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The Braves bullpen could use an upgrade late in the offseason.
Losing Mark Melancon was not part of the offseason plan as the Braves look to improve upon a campaign in which they were just one game away from reaching the World Series. Blowing a 3-1 lead to the Dodgers was painful enough for Atlanta sports fans, yet the idea of downgrading from that squad rather than adding necessary talent is even worse.
Melancon took his talents to San Diego, and suddenly one of the strengths of the Braves pitching staff is no more. Their closer is gone, and Shane Greene remains a free agent with no real intention of re-signing in the ATL, at least not yet.
The likes of Will Smith, Chris Martin, Tyler Matzek and A.J. Minter provide a solid core for the Braves to turn to, but they’re still lacking a go-to closer — someone they can rely on in the ninth inning and high leverage situations.
Surely, there must be an option for them remaining in free agency, right?
The Braves can upgrade their bullpen by signing one of these three relievers
3. Shane Greene
The longer the Braves are forced to wait on Greene, the better for Alex Anthopoulos. Greene’s contract status at the beginning of free agency was expected to be upwards of $10 million per season. The longer he’s forced to wait, the more that price comes down to a level the Braves can comfortable afford.
Greene would immediately slide into the closer role, as he’s comfortable ending games in an MLB uniform. He has 66 saves in his career, and did so as recently as 2019 with the Detroit Tigers. As a former All-Star closer, Greene is someone the Braves can trust in such a role. On a short-term deal, this makes a lot of sense. The 31-year-old hasn’t closed games in two seasons, so his value is down at the moment. His 2.60 ERA in 2020 inspires confidence, and one year in a closer role on a contending team will increase Greene’s value immensely heading into free agency 2022, should he wish to go that route.