The Little Deals (Part 2)

Ed. note: this is continued from Part 1.

11. Cameron Maybin for Gabe Speier and Ian Krol

Essentially Maybin, a league average centerfielder, for Krol, a lefty specialist. Speier was a balancer in the Shelby/Dansby trade.

12. Ryne Harper for Jose Ramirez

Ramirez was not thought of much at the time, not even after his first stint with Atlanta, but he finished the second half of 2016 strong and figures to play a role in the 2017 bullpen. He has an above-average fastball, and he was essentially acquired for nothing.

13. Christian Bethancourt for Ricardo Rodriguez and Casey Kelly

The Braves gave up on a former top prospect, Bethancourt, to receive a semi-live arm in the form of former top prospect Casey Kelly. Kelly did nothing for Atlanta, and was subsequently released.

14. Nate Freiman for Tyler Moore

Journeyman filler for journeyman filler. Nothing much to report.

15. Jhoulys Chacin for Adam McCreery

Chacin’s 5 decent starts for Atlanta allowed them to receive a live arm in return. The live arm has been more dead than alive, as he’s now a 24-year old who is struggling in low-A.

16. Brandon Barker and Trevor Belicek for Brian Matusz and 2016 Competitive Balance Round B Pick

Barker had a strong 8 start stretch in the early part of 2016, and the Braves capitalized on that by packaging him up with Brian Matusz’s contract to land a competitive balance B pick that would later turn into Brett Cumberland, a college catcher who is currently the Braves’ 29th-best prospect on Pipeline.

17. Jason Grilli for Sean Ratcliffe

Grilli’s slow start in 2016 led the Braves to dump his salary and pick up a live arm. They released Ratcliffe later.

18. Kelly Johnson for Akeel Morris

After Kelly’s third stint with the Braves, they traded him to the Mets for a second time for Morris, who is a solid relief prospect for Atlanta. He’s currently the 25th-best prospect according to Pipeline, and could have a spot in Atlanta’s bullpen as early as 2017.

19. Alec Grosser, Dian Toscano, Bud Norris and cash for Caleb Dirks and Phil Pfeifer

Norris, after a terrible start in the rotation, had a strong rebound as a swingman, and the Braves got two relief prospects along with dumping Toscano’s salary. This was the second Dirks transaction, as the Braves traded him the year previous for international pool money.

20. Dario Alvarez and Lucas Harrell for Travis Demeritte

Alvarez and Harrell were two classic flashes in the pan, the second of whom had been without a team two months before, and in return, the Braves received a legitimate second-base prospect with a plus tool (power). Demeritte is now the 9th-best prospect on Pipeline. He currently strikes out too much, but if his K rate improves, he could become a major piece of Atlanta’s future.

21. Hunter Cervenka for Michael Mader and Anfernee Seymour

Cervenka, a below the radar signee out of a Texas independent league, had a strong 2/3 of the season as a mostly lefty specialist. Anfernee Seymour has a plus tool (speed) and is the 20th-best prospect in the system. Mader is an interesting lefty starter who pitched well in brief duty at AA. If the Braves didn’t have several strong lefty starting pitching prospects, Mader would be getting more attention. He’s a sleeper in Atlanta’s deep system.

22. Erick Aybar for Kade Scivicque and Mike Aviles

The forgettable Aybar experiment ended with the Braves getting a catching prospect and salary dump in return. Scivicque has a good reputation as a defensive catcher who is still getting his bat going. Scivicque could have a career as a backup catcher.

23. Jeff Francoeur for Dylan Moore and Matt Foley

Frenchy, in his second stint with the Braves, was exchanged for an interesting first baseman/outfielder having a strong season at 23 at high-A, and Foley, a catcher with some upside.

24. PTBNL for Joe Weiland

After pain-stakingly enduring 21 days in between trades, Coppy couldn’t contain himself any further and traded for Weiland, who was released less than a month later.

25. Gordon Beckham for Richard Rodriguez

Gordon Beckham, who is not good, returned a player who needs no introduction, because he doesn’t have one.

26. Max Povse and Rob Whalen for Alex Jackson and Tyler Pike

The Braves would have gone into 2017 with several question marks in the rotation. To mitigate that risk, they acquired three veteran starting pitchers. But left with several high-minors pitching prospects with low ceilings and not enough opportunity, they decided to consolidate by getting former first round pick and top prospect Alex Jackson. His bat and career stalled as he was moved to the outfield, and the Braves hope that a change of scenery and a move back to catcher, his original position, will both revive his career and the Braves’ minor league catching situation. Povse and Whalen largely didn’t have a future in Atlanta, but Jackson does if he can prove he can handle it.

27. Luke Dykstra, Chris Ellis, and John Gant for Jaime Garcia

More pitching consolidation as the Braves packaged more low-ceiling pitching talent to help the major league roster and better use the glut of pitching they acquired. Dykstra is the interesting, forgotten player in this deal, and he could be a utility player one day. Garcia solves the need for consistency (and a lefty starter) for the Braves’ 2017 team.

28. Brady Feigl and Tyrell Jenkins for Luke Jackson

Jenkins was another pitcher who had lost his spot in Atlanta, and with the Braves wanting more high-upside prospects, they took back Luke Jackson, who possesses an above-average heater and the potential to stick in Atlanta’s bullpen.

29. Shae Simmons and Mallex Smith for Thomas Burrows and Luiz Gohara

Mallex Smith, a fan favorite and believed by lunatics to have the ceiling of Rock Raines, was largely void of a regular spot on Atlanta’s roster, so the Braves continued to collect high-ceiling pitching prospects by getting one of Seattle’s top prospects in Gohara. Keith Law declared Gohara one of his top 100 prospects, and Burrows appears to be an interesting lefty bullpen prospect who could rise quickly. Simmons, who was once considered a top prospect, could never stay healthy enough to earn the confidence of Atlanta. Mallex was later traded again to Tampa Bay.

30. PTBNL for Micah Johnson

In an effort to replace Mallex Smith, who had appeared to be on track to be the 4th outfielder in 2017, they received Micah Johnson, a speedy left-hander who can hit righties and play second base and centerfield. With a proposed 4-man bench, Johnson’s versatility could make an ideal backup for Inciarte while providing more flexibility than Mallex could have.

195 thoughts on “The Little Deals (Part 2)”

  1. on reading this list, I’m actually struck by how insignificant most of these moves are. i realize the heading is the little deals, but other than 26-29, there’s not much to move the needle. Maybe my expectations are high, but i just found that odd.

  2. Yeah none of these moves matter, but there’s not much to talk about otherwise. I like the fact that Rob and others are documenting everything about the “rebuild”. One day it might be cool to look back at all 10 years of moves and see how it evolved.

