Braves Armchair GMs, Part 2

Braves Armchair GMs, Part 2

In our first piece for Armchair GMs, we heard from a very thorough Will Soprano who enticed, or infuriated, us with a trade of ultimate magnitude. Today, we look at our next round of Armchair GMs in J.T. Hornbuckle (Twitter: @jthornbuckle) and Aubrey Smith (Twitter: @braveslive16) who have different ideas on what the 2018 Braves might look like.  Let’s hear from J.T. first!


J.T. Hornbuckle, Braves Armchair GM

I do not believe the Braves are a playoff team in 2018 but I do believe they have the foundation for a potential world championship team in 2019-2021. look at the Astros for that blueprint as such I do not want to see my Braves go all in with their prospects in order to add a win now player or unload a contract (i.e. Markakis or Kemp).

With that said I do believe it is time for Acuna to play in Atlanta. He has done everything that could be asked of him and he will energize the fan base and sell tickets. You have proven that moving Kemp or even Markakis to open a spot for him will be difficult and as much as the Braves love Ender I believe it is time to cash in on one of the best trade chips in baseball and use that opportunity to field an even better team during their 2019-21 window.

The Trade

Braves get Kyle Tucker and Frances Martes

Astros get Ender Inciarte

Why Braves would do it

Ronald Acuna and Kyle Tucker are the Braves OF of the future and Tucker could be a piece for 2018 if the team is able to move Markakis or Kemp. Martes is a prospect with a lot of upside who many viewed as an ace who disappointed this year but at the very least could be a great bullpen piece in Atlanta

Why Astros would do it

The Astros are in the midst of their window and Incarte makes their team better while Springer can play his better position in RF.


Have an opinion on this trade? Let’s hear it in the comments section!

Aubrey Smith, Braves Armchair GM

Unlike J.T., Aubrey obviously wants the Braves to be contenders next year and is willing to trade some heavy prospects to make it happen, but is it enough?  You be the judge!

The Trade

Braves get Josh Donaldson and Marcus Stroman

Blue Jays get  Julio Teheran, Cristian Pache, Ian Anderson, and Kyle Muller 

Why Blue Jays would do it

They need a rebuild. They lost Encarnacion to free agency, Jose Bautista had a -1.7 WAR and a .203 batting average. They are paying 20 million a year to Russell Martin and Troy Tulowitzki, 13 million to Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ. That’s a lot of money for two low production hitters and two decent pitchers. Their farm system is middle of the pack and they don’t have a lot of depth in the pitching department. In this deal they would get the Braves numbers 6, 11 and 12 prospects. It could jumpstart their rebuild, while also getting a young, controllable starter in Teheran who, with a change of scenery, could rebound into the guy he was two seasons ago.

Why Braves would do it

Two-time all-star Josh Donaldson will be a free agent after the upcoming 2018 season. While Donaldson had an injury riddled campaign he still put up a 4.8 WAR in 2017. Braves third baseman ranked 24th or worse in most offensive categories. Even if it’s just for one year, Donaldson would be a huge upgrade in the Braves lineup with the potential to still be locked up beyond this year. The key in this trade is the upgrade in the 2018 rotation of Marcus Stroman. Stroman had a 6 WAR for the Blue Jays this past year with a 3.09 ERA. He is a heck of a competitor and not eligible for free agency until the 2021. With the prospect depth the Braves have, and the controllability of Stroman this deal helps them in multiple areas. Giving a big bat to protect Freeman and the top of the rotation arm they have been wanting for multiple years.


That’s it, folks! What do you guys think about these trade ideas? Good? Bad? Ugly? Let’s hear in the comments section.

Go Braves!





No to Horbuckle. Yes to Smith. Now that’s a Donaldson trade I could live with. We get one year of Donaldson and, even if it doesn’t work out in playoff wins, we’ve given enough time to transition to Riley and still have every bit of money next year to make a splash in FAs (Bryce Harper to fill the OF, for example). It makes all the more sense if you can trade Markakis to offset Donaldson’s salary – both having one year left on their contracts. Further, Stroman is a good upgrade and the Jays get really good prospects that aren’t necessarily essential to the Braves. Do you think the Jays would take Kemp for a salary offset too? He’d be a good replacement at DH for them (now without EE or Bautista). That and adding Acuna to the OF with Ender and Markakis would make this a legitimate contender. You can throw on top of that a deal with the Orioles for Britton (say Sims/Wisler/Blair maybe even throw in Barreda into that mix somewhere)

Roger…no way do The Orioles take any combo of Sims/Wisler/Blair (or all three)…for Zach Britton! The Braves could only DREAM of dumping THE GARBAGE that is Wisler and Blair…for a lights out closer…even if it is for one year!

Paul, and you were just saying that one year rentals are cheaper than they used to be. Those are all potential starters with good pedigrees that the Braves don’t need but the Orioles do. The Orioles have a penchant for digging deep to find goal and they don’t pay relievers $12M.

