Atlanta Braves: A Blueprint for the Offseason

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 10: Lane Adams /
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First things first

You will notice as I did that the the Atlanta Braves currently have 40 players on their 40-man roster. That is to keep them safe from the Rule 5 draft of course, but many of these players are easily replaceable, at least in my opinion. So, before we can start overhauling the roster for this season and the future, we need to cull the fat from the roster.

On that note, before even getting into the trading or free agents, immediately the following players will be DFA’d: Rex Brothers, Mauricio Cabrera, Adonis Garcia, and Danny Santana.

Free Agents

The Atlanta Braves need help in the bullpen primarily this offseason. With some room to work financially, the Braves could spend, or they could use their funds to eat some salary to open their roster for young players. We’re going to see a couple of signings as part of the offseason.

Signing #1: Steve Cishek, RHP

Cishek isn’t the guy who many people would see as the top choice in a market with Wade Davis, Greg Holland, and Addison Reed at the top of the reliever pile, but he might be the best option for the Braves.

The Braves are certainly familiar with Cishek, having seen him save nearly 100 games for the Marlins. Cishek doesn’t come with an upper-90s heater, but he works with a sinker with incredible movement that he pairs with a sweeping slider with similar excellent movement to get plenty of swing and miss.

While he may not end up in the closer role, he would certainly be a guy to work in the late innings alongside Aroldys Vizcaino. He’s projected to make $14 million over 2 years, and a contract in the $7-8 million per season range for 2-3 years would be certainly workable for Cishek.

Signing #2: Joe Smith, RHP

While the Braves had an elite velocity pitcher at the back of the bullpen in Vizcaino, one of the big issues that the team ran into in 2017 was getting the ball into Vizcaino’s hands from the starters. With young starters likely to dominate the rotation in 2018, this will be even more important in 2018.

With that, a reliable veteran arm is something of supreme importance. Smith fits that bill perfectly. Smith made his debut with the Mets in 2007, and since then, he’s thrown with 5 organizations, and he’s thrown 50 games every season except 2009.

Smith works from a sidearm position, which makes him very tough on righties, but he does well against hitters from both sides. He operates with a fastball in the upper 80s and a frisbee slider around 80 that keeps hitters from squaring him up. While Smith has been bouncing around a bit the last few seasons, he’s a guy that could give some veteran stability to the middle innings for the Braves.

While 34, Smith’s stability and consistency should allow him to ask for multiple years on the market. Quite likely going after him with 2 years in the $10-13 million range would convince Smith to be a Brave.

Next: Trades to pursue