The 10 Worst Decisions of the Hart/Coppy Era

The 10 Worst Decisions of the Hart/Coppy Era

With games starting back up on Friday, we are officially reaching the end of the off-season. Spring Training 2018 is upon us, which means the 2018 regular season is just around the corner, and for Atlanta, a new start. After a scandal that rocked the organization to its core broke just after the season ended, Atlanta watched its farm system get re-shaped by penalties and sanctions and, consequently, decided to completely overhaul its front office. That decision was made with the hope of moving on. Finishing this rebuild, putting these darker days behind them, and beginning a new era of Braves baseball that, hopefully, never utters the phrase ‘The Braves Way’ again.

Sounds good.

But before we do that, I thought one last look at the previous regime would be appropriate. A postmortem, if you will, of all that’s happened in the last 3 years. So what we’re doing today and tomorrow is a 2-part series on the 10 best and 10 worst decisions made by the Hart/Coppy regime.

Today we’re doing the 10 worst.

Couple things before we get started:

  • Any and all organizational decisions made are up for this list. Not just trades or signings.
  • This is a ranking, not merely a list. Number 1 is more egregious, or more impressive, than number 2 and so on.

The List

10. Not Trading Julio Teheran

Atlanta actually missed this boat twice. Right as the tear down process began after the 2014 season, Teheran was an obvious candidate to be shipped off for a haul of prospects. He was a 24-year-old, highly regarded pitcher coming off a 3 Win season and had tremendous value. The Braves, somewhat understandably given his age, decided to keep and build around Julio. After a down 2015 season, Teheran bounced back in 2016, and as the 2016 trade deadline was approaching, Julio was one of the most attractive names on the market. Teams pay a higher cost at the deadline given the increased chances the player they’re acquiring will be helping in a pennant race and Atlanta had a prime opportunity to maximize an asset while still being years away from contention. They declined that opportunity. They once again chose to keep him and ever since, his value has done nothing but drop. It could always rebound of course but as we sit here today, not selling high on a volatile asset was one they’d probably like back.

9. Coppy Being a Cheating Asshole

If we were making this list from Coppy’s point of view, this would be number one. John apparently considered the rules of baseball to be more optional than mandatory, and as we found out later, had no problem flaunting is unlawfulness. Combine that with consistent mistreatment of employees as well as his insistence on continuing to lie to MLB investigators and it’s fair to say Coppy’s moral compass didn’t exactly point north. This would be higher on the list from the Braves perspective, but I still maintain the actual impact to the organization has been overblown. The team ended up with a better GM, a more streamlined and clear power structure in the FO, and it’s been my opinion all along the players they lost were more hype than substance. The restrictions on future international spending is real and will hurt the teams depth in the future but that’s really the only reason this made the list. Of course, for Coppy, his career is effectively over while Hart was asked to take his “overseeing” skills elsewhere.

8. Rebuilding Around Pitching

This will probably be the one that brings the most disagreement from you guys but this was a decision I just never understood. Every time any one of the three Johns got in front of a microphone, they would try to reassure Braves’ fans by mentioning the rebuilds of the Astros, or the Cubs, or even the Royals as models to follow. The problem, of course, is all three of those successful rebuilds were built around bats. And for good reason. Hitting prospects are less risky and therefore more valuable than pitching prospects. No one likes to bring it up but the number one reason the Braves couldn’t acquire Christian Yelich is they didn’t have the sufficient hitting prospect, after Ronald Acuna, to build their offer around. And Acuna came from the Wren regime. As did Albies. Thank god. Imagine where this organization would be without those two. Now I know what you’re are going to say: ‘uh, they have the #1 farm system in baseball.’ They do. But a big reason for that is Acuna. After him, it’s an insanely high-risk system simply because it’s comprised of so much pitching.

Not only is it high-risk system but it’s also a tough farm system to actually use in trades. Selling teams just don’t like building big trades around pitching prospects when hitting prospects are so much safer. The Sale trade was centered around Moncada. Lucroy for Brinson. Quintana was for Eloy. Yelich for Brinson. Chapman for Gleyber Torres. Andrew Miller for Clint Frazier. As baseball has become more risk averse, most significant trades are made using hitting prospects. Doesn’t mean Atlanta can’t make deals. But make no mistake, it’s a much tougher and usually much more expensive road.

