***New edit at bottom as, for whatever reason, I thought Brad Peacock was a free agent and that’s not true***
Building an Atlanta Braves roster to compete in 2018 isn’t for the faint of heart…
On the subject, we’ve heard from Stephen on how he would make the Braves a contender with his idea of trading a few heavy prospects to fill out the 25-man with quality. Then we heard from Tommy on how he’d go about without losing any prospects. Both seem like plausible options and I guess the reason I’d like to chime in and make my opinion known is…truthfully, these guys don’t know anything.
In fact, I cannot believe I go to pretend work with these guys. Oh…and the smell? Have you ever smelled Tommy after a full day of setting up our new blog? I hope you haven’t had the pleasure.
But now, it’s my turn (evil laugh), and since the Minions have already laid the groundwork for me, I’ll just pick from their brains and plant my new crop right on top of their incompetent seeds…love you guys.
Many of you know that I love a flexible roster, both offensively and defensively. I love the idea of having interchangeable parts that don’t have a huge drop in production. The Cubs are the best example in the game in this regards as they use their very strong bench to give rest to their core players. That’s the way I’m going to build a roster so follow along while I try to channel my inner-Theo to make the Braves a contender.
Braves Roster Casualties
- Jace Peterson– If you love something, let it go. Jace is so easy to like and he seems to do just enough at the end of the season for the Braves to keep him around. This year was no different as he was a force off the bench the last 2 months. But factor in his entire body of work, and not just his pinch hitting opportunities in August and September, and he’s been exactly a replacement level player for his career, which is below average on both sides of the ball. Doesn’t fit the Theo-model.
- Adonis Garcia– No explanation needed
- Rex Brothers– see Adonis
- Matt Adams– While I’d love to keep living my dream of Freddie Freeman working his behind off to be the Braves 3B for the future, it’s just not going to happen and that leaves Matt Adams as a very expensive bench player that can’t play defense. He’ll come up in a trade later in the article.
- Matt Kemp– There’s no DH in the NL and we saw what a year of Kemp can do for a team. He’ll come up in a trade later in the article.
- Nick Markakis– Braves cannot afford to run a RFer out on a regular basis that’s barely above replacement. He’ll come up in a trade later in the article.
- Jim Johnson– Instability just doesn’t have a place in my 2018 bullpen so it’s time for JJ to hit the showers after shedding another uniform. He’ll come up in a trade later in the article.
The Haves and the Needs
With the removal of the above 7, the Braves are left with the following core players:
With the above core, the Braves are in need of a 3rd baseman, a left-fielder, a starting pitcher, a utility fielder, and a shutdown reliever. I can help with that.
Free Agents aren’t Free
- Sign Todd Frazier, 2 year 32MM. Coming off a year where the Toddfather earned a 3 fWAR, he had a career low-BABIP. I’d love to see him in a Braves uni for 2 years.
- Sign Pat Neshek, 2 year 20MM- If the Braves have Sam Freeman, AJ Minter, and Jacob Lindgren pitching out of the bullpen in 2018, needless to say left-handed hitters will be sitting down with regularity. Add Neshek to this mix and the bullpen could become immediately elite.
- Sign Brad Peacock to a 2/32MM deal. If only Folty could take his advice, Peacock has become a really good starting pitcher primarily using 2 pitches. He’d be a good under the radar guy to plug in once every 5 games.
- Matt Kemp and Jim Johnson to the Yankees for Jacoby Ellsbury and 5MM- Contracts neither team wants, nor do they have the room to play the other player. Braves take on an extra year with Jacoby, but he could thrive in left-field in a soft platoon with Lane Adams.
- Nick Markakis and Matt Adams to the Angels for Luis Valbuena. Braves rid themselves of the Markakis contract as Kakes shifts over to LF for the Angels, and the Angels get the bopper 1B they need. Valbuena becomes a super-utility bench bat for the Braves covering 3 infield positions.
The Final Roster and fWAR projections
(Click to Expand)
Adding up the totals, you get 44.2 fWAR and a payroll under 120 million (factoring in all of cash from the Yankees). While some of the above trades might have to add small time prospects (or MLB players) to the deals (Wisler, Blair, etc), none will cost the Braves anyone they cannot afford to lose. The real upside that I like in regards to a plan that doesn’t build by trading prospects is that it leaves a trade deadline deal for a difference maker a real possibility. What do you guys think?
Braves 25-man roster to begin season
Lineup: Ender, Albies, FF5, Frazier, Ellsbury, Acuna, T-Flow, Dansby
Bench: Suzuki, Valbuena, Camargo, L.Adams, Micah J
Rotation: Gohara, Teheran, Newcomb, Fried, *Peacock
Bullpen: Vizzy, Neshek, Minter, Lindgren, Winkler, Ramirez, Folty
Fixing the Mistake
Thanks to the comments section, I now realize a fatal flaw in my plan: Brad Peacock is not a free agent. Maybe we can bring back Coppy and he “work something out with Peacock”…too soon? Anywho, in my opinion, this isn’t a 1-step thing as there are no 2nd tier free agent starting pitchers that tickle my fancy, so new plan:
- Leave Mike Foltynewicz in the rotation: In my opinion, this isn’t ideal but I’m not ready to shell out serious cash or prospects to land the “ace” quite yet. Folty should be a 1.5-2 fWAR player again, but I’d like to see him drop a pitch from his arsenal and focus on dominating with a FB/Slider combo with an occasional changeup.
- Sign Steve Cishek to a 3/24MM deal. Solidifying the bullpen is going to be a priority this offseason. With the additions of Neshek and Cishek to go along with our dominate LH core, this will make late innings very promising for the Braves.
- Sign J.J. Hardy to a 2/12MM deal. Hardy is 35 and is now entering the twilight of his career. A switch to a Super-Utility sub is likely the move that happens this year or next.
What do you guys think? Does the addition of Folty back to rotation with the pickups of Cishek and Hardy make up the fWAR difference that’s left with Peacock vacating. Looking at projections, I think it may!