This offseason was supposed to be much slower than usual because of CBA discussions, but don’t tell that to the starting pitching market. We’ve already seen Jose Berrios sign a mega-deal with the Blue Jays; Noah Syndergaard, who literally hasn’t pitched in two years, received a $21MM contract, and another pitcher that hasn’t pitched in two seasons, who is also 38-years-old — Justin Verlander — received a one-year $25MM contract with a player option for the second year.
With the revenue lost from the fan-less season in the rearview, teams are showing they are willing to spend, especially on rotation options. There are still a plethora of starting pitchers available on the market, and I imagine we will hear the Braves connected to a lot of them. We already know they were trying to ink a deal with Verlander, who ultimately decided to stay with the Astros. That’s the kind of target Alex Anthopoulos loves — a short-term deal that comes with a lot of risk but a ton of potential reward.
However, with Verlander now off the market, I don’t see the Braves signing any marquee names as far as starting pitchers go. Max Scherzer, Robbie Ray, Clayton Kershaw, and all of the other top guys will likely be way out of Anthopoulos’ price range — not because the Braves don’t have the money, but because the value is not there.
What Anthopoulos has been so outstanding at doing during his time as Braves general manager is finding value. It doesn’t matter if it is with starting pitchers, catchers, outfielders, etc. Atlanta has several places where they can improve upon their current roster. The outfield obviously needs to be reconfigured, and the bullpen can always be bolstered. Another starting pitcher would be fantastic to have, but it’s more of a luxury when you consider all of the young arms the Braves have waiting in the wings. And with the starting pitching market being so hot, expect Anthopolous to make the most of his budget elsewhere.
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