However, they ran it late, catching and eventually passing the Mets to win the division again. Despite this victory, they failed to successfully defend their championship. They lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS, and watched their division rival go all the way to the Fall Classic.
This offseason could see some big moves from the Braves. Persistent rumors of a move by former Mets ace Jacob DeGrom continue to circulate with no end in sight. Dansby Swanson is a free agent, and free to leave at any moment.
The Braves are sure to be energized as they try to chase another World Series ring. What are their options on the open market? Where can they find the best fit for their team? Here are three interesting names to watch.
3 MLB free agents the Braves should target
3) Pitcher Adam Piccolo
The Braves see Jesse Chavez, Luke Jackson, and closer Kenley Jansen hit free agency. None of these players are complete locks to return to Atlanta, paving the way for an addition or two to the bullpen.
Atlanta has been a fierce team in the relief market in recent years. They are somewhat ruthless when it comes to neutering bulls.
This year, the Braves should be targeting Adam Ottavino. The 37-year-old hasn’t always been a model of consistency throughout his career. However, he’s had a great 2022 with the New York Mets.
He reached a 2.06 ERA, his best mark since the 2019 season with the New York Yankees. The veteran struck out 79 batters and walked only 16 in 65.2 innings pitched.
Ottavino will join a strong database, regardless of whether or not Jansen and company are re-signed. And any opportunity you can take to strengthen a force, you take it.
2) Pitcher Jose Quintana
The Braves are also interested in upgrading the starting rotation. The rumors surrounding DeGrom speak to it. However, concerns about Mike Soroka’s form also add to the interest in addition to the rotation.
If the Braves miss out on deGrom, looking a little lower in the market could help. Enter Jose Quintana, who is enjoying a career renaissance in 2022.
The 33-year-old was one of the best shooters in the American League. He broke out with the Chicago White Sox, and went to the Cubs in 2017 as they were trying to defend their World Series title.
However, he struggled in the following years. He left the Cubs in 2021, and has spent time with the Los Angeles Angels and San Francisco Giants. Prior to the 2022 season, Quintana found a home with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The 33-year-old pitched to a 3.50 ERA with 89 strikeouts in Pittsburgh. At the trade deadline, the St. Louis Cardinals traded for Quintana, and that was when he really shone.
He cruised to a scintillating 2.01 ERA down the Cardinals stretch, helping them into the postseason. He was not allowed a run in his Wild Card Series outing against the Phillies, but St. Louis eventually lost.
There are some encouraging signs here. Quintana may not be a professional, but he has shown he can play at a high level for a very competitive team. If DeGrom is out of reach, Quintana’s signature could be useful.
1) Outfielder Joey Gallo
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This suggestion may cause a few in the audience to click away immediately. However, Gallo fits in well with the Braves and how they approach the game in an offensive manner.
The 29-year-old has established himself as a middle-order power hitter with the Texas Rangers. The New York Yankees made their move at the 2021 trade deadline. However, to say the move didn’t work out would be an understatement.
The last time Gallo hit over the Mendoza streak was in 2019, when he hit . 253. You can put up with his lack of connection when you take his strength into account, but that’s also a drawback.
The 29-year-old has only reached 32 since leaving Texas. To put that in perspective, he hit 25 homers in the 2021 half of his year with Texas. and hit 38 home runs in his last full season with the Rangers.
Gallo absolutely mashes the right-handed pitcher, and has a . 474 slugging percentage. The Braves love hitters who can hit right-handed, so the fit is good.
Gallo was reportedly interested in Atlanta at the trade deadline last season. He eventually landed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Braves acquired Robbie Grossman from the Detroit Tigers, who is now a free agent.
If Gallo can become the mash he was with the Rangers, it would be a very beneficial signing for the 2021 World Series champions.