It’s been a slow free agency so far for the Braves, and typically, it remains that way through Thanksgiving. However, that’s not always the case. A few years ago, Alex Anthopoulos inked Josh Donaldson and Brian McCann while I was trying to stuff my eighth plate of food down the gullet, so fingers crossed that something similar happens this year, giving Braves fans a lot to look forward to during the upcoming holiday break.
One name to keep an eye on is outfielder Mitch Haniger, who is a free agent for the first time in his career. He’s a powerful option that could slot into the middle of the Braves lineup, and there’s a chance he is looking for a one-year contract, much like Cody Bellinger. Those are the kind of deals Alex Anthopoulos loves, so, of course, they are reportedly interested in the former Mariner.
Haniger has a reasonably robust market.
— Joe Doyle (@JoeDoyleMiLB) November 22, 2022
Haniger should have plenty of suitors, provided he’s willing to take a one-year deal. Anything more, and the Braves — like most other teams — probably won’t be interested.
The reason for that is Haniger’s injury history. Despite being an All-Star caliber player when he’s healthy, he hasn’t been able to stay on the field. Haniger has only played in over 100 games twice in his six-year MLB career. Coincidently, he finished inside the top 20 in the AL MVP race in both of those seasons.
Haniger’s last healthy campaign came in 2021, when he blasted 39 home runs and drove in 100 runs. His only other healthy season came in 2019 — a year in which he was named an All-Star and recorded an .859 OPS.
Outside of those two seasons, though, Haniger has a brutal injury history that includes issues with his knee, back, ankle, wrist, and even testicle. There have been no breaks for the 32-year-old outfielder, which is sad to say because his talent is undeniable.
I would like this move a lot by the Braves. I expect Haniger to sign a one-year deal with a salary around $10 million. Given the black hole the Braves currently have in left field with Eddie Rosario and Marcell Ozuna, Haniger would add much-needed stability to the position with incredible upside.