  3. I think one way to look at all the deals is to try to decide which players have a chance to become major league difference makers, major league regulars, or reserves. My attempt is as follows:

    Likely reserves given up (peak WAR under 1): Lastella, Carpenter, Shreve, Hale, Gosselin, Kelly and Chris Johnson, Uribe, Betty, Chacin, Grilli, Alvarez, Cervenka, Aybad, Frenchie, Beckham, Gant, Shae.

    Likely reserves added: Withrow (released), Krol, Ramirez, Morris, Dirks, Pfeiffer, Sviqwerty, Moore, Micah, Luke Jackson

    Likely regulars (peak about 2 WAR): Maybin, Povse, Whalen.

    Likely regulars added: Viz.

    Lottery tickets given up: Tim Raines

    Lottery tickets added: Sanchez, Touki, Demeritte, Seymour, Mader, Alex Jackson, Gohara.

    Before making this list I had no idea how good the sum of these transactions was. Could they all flame? Yes, but I don’t think that is the way to bet.

  4. I’d put #18 (acquired Akeel Morris) and #20 (acquired Travis Demeritte) into the ‘might matter a lot’ category.

    – Morris has been a dominant reliever in the minors, albeit with a high walk rate. For the Braves in AA, Morris put up the following line: 25 appearances, 35.2 IP, 27 hits, 21 walks, 50 Ks. Tough to hit, huge K rate, able to pitch multiple innings per appearance? I’ll take that.

    – Demeritte, like Morris, appears to have several excellent tools along with a glaring weakness. TD has massive power, walks a lot and plays a good (possibly excellent) second base. He also strikes out way too much (30%+ at hi-A).

  5. John Copolella
    After trading Tommy Lastella,
    Said: I need Vizcaino,
    To pair with my Briceno

  6. @10

    the appearance of verse
    can create a vacuum in our discurse
    what some might interpret as opprobrium
    we, effusive praise about to flood the podium.

  7. @7 Who will bunt whoever he is to 3B? Wiill That rule change create a big demand for small ball specialists?

  8. @13, The obvious solution is expanding the rosters to 27 players. (What, you think 26 will do in this case?)

  9. I think they want to get the best 5 innings out of the old guys, and turn it over to a deep pen. It more or less worked for Cleveland and Chicago in the World Series, and that seems to be the way teams are headed. If they can get a second lefty out of this glut they’re bringing in, I think they can win a lot of games by getting 5 innings and then having JJ/Cabrera/Vizcaino/Ramirez/Roe/Krol/Lefty chew through the late innings.

    I’m really not sure what to make of the projected bullpen. They all pitched really well last year, except for Vizzy, who has a stronger track record than most of them. And if the Braves think their bullpen is a strength, then I’ll believe them. Our best bullpen in history (2002) was Smoltz, Remlinger, Hammond, Holmes, Ligtenberg, and Grybo. 4 guys 35+ years old, an independent league guy (Ligtenberg), and a 28-year old rookie (Gryboski). It would have been foolish to expect them to do so well, but the Braves felt good about them, and they’re saying the same thing this year. Who knows.

  10. “Bartlanta”

    [video src="" /]

  11. @16 – One problem with the 4 man bench and the 5 inning starter is that you’re going to be in position to use 2 or 3 pinch hitters to get through such games. Expect a lot of the old “let the pitcher bat and pull him before he gets through the next inning” stunt we all know and love.

  12. Okay here are my official predictions for 2017

    NL East
    WAS 94-68
    NYM 85-77
    ATL 80-82
    MIA 75-87
    PHI 73-89

    NL Central
    CHC 97-65
    PIT 88-74
    STL 84-78
    MIL 70-92
    CIN 69-93

    NL West
    LAD 94-68
    SFG 87-75
    COL 81-81
    ARZ 77-85
    SDP 62-100

    AL East
    BOS 92-70
    NYY 85-77
    TOR 85-77
    TAM 82-80
    BAL 81-81

    AL Central
    CLE 93-69
    DET 79-83
    KCR 75-87
    MIN 72-90
    CHW 68-94

    AL West
    HOU 91-71
    SEA 88-74
    TEX 82-80
    OAK 71-91
    LAA 70-92

    ALCS Astros over Indians 4-3
    NLCS Nats over Cubs 4-2
    WS Nats over Astros 4-1

    Okay feel free to tear these to shreds.

    I do really like the over on ATL at 71.5 this year.

  13. Snitker has to be way more creative than Fredi to make the 8-man bullpen work. Multi-position guys need to be comfortable with playing a couple positions a night, he’s going to need to double-switch properly, and he needs to know when to take the SP out. And at the end of the day, that’s what a good manager does, and we should expect that. I don’t think an extra pitching change a night is going to mean constantly seeing a pitcher hit and then get pulled the next inning, especially since that 8th person in the pen may only pitch once every couple games.

  14. @21 – It is an interesting puzzle and it will be interesting to see how it goes.

    Specifically, I’m thinking of that 5th or 6th inning where the pitcher is due up. The 8 man bullpen should alleviate how badly you want to squeeze that extra inning out of the starter, but the 4 man bench makes it less attractive to pinch hit that early. Do you pinch hit, or send him back out there? (Theoretical 3rd option is to let him bat and not send him back out there, which seems to me as the worst choice.)

    You can double switch later on, but that burns a bench player AND a starter (which can come back to bite you.) Furthermore, that 4 man bench includes the 2nd catcher, so there’s that to think about. I predict we will also see a fair number of pitchers used as pinch hitters.

    But, agreed, knowing when to take the SP out is crucial. I think it is the most important part, and the most difficult part of managing.

  15. BTW, Thanks to the gents who put these last two posts together. I love them so much I’m going to print them out for easy reference as I thrill to the 2017 baseball season by perusing minor league box scores. :)

  16. It would suggest that the problem of the pitching hitting in the inning you want to pull him wouldn’t happen that often, and wouldn’t happen so much more often simply because you have an 8th pitcher. I guess the question is whether the last guy off the bench or the last guy out of the pen is used more often. Do you get to the end of the game and have no one on your bench or no one rested and ready to go in the pen?

  17. Bowman’s latest piece has him predicting D’arnaud and Bonifacio will get 2 of 4 bench spots on the the 25-man. Somebody pass me the Nyquil so I can sleep through baseball season…

  18. @21 and 22

    Completely agree. Fortunately, Snitker seemed to be competent last season making moves in-game. Hopefully he will be good at the double switch with the short bench.

    I guess Jace would be the primary PH against RHP. No idea who would vs LHP assuming Rodriguez is starting.

