Yesterday was an eye opening day across the MLB as dozens of players that could become Braves Targets, many above average, became free agents after being non-tendered rather than offered arbitration.
For the Braves, it was an odd day as it almost seems like Alex Anthopoulos did the exact opposite of what was expected:
- Tendered Johan Camargo a $1.36MM contract
- Tendered Grant Dayton a $900K contract
- Tendered Luke Jackson a $1.9MM contract
- Non-tendered Adam Duvall
Combine the above 4 decisions with the declining of Darren O’Day‘s option, and it’s definitely a head scratcher that has left many fans confused. However, let this be a reminder that while Grant Dayton and Luke Jackson do not have options, these contracts are not guaranteed and the Braves have 3 players that need to prove their worth in Spring Training, or else they’ll be cut at a fraction of the cost (total for all would range between ~650K to 1MM depending on when the cut took place in Spring Training).
Yet, here we are, the roster is taking shape and the 40-man roster now sits at 38. The holes are still glaring (relief pitcher, big bat, bench bat, catcher), and now Anthopoulos has more toys to choose from ranging from stocking stuffers to a toy worthy of a year’s worth of attention.
Today, we will look at the most interesting non-tenders from yesterday and see if they fit the team’s needs.
Braves Targets: Hitters
- Kyle Schwarber– The cream of the crop hitter on this list, but defense is really really bad. Had elite exit velo numbers last year and HORRIBLE luck with a .219 BABIP. Seitzer could really help this giant of a man return to his former glory, but it’d be as a DH and that really isn’t an aisle the Braves will be shopping in until the DH situation gets resolved. Seriously…get busy, Manfred.
- David Dahl– A Birmingham boy and a good player that had a rotten 2020, Dahl is the biggest buy low candidate on this list, but there’s HUGE question marks here and you never know what you’re in fer when buying out of Denver. Sorry, not sorry. Could be a solid platoon option for LF, could be a dud.
- Eddie Rosario– Likely the most attractive option on this list as he provides the pop that is needed in the lineup. However, he gives Schwarber a run for his $ in poor defense as some of his drawn routes look like they were done by a Kindergartener on an Etch-a-Sketch. Sure, he’ll pop a few out, but he’ll cost some with his glove, too.
- Adam Duvall- I said Rosario is likely the most attractive option here, but Duvall was the better player in 2020. Ken Rosenthal seems to think the Braves will reconsider signing Duvall, and if there was a platoon in place for LF, there could be worse options, especially if the Braves get the DH and go all-in on someone like Ozuna.
- Maikel Franco– Odd that he put up his best year then was non-tendered. I’ll say this…he was better than Austin Riley in 2020, but doesn’t seem to have a fit on this team.
- Nomar Mazara– Like Dahl, this is a big buy-low candidate. Mazara oozes talent but has never been able to put it together. His exit velocity and hard-hit % sit at elite levels and that’s right up Seitzer’s alley.
- Travis Shaw– Likely the best fit for the Braves. He sold out on his swing a bit more in 2020, showing increased strikeouts, but much more power. He was a 3.5 and 3.6 fWAR player in 2017 and 2018 and deserves a big league contract and would be a good counterpart for Austin Riley.
Braves Targets: Relievers
- Archie Bradley– the cream of the crop here, Bradley would be a good get for the Braves. Velo dropped a bit, but he’s shown that his value isn’t tied to the fastball.
- Matt Wisler– I know…I know, but hear me out. Wisler became a different pitcher in 2019 and continued into 2020 by throwing his slider 80% of the time. While there was a lot of luck in his 1.07 ERA, there was also some really good signs including a 12.4 K/9.
- A.J. Cole– Strikeouts plummeted but Cole remained effective. Not a top tier reliever, but solid enough for middle innings.
- Ryan Tepera– Never forget that Tepera finished 18th in MVP voting in 2020. Seriously though, Tepera increased the amount he threw his cutter and it unlocked a lot of strikeouts.
- Nick Tropeano– An effective pitcher if he can stay on the field, Tropeano, like so many others, leveled up by focusing on movement and not on velocity.
Thanks for reading on some new Braves Targets. If you’re interested in seeing more players the Braves could go after, here’s a piece that could tickle your baseball senses.