The Braves best signing of the offseason

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The Braves were relatively quiet this offseason, but the moves they did make have turned into gold early in the season.

Sean Murphy was the one blockbuster acquisition, as he came over from Oakland in a trade. Many regarded him as a top-five catcher in baseball coming into the season, but I’m not sure that was even doing him justice. He hasn’t just been the best catcher in baseball so far in 2023; he’s been the best player in baseball, leading all players in fWAR, ahead of his teammate Ronald Acuña Jr.

As far as free agency, though, the Braves spent less than $10 million, adding some depth to the bench and the bullpen.

Most of those guys haven’t had much of an impact. Kevin Pillar has been a decent addition in the outfield, but the prize of the class is obvious — right-handed reliever Nick Anderson.

Anderson was the guy I was most excited about coming into the season. He has a track record of success that was derailed by injuries. Coming into 2023, he had only pitched in six games since 2021. Anderson missed the entire 2022 season with Tommy John surgery, which is why the Braves were able to sign him to a non-guaranteed contract worth less than $1 million. Atlanta bet on his upside when many wouldn’t, and it could end up being one of the best under the radar signings of the offseason.

Originally, the plan was for Anderson to begin the season in Gwinnett, but injuries forced him onto the Opening Day roster, and I don’t anticipate we’ll be seeing him in the minors at any point over the rest of the season. Anderson has blossomed into arguably the team’s most reliable set-up man, boasting a 3.29 ERA, but his 1.90 FIP suggests the best is yet to come. He has 13 strikeouts to just one walk and a WHIP of 0.732.

Prior to suffering multiple injuries, Anderson was one of the best relievers in the league for the Rays. That’s who the Braves have gotten early in the season, and there is no reason to believe he won’t be a pivotal piece to Atlanta’s stout bullpen as they aim to win their second World Series over the last three seasons.

Photo: John Adams/Icon Sportswire


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