Ever since Alex Anthopoulos took over as GM in 2017, the Atlanta Braves have been notorious for signing really good players on a budget. Teams like the Mets, Yankees, and Padres seem to be spending an infinite amount of money each offseason and still don’t have the success Atlanta has.
AA made it clear that the team’s payroll will be increasing next season and it is not hard to justify that decision. The future is now for the Atlanta Braves and it is time to go all in on the best free agents this off-season and spend some money.
Oftentimes teams in professional sports will wait until the bulk of their key players are at the end of their contracts and then get aggressive with the “now or never” mentality. When teams do this, they are giving their franchise one, maybe two years to reach their ultimate goal. The Braves are in prime position now to give the organization several opportunities to bring home another World Series title.
Austin Riley is signed through 2034, Matt Olson through 2031, Ronald Acuna through 2029, Spencer Strider through 2030, Michael Harris through 2033, Sean Murphy through 2030 and Ozzie Albies through 2028.
The core of the team is locked up. Now it is only going to take a few pieces here and there to turn the Braves' dominance into a dynasty.
Unfortunately, winning a World Series is not easy nor is guaranteed if you are the best team in baseball. The 2023 Atlanta Braves know that firsthand.
With this being the case, it only makes sense for the Braves to make aggressive moves like signing big-name free agents or trading for someone like Juan Soto this off-season to give them a better chance to win it all now while also knowing more opportunities will present themselves in the coming years.
What is the plan?
Alex Anthopoulos has hinted that the team's early exit from the playoffs this year will be guiding their decisions as they prepare for 2024. Starting pitching depth was a major issue so that gives you an idea of what they may focus on early on.
There are some great pitching options on the free-agent market this year. Sonny Gray, Lucas Giolito, Blake Snell, Aaron Nola, and Jordan Montgomery are just a few of the options available that would help lengthen the Atlanta starting rotation.
There is also an opportunity to add a dependable option in left field either through free agency or on the trade market. They may consider adding some depth to the bullpen. However, I expect the bullpen to be the last thing they focus on improving as they have some solid options internally for that.
Regardless of what route they take, it's imperative that the Braves take this window of opportunity to go for it and make some big splashes.