This is a report that should excite Braves fans. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Braves are not afraid to spend big money on the right starting pitcher.
“One of the remarkable things about the Atlanta Braves is that none of their players signed long-term has a salary of more than $22 million,” Rosenthal writes via The Athletic. “But for the right starting pitcher in free agency, the Braves are willing to go higher.”
“The $22 million figure is not an actual ceiling, but merely the peak number the Braves settled upon in their extensions for Matt Olson and Austin Riley, according to sources briefed on the team’s plans who are not authorized to speak publicly.”
Rosenthal goes on to name Aaron Nola as a player that might suit the eye of Alex Anthopoulos, and I couldn’t agree more. He’s pitched fantastically against the Braves, particularly in the last two postseasons and is a pillar of consistency. Nola has made 32 or more starts in every season since 2018, excluding the shortened season in 2020. He’s tossed over 190 innings in four of the last five full seasons, doesn’t walk batters, and has finished inside the top seven of the NL Cy Young race three times over that stretch.
Given all the injury problems the Braves have faced over the years, adding someone as reliable as Aaron Nola should be particularly appealing. He’s also from the south, so he could have some interest in moving closer to home.
I’m still not totally convinced the Braves will be interested in the top of the market for starting pitching. If they want to land a pitcher like Aaron Nola or Blake Snell, the check might have to begin with the number 2, and they’ve never come close to handing out a contract like that for a starting pitcher in free agency.
There are some other interesting candidates in the next tier, however. Sonny Gray may be well on the wrong side of 30, but he’s coming off the best season of his career, and like Nola, has been an ultra consistent outside of a stint with the Yankees. Jordan Montgomery is another name to consider if the Braves are going big-game hunting, but he could be in the market for a contract closer to Nola and Snell’s after a fantastic postseason run with the Rangers.
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