The Braves have made three significant additions to their roster over the last couple of weeks. The most substantial being the decision to exercise their $20 million option on Charlie Morton. The soon-to-be 40-year-old will be back for at least one more season, but the Braves also re-signed Joe Jimenez and Pierce Johnson.
Those were two critical pieces to the Braves bullpen, particularly down the stretch, that were acquired via trade. It was paramount that they re-signed them, and it’s a good start to building a fantastic bullpen again next year.
2024 Braves Bullpen Outlook
- Raisel Iglesias
- A.J. Minter
- Pierce Johnson
- Joe Jimenez
- Tyler Matzek (?)
- Dylan Lee (?)
- Nick Anderson (?)
- Michael Tonkin (?)
- Daysbel Hernandez (?)
On paper, this is a pretty elite Braves bullpen if everybody is back and healthy, but that’s where the question marks come into play.
Tyler Matzek hasn’t pitched in over a year after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He’s under contract and the hope is that he’ll be ready for Spring Training, but who knows if he’ll be reliable.
Dylan Lee missed most of the 2023 season with multiple shoulder injuries and was eventually shut down for good. As we’ve seen with Kyle Wright, shoulder issues can be extremely fickle. There’s no telling whether Lee will be an effective option in 2024.
Nick Anderson and Michael Tonkin could both be back in the Braves bullpen, as their arbitration figures should combine for about $2 million. That’s a bargain for relievers of their quality, but like Dylan Lee, Nick Anderson was shut down for the entire second half of the season with a shoulder injury. He was working his way back at the end of the year, but he’s another arm that is coming off a season where he was dealing with a significant injury.
Daysbel Hernandez is a powerful arm that even made the postseason roster. He very well could be an integral piece to Atlanta’s bullpen next year, but he has no track record to speak of. Expecting him to be a shutdown reliever is wishful thinking.
It’s fair to assume 2-3 of the players mentioned above will overcome their faults and pitch to the level we’ve seen them perform at before. It’s also fair to assume some of them will have very little impact on the Braves 2024 campaign, and that’s not even considering any other future injuries.
Alex Anthopoulos doesn’t necessarily have to go out and spend big on one of the top relievers on the market. But in some form or fashion, the Braves must add to their bullpen. Anthopoulos has been a wizard at finding under the radar gems where nobody else is looking. Perhaps that’s the route he goes again, but don’t be surprised if the Braves make one more splash in free agency for a reliever, ensuring this group is locked and loaded for another deep run into October.
Photo: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire