As I talked about yesterday, the Braves had seven players become unrestricted free agents, and I expect them to attempt to bring back several of them. So, I thought it would be a fun exercise to rank those players from most important to least important. I think we all know who #1 will be.
7. Drew Smyly
With Charlie Morton back, Mike Soroka potentially back next season, and guys like Tucker Davidson, Kyle Muller, Huascar Ynoa, and Kyle Wright all expected to compete for rotation spots, the need to bring back Smyly is next to none. He had some moments for the Braves, but Anthopoulos needs to be saving those dollars to sign other guys.
Adrianza was a big part of keeping the Braves afloat when the outfield was in shambles. His production teetered off at the end of the season, but he had a critical double in Game 6 of the NLCS before Eddie Rosario‘s memorable three-run homer. I wouldn’t mind keeping Adrianza around on a minor-league deal, but he definitely shouldn’t be guaranteed a roster spot.
5. Chris Martin
Martin was elite in the Braves bullpen for a couple of seasons, but he had a miserable 2021, and it seemed that the ban on spider tack was a primary reason for that. I still think Martin could bounce back, and he probably won’t cost much of anything. Do I think he will be back? No, but on a $1-2 million contract for one season, I wouldn’t hate it.
4. Jesse Chavez
This man came out of nowhere and was one of the Braves’ best relievers during the season and into the playoffs. He may be 39 next season, but he clearly has some juice left in the tank. I would love to see him back in a Braves uniform.
3. Eddie Rosario
The following two on this list are really a toss-up, and I believe a lot of it will have to do what other teams offer. If one of them is more willing to take a one-year deal — knowing Anthopoulos — that’s probably who is more likely to stay in Atlanta. I’ve loved Rosario for a while. He’s a guy who just straight up loves to hit, and even though he was having a down year with Cleveland, he proved with the Braves that he’s still the same player that consistently posts an .800 OPS. Rosario’s fielding may be sub-par, but he’s still deserving of a multi-year deal from someone.
2. Jorge Soler
There are two reasons I believe the Braves will favor Soler over Rosario and potentially even offer him a multi-year contract. Most importantly, the adjustments he made since coming to Atlanta were evident. All of a sudden, he became one of the toughest outs in baseball. Pair that with his power, and he’s an extremely valuable commodity. It’s clear Kevin Seitzer and the Braves coaching staff did a number on him, and I expect his success to continue if he stays in Atlanta. Secondly, the DH role fits him perfectly, and with it coming to the National League, the Braves should hang on to Soler.
Again, nothing to see here. If the Braves don’t re-sign Freddie Freeman, you’ll see a much different type of crowd outside of Truist Park than you did during the World Series.