  19. @31 — I know this is your gimmick, but you may as well get used to the Braves carrying bad bench players. All teams do, even the good ones. If they were good, they wouldn’t be on the bench.

  20. @33
    This isn’t a true statement. Many teams are going to the interchangeable model with a deep bench.

  21. @34 — It’s a first-division problem, though. If the Braves win 74 games this year it won’t be because they carried D’Arnaud and Bonifacio. You find good starters, then look for helpful spare parts who complement the roster.

    I don’t understand the fascination with Phillips.

  22. This tweet from Brandon Phillips “What a day lol! #BackInDaTrap #ATLien”. Possibly Connor Lien going from ATL in the trade?

  23. So, trading Jose Peraza may have made it possible to acquire Brandon Phillips. Coppy playing that long game.

  24. Phillips is a better option that Jace. I hope this allows Jace to be our backup CF option and Bonifacio can stay in Gwinnett. KJ makes a lot of sense now.

  25. I had no idea that Sean Rodriguez was actually injured in that car wreck – the initial news was that he was unhurt. That’s a real shame for him (and the Braves) and would be quite a blow to the team if the Braves were actually attempting to contend this season.

    With that said, if Rodriguez really is facing a 3-5 month shoulder surgery recovery, the team could use Phillips (at least until Rodriguez and/or Albies is MLB-ready). It certainly makes clear that the Braves are not ready to hand 2B to Albies straight out of Spring Training – which is totally reasonable, no need to rush him up to the majors now. I am afraid the Braves will stick Phillips in the #2 spot for the entire 2017 season and bump Dansby down to the end of the lineup, which would be really frustrating to see.

    Is the word on the street that the Braves are sending Connor Lien to the Reds? I see various vague references to the Braves sending two players to the Reds but that the Reds aren’t getting much in return.

  26. The two players are Andrew McKirahan and Carlos Portuondo. (Who? Exactly.)

    There’s not much opportunity cost to this move, it seems, but it still seems super-marginal.

  27. McKirahan and Portuondo (Who? Exactly.)?? That’s it?!?!?

    And the Reds are paying most of the salary? And Phillips is in a contract year? I’m totally cool with this.

    Can someone link me to an article about Rodriguez?

  28. @48, This isn’t one of those “Little Deals”…this is a franchise-altering blockbuster deal ten years ago.

  29. Phillips apparently agreed to the trade after getting a no-trade clause added to his contract.
    Still I’m struggling to find any negatives to this one.

  30. So we send nothing, get a competent but hardly above average second baseman for $1M, and Phillips gets a no trade clause. The Braves, then, can’t dangle him all over the league in hopes of getting a fringe prospect, but they can still release him if they want to get him off the roster. And if Phillips gets released, he’s free to choose where he goes instead of Coppy based on said fringe prospect. Pretty good deal for everyone. I wonder if there is a scenario where Phillips would agree to a trade so that Coppy can get his prospect. I suppose there’s a scenario where Phillips is playing well (so the Braves don’t want to release him), Albies or Rodriguez are ready to take over second base, and Phillips agrees to a trade instead of getting buried on the bench.

    I think this also shows that the Braves are at a point where they will make a deal to add to the roster if someone goes down. Sad about Rodriguez, but I think adding Phillips says a lot about where we are in the rebuild.

  31. Per ESPN: “Neither of the players they’re giving up will land on the Reds’ 40-man roster or receive invitations to big league camp, per Buchanan.”

    Gee whiz… I guess the Reds really wanted that million dollars.

  32. What the Reds want is 2B freed up so that they can see what they have in Jose Peraza and Dilson Herrera. Phillips has been vigilant with his no-trade, so they’re not in a position to be picky about the return — they pretty much have to agree to any trade that doesn’t involve him vetoing it.

  33. I wasn’t a huge believer in the Sean Rodriguez renaissance anyway. Phillips has been just about exactly league average with the stick and with the glove.

    So, you get a different veteran to bat right handed and keep Jace off the field.

    Only difference to me is positional flexibility. Maybe this means more ABs for Rio Ruiz, but I’d almost rather he stay at AA half a season to prove he can hit lefties.

  34. I couldn’t love this deal more. For the cost of essentially nothing, we get a perfect solution to our problems: a rental fill-in to fill an immediate need who still won’t block Albies. Plus, Phillips is coming home to Georgia, so we get a hometown discount and he may be a little more motivated than he was for the last few years in Cincy. Either way, for a million bucks and two non-prospects we get moderate upside with virtually zero downside.

  35. Oh, and those two guys we gave up — Andrew McKirahan was a Rule 5 guy who pitched decently in 2015 before getting busted for roids, and Carlos Portuondo… well, here’s who he is:

    Portuondo has a strong frame around 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, though he never had much success pitching in Cuba. In his final Serie Nacional season (2013-14) with Santiago De Cuba, Portuondo posted a 6.39 ERA with 24 strikeouts and 23 walks in 38 innings, splitting his time between starting and relieving, with the Braves planning to use him as a reliever. I’ve never seen Portuondo pitch myself, but reports from those who have seen him are that his fastball has increased into the 90-93 mph since leaving Cuba, with a slider as his go-to secondary pitch.

  36. Breakdown:
    BP doesn’t get full NTC, rather a partial NTC which was in his contract prior to gaining 5/10 rights…Braves pay 1MM of his 14MM salary and 500K if he gets traded to 1 of the 18 teams he can’t veto. It’s a bad day when your big positional FA could be sidelined for an entire year, but it’s a good day when a decent veteran can be had for 1MM and spare parts on a walk here. All in all, an average day. ’bout Pagan and KJ, Coppy? There’s no way that a 4-man bench is going to work without SRod.

  37. One thing that seems to have changed is the Braves ability to keep a secret. Did anyone here have any clue whatsoever that Rodriguez could have a major injury from his car wreck? Count me impressed.

  38. I read on Twitter that the Braves thought as late as Friday that he would be ready for Spring Training (DOB or Bowman, sorry, don’t remember.)

    I think that there is t-boned by a stolen police cruiser “ok” and able to play major league baseball “ok,” and with Rodriguez’ family in the hospital, he may not have even tested the shoulder out right away.

  39. Very interesting that we have gone from no serious injury to season ending surgery in about 2 weeks. Hate that for him. I think he would have been a useful piece of the team.

  40. I definitely feel sad for Rodriguez. He was coming off a career year and he’s got to be happy to be out of Pittsburgh. Let’s hope he’s back in 3 months instead of 12. I think Rodriguez at 3rd and Philips at 2nd (if that ever happens) would be an upgrade over Garcia and Peterson.

  41. Pagan makes sense. If Inciarte gets hurt, it’ll be ugly…Johnson and Bonifacio are really the only options who are currently under contract.

