3 Moves the Atlanta Braves Have to Make When the Lockout Ends

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 23: Eddie Rosario #8 of the Atlanta Braves is congratulated by Orlando Arcia #9 and Joc Pederson #22 following a three run home run during the fourth inning of Game Six of the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Truist Park on October 23, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 23: Eddie Rosario #8 of the Atlanta Braves is congratulated by Orlando Arcia #9 and Joc Pederson #22 following a three run home run during the fourth inning of Game Six of the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Truist Park on October 23, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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We take a look at three moves the Atlanta Braves absolutely have to make once the lockout ends in order to be ready for the 2022 season. 

Once this lockout is finally over we should see a flurry of moves as GMs try to quickly wrap up their offseasons. Atlanta Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos still has a lot of work left to do himself.

Even though the Braves didn’t lose a ton of core pieces from their 2021 World Series team with guys like Charlie Morton, Max Fried, Ian Anderson, Austin Riley, Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, Travis d’Arnaud, and Adam Duvall coming back — there are some obvious holes to fill.

Here are the three biggest ones that need to be addressed right away.

Braves Move Number 1: First Base

Whether it’s Freddie Freeman or Matt Olson (and those are the only two options for me), Alex Anthopoulos has to decide what they’re going to do at first base.

Without a Freeman or Olson in the middle of the lineup, this offense just doesn’t look that great on paper. And that’s even if you’re thinking Marcell Ozuna will play for the Braves again and be a .800 OPS player again — both of which I believe won’t happen.

Freeman is the most likely choice here and I’d expect a deal done within the first week of the lockout ending — but then again, I also expected a deal to be done before the start of the 2021 season so who knows at this point.

The move: Sign Freddie Freeman for 6 years and $165 million.

Braves Move Number 2: Left Field

The biggest losses in the offseason (other than potentially Freeman) were three of the outfielders they traded for at the deadline, including NLCS MVP Eddie Rosario and World Series MVP Jorge Soler.

That list also includes Joc Pederson.

I’ve said for a while now I’d be happy with any of them coming back with my first preference being Rosario.

But even if it’s not one of those three, the Braves need to add another outfielder.

There are some big names out there like Kris Bryant, Nick Castellanos, Michael Conforto, and Kyle Schwarber. I’m just not sure the Braves would be willing to pay what it would cost for any of them.

The move: Sign Eddie Rosario to a two-year deal worth $22 million with a third-year option for $15 million and $4 million buyout.

Braves Move Number 3: Add Depth to the Lineup

Assuming there is likely going to be a DH added, the Braves might have to add another bat anyway.

I still would love to add another depth starter to the rotation, but I’m actually more concerned about the bench right now.

Joc Pederson makes a ton of sense for the bench, but he might want to look for a place where he can play every day. He might get that in Atlanta until Ronald Acuna Jr. comes back.

The Braves need to add a left-handed power bat off the bench and Pederson would be great for that role.

Corey Dickerson is another player out there I wouldn’t mind grabbing for a bench role. He has a career .845 OPS against righties.

I think they try and bring Joc back for the culture though.

The move: Sign Joc Pederson for two years and $15 million.

Next. Podcast: All About the Lockout. dark

Again, there are other moves I’d like to see made both for the rotation and bullpen, but these are the three moves that absolutely have to be made before the start of the 2022 season.