3 best pitchers the Braves have a real shot at with Sonny Gray off market

Sonny Gray is no longer available. Here are a few aces the Braves can snatch to keep up.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto
Yoshinobu Yamamoto / Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports
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Braves can push all their chips in for Cy Young winner Blake Snell

Blake Snell is the most accomplished pitcher left on the free agent market, with the obvious exception of Clayton Kershaw (who the Braves have zero chance of acquiring). Snell finished last season with a league-best 2.25 ERA and 1.189 WHIP, posting a 14-9 record for the painfully average San Diego Padres and winning his second Cy Young award.

It's impossible not to embrace the idea of adding a player like Snell. The Braves would have to spend top dollar — not Anthopoulos' typical strategy — but Snell tore through the league in 2023. He packs 95.5 MPH heat and some of the best breaking stuff in the MLB. He's a strikeout machine, with a 31.5 percent K rate that landed in the 94th percentile, per Baseball Savant. There are concerns tied to his 13.3 percent walk rate (fourth percentile), but Snell is otherwise elite when it comes to keeping runners off the bases.

The Braves' other ace, Spencer Strider, finished last season in the 99th percentile for strikeout rate. There's something to be said for establishing an intimidation factor on the mound. Strider and Snell both force swings and misses. There is a mild risk of explosive hits with Strider-Snell as your primary duo, but at that point, you're nitpicking. The Braves would have two of the best pitchers in baseball. Snell is 30, Strider is 25. There's a chance for that duo to control the next decade of National League baseball.

The expectation is that Snell could make upward of $100 million on his next contract. The Braves can rest easy knowing Snell is primed to deliver on that investment. He would greatly improve Atlanta's postseason odds.