    Backup shortstop is barren as well. Really, Albies is probably your best bet at this point.

    1. Freeman – 1B
    2. Flowers – C
    3. Suzuki – C
    4. Phillips – 2B
    5. Kemp – LF
    6. Inciarte – CF
    7. Markakis- RF

  42. Got cutoff, but a 13 man staff is stupid, and below would be best I could come up with at this point.

    8. Garcia – 3B
    9. Swanson – SS

    10. BE-1. Pagan – LF,RF,CF
    11. BE-2. Peterson – 2B,SS,3B,LF,RF,CF
    12. BE-3. K.Johnson – 1B,2B,3B,LF,RF

  43. I don’t think it’s necessary to have a true backup CFer, just one stashed away at Gwinnett that could be called up. Lane Adams is that guy, IMO. He’s got pop, he can steal a few bags, and he can play all 3 OF positions.

  44. @70
    That’s why ya stash him at Gwinnett. I mean, do you really think he can be worse that D’arnaud or Bonifacio? It’s a low bar here.

  45. Very interesting that we have gone from no serious injury to season ending surgery in about 2 weeks. Hate that for him. I think he would have been a useful piece of the team.

    Shoulder injuries are a bitch to diagnose, especially if they’re wrapped up in other injuries and soreness. It’s not unreasonable to think “this is banged up from the accident, but it will probably be fine with rest,” and then when it doesn’t get better with rest and rehab go back in (after the swelling of the accident has gone down) and take a closer look to diagnose surgery.

  46. Braves have 14 prospects on Sickels top-100:
    Soroka- 57
    Fried- 61
    Acuna- 67
    Ian A.- 89
    Riley- 149
    Wentz- 159
    Pache- 183

  47. @74 Interesting list (btw- Top 200, not 100). Out of the Braves’ prospects who didn’t make the cut, I like Patrick Weigel’s chances of becoming a quality major leaguer. I realize that he didn’t have much prospect pedigree coming out of college, but it seems to me that the scouting community shouldn’t be ignoring him any longer. Dude is huge, throws hard and has had considerable success moving all the way from Rookie ball to AA over the last year.

  48. I think Sam’s on the point. I’m on 3 weeks before I realized I strained my AC joint. Just thought it was sore, ya know?

  49. Can Stu confirm that we will have the largest OD payroll in our history? Some folks on the Tweeter machine are saying that.

  50. Batting orger against RHP

    1. Inciarte – LH – cf
    2. Swanson RH – ss
    3. Freeman LH = 1b
    4. Kemp – RH – LF
    5. Markakis – LH – RF
    6. Phillips – RH – 2b
    7. Peterson – LH – 3b
    8. Suzuki – RH – C

    Batting orger against LHP

    1. Inciarte – LH – cf
    2. Swanson RH – ss
    3. Freeman LH = 1b
    4. Kemp – RH – LF
    5. Markakis – LH – RF
    6. Phillips – RH – 2b
    7. Garcia – RH – 3b
    8. Flowers – RH – C

    what ya think ????

  51. @74, here are some of his comments on two specific players:

    #68, Ronald Acuna: Acuna is another guy who holds up well the more you study him.

    #98, Kevin Maitan: Maitan is the difficult slotting here. If you go by pure tools, he should be in the Top 50, or the Top 20, or even in the Top 10. But he hasn’t played yet, he turned 17 yesterday, and this is a hybrid list between pure upside and present ability. We have no idea how his marvelous tools will translate into a professional environment until he gets a chance to show us. If you are looking for long-term upside as opposed to a short or medium term horizon, bump him way up the list.

  52. @88 — It’s also got Soroka above Allard, and doesn’t seem to be as down on Newcomb as the other outlets.

  53. @87

    I know that Fan Graphs needs something to write before pitchers and catchers report, as do the rest of the baseball outlets, but that article simply does me no good. And for better or for worse (and hopefully better), my attitude about this team will simply need to be disproved with 2017 results.

    I know that people want to use 2015 and 2016 yearly won-loss records to evaluate this team and where it is currently, but I don’t think Coppy does. After all, Coppy has made huge changes to the roster at the middle of the season, and not at the end. If I want to use some helpful parameters for when to evaluate won-loss records, it’s when the Braves weren’t actively gutting the major league roster. From July 2015 to July 2016, the roster was absolutely decimated. From July ’15 to July ’16, the Braves traded JJ, Avilan, Wood, KJ, Uribe, CJ, Gomes, Maybin, Shelby Miller, Christian Bethancourt, KJ again, Chevanka, and Bud Norris. And during that time, the only players they added who contributed a positive WAR were Jim Johnson, KJ, Krol, Chevanka, and Josh Collmenter.

    Unsurprisingly, the period of time where all of the positively contributing players were removed, that team had a .357 winning percentage. Time before and after it, the team had a .501 winning percentage. And since the period of time where the roster produced a .553 winning percentage (August ’16 through the end of the year), the team has essentially removed Wisler, Blair, the Bills, Whalen, and Jenkins, and replaced them with Rodriguez/Phillips, Colon, Dickey, and Garcia, and a full season of Dansby, Kemp, and potentially Albies. So while people will point to a 68-93 full season record, I’m pointing to full season’s worth of action over the past 2 seasons where the GM actually gave a crap about what was on the field.

  54. Received my BA Prospect Handbook so here is their full Braves list to number 31:

    1 Dansby Swanson
    2 Ozzie Albies
    3 Kolby Allard
    4 MIke Soroka
    5 Ian Anderson
    6 Ronald Acuna
    7 Kevin Maitan
    8 Sean Newcomb
    9 Patrick Weigel
    10 Max Fried
    11 Austin Riley
    12 Touki Toussaint
    13 Cristian Pache
    14 Lucas Sims
    15 Joey Wentz
    16 Dustin Peterson
    17 Kyle Muller
    18 AJ Minter
    19 Travis Demeritte
    20 Rio Ruiz
    21 Braxton Davidson
    22 Derian Cruz
    23 Brett Cumberland
    24 Drew Harrington
    25 Bryse Wilson
    26 Abrahan Gutierrez
    27 Ray-Patrick Didder
    28 Luke Jackson
    29 Alex Jackson
    30 Lucas Herbert
    31 Armando Rivero

  55. Dusty – I am guessing that because the BA Prospect Handbook is operating on print deadline schedules it went to press before the acquisition of Gohara and Burrows.

    So, where does Gohara fit in the BA Braves list? I’d probably slot him in between Fried and Riley.

