Can the Braves be 2018 Contenders? (Part 3 of 3)

Can the Braves be 2018 Contenders? (Part 3 of 3)

Over the last couple of days, I published two different roster projections for the 2018 season. The first, referred to as the Realistic Model, tried to use conservative projections for successful campaigns. The result was a 77 or 78-win Braves squad. Essentially, there would be an improvement but only marginal. The second roster was the Optimistic Model. It was a fun look at the 2018 Braves if pretty much everything went right.

We’ll leave the second roster alone for right now, but let’s go back to that first roster. Today, we are going to try to add to it and turn it into a true contender. Just yesterday, Fangraphs’ Craig Edwards published an article titled, “The Braves’ Time to Spend Could Be Now.” It kind of takes the wind out of my sails because Edwards looked at basically the same thing I am about to. Fangraphs projects the Braves to be a 74-win team, early ZIPs projections suggested 80, and if you land in the middle, you arrive at my projection. Depending on your starting point, the Braves could become a contender with the right moves should they open the wallet and make them right now.

There are many reasons to doubt that they will, for what it’s worth. First, Atlanta added a lot of salary to the 2018 roster with the Matt Kemp deal earlier this winter. With just the Mike Foltynewicz arbitration case pending, the Braves are looking at about a $116 million payroll right now. If you assume a $125-$130 million payroll cap, which Atlanta has basically lived at over the last couple of seasons, that doesn’t leave a lot of money. For what it’s worth, you could add roughly $3 million back into the general fund that otherwise would have been spent on international talent. Let’s stick to round numbers and assume a $135 million cap. That leaves the Braves at about $20 million or so of available funds. Making a splash on limited funds is not impossible, but difficult.

Another big reason, as Edwards pointed out, is that the Braves have been gearing up to be players for the historic 2018-19 free agent market. A number of top players in the game will become free agents next winter unless they sign extensions. It will lead to a lot of money being thrown around and general manager Alex Anthopoulos wants to be part of it. Further, waiting a year gives the new GM a chance to watch this young franchise in action and make decisions based not just on what he’s been told, but what the former scout has also seen.

But…the slow free agent market this winter certainly is enticing. Should the Braves reverse course and go for the playoffs in 2018? Let’s see what a possible roster might look like.

Like I said, I’ll be reverting back to Wednesday’s “Realistic Model” roster. All told, the roster produced 31.6 fWAR. That was an improvement of about 5 wins over the 2017 roster and that was reflected in the expected win total of 77 to 78 wins. The hard part is adding 12.4 fWAR to get to 44 – or 90 wins. Getting there would give the Braves a better-than-average shot of landing a spot in the playoffs as, at worst, a Wild Card team.

The big problem with adding to the previous roster is that it’s not so simple to just add projected wins. You have to take into account the player that is being replaced. For instance, if the replaced player had a projected 2 fWAR and the new player has a projected 4 fWAR, you have a net gain of, at most, 2 wins. It could be less depending on if the replaced player is reassigned to another position – for example, the bench.

Seem reasonable?

Okay, where do we start? The simplest approach is to improve a weakness. To do that, we will look at the projected win-totals and compare them to last year’s average production for each position. That will give us the weaknesses that can possibly be improved. “RM” stands for Realistic Model, the projected roster from Wednesday.

Catcher: MLB avg – 2.2 fWAR, 2018 RM – 3 fWAR
First Base: MLB avg – 2.7 fWAR, 2018 RM – 4.5 fWAR
Second Base: MLB avg – 2.7 fWAR, 2018 RM – 2.6 fWAR
Shortstop: MLB avg – 2.4 fWAR, 2018 RM – 1.5 fWAR
Third Base: MLB avg – 3.1 fWAR, 2018 RM – 2 fWAR
Left Field: MLB avg – 2.9 fWAR, 2018 RM – 1 fWAR
Center Field: MLB avg – 3.9 fWAR, 2018 RM – 3 fWAR
Right Field: MLB avg – 2.4 fWAR, 2018 RM – 2 fWAR
Starting Rotation: MLB avg – 10.6 fWAR, 2018 RM – 10 fWAR
Bullpen: MLB avg – 3.8 fWAR, 2018 RM – 4 fWAR
Total: MLB avg – 36.7 fWAR, 2018 RM – 31.6 fWAR

So, we have two things at play here. One – the obvious – a 0.9 or bigger difference at shortstop, third base, left field, and center field. The second thing is even if the Braves did meet all the averages, they are still 7.3 fWAR short of our goal of 44.