7. Brian Snitker

There’s been a lot written and a lot said about Brian Snitker as manager, even by us here at WalkOffWalk. Some of it good, most of it not. I’m not going to dive into all of it again, but the bottom line is Brian Snitker isn’t a great manager. Or probably stated more accurately, Brian Snitker isn’t great at the parts of managing the public can see and judge. Whatever your opinion of him or the job he’s done, one thing that can’t really be argued is Alex Anthopoulos and his team should’ve been allowed to pick their own manager. If they felt the best thing for team stability was to keep Snitker on, then you respect the call and move on. But they weren’t given that chance. Hart’s last move before being shown the door was picking up Snitker’s option in 2018. And because of the initial hiring and that last parting shot, he makes their list.

6. Weird Fascination with Aging Veterans

Once you decide to rebuild, most of the attention turns toward your farm system. While improving the amount of talent you have in the minors is the main objective, it’s not the only objective. Or at least it shouldn’t be. The innings and at-bats you have available at the major league level should be viewed as an opportunity to tryout younger MLB players whose value has diminished for one reason or another. Basically to take fliers on still talented guys who’ve seen their prospect shine wear off. Usually cheap to acquire, cheap to pay, and effectively serve as no-risk, high reward moves. If they continue to suck, move on. No harm. If something clicks, then boom, you just found a future piece for nothing. Atlanta did not do this. They filled their bad teams with way too many guys on the wrong side of 30, or sometimes 40, and essentially wasted all of that potential time on zero-upside, aging vets. Just because your major league team is going to suck for 4 or 5 years doesn’t mean you can’t use it to help advance the rebuild. But to do that, you have to be smart and creative with who you give those at-bats and innings to. And Atlanta wasn’t.

5. Signing Nick Markakis

This was weird the day it happened and 3 years later, it just as confusing. The Braves were rebuilding. It was clear. Present assets were being moved for future assets. A long road was being embarked upon. It was time to do that thing we mentioned up above and start taking fliers on some young guys. Time to allocate resources more efficiently. Time to….give 31-year-old Nick Markakis a 4 year/44 million dollar deal? What the f*** just happened? That was my reaction the day it happened. And something like 1000 days later, I still don’t have an answer. The time and money wasted on Nick Markakis during this rebuild has been as pointless as it was predictable.

4. Using Craig Kimbrel in a Salary Dump

The day before the 2015 season started, Coppy and crew sent B.J. Upton and Craig Kimbrel to San Diego in a complicated deal. While there were a lot of moving parts, Atlanta essentially used the significant value of Craig Kimbrel to entice SD to take the rest of Upton’s deal. Braves took back some money too, plus got a draft pick, but they basically gave away Kimbrel to move a bad player and save around $45M. If you squint, you can kind of see the logic. Upton was bad and expensive and SD took him. But Atlanta was just starting a full scale rebuild. They were going to be bad for a while. Having one more bad player on the team really shouldn’t have been that big a deal. And certainly not such a big deal that you would use all of Craig Kimbrel’s trade value just to get rid of him. Braves lost 90+ games each of the next three years. Would Upton being on those teams really have been that much worse? And you might say ‘hey, they did save $45M.’ Yeah they did. And you know what they spent it on? Scroll up to the point just before this one. Yeah, him. They saved $45M on Upton and spent $44M on Nick Markakis. Which sounds better to you: keeping Upton and his 45M while being able to trade Kimbrel for what he was worth in prospects or just giving away Kimbrel and signing Markakis at $44M? The only reason this isn’t #1 is because the closer market hadn’t fully boomed yet and Atlanta did get Austin Riley with the pick. But it was still a really poor use of a first-grade asset.

3. Matt Kemp

I could spend a long time going over all the facts that made this move incredibly dumb but you guys know what they are. Kemp spent 3 years, 1 in LA and 2 in SD, showing the world he was content just cashing his massive paycheck every month and felt the hard work part of his career was over. How a player gains 50 pounds in a season is as big a mystery to me as why our front office decided his 54M was worth taking on. AJ Preller is probably still laughing about that one, as he did what Atlanta should’ve which was to just cut Hector Olivera. Coppy instead decided to double down on Matt Kemp and it predictably blew up in his face. And Atlanta is still paying for it.

2. Andrelton Simmons

From the moment Hart and Coppy showed up, they made it clear defense wasn’t really a priority. They signed Markakis, traded for Kemp, traded for Olivera, played Adonis at 3B, etc. But it became most clear when they shipped the best defensive player in baseball off to LA for Sean Newcomb. There were other players in the deal but primarily it was Simmons for Newcomb. Newcomb is a solid piece but he is not now nor was he ever sufficient value for Simmons. If Atlanta was trying to re-acquire Simmons, Newcomb probably wouldn’t be good enough to headline the deal, much less be the only return. Newcomb is a pitching prospect, making him a highly risky asset, but he’s also a pitching prospect with bad command making him basically the highest risk type player there is. Meanwhile Simmons remains one of the best players in baseball. This trade just sucked. Hopefully Newcomb can make it suck less.

1. Hector Olivera for Alex Wood

What else was it going to be? The Braves, in the middle of a rebuild, gave up a 24 year old, cheap, quality, LH starter for a 31-year-old DH who couldn’t hit anything other than women. There were others involved as it was actually a 3-team deal, but from Atlanta’s perspective, it was mainly Wood for Olivera. Oh, did I mention he was a DH who couldn’t hit who also cost $30M? Of course after the trade, Braves fans and team executives quickly realized they had basically been robbed by LA as Alex Wood became a legitimate front end starter. This is what led to the Kemp mess and pretty easily makes #1 on this list.


Agree? Disagree?

We’ll do the more positive list tomorrow.




The one thing I will TOTALLY DISAGREE with you on…is your insistence on The Rebuild being centered around pitching prospects being ‘bad’ TOTALLY WRONG!

Starting pitching is HELLA EXPENSIVE to acquire. I’d rather BUILD a starting pitching staff ON THE CHEAP from within (by utilizing a drafting/trading strategy that is CENTERED on acquiring young, cheap, cost controlled, high upside pitching prospects) that can be used to BUILD not only a starting rotation..but also a bullpen! In the next few years…The Braves are going to have ONE HELL of a young/cheap/cost controlled Pitching Staff that could DOMINATE MLB! Not only that….but in a few years, The Braves will have ANOTHER WAVE of potentially young/high upside pitching prospects slated to make their MLB debuts (these prospects are currently projected to open The 2018 Season in Class A Florida).

Sure, we got lucky with Acuna and Albies being holdovers from Wren’s tenure who happened to develop/rise under Coppy. However…Riley, Pache, Jackson were all acquired by Coppy.

By the end of 2018…we should have a really good idea of who will be in our Opening Day 2019 Starting Rotation (in addition to how our bullpen will look).

1. Folty (Teheran will probably be traded by The July Trade Deadline)
2. Luiz Gohara
3. Mike Soroka
4. Kolby Allard
5. Kyle Wright

That will give The Braves one CHEAP/potentially high upside/YOUNG Starting Rotation…FOR YEARS TO COME. Uh….that would still leave our System with Tooki Tousiant, Patrick Weigel, Joey Wentz, Bryce Wilson, Ian Anderson, Kyle Muller and Ricardo Sanchez to develop/potentially use as either trade bait OR to replace one of those projected 2019 Opening Day Starting 5 as Trade bait!

Given that only Freddie Freeman (at $21 mil) and Ender Inciarte (at $5 mil)…again, assuming that Teheran and his $11 mil 2019 salary are traded by The 2018 July Trade Deadline….AA will have PLENTY OF PAYROLL FLEXIBILITY to improve the two areas that need addressing: 1. Middle of the order power behind Freeman (particularly in Left Field and 3rd base). 2. A HAMMER to close out games (Minter’s injury history makes it tough to depend on him to close out 40-45 games a year).

Targeting mid-20’s offensive power hitters….is where a team like The Braves SHOULD spent their money/trade capital on! While I feel that $35 mil a year EACH should be enough to entice BOTH Bryce Harper and Manny Machado to come to Atlanta…if need be, AA should up the offer to $40 mil a year IF NEED BE! Come 2020-2021…$35-$40 mil a year wont be ‘that much’ of a sticker shock, lol.