  56. @92 – That’s fair, and I agree the pitching should better, but it also wouldn’t surprise me if any multiples of:

    Freeman – .323/.433/.634
    Kemp – .287/.339/.567
    Dansby – .302/.361/.442
    Markakis – .289/.370/.441
    Adonis – .293/.333/.456
    Flowers – .299/.378/.411
    Inciarte – .341/.396/.440

    are worse in the whole of 2018 than their aforementioned 2H 2017 stats would indicate. I’m also skeptical Suzuki will recreate Recker’s .278/.394/.433 stat line.

  57. 95 Correct and hard to say as Seattle’s #2 prospect (O’Neill) didn’t rank in the top 100. Before Riley is probably right though as BA grades Fried Gohara and Riley as 55s with high risk.

  58. Per DOB:
    #Braves 2b prospect Ozzie Albies, coming back from elbow surgery, is “a little behind” and won’t get in games for a few weeks, Snitker said.

    That is Braves State Media code for “Albies out until June.”

  59. We’re under Furcal Rule, but it appears Matt Kemp has “shed” his nickname of Fatt Blemp. Good for him. And good for the Braves.

  60. @98, I read the Phillips signing as Albies not being with the big club until the trade deadline. Hope not, I’m genuinely looking forward to watching him.

  61. I don’t think anyone should read the Phillips trade as anything other than the Braves finding out Rodriguez was going to be out for much of the season and revisiting a deal they knew all along that they could have if they wanted it.

  62. I’m not sure they knew that all along; Phillips has nixed scads of deals over the past few years, including deals to the Braves. They apparently made some assurances this time that they weren’t willing to make before, and perhaps he had a change of heart, too. It certainly made all the sense in the world to bring him home as a second base equivalent of R.A. Dickey.

  63. They pretty clearly knew it all along; Bowman has said since the Rodriguez signing that the Phillips trade was something they could revisit at some point. I’m sure they balked at the $500K-upon-trade provision the first time, but they knew that’s all they had to agree to in order to get it done at any point.

  64. I’m sure it wasn’t just the $500k. The Reds may have been asking for better players at one point.

  65. I think the Reds were probably a little more desperate to move him now than they were a few months ago.

  66. Apparently the Reds made some promises to Phillips that several of the proposed trades did not keep. Reading between the lines, one of these was that he would retain some no-trade protection if he was dealt — Phillips’s no-trade protection is a result of his 10/5 rights, which are waived if he allowed any trade. The Braves granted him some limited no-trade protection as a condition of the trade. Presumably Phillips didn’t want to end up in a situation where he moved to a new city and was flipped after two months, which is perfectly reasonable.

  67. It was the money.

    They had a deal before that Phillips vetoed — he wouldn’t have done that because he wanted the Reds to get better players in exchange for him. And at the time (pre-Rodriguez-signing), he’d have been the starter, so that wouldn’t have been a concern, either. The fact that the Braves found out they needed him on Friday and swung a deal for him on Saturday in which he received no additional no-trade protection and only a conditional $500K assignment bonus tells me that it was absolutely that conditional $500K assignment bonus that prevented the trade from happening back before the Rodriguez signing.

    Yes, it’s a relatively small amount of (conditional) money, but it’s the only thing in the deal that happened that could have been a hang-up in the deal that didn’t.

  68. @111 Braves didn’t grant BP no trade protection rather honored (forcefully, I might add) his partial NTC that came with his contract.
    @112 I do think part was the 500K, but there was some kind of pissing contest that went unresolved with BP and Cinci’s front office. As outspoken as BP is, I’m sure it’ll come out sometime.

  69. Hm, doesn’t quite sound like “best shape of his life” (from DOB):

    “Kemp appeared to have lost a little weight since last year and seemed to have more burst on the short sprints than he showed in the outfield last season after coming to the Braves in a trade-deadline deal that provided another significant boost to an offense that had already begun to improve.”

  70. @115
    No one expected a different opinion.

    On a brighter note, Braves signed 5 more free agents (most of the international variety) over the last few weeks:
    1. 18 y/o RHP Elvis Jimenez from the Dominican
    2. 19 y/o 1B Nick Vizcaino from Pinecrest, FL.
    3. 18 y/o RHP Miguel Pena from anyone’s guess
    4. 17 y/o LH OFer Jose Palma from anyone’s guess
    5. 18 y/o C Sergio Ordonez from anyone’s guess

    There is absolutely no info out there on these guys so likely got a little bit of cash in their pockets and will report to short leagues later.

  71. @115, one of these days, Chief, you should take a look at the track record of other prospects who have achieved that ranking. Prospects have a fairly high burnout rate. If Albies becomes Ronnie Belliard, we should all be happy.

    Funnily enough, though, in Baseball America’s chat yesterday, this is the comp they came up with:

    Greg (ATL): Ozzie Albies comp — Jose Vidro with a little less power but with better defense. Yes or no?
    John Manuel: Nah. I’m not feeling that one. Albies will be a shortstop masquerading as a second baseman. I think of Brandon Phillips when I think of players like that. I think Albies will be a better hitter for average, hopefully more walks, not as much power as Phillips, but he could be in that family of player.

    Also, they provided an explanation of why he’s such a good prospect despite his lack of light-tower power:

    Larry (Atlanta): I’m a Braves fan, but I’m struggling with Albies. Obviously the defense is plus and that’s good. The hit tool certainly seems to be, too. What else is there though? I know he’ll steal some bases and that’s nice, but if the power is as limited as it seems, what’s his realistic impact? As a batting average and defense dependent player?
    J.J. Cooper: I think you are understating how much impact that can be. Let me give you some examples: Jose Ramirez–a roughly 4 WAR player last year with modest power, but average, speed and defense. Cesar Hernandez was a 3/4 WAR player (depending on which WAR you use) last year as an average, speed, defense middle infielder with zero power. Albies is never going to be a 20+ HR guy consistently, but he’ll hit a ton of doubles and triples so he’ll post solid slugging percentages to go with high average, great defense and baserunning value.

  72. What is the projection for Albies’ slash line, WAR, and power numbers during his peak years? I’ve really not read much. Benintendi gets compared to Don Mattingly, Moncada to Robinson Cano, etc., and those tell me a lot, but even Jose Vidro is not that helpful for Albies. Are we to expect a .320/.380/.450 slash line, 4-5 WAR, and 30/5/15 2B/3B/HR during Albies’ peak? That’s basically Robbie Alomar’s career.

  73. The thing I worry about going forward is where the power comes from.

    Kemp and Freeman have pop, but how much longer will we have Kemp?

    Swanson, Inciarte, Albies, Ruiz/Garcia, Cakes and most of the guys at the higher levels don’t have a lot of power.

