3 back-up starting pitcher targets for the Braves with Sonny Gray off the market

Braves fans got a rude awakening yesterday with the news that Sonny Gray is off the market.

Sep 5, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease (84)
Sep 5, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease (84) / Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
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The Atlanta Braves had long been mentioned as a landing spot for free agent pitcher Sonny Gray this offseason. On the surface, the fit made perfect sense as he fit the preferred Braves' mold of a proven guy that wasn't going to require a long-term deal and Atlanta definitely needs to add at least one quality starter this offseason. Unfortunately, most of the league wants guys like that and, as it turns out, Gray's preference was to play for the Cardinals from the beginning so St. Louis was able to swoop in and snag him on a three year deal.

All of a sudden, the guy who was arguably the best option for the Braves given their contract preferences is off the market and things have been decidedly trickier for Atlanta this offseason. There are plenty of starting pitchers available, but most of the good ones are going to require a lot of money and will also come with qualifying offers attached which means they would cost draft picks to sign. While this isn't an ideal situation for the Braves, they still have some good options out there.

Here are some alternative starting pitching targets for the Braves with Sonny Gray no longer available

The Braves are in a good enough position that they don't need to force anything going into 2024. Moreover, it is important to be realistic in our expectations in what the Braves may be willing to do especially considering their luxury tax situation, so guys like Shohei Ohtani (who wouldn't be able to help them on mound in 2024 anyways) and Yoshinobu Yamamoto are probably not going to happen. That said, there are still some intriguing starter options out there that the Braves should be in play to bring into the fold.

Let's take a look at some of the better starting pitcher options left for the Braves this offseason.