The Atlanta Braves have had a busy offseason up to this point with the signings of Cole Hamels, Chris Martin, Will Smith, and Travis d’Arnuad. With the winter meetings happening this week, the Braves are reportedly not done spending yet.
The Atlanta Braves have stayed busy since their last game of the season, the embarrassing exit to the St. Louis Cardinals. So far, the Braves have shored up the bullpen, bringing back Chris Martin and Darren O’Day and signing newcomer, Will Smith. Following Brian McCann’s retirement, Travis d’Arnaud was signed to platoon with Tyler Flowers. With Dallas Keuchel moving on, the Braves signed Cole Hamels, a left-handed veteran that can slide into the rotation without much change. Now, with the winter meetings taking place in San Diego, the Braves have turned their sights to adding, or bringing back, a power bat to the lineup.
The last piece that Braves are looking to add is a power bat in the middle of the order. Last season, that duty fell to Josh Donaldson, who signed a one-year deal to prove he was worth a longer deal. After having a stellar season that saw him win the Comeback Player of the Year, Donaldson has earned himself a huge deal this offseason. At age 34, the Braves were hoping to keep the deal to three years or less. News coming out of San Diego today has Donaldson, reportedly, seeking a four-year deal for his next contract.
The news of the four-year deal could be bad news for the Braves in their Donaldson pursuit. The Phillies, Nationals, and Rangers are all reportedly showing interest in the third baseman, along with the Braves. The National, likely to lose Anthony Rendon, is a destination that is looking for a long-term option at third base. The Phillies have continued to spend recklessly this offseason so Donaldson could find the money he’s seeking there. The same goes for the Rangers, who are looking for a long-term option at third base. This is all bad news for the Braves who might not only lose Donaldson but could see him go to a fellow NL East rival.
The Chicago Cubs third baseman, Kris Bryant, is a name that keeps getting tossed into different trade scenarios. With the Cubs wanting to limit their spending, Bryant has become available, if the right deal can get done. That is where the Braves come into this.
The Cubs are looking to rebuild with prospects and major-league talent, something the Braves have both of. With the slew of prospects and young major-league players, the Braves are in the lead if any deal was to get done. Max Fried is a name that’s been floated around if the Cubs were willing to deal their star third baseman in any deal.
A lot of the Bryant deal depends on what Donaldson does this offseason. Whether Donaldson returns or not, the Braves are still in need of a power bat in the middle of the lineup. Bryant would slide into the role immediately if a deal were to get done. As of today, it seems like the Braves are more willing to shell out money for Donaldson rather than offload some of their young talent they have stored within the organization. However, if Donaldson does sign elsewhere, which seems likely, the Braves have what it takes to get Bryant to the Braves.
Another name being tossed around in hypothetical trades is Francisco Lindor, the superstar shortstop for the Cleveland Indians. With Lindor’s price shooting up as he heads for arbitration, the Indians are finding it more and more difficult to pay Lindor. Even though the report has been the Indians are “disinclined” to let go of Lindor, it seems Cleveland could be persuaded with the right deal.
Similar to the Bryant situation, the Braves have the capital to get a deal done with Cleveland. The Braves have enough high-level prospects to satisfy Cleveland if they were to deal Lindor. While it seems unlikely Cleveland will let Lindor go in a trade, the deal can always be struck if the price is right. Reportedly, the Braves would be willing to make Dansby Swanson, a younger and cheaper option, available if any trade discussions were to take place. While the Bryant deal feels more real, Lindor is another player to keep an eye on as the offseason progresses.