How can a 40-man roster carry 50 humans? It’s happened all year! Alex Anthopoulos is pretty good at his job and has somehow transferred player after player to the 60-day IL 13 times total this year. Currently, there are 10 players “resting” there right now. Those players:

Of these players, only Jesse Chavez looks to have a chance to make the 2023 playoff roster, but when the final bell tolls for the 2023 season, AA will have some serious choices to make concerning his 40-man roster.

Of the above, I feel pretty certain that Kolby Allard, Nick Anderson, Ehire Adrianza, Yonny Chirinos, and Sam Hilliard will not be part of the 40. And, in all likelihood, the Braves will cut another MiLB deal with Jesse Chavez to manipulate the 40-man and promote Jesse at a time that coincides with adding Matzek and Ynoa back to the 60-day IL. That puts the hard work down to 44 individuals.

Of those 44, here are the players that do not have contracts for the 2024 season:

That leaves 41.

Several players on the 40-man are come and go guys, especially the IF/OF backup varieties. It’s likely they’ll be removed from the 40-man when needed: Braden Shewmake, Andrew Velazquez, Luke Williams, and Forrest Wall. The first to go will be Velazquez and Williams. That gets the list down to 39. It’s highly likely that Shewmake finds a different org in 2024 and the Braves will likely cut ties with Wall and try to re-sign him to an MiLB, of which he’ll take because of the ATL/GWN carousel.

After it’s all said and done, I expect 36 or 37 guys on the 40 man after the initial cuts with focus on adding pitching. Last year, AA added Seth Elledge and Michael Tonkin to the 40-man and Tonkin broke camp with the Braves and has been a vital cog to the bullpen. This year it’s Gwinnett’s closer, hard throwing RHP Grant Holmes that looks to be next in line to be added.

Offseason Expectations: Options

AA has made it his thing to sign players and add 1 or several club options to the end of the contract. The players that have club options this year are:

If Morton wants to come back, he’ll be here. Of this list, Charlie, Eddie, and Kirby are no-brainers. With Tonkin in the fold as a middle relief guy combined with McHugh’s struggles throughout the year, I think the Braves let McHugh walk. Brad Hand is an interesting candidate. He’s carried decent numbers overall, but $7MM isn’t chump change. However, it’s only a 1-year pact and AA loves those types of commitments. Still, I think AA shops the LHR market and let’s Hand walk. If Charlie, Eddie, and Kirby are picked up, that’s an extra $34.75MM added to a payroll that already has $130MM in commitments before adding in the arb guys and pre-arb guys.

Offseason Targets

If the Braves bring back all 3 of the guys listed above, the team is pretty much set. If Morton walks, I could see AA allowing Hurston Waldrep, AJ Smith-Shawver, or, to a lesser extent, Michael Soroka hash it out in the first few month of the season to see if anyone sticks. However, until Charlie officially retires, I’m counting him in for 2024.

Rotation: Max Fried, Spencer Strider, Charlie Morton, Bryce Elder, Kyle Wright

Relievers (3 needs) : A.J. Minter, Dylan Lee, Kirby Yates, Michael Tonkin, Raisel Iglesias

Infield (*1-2 needs): Matt Olson, Ozzie Albies, Orlando Arcia, Austin Riley, Nicky Lopez

Catchers (*1 need): Sean Murphy, Travis D’Arnaud

Outfield (*1-2 needs): Ronald Acuna Jr., Michael Harris II, Eddie Rosario

DH: Marcell Ozuna

*Between C, IF, and OF, the Braves have 3 rosters spots to fill.

Breakdown: Relief is top priority at this point. With Nicky Lopez in the shuffle, the Braves are good all around the infield should they need a defensive replacement. From there, reuniting (or just extending him now) with Kevin Pillar makes a lot of sense and he seems to fit in well with this team. IMO, there’s no reason to reinvent anything with this team from an offensive perspective, nor does the rotation need tinkering. It seems AA is far past trying to extend Max Fried, but I could see Elder getting one before the season is over. The top priority is definitely relief and I’m near 100% sure that Jesse Chavez will be there on Opening Day, so the target is 2 relievers, one of the LHP variety and one RHP. If I had my way, those 2 would be Craig Kimbrel and Matt Moore… but I rarely get my way. What likely happens is the Braves utilize someone like Vaughn Grissom to land a top flight reliever with a few year of control and then, as is AA’s protocol, wait out the market and sign someone that will accept a $5MM or less deal.

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