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 shock the world and sign Yoshinobu Yamamoto

The Braves have been floated as a sleeper for Shohei Ohtani, but the financial strain of such a move is borderline unfeasible given how Atlanta tends to operate. The same could be said for Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who was recently posted by his NPB team, the Orix Buffaloes. He has until Jan. 4 to land a contract in the MLB.

That said, Ohtani's next contract is estimated to approach $500 million. Yamamoto will demand more in the range of $200 million, perhaps similar to the deal Aaron Nola signed with the Philadelphia Phillies — a deal the Braves may have been willing to beat, had Nola not preferred to stay with the franchise that drafted him.

Yamamoto stands an unassuming 5-foot-10, but he is one of the best pitchers in the world. He accomplished the pitching Triple Crown in each of the last three NPB seasons. He is widely celebrated overseas, and perhaps more importantly, he is only 25 years old. Anthopoulos and the Braves aren't traditionally heavy spenders, but the Braves do love to target young players under team control. Atlanta can lay the groundwork for Yamamoto to man the mound for the next decade of Braves baseball, right alongside 25-year-old Strider.

Known to have six different pitches and pristine control over his location, Yamamoto would make a prolific complement to Strider atop the Braves' rotation. Factor in Fried, the veteran steadiness of Morton, and the up-and-coming nature of Smith-Shawver, and the Braves would have to feel pretty good about their bullpen setup.

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