The Braves didn’t win 104 games and set all kinds of offensive records by being chopped liver, even if they looked like it in the NLDS against the Phillies. This remains among the most complete rosters in baseball. Minor tweaks and a couple of significant additions are all the Braves need to return to glory.
I talked about it yesterday, but shortstop is a position I haven’t seen a lot of people talking about. Orlando Arcia was outstanding during the first 80 games of the season, but over the last 80, he looked a lot like the player he was in Milwaukee. The Braves can upgrade at the position. Perhaps that happens internally with Vaughn Grissom, but I’m not holding my breath.
The biggest hurdle to upgrading from Arcia externally is the options. The free agency pool is barren, and the Braves don’t have a lot of prospects to trade even if a star-caliber shortstop were to become available. Most likely, the Braves will have to roll with Arcia and upgrade elsewhere, but it’s something to keep in mind this offseason. I’ve learned never to doubt Alex Anthopoulos.
3. Left Field
Kevin Pillar is a pending free agent, and Eddie Rosario has a $9 million option for next season. It’s very possible neither of them will be with the Braves in 2024, as they could look to acquire a more permanent option that can play every day. However, even if they don’t accomplish that, Anthopoulos needs to bring in a more powerful right-handed bat that can platoon with Rosario in left field.
I wouldn’t even blame anyone if they put this as the Braves top priority. Playoff games can be won almost exclusively with elite bullpens, just look at what the Phillies have done to the Braves in the last two postseasons. This needs to be a top priority, and I’m not talking about a couple of band-aids. Alex Anthopoulos needs to go out and acquire multiple high-powered relief arms that can be thrust into high leverage situations at any moment. They may not make a huge difference during the regular season, but they can be the difference between a first-round exit and a championship in October.
1. Starting Pitching
Pitching, pitching, and more pitching. The Braves pitching staff actually wasn’t the issue come October; it was the bats. But it will be if Alex Anthopoulos continues to neglect it every offseason. Right now, the rotation consists of Max Fried, Spencer Strider, and a whole bunch of question marks.
Bryce Elder is a decent back-end option, but he shouldn’t be relied on in a postseason series. Perhaps Charlie Morton decides to run it back one more time, but even if he does, the Braves need to add another frontline guy to this group. We’ve seen over the last two seasons how injuries can ravage a rotation. Taking that chance again and hoping for better results will only end up in more disappointment.
Photo: Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire