There’s not much to be regretted about winning the World Championship, but the change that inevitably occurs can lead to a lot of guesswork in hindsight. When you win, everyone wants a piece. Competing organizations are trying to alienate CEOs, coaches, and most importantly players. It’s the nature of the beast, which is why it’s so hard to replicate. The last team to do so in baseball was the 2000 Yankees.
After the 2021 World Championships, the Braves had plenty of impending free agents. There was no way to push them all, forcing Alex Anthopoulos to make an agonizing decision. The Braves allowed several key pieces from their team to walk, including former NL MVP at Freddie Freeman and World Series MVP at Jorge Soler. It’s still too early to put a seal on whether or not these were the right decisions, but at least for now, the Braves have really been able to use production from some of those people on the list.
Soler is a bat that I really wanted to get back into in the Atlanta squad, but after bringing Duval back through refereeing and Rosario in free agency, the Braves opted to move on from the World Player of the Year tournament. Soler went on to sign a three-year, $36 million deal with the Marlins, and he’s fulfilled it after a slow start. He currently has 12 home players and plays .783 OPS per season, but over the last 19 games Soler has had seven more players to go along with the 1,052 OPS.
The Braves were always unlikely to bring back Drew Smiley after a disappointing 2021, but he has been fit for the Cubs this season, posting a 3.80 ERA over nine times. That’s a lot better than what the Braves have earned from fifth in the rotation this season. However, I am by no means saying the brave should have kept Smyly. It was the right decision to move forward.
Another Cubs member, Martin has also done well in Chicago. He’s had a 3.94 ERA over 18 meh, but his 2.89 FIP indicates some positive regression is in line.
This is where things start to sting a little. Pederson already has 13 bombs to go with the .937 OPS in 45 games for the Giants. Because of that, he rightfully receives all-star consideration. However, Braves fans should realize that this was never about the money for Pederson. He took less money to sign a one-year contract in San Francisco, which is where he belongs, but more importantly, where he can play almost every day. The Braves never gave him that guarantee, so Pederson’s stay in Atlanta has always been a long-term goal. For all he’s done for the organization, I’m happy to watch him find success elsewhere, as long as he’s not against the brave.
The loss of Freeman will always be a painful place in the heart of Braves Country. But from a baseball perspective, Matt Olson was also pretty good. Freeman only has four kitchens per season to go with the 0.819 OPS. I’d expect him to totally heat up, but right now his OPS will be the lowest mark in his career since 2012. Considering he’s only getting older and falling over the course of his six-year contract with the Dodgers, perhaps with Olson the younger, who charges less Much of Freeman’s season, is the right decision.
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