With spring training underway and the start of the 2021 season a just little over a month away, I’ve decides to revisit and give my thoughts on the Braves’ moves and signings this past off-season.
At the beginning of the off-season, the Braves association was once again active from the get-go. They signed Drew Smyly to a 1-year, 11 million dollar deal on November 16, 2020. Smyly is a 31-year old left-handed pitcher. He has played seven major league seasons, where all but two were in the American League. With that in mind, considering the DH will not be in the National League in 2021, he will have to get used to hitting. His numbers and stats look pretty good with a 35-35 win and loss record. One thing that sticks out about him is his ability to use his curveball as a weapon. Like Max Fried, he has the talent of a good curveball and fast ball, and they are both left-handed pitchers. I think having them on the same team could be used as an advantage for the Braves.
Their next signing was on November 24, 2020, when the braves inked a deal with veteran right handed pitcher Charlie Morton to a 1-year, 15 million dollar contract. I personally like this move. His numbers through his career are pretty good, with a win and loss record 93-89 over a span of twelve major league seasons. I also feel that he will add a good, strong veteran presence to the mound and in the clubhouse. The Braves starting rotation is full of young guys with Soroka, Fried, Anderson, etc. so having Morton will give the young guys someone to grow and learn from.
Marcell Ozuna. That man was a HUGE part of the Braves 2020 season. But, like the Braves did with Josh Donaldson in 2019, they had only signed him to a 1-year contract. Ozuna showed tremendous power with his hitting abilities in the 2020 season, and he even played some games in left field when he wasn’t the designated-hitter. He almost won the triple-crown with the Braves! But his fellow teammate, Freddie Freeman won the NL MVP, which I might add, he well deserved. Once the Braves 2020 season was over, it was a waiting game to see if the Braves would re-sign Marcell. He was SO amazing for the Braves last year and brought great depth to the line-up hitting behind Freddie Freeman, with Ronald Acuña Jr. hitting in front of him. And then finally, on February 6, of 2021 the Braves announced that Marcell Ozuna was back with a 4-year 65 million dollar contract WITH a fifth year, 15 million dollar option! I was so glad that the Braves re-signed him, and I cannot wait to see what he has in store for us in the 2021 season.
Another “signing” they did was with Jason Kipnis. I could not find an amount of money he got, but that is probably because he is a non-roster player for the Braves who has been invited to spring training. Kipnis is a 33-year-old veteran second baseman, who can play the outfield if necessary. To be honest, I don’t know if I like this signing or not. Yes, the Braves could use him as a back up second baseman if Ozzie (my favorite player) gets hurt. But wouldn’t that be Johan Camargo’s spot on the roster? Isn’t he supposed to be our infield bench player?? I would just assume that is his role for the Braves this season, because they are obviously going to try Austin Riley at third base again. But the Braves are probably giving him a chance this spring training to see if he has enough quality stuff to add extra depth to our bench besides Camargo to play the infield, especially since the Braves no longer have Charlie Culberson. I guess only time will tell what the Braves do with him, but as we all know, no one can replace the Braves’ amazing second baseman, Ozzie Albies!
And finally, the Braves last signing of the offseason was Jake Lamb. Lamb is a 30-year-old third baseman. The Braves signed him to a 1-year 1 million dollar deal. However, his deal is a non-guaranteed Major League contract. Jake is very injury prone, having only played 165 games over the last three seasons. Once again with this signing, if he makes the opening day roster, I believe the Braves signed him to add more depth to the infield part of our bench. He is a left handed batter, but he fields right handed. That could be a very useful weapon for him.
The Braves made some good moves this offseason, but I think the best one was when they re-signed Marcell Ozuna. And not just to another one year deal, but to a four-year-deal, with a fifth year option! I think that was a very smart move, and if the DH were to come to the NL within the next year, that will just be an even bigger bonus for the Braves!!