Thursday, March 17, 2022
The flurry of moves has been so fast that you barely have time to keep up. Ever since the Braves traded for Matt Olson (a few days ago), it’s like the team just keeps going. Here are the moves GM Alex Anthopoulos has made since I wrote about the Colin McHugh signing Wednesday morning …
BRAVES RECENT TRANSACTIONS
Re-sign Eddie Rosario
In another fantastic move, AA re-signed Rosario to a two-year, $18 million contract, essentially completing the Braves starting outfield. Once Ronald Acuna Jr. is healthy, it’s likely the grass will be manned by Rosario in left, Adam Duvall in center and RAJ in right, with Marcell Ozuna handling most of the DH duties. Until then, though, expect Ozuna to play the field for a while (perhaps only until May, when Acuna is expected to return to the outfield).
Rosario was a playoff hero, hitting .560 in the NLCS on his way to winning series MVP. He was clutch, both offensively and with the glove, and the 30-year-old definitely deserves the $1-million raise compared to last year (despite many complaining about the numbers of this deal).
In 33 regular season games with Atlanta in 2021, Rosario finished with a .271 AVG and seven home runs, good for a 133 wRC+. Overall last season, including his time with Cleveland, he was right around average, at a 98 wRC+. This is a move the Braves needed to make.
Sign Alex Dickerson
The Braves have been “in” on Dickerson in previous seasons as the now-31-year-old has always been a solid player with the bat. So on Wednesday, Atlanta signed Dickerson to a one-year, un-guaranteed MLB contract, in which he can earn $1 million if he makes the club this spring. The thought here is that the former third-round pick can fill in as a fourth outfielder. Given his poor reputation with the glove, Dickerson can also handle DH duties if needed as well. Regardless, this is a very low risk move, at just $1 million… and Dickerson still must make the team in spring training.
Last season wasn’t Dickerson’s best: in 111 games as one of the Giants starting outfielders, he hit just .233 with 13 home runs and 38 RBI (97 wRC+), good for 0.2 fWAR. It was a career-best in homers for him, but also his worst wRC+ since his rookie season back in 2015. Hopefully he can provide the Braves with some depth in 2022.
Sign Tyler Thornburg
Yesterday evening Atlanta also signed 33-year-old righty to a one-year, non guaranteed contract, worth $900K.
Thornburg didn’t pitch in 2021, due to surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome. And in 2020, he only managed seven innings with the Reds. In fact, the former third-round pick last pitched a decent amount of innings back in 2016 with the Brewers, when he posted a 2.15 ERA in 67 frames, a season in which he was one of the team’s better relievers, averaging 12.1 strikeouts per nine. Thornburg adds to what’s already a damn good bullpen for the Braves.
NOTABLE TRANSACTIONS AROUND THE LEAGUE
Royals sign Zack Grienke
Many in Braves Country felt that Grienke would be a good fit in Atlanta, giving the starting rotation someone that can go deep in games and eat some valuable innings. However, on Wednesday it was announced that KC had signed the pitcher to a deal that will guarantee him $13 million.
Phillies sign Kyle Schwarber
A solid DH candidate, Philly landed the power-hitting Schwarber yesterday, signing him to a four-year, $79 million contract. Schwarber, who’s value has taken off since the universal-DH was implemented, broke out with one of his best big league seasons in 2021, belting 32 home runs and hitting .266 in 113 games combined (145 wRC+) with the Nationals and Red Sox.
Giants sign Joc Pederson
He would’ve been a nice player to bring back for another year, but on Wednesday night it was reported that San Fran had signed Joc to a one-year, $6 million contract, a steal of a deal for a guy who, just two seasons ago, slugged 36 homers and finished with a 126 wRC+ in LA in 2019. His contract seems ultra-low, but I guess his struggles versus left-handed pitching may have had something to do with it.
Dodgers sign Freddie Freeman
This one blew my mind. I mean, I knew Freddie would probably go to LA, but I never would’ve thought he’d sign there for less than $200 million (reportedly what he was commanding from the Braves all those months). Nah, come to find out, the former Braves first baseman signed with the Dodgers for $162 million today, at six years in length, which is pretty crazy. Thursday’s news regarding LA and Freddie just proves that it was Freeman that really didn’t want to return to Atlanta. The Braves had essentially offered him that same contract awhile back, though perhaps not as many years; and in California, Freddie will be paying taxes at such a higher rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Braves’ offer was actually better altogether. I’m not mad at Freeman, but I do think it’s important that Braves fans know exactly what went down during the negotiations between him and Atlanta. Many in Braves Country have blamed AA for not locking up Freddie, but I don’t think you can anymore.