The Atlanta Braves tussled with the New York Mets all 2022 long for the NL East crown, emerging with the division title in the end following a late season series sweep of their division rivals. Nonetheless, the Braves ended up falling short in the postseason after they ran into the red-hot Philadelphia Phillies, and major free-agent signings could be in order to bolster the squad’s depth.
Perhaps, in a bid to improve the team even further, the Braves could rival the Mets yet again, this time, for Jacob deGrom’s signature. However, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required), the Braves are “highly unlikely” to sign the 34-year old ace.
The Braves’ starting rotation should remain one of the league’s best in 2023, with or without Jacob deGrom. Second-year starter Spencer Strider is expected to make more strides after an impressive rookie campaign that saw him post 4.9 WAR (per Fangraphs), while there’s no reason to expect any sort of decline from left-hander Max Fried, who led the team in innings pitched and pitching WAR this past season.
In addition, Kyle Wright and Charlie Morton are also capable innings-eaters who could turn in dominant performances on any given night.
While the signing of deGrom will definitely help the Braves’ quest to rekindle their run to the 2021 World Series championship and also weaken one of their strongest rivals in the process, deGrom will cost a lump sum, and with the Braves looking to keep incumbent shortstop Dansby Swanson in town, it might not be the best idea to splurge on an area that doesn’t need much reinforcement. The Rangers appear to be in the driver’s seat for deGrom’s services anyway.
Swanson emerged as one of the best all-around shortstops in the MLB in 2022, tallying 6.4 WAR (per Fangraphs) and providing elite defense in the middle of the diamond, and the Braves are shrewd to prioritize him over other free agent additions, including Jacob deGrom.