By the way, I will remove center field from the discussion. The curve is a bit unfair at the position because of Mike Trout, Charlie Blackmon, and the shockingly good Tommy Pham. Eleven hitters had a fWAR above 5.8 last season. Three played center field. So, let’s take that right out. That leaves shortstop, third base, and left field. We also have the starting rotation which needs help. That’s a lot to try to make up for with roughly $20 million in the bank while seeking a net gain of 12.4 fWAR.

Let’s get started.

Left Field

First things first – presumably, the Braves would need to find a taker for Nick Markakis. Chances are that even if you do, to facilitate a trade, you’ll need to send some cash. Because of that, let’s assume that you save $5 million in the trade. What can be done in left field? There are three options that stand out – Lorenzo Cain, J.D. Martinez, and Christian Yelich.

By Arturo Pardavila III [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Cain, a soon to be 32-year-old defensive marvel would appear like a good fit if not for two problems. I’ve already mentioned his age – how many years do you truly want to invest in a player like Cain? The other problem – injuries. Since arriving in the majors to stay in 2012, Cain has avoided the D.L. just once – last season.

One last issue – Cain rejected a qualifying offer earlier this winter and the Braves, who are getting precious little from the international market, might not want to give up a top draft choice. If they were, Cain’s a great buy if the goal is to get the Braves to the playoffs in 2018. In three of the last four years, he’s been between a 4.1 fWAR and 6.5 fWAR player. While Steamer conservatively estimates a 3.3 fWAR for 2018, I think it’s fair to suggest that Cain has a good shot at delivering a 4-win season in 2018 especially considering his glove and offensive capabilities. That would be a net-gain over Markakis and Lane Adams of 3-wins.

Martinez is a great story as a failed Astros prospect who found himself in 2014 with the Tigers. Since then, he’s hit the 3.8 fWAR mark three times in four years. He also brings big-time power to a lineup without much of it. Could you imagine a Braves team with Ozzie Albies, Ronald Acuna, Freddie Freeman, and Martinez at the top of it? The problems, though, are considerable. First, the price seems impossible to fit into the picture without winning the lottery. Martinez is reportedly not too impressed with as much as $125 million from the Red Sox. Further, defensively, he’s a liability. As in, a Kemp-like liability. To be fair, he’s got the bat to put up 4-win seasons and a 3-win net gain.

Yelich has been linked to the Braves so often that it’s almost a surprise he isn’t a Brave. The Marlins seem only interested if the Braves are willing to consider adding Ronald Acuna to the deal. That has about as much of a shot of happening as me marrying Anna Kendrick and Allison Brie. At the same time. On ponies. In a rocket ship. With The Beatles providing music and Gordon Ramsey doing the catering.

Whoa…where did I go? Anyway, if the Braves can hammer out a deal for Yelich without Acuna (or Albies (or even Luiz Gohara)), Yelich might be the best fit. The problem with Cain and Martinez is that they will take up much, if not all, of the projected payroll space. Yelich, who is controlled through the 2022 season, is due just $7 million for 2018. He’s also just 26 and should only improve while older players like Cain and Martinez likely regress over the next three years. Further, Yelich has three 4.5 fWAR seasons over the last four years and could actually give this roster a 4-win net gain.

Third Base

Sticking with Johan Camargo and giving Rio Ruiz another shot is certainly a possibility as Atlanta awaits the arrival of Austin Riley. However, if they want to win next season, improving at third base would be the better play. There are three options available that could provide an improvement over Camargo. A net gain here, though, could be presumably smaller because Camargo would still be in the mix as a super utility option. With that in mind, let’s downgrade him to a 1-win player unless you move him to second base full-time.

