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What's next for the Astros and Braves?

Profile Picture: Robert Criscola

November 6th, 2021

Now that the dust has settled from the 2021 World Series, the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros must turn their respective attentions to the offseason, where there is plenty of work to be done if either squad wants to get back to the playoffs.

We’ll dive into the potential free agency plans for both teams below.

World Series 2022

Fri, September 30 2022, 10:00 PM

Los Angeles Dodgers

+550

Houston Astros

+900

Chicago White Sox

+1200

Tampa Bay Rays

+1200

Atlanta Braves

+1400

New York Yankees

+1400

San Francisco Giants

+1400

Toronto Blue Jays

+1400

Milwaukee Brewers

+1600

Boston Red Sox

+1800

Houston Astros

One year after losing power-hitting leadoff man George Springer – an integral part of their 2017 championship team – the Astros are in danger of losing another key component of that squad in shortstop Carlos Correa.

Correa is by most accounts the leader of a crowded middle-infield market in free agency, and could command a deal similar to the one Francisco Lindor got from the New York Mets just before Opening Day (10 years, $341 million).

Houston has about $59 million in player salary coming off the books this year, so room exists for them to go after Correa. But the Astros must also address some other areas of need, mainly pitching.

Veteran hurlers Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke are both free agents this year, and it remains to be seen how much more they have in the tank going into their respective age-39 campaigns. The Astros will also have to make decisions on relievers Yimi Garcia and Kendall Graveman.

Garcia was roughed up this postseason in a middle-relief role, but Graveman shined in late-inning opportunities after coming over from the Seattle Mariners at the trade deadline.

Houston could go with an in-house rotation of Lance McCullers Jr., Framber Valdez, Jose Urquidy, Luis Garcia, and Jake Odorizzi, but they would be left thin. Splashy options to bolster the rotation like Robbie Ray and Kevin Gausman exist on the market. Affordable and reliable relievers could also be had, namely Ryan Tepera and Aaron Loup.

The Astros must also decide if they want to hang on to light-hitting but defensively-sound backstop Martin Maldonado.

Atlanta Braves

The Braves have three very notable free agents going into this offseason; Freddie Freeman, Jorge Soler, and Eddie Rosario.

Freeman – the 2020 NL MVP – is a heart-and-soul type whose departure would leave a void in the clubhouse. There is mutual interest in a reunion, but money could get in the way.

Soler and Rosario were two savvy trade deadline pickups by GM Alex Anthopoulos that went on to win World Series MVP and NLCS MVP, respectively. Atlanta may not want to overpay these players based on a small sample size, when their body of work suggests that they are solid but flawed players, particularly with the glove. It would not be surprising to see the Braves tap into an outfield market that includes Starling Marte, Chris Taylor, Nick Castellanos, Avisail Garcia, and Michael Conforto.

Like the Astros, Atlanta may also wish to upgrade their pitching staff, considering how shorthanded they were throughout the playoffs. There’s no telling how soon-to-be 38-year-old Charlie Morton will recover from a broken leg, or if the oft-injured Mike Soroka will ever be the same.

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