Potential Free Agent Options for the Atlanta Braves

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 3: Dansby Swanson #7 of the Atlanta Braves looks on against the Miami Marlins at Truist Park on September 3, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Adam Hagy/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 3: Dansby Swanson #7 of the Atlanta Braves looks on against the Miami Marlins at Truist Park on September 3, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Adam Hagy/Getty Images) /

As the offseason begins, there are so many questions circling the Atlanta Braves and what they will do. One thing is for sure, Alex Anthopoulos always keeps everyone on their toes. He has a knack for making unconventional moves that end up paying dividends for the team. The areas that need to be addressed are shortstop, left field, starting pitching, and relief pitching. Let’s check out some options available to the Atlanta Braves this year at those positions.

Atlanta Braves Free Agent Options: Shortstop

Dansby Swanson

AA will have his work cut out for him this offseason as the Braves have a few important moves to make. The most important move? Whether to bring back fan favorite and Gold Glover, Dansby Swanson.

The Atlanta native and first-round draft pick certainly provided Braves fans with some exciting moments over the years. It was a struggle there for a little while for Swanson as he just could not string together consistent offensive output.

It seemed like by 2020, Swanson had begun to figure out his offensive issues and started to play as many had expected. That was no different in 2022 as Swanson had a career year and it was also one of the best seasons by an Atlanta shortstop period. He played in all 162 games, finishing the 2022 season batting .277 with 25 HR and 96 RBI. This included 49 walks and 182 strikeouts as well.

It is expected that Swanson will be offered a qualifying offer from Atlanta and that he will reject it. This would mean the Braves receive draft compensation if he were to sign elsewhere. Swanson brings high quality defense at the shortstop position and has proven he can provide consistent offense. Swanson has the potential to receive a deal similar to what Trevor Story received last year (6 years, $140 million) with an AAV close to $25 million.

Trea Turner

Trea Turner has always punished Atlanta Braves pitching over the years as a member of the Nationals and Dodgers. I think it’s safe to say he’s the best shortstop available in this free agent class. He gets on base a lot, runs the bases well, and plays great defense.

Turner finished 2022 with a slash line of .298/343/.466 through 160 games played with 21 homers and 100 RBI. This also included 27 stolen bases and 45 walks to 131 strikeouts during that span. This would be a welcome addition to an already incredible defensive infield with equally as impressive offensive potential.

The 29-year-old shortstop is eligible for a qualifying offer and will likely decline (as most high profile free agents do). Contract-wise, Turner can easily command an AAV in the $30 million range as he provides immense value and talent to any team that considers adding him.

Atlanta would be silly to not at least entertain the idea of signing Trea Turner but it feels like his asking price will be out of their comfort area.

Carlos Correa

Last offseason, many experts thought that the Atlanta Braves would consider signing Carlos Correa. However, that didn’t happen as he signed with the Minnesota Twins but with opt-out clauses in his contract. As expected, Correa stated that he planned on opting out of the final two years of his contract valued at $70 million.

Correa is 28 years old and had a strong season with a .291/.366/.467 slash line. It seems that he enjoyed his time with Minnesota but with opting out of the contract, it doesn’t seem that Correa plans to return in 2023.

Fans know what Correa brings to the table. He is absolutely clutch at the plate and provides top-tier defense and leadership. He’s a winner, plain and simple. Now, the catch with Correa, he was expecting a $330 million contract just a year ago. I don’t see anyone even entertaining that amount this year either.

Teams may not have any other choice than to consider a big payday for a player who is in his prime and has plenty to offer. Any team would be lucky to have him and if Atlanta feels like the value and price is right, Correa could be a Brave come 2023.

Xander Bogaerts

Boston’s superstar infielder opted out of the remaining $60 million of his contract. Bogaerts typically provides ridiculous offensive output but his defense leaves a little to be desired at times. Although, he improved drastically in 2022 and the Braves also have a secret weapon named Ron Washington that could help change that in a heartbeat.

Bogaerts suffered from a drop in power this season with just 15 home runs but had one of the best seasons defensively of his career. He had 4 DRS, a 4.9 UZR, and recorded 5 Outs Above Average. For context, those stats last season were -5 DRS, 2.3 UZR, and -9 OAA. That is a MASSIVE improvement defensively and could help Bogaerts’ case in any extension or FA talks.

His offensive production was stellar as usual with a line of .307/.377/.456 which is absolutely impressive. He walked 57 times and struck out 118 times. If I had my choice of who would replace Dansby Swanson if he signed elsewhere, it would be Bogaerts. The offense isn’t a question but I’d be more interested in if we can trust the improved defensive stats from 2022. Regardless of all of that, he could command a large contract for six or seven years.

