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Biggest question to answer before Spring Training: Do the Braves need to add a starting pitcher.

As teams were preparing to go to Spring Training this year, my colleague Anthony Castrovince put together this top 10 list of teams that had won the offseason.

The top two teams on the list were the Mets and the Padres, a pair of teams that paid a lot of money only to miss the 2023 postseason. The World Series champion Rangers, though, ranked third. So, you can’t totally discount making big offseason moves. But the Braves ended up winning a Major League-best 104 games despite not vying for that mythical offseason championship.

It’s great to see fans get excited about what is happening during the offseason. Dodgers fans should be thrilled. That’s good for the game. It was also fun to see D-backs owner Ken Kendrick react to the Shohei Ohtani signing by reminding reporters the superstar is just one of nine players for a team his club beat in this year’s postseason.

The offseason is fun, but it’s different for every team. Some teams need significant upgrades. Other teams just need some patchwork. At the end of the day, October is really the only month you want to win.  You can help yourself from November to January, but nothing is guaranteed during these winter months.

My mother has always preached that it’s not how much money you have — it’s how you spend your money. Spending lavishly is fun. Spending effectively is rewarding.

Here are four topics to ponder as we look forward to the upcoming season:

Biggest question to answer before Spring Training: Do the Braves need to add a starting pitcher?

Yeah, adding a difference maker like Aaron Nola or Sonny Gray would have given the Braves a proven starter who could add significant value in October over the next few years. There are still other potential difference makers like Blake Snell on the free agent market. But if the cost doesn’t fit projected value, president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos has proven he won’t spend just to spend.

He gained some insurance with Reynaldo López, who could be used as a starter or reliever. AJ Smith-Shawver, Darius Vines and Allan Winans provide further depth to a rotation that starts with two Cy Young Award candidates in Max Fried and Spencer Strider. Getting the right starter might help. But this is also a potential need that could be addressed again before the Trade Deadline.

One player poised to have a breakout season: Jarred Kelenic

In Seattle, Kelenic was always going to deal with the pressure of being the top prospect who the Mariners gained when they dealt All-Star closer Edwin Díaz to the Mets. Yeah, the Braves have made a significant financial investment (nearly $17 million) in Kelenic’s future. But in Atlanta, he should be free from the pressure he felt while playing with the Mariners.



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