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Two Atlanta Braves will go to arbitration: Pitcher Mike Soroka and shortstop Dansby Swanson.
The Atlanta Braves went 2-for-4 in terms of players avoiding going to arbitration. While starting pitcher Max Fried and relief pitcher A.J. Minter were able to avoid it, starting pitching Mike Soroka and shortstop Dansby Swanson were not. What does this mean for the Braves entering the latter stages of the 2021 MLB offseason?
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Atlanta was one win away from getting back to the World Series for the first time since 1999. While Swanson had his breakout season of sorts at the plate, Soroka only made a handful of starts before rupturing his Achilles’ tendon. For different reasons, it is understandable why both star players for the Braves are heading to arbitration this offseason. This was largely expected.
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Are long-term deals coming for Mike Soroka and Dansby Swanson?
If Atlanta wants to win a World Series before 2025, players like Soroka and Swanson will be reasons for that. Soroka was the team’s ace prior to his devastating injury. While he is progressing from the Achilles’ tear that knocked him out for the bulk of the season, you can understand the Braves being cautious about paying out the wazoo to keep. It still is bound to happen any way.
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Max Fried avoids arbitration with Braves, settles for $3.5M
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As for Swanson, he is a Marietta native, a star from Vanderbilt and the former No. 1 overall pick. He may not ever be the best player on his team, but if he continues to improve at the plate and play great defense at shortstop, he can become a perennial All-Star in his late 20s and early 30s. General manager Alex Anthopoulos loves the guy, so expect both parties to strike a deal soon.
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Even though Soroka and Swanson are going to arbitration, it is not a huge deal for the Braves.
A quiet Atlanta Braves offseason revved into high gear for a brief period on Thursday when FanSided’s Robert Murray reported that the Braves were “circling on” free agent catcher J.T. Realmuto along with some west coast teams. It is always tough parsing rumors and this one felt more like it was probably coming from Realmuto’s camp in an effort to help drive up the price for the Phillies and other interested parties. Not to mention how close to the vest that Alex Anthopoulos and company usually play these type of things.
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Anthopoulos has had reported interest in Realmuto for years and there is little doubt that the Braves have checked in with him. Still it would be difficult to imagine topping Philadelphia’s reported $110 million offer. Anthopoulos has pulled off out of the blue moves before so it shouldn’t be completely dismissed, I just probably wouldn’t hold my breath waiting.
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In the ever shifting free agent landscape, there is some thought that having the DH in the NL might not be the deciding factor for a potential return of Marcell Ozuna to Atlanta. While Ozuna’s defense in the outfield leaves a lot to be desired, the Braves may find themselves in a position where they have to live with it in order to add his impact bat back to the lineup. Remember, Atlanta signed Ozuna last offseason to play left field before the pandemic struck and the Universal DH was implemented.
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An interesting nugget from David O’Brien’s latest mailbag for The Athletic. Per O’Brien, the Braves were in on George Springer until the end, but the six-year, $150 million deal with the Blue Jays was too much.
Cory McCartney explored the possibility of the Braves working out multi-year extensions with Mike Soroka and Dansby Swanson who are both arbitration eligible this offseason.
The Braves landed five prospects on Baseball Prospectus’ Top 101 list for 2021. Ian Anderson jumped up into the Top 5 while Cristian Pache and Drew Waters are both in the Top 40.
Part 2 of our look back at the worst offseason trades in Atlanta Braves history.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have reportedly entered the market for free agent starter Trevor Bauer and is reportedly interested in a short term deal.
The Houston Astros and free agent catcher Jason Castro are reportedly in agreement on a two-year deal.
MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports that the Cincinnati Reds are among the teams showing interest in free agent shortstop Andrelton Simmons.
Finally, Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant says he isn’t having as much fun playing baseball anymore, but that he is looking to rediscover the magic.