ATLANTA -- A month after winning the World Series, the Braves have already made a few changes. Manager Brian Snitker's contract was extended through the 2024 season and the bullpen's depth was strengthened when Kirby Yates signed a two-year contract and Darren O'Day returned with a Minor League deal.
But the Braves' most significant offseason decisions remain. Here is a look at some of the impending tasks for the world champions.
1) Freddie’s future
As Max Scherzer and Corey Seager have already landed mega deals with the Mets and Rangers, respectively, Freddie Freeman has remained in limbo. Freeman has made it clear for years that he wants to remain with the Braves. But he has since been courted by the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Giants and Rangers. If you’re a free agent and have the Yankees bidding against the Red Sox and the Dodgers bidding against the Giants, you’re in a good position.
At some point, Freeman may need to decide whether the allure of remaining with the Braves trumps what could be a larger offer elsewhere. It certainly no longer feels like a guarantee his days with Atlanta will be extended.
2) Outfield construction
Along with giving Guillermo Heredia a one-year, $1 million contract and tendering Adam Duvall a contract this week, the Braves also learned Marcell Ozuna will be eligible for the start of the 2022 season. So, with Heredia, Ozuna and Duvall, the Braves have a starting outfield trio they can use until Ronald Acuña Jr. returns from knee surgery, possibly within the season’s first 4-6 weeks.
With the possibility the universal designated hitter will be in place next year, Ozuna could also be used as the DH. So, too could World Series MVP Jorge Soler if he were to be re-signed. But the return of Ozuna seems to lessen the likelihood of both Soler and National League Championship Series MVP Eddie Rosario returning next year. It might end up being one or the other.
3) Rotation depth
The Braves could open the season with Charlie Morton, Max Fried and Ian Anderson heading their rotation. But there’s also a chance the club will take a cautious approach with Morton as he recovers from the fractured fibula suffered in Game 1 of the World Series.
Even if Morton enters the regular season without restrictions, he joins Fried and Anderson as the only rotation locks. Kyle Wright, Huascar Ynoa, Tucker Davidson, Touki Toussaint and Kyle Muller are all internal candidates to fill either of the final two rotation spots. But it might be wise to add experience to this mix by attempting to sign a veteran like Rich Hill.