The Atlanta Braves’ 2019 season has unceremoniously come to an end in the NLDS, but it’s never too early to start thinking about the offseason.
After jumping out to a 2-1 lead in their NLDS matchup against the St. Louis Cardinals and taking a 4-3 lead into the eighth inning of Game 4, the Atlanta Braves saw their 2019 World Series hopes go up in smoke. They went down with a whimper in Game 5, suffering through one of the most embarrassing postseason innings in MLB history. The Braves were down 10-0 before even taking a swing, and now their season is over.
The 2019 season saw the Braves win their second NL East title in a row. They improved on their 2018 win total by seven and witnessed Ronald Acuna emerge as a potential MVP candidate. The Braves also had 22-year-old Mike Soroka step up to take the mantle of staff ace and win 13 games in his first full season in the big leagues. Overall, the Braves featured a top-five offense and pitching staff and will retain almost all of their key contributors. Josh Donaldson’s free agency looms particularly large.
Braves fans have to be disappointed with the team’s collapse in Games 4 and 5 of the NLDS, but the future remains bright. Atlanta is still young and learning how to handle the pressure of winning in October. This will be a crucial offseason for advancing their World Series hopes to the next level. The Braves are set with financial flexibility to make a splashy signing but also have a deep farm system. The end of the 2019 season might still sting a bit, but Atlanta fans can eagerly look forward to an exciting offseason by mulling over these five potential moves.
5. Feel out the Mookie Betts trade market
Rumors are already swirling that the Boston Red Sox will shop MVP outfielder Mookie Betts this offseason. They’re only rumors at this point, and any talk that the Red Sox will part ways with their best player instead of trying to lock him up after he hits free agency following the 2020 season should be taken with a big grain of salt. Teams with the level of financial resources like the Red Sox don’t typically wave the white flag and trade away their stars a full year before free agency.
Even if it’s a long shot, the Braves need to be very aggressive in feeling out the market for Betts. The 27-year-old is a generational talent who would form a fearsome one-two punch with Ronald Acuna. Betts is coming off a subpar season by his lofty standards, but still hit .295/.391/.524 with 29 home runs and 89 RBI.
The Braves have an impressive collection of talent in the higher levels of the minor leagues to dangle for the Red Sox. If they’re able to come up with an offer that does not include any pitchers on their current MLB roster, then pulling the trigger is a no-brainer. Outfielder Cristian Pache or right-hander Ian Anderson could both headline a deal. At the very least, the Braves should engage the Red Sox this winter to establish themselves as a potential trade partner come July.