Value Shortstop Option for Atlanta 

Jose Iglesias

We’ve covered some premium options, now let’s cover a cost-effective option that Atlanta could consider if Swanson doesn’t return. Jose Iglesias is famously an incredible defensive shortstop but in 2022 he took a one-year deal with the Colorado Rockies and had a great offensive season.

He finished 2022 with a .292/.328/.380 line over 118 games played and whether you believe in the Coors Field effect or not, those are good numbers.

Iglesias has signed one-year deals the last two off-seasons and we all know the affinity AA has for signing one-year deals. Iglesias signed for just $5 million in 2022 and that would be a huge value for Atlanta and provide them with a suitable option at shortstop and could provide Vaughn Grissom some time to develop and share duties with him. Now, his less-than-desirable walk rate and recent defensive struggles over the past two seasons are things to consider with this option but ultimately could help the Braves if they choose to go this route.

Atlanta Braves Free Agent Options: Left Field

Aaron Judge

That’s right, the guy that hit 62 home runs and set the AL home run record in 2022 is pretty good at baseball. Judge bet on himself and turned down the Yankees’ offer last season for seven years and $213.5 million which is about $30 million AAV. That is a major chunk of change for any ball club. Don’t expect the Braves to even entertain signing Judge but he’s the best available so we have to talk about it.

His MVP-worthy performance in 2022 is only going to drive that price even higher. He hit his way to a slash line of .311/.425/.686 with 62 homers and 131 RBI. While Judge is a big man, he also stole 16 bases during the season as well. His defense is decent and would be a nice addition to an already talented Atlanta outfield.

All eyes will be on the Judge sweepstakes this offseason and it will be interesting what team lands him in the end. It would be a huge move by AA if he made this deal happen, but don’t give your hopes up.

Mitch Haniger

Haniger is an excellent hitter when he is healthy and that will be the main question surrounding the talented Mariners outfielder. His defense would be an upgrade over Ozuna in left field, for sure. He was only able to play in 57 games in 2022 due to injury. Haniger has proven he is a great player and can produce offensively but teams are going to be skeptical of his availability during the season.

All things considered, that could allow the Braves an opportunity to snag Haniger at a bit of a value and provide a solid option for left field. His slash line was .246/.308/.429 and isn’t as good as in previous seasons but a healthy Haniger would perform much better. This is a highly likely option for Atlanta to cover a position that has been a slight question mark for Atlanta.

Joc Pederson

Pederson didn’t play as well as he’d hoped the last two seasons and ended up signing for a one-year, $6MM deal with the Giants in 2022. Being from the Bay Area, Pederson seemed happy to play at Oracle Park. Braves fans are all familiar with how clutch Joc was for the team in 2021 and helped lead the team to a World Series.

2022 proved to be one of Pederson’s best as he batted .274/.353/.521 with 23 homers and 70 RBI. Typically, Pederson is desired as a platoon outfielder but he proved that it’s possible for him to assume an everyday role with no issues. He did improve this season at the plate with a 149 wRC+ against RHP and a112 wRC+ when facing LHP.


The one knock against Pederson is the lack of defense. He’s never been one of the best in that department and after losing Adam Duvall to injury, the Braves learned just how important that is and it appears they’re desiring an upgrade in that department. Joc did produce a 2.1 fWAR which is the best since 2019.

Joc also brings the intangibles of leadership and charisma to the clubhouse. Safe to say that is something to consider when making these decisions as well. Pederson will definitely be an option to consider in 2023.

Andrew Benintendi 

Benintendi seemed like he was on his way to becoming one of the elite players in MLB just a few years ago but the last few years haven’t been kind to him. He’s struggled to stay healthy and produce the same way he did in Boston. However, that could be a product of playing in Kansas City. Losing can have a big effect on a player’s psyche.

In 2021, he hit 17 home runs with KC and slashed .276/.324/.442 for a wRC+ of 105. That improved even more in 2022 as he cut down on strikeouts and walked a bit more often. He hit .304/.373/.399 on the season spent between the Royals and Yankees.

He did have hamate surgery in September which put an end early end to his season and caused him to miss the playoffs. However, there is hope he could return to form next year. He won’t be eligible to receive a qualifying offer due to being traded. Health will be a concern for teams looking to sign Benintendi but he shouldn’t be overlooked.