  74. @119, if you go with a comp of Brandon Phillips with more AVG/OBP and less SLG, that gets you about .300/.360/.440, and yeah, with some defense and baserunning, that’s an All-Star. (Phillips made three All-Star teams in his career. Also, remember, he was in the original Bartolo Colon trade, going from Montreal to Cleveland along with Grady Sizemore and Cliff Lee, and this is the first time that Phillips and Colon have ever been on the same team.)

  75. I actually expect less home run power but more doubles and triples for Albies. Alomar rarely went for leg doubles (which may be why he was one of the healthiest 2nd basemen of all time). 45/12/8 wouldn’t surprise me at peak. Of course, I’ll happily take peak Jose Vidro, or more likely Luis Castillo.

    Something I was wondering with the prospect lists coming out: is Albies being rated at ss or 2nd? I can’t remember a time when 2 2nd basemen were at the top of the rankings (and I’reasonably certain Moncada is looked at as a 3rd baseman.

  76. Don’t y’all think that Phillips gave up his 10/5 and allowed the trade because the Reds simply told him he wasn’t going to play?

  77. I was talking to a friend of mine who is a Reds fan this morning and the word in Reds circles was that they were going to simply release him if they couldn’t make a deal before the season started.

  78. Sounds like S-Rod is out for the season after surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff to his non throwing shoulder.

  79. I don’t normally care much about the person, per se, for several reasons, but it softens the blow of losing Rodriguez for the year by simply being happy he’s alive. That could have been much worse, as it was for the other driver, and I’m very happy his family is ok as well.

    This really turned out about as well as it could have for the Braves. With that said, Rodriguez could have slid over to 3B once Albies was ready, and now Albies being ready doesn’t have as much impact on the team in 2017. Between Rodriguez, Jace, Adonis, and Ruiz, you’d hope to feel a little better about 3B…

  80. Dave Stewart is on MLB Network Radio now saying he had 3 people above him approving every move which made it very hard for him to do his job. Ok…HOW IN THE HECK ARE THERE 4 FRONT OFFICE GUYS THAT CHECKED IN THE OK BOX FOR THAT DEAL?

    Oh yeah, he’s also saying he should have “went with his gut and held on to Dansby”. Hindsight’s a mutha.

  81. If not for that trade, I think things look really different for us right now. Dansby and Ender have been everything we thought they would be (and a little quicker with Dansby), and there’s still hope for Blair. Really, what a game-changer for the club. I hope there will be a deal that will feel like we add a big piece without having to give up much in the near future.

    Looking back at that thread, boy, was I wrong about that pen. Unless you’ve got 4-5 established relievers in the pen, you need about 12 unproven ones to guarantee you get 2-3.

  82. You guys, I’m not going to do the Braves Journal Crowhoppers fantasy league this year. With a young kid, I just don’t have the time. It was a fun ride though!

  83. Per Peanut, in the article linked above:

    LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — One quick glimpse at Matt Kemp serves as sufficient evidence of the commitment he made this offseason to get into better shape and silence those who criticized the extra weight he carried last year.

    So, he’s only silenced the critics of his weight. Not the critics of his defense, presumably.

  84. Bowman’s article on Kemp comes about as close as possible to saying that. Kemp made a commitment to “silence those who criticized the extra weight he carried “. Snitker is very close to making the “best shape of his life ” statement when he says “You look like you did when you played CF for the Dodgers. “

  85. This is neat, a spreadsheet tracking all the various prospect rankings, from MLBPipeline, Baseball America, ESPN, Baseball Prospectus, and Minor League Ball:

    Here they are:

    Player (Average ranking)
    Dansby Swanson (2.8)
    Ozzie Albies (18.4)
    Kolby Allard (43)
    Ronald Acuna (61.4)
    Sean Newcomb (68.2)
    Mike Soroka (70.4)
    Kevin Maitan (73.2)
    Ian Anderson (77.8)
    Max Fried (85.2)
    Luiz Gohara (93.5)

    Ten guys in the collective top 100. That ain’t bad.

  86. Freddie Freeman clocked in at #18 on MLB TV’s 100 Best Players Right Now special, just in front of Fransisco Lindor, and right behind Mr. Out – Buster Posey.

  87. Nick Swisher
    he of the erstwhile Yankee militia
    would like to thank the Atlanta Braves
    for underwriting some of those last few million waives.

  88. the Swisher grin
    transformative, a loss into a win
    he is remembered on second
    the sky punched, the dugout hooha beckoned.

  89. We’re almost a week into Spring Training and Kelly Johnson is not a Brave. What is going on here?

  90. ChopCast had Coppy on for an interview:

    Couple interesting things:

    -Coppy runs through the big trades they’ve made, and seems to like the Justin Upton trade the most
    -Said that he thinks some teams don’t want to trade with him.
    -Made a point to say that the Braves don’t have the resources that the Cubs have, seemingly trying to downplay expectations for the Braves.
    -Said Luke Jackson has been throwing really well in Spring Training
    -Overall, he sounded really optimistic about 2017 and his overall tone was that the rebuilding part was mostly over.

    Not much meat, though.

  91. Haha – well, you can still book your ticket for Cooperstown in 20 years to hear his HoF speech.

    I’ll fully admit it’s spring training speaking, but I’m starting to talk myself into this team. I don’t see them being great in any one area, but I can see them being decent all around. If Folty takes a step forward, the old guys hold off Father Time another year, some of Wisler/Blair/Newcomb/Ruiz/Sims turn a corner in AAA, the offense doesn’t fall too far off 2H of 2016, and they perform in one run games….they could make some noise. I know all of that happening isn’t likely, but taken individually, none it it seems overly unreasonable.

    In any case, I’m hopeful we’ll have a summer of competent Braves baseball, and it’s nice to finally be able to say that again.

  92. Matt Kemp
    substantially a signing that was pro temp
    but fresh new hope arises
    we wait to view the which of his two sizes.

  93. And I’ll be there! I’m going to Braves/Jays this Saturday and Braves/Yanks this Wednesday. I have enough of a genuine optimism about this team this year that I’m going to try to get to 3-4 Spring Training games (there are 8 within an hour, so I like my chances), and I’ve bought my tickets for opening night at Sun Trust. I think I’d regret not seeing the top farm system in baseball, many of which will get their first look in Spring Training this year, and I’ve never been to the first game in a new stadium. And with high-A’s team now playing at 4 different places within an hour, I think I’ll invest the time to see some of the young kids at high-A.

    I think it’s an exciting time to be a Barves fan, and after these past couple years, I want to see the dawn.

  94. Nice Rob. I am planning to see the Braves at home against the Cubs this summer. Already planning a business trip around it. Very excited to see the new park.

