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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Eduardo Rodriguez

It is possible that the Braves don't want to spend nine figures on a pitcher this offseason. While that certainly limits their options when it comes to quality arms, it would also fit the Braves' pattern of not wanting to be too invested in any one player.

Every team needs more pitching to be sure, but pitchers are also one of the worst investments a team can make as they are by far the most likely type of player to get hurt. Sometimes you get unicorns like Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander who dominate for a long time, but even those two guys have dealt with injuries in recent years. You also can get situations like Stephen Strasburg or Patrick Corbin whose contracts are among the worst in baseball right now.

So, if the Braves decide to hold firm to the philosophy of not being overly leveraged in their rotation, one guy that could serve as a bit of a middle ground is Eduardo Rodriguez. A finger injury messed him up in 2023, but Rodriguez was one of the better pitchers in the American League before the injury last season and he has generally been a guy that doesn't give up a ton of hard contact in his career despite some recent regression there.

E-Rod wouldn't be a perfect fit for the Braves. While his 2.64 ERA in the first half last year was great, it was more than a run worse in the second half and he does have a bit of a history of getting randomly hurt including a bout with myocarditis in 2020. However, assuming his contract demands are in the eight figures on a four year deal or so, Atlanta should give him strong consideration.

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