Have The Braves Locked Up The NL East Already?

Atlanta has been thriving the past few years. Not only are they enjoying a new wave of trap music, but the Braves are back to being a powerhouse in the NL. Despite not making it past the NLDS the past 2 seasons, they have managed to capture the NL East title in 2018 and 19. They have a young dynamic core of Acuña, Soroka, and Albies mixed with veteran talent such as Freeman, Markakis, and Keuchel that led them to winning 98 games this past year. Many have speculated that the Braves would take a step back next year by losing their surprising superstar Josh Donaldson, which will definitely hurt them but they are making up for it by improving in other areas. They were the first team to make a move this offseason when they signed the south paw Will Smith to be their closer the next 3 years. It was a major deal getting him since the bullpen was undoubtedly their teams biggest weakness. Another hole in their lineup was created when veteran catcher Brian McCann said this season would be his last, so the Braves wasted no time finding a replacement. Ex- Met Travis D ‘ Arnaud had himself a a great year once finding a permanent home in Tampa, and was instrumental to their unexpected regular season success playing both catcher and DH. Once the best catcher on the market Yasmani Grandal signed, there weren’t many other great options so the Braves acted quick and got their guy. Besides the White Sox the Braves are the only team to really make any moves so far, so in that sense one can argue they have had the most successful offseason thus far. With a ton of good to great prospects in their farm the Braves can still make a major deal for a superstar via trade, such as Kris Bryant or for a budding arm in Luis Castillo from Cincy. Already though it seems they are poised to 3-peat the NL East next year as their division rivals sit idle in a time where they should be improving their rosters. The Mets are a solid team with a nice core, but with already stating that they have a budget of 20 million it erases them from any conversation of landing a high impact player from free agency. The Phillies got Girardi which I think was a major upgrade over Kapler, but if they miss on Cole and Stras can a guy like Wheeler take them over the top? I doubt it, and pitching is not their only weakness as they have to address places like third and their pen. The Nationals just won the World Series which is still crazy to think about, but with the likelihood of losing either Rendon or Stras, or both(sorry Nats fans) they will certainly take a step back. The Marlins suck still so no reason to discuss them. With all these teams having serious questions to answer this offseason, it seems like the Braves are on the right path to securing the division three seasons in a row with a bright future ahead of that.

Published by Fran Cava



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