The Braves “aren’t currently engaged” with the top two remaining free agents, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network (Twitter link). While the Atlanta organization would “consider” both Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel on short-term pacts, per the report, the club is “assuming both pitchers would do better elsewhere.”
The Atlanta organization’s unwillingness to stretch its valuations on free agents has been a long-running theme of the offseason. In that light, perhaps, it’s not surprising to learn that the club is sitting back on these two accomplished hurlers.
On the other hand, organizational leadership has indicated that there will be an ongoing effort to improve the roster. Particularly with some pitching health questions in camp, a veteran addition would arguably be prudent. And the CEO of team owner Liberty Media did just say that the ballclub’s “management knows they have capacity to do more and are looking for the right deal.”
There has been speculation all winter long that the Braves could be a landing spot for Kimbrel, who could join backstop Brian McCann in making a memorable return to his former stomping grounds. MLBTR’s readers still feel it’s a compelling match, if the results from this morning’s poll is any indication.
Though GM Alex Anthopoulos has cast doubt on the possibility of spending “big, elite dollars” for a bullpen piece, he has also made clear that the club has money left to utilize. There’s certainly an argument to be made that bolstering the back of the pen (and thereby also improving the middle relief unit) would go a long way toward enhancing the team’s chances in a highly competitive division.