  95. ‘comically low’
    he could even be be a no-show
    his numbers extrapolated
    denounced, ideologically weighted.


    Not sure I agree that KJ and Jace can’t be on the same roster. You can have a bench of Suzuki, KJ, Jace, d’Arnaud, Ruiz, and OF. d’Arnaud can backup SS and CF, Jace can play CF, Ruiz splits time at 3B, KJ backs up 1B, and 4 guys can play corner outfield (Jace, KJ, d’Arnaud, and OF). Micah Johnson, if he hits well, could also be a backup CF option.

    And good for Wieters, good for the Nationals, and bad for baseball. It’s really crummy how long guys are forced to hold out to get the deal they inevitably get.

  97. Thanks for posting Ethan, I recommend the article to all as it has some of the most in depth scouting write ups I’ve seen on our guys. Really good stuff.

  98. Getting rid of the intentional walk sounds like a huge time saver. If I’m reading the article correctly it sounds like we can count on games being about 25 seconds shorter!

  99. @169 I also read and enjoyed that article – I appreciate an evaluator willing to grade prospects with a critical eye; better that than reading another fluff piece on a Braves prospect looking to put it all together (“Lucas Sims wants to silence his critics!”) etc. or optimistic prospect reports written by Braves fans (“Travis Demeritte is going to be unstoppable!”).

    Here are some notable things (to me) about Longerhagen’s report:
    – Albies with a future 70 hit tool – only one in the Braves system I saw. Man am I looking forward to watching him play.

    – Maitan ranked quite high here (#5). It strikes me that Alex Jackson (who gets a low grade) profiled similarly to Maitan as a hitter when he was drafted out of HS – 60 hit / 60 power – but over time Jackson apparently lost his batting mechanics. Let’s hope 1) the same thing doesn’t happen to Maitan and 2) Jackson rediscovers how to make consistent quality contact with pitched baseballs.

    – Fried and Allard are the only two pitching prospects that grade out with plus stuff and plus control at present. A few others (Anderson and Gohara) have plus stuff with the potential for plus control that they haven’t harnessed yet; then you have a number of guys with excellent stuff who don’t profile as being likely to develop good control (Newcomb, Toussaint). Soroka falls under the category of ‘future innings eater’, and apparently Weigel will be exposed at higher levels of competition unless he can improve his command.

    – Nothing against Ian Anderson, but I wish the Braves had found a way to take Corey Ray (who went #5 to the Brewers for $4.125M) instead of Anderson (#3 pick, $4M). Longerhagen has a glowing review of Ray as a guy with elite athleticism and plus-plus bat speed in LF/CF. Moreover, he is an experienced college player who should move quickly through the minors. That fits perfectly with the Braves’ needs going forward.

  100. The elimination of the four-pitch IBB in favor of a signal from the dugout is about PACE, not TIME.

  101. 173—The Braves just weren’t that high on Ray. (Note that he signed for “only” $125K more than Anderson did, so they could have found a way to draft him if that’s whom they wanted.) They liked Senzel and would have taken him, but beyond that, Anderson was their top guy.

    Ray didn’t hit much in his (SSS) debut and Senzel raked in his, for what it’s worth.

  102. Shame about the IBB -as infrequently as they occur nowadays it seems chance of failure introduces more excitement than any paltry time or “pace” savings realized.

  103. You want to talk about the “pace,” what about instant replay? Every close call is met with this almost palpable awkward pause wherein the players, umpires and broadcasters are all staring into a dugout, waiting to see if the manager will waddle out to challenge it, and said manager is standing by the phone, waiting for someone to call and tell him if he should.

    While I support instant replay and getting the call right, the argument made by its proponents prior to its introduction that it would “save time” because “managers won’t be out there arguing as much” has proven to be a total pant-load. At least managers throwing a hissy fit was entertaining; watching umpires loiter in headsets is not.

  104. @175 I suppose that if Mr. Longerhagen were running the Braves, we would’ve ended up with Ray instead of Anderson. Only time will tell which was the better choice. In the abstract, the Braves have more need of a polished college LF/CF prospect than they do another young projectable arm, but I respect that the Braves judged Anderson to be the better talent and drafted based on player skill rather than team need. Frankly, I can’t think of the last time the Braves succeeded (or even tried) with a high draft pick college player. [Dansby doesn’t count – we traded for him.]

    Also I screwed up my link @173 to Ray’s profile – here it is (he is #2 on the Brewers prospect list).

  105. Oh, I’m sure you’re right about Longenhagen’s preference. And at the time, *I* really wanted Kyle Lewis or Ray (and was relieved that Senzel wasn’t on the table) — just saying, I think it was purely a matter of the Braves’ preference and not any constraints w/r/t taking Ray instead.

  106. You are correct that video review completely explodes pace of play as well. There are competing desires between pace of play needs and “get the call right” needs, but MLB has implemented review/replay poorly. (They should never have mimicked the NFL’s “coaches challenge” system. They should just have NY or on-site extra umpire in the box make the call to the crew chief via earbud.)

  107. I questioned why we continued to double down on pitching at the time of the draft, and I’m still doing that. And on top of that, we just traded a near-ready OF for more pitching. If one or two of Wisler/Blair/Newcomb/Sims/Weigel hits this year, then you’d have to assume they’ll move some of this pitching for someone that Ray would hope to become.

    Longenhagen made a good point that Braves, Yanks, and Pads prospects are getting talked about and hyped up because we don’t have anything going on at the major league level. Yeah, I guess you’re right…

  108. I still think the idea that we can trade the pitchers that we don’t want (assuming we even have any spares) for good position players is something that is highly unlikely to work out. Any impactful trade is going to involve someone that nobody wants to give up.

  109. … Except we just kinda did that. Garcia’s health is obviously a concern, but he’s one year removed from a 3.9 WAR season, and he’s 30. We got him for two spare parts in the pitching surplus and a utility infielder in low-A.

    Obviously we haven’t made the deal yet for an impact position player, but if you package up what Povse/Whalen/Jenkins/Gant/Ellis were traded for, Garcia/Jackson/Jackson, then you could make the argument that that’s a total package that could get an impact player. So it may not be glut-of-crappy-pitchers-for-one-big-player, but there’s at least a path that leads from crappy pitchers to one good player, methinks.

  110. Rob at 185,

    Agree that trades of surplus pitching should be able to fill SOME position player holes with GOOD players. The question will be how many position players does this system produce and at what positions.

    Right now I am convinced that Middle infield is set. First base is set barring catastrophic injury to Freeman. Catching could produce a well above average MLB catcher or produce nothing other than maybe one defense first backup catcher. We are o.k. (only) here the next 2 years with Flowers and Suzuki. Third base is a big question mark. Can an Adonis / Rio platoon produce 3 WAR for about 2 years? Will Austin Riley (a) be able to stick defensively at 3rd and (b) produce offensively? How long before Maitan challenges (my take is 2021)?

