The Atlanta Braves will face a number of questions this offseason but up first will be decisions on four players with contract options for the 2020 season. Alex Anthopoulos and company will have to decide whether to exercise the options for right-hander Julio Teheran, outfielder Nick Markakis, catcher Tyler Flowers and outfielder Billy Hamilton. Of the group, Hamilton is the only one that is certain to be declined.
The retirement of Brian McCann helps Flowers’ chances for returning next season. He remains an elite pitch framer but is coming off not his strongest season overall. The decision is more complex for both Teheran and Markakis.
Teheran once again outperformed his peripheral numbers but slumped late and was largely an afterthought in the postseason for the second straight season. However, the Braves may ultimately be hard pressed to replace the 170+ innings that Teheran accounted for last season.
Markakis was unable to replicate the career-year numbers he put up in 2018 as his performance slipped in the field and at the plate. He seems best suited as a platoon option against right-handed pitchers but that is a role that has never really been considered for him during his time in Atlanta. Markakis remains a favorite of manager Brian Snitker and his teammates and with Cristian Pache and Drew Waters on the way, the Braves may not want to make a large commitment to another outfielder which again increases Markakis’ chances for returning.
Atlanta isn’t the only team who will be deciding whether or not to exercise players options for next season. MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince runs down some of the more intriguing options decisions from around the league.
- FanGraphs’ Brendan Gawlowski takes a look at the career of Brian McCann along with his case for the Hall of Fame.
- Our season in review series continued on Tuesday with a look at former closer Arodys Vizcaino who was lost for the season after just four games and later traded to Seattle.
What’s next for the Atlanta Braves in the 2020 offseason? Zach Dillard and Cory McCartney go position by position to discuss the franchise’s top offseason storylines and question marks.
- Gerrit Cole turned in a gutsy effort limiting the Yankees to just four hits over seven shutout innings to lead the Astros to a 4-1 win in Game 3 of the ALCS. Houston takes a 2-1 lead in the series with Game 4 scheduled for Wednesday.
- Plate umpire Jeff Nelson had to leave Game 3 of the ALCS after suffering a concussion during the fourth inning. Nelson was struck in the mask by a foul tip. He remained in the game through the bottom half of the inning before he was attended to by the Yankees’ training staff. He was replaced by Kerwin Danley who began the game at second base.
- The Washington Nationals are headed to the World Series for the first time after a 7-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday. The Nationals scored seven runs in the first inning of Game 4 and made it hold up to finish off the sweep.
- Howie Kendrick was named MVP of the NLCS.
- The Nationals’ march through the postseason has been on the strength of their pitching staff including Stephen Strasburg who is far removed from when he was held out of the 2012 playoffs.
- We touched on it yesterday, but with each passing game the changes to the baseball in the postseason is becoming a bigger story.
- Former Nationals skipper Matt Williams is headed to Korea where he will become the manager of the KIA Tigers. Williams has served as Oakland’s third base coach for the last three seasons. His deal in Korea is reportedly for three years.
- Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association are discussing implementing opioid testing in wake of the death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs. The Athletic’s Evan Drellich reports that there are still details that need to be worked out but that both sides are receptive to changes that would go into effect this offseason.