The Atlanta Braves have to respond to the New York Mets trading for Francisco Lindor.
Though the Atlanta Braves are the favorites to win the NL East for the fourth year in a row, they will be pushed by the New York Mets, who just orchestrated a blockbuster trade with the Cleveland Indians, bringing shortstop Franciso Lindor to Queens.
The Braves and Mets have had one of the most heated rivalries in the National League since the late 1990s. Though Atlanta and New York have had their down cycles as organizations, the bitterness between these two teams and fanbases is never lost on anyone. Atlanta has to do a few things this offseason to prevent New York from possibly overtaking the Braves in 2021.
3 moves Braves must do to respond to the Francisco Lindor trade
3. Revamp depleted bullpen, so that it remains a team strength
Though Braves Country anticipates it will get better with time, the starting rotation remains the club’s biggest weakness heading into next season. While Max Fried was dominant all season long and Ian Anderson came alive in the postseason, manager Brian Snitker needs them to improve in 2021, as well as ace Mike Soroka to come back healthy after rupturing his Achilles this summer.
Adding veterans Charlie Morton and Drew Smyly will likely be better than last offseason’s additions of Cole Hamels and Felix Hernandez because anything will be an improvement over those two. But what this really comes down to is for general manager Alex Anthopoulos to revitalize that strong bullpen that kept the Braves in so many games the last two seasons.
Anthopoulos rebuilt it on the fly two summers ago, as he traded for Shane Greene, Mark Melancon and Cody Martin ahead of the trade deadline. Though none of those guys are spring chickens, bringing Greene and Melancon back on short-term deals could be advantageous for Atlanta heading into 2021. Other guys will have to step up, but they were tone-setters in 2020.
While guys like Tyler Matzek and A.J. Minter had outstanding seasons, adding Newnan native Will Smith was not as good. Though the Braves bullpen may not be as dominant as it was a year ago, the hope is for the starting rotation to improve enough to counterbalance any potential decline the bullpen could experience. Then again, a leaky bullpen is the bane of everyone’s existence.