Again a huge thank you to everyone who sent in questions this week. If you missed the first part, you can find it here. Let’s dive in!
Good afternoon, if we were to lose Freddie Freeman could we then pivot to Kris Bryant? It would save having to trade prospects and give us some flexibility for positions?
The easy answer is yes, but my question would be if you were going to pay Bryant, why not just go ahead and pay Freeman? FanGraphs’ free agent projections have Bryant getting somewhere between $24 and $25 million annually on a 5-8 year deal. Given his injury history, that is a pretty big number. Again, I am sure that they will be scrambling a bit if Freeman leaves, but if money were the issue there, then I feel like it is going to be an issue with a potential replacement like Bryant as well.
If Freddie Freeman signs elsewhere, do we really need to trade or sign another first baseman? If there were a good third baseman available could we move Austin Riley to first? Matt Olson seems to be the name floated around the most as a trade replacement. Free agents are…eh. So if there is a better third base option maybe we should roll the dice.
I discussed a trade for Olson in part one of today’s mailbag. I talked about Kris Bryant above and I think that if the Braves went that route, then he plays first to limit the wear and tear on his body. As unappealing as the free agent first base options are, third base might be even worse, especially after Kyle Seager announced his retirement. At first base, aside from the names discussed, you have Kyle Schwarber and Anthony Rizzo. At third base, your best non-Bryant option is... Jonathan Villar?
Carlos Correa projects to earn similar money to Freeman (over a longer term) in 2022. If Freeman remains intractable, would the Braves consider moving on from Freeman and sign the much younger Correa?
If the Braves are unwilling to give a six-year deal to Freeman then I don’t expect to see them spending what it would take to acquire Correa. I am not saying it doesn’t make sense on some levels but from everything we have seen from this team over the last few years, I don’t see them playing at the top of the free agent market.
I’ve been looking at some of the past Braves. Who would you like to see back (dream world) in a player uniform. Aaron would fit in any era, Chipper the same. I wonder if Maddux/Glavine would fit in this stat era with everyone trying to go big fly. Smoltz had enough firepower to do the job. Anyway, I think I would pick Chipper - he was a danger to go deep every time up.
I don’t think there is necessarily a wrong answer to this question. Chipper Jones was the first name that popped in my head but I think I would go with Andruw Jones. I just think his defensive ability would be so much more appreciated today and can you imagine what the Statcast numbers would look like? Not to mention that he would solve the Braves’ current issue in center field.
The Braves have a deep rotation with lots of injury question marks (Fried, Soroka, Morton, Ynoa) and young pitchers (Anderson, Wright, Miller, Davidson, Toussaint). Will they pursue another veteran player to provide innings and help the young pitchers develop? If so, who might they target?
Max Fried has started 69 games over the past three seasons, not counting the postseason so I don’t think he deserves the injury risk tag. A delayed spring and possible regular season probably helps Charlie Morton who started 33 games during the regular season in 2021. I expect the Braves to play it safe with him and bring him along slowly. The biggest injury concern that I have with the rotation is probably Ian Anderson, who missed about six weeks during the second half due to a shoulder issue and then wasn’t really himself for a while when he came back.
The Braves have some intriguing internal options and it should be quite a battle for the rotation spots behind Fried, Morton and Anderson. Still, I will be surprised if they don’t bring at least one veteran into the mix. I don’t really have a name for you but I would suspect someone that can be had on a short deal in the vein of what we saw with Drew Smyly last season and Cole Hamels in 2020, though hopefully way more successful than those two.
With only two starting caliber OF/DH on the roster at the shutdown (Duvall and Ozuna), what kind of players will the Braves target to fill the holes till Acuna comes back? Would one of those moves include trading Ozuna?
An outfield question is a good way to close this out. First, I expect the Braves to play it safe with Ronald Acuña Jr. but I think he will be back a lot sooner than most are expecting. I don’t expect to see him in center field very often. As things stand, I expect Ozuna to be the DH (provided the Universal DH is implemented), Duvall in left and Acuña in right. As we discussed earlier, there is room to add a center fielder unless they think that Cristian Pache is the answer again. Guillermo Heredia can play center and hits left-handed pitching well, but is far from a full-time player. There is still work to be done here and to me how they answer it is one of the most intriguing questions of the offseason. Guys like Jorge Soler and Eddie Rosario always come up here as well but they don’t solve the problem in center.
As far as trading Ozuna goes, it is almost impossible to answer. The Braves haven’t said much of anything in regards to Ozuna. I can’t imagine a lot of teams are lining up to acquire him either given his current situation.