The Opener: Royals, Lyles, Braves


With the holiday season upon us, here’s a few things we’ll be keeping an eye throughout the day today around baseball:

1. The Royals and Jordan Lyles

Last night, reports came through that Jordan Lyles was nearing a two-year deal with the Royals. With Kansas City also having inked Ryan Yarbrough to a one-year deal, it’s possible this Lyles signing could take them out of the pitching market if completed. If that’s indeed the case, it would leave likely Hall of Famer Zack Greinke looking for a new club to play for during his age-39 season. Brady Singer, Brad Keller, Kris Bubic, Daniel Lynch, and Jackson Kowar are among Kansas City’s current options to start alongside Yarbrough and Lyles. A Lyles deal would also take yet another veteran back-end arm off of the free agent market, which has been thinning rapidly for weeks.

2. Will the Braves add another bat?

The Braves signed Jordan Luplow yesterday to bolster their outfield mix, but coming off a 101-win season and a fifth consecutive NL East crown, it would surely behoove Atlanta to do more to address the holes in their lineup. With Dansby Swanson having departed for Chicago in free agency, the Braves look set to hand the keys to shortstop to youngster Vaughn Grissom, with Orlando Arcia available should he struggle. While another bat capable of playing short could help solidify the position, the most glaring holes in the lineup are left field and DH, even after the addition of Luplow. The trio of Luplow, Marcell Ozuna, and Eddie Rosario who figure to man left field and DH combined for a troubling -2.3 bWAR in 2022. While improvements from Ozuna and Rosario are certainly possible, both players are on the wrong side of 30 and haven’t been above average with the bat in a full season since 2019. Even with Travis d’Arnaud likely to pick up extra playing time at DH following the acquisition of Sean Murphy, it seems clear that Atlanta needs another bat for the outfield, whether that comes via free agency in the form of Jurickson Profar or David Peralta, or perhaps through trade, where a number of outfielders are reportedly available.

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