I keep hearing how people are saying that The Braves have NO CHANCE to get either Harper or Machado. If I’m wrong…WHY is AA just basically ‘staying put’ this offseason? He isnt even going after the likes of Corey Dickerson or Carlos Gomez! He made The Matt Kemp Trade in December…to set things up where The Braves absorbed the 2019 Kemp money..into The 2018 Payroll……because come 2019, The Braves are going to be SERIOUS PLAYERS to fill the lack of offensive power.

Would one more year of potentially losing 90 games in 2018 really be that bad…ESPECIALLY if it gave our young prospects playing time to get them ready for 2019? I feel that 2018 is a Deja Vu of 1990….which basically was a springboard into 1991! Just as John Shuerholtz spent money to shore up a number of weaknesses going into The 1991 Season….AA will spend money in The 2018 Free Agent Offseason to SHORE UP our weaknesses!

In order to go after significant bat upgrades….a team has to have payroll flexibility (which comes from having A YOUNG/CHEAP/COST CONTROLLED pitching staff).

Who says AA is going to be any better? This year there have already been good deals staring right at him and he’s done nothing. All he’s done is try to use his existing influence with another organization to clear some flotsam from the roster. Without his Dodger influence included, he has done nothing. He could have signed Frazier and Dickerson (or Gomez) for very little and filled two glaring holes in the roster and have been ready to tackle this season head on two months ago. He could have traded Markakis – that would have been a sign of a good GM.

The Olivera for Wood thing just goes to show that one bad deal will certainly lead to another and maybe another. I think we ought to have perspective on the Simmons deal, though. The Braves traded him when his value was the least possible. At the time, he was a pop-up machine. He couldn’t hit his way out of a paper bag. Sure his defense is/was extremely good but his offense took all the shine off that. Coppy did turn around and replace Simmons with Dansby, so I can give him a mulligan on that. Kimbrel on the other hand….. sigh…. have to agree on that. All the word was and is that a terrible team doesn’t need the best closer in the game. And closers weren’t bringing that much at the time. And recall that Wisler was supposed to be a wunderkind at the time. And Riley is not so bad…. The problem is that having Kimbrel at the back of the bullpen the last couple of years really would have made the team look a lot better – maybe even .500 last year. Trading Kimbrel kinda led to Jim Johnson. On the other hand, Markakis has really been a whole lot better than Upton.

I thought trading Kimbrel was the right play. My problem was that they nerfed his value by attaching Upton. A year later, San Diego got two Top 100 prospects and a third player who wasn’t that far off for a closer. That was a great deal. I think one of the biggest issues with the Hart/Coppy era is how they would get tunnel vision for certain players – especially Coppy. I don’t want to put too much into rumors, but from what I have heard and gathered, Coppy was the type of guy who really started to believe the press that he was a true visionary. So, when he got stuck on Wisler – the guy he wanted in the J-Up trade – he couldn’t get his eyes off him. The same thing happened with Olivera. It’s fine for a scout to have his guy, but a GM has to be able to have more objectivity and Coppy lost it with those two. Wisler’s star was already falling, but once San Diego put him on the table, Coppy jumped to trade Kimbrel while getting rid of Upton’s contract. While Austin Riley and Touki Toussaint, who Atlanta likely doesn’t get without the salary freedom from the Kimbrel trade, could help that deal look better, the idea that Coppy was so fixated on Wisler and Upton’s contract that he hurt Kimbrel’s trade value is one of the reasons I don’t really miss Coppy. That – and the douchebaggery and cheating.

That’s crazy if those rumors are true, Tommy. Of all things to get hung up on… Matt Wisler… ? I don’t get it. The guy was a 7th round pick that was projected to be a back-end SP type.

Austin Riley’s really going to have to turn into something special for that trade not to be a colossal failure in hindsight.

Stephen, I agree a thousand percent with you- the rebuild shouldn’t have been built so heavily around pitching. It’s clear there are those in the organization that desperately wanted to recreate the big four from the 90s. That was a special thing, though. Pitching is way too volatile of an asset to get that lucky twice in the span of a few decades. Plus some of the credit for that has to go to one of the all-time greatest pitching coaches, Leo Mazzone.

With hitting you often know what you’re getting for the most part. A highly rated OF prospect with an elite bat isn’t likely to blow out his shoulder on a swing, and never be the same. Plus an all-star position player gives you 150 or so games worth of impact, whereas an all-star level starter gives you 30-35.

