The offseason is flying by, and we are just a little over a month from Spring Training. For the most part, the roster is set, but Alex Anthopoulos could have at least one more trick up his sleeve (we will get to that in a moment). Here are three predictions I have for the Braves that will happen between now and the start of the season.
Ian Anderson wins the fifth and final spot in the rotation
The Braves 1-4 spots in the rotation are set, and it’s as good as any in baseball, but the fifth spot could actually be where this unit holds the most substantial advantage. A lot of the talk surrounds Mike Soroka, and that’s understandable. If he can return to form, that’s another All-Star starting pitcher the Braves will have in their rotation, but I feel like Ian Anderson is being totally forgotten about, and perhaps that will play to his advantage. With basically two pitches, Anderson was one of the better pitchers in the league, especially in the postseason, where he owns a career 1.26 ERA. 2022 was a year to forget, but this is a young man that has been elite at every level. If Anderson can erase what happened last year from his memory, which isn’t easy to do, he can be an All-Star. I expect him to thrive in 2023, whether Soroka bounces back or not.
The Braves try Vaughn Grissom out in left field
MLB.com’s Mark Bowman recently talked about this in a piece, and it’s something I’ve talked about in the past. I’m not sure if Grissom will be an everyday starter at the position, but the Braves will let him get used to playing left field during Spring Training. There’s no reason he can’t be at least an average defender, which is already better than Eddie Rosario and Marcell Ozuna, and the Braves love Grissom so much for what he brings offensively. With the current situation looking so bleak, the Braves will make sure Grissom can hold down the position in case of emergency.
The Braves make at least one more meaningful signing
I could be wrong about this because the Braves have shown no inclination that they are willing to spend on free agents this offseason, which tells me their budget is preventing Alex Anthopoulos from making moves. With that being said, this is a team that’s spent more than ever before and is right in the middle of their World Series window. Something tells me if AA goes to Terry McGuirk and asks for just a little more cash to make a move that will significantly improve the roster, he will oblige. It could be a free agent signing or a trade, but I expect at least one more move, even if it is not major. Adding another option in left field or a veteran shortstop makes sense. Of course, the Braves could opt to wait and see how things play out and then make a move at the trade deadline, but I’m going with something happening before the season.
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