Bradford Doolittle recently did a piece discussing one bold move that all 30 teams should make this offseason, and I absolutely hated what he had for the Braves. Thankfully, his opinion is no longer plausible, since Kevin Gausman signed with the Blue Jays last night. For a number of reasons, I would have disliked if Alex Anthopoulos handed Gausman a five-year deal worth over $100 million, and it’s also just not a deal AA would ever have considered. So, with that in mind, I decided to come up with a much better bold offseason move that the Braves should make so they can repeat in 2022.
Trade for Sonny Gray
The primary reason I hated the idea of signing Gausman is because of the contract. That’s just way too much money for a guy who has only put together one season of elite production. I mean, the guy was DFA’d by the Braves just two seasons ago. However, that’s the way the starting pitching market is going this offseason. People are getting overpaid left and right, which is not Alex Anthopoulos’ cup of tea. For that reason, I don’t see the Braves signing any high-quality starting pitchers, but I do think they would like to add at least one more frontline guy, and there are some available via trade.
Of all the potential options, Gray is the guy I feel makes the most sense. He’s a top-of-the-line starter that the Braves have been linked to in the past and on a manageable contract with two years of control. Gray is scheduled to earn $10.2 million next season and has a $12 million club option for 2023 that will surely be picked up. He’ll cost a decent bit in terms of prospects, but I don’t think it will be anything the organization cannot recover from.
Adding Gray to the trio of Charlie Morton, Ian Anderson, and Max Fried would give the Braves one of the most feared rotations in baseball. It would also give the team plenty of starting pitching depth when injuries inevitably strike over the course of the season. Gray has bounced back splendidly with the Reds after his time with New York, earning All-Star honors in 2019, and most recently, accruing 3.3 WAR in 2021. He’s the type of financial bargain the Braves need on their pitching staff so they can fill out the rest of their roster as effectively as possible, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Anthopoulos were interested.