3 players the Braves will wish they had gone after this offseason

World Series - Texas Rangers v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Four
World Series - Texas Rangers v Arizona Diamondbacks - Game Four / Harry How/GettyImages
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Emilio Pagán

Reliever Emilio Pagán's free agency ended rather quietly when he signed with the Reds on Dec. 1 for two years and $16 million, with an opt-out after the first year. It makes sense; relievers always tend to get short shrifted, and even more so this year, when elite closer Josh Hader is one of the only relievers, if not the only reliever, the entire league has its eyes on in his free agency. Pagán, despite a certain up-and-down tendency to his performance across seven years in MLB, had a career best year in 2023, posting a 2.99 ERA across 69 1/3 innings. He only allowed one earned run in all of his last 10 starts on the season, a strong finish that put his best foot forward into free agency.

The Braves made a good early offseason bullpen addition when they snapped up Reynaldo López, and they could have capitalized on that momentum by also considering Pagán, who had comparable if not better numbers than López through similar numbers of innings in 2023. Pagán could've added versatility and flexibility to the Braves bullpen; he opened the Twins' penultimate game of the season, closed 15 games, and pitched anywhere between 1/3 and 2 innings throughout the year. It also looks like the Braves also could've gotten him at a lower rate than López, who Atlanta is paying about $0.67 million more every year than Pagán will be making with the Reds.