    Outfield has Ender and I think Peterson is good enough to maybe be a 2 to 3 WAR guy in left. Acuna is at least a big league regular in about 2019. Other than potential 4th outfielders, the rest are off even farther than Acuna.

    So, over the next 2 years, I think we can make one trade for a virtually certain position player prospect or one early pre arb player. Beyond 1, we need to hope this farm system produces them or else we have to play in FA.

  111. Maitan is a steak on the grill. I don’t think any conversations about the current crop of position players should include him. In other words, I doubt all of Swanson/Albies/Freeman/Inciarte plays with Maitan. A lot can and will change in the next 3-4 years. And to a lesser extent, same thing with Riley. Guy hasn’t hit above low-A, so a top position player has to come from FA or trade.

    Let’s say the Rockies, who have made one more attempt at shoring up their pitching this offseason, decide to rebuild and deal off Blackmon, CarGo, and Arenado. Would the Chris Sale return be equivalent to Arenado’s? It would really hurt to give up someone akin to Moncada’s talent (Albies… sigh), but Kopech, Basabe, and Diaz are essentially Allard, Peterson (he might be a little better, actually), and some low-A outfielder. I think we make that trade to get a right-handed hitting elite position player. And if Arenado is more valuable than Sale (very possible), then you could simply include another top-100 pitcher in the deal and I think we’d live to tell about it.

    And I thought we had a ton of talent in the low minors last year, but we have even more now after the international signings and high draft position. By this time next year, we should see even more appreciation in our prospect base than we did last year, where Newcomb’s stock is essentially the only player that didn’t take a step forward (unless you count Byrd, Thurman, or Sims, who are not top prospects). When we’re ready to add that next huge piece, we will probably be even more flush with talent barring something unforeseen.

    So from that point, you have Swanson/Albies/Freeman/Inciarte/Still Kemp/Elite Position Player/Spare Parts. And Colon, Dickey, and Garcia’s $31.5M off the books and might have a couple more prospects by trading them. I think we’ll be just fine by 2018.

  112. Paco having clean health and being hyped as the primary lefty is good news. We don’t currently have anyone who can shut down lefties in the late innings. To me, it’s more about roster construction than WAR accumulation to see where we end up this year.

  113. Very encouraged by reports on Rodriguez. No one really paid him any attention (understandably), but I was excited about his inclusion in The Trade That Shall Not Be Named.

    He absolutely dominated VU while at Florida, maybe more so than any other Gator pitcher in my time following the rivalry.

  114. @190 – I liked him a lot too.

    My opinion is they just ride out the string with this current group for the next two years (unless Lucroy is a target next year) and go Lord of the Flies with the young pitchers until you get a rotation that sticks. The 2018-19 free agent market is so deep, it doesn’t make sense to me to burn prospects (barring a Shelby deal). By 2019 (unless something goes terribly wrong), you should have a young, cheap, ascending, entirely homegrown rotation. Dansby, Albies, Freeman, and Ender should still be here with Acuna close.

    Then you can go HAM for on a FA to round out the roster (Machado, Donaldson, Pollock, Grandal, Blackmon,etc) and cash in some prospects that there’s no room to put in the rotation for a guy to put it over the edge.

    I just think we won’t be a legit WS threat until we’re getting 16-18 WAR out of the rotation and if you cash in prospects too soon to speed that up, best case you trap yourself into a 3 year window of competition or worst case, you run out of resources to round out the rest of your roster.

  115. A lot of this depends on their finances. If Sun Trust increases payroll, then that’ll shift things accordingly. A core of Dansby/Albies/Freeman/Ender is incredibly cheap, adding Kemp is fair market value, and if they can move Markakis, and also have a cheap rotation and bullpen, then they will be able to add 2-3 3-5 WAR players as early as the end of 2017.

    I’m also arguing that it could be as early as the end of 2017 that they have too many pitchers for the rotation. We jettisoned the guys without the stuff to be major league pitchers. Teheran, Folty, Wisler, Blair, Newcomb, Weigel, and Sims have demonstrated in the high minors that they have the velocity and secondary pitches to be major league starters. Jenkins, Whalen, Ellis, and Gant didn’t do that. Obviously, control is a huge issue for almost all of our young pitchers. But at the end of 2017, it’s very possible that they’ll have about $60-70M committed to a rotation of starters, the bullpen, the core position players mentioned, and the bench. They should, then, be able to afford 2 elite position players between 3B, RF, and C, the remaining position needed filled by an average player, and an elite starting pitcher. And that’s without dipping into the best farm system in baseball besides the graduation of Newcomb, Weigel, and Sims. That also assumes no spot for Dustin Peterson and Rio Ruiz, two guys that are close to justifying some sort of major league opportunity.

  116. @193 Rob – you’ve got you rose-colored glasses on, but Spring Training is a time for hope and promise so I won’t pooh-pooh your enthusiasm.

    With respect to the OF: Kemp’s contract ($21.5M/year through 2019) was obviously viewed by the market as very expensive at the time the Braves acquired him. Kemp proceeded to play great for the Braves post-acquisition, but I still imagine that most (if not all) teams view Kemp as overpaid. That said, if he can return to playing decent defense his value will rebound quickly – .800 OPS from a LF is a whole lot better than .800 OPS from a DH masquerading as a LF. I still don’t see the Braves trading Kemp this season – they need his bat to pair with Freeman (and to sell tickets!). Markakis’ remaining contract (2/$21M) isn’t pricey but Cakes lacks the typical corner OF power profile and has poor range in RF – his potential trade market will inherently be limited. Even if the Braves *did* find a trade partner willing to take Cakes as something other than a salary dump, who would the Braves play there – Jace Peterson? Unless and until Dustin Peterson steps up, the Braves don’t have an in-house RF replacement who might actually be an upgrade over Cakes.

    With respect to the pitching staff: If one of the starting 5 (Teheran, Garcia, Folty, Colon, Dickey) aren’t healthy coming out of Spring Training, I have to imagine the Braves would turn to Collmenter or Wisler. With all the age (Colon/Dickey) and fragility (Garcia) in the rotation, it’s a certainty the Braves will have to get those #6/#7 guys on the mound before too long. Best case scenario, IMO, is that the Braves sell high on Garcia, Collmenter, and some bullpen arms during the course of the season to continue stocking up the minors. Maybe the Braves can pry away Cody Bellinger from the Dodgers in exchange for Garcia + a reliever midseason?

    Pitching Staff:

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