2 former Braves the team will regret letting leave, 2 where they made the right call

It is time to look ahead a bit and see which free agent departures could come back to bite the Braves in 2024.

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Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages
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The Atlanta Braves' offseason has been a highly eventful one. True to form, Alex Anthopoulos largely avoided the deep end of the free agent market and instead focused on using the trade market to both cull the 40 man roster as well as to make their biggest moves of the offseason.

Arguably the two biggest moves the Braves made this offseason came in the form of trades, in fact. Atlanta came out of nowhere and swung a deal with the Mariners to acquire former top prospect Jarred Kelenic to fill out their outfield. Later in the offseason, they pulled off another shocker to beef up their rotation by trading for Chris Sale and promptly extended him.

The reason the Braves had to make some bold moves was because some familiar faces left in free agency. While the departures Atlanta had this offseason didn't rise to the significance of guys like Dansby Swanson and Freddie Freeman who left in recent years, they did have some free agents that had been key contributors that were not easy decisions to let walk.

Here are the Braves free agents that they may wish they kept and the ones they will be glad they didn't

Letting guys go is never fun especially when the players in question played important roles on the team in the past. Fans always want to see the team try to improve each offseason, but every upgrade comes at the cost of another's guys role on the team. The good teams are the ones that make the right calls on who to keep and who to move on from.

By in large, the Braves are very good at making those decisions. There have certainly been some rough ones as Freddie Freeman has been a MVP caliber player with the Dodgers and Dansby continues to do his thing with the clubs, but Atlanta at least had a very solid plan in place for when both of those guys left as both Matt Olson and Orlando Arcia have done very well for themselves as their replacements.

With that in mind, here is a look at some of the players that left the Braves this offseason and whether or not Atlanta will regret not having them around in 2024.

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Braves free agents we wish the team could have kept

Fortunately for the Braves, there are no surefire "they needed to keep him around" sorts of departures this offseason. Atlanta was aggressive in upgrading at multiple spots on the roster, but that doesn't mean that fans may wish that these guys were still in the fold next season even if the choices were objectively correct.

Jesse Chavez

Jesse Chavez's tenures in Atlanta defied all logic. When he was with the Braves, he looked like one of the best middle relievers in baseball despite the fact that he was decidedly long in the tooth to put it kindly. When he was in other organizations, he struggled mightily and would then somehow find his way back to Atlanta to repeat the cycle once again. Just last season, Chavez posted a 1.56 ERA in 36 appearances despite the fact that he turned 40 and also missed a big chunk of time after getting hit by a line drive.

At this point, it wouldn't be surprising if Chavez had a secret apartment in the basement of Truist and ended up back with the Braves once again. However, he is currently a free agent again and it certainly feels like the Braves lost something special about the team as a result. Atlanta's bullpen is strictly better now than it was in 2023, but Chavez was a good performer, a leader in the clubhouse, and a fan favorite partially due to his keen fashion sense. We'll see if he finds his way back to the Braves perhaps on a minor league deal at least one more time.

Kirby Yates

Kirby Yates gets a bit of an unjustified bad rap from Braves fans. While he would certainly have appearances that went off the rails if he couldn't land his pitches for strikes, by in large he was quite good in his two-ish seasons with the Braves. After taking some time to get healthy and readjust in 2022, Yates posted a 3.28 ERA and 1.1 rWAR in 61 appearances last year while missing a bunch of bats.

Unfortunately, Atlanta ultimately decided to not bring him back for 2024 and he got a one year, $4.5 million deal with the Rangers. Again, the Braves' bullpen is shockingly deep going into 2024, so letting Yates walk is far from a disaster. However, it wasn't that long ago that Yates was one of the better relievers in baseball and he was mostly very good in Atlanta. One hopes that the Braves didn't make a mistake in letting him go and let Texas get an absolute bargain.

Braves free agents that they made the right call to let go

Here we find the guys that the Braves simply made the right decision to let leave after the 2023 season. This is not an indictment of these guys as human beings or their contributions to the Braves. Far from it. However, they were roster spots that the Braves needed more from going into next season and that unfortunately meant that the team need to move on from them.

Eddie Rosario

No Braves fan with a pulse will ever forget what Eddie Rosario did for the Braves in the 2021 postseason especially against the Dodgers where he was a one-man wrecking crew and the biggest reason why Atlanta made it to the World Series at all. His 2022 season was truly brutal, but he rebounded last year to post a respectable .755 OPS with 21 homers. He was also a fantastic hype man in the dugout whether he was playing well or not.

Unfortunately, Rosario was too inconsistent at the plate to be relied upon every day especially given that he could be an adventure in the outfield. He would have stretches where he would look great only to disappear offensively for months at a time. Time will tell if Jarred Kelenic can get his career back on track with the Braves, but he certainly has more upside than Rosario in left and it was just time for the Braves to move on from Eddie as much as his contributions are appreciated and remembered.

Michael Tonkin

The middle relievers for the 2023 Braves played an outsized role last season due to the number of injuries in the Braves' rotation. One of the big reasons that the Braves were able to cover innings with Max Fried and Kyle Wright out was the play of Michael Tonkin whose ability to throw multiple innings proved to be very useful. Unfortunately, Tonkin seemingly got figured out as well as gassed later in the season which resulted in a pretty pedestrian 4.28 ERA in 45 appearances last year.

The one significant free agent signing the Braves did make this offseason was to add Reynaldo Lopez who is simply a strict upgrade over Tonkin. Not only does Lopez have the stuff to pitch late in games if necessary, but he can also throw multiple innings and may even get some time in the rotation. Tonkin was a nice surprise especially early on when he was pitching his best, but Atlanta pretty clearly made the right choice to improve his spot on the roster.

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