While the Atlanta Braves trade for Matt Olson takes care of a huge need at first base, Alex Anthopolous can’t stop there with several other holes to fill.
As much as it hurts to lose an Atlanta Braves icon like Freddie Freeman, you can’t ask for a better replacement than Matt Olson.
But the move to give up four solid prospects for Olson only makes sense if Anthopoulos uses the money saved by not signing Freeman to fill out the rest of the roster.
If you figure Freeman will get close to $30 million a year and Olson is set to make around $12 million in 2022, that’s nearly a savings of $15-18 million.
How Much do Braves Have Left to Spend
Thinking optimistically coming off a World Series win, the budget could rise to around $170 million. That means there could be another $30 million to spend this offseason.
Biggest Holes Left for Braves to Fill
As the lineup stands right now, the Braves don’t have a center fielder. They’re also very right-handed — even with the addition of Olson who is the only true left-handed hitter in the lineup.
The infield is set, one outfield spot is set whenever Ronald Acuna Jr. is ready, the top three spots in the rotation are set, the top four spots in the bullpen are set, and the backup catcher is set.
You could say another outfield spot is set with Adam Duvall who did have reverse splits last year, which could suppress the need for a left-handed bat. But that’s a one-year sample size of reverse splits for a player who has primarily hit lefties better in his career.
Here is the priority list for the Braves:
- Left-handed outfield bat
- Center fielder
- Third or fourth starter
- Left-handed bat for the bench
- Veteran bullpen arm
The only reason center fielder isn’t number one is because there just aren’t a lot of great options out there that we know about. Duvall can handle the position until a good option becomes available.
As much as I don’t love that idea, the Braves just won a World Series with him in center field.
The money is there to fill all of these needs, and with the importance of not only winning the division but being one of the top two division winners, you can’t afford to go into a season without a full roster.