Since taking over as GM for the Atlanta Braves in 2017, Alex Anthopoulos has made countless transactions that have made him known as the best in the game. More times than not, these moves were made when people were least expecting it. Exhibit A: 2021 trade deadline.
Everyone knew after a devastating injury to superstar Ronald Acuna Jr., the Braves needed help in the outfield. However, AA did not hold back and acquired not one, or two, or even three but FOUR quality outfielders at the deadline. Not many expected this to be the case.
After working in secrecy for so long, Anthopoluos has openly stated that the Atlanta Braves will be increasing their payroll in 2024. This should absolutely terrify the rest of the league. Let’s take a look at three ways the Braves could raise their payroll in 2024 while also improving the team tremendously.
Between injuries and inconsistent performances, the Atlanta Braves could use some help in the starting rotation moving forward. We do know that Max Fried, Spencer Strider, and Charlie Morton will be taking the ball every fifth day once the season begins but that’s all we know.
Bryce Elder could lose his spot in the rotation after his second-half struggles that continued into the postseason this past year and Kyle Wright will not pitch in 2024. Here are some big names that may cost some big prices that Anthopoulos just might be willing to pay:
Aaron Nola, Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery, Sonny Gray, Eduardo Rodriguez, Lucas Giolitto, Marcus Stroman, Kenta Maeda, and James Paxton.
Pretty much every name on that list would provide the Braves with a great amount of pitching depth. They'd also provide quality innings for Atlanta which is very much welcomed.
In 2023, Brian Snitker used a combination of Eddie Rosario and Kevin Pillar in left field. Neither of these two players will be with the team next season. While the Atlanta Braves offense is still filled with power, do not put it past Alex Anthopoulos to somehow make it even better by coughing up his checkbook for one of the following players:
Joc Pederson, A.J. Pollock, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and Jorge Soler.
Additionally, trades are not off the table for players whose contracts are about to run out and teams may be looking to deal before they lose them in free agency without something in return. The biggest splash in this department could be Juan Soto joining Acuna in the Atlanta outfield.
Soto is the least likely choice for the Braves as he would cost a bit in a trade. However, he would be an incredible boost to an already potent Braves offense.
However, AA did also mention they have considered using Vaughn Grissom in left field as an internal option.
Ball on a budget
This may not be the most attractive option to Braves fans but is a high possibility. Instead of shelling out money for superstars at specific positions, Alex Anthopoulos could continue to magically sign good players to reasonable deals to fill in all gaps.
Mentioning that payroll is going to increase without saying if it will be a significant amount or a slight jump leaves us with a lot of questions only Anthopoulos and the Braves front office know the answer to.
Starting pitching, left field, and the bullpen are likely at the top of the priority list for Atlanta this offseason, maybe even in that order.
To address all of these needs, AA could look at above-average players who would be willing to take a comparatively cheaper deal to be able to sign players in each of these positions.
Just as we mentioned with the left-field options, trades are not off the table. Atlanta may not have as many prospects as they once did but they may have just enough to get what they need for the MLB squad in 2024.