These Atlanta Braves free agent predictions from MLB insider Jim Bowden already seem like they won’t happen.
MLB insider and former big league general manager Jim Bowden has some insane Atlanta Braves predictions for the offseason. One involves an expensive welcome parade. Another will require Braves fans to say “farewell.” The third is a curious reunion candidate at a less-than-fantastic price.
Bowden predicts the Braves will sign free agent Jacob deGrom to a two-year deal worth $90 million while shortstop Dansby Swanson finds a new home with the Seattle Mariners as the starting second baseman. He also sees reliever Kenley Jansen staying put. He’ll sign back with the Braves on a two-year deal worth $34 million.
How realistic are these Braves predictions from Jim Bowden?
deGrom to the Braves has been a prediction many have been making even before his time with the New York Mets expired. A longtime rival of the Braves, he’s a top free agent this offseason. It makes sense why the Braves would pursue him. It goes beyond just trying to stick it to one of their biggest rivals.
Atlanta has a roster made up of largely young players signed to team-friendly deals. The rotation, while employing some nice pieces, doesn’t have an ace quite like deGrom. Because their payroll isn’t crazy, signing deGrom away from the Mets on a short-term deal makes them better and possibly their top challenger for the division worse.
The biggest question here would be whether or not deGrom would settle on a two-year deal. With a chance to snag him, wouldn’t the Texas Rangers go to a third year? The same could be said for the Mets who are very much interested in retaining him.
Swanson landing with the Mariners is an equally plausible yet imperfect prediction with some questions. The Mariners finally ended their playoff drought in 2022. Often an active team in free agency and in trades, signing Swanson would be a somewhat curious decision when they have some greater needs.
Making Swanson the starting second baseman would be a move from the 2022 Boston Red Sox playbook. They signed free agent shortstop Trevor Story last winter and put him at second base alongside Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts, who has now opted out, could always return to Boston. The Red Sox have a couple of options now.
The Mariners should be an option for Swanson yet maybe not the most favorable. It’s nothing personal against the city of Seattle. But at the cost of having to change positions when there should be other suitors out there, it might not be quite as appealing. Crawford is already extended through 2026 which doesn’t offer him as much of a chance to move back to shortstop as Story will have with the Red Sox.
Will Bowden’s predictions “wow” us all and be 100% accurate? Definitely not. Even the best crystal balls can get a little murky. We can already see the dirt on these predictions.
It’s with the Jansen prediction when we know he’ll be off somewhere. $17 million per year for Jansen seems like a massive overpay. The two-year commitment is unappealing, too. Jansen’s status as the teams closer was questioned down the stretch in 2022. Bringing him back is fine. Doing so for two more seasons and for that price tag feels like a mistake waiting to happen.
Instead, the Braves should simply make Raisel Iglesias the closer. Get busy signing all of the best free-agent relievers you can get. For $17 million, they can get two reliable arms instead of one possibly fading star.