Here we are in the ruins of our once-mighty house. It rains almost every day; the humidity hangs around 100% when it doesn’t. We grope our way through an unending mist toward—what else?—another winter. Time to take melancholy stock of it all.
What have we got in the cupboard? A fine first baseman, a spectacular shortstop, a pair of prize pitchers. That’s something.
And in the cellar? A peck of pickled pitchers, four outfielders nearing their expiration dates, a jar labeled “major league catcher” that looks like it’s anything but, three questionable Cuban so-and-so’s, a second baseman that’s half-spunk and half-skunk, some pills of varying strength for relief (ostensibly), a few odds, a few ends.
Better not rattle the piggy bank if we want to keep our spirits up.
Not much to live on, I’d say. The yield of the field promises much—but even there we may have planted too many oats and not enough wheat. When the house is bare and the crop still low and the cash is all but spent—well, it’s either lean living or off to market.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had all the lean living I can take. I might be able to last until 2017, but beyond that I’ll wither. It’s time to start making our next fortune, and I mean now, and I mean through trade. The best way to put together a good team in the long run is to START putting together a good team now.
Here’s how we do it: Everything is permitted. Everything is on the table. We need to go into full-on inscrutable Billy Beane mode, listen to every offer on every player. We have really good players at a few positions, but we can’t enter this off-season with the idea that we are “set” anywhere. If Shelby Miller gets us a good third baseman and an actual catcher, deal him. If Freddie Freeman and Michael Bourn can be turned into a power hitter and a pitching prospect we like, fire away. Cash out the entire bullpen. Andrelton Simmons, king of my heart: depose him for the right A-prospect. Some sunny Priam probably wants an affordable Hector who might turn into a hitter. Cash out the entire bullpen again.
And don’t draw the line at Atlanta, either. Trade the farm! Don’t weaken the farm—I suppose that the one rule the Braves absolutely must abide by—but there isn’t a single player in the system who couldn’t be moved for the right price. Do I have any idea why the club might find it preferable to move Mallex Smith or Austin Riley or Ozhaino Albies? Hell no I don’t, but unhinged general managers trying to make a splash before they get fired don’t call my staff in the middle of the night to sound out their latest harebrained schemes.
2017 starts with 2016, and 2016 starts now. Be open. Be bold. Be creative. Be busy. Let’s don’t sit on our hands.
Get it done, Johns.