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'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 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.