By Arturo Pardavila III [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Mike Moustakas provides the potential greatest addition at third base. Steamer actually had him the fifth-best free agent according to a projected 2018 fWAR of 2.8. Like Cain, he rejected a qualifying offer from the Royals. At 29, Moustakas is a good bet to avoid a decline over the next couple of seasons. On the other hand, how much more production can you expect out of him? His 3.4 fWAR season of 2012 was defensively inflated while his career-best 3.7 fWAR 2015 season could be reachable if you assume his defensive metrics will rebound and his offense will stick in the .345-.355 wOBA range. The Steamer projection is likely the best to hope for, though.

Todd Frazier is just three years older, though it seems like he’s ancient by comparison. His career has often been dissected because it’s just plain weird. Until 2016, he was a swing-happy, defensively talented player with pop. He went to the White Sox and swung less, continued to pop homers, and walked more. From an adjustment standpoint, it worked out well. Steamer projects a 2.3 fWAR for Frazier next year, which would be his worst season in seven years. However, he does turn 32 around Valentine’s Day so regression is to be expected. On the bright side, he would be cheaper and likely requires less of an investment on future payrolls than Moustakas.

Again, from a financial aspect, the best approach could be to trade for talent rather than sign it. Reds third baseman Eugenio Suarez, who is 26, might be a good fit here. He excelled last year in his second attempt at being a full-time MLBer. With a .356 wOBA and good defensive metrics, Suarez ranked just outside the Top 5 in 3B fWAR at 4.1. He’s found a home at third base after being a range-limited shortstop. He filed for $4.2M in arbitration as a first timer this offseason and would cost a good penny to acquire in talent. That said, if he has a season closer to his 2017 level versus his Steamer projection (2.3 fWAR), getting him would be the better move than signing a third baseman.

Shortstop

I’m mentioning shortstop, but under this premise, the Braves already have their shortstop replacement – Mr. Albies. I’m not arguing for this approach, by the way. Theoretically, the Braves would either move Camargo to second and utilize Dansby Swanson in a trade or sign a second baseman and move Albies to short while, again, trading Swanson.

One possibility for this would be to sign Neil Walker. Stephen has mentioned him as a third base option before. Certainly, that’s another possibility while keeping Swanson. However, Walker is probably a better bet to produce without being moved over to third. He is projected to be a 2.6 fWAR second baseman in 2018. He’s been a 3.6 fWAR player in two of the last four years but will be 32 for most of 2018. It would be hard to have a reasonable expectation of reaching that level again.

Atlanta could inquire on the availability of Jonathan Schoop or Whit Merrifield, but I doubt they will be available without a serious overpay. Josh Harrison is a popular name, though I’m not crazy about him. He had a nice season last year with a 2.6 fWAR, but that also matched his total from the two previous years combined. I just don’t see him close to the five-win player he was in 2014 as he heads into his early 30’s.

Starting Rotation

Could the Braves try to upgrade their rotation? There are definitely some interesting options here who remain available in Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta.

No player on the market today brings a bigger impact than Darvish. At 31 years-old, his best days are likely behind him, though. Steamer believes he’ll again put up a season close to his 2017 3.5 fWAR total. Adding Darvish, who was not eligible for a qualifying offer, would also allow Atlanta the opportunity to trade a projected rotation member for help elsewhere. The problem is the price. Not only would you be paying Darvish most of your available money, you likely would be doing so as Darvish hits his mid-30’s.

Same idea with Arrieta, who turns 32 in just over a month. You’ll also lose a draft choice and there are legitimate concerns that you aren’t getting an impact pitcher, but one on the decline who has seen his FIP go from Cy Young-worthy 2.35 to 3.52 in 2016 and 4.16 last year. You talk to Arrieta, but the risk is just too great here.

