The Atlanta Braves are on top of the world, and rightly so. But just as the World Series ends, the offseason begins. These Braves won’t be back to potentially repeat.
The Braves surprised all of baseball, taking a team without Ronald Acuña, Jr. and a suspect bullpen to the MLB mountaintop. Now, Alex Anthopoulos must start all over again.
Atlanta has a bevy of impact free agents they must make decisions about, first and foremost being Freddie Freeman. The Braves first baseman could be paid upwards of $28 million a year, with the only holdup expect to be the number of years on said deal for the 31-year-old. It’s a fair question mark, but one that won’t keep these two sides from continuing what’s been a successful marriage.
So, assuming the Braves make Freeman their top priority, who won’t be back next year?
Braves future rotation likely doesn’t include Drew Smyly
Smyly was a solid back-end starter at his best, but don’t expect the 29-year-old to be in the Braves’ future plans. The former Arkansas Razorback picked up a win in Game 4 of the NLCS, and was a valuable long reliever in the Braves bullpen this postseason. Yet, with the number of options available to the Braves heading into next season, Smyly is unlikely to be brought back.
Charlie Morton, Max Fried, Ian Anderson, Kyle Wright and more should receive priority over Smyly, who at this point in his career is more likely to fight for a roster spot than to receive legitimate consideration for the rotation on a World Series contender.
Expect the Braves to upgrade their rotation this offseason, rather than stick with Smyly.