Since 2014, Brantley has been one of the most consistent hitters in baseball. Last year, he hit .309 with 17 homers and 76 RBIs. It was his first time playing a full season since 2015. Injuries are the only thing that makes Brantley a risky investment, but they are also the reason he could be affordable enough for the Braves to acquire.
Cutch isn’t the MVP caliber player he once was, but he’s not chopped liver either. The longtime Pittsburgh Pirate spent last year with the Giants and the Yankees and put up some respectable numbers as a 31-year old, hitting .255 with 20 bombs and 65 RBIs. It is not like he is an old man just yet. McCutchen still has plenty left to give to baseball, and he would be an affordable option so the Braves could allocate their resources elsewhere.
CarGo is another intriguing option that falls under the McCutchen category. He is not what he once was, and he will not have the benefit of playing half his games at Coors Field, but he is slightly younger than Markakis and possesses a bit more power. He would also be a cost-efficient option.
Markakis has been nothing but excellent in his four seasons with the Braves. The problem is, at 35, he is starting to get up there in age and lacks some of the pop the Braves would like out of their outfielders. I would not count out a possible return to Atlanta, but it is likely the Braves opt to get younger with some quality options still available.
Keuchel is the most notable starting pitcher left on the market after Patrick Corbin signed with the Nationals. The Braves reportedly have him high on their wish list, but the contract Corbin received from the Nats has set the market where it might be unrealistic. Both are southpaws around 30-years old and Keuchel actually has the more impressive resumé despite having a worse season in 2018.
Another Houston Astro, Morton actually began his career in Atlanta all the way back in 2008 before being dealt to the Pirates for Nate McLouth. The Braves did not miss out on much with Morton, as he struggled to find consistency in Pittsburgh, but he has proven to be a late bloomer with his success in Houston. Last year, Morton with 15-3 with a 3.13 ERA and recorded his first season with more than 200+ strikeouts. A deal for him would be short-term and relatively cost-effective, but he may not be the frontline starter the Braves are looking for.
Eovaldi has not had a stellar career to this point, but he was downright crucial to the Red Sox holding up the World Series trophy last season. He is a power arm that could potentially lead a rotation if he becomes more consistent. It looks like Boston wants to keep him though, and I do not see the Braves getting into a bidding war with them, especially a for a pitcher like Eovaldi. He has shown great flashes and can help any team, but he is not the top of the rotation piece the Braves are likely seeking.
Ottavino put together a career year as a 32-year old for the Rockies, recording 112 strikeouts in only 77.2 innings and a WHIP of under one (0.99). He also put up a career-high in holds with 34. He only has 17 saves in his career and may be better served as a set-up guy, but with the concerns around Vizcaino, Ottavino could be another option to shut the door for Atlanta.
Soria is a name that has recently been linked to the Braves along with several other teams. He has been a reliable relief option for nearly his entire 11-year career and actually seen an uptick in his strikeout numbers over the last couple of years, suggesting he is not losing much “stuff”. Soria likely will not cost too much and would be a solid addition to the back end of the bullpen if the Braves opt to go this direction.
David Robertson has been one of the best relievers in baseball for quite some time, and it does not look like he is slowing down anytime soon. He would be a fantastic addition to the late innings of the Braves bullpen, but it is hard to imagine him coming cheap after his production the past two seasons. Perhaps if he will take a slightly lower deal to stay closer to home, he could be an option. He is from Alabama, which is most definitely Braves Country.
It was not long ago Britton was dominating the league as the closer for the Orioles. His numbers have suffered a bit over the last couple of years, but he is still only thirty years old and is two years removed from having a 0.54 ERA. He would be a nice buy-low option and the Braves have been linked to him in the past.
Kimbrel will go down as one of the best closers to ever do it. He is also a former Brave and fills one of their most urgent needs. The problem with him will always be his contract. Initial reports are that Kimbrel is seeking a deal in the six-year range. There is no way the Braves accommodate to that, and I am not sure any team will, but it is not a good sign for those who were hoping to see him back in a Braves uni. Perhaps if his market fails to pick up steam the Braves will consider entering negotiations.
Kimbrel’s teammate, Joe Kelly, has not been the most reliable option over his career. With that being said, he likely made himself quite a bit of cash over last season’s postseason run. In nine appearances, Kelly pitched 11.2 innings of lights out baseball, giving up a single run while striking out 13, en route to becoming a World Series Champion and Red Sox legend.
Miller is coming off of an injury-marred season that saw him appear in only 37 games with a 4.24 ERA and 1.38 WHIP. However, Miller is still only 33 years old and the last time he had a WHIP above one was in 2013. We all remember how ridiculous he was in 2016 on his way to the World Series with the Indians. Providing he maintains his health, he is exactly what this Braves bullpen needs.