You could try to play the pitching depth angle with Jaime Garcia, Alex Cobb, or Lance Lynn. Of the three, Garcia might be the best get for Atlanta because he wouldn’t cost them a draft choice. Steamer thought he was the third best pitcher on the market to begin with, by the way. You’d also expect a reduction from the $38 million Tyler Chatwood received if you signed Garcia. All that said, does Garcia actually provide enough of a boost?

Like I’ve done throughout this, the trade market is another angle to investigate. After all, Gerrit Cole was recently acquired for a package many were underwhelmed by. Could Atlanta add a starter in a similar manner? Chris Archer has often been discussed and the Braves have been rumored to be in on Michael Fulmer. Both would present a Darvish-like impact without killing the budget.

To Sum Up…

I provided a lot of names, but here is a more general approach. To get the 12 or so wins the Braves need on roughly $20 million, it’s going to be nearly impossible to do it with this free agent cycle – especially now. To get there, you need to make four more signings – say Darvish, Garcia, Cain, and Frazier. You’d likely gain some degree of financial flexibility by trading away guys like Nick Markakis and Julio Teheran, but it will take some creativity in the front office to make such a situation work.

On the other hand, if Atlanta talks the Reds into trading Suarez to the Braves and gets the Marlins to move away from Acuna to acquire Yelich, Atlanta could make a splash by signing Darvish to go with that duo. That would upset some fans who would prefer to wait for the 2019 market and also those that don’t want to sell the farm for “short-term” gain. Back to the net-win discussion, though. These three moves – which require a lot of potential investment and prospects – will still leave us shot of the twelve or so wins we needed. However, they certainly do give Atlanta the talent to surprise a number of people in 2018.

In the end, that’s the best approach I could take to build the roster that adds outside talent and produces a winner. What do you think? Are you ready to make the moves that need to be made to open the window in 2018 toward a competitive Braves’ club? Or should Atlanta wait it out, see what happens, and if they are close come June or July, try to acquire a bat and an arm (or two) to get them over the hump? Or am I just completely wrong about my projections? As always, I look forward to your thoughts.

I just want to point out that I am not suggesting the Braves should take this approach. As I said from the beginning, these three articles were a thought exercise focusing on (1) trying to figure out how far away the team was reasonably from contending without making several trades or signings and (2) previewing what the roster might look like. Keep that in mind as you comment. Thanks for reading!

6 Comments

Here’s a thought. Spend the money buying prospects AND get better in 2018.

Step 1) Sign Cain to 4 yrs, 62-68 million.
Projection systems expect Cain to be a slight improvement over Inciarte. Cain probably comes with more injury risk and possible quicker decline phase, but should hold up pretty well over the course of the contract.

Step 2) Giants/Braves/Marlins 3 way trade:
Giants get Inciarte
Braves Get Yelich
Marlins get Ramos, Beede, + 2 Braves pieces (2 non-Soroka/Allard/Wright pitchers?)

– Giants gain significant CF upgrade at a bargain value with ~100 million surplus. Assuming ~9.5/Win over 5 years at 2.8 WAR/yr and $33 million contract. The 4 million Ender is owed this year keeps SF under the Luxury Tax threshold.
– Braves gain Yelich and his ~100 million surplus value.
– Marlins get to collect 100 million in prospect value and save face by acquire some team’s top prospects (Ramos and Beede) plus 2 back-end top 100 pitchers from the Braves. Netting quality and quantity.

West Coast Wreck….trading 5 years/$34 mil of Inciarte (including the $9 mil team option in 2022) for 5 years/$58.25 mil of Yelich (including the $15 mil team option in 2020), while also giving up two good pitching prospects that dont include (Wright, Soroka and Allard….which means that Gohara will logically be picked by The Marlins) seems like AN OVERPAY for The Braves.

Yelich is a very nice player…he just isnt a difference maker that warrants trading a lot of prospects for. Inciarte’s defense is simply amazing, something The Braves need to keep (when we’re finished addressing/building our offense, Inciarte should be dropped to the #7 hole of the line-up. While Inciarte isnt a total drain offensively, he’s does not draw enough walks to hit at the top of the order/nor does his defensive speed translate to enough stolen bases (he gets caught stealing too much) to warrant hitting lead-off…..and Inciarte simply lacks the kind of power that justifies hitting him in the middle of the order.

