The Braves are interested in Sonny Gray

The brave have an interest in Sonny Grayas MLB Network’s Jon Morosi (X link) describes Atlanta as “One of the top suitors” For services to the right-hander. The Twins (Gray’s former team), Cardinals and Phillies have all been linked to a free agent at various points this winter, though Philadelphia may be off the board after re-signing Aaron Nola Earlier today.

Interestingly enough, Morosi and ESPN’s Jeff Passan mentioned That Atlanta has also made a push to sign Nola, suggests the Braves have their eyes on a major rotation upgrade. Reports from last week indicated the Braves were targeting pitching help, and Athlete Ken Rosenthal He wrote earlier today that “at least a front-line player” appears to be on Atlanta’s wish list

As Rosenthal and others have noted since Friday’s non-tender deadline, the Braves have made a series of cuts to their arbitration class, with a series of trades, releases and non-tenders resulting in 10 open spots on the 40-man roster and nearly $14 million cut from the budget. . The Braves were planning on increasing payroll in 2024 anyway, but naturally every dollar will count in a situation where Atlanta may have to outbid other teams to land a top free agent.

MLB Trade Rumors projects a four-year, $90 million deal for Gray, who ranked ninth on our list of the top 50 free agents this offseason. The three-time All-Star has been solid throughout most of his 11-year career, but 2023 was arguably Gray’s best season, as he posted a 2.79 ERA over 184 innings for the Twins and finished second in AL Cy Young Award voting. While Gray’s previous injury history is a little checkered, his performance last year likely helped allay some doubts about whether or not Gray can remain a productive, durable arm as he enters his age-34 season.

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It’s possible the Braves could view Gray as, at the very least, a successor Charlie Morton As the veteran in the rotation. Morton came to Atlanta before his age-37 season and was so effective during his three seasons with the team that the Braves exercised their $20 million club option to bring Morton back for 2024. Morton is now 40 years old. They often think about retirement, while… Max Fried He could be a free agent next winter, so Atlanta could use another long-term pitcher to pair alongside them. Spencer Strider.

Atlanta president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos has been pretty measured His free agent endeavors During his six years running the front office. Marcel OzunaThe four-year, $65 million deal is the largest contract the Braves have offered in the Anthopoulos era, with most other signings moving toward one- or two-year deals with experienced veterans (i.e. Kenley Jansen, Josh Donaldson, Morton’s initial deal). Since the Braves exceed the luxury tax threshold in 2023, they would also have to give up two 2024 draft picks and $1 million in international draft money to sign a qualifying offer that rejects a free agent like Gray.

However, this may just be an additional price Anthopoulos is willing to pay to bolster the rotation. While the Braves have been off to a more than strong start in recent years, they have fallen short of the playoffs the last two years, plus the Braves were plagued by a lot of rotation injuries last year in particular. With there being no signs that Atlanta’s strong lineup will slow down, improving the pitching staff could be the final step necessary to get the Braves back to the World Series.

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