The one part I’ll disagree with you on, where I’m sure I’ll probably stand alone, is Brian Snitker. Will he ever make the Hall as a manager? Absolutely not. In fairness to him though, look at what the guy’s been given to work with. Coppy never gave him enough hitters to cobble together anything resembling a legitimate Major League line up. He lost Freddie to injury for a huge chunk of time. He’s had to piece together a rotation with players that just weren’t ready, too old, or simply not good enough. So who really knows if he’s any good? He’s made mistakes, but it’s tough to polish a turd. Snitker probably deserves to be allowed to work with some of this talent coming as a result.

Coppy gets a lot of credit, and some of it deserved. It’s nice to see a piece pointing out some of his errors though, because there were many. It’s just a shame Frank Wren doesn’t get a few more props for what he’s done for the Braves in the past too, however.

I think most longtime fans remember Frank’s aptitude for trades, but his decisions with free agents and (especially) the draft preclude any argument that he was a good GM. I’ve seen some try to credit him for Albies and Acuña, but there was no evidence whatsoever he was involved in signing them. Please correct me if you have heard otherwise.

Wren was involved with signing Albies and Acuna as much as a GM can be involved with signing minor (at the time) international prospects. That is to say that they signed with the organization while Wren was in charge. How much credit that truly deserves is questionable, but considering we’ll also blame him for the misses like Yepez, I think it’s fair to give Wren some credit for Albies and Acuna.

I’ve not heard anything to say Wren specifically had a hand in bringing Albies or Acuna in- and I’d imagine most of the credit should go to the scout. Having no idea how a Major League front office is run, I’d still have to think Wren would at least need to take a glance at these guys and sign off on them though.

Newcomb was fine as the headliner in that deal, but we should have gotten a better 2nd and 3rd piece than we did. I think the plan was to flip Aybar at the deadline for a similar return, but we saw how that turned out.

Stephen will surely be proven correct if any significant number of the pitching prospects turns into Ellis, Blair, Wisler, Banuelos, etc….

Sure, Coppy had his misses. However, when you factor in his ROBBERY TRADES:

1. Trading Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden for Shelby Miller and Tyrone Jenkins, which lead to….

2. Trading Shelby Miller for Ender Inciarte, Dansby Swanson and Aaron Blair

3. Trading Phil Gosslin for Tooki Tousiant (and the salary of Bronson Arroyo)

4. Trading Max Provse and Rob Whalen for Luiz Gohara and Thomas Burrows

5. Trading Shae Simmons and Mallex Smith for Alex Jackson and Tyler Pike

Those 5 trades…were HIGHWAY ROBBERY Trades! Even in the trades Coppy missed on….he was able to extract ‘some’ value from them (picks that led to Joey Wentz and Austin Riley being drafted…which down the line ‘could’ sway those trades in favor of The Braves).

Coppy wasnt perfect…but I’ll take where we were when he was fired OVER where we were when he 1st took over!

I wouldnt give Frank Wren a ‘huge’ amount of credit for signing both Albies and Acuna. Remember, the big signing bonuses went out to players who were highly thought of back then (we’re talking about many MILLIONS OF DOLLARS…before the recent limits on signing bonus for International Market players with the most recent CBA). Albies ($300k) and Acuna ($100k) were among MANY ‘small’ signings that filled many MILB rosters in MLB. Taking ‘a flyer’ on many players…does not show ‘significant insight’ on either Albies or Acuna. How many of Wren’s other signings for those amounts….didnt even make it past Double A?

While I feel that Coppy’s Latin signings overall werent that great (to be honest, I’m more than ok with the Latin restrictions….because it is virtually impossible to project how a 16 year old will ‘fill out/ultimately perform’ when he turns 18…20..22 years old. The way The System is set up currently….it’s the 16 year olds who are getting the bulk of the signing bonuses that each team has each year. I’d rather see The Braves CONTINUE to focus on The Draft (Coppy simply NAILED EACH of his three Drafts during The 2015-2017 Drafts).

I’m sure that each of you could ‘nitpick’ an early round pick that Coppy ‘missed on’….however look at THE OVERALL of each of those three Drafts! Absolutely SICK! The only two teams who can compare in recent memory…are The Astros and Cubs (with The Yankees and Dodgers ‘up there’).

