The Braves already kicked off their offseason by re-signing one of their own. Pierce Johnson inked a two-year deal with the team worth $14 million. The contract also comes with a club option for 2026, which will also pay Johnson $7 million if picked up.
The Braves don’t need to make huge splashes, but I do expect this offseason to be a busy one for Alex Anthopoulos. After what has happened in the postseason in each of the last two years, adjustments must be made, or the same results in October can be expected. Not only will the Braves be active in free agency, but expect them also to try and extend some of their own.
This is going to be the talk of the offseason. The Braves have let two faces of the franchise in Freddie Freeman and Dansby Swanson walk for nothing in each of the past two offseasons. Based on that, it would seem the writing is on the wall for Max Fried, who is set to become a free agent at the end of the 2024 campaign.
With that being said, Alex Anthopoulos has reiterated often throughout his tenure as general manager about the importance of having an ace in the rotation. Is he really going to pinch pennies and let one walk right out the door? The emergence of Spencer Strider could play a factor in the decision. Right now, it’s anyone’s best guess whether Max Fried is a Brave beyond 2024. But if they don’t get an extension done this offseason, it seems likely he will test free agency, and we’ve seen that song and dance before.
Minter finds himself in the same position as Fried. He’ll be tendered a contract as he enters his final year of arbitration. If I’m the Braves, I’m not playing around with this situation. The bullpen has been an issue for a while, and Minter has been the one steady presence. An argument can be made that he is the best left-handed reliever on the planet. The Braves should make sure he’s in Atlanta for years to come.
Ozzie Albies & Ronald Acuña Jr.
This is something I talked about during the season, and while it doesn’t need to be at the forefront of Alex Anthopoulos’ offseason priorities, it would behoove the Braves to get ahead of the curb when it comes to the extensions for Ronald Acuña Jr. and Ozzie Albies.
Albies is under team control at $7 million a year through 2027. Acuña is under team control through 2028 at $17 million. However, as we’ve seen in recent years, the earlier these extensions get done, the more beneficial they are for the team. The Braves could look to make sure these two are Braves for life by giving them a raise right now and then making it up on the backend. There’s no way Alex Anthopoulos should let either of these guys walk out the door when their contracts are up, but it takes two to tango in these negotiations.
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