Inciarte’s contract makes him a great value for The Braves….allowing them to have him hit #7 on an eventual loaded lineup while providing GREAT defense in center. However, if a team like The San Francisco Giants (who DESPERATELY needs someone like Inciarte, who not only can play A GREAT center field in a division with parks that have LOTS of center field to roam, like AT&T Park, Petco Park, Chase Field, Coors Field and Dodger Stadium. Also, Inciarte’s contract allows them to BARELY stay under The $197 mil Salary Cap Tax Threshold for 2018) were to SERIOUSLY OVERPAY for Inciarte (with an offer of like Helliot Ramos, a power hitting outfielder….Chris Shaw, a power hitting outfielder/1st baseman…and Tyler Beede, a starting pitcher with swing and miss stuff. Power hitters in our System is the one thing that we lack. Ramos and Shaw have serious power. Beede would be another arm who could either compete for a rotation spot/possibly slot to a high leverage, late inning bullpen piece/be a trade chip to garner a piece that could fill a need offensively), then The Braves would be smart to listen.

More prospects that would fill needs/provide cheap/cost controlled competition is the way to go….while using our payroll surplus (starting after The 2018 Season ends) is the way to go. Trading away 4-6 of our best prospects for the likes of Christian Yelich…NO WAY. Now if The Angels were looking to unload Mike Trout for 4-6 of our best prospects…then I’d listen).

Barring a Giants OVERPAY for Inciarte…..let’s just keep what we have and see how our young players collectively ‘answer the questions/show us what we really have’ during The 2018 Season.

I did a poor job of outlining the exact plan. But it’s basically some form of a 3 way trade involving the Marlins/braves/giants that helps all 3 teams in their respective windows.
Surplus values:
Yelich: 5 yrs * 4 war * (10/WAR) – 58 = 142 million.
Inciarte: 5 yrs * 2.8 * (10/WAR) -33 = 107 million
SF prospect value:
Ramos, FV 60 = 60 million
Beede, FV 45/50 = 13 million
Duggar, FV 45 = 11 million

They’d want to keep Shaw to replace McCutchen next year.

For the Marlins to trade Yelich. I think the braves would have to add 1 FV 55 pitcher (22 million) like wentz to the deal.

Therr are plenty of other moving parts each that could be involved and such, but the general frame work for the trade makes sense.

Follow this up with signing Cain, and the braves have improved in CF now as well (based on Steamer projections) while not blowing the budget or gutting the farm system.

Yeccch. Just too much to talk about. No way is that kind of investment in FA a good idea. Now a trade for Suarez might be the next best thing to trading for Yelich and the Reds may deal without Acuna. There lots of reasonable targets out there (obviously Colin Moran was available; why not talk to the Astros about JD Davis?). And you have to heed the money available. I still think the Colon/Dickey/Garcia route was not so bad – a good way to improve for one year without sacrificing the future. This year I’m wondering if we could do the same thing with LF/3B. How about Carlos Gomez and Todd Frazier? Those two could be available for $10-$11M AAV over a couple of years and might still be tradeable at the deadline a la Garcia. Gomez in LF would be a defensive upgrade (I also kinda like the Gokakis idea)

How about Option 4 – be optimistic where the current projection seems pessimistic and fill the holes with reasonable upgrades. Under my estimation in the last post, “reasonable optimism” could get us to 40 fWAR (24 for batters and 16 for pitchers). At that level, we would only need a 4 fWAR upgrade to get to 90 which is well within reason with $20M to spend. You can do it cheaper by trading (assuming you can get a reasonable deal for someone like Suarez). A bench of Adams, Markakis, Camargo (and Suzuki) would be darn good. If we can have a pre-hamate Dustin Peterson, you might not even need a LF. Having Camargo ready if Dansby tanks would be a nice luxury.