What separates The Braves from those 4…is our SICK DEPTH when it comes to young pitching! Just give it a few years! No need to RUSH nor start making STUPID trades! 2019 will be THE START of excellent pitching….all AA has to do is convince Liberty that getting some LEGIT POWER to hit behind Freddie….will truly TRANSFORM The Braves into something SPECIAL for a long time to come! If Albies and Acuna are both LEGIT/Top of the order stars…..then Freddie’s and Inciarte’s team friendly contracts makes it 4 out of 8 starters SET at a combo of cheap/team friendly contracts. Swanson’s 2018 will show what we truly have at short. Flowers/Suzuki’s 2018 will show if their 2017 were flukes or not (in addition, Alex Jackson will have another year to grow as a catcher/prove that his bat is legit in Double A). That’s 6 of the 8 starting positions.

Just imagine how Machado and Harper would look in that Starting 8? Sign Kimbrel to SOLIDIFY the bullpen…and we’re SET for The 2019 Playoffs!

I disagree with minimizing the impact of “Latinogate”. Adding all together the value of punishment is about $100M. It’s a LOT. Acuna is worth about the same. If MLB took Acuna instead of all small pieces – would we still insist nothing happened?

Every asset has a price. When analysing impact of trades etc – we should always try to estimate numerical effect. The approach “well, the pleayers weren’t that good and we will be allright without international signings” – is dead wrong. Yes, we could be all right, but the margin of error is WAY smaller. It’s like playing hold’em with only one hole card. Could we win? Yes, we could. But we’re handicapped in a big way.

But he worst decision of past regime was clearly Markakis. The rest of them could have worse impact, but I could see reasons for them.

Simmons? As good as he was before started to hit he wasn’t a superstar. I wouldn’t trade him, but I know why somebody would.

Olivera? Wood had already TJ surgery and his delivery was making him a risky prospect. Hindsight is 20/20, but I see what they tried to do. Use pitching to get hitting. Targeting Olivera was a mistake, but the strategy was reasonable.

But Markakis, this is something I don’t get. Why buy, say, 8 wins for a period during which we have no chance for contending? Stephen had it right – keep (or buy out) Upton, sell Kimbrel for prospects, stay away from Markakis. We would lose few games more – so what? But with the same spending we would have even better farm. THIS wasn’t a mistake – it was a simple, unforced error.

TRad….you’re overblowing the ‘impact’ of The Markakis signing. All he cost, was money. It wasnt like money allocated to him…’prevent’ The Braves from spending money elsewhere that ‘in theory’ could have made a difference/helped The Braves make The Playoffs (you’re DREAMING if you think we were anything other than A BAD TEAM during The 2015-2017 Seasons).

Again, I’m not ‘defending’ the above Coppy moves. He made mistakes. With that said….I am MORE THAN HAPPY with “The OVERALL” (meaning….that Coppy left The Braves in MUCH, MUCH, MUCH, MUCH, MUCH (etc.etc.etc, lol) BETTER SHAPE…..than we were BEFORE he took over as GM after The 2014 Season ended.

Let me put it this way: It IS NOT like our new GM, AA, is going to have to ‘endure’ a 5 year Rebuild, lol. For a team that hasnt had a winning season since 2013…..AA is in a REALLY GOOD SITUATION. The one move he had to make in The 2017 Offseason…he already did by trading Matt Kemp WITHOUT 1. sacrificing any prospects. 2. clearing his contract off The 2019 Payroll.

Now by doing so…AA basically ‘punted on The 2018 Season’. So what? If we only win 73 games instead of 79 games (we may end up losing more games in 2018 than in 2017….because we simply lack power behind Freddie in the #4-#5 spots of the order). I’d rather have ONE LAST YEAR where The Braves Record SUCKED (resulting in another high draft slot/associated signing bonus allotment in The 2019 Draft)…than see AA foolishly spend the extra $21 mil that was allocated to releasing Adrian Gonzalez…on another player in 2018 (it isnt like said ball player is going to help up become a legit playoff contender….ESPECIALLY when our pitching staff has TOO MANY QUESTIONS).

