Starting Nine: Where Braves Should Go Bargain Shopping

Alex Anthopoulos retains a number of issues near the vest, together with the place the Atlanta Braves normal supervisor does his Black Friday procuring.

Given the monitor report, he is doubtless out getting eye-opening bargains on Georgia-made merchandise … which might imply a trunk filled with boiled peanuts or Ding Dongs and Twinkies.

But on the subject of filling the precise wants of the membership’s roster for 2023, this is some recommendation if Anthopoulos desires to keep away from pushing by the crowds on the busiest procuring day of the yr.

1. Elvis Andrus, SS

If we’re to consider that the Braves aren’t going to pursue one of many different top-tier shortstops ought to Dansby Swanson signal elsewhere, Elvis Andrus presents an attention-grabbing short-term signing earlier than the keys are ultimately given to Vaughn Grissom or Braden Shewmake.

Coming off a 3.5 fWAR season with the Chicago White Sox — his highest since 2017 — Andrus additionally hit above league common (105 wRC+) for the primary time in six seasons. He has an above league common strikeout charge — 13.8 % throughout his 14-year profession — and even his career-high 15.9 in 2022 would have been the bottom on a crew filled with free swingers.

The protection continues to be strong, with 6.1 Defensive Runs Above Average final yr and 10.1 in 2021. Spotrac provides Andrus a $4.5 million market worth, whereas FanGraphs’ crowd sourcing forecasts a two-year, $20 million deal. There’s the potential of a one-year deal right here that provides first rate manufacturing with out breaking the financial institution.

2. Trey Mancini, OF/DH

There’s a reasonably wild vary right here on Trey Mancini’s worth. Spotrac provides him a market worth of $18.1 million, projecting a five-year deal that with a mean annual worth of $18.1 million, whereas FanGraphs’ sources anticipate he inks for 2 years at $8 million per. Something leaning in the direction of the latter would definitely appear a worth and probably match into the Braves’ wants in left discipline and at designated hitter, particularly if a part of the offseason plans are transferring on from Marcell Ozuna and his $16 million pay for 2023.

Mancini has not produced a fWAR greater than 0.9 since 2019, earlier than his battle with colon most cancers. But he has hit a mixed 39 dwelling runs over the previous two seasons, had a .323 OBP over that stretch and hit above league common in each campaigns (105 wRC in 2021, 104 in 2022).

The arm power is not spectacular (twenty eighth percentile), however he’s coming off his highest Defensive Runs Saved with two in his profession within the outfield, albeit restricted time (248 innings), and would offer a backup for Matt Olson at first ( if he ever took a time off).

3. Cody Bellinger, OF

The wild card of all wild playing cards this winter. Maybe he winds up signing a multi-year deal and results in a extra hitter-friendly ballpark like Coors Field or Great American Ballpark, but when Cody Bellinger is seeking to rebuild his inventory, he might be Atlanta’s subsequent reclamation challenge.

It actually labored with Josh Donaldson, and who rode a one-year, $23 million gamble right into a $92-million payday with the Minnesota Twins, and going into his age-27 season, Bellinger continues to be younger sufficient to get a number of years from a crew subsequent offseason if he returns to kind.

The previous two years have been dangerous, and that is placing it flippantly. He had an 83 wRC+ in 2022 after hitting a whopping 53 % under league common in 2021 and has posted a .193 common and .611 OPS over that stretch. But he is additionally the 2017 National League Rookie of the Year, who mashed 111 dwelling runs in his first three seasons and had a Gold Glove on his resume … so the potential is value any danger, particularly if he can are available across the $17 million that he made in 2022.

4. Mitch Haniger, OF

The Braves are reportedly one of many groups which have proven curiosity in Mitch Haniger, and the 32-year-old is an alternative choice for a short-term deal or perhaps a one-year pact given his damage historical past.

The Seattle Mariners had Haniger for simply 57 video games and 247 plate appearances final yr and he is performed in additional than 96 video games twice in his profession — suiting up 157 occasions in each 2018 and 2021 — as he is coping with a litany of illnesses, together with his knee , again, ankle, wrist, and a ruptured testicle. But each of these wholesome seasons have been extremely productive, as he completed within the high 20 in MVP voting on each events with wRC+s of 137 (in 2018) and 121 (in 2021).