I absolutely oppose trading Ender. Our young pitchers will benefit too much from having the best defense behind them to trade it away.

JT Hornbuckle….Ender Inciarte is a Gold Glove centerfielder whose developed a decent bat (I still feel that he has power potential to hit 15-20 homers a season) with a very team friendly contract!

It would take a Adam Eaton type package…for The Braves to budge on moving Inciarte. Also, with The Braves one year away from contention….trading away our only Gold Glove player makes little sense. Ronald Acuna is going to join Inciarte to make 2/3rds of one terrific defensive outfield. We should be looking into adding a 3rd piece (at the latest, The 2018 Offseason)!

Aubrey Smith…..pass on The Donaldson/Stroman acquisition. Too pricey. I dont feel that Stroman is that much of an upgrade over Teheran…to justify giving up Teheran, Anderson, Pache and Muller for him (Donaldson is a one year rental…in this day and age, one year rentals are going for FAR LESS than what they used to go for).

If this was mid-1993 (when The Braves were a Fred McGriff away from making a playoff)…then I’d say go for it. But we are FAR from needing this trade…to make the playoffs in 2018.

I’m sure that you have other moves in mind…but I fear that those moves would EITHER sacrifice the future OR take away playing time from prospect at The MLB Level who need opportunities to show us if we can depend on them for 2019 and beyond!

For’s all about 2019 AND the next 10-15 years afterward!

For JT and the Inciarte proposal.

I have also been a big proponent for trading Inciarte in the right move, and I have also targeted the Astros as my victim…err, ahem…partners in a prospective trade for Ender.

My reasoning is the same as yours regarding why the Astros would opt to make this trade. Springer is definitely better off in right field, which would also allow him to age more gracefully not having to deal with Minute Maid’s quirky centerfield dimensions. I mean, imagine how many years Lance Berkman lost having to deal with that hill in center that no doubt tore up his knees the few times he ever did have to deal with it.

Anywho…I haven’t delved into an Astros deal for quite some time now. When I was conjuring these things up, the Rockies were still clinging to playoff hopes…so a lot has changed since then. My focus back then, before Austin Riley decided to pwn the AFL alongside Acuna and Jackson, I was hell bent on tapping into the Houston Astros corner infield depth. Not quite pipedreaming on Alex Bregman, but highly interested in the likes of Colin Moran, JD Davis and Tyler White. However, now that Riley has shot his way up my Armchair GM list of names to actively keep a spot open for down the line, I’d probably opt towards a deal similar to what you’ve suggested.

While netting, arguably (and at least acccording to Sickels over at MinorLeagueBall), the top two prospects in the Astros system would be a legitimate haul, if I had my way with an offer, I’d try to extract more quantity out of the ‘Stros. Tucker would be my #1 in this trade, but from there I’d probably try to perhaps net several lower level prospects than a nearly major league ready one like Martes (especially keeping in mind that we may lose a pretty prospect or two to the MLB investigations into Coppy’s violations). Jason Martin comes to mind as a guy we could get packaged in and still be able to ask for more. Or Jon Kemmer, who desperately needs to get out of the Astros system to be taken seriously.

The beauty of the Astros scenario is that if we were to consider packaging up Arodys Vizcaino as well (I know, this might get touchy for some) you could probably land such a haul from the Astros that it’d put us over the top of the rebuild and set us up for years to come.

For Aubrey and the Braves/Jays proposal,

It’s certainly an interesting idea. Not realistic in that the Jays intend to attempt to field a winner, but interesting. Before I continue, I’d like to note that I do not feel you are wrong about the Jays needing to rebuilding. They definitely should for all the reasons you provided plus a lot more…but reality is what it is. The Jays insist they’d like to try and win, so they are going to take a hard pass on a trade offer like this one.

That said, let’s just pretend they do suddenly change course and say “Hey! The fans are right. We definitely should rebuild right now”. I can see the moving of Donaldson and Stroman making sense for them, but I would question Julio Teheran’s inclusion on this trade. Not so much because he doesn’t hold value or they couldn’t use him, but if they are going to suddenly change directions and have a firesale, why bring Teheran in? Why not just maximize on Donaldson and Stroman’s values and land the mega-package of prospects that they probably can? Pache, Ian Anderson and Muller is a solid base to a package, but imagine how much more of the system they could command if they just simply said no to Teheran? Alex Jackson, perhaps. Maybe even one the major league ready arms like Gohara. It’s an insane price to pay, but Donaldson and Stroman together probably could warrant such a price, if not from Atlanta, from another organization desperate to add winning pieces.

Then there’s the Braves’ perspective of this. Inclusion of Teheran in this deal, while he’s place-holding for valuable pieces in this equation, is kind of selling low. I mean…whatever you feel he’s worth right now, if you feel he can right the ship, you can trade him for so much more. I’m strictly against trading a stock when it’s low if you feel it can rebound and Teheran’s a stock that probably will. Any deal moving him now, unless a team is willing to pay the price of when he’s on his game, is just bad for business.

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