Major League Baseball's offseason is underway. Trades and free agent activity are sure to pick up over the coming weeks, before hitting a fever pitch at this year's edition of the Winter Meetings (scheduled to begin next week). If there's one thing the early offseason is good for, it's halfwits pretending they're general managers and sketching out elaborate offseason plans. Does that sound enjoyable to you? Then, hey, this is your lucky day.
Below, CBS Sports has roleplayed as Atlanta Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos and laid out a few moves we think he should pursue this winter. It should (but won't) go without saying that this is only for entertainment purposes. MLB executives cannot snap their fingers and make something happen just because they want it to happen. Just suspend your disbelief and enjoy the gasbaggery, please.
Now, with that out of the way, here are three moves we think the Braves should make this winter.
1. Pursue a top-end starter
The Braves were undone last October in part by their compromised rotation. It would make sense, then, for them to chase a top-flight starter this winter -- be it a free agent like Shohei Ohtani, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and Blake Snell or a trade target like Tyler Glasnow, Corbin Burnes, or Dylan Cease.
Beyond the obvious immediate incentive -- strengthening the 2024 staff -- adding a long-term starter to the books would be a wise move given the state of the rest of the rotation. Max Fried could depart next winter, and it's anyone's guess as to how much longer Charlie Morton wants to pitch.
The Braves were reportedly in the mix for Aaron Nola before he re-signed with the Phillies, and Anthopoulos has shown a penchant for making bold moves. There's no sense stopping now.
2. Figure out left field
Earlier this winter, the Braves declined their club option on Eddie Rosario. Atlanta will have plenty of options to fill that spot, internally or otherwise.
As it stands, former shortstop of the future Vaughn Grissom looks like the top candidate. He didn't perform well at the big-league level last season, offensively or defensively, but he hit .330/.419/.501 with 48 extra-base hits in 102 Triple-A contests. It's easy to focus on what Grissom can't do -- most notably, play a good big-league shortstop -- but he's only 22 years old and his offensive track record suggests he should be some kind of contributor.
If the Braves go external, the free-agent market has a lot of familiar candidates -- Rosario, Joc Pederson, Jorge Soler. The Braves are one of those teams that would make sense for Michael Brantley, too, should he opt to continue his career.
3. Address the bench
Let's face it: the Braves already have a very good team in place. That limits the amount of realistic improvements they can make to their roster. Shy of suggesting another moonshot -- say a trade for Willy Adames -- the best we could come up with is firming up the roster on the margins.
As it stands, Roster Resource projects the Braves to trot out a bench of catcher Travis d'Arnaud, infielder Luke Waddell, utility player Cody Milligan, and outfielder Forrest Wall. We suspect the Braves can (and will) upgrade over at least one or two of those players between now and spring training.
We'll offer one suggestion. Recently non-tendered infielder Luis Guillorme would make a sensible Nicky Lopez replacement. He's historically graded as a good fielder, and he has a good feel for contact and the zone at the plate.