How the Braves and Phillies could be playing cat and mouse this offseason

The free agent market seems to be dwindling down as big names come off of the board. Teams may have to turn to trade options in order to fulfill their off-season needs.

Division Series - Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Four
Division Series - Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies - Game Four / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

As we approach the Winter Meetings, MLB teams will be looking to improve their ball club entering the 2024 season. With the Phillies signing Aaron Nola to a long-term deal and Sonny Gray coming off the market, the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies may be left with limited options to improve their squads from here on out. The best options now may have to come via trade.

This may play into the Phillies' favor. Neither one of these teams has a very strong farm system but according to MLB Pipeline, the Phillies were ranked four spots ahead of the Braves entering the season. Atlanta does have some high-end pitching prospects, like AJSS and Hurston Waldrep however.

Atlanta was reportedly in on Nola, even offering him a contract in the range of 6-years, $162 million which he rejected to return to Philadelphia. This move got us thinking about how the Braves and Phillies could actually be targeting similar players this off-season.

The Braves have won the NL East Division six consecutive seasons now and the World Series in 2021. However, they have been eliminated by the Phillies (who reached the World Series in 2022) in the playoffs the last two seasons. Both of these teams are looking for ways to get over their respective humps. 

The issue this Winter is that both clubs are looking at adding pitching help. In addition, Rhys Hoskins entering free agency off injury and Bryce Harper being Philadelphia’s first baseman of the future, they very well could be looking to improve their outfield and bench depth as well. 

Over the next few months, if the Braves or Phillies begin to target a free agent or trade piece, look for the opposing club to show interest as well. If Atlanta or Philadelphia can improve their teams while also keeping their division rivals from getting better, they will pounce on that opportunity. 

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