Braves Just Whiffed on Another Big Potential Signing

Much to the delight of Phillies fans, the MLB offseason hasn't gone the way that the Braves envisioned after Atlanta failed to sign another start pitcher.
Sonny Gray is the latest free-agent signing that the Atlanta Braves whiffed on.
Sonny Gray is the latest free-agent signing that the Atlanta Braves whiffed on. / Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

Signing a big-name free agent is one of the best feelings when you're a sports fan. Philadelphia Phillies fanatics know that feeling quite well, especially with the City of Brotherly Love being one of the top destinations for MLB players looking for a new home (Ex. Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, Nick Castellanos, etc.).

But you know who hasn't been that hot of a destination this offseason? The rival Atlanta Braves. The Phillies' NL East rivals were left disappointed when it was announced that starting pitcher Sonny Gray had signed a three-year, $75 million with the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday.

What makes the news disappoint for Braves fans (and great for Phillies supporters) is that it comes one week after Atlanta was heavily interested in Gray's services, per MLB insider Jon Morosi. Even better is that the Braves were also reportedly interested in Aaron Nola, who decided last week to stay in Philadelphia on a seven-year, $172 million contract, meaning it's possible that Gray was their backup plan.

It isn't surprising to see the Braves pursuing every available big-name arm. After owning an MLB-leading 3.63 ERA in the first half of the 2023 campaign, Atlanta's ERA sat at 4.76 following the All-Star Game — good for 10th-worst in the Majors.

But despite back-to-back 100-win seasons, it's clear that Atlanta isn't the destination that Braves fans think it is. If that were the case, they wouldn't have an issue enticing names like Nola and Gray.

If the Braves keep swinging and missing on free-agent hurlers, it's going to be tougher for them to capture a seventh straight NL East crown. That's good news for the Phillies, who've morning that proven their worth with consecutive NLCS showings and a World Series appearance in 2022.

That's without mentioning how Philadelphia has eliminated Atlanta in back-to-back NLDS appearances, winning 3-1 both times. So yeah, the Braves should be worried about their lack of free agency success so far.

As it stands, both the Phillies and Braves are expected to contend for the 2024 World Series. Philadelphia currently owns the fifth-best odds while Atlanta is favored to win it all, however, that could easily shift if the Braves' offseason trajectory doesn't change.

In other Phillies news: