Yesterday’s blockbuster, although awkward and heartbreaking for Braves fans, filled a need, grabbed a HUGE bat, and left Anthopoulos with plenty to think about. The payroll is currently sitting around $140MM and apparently there’s money to spend according to the Braves new beatwriter:

The final tally for 2021 was $153MM and while I can’t speculate too much, the Braves can spend what they make and since last year, with the winning of the World Series, was so profitable, my guess is the $ left is significant. There’s no source here, but $180MM as a final tally seems about right.

Current Projections of 26-Man Roster

Infield (5): Matt Olson, Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, Austin Riley, and Orlando Arcia

Catchers (2): Travis d’Arnaud and Manny Pina

Outfield (4): Marcell Ozuna, Ronald Acuña Jr., Adam Duvall, Guillermo Heredia

Starting Pitching (5): Charlie Morton, Max Fried, Ian Anderson, Huascar Ynoa, Tucker Davidson

Relief Pitching (7): Luke Jackson, Jay Jackson, Dylan Lee, Tyler Matzek, A.J. Minter, Jacob Webb, Will Smith

Breakdown: Acuña likely doesn’t break camp on the active roster, which creates a need in the OF. In all likelihood, the Braves don’t want to throw Duvall in CF everyday anyway and I expect them to hit the market hard in search of a CFer. For reference, here’s the complete list of FA CFers left on the market, and CF is apparently used loosely:

Center Fielders

Of this list, Kris Bryant is the most intriguing player, but calling him a CFer is the equivalent to calling a hotdog a sandwich. It’s my opinion, if the Braves want a CFer, they’re going to have to go the trade route. It’s worth noting that the Brewers just signed Andrew McCutchen which could make Lorenzo Cain available. He’s making $18MM in 2022, then has 5 deferred payments of $1MM from 2023-2027. This wouldn’t be my route, but I’m lost in the pines right now when it comes to ideas on what to do with CF. I guess Ketel Marte could be made available, but comes with options for the ’23 and ’24 seasons, so he wouldn’t be cheap and the Braves depleted many of their prospects in the Matt Olson trade.

There are still a lot of players available that can play multiple positions and hit a bit. Asdrubal Cabrera, Brad Miller, Marwin Gonzalez, Jed Lowrie, and Jonathan Villar to name a few. You could put pics on a dartboard and throw blindfolded, hit whoever, and I’d be satisfied with the results.

The starting pitching market is getting thin, but there are still some steady pieces out there, as well as some high risk/high reward players. Here’s my personal list of starters that tickle my tastebuds:

I’ll not get into the relief pitchers, because there’a whole lot, but I do feel like there’s a need for another RH reliever, especially considering Kirby Yates might not be back until midyear.

An Idea?

Look…we’ve went down this road before. Marcell Ozuna is back, likely set to play DH and has apologized publicly. Is there a way to get rid of him? Highly unlikely, but there are bad contracts out there and David Price is one of them. Nah…forget it. It was just a dream.