Value Left Field Option for Atlanta

Michael Conforto

Conforto missed all of 2022 after suffering an off-season shoulder injury that required surgery to repair. He also had a subpar year in 2021 but that could work in the Braves’ favor in negotiating a contract with the outfielder. This gives AA another one-year contract option that allows for low risk/high reward. Between 2017 and 2020, he averaged .265/.369/.495 which makes him an appealing choice. He is also a competent defender.

Atlanta Braves Free Agent Options: Starting Pitcher

Jacob deGrom

This is the most obvious choice as many believe the Braves will be interested in deGrom but who wouldn’t be? You know you’re getting an incredible talent and taking deGrom into the postseason seems like an incredible luxury. There isn’t another pitcher on this planet as good as a healthy Jacob deGrom.

That’s the caveat though, isn’t it? Will deGrom stay healthy enough to make a lofty investment worth it? It’s easy to say you should take the risk, but it’s not a luxury a lot of teams can afford. The limited availability in recent seasons has worried some, but only time can tell what will actually happen.

Whatever deal he gets will likely be a record-setting contract because he’s a once-in-a-generation talent and that’s the kind of money he can expect. He certainly makes the Braves rotation all the more formidable and would be a welcome sight to not face him again for a little while.

He’s struck out 44% of opponents and walked just 3.4% through 2021-2022, which is the best in the majors among starters with at least 100 IP in that span. He shares the highest average fastball velocity with Hunter Greene. He has the lowest FIP – only four other pitchers are within a run of him – and the second-lowest ERA. Quite simply, the man can pitch.

Carlos Rodon

Rodon is a LHP that would be welcome on any team as he is one of the best in the league. He opted out of his contract with the Giants and is now available. Rodon has recently learned to command his pitches much better and he has one of the nastiest sliders you’ll see. He had some troubles with a drop in velocity due to shoulder and elbow issues but in 2021, he gained back some of that velocity and started getting more swings and misses while also reducing his walk rate.

2022 was no different as Rodon was dominant and earned a WAR of 6.2. He started using his changeup and curveball more often and helped with more swings and misses. That is evident with a 3.18 ERA, 2.99 FIP,  K/9 of 11.47 and a BB/9 of 2.63 across 175 innings pitched. He honestly made a strong case for Cy Young consideration, but the BBWAA voters thought otherwise as he was not a finalist.

These improvements have given Rodon the opportunity to receive a multi-year dear worth more than $20 million per year. It’s an investment that would have excellent returns and an option Atlanta should absolutely consider.

Chris Bassitt

Bassitt may not be an ace but he could easily slide into the middle of the Braves rotation and make an enormous impact. He was pretty good for the Mets in 2022 when he wasn’t dealing with injuries. He will eat innings and is an above-average talent on the mound. Bassitt tossed 181.2 innings in 2022 and produced a 3.42 ERA. The Braves desperately need a pitcher than can go longer than 5 innings each start and Bassitt could provide that option.

He is not a strikeout pitcher and depends on weak contact (48.8% ground ball rate in 2022) to collect most of his outs. With an infield as talented as Atlanta’s, he’s a perfect fit in that department. Bassitt will soon be 34 and likely seeking a multi-year contract. However, he is another candidate that could look for a one-year deal with Atlanta and try to improve his value. Teams could likely ink Bassitt slightly under $20 million per year and be completely happy with their investment.

Justin Verlander

While Verlander may be getting up there in age, similar to Nolan Ryan, he just continues to find ways to be successful. Now, there are questions about his performance when it comes to the playoffs but mostly, he is one of the best pitchers in MLB history.

Last year, he was returning from Tommy John surgery at an age that gave cause for concern if he’d ever recover and be the same pitcher. This year, he proved to everyone that he is doing just fine as he reaches free agency as one of the best pitchers in baseball. He reached a fWAR of 6.1 and a 1.75 ERA across 175 innings. His FIP was a little high in the first half but he cut it in half after the All-Star break and finished with a 2.49 FIP.

Verlander in a Braves uniform would be a dream but do you consider spending $30+ million on a 40 old pitcher who could wear down at any point? It’s hard to say no after the season we just witnessed. A short-term deal makes the most sense for both parties and I think one to two years is reasonable for a legendary pitcher.

Value Starting Pitching Option for Atlanta 

Mike Clevinger 

Clevinger was one of the league’s best pitchers just a couple of years ago. However, soon after being traded to San Diego, he would need Tommy John surgery and hasn’t really regained that magic since. If Atlanta feels that he is needed and they reach the right price, it’s a deal that possibly comes to fruition.

