Last week, The Athletic’s Jim Bowden listed the 12 biggest names most likely to be dealt this winter, and it featured several marquee players, some of which the Braves should be very interested in.
Both of these players were featured in my recent article, which listed starting pitchers that the Braves could target in a trade. With the starting pitching market exploding early on, I don’t see Alex Anthopoulos signing any of the big names available. However, several options could be available for trade, and Castillo and Gray are two of the best. Both are under team control for two more seasons and will be bargains under their current contracts. If one or both is moved this offseason, I expect the Braves to be involved.
Like all Braves fans, I want Freddie Freeman back in Atlanta. However, there is — and should be — a price point that Alex Anthopoulos is not willing to go. If another team hands Freeman a ridiculous seven-year mega-deal, the Braves might have to walk away. However, even if that happens, not all hope is lost. The Braves will still have plenty of money to spend, and there’s a cheaper and perhaps even more talented option on the market in Matt Olson. After blasting 39 homers for the A’s last season and finishing 8th in the AL MVP race, Olson is projected to earn $12 million in 2022 and is arb-eligible again in 2023. He’s a great backup plan if the Braves lose out on the Freeman sweepstakes.
With many Braves outfielders currently unrestricted free agents, Alex Anthopoulos will be exploring all of his options, and you can bet Bryan Reynolds will be near the top of the list. The Braves were reportedly in on the All-Star at the trade deadline, but the Pirates weren’t willing to move him. Perhaps that changes this offseason.
Another Oakland player that could be on the move, Bassitt has become an ace for the A’s. Given he only has one year left on his contract, he will surely be moved if the A’s undergo a mini-rebuild as they often do. Bassitt is projected to earn $8.8 million in arbitration for the 2022 season, so he makes sense for the Braves for several reasons. He’s a bargain financially, wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg in terms of prospect capital, and the Braves wouldn’t be blocking any of their ultra-talented pitching prospects long term.
The Twins attempt to go for it didn’t work, so I expect them to attempt to move a lot of their valuable pieces, and Buxton is one of them. He’s one of the more talented outfielders in the game, but injuries have completely tarnished his career thus far. Buxton has only played in 100 games one time over his seven-year career, but in the 61 games he did play last season, the 27-year-old recorded a 1.005 OPS. He’s a huge gamble that could pay off substantial dividends to whoever makes a move for him.
Montas is the third Oakland A’s player to make Bowden’s list, so you can tell he thinks the A’s will be selling. Montas is coming off the best year of his career, posting a 3.37 ERA and finishing sixth in the AL Cy Young race. However, it was the first year of his career in which he’s ever thrown over 100 innings. For that reason, the A’s could be looking to sell high, and they should receive pretty good value in return, given Montas is under team control through 2023.