The Athletic inexplicably favors NL East rival's offseason over the Braves' moves

The Atlanta Braves were given a strange rating for their offseason moves despite addressing every need the team had.

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The Atlanta Braves have been one of the most active teams this offseason and there's still time left to do more if they choose to.

It would seem that most around the league would look at the moves made by the NL East juggernaut and see they addressed their needs for 2024. However, that is not the case.

Recently, The Athletic (subscription required) released a list grading every team's offseason and deeming some winners and others as losers.

The Atlanta Braves received a "C" grade from the folks over at The Athletic despite making a flurry of moves to satisfy their needs. While the Braves didn't add any big-name free agents like Shohei Ohtani or Aaron Nola, they filled areas of need and did so without breaking the bank.

While a grade of "C" is fair and isn't the worst grade, I'd hardly say it's warranted considering they gave Atlanta's rival from Philadelphia a "B".

What's bizarre about that decision is that the Phillies have hardly done anything of note outside of bringing back Aaron Nola. They have essentially brought back the same team without really improving their bullpen by adding more depth. They have just one pitcher with minor-league options available and that's Gregory Soto. If something goes wrong, they'll have to figure things out quickly.

The Phillies are a good team but the fact that their offseason warrants a "B" but the Braves' moves do not, is confusing. Philadelphia has a good core and they've played well when it has mattered most but everything points to Atlanta having a more complete team.

The Braves also locked up two relievers shortly after the season ended with Pierce Johnson and Joe Jimenez. They made a trade with the White Sox to acquire a talented lefty reliever in Aaron Bummer. They signed Reynaldo Lopez to a three-year contract and hope he will be a rotation or bullpen option.

Jarred Kelenic being acquired from Seattle was a great yet risky trade to fill their need for a left fielder. He has struggled to become the player everyone expected him to be but moving away from that pressure has fans cautiously optimistic he could have a huge season. It seems that's already paying dividends as he's connected with Matt Olson and has been getting tips from the MLB home run leader from 2023.

The biggest move made had to be the move for Chris Sale which sent Vaughn Grissom to the Boston Red Sox. Atlanta lost a young talented infielder with tons of upside for a proven veteran who has struggled to stay on the field in recent years. Boston covered most of Sale's salary which made this a risky move but one that could pay massive dividends.

The article brings up a good point about the Braves struggling with starting pitching depth in the last two years.

"Maybe a former top prospect in Jarred Kelenic fully realizes his potential and becomes another part of Atlanta’s enviable position player core. And maybe Chris Sale is still Chris Sale, capable of being a lights-out left-handed starter when the lights are brightest. For a team whose starting depth has crumbled the past two autumns, pushing the chips in on Sale represents quite the gamble."

The Athletic MLB Staff

However, I think it's a bit naive to say they pushed all their chips in on Chris Sale. Yes, he is meant to play a big role but there's a reason Atlanta has built up their pitching depth in the offseason. They also have Bryce Elder, AJ Smith-Shawver, Allan Winans, Huascar Ynoa, and Darius Vines, who could easily step in if needed this season.

Atlanta's front office has been busy making sure they are giving the team something good to work with but not handcuffing the team from being able to make adjustments at the trade deadline if needed. They have increased payroll yet again and are just under the third luxury tax tier.

To say the Braves haven't done enough to earn at least a "B" grade for the offseason just seems a bit unfair. Although, you can win the offseason and make all the right moves and things still go sideways. There is no guarantee these moves will win the World Series for Atlanta in 2024 but it certainly gives them the best shot.

Whatever happens at the end of the season, fans should take solace in the fact that they have a competent front office that knows exactly what to do and will always give this team a chance to compete for a World Series title.

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