I’d be on-board trading for both Yelich and Suarez. If you paired those two with Freeman, Acuna and FloZuki, you’d also create a really nice L/R hitting balance in the middle of the order, too. I like it a lot.

What you did with the MIF is interesting. I’m not down on Swanson at all, but I do feel like Albies at SS and Dansby at 2B is the better play. IF it took trading Dansby to acquire Yelich or Suarez, I’d be fine with that though, too. Of the guys you mentioned to step in at 2B, however, I’d take Harrison over Walker, if the prospect cost isn’t prohibitive. I like the energy Harrison plays with, if it could be had for a fringe SP prospect type, or maybe Tehran?

Which would bring things around to the rotation, where I’d prefer Lance Lynn over Darvish. Don’t get me wrong, I feel that Darvish is an outstanding pitcher… it’s just I don’t know if he’ll end up being a hundred million dollars or more better than Lynn?

I think this team would be infinitely more exciting than what the Braves are currently set to field, though. Kudos on the work, Tommy. All the club really needs to do is put together a collection of guys with a shot at the playoffs. Once you’re in, it’s a bit of a crapshoot, anyway. One hot pitcher can carry you to a title. You don’t need to be the best team on paper.

Sure, in theory, The Braves could be contenders in 2018. However I feel that the better question to ask is ‘SHOULD The Braves be contenders in 2018’ (meaning, is it wise to ‘push’ for The Braves to be contenders in 2018′).

As I’m watching the beginning of The AFC Championship Game between The Patriots and The Jaguars….I cant help but think about NOT ONLY how long New England has been CONSISTENT Super Bowl contenders (virtually every year since 2002. Even though they won in 2001, NO ONE considered The Patriots to be ‘contenders’ prior to The 2001 Season)….BUT ALSO how they’ve been able to MAINTAIN that consistency.

Even The Great Bill Belichick has ‘missed’ on a number of draft picks/had trades not work out. However, if you believe in your ability to evaluate/acquire/develop players…then you’re going to excel LONG TERM. Still, I feel that an UNDERRATED Skill Asset….is being able to know when to get rid of a player who has a history of performing well for you (Bill Walsh pretty much coined the phrase ‘it’s better to get rid of a player a year too early…than a year too late’). Yet in order to utilize that skill (knowing when to get rid of a player a year too early) it is ESSENTIAL that a team, year in and year out, drafts/acquires young players (especially those who are cheap). When you’re drafting at the end of The 1st round year in and year out….you have to be HELLA SKILLED at picking ‘diamonds in the rough’/players who are overlooked. The Patriots seemingly develop late round/undrafted players like Danny Woodhead, Chris Hogan, Larry Izzo, Danny Amendola….a number of their offensive linemen seemingly come from nowhere to block like hell for Tom Brady (who himself was a 6th round pick in 2000).

I bring up New England’s success today on this Braves Blog…because I feel that given the Latin America sanctions that are in effort on The Braves for the next 5 seasons….it is IMPERATIVE that The Braves FOCUS on The Domestic Draft (and continue the HEAVY EMPHASIS on drafting young/potentially high ceiling starting pitching). One ‘by product’ of 2018 being a ‘losing season record-wise’ for The Braves…is that it would ensure ONE LAST DRAFT where we ended up with not only a high 1st round pick in The 2019 Draft but also the associated signing bonus money that comes with it…which would give The Braves one last opportunity to incorporate a ‘Coppy-like draft strategy of spreading out the signing bonus money like he did in The 2015-2016 Drafts’. Assuming 2018 plays out like I expect it to….The Braves would have BOTH The 2018 and 2019 Drafts to continue LOADING UP on young starting pitching (to restock The Lower Levels of The Minors..to provide a New Wave of potential prospects that will have 4-5 years to develop/provide eventual competition for these current prospects that we have. By then, The Braves should have had enough time to properly evaluate/determine if they want to keep and pay them as they creep closer to Free Agency…OR if it may be time to ‘get rid of them a year too early’ and replace some of them with a New Wave of Prospects by then).

