Numerous deals are being reached, and countless rumors are flying around the league, but the Braves’ front office has been at a standstill since the early goings of the offseason. Coming off an unexpected National League East title in 2018, Braves fans have to be ecstatic about the direction the organization is going, but that is never going to stop people from wanting more.
Braves Country is antsy, and understandably so when thinking about all the moves their division rivals have already made to improve their clubs.
Last year’s lineup was encouraging with the young up and comers like Ronald Acuña, Ozzie Albies and Dansby Swanson on the roster, but overall, they were missing that marquee star player, outside of Freddie Freeman.
So, right on cue, the club made some early offseason signings to beef up the lineup.
The most comforting acquisition came when the Braves decided to bring back fan favorite Brian McCann. McCann, now 34, is not going to be an everyday catcher like he once was, but he does provide the team with another solid bat off the bench and is still a quality player when in the starting lineup.
But, besides the warm feeling of home that comes with McCann back in Atlanta, the most influential signing for the club is the two-time Silver Slugger, and three-time All-Star Josh Donaldson. Coming off a year in which he played in just 52 games, the third baseman is looking to bounce back after an injury-plagued last two seasons.
Donaldson and the Braves reached a one-year, $23 million pact, making it a pretty risk-free move. If he is healthy, he adds a much-needed power bat to the lineup. If he fails to reach 100 percent, the Braves will only be on the hook for a single year.
That’s precisely how Braves Country wanted the offseason to start, but since, they have heard nothing but crickets from the organization.
Rumors are rampant, including star players like J.T. Realmuto and A.J. Pollock, but nothing appears imminent. Realmuto’s price tag is still extremely high, and Pollock’s injury history along with the pick the Braves would have to forfeit may deter Atlanta from ponying up the cash to sign him.
As of now, the Braves could still be the favorite to win the division again, but, after such an incredible 2018 that showed the club’s potential, a division title isn’t the end goal for the team or the fans; a World Series Trophy is.
Even with the additions of Donaldson and McCann, several teams around the league have star-studded rosters that the Braves can’t match up with. It’s a pretty clear solution, if the franchise wants to win now, they have to dig into their pockets, or prospect depth, and bolster up the roster. Right now, there is no way they can compete with the likes of the Yankees, Red Sox, Astros, and Dodgers. Hell, they will be in a dogfight to finish as one of the top three teams in the division.
But Braves fans, I remind you, patience is a virtue. Anthopoulos is an aggressive general manager that wants to win as bad as anyone, but he’s not going risk being burned by high asking prices on the trade market or fat, long-term contracts in free agency, especially with so much talented youth waiting in the wings. The market will become more affordable as the season approaches, and I expect the Braves to have a noteworthy move or two still left up their sleeve.