2. Atlanta Braves
The Braves are losing key pieces and the Yankees can help.
The Braves are the reigning NL East champs but have lost three key bullpen pieces in Shane Greene, Darren O’Day and Mark Melancon to free agency (and it’s unclear if they’re going to bring any of them back). While Ottavino, at the moment, wouldn’t effectively replace guys like Greene and Melancon, acquiring him on the cheaper side and hoping for a bounce-back isn’t a move to scoff at.
Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos is aggressive and likes to capitalize on market value, so perhaps he views this as an opportunity. Adding Ottavino’s wipeout slider and swing-and-miss potential to a bullpen that certainly needs fortifying is a step in the right direction. The Braves have only $117 million committed to the 2021 payroll and still have plenty of moves to make.
If the Yankees, as we’re projecting, take on $3 million, getting Otto for $6 million for just one year would hardly affect the Braves’ financial situation. Like the Phillies, the Braves would probably have to surrender a prospect of sorts, but it wouldn’t be anything prohibitive. And with the rest of the NL East getting better around them, Atlanta can’t afford to keep watching.
Trading for Ottavino and then adding a couple of other available options in free agency can help the Braves keep pace and avenge their NLCS loss to the Dodgers.