacob Webb, and Victor Arano looking solid in limited action, Greene’s time with the Braves could easily be over.
Flowers is the likeliest candidate to return, but Chase talked about how Atlanta seems ready to turn over the keys to their young catchers. Alex Jackson‘s bat has yet to catch up, and William Contreras looks destined to be a key piece of the Braves future. I have given Flowers a lot of grief over the years, but I wouldn’t be too shocked if Atlanta gave him a deal within the coming weeks if they don’t like what they see out of Jackson and Contreras.