The Atlanta Braves are coming off a rough NLDS in which we saw the bats go silent. Despite the poor showing in the 2024 Postseason, the Braves will attempt to solidify the starting rotation this offseason. Here's a rundown of a few pitchers that will be on the market.
Atlanta currently has three guys locked in as starters for next season.
Bryce Elder is a soft-tossing pitcher who relies on getting groundballs, and things fell apart for him in the second half. Elder posted a 5.75 ERA over his final 14 starts. He added six earned runs allowed over 2.2 innings in the NLDS against the Phillies.
Charlie Morton has a $20 million club option. Morton will be 40 next season and we aren't even sure if he wants to return. Should Morton leave, that opens up some budget space. Should Morton decide to call it a career, the Braves will need some quality arms and some mid-level starting pitching depth.
Unless there are any setbacks, Max Fried will be back with Atlanta in his contract season in 2024. The Braves have yet to have extension talks with Fried so it has potential to be his final year with Atlanta.
The Braves had a club record 16 different pitchers start for them in 2024. A team with World Series aspirations doesn't want a pitcher parade or rotating rotation spots. So, the Braves need depth.
Braves Starting Rotation Suffers Injury Setbacks
Kyle Wright had shoulder surgery just as the Braves began their postseason pursuit and will miss the entire 2024 season. Michael Soroka wasn't able to get back to his old form in 2023. However, there were real positives in the fact that he stayed healthy all year and won the International League Pitcher of the Month in August. He just couldn't make it work at the big-league level. He is not a lock to be a big-league quality pitcher in 2024.
What are the Braves Internal Starting Pitching Options in 2024?
Well, they have guys like Jared Schuster, Dylan Dodd, Darius Vines, and AJ Smith-Shawver, but those guys would need to make some progress from where they are now. AJSS had a small sample size and made the postseason roster but he's only 20 years of age. He is by no means a lock for consistency. Michael Soroka is certainly an option, but he has to prove he can pitch quality major-league innings and stay healthy.
The point is, with the internal options there will be a lot of finger-crossing. Ideally, we'd like to see the team put together a roster with proven pitching depth and hope a couple of young guys overtake them when they show they are really ready.
Let's see the external options available to the Braves in 2024.