Will Jacob deGrom be the Braves top free agent target this offseason?

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Following last night’s disappointing loss, the Braves have an even more challenging task ahead of them if they want to win the series against the Mets. Jacob deGrom is set to toe the rubber for New York on Thursday night. The last time he faced the Braves, all he did was take a perfect game into the sixth inning and strike out 12 on just 75 pitches. DeGrom is a machine, easily the best pitcher in baseball today, but could he be in a Braves uniform this time next year?

The idea was first floated by Buster Olney, with this tweet.

And these latest comments from MLB insider Jim Bowden add even more fuel to the fire.

When you look at the Braves roster, it’s pretty stacked from top to bottom, and the core is locked up for almost a decade. Atlanta’s top priority will be to re-sign Dansby Swanson this offseason if they don’t get it done before then.

However, even if they don’t work things out with Swanson, they should have no problem filling the hole. There are a number of high-quality shortstops that are set to become free agents, and the Braves have shown an increased willingness to spend in bunches.

Once that’s done, you could argue the Braves are set to make a run at another World Series, but the great teams — the dynasties — don’t sit on their hands, and I don’t expect Alex Anthopoulos to stop trying to improve his club. The next logical place for the Braves to upgrade is the rotation.

Max Fried is a legitimate ace. Spencer Strider and Kyle Wright have emerged as frontline guys, but after that, it gets murky. Morton could choose to retire after this season, or the Braves might not pick up his option. And the fifth spot in the rotation has been a revolving door. The Braves could let Anderson, Muller, Elder, or Soroka figure it out, but if they have the money — which I believe they do — why not go out and make a run at another ace.

In my opinion, deGrom is the best pitcher to ever walk the face of the earth. Sure, others have had better careers, but in terms of talent, nobody can hold a candle to deGrom when he’s right. It’s one of the purest things in baseball to watch, and it kills me that he plays for arguably the Braves’ biggest rival. However, that could all change next season.

deGrom is reportedly set on opting out in search of a new contract. The Braves won’t be able to compete with Steve Cohen, so if it’s money deGrom is after, there’s no chance he’s coming to Atlanta. But if it’s about something else, the Braves very well might be the frontrunner. Getting out of New York and pitching for an organization as well run as the Braves that will be competing for championships until he decides to retire may be at the top of his wish list. If so, Anthopoulos will finally find the ace he’s been looking for.

Photo: Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire

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