Braves Rumors: Josh Donaldson reunion, top free agent target, playoff roster snub

  • A veteran trending toward a playoff roster snub
  • Potential Braves top target for free agency
  • Could a Josh Donaldson reunion be in play?
Atlanta Braves, Josh Donaldson
Atlanta Braves, Josh Donaldson / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages
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Braves Rumors: Jordan Montgomery, Josh Hader named top free agency targets

Let's start with the fact that Braves roster-building guru Alex Anthopoulos has not yet paid top-dollar in free agency to acquire talent. Yes, he's traded away assets within the organization's system in big moves for the likes of Matt Olson and Sean Murphy, but he's let the likes of Freddie Freeman and Dansby Swanson walk while also not all-out pursuing star talent.

Having said that, the upcoming 2023-24 MLB free agent class offers a number of the top players set to hit the market who would make sense for the Braves purely from a roster construction standpoint. But who are the top guys in the upcoming free agent class that should intrigue Atlanta?

Chase Irle of SportsTalkATL four of insider Mark Feinsand's top 10 free agents for the upcoming offseason that could be possible fits for the Braves. But the two that stood out were current Padres closer Josh Hader and Rangers lefty starter Jordan Montgomery.

I've spoken previously on Hader and Irle reiterated many of those points. Atlanta doesn't necessarily need to upgrade the bullpen -- but if they did, making an all-out blitz for a top closer in baseball like Hader would be the way to do so. It would create a wholly dominant unit with Hader, A.J. Minter and Raisel Iglesias on the back end, especially when combined with the potent Braves lineup. Even better, even as a top-of-market reliever, he'll come cheaper than any high-end starter would.

But in the case of Montgomery, the case is more interesting. Traded from the Cardinals to the Rangers at the deadline, the lefty has been reliably great for the past two seasons since joining St. Louis from the Yankees, also in a trade. He won't cost the same level of money as someone like an Eduardo Rodriguez, who was also mentioned by Irle as a consideration, but could be a viable replacement for Charlie Morton should the veteran opt for retirement.

Again, there's no guarantee that Anthopoulos and the Braves would even be interested in big spending this offseason, particularly as they try to navigate a Max Fried extension negotiation. But if they were to, it's hard to find better options than Montgomery and Hader.