I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH…the HUGE IMPORTANCE of giving Soroka, Allard and Wright their ‘cups of coffee starts’ come August/September. ALL THREE need to ‘get the feet wet/learn what adjustments that each will need to make in The Offseason’… better prepare all three for a more successful 2019 Season. If The Braves were ‘contending’ for a WC spot during 2018….NO WAY do those three all get significant playing time during a pennant race! Just not happening (instead, The Braves go with a rotation of Teheran, Folty, McCarthy, Gohara and Newcomb…if one of them struggle, they go with Kazmir OR, my biggest fear, Management trades for a starter).

Chasing for, at best, a one game pipe dream playoff (at the risk of NOT ONLY blowing away prospect capital..BUT ALSO of not properly developing the likes of Soroka, Allard and Wright for The 2019 Season)…..would HIGHLY disappoint me!

Just stick to The Game Plan. One last year of losing. If AA really wanted to contend in 2018, he WOULD NOT have made The Matt Kemp Trade in December as constructed. If anything, he would have just added Gonzalez and Kazmir (whose salaries add up to Kemp’s). He took on McCarthy’s salary….to BIDE time for Soroka, Allard and Wright to all display their wares in Triple A to open The 2018 Season. It isnt like McCarthy is really thought of as being ‘a difference maker’…..he’s simply a potential innings eater (along with Kazmir, should something happen to someone else in The Rotation during The 1st Half of The 2018 Season). Lucas Sims is also in The Bullpen…along with ‘break glass only in dire situations’ Matt Wisler and Aaron Blair, lol. In other words, Braves Management DO NOT want to rush Soroka, Allard NOR Wright….until sometime after The All-Star Break (unless one of them comes out with some ridiculous 10-0 under 2 ERA start to open The Triple A Season, lol).

In all liklihood, there will be A HUGE DIFFERENCE between The 2018 and 2019 Opening Day Starting 5 Rotation:


1. Teheran………….1. Folty
2. Folty……………..2. Gohara
3. McCarthy………..3. Soroka
4. Gohara…………..4. Allard
5. Newcomb………..5. Wright

If The Braves end up trading both Teheran and Folty (I still like Folty’s stuff developing in a TOR type starting pitcher….however if Sean Newcomb is able to develop that 3rd pitch AND get past his ‘needing 100 pitches to make it through the 5th inning’ issues….then I’d be open to either trading Folty also OR transition him to the bullpen and keeping Newcomb as one of our Starting 5 going into The 2019 Season). The Problem I would have with making Folty a opposed to trading him as a starter…is that I feel that we’d be losing out on significant trade value for Folty.

This gets to my strategy of restocking The Lower Levels of The Minors (possibly with hitters, to help ‘offset’ The Latin Penalties). I’d keep drafting high upside, mainly high school pitchers with the early draft picks (keeping Coppy’s Drafting Strategy that he incorporate in The 2015-2017 Drafts)…..and when it came time to start trading from our ‘surplus’ of Starting Pitching (like Julio Teheran, after he rebounds during The 1st Half of The 2018 Season. I’d trade Teheran for, at least, 2-3 lower Minor League prospects/lottery ticket type players from a contending team who needs a quality starting pitcher who IS NOT a one year rental). Folty could very well garner a similar haul IF he also rebounds in 2018.

I propose the possibility of trading BOTH Teheran and Folty…because NEITHER will be good enough to make, at the latest, The 2020 Opening Day Rotation for The Braves (unless a horrific number of injuries were to hit our prospects). I feel that as soon as both Teheran and Folty drive up their trade value (as well as when the likes of Soroka, Allard and Wright show that they are ready for MLB)…then Braves Management should trade them to 1. get value to restock our System…2. create openings for our Pitching Studs/giving them opportunities to prepare themselves for a successful 2019 Season.

I love the work you do sir. I really enjoyed this. Getting minimum value from kimbrel and then hector and the way he lost all connection to reality as demonstrated by his ignoring the mlb probe and getting banned for life for it. Those are all really bad. The Simba move is the one that just aches. I view Simba as a HOFer. How many home grown braves do we get every 20 years? I love Simba’s spirit and the way he plays the game. Neck was more for the locker room than really anything. He made some great choices—-but unless nuke wins 3 cry Young’s—Simba I will allways remember.

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