He is a cost-effective option and I think Atlanta could sign him for at or under $10 million per year. He has struggled to regain the pitches that made him so effective in the past but he would be a valuable option for the Braves as a fifth starter if they need to save a little bit of money. If Mike could regain the break on his slider and find a way to get swings and misses. Clevinger pitched just 114.1 innings in 2022 with a 4.33 ERA and 7.16 K/9 as well as a 4.98 FIP.

Atlanta Braves Free Agent Options: Relief Pitchers

Craig Kimbrel 

Yes, a reunion with Craig Kimbrel could be possible for the Atlanta Braves. He will be coming into his age-35 season but still provides value to any bullpen. Kimbrel did not have a great time in Los Angeles as his season was less than spectacular and he was even left off the playoff roster. He finished 2022 with a 3.75 ERA, 3.23 FIP, K/9 10.80, BB/9 4.20, and a 0.9 WAR.

His fastball velocity did decline a little bit and didn’t have nearly as many swings and misses as usual. There’s nothing indicating if it’s mechanics or anything like that affecting Kimbrel’s ability to be effective. Could just be bad luck but also could be a sign of regression. With Raisel Iglesias seemingly assuming closing duties for Atlanta going forward, Kimbrel could be an interesting option for the middle innings. Kimbrel likely signs a one-year deal somewhere around the $10 million mark.

Chris Martin

Martin had another great season with both the Cubs and Dodgers. He pitched to a 3.05 ERA through 56 innings, with a 32.9% strikeout percentage of opponents with just a 2.2% walk percentage. Martin was a welcome sight for the Braves a couple of years ago and a reunion between the two makes a lot of sense.

The veteran righty has been one of the game’s underrated middle-innings relievers over the last few seasons. He virtually never hands out a free pass, throws a mid-90s fastball, and picks up strikeouts and groundouts. Chris will turn 37 next season so age is a bit of a concern, but he has proven time and again that he can get the job done. A 2.18 FIP, 1.6 fWAR, and 11.89 K/9 rate last season proves just that.

Taylor Rogers

Rogers will be an interesting piece for any team to add. He was in a big trade between the Padres and Brewers and struggled once going to Milwaukee. He had a 5.48 ERA and a 5.07 FIP with just three saves. Not what the Brewers had in mind when they traded the struggling Josh Hader.

Over seven seasons, the 31-year-old southpaw has a 3.42 ERA, a 3.06 FIP, and 445 strikeouts over 379 innings. Taylor is a lefty specialist as left-handed batters only hit .167/.261/.250 line with a .235 wOBA in 2022. With Tyler Matzek going down due to Tommy John surgery, Taylor would be a great left-handed option for the Braves bullpen.


This move would set the Atlanta bullpen over the top in my opinion and one that should be considered heavily. AA could add Rogers for under $10 million on a one or two-year deal and it would be a suitable addition to an already great bullpen.

Rafael Montero 

Montero experienced a tough 2021 season but was absolutely lights out for Houston in 2022. He pitched 68.1 innings, earning a 2.37 ERA while striking out 27%  of opponents faced against an 8.5% walk percentage. His ground ball rate was very impressive at 52.9% and with a talented Braves infield, this is a smart move.


Fastball velocity sits in the mid-90s and the ability to strike out batters and keep the ball on the ground should put him on every team’s radar. This is the kind of reliever that the Atlanta Braves usually like to target. Whether he can repeat that performance from 2022 or not, is the question.

Value Relief Pitching Option for Atlanta 

Ken Giles 

Giles was one of the best relievers in baseball as recently as 2019, earning 23 saves for the Blue Jays with a 1.87 ERA and 39.9% strikeout rate. However, Giles underwent Tommy John surgery in 2020 which caused him to miss all of 2021 as well. Unfortunately, a finger injury kept him out of commission until June of 2022, when he threw just 4.1 innings before being placed on the IL with a shoulder injury and being DFA’d. He then signed with the Giants on a minor-league deal, just to be released in August.

He hasn’t thrown more than 8 innings in those 3 seasons. While that is concerning, it also allows the Braves an opportunity for a low-risk, high-reward opportunity. AA could offer a minor league contract for the potential of a high-leverage reliever who has seen tons of success when he is healthy.

Next. Turning to the trade market to replace Dansby Swanson. dark

Let the Games Begin

Free agency is in full swing and the Atlanta Braves clearly have a lot of options to consider. Now, there are some players left off here that could fit the team perfectly. Time will tell what this team ends up looking like in 2023. Alex Anthopolous has the full confidence of Braves Country to make the appropriate moves as Atlanta looks to push for another World Series title.

Who would you target if you were the GM of the Atlanta Braves? Let us know in the comments below.