2) Braves backup plans after striking out on Aaron Nola: Dylan Cease
Knowing GM Alex Anthopoulos, there's always a strong chance that the Braves will look to the trade market to make a deal happen. It feels less likely this time around with Atlanta clearing up so much money and not having the best prospect capital in the world, but a trade simply cannot be ruled out with this regime in place.
If the Braves do turn to the trade market, they can try to chat with a familiar suitor, the Chicago White Sox. The Braves and White Sox just made a trade before the non-tender deadline, sending several players to Chicago in exchange for Aaron Bummer. Another quantity over quality trade could take place with the Braves acquiring Dylan Cease in exchange for some of their prospects and young players.
Cease is coming off a bit of a down year as he posted a 4.58 ERA in 33 starts for Chicago this season, but he was the AL Cy Young runner-up in 2022 and had some bad luck involved thanks to some poor White Sox defense played behind him.
The 27-year-old is a Georgia native, has two years remaining of team control, and feels like a guy Atlanta would be happy to extend long-term on one of their team-friendly contracts. It's probably not likely the Braves get this done because of the assets they have, but with some deals Atlanta has been able to pull off in the past it really can't be ruled out.