A few weeks ago, Clint Manry opened up about how the Braves 2022 rotation could be one of the best in franchise history. That’s pretty significant considering all of the historic rotations the Braves have put in place over the years, but it sure could be. If Mike Soroka can finally get back to 100%, this squad will be filled with top talent, and more could be on the way in the form of top prospects like Kyle Muller and Tucker Davidson. The years spent acquiring young pitchers in the draft and across the trades are finally starting to pay off substantial dividends, but next year’s potential offense doesn’t look too bad either.
The Atlanta offense has come to life since the trade deadline, and Braves fans can thank Alex Anthopoulos for it. All of the mid-season acquisitions made significant contributions, leading to a ten-game swing in the NL East. However, Anthopoulos will have several decisions to make regarding these new faces in free agency.
Adam Duvall has a mutual option for next season, but he’s likely retiring in search of a multi-year contract, which I think the Braves should be prepared to offer. Joc Pederson has a $ 10 million club option for next season, which could also be in the best interests of the team, while Jorge Soler and Eddie Rosario are unrestricted free agents. Of course, the situation surrounding Marcell Ozuna will affect some of those decisions, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Braves bring back a couple of these guys. As it stands, there’s no shortage of anything in this lineup, and they’ll be back with a healthy Ronald Acuña at some point in 2022.
Since we have no idea what’s going to happen with Marcell Ozuna, I guess he won’t be playing. I also think it’s fair to expect DH to come to the National League, so the Braves will not only be looking to fill their outfield, but they’ll need a designated hitter as well. So here is what programming could look like in 2022 with these elements in mind.
- Ronald Acuña Jr.
- Ozzie Albies
- Freddie freeman
- Austin riley
- Dansby Swanson
- Travis d’Arnaud
- Adam duval
- Jorge soler
- Joc pederson
It may not be exactly like that. The Braves could easily check out the outfield market for an even better upgrade. We also can’t forget that Freddie Freeman is an unrestricted free agent this winter. Signing him is undoubtedly the No.1 priority, and there really is no reason why the Braves shouldn’t shell out the money to hold him back. Everything he’s done in his career is exactly what every organization could ask of their franchise’s cornerstone, and the Braves should have enough room to fit him into their payroll while continuing to fill in. around him with pieces like this.
Adam Duvall may be looking for a multi-year contract, but it shouldn’t be too expensive to keep. Since DH will likely come to the National League, keeping him is a no-brainer. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Braves tried to switch to Soler. It has been great for them so far, but they might choose a safer option. However, if they stay with Soler it shouldn’t cost them too much, and they could probably get him to sign a one-year contract. The decision to keep Pederson will depend on whether the Braves want to pick his option. I love what he brings to the team and to have him beat ninth would be a luxury, but I could see Anthopoulos reluctant to spend $ 10million on him.
We also can’t forget Cristian Pache and Drew Waters – the Braves’ two best prospects in the system. Pache clearly wasn’t ready for Major League Baseball this season, but as Jake wrote yesterday, he’s really taken things over from Gwinnett over the past two months. It’s not unreasonable to think he could start next season in Atlanta as a starting center. Given his performance this season, Waters probably needs a bit more seasoning in the minors, but he could also be up for promotion at some point in 2022.
As long as the Braves retain Freddie Freeman, they should have little problem building one of the best lineups in baseball. Their rotation is loaded with talent and depth, and the same can be said of their potential roster. Next year’s team might have an elite bench as well, which hasn’t been the case for some time. Like all teams that make the playoffs, the Braves have a chance at a World Series in 2021, but their prospects for the future are much brighter.