Health was a problem in 2022, as these again and ankle illnesses price him, however the peripherals are nonetheless sturdy, together with a 91.9 mph exit velocity that was Haniger’s finest since 2016 and a career-best 47.2 % hard-hit charge.

He’s coming in at a $12 million AAV per FanGraphs on a two-year deal and a $15 million market worth by Spotrac.

5. JD Martinez, DH/OF

JD Martinez is manner into the incorrect aspect of 30, going into his age-35 season, is coming off his lowest fWAR (1.0) in a 162-game season since 2012, and his hard-hit charge (41.7 %) and exit velocity (89.1 mph) is his worst within the Statcast manner.

Those all sound like the reason why the Braves should not signal him, together with the truth that at this level he is a full-time designated hitter, however he nonetheless ranked tenth in wRC+ (119) on the place in 2022 and had a .341 OBP that may have been third amongst certified Atlanta hitters behind Ronald Acuña Jr. and Austin Riley.

Martinez is given a $15.1 AAV per Spotrac and FanGraphs’ forecasts have him getting a one-year, $12.5 million deal, and there is additionally the advantage of no draft-pick compensation for the reason that Boston Red Sox did not lengthen him a qualifying provide.

6. Brian Anderson, OF/3B

One of the extra shocking non-tender casualties, Brian Anderson was projected to internet $5.2 million in arbitration for the upcoming season, however searching for to improve at a number of offensive spots, the Miami Marlins moved on.

The 29-year-old has handled a number of accidents the previous two seasons — indirect, shoulder, and again points — and has performed in a mixed 165 video games, however earlier than that rattled off three straight seasons of 113, 114 and 120 wRC+, and contributed 7.3 value of fWAR from 2018-2020.

While he is primarily performed third base throughout his six seasons, he performed 307 1/3 innings within the outfield in 2022 and has over 1,500 innings in his profession.

7. Adam Ottavino, RHP

Whether or not Kenley Jansen is again, the Braves might nonetheless do with including to the bullpen, which is down Tyler Matzek for the season and, if Luke Jackson returns, they will not have him again for no less than a part of 2023 in his restoration from Tommy John surgical procedure.

Adam Ottavino might be that right-handed choice, because the 37-year-old is coming off a 2.06 ERA with the New York Mets, his finest since 2019, and his 30.6 strikeout charge in fanning 79 over 65 2/3 can also be tops since that very same season.

Coming in at $6 million on a one-year deal per FanGraphs, Ottavino would offer one other setup choice to get to Raisel Iglesias if the nearer function is his. Plus, no participant in Braves historical past has ever worn No. 0

8. Matt Moore, LHP

The former All-Star went from a starter to a full-time reliever and the Texas Rangers reaped the advantages, as Matt Moore posted a 1.95 ERA with 83 strikeouts over 74 innings in 63 video games.

If the Braves are mining for a lefty to throw into the combination, Moore would make sense. Righties hit a mere .165 towards him with in 220 plate appearances, his .187 general XBA was within the high six % within the league, and he was within the high seven % with a 31.3 % hard-hit charge.

He needs to be a certifiable discount with an anticipated $5 million price ticket.

9. Jose Quintana, RHP

This scribe is of the thoughts that the Braves needn’t add to a rotation that is not hurting for choices behind Max Fried, Charlie Morton, Spencer Strider, and Kyle Wright. With Ian Anderson, Bryce Elder, Kyle Muller, Jared Shuster, and Mike Soroka, there figures to be a riveting battle this spring for that spot.

But … in the event that they’re intent on including, they should not be shelling out the $40 million-plus it is going to take to get Jacob deGrom or Justin Verlander, and as a substitute seek for a less expensive arm.

Jose Quintana is simply that after a bounce-back season the place he had the bottom ERA (2.93) of his 11-year profession in going 6-7 throughout 32 begins and 165 2/3 innings for the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals.

The soon-to-be 34-year-old generated a .215 common on his four-seam, his finest ever, and opponents hit simply .202 on the curveball, because the hard-hit charge (86.5 mph) was tops for Quintana since Statcast started monitoring in 2015.

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