3 Braves offseason moves that already look great, 1 that could be a mistake

Most of the Braves' moves from this offseason are looking good quite at the moment.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Atlanta Braves
Arizona Diamondbacks v Atlanta Braves / Matthew Grimes Jr./Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

The Atlanta Braves are definitely in a weird place at the moment. On the one hand, they just came back AGAIN to take down the Diamondbacks on Saturday evening to improve to 5-2 in the young 2023 season. On the other hand, Max Fried struggled once again and Spencer Strider appears as though he could be out a while with elbow troubles. The ups and downs of the baseball season have already been in full effect for the Braves.

There are always going to be uncontrollable things that happen during the season and what every team tries to do is do enough in the offseason to be able to absorb any potential personnel losses and keep pushing forward. Some guys are more replaceable than others, but the goal is establishing true depth throughout the roster to keep the team functional even when the times are bad and injuries pop up.

We will save you the trouble: no, there is no real replacement for Spencer Strider, but the Braves do still find themselves in decent shape after his injury. One reason for that is that moves the Braves made this offseason addressed the holes they had into their roster without poaching too much of their depth in the high minors that they can use to fill roster vacancies as needed. While not ideal, that depth is what the Braves are going to be relying on in the short-term.

With that in mind, here is a look at some of the moves the Braves made this past offseason that look great so far and one that, so far, hasn't panned out the way Atlanta hoped it would. As always, these opinions are subject to change, but here are the moves that look the best thus far for the 2024 season.

Signing Reynaldo Lopez looks like it could be a steal for the Braves

When the Braves first announced that they were signing Reynaldo Lopez, most thought it was Alex Anthopoulos doing his usual thing where he builds out a stacked bullpen early in the offseason. That may still be what the end result ends up being down the line, but signing Lopez proved to be a much bigger deal than that when Atlanta revealed that Lopez would be converting back into being a starter for at least the early portion of the 2024 season.

While Lopez has just thrown one start, the early returns are that adding Lopez was a big win for the Braves. At a time when having starting pitching depth is a big deal, Lopez looked right at home in the rotation despite being outpitched by Garrett Crochet last week. Now that Strider is presumably going to be out for a while, the Braves may need to keep Lopez in the rotation for a lot longer than initially planned which is a nice luxury to have all things considered.

The Jarred Kelenic trade is looking a lot better than it did during camp

Once spring training got rolling for the Braves, there was a very, very vocal segment of the fanbase that immediately declared the Jarred Kelenic trade a failure. Kelenic was struggling to do much of anything in camp at the time and many fans saw that along with his struggles in Seattle and declared him washed after just a couple of games this spring training. That conversation wasn't helped by the fact that the Braves went out and got Adam Duvall to platoon with him in left field.

Fortunately for the Braves, that was not the end of the story and one of their marquee moves from the offseason has turned out well thus far. Kelenic only has 18 plate appearances in 2024 thus far, but he is slashing .625/.667/.813 across that span. We haven't yet seen the prodigious home run power that he showed at times with the Mariners, but it is probably safe to say that Kelenic still has something left in the tank and, if a few things break the Braves' way, that deal still looks it could end up being quite the steal.

Adding Aaron Bummer to the Braves' bullpen hasn't worked out so far

Any deal for a reliever has a chance to turn ugly pretty quickly. All pitchers are inherently risky as the laws of physics are just not kind to the human arm, but relievers are uniquely problematic as they often throw with more effort and/or worse mechanics and can turn back into pumpkins remarkably quickly. So, when the Braves did a massive roster culling and traded for Aaron Bummer, there was always a real chance that it would flame out.

So far, things have not looked great in Bummer's short stay with the Braves as he sports a 9.00 ERA in three appearances. Now, that is a very small sample size and odds are that Bummer will end up being significantly better than that. Moreover, the nice thing about this trade wasn't receiving Bummer in return, but also to trim the Braves' 40-man roster down considerably, although that did cost the Braves both Michael Soroka and Jared Shuster who might be the kind of starting pitching depth that Atlanta could use right about now.

If Chris Sale stays healthy, it could end up being the move of the offseason

All offseason, Braves fans wondered if the team was actually going to address their most glaring need in the rotation. After losing out on Sonny Gray and Aaron Nola, it honestly felt like the Braves were going to sit the offseason out when it came to their rotation which, given the team's current circumstances, would have been a complete disaster. Fortunately, the Braves did go out and grab a starter, but not one that anyone expected as they went and traded for Chris Sale late in the offseason.

With a guy like Sale who has a real injury history and age to consider, the jury is still out out whether it was a good move or not. However, the early returns have been very promising as Sale looked particularly sharp in spring training and pitched into the sixth inning while giving up just a pair of runs in his first start of the season. If Sale can just keep doing what he is doing, that trade could end up being a huge win for the Braves. The best part? The cost to the Braves' depth was minimal as it only cost Vaughn Grissom (and taking on a chunk of Sale's contract) to get him and Grissom is already dealing with an injury.

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