Atlanta Braves: Everything you need to know about the Winter Meetings
By Eric Cole
The Atlanta Braves go into this year’s Winter Meetings, which start today, don’t have an extensive shopping list. Their roster is largely set and have a finite amount of room to play with when it comes to payroll. While it seems like a certainty that they will pay the luxury tax this year, color us skeptical that they are going to go WAY over and impact their draft position. The big issue remains the shortstop position with Dansby Swanson‘s future obviously being the hot topic of conversation.
However, before we get into the rumor mill that is very likely to be hot and heavy over the next few days, here is a quick primer as to what the Winter Meetings are and what will be transpiring over the next four days.
What are the Winter Meetings and where are they being held?
For the first time since 2019, the Winter Meetings will be an in-person event and is being held in San Diego from today, December 4th through Wednesday, December 7th. Being COVID and the lockout last offseason, it has been a while since we have had a normal, in-person Winter Meetings.
The Winter Meetings are a chance to handle some league business collectively as well as to give front offices a chance to meet face to face as well as for agents to be able to negotiate in-person with multiple teams without it turning into a phone tag situation. The goal is to make deals or at least get negotiations moving and historically, it has been a VERY busy time of the offseason leaguewide.
What else happens at the Winter Meetings?
Other than giving fans heartburn with rumors and transactions, there is league business that gets conducted during the Winter Meetings. Most of it is really basic housekeeping type stuff that baseball fans couldn’t care less about, but one event that can be consequential is the Rule 5 Draft where minor leaguers that have been in the minors for a while (who qualifies depends on how old they were when they were drafted) can be drafted by other teams.
If a team DOES draft a player in the major league portion of the Rule 5, they must keep them on their active roster. If not, they have to offer that player back to their original organization. If you are curious as to who the Braves have that both qualify for the Rule 5 Draft AND were not protected by being on the Braves’ 40 man roster, we have you covered with this write-up right here. The Rule 5 Draft will take place on December 7th at 5 pm EST.
We will also have some other events happening this week including Sunday evening’s announcement of the Contemporary Era’s Hall of Fame vote, the announcement of the All-MLB Team on Monday evening, and MLB’s first ever draft lottery that will be drawn at 8:30 pm EST. No, the Braves do not have a chance at nabbing a high pick as the drawing is only amongst the teams that did not make the playoffs last year.
What will the Atlanta Braves do at this year’s Winter Meetings?
A big part of how active the Braves are at the Winter Meetings this year is contingent on how quickly the shortstop market moves. Dansby Swanson is a hot name in the rumor mill right now and we wrote up seven other teams that could be interested in his services for 2023 and beyond (with some of them having their interest publicly known already).
If the shortstop market gets off to a roaring start and the big names start signing quickly, we could see the Braves make their intentions known. If things are slower, the Braves could easily wait and see how things play out. All indications so far are that these meetings will be busy, though, so its best to keep an eye out.
Other areas of intrigue include a potential move for a left fielder, trades that come out of nowhere, and the constant search for relievers that can bring value.
At the end of the day, the biggest storyline for the Atlanta Braves at the Winter Meetings comes down to how far they are willing to go into the luxury tax. If they are willing to pay a decent bit of tax with all of that money they have been raking in, then moves like signing Dansby or bringing in a significant replacement are very likely. If not, well…there are going to be some questions regarding choices including extending Charlie Morton that were made earlier in the calendar year.