I keep reading on other blogs like The Talking Chop where a number of so-called Braves fans seemingly are willing to give away Allard, Anderson, Tooki and other starting pitching prospects that have hella potential in order to get Yelich or hitting prospects like Frazier from The Yankees, Tucker from The Astros or Adam Duval from The Reds. HOWEVER, last offseason when Coppy made several trades that involved giving up some of what I labeled as ‘fringe/at best 5th starters, long relief specialists’ type players…..a number of these same so-called Braves fans basically BLEW A GASKET over ‘what we gave up’. Examples:

1. Jaime Garcia from The Cardinals for pitchers John Gant and Chris Ellis.. and infielder Luke Dykstra. I was BLOWN AWAY with how much of A HARD ON many of those posters had for Gant. It was like dude was ‘The 2nd Coming’ (more like David Koresh, lol). While Garcia was never going to be nothing more than a one year stop for The Braves….this is PRECISELY the type of trade that A SMART GM with this type of talent that Atlanta has…makes. Trading players like Gant and Ellis (who ‘could’, at best, be the type of pitchers who WILL NEVER make it on a Braves Pitching Staff that will soon be HELLA LOADED) is the ONLY WAY to go! When it became apparent that The Braves WERE NOT going to make The Playoffs in 2017…Coppy traded Garcia for Huascar Ynoa, he wont turn 20 until May, will start off the year in Rome..no pressure to move up quickly). We 4 months of Garcia…plus a lottery ticket arm in Ynoa…for 3 BUMS!

2. Braves get Luiz Gohara and Thomas Burrows..for Shea Simmons and Mallex Smith. I read post after post about Gohara being ‘fat’…while many lamented about losing Simmons, comparing him to Kimbrel, lol.

3. Braves get Alex Jackson and Tyler Pike…for Max Povse and Rob Whalen. While Povse had a nice year in Double A…and Whalen put up good numbers in Triple A…NEITHER, in my mind, were worth worrying about losing. While I did feel that Povse had #3 starter-like potential, I had no problem giving him up, because at the time The Braves were pretty weak in the catcher position in The Minors. Jackson has pop in his bat that made this trade worth making.

I just dont have it in me to understand why many so-called Braves fans got upset over losing Povse, Whalen, Gant, Ellis and Simmons…YET have NO PROBLEM with sacrificing what I feel are MUCH BETTER PROSPECTS in Allard, Anderson, even Soroka!

I cannot stress enough how EXPENSIVE it is to pay for pitching on The Free Agent Market (just look at what Tyler Chatwood got! 3 year/$38 mil! Dude’s A BUM….almost as bad as what KC gave Ian Kennedy before 2016, 5 year/$70 mil!). Even so, I’m still going to hope that The Braves go after Kimbrel and offer him an $18 mil a year-ish contract after 2018…because a team has to have A HAMMER like Kimbrel going into The Playoffs (I’d MUCH RATHER have Minter being one of our 8th inning pieces come 2019..and have Kimbrel mentor him for a few years). Other than Kimbrel….The Braves should just keep our pitching prospects and build our rotation/bullpen using them.

Our GM, AA, was HELLA FORTUNATE to come into this situation with a FLUSH Farm System. I just hope that he’ll continue what Coppy did and keep STOCKING The Farm System for years to come. If Florida had even 1/2 the drafting success that Atlanta has had since 2015, they WOULD NOT have had to SELL OFF their stars this offseason. However, given that Jose Fernandez was THEIR ONLY draft pick of consequence since 2011 to ‘do anything’ at The MLB Level…..The Marlins pretty much had no choice but to start over and HOPE that they can do A MUCH BETTER JOB of drafting/developing players.

That’s why I feel that one more season of losing in 2018, would not necessarily be a ‘bad thing’ for Atlanta! Our young players could be promoted/develop in Atlanta during The 2018 Season….and we’d be positioned to have one last banner draft in 2019 (while beginning what I expect to be The 1st of MANY play-off runs starting in 2019).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *