Fits for Atlanta Braves? 2020 Free Agents: Starting Pitchers

Top of Rotation Types- #1-2 Guys

Is this the year where the Braves go after a top-tier starter? I’m not sure, but it won’t stop me from spilling way too manY words on the idea.

Don’t look too deep into my classifications of Top Rotation/Mid-Rotation guys. I feel like I’m placing these guys where the market is going to place them and it’s merely my judgment on the matter.

Madison Bumgarner (30)- I’m no DOB, and I’m not convinced that Bumgarner is near an ace anymore, but he does reside in Braves Country, and maybe he’ll want to come to the Braves. Still, gonna pay for the name.

Gerrit Cole (29)- The trophy of the offseason. Cole has become other worldly since becoming an Astro and will likely demand an AAV of 30MM and, at the least, a 6 year deal. He’s a west coaster, so in all likelihood, I think he’ll want to land out there. My opinion? Tyler Flowers will win an MVP before Gerrit Cole becomes a Brave.

Cole Hamels (36)- Hamels has settled into his mid-30s as a 2.5ish WAR player and that holds value. He’s still getting groundballs at a high rate and could have enough left in the tank to have 1 more great season, but like Bumgarner, betting on that would be a risk.

Jake Odorizzi (30)- Now I find Odorizzi very interesting. He pushed the velo of his FB up and it became a downright nasty pitch in 2019. He put up a career year at the right time.

Michael Pineda (30)- Pineda…I’m also VERY interested in Pineda. Coming back from Tommy John, he had some inconsistencies to start the season, but by mid-May on, he was the best he’s ever been (93 IP, 96K, 17BB, 3.19 ERA), and was cruising until he was hit with a suspension. The suspension (80 games) was for Hydrochlorothiazide, which is used to either lose weight or mask other drugs. He claimed he was taking it to lose weight, and apparently he convinced the arbitrator enough to knock his suspension down to 60 games. He’ll miss the first 39 games of the year, which would likely mean he’ll be looking for a 1-year “prove it” deal. If I were AA, I’d seriously consider letting him prove it in Atlanta, which would also allow a prospect to “prove it” for the initial 39 games. Seems like a win/win.

Rich Hill (40)- Rich Hill is really good…when he can stay on the mound. The problem is that he can’t. If the Braves want to roll the dice on Hill, they could, and just pray that he’s healthy in the postseason.

Hyun-Jin Ryu (33)- An absolute stud of a pitcher if he can just stay on the mound. Throws nothing hard, nothing straight and the change is the dagger. He’s as close to Greg Maddux currently in the MLB.

Zack Wheeler (30)- Wheeler threw 195.1 innings last year and still pushed an average FB across at 97. His FB and SL are his go-tos and the curve and change keep hitters honest. I’d really like to see what Kranitz could do with Wheeler. Kranitz changed Teheran’s entire approach against LHHs, pitching them up and in. It did wonders for Julio’s FB. Can you imagine what 97 up and in would do?

Stephen Strasburg (31)- It’ll cost more than an AAV of 25MM to sign Strasburg in what most would consider his best year to date. I fully expect the Nationals to rework his deal, but if he goes out on the market, someone’s going to have to 1-up the dollars and the years. He’s really good…but Braves ain’t paying him 6/180MM.

Mid-Rotation Types- #3-4 Guys

Homer Bailey (34)- If the Braves were to cut ties with Julio Teheran in search of a veteran that could give them innings and, essentially, what Teheran gave them, for a lesser cost, they could call on Mr. Bailey. This wouldn’t be my path.

Gio Gonzalez (34)- As I said with Bailey, if the Braves want to drop Teheran and sign a veteran to eat innings at the back-end of the rotation, Gio would be a good bet to do that.

Felix Hernandez (34)- The King is on here merely for respect. I don’t know what has happened to him, but I hope someone can figure it out.

Dallas Keuchel (32)- Keuchel was fine for what the Braves needed in 2019, but he’s not a pitcher that moves the needle anymore for a postseason team and that’s ok if that’s what a team needs. The Braves need more.

Wade Miley (33)- Wade Miley is what Dallas Keuchel and Julio Teheran is and that isn’t what the Braves need, but Miley will likely be cheaper than either so he could be a fit if Braves want a back-end rotation guy. How I do hate settling.

Ivan Nova (33)- Nova is a lesser version of Keuchel, and Miley, and will likely be cheaper.

Rick Porcello (31)- It’s bizarre to me that Porcello was a Cy Young winner because, to be blunt, he’s just not that good. Is at his best when he keeps the ball on the ground. Unfortunately for him, that’s been difficult these past few years.

Tanner Roark (33)- Typical mid-to-back rotation guy. Roark puts up anywhere between 160-180 innings of “keep us in the game” pitching. At least he’s consistent.

Michael Wacha (28)- Diminished velo has led to an ineffective FB and might make Wacha consider changing up his 4-pitch usage. The change has always been the pitch that gets outs, but he really needs to find the FB again to create effectiveness on all other pitches.

Adam Wainwright (38)- Age ain’t nothing but a number. Wainwright came back to the Cards and pitched well enough. He doesn’t have velo to speak of anymore, but he’s still getting people out with that nasty hook. It’d be pretty sweet to bring Wainwright home where he would’ve been if J.D. Drew wouldn’t have been a thing (truthfully, we as fans can’t be too mad about that because the “streak” might not have continued if Drew weren’t acquired…what a year he had). Still…this isn’t the time for reunion tours and I feel like Wainwright might be St. Louis or bust at this point.

Alex Wood (29)- It just feels like Wood is going to become Rich Hill at some point. Maybe they cannot coexist so Wood has to wait for Hill to retire. Alex has top-tier stuff, but just cannot stay healthy. His best year, 2017, was when his sinker was absolutely dominant and hitters were chopping it into the ground. It was also at its highest velo and maybe he can’t push it there anymore.

Who do you got on this list? Let’s hear it in the comments!

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Author: Ryan Cothran

Ryan is the site editor and manager of Braves Journal. Follow him on Twitter.

71 thoughts on “Fits for Atlanta Braves? 2020 Free Agents: Starting Pitchers”

  1. I like whoever has a QO and doesn’t get a contract before June 1st. Probably what we’ll get if we want a top tier pitcher. That still falls under your category of letting the young guys have a few weeks to see if anyone can break out.

    Also, I like Wood on a minor league or make good contract. Let him get his bearings at AAA, bring him up as a middle reliever, and put him in the rotation for whoever fails first. Hill has been dominant for the Dodgers and they just keep hanging on to him and letting him pitch whenever he can. We could do a lot worse than having Wood in that function.

  2. One of my offseason wishes is for the Braves to reel in Cole. If Tyler Flowers were to have a MVP season to boot, that’d be just gravy. :)

    Assuming they’re not looking at Cole, you’ve swayed me on Pineda. I hadn’t really thought of him, and didn’t realize he had been that good before the suspension. I like the buy low potential there.

    I, too, am in favor of signing Wood IF it’s a minor league deal. If someone outbids that, I pass.

    Wheeler is the other pitcher I’d be highly interested in. I like the power he has in his arm, and feel it’s something the Braves need to win a WS. Unless your last name is Maddux, it’s difficult to pitch to contact and use control in the playoffs successfully.

  3. @2
    The thing that really gets me excited about Pineda’s sample that I brought up is the BB-rate. A 1.65 BB/9 while striking out 9.3/9 is remarkable.

    The later into the season, the more Pineda could throw his slider for an out pitch again (his calling card). In his last start of the year before the suspension, he threw 36 sliders, 8 where whiffs, 3 were put in play for outs, 0 were put in play for hits, and it had the exact velo of his changeup which makes for mastery of deception.

  4. A real quick thought on the tier 2 guys.

    The problem here becomes the likelihood of getting at least as good of production out of one or more of the various minor league and bullpen pitchers. We will know today if Teheran’s option is being picked up.
    If you do that, you have to figure there is no reason to play in this sandbox.

    Also, I think there are really 3 tiers. Srasburg and Cole both have records of proven excellence with nothing specific to doubt that now (loss of velocity, declining performance, age)

    Then, the remaining Tier 1 guys you have should be 2 and then the rest in Tier 3. Then, Tier 2 would be “likely to exceed the best potential performance of Newcombe, Anderson, Wilson, Wright, and Davidson, but not by much.” Tier 3 would be “helps keep from running up roster days and excess innings on N, A, W, W, and D without shooting your foot off.”

  5. @4
    I agree that there should be 3 tiers, but for simplicity’s sake, I created 2:

    Tier 1 guys slot in at 1 or 2 on the depth chart.
    Tier 2 guys slot in at 3, 4, or 5.

    I want nothing to do with Tier 2.

  6. Great summary Ryan. There will also be a load more guys untendered today, and some of them will be the #3/4 types, which I assume is the next post in this series.

    Looking at guys (likely) getting 3+ year contracts, Wheeler, Bumgarner, Ryu and Hamels all scare me either for health or declining velocity concerns. I’m all in on Strasburg and Cole and am willing to sign Pineda to any 3-year-or-less deal (say, 3/50 or so). Odorizzi will be Tanner Roark in 2 years, so… no thanks.

    The others are just guys and the team will likely need someone of that ilk should we decline Julio’s option (which we should).

  7. I would love to hear a counter-argument to why targeting 1-year pillow guys is a bad idea. A multi-year deal, in any of the years, is as good of a bet as any to have a bad year. So getting a guy like Pineda after getting a guy like Keuchel the year before is a great way to potentially get an elite year out of a guy without long-term baggage. I guess the casual fan would love to see the home run signing, but not this guy.

    Same thing with Alex Wood. What a dumpster fire of a season as a walk year. He might be another guy looking for a short-term deal. I’d be in on him too.

    No one else on the list particularly excites me.

  8. @7
    I think the argument can be made to “grab the star” over the pillow contract if your team can check off these 2 boxes:

    1. Lack of elite pitching depth in the Minors
    2. Payroll can absorb the loss.

    The Braves HAVE the pitching depth and DO NOT have room for huge payroll errors.

    The Braves still need to be able to battle test guys like Wilson, Wright, Ian, Davidson, etc., and signing the big contract hinders that.

  9. @6 I think Wheeler is a little bit of a different case. Yes there have been some injuries with him, but that’s true of most Mets players as a whole. They might be changing the culture there, but things have been suspect with the way that training staff handled guys in the past. I’d bet a Coke on him to be more durable outside of NY.

  10. Wheeler comes with a QO. If wheeler isn’t signed by opening day, the braves have a chance. Until then, it’s a pipe dream in my opinion.

  11. @8 What level of “star” are you talking about though?

    I’d agree it doesn’t make a world of sense to sign the stars who might have some red flags with age or performance to long term deals. The Braves have enough depth to not play it desperate, which is a nice luxury.

    If you’re the GM of the Braves, and Cole or Strasburg’s agent call you and say my client is interested in coming to Atlanta, is that a pass for you?

    I believe the Braves have a lot of guys with the potential to be in a rotation, but Sororka is the only guy who’s stepped up and cemented it. I think most nights during the season they’ll be able to count on Folty and/or Fried. I’d like to see Folty no more than once in a playoff series, though. But I think there’s absolutely room to add a guy here to take some pressure off the youngsters, and not just by eating innings. Let the best pitcher claim the 5th spot, and if two excel shuttle your weakest link to long relief.

  12. @10 You’re probably not wrong, based on previous history. I dislike that approach from the Braves at this stage of team building, though. The future is here and now. It’s time to win. My thought is who are we drafting in the high 20s that helps with that in the next 3-4 years?

  13. If you’re the GM of the Braves, and Cole or Strasburg’s agent call you and say my client is interested in coming to Atlanta, is that a pass for you?

    I mean, yeah. I don’t care what they want to do. If Cole is looking for a $200M+ deal, same with Strasburg, then I hope the Braves don’t do it. I don’t care how much we commit to spending in 2025 in 2019. I just don’t. I care about us winning, so if Pineda can give you 90% of Strasburg’s production for half the AAV in 2019 and no obligation past that, then why wouldn’t you? Go spend that savings on a RF, 3B, C, RP, etc.

  14. @13 Hey, I like the Pineda idea. I think those Cali teams are going to be aggressive on the pitching market, sans the poor A’s. So not sure that’s a derby Atlanta wins? As much as I like the Pineda idea though, what’s the probability he gives you 90% of Cole or Strasburg in 2019? You’re already missing 7 or 8 starts from him, which is able to be covered. You’ve got to factor in (insert young pitcher here) vs. Cole or Strasburg in the equation though too. The NL East will be tight. Need every game.

  15. I forgot he’s missing those 7-8 starts when I said 90%. I mean that based on rate starts, he could be 90% of Cole or Strasburg. Obviously that’s a high number, and it would go down significantly because of the time missed. But because he misses a quarter of the season, he might be in line for less than a $10M contract. I’m interested to see how the market develops for him.

  16. In terms of market, Kiley has FanGraphs free agent listing up today.


    For me the argument for one of the big guns is that the likelihood that we are able to create or develop a better talent during their contract is low. I understand the reluctance to put a long term contract on a pitcher. I am not advocating for that. But, I would say the odds for any of our pitchers in the system now to outproduce either Strasburg or Cole over the next 6 years is probably less than 10%. It is how to get more total WAR out of the 26 players and the guys in the minors together.

    The third tier guys even for next year, are unlikely to be worth it.

    Kiley and their crowdsourcing have Donaldson and Grandal at numbers that work in a projected Braves payroll. And you could possibly still do a Rich Hill / Alex Wood signing with a Pineda signing.

  17. The pitcher WAR set up is different from position players because of “chaining.”

    For example, what would you give to add Goldschmitt? Almost nothing because you have to pay Freeman and he is as good or better. That is not saying Goldschmitt is bad. He just has no value for the Braves.

    But a team has 5 rotation spots. Plus it needs 2 to 3 spot starters / emergency starters. Adding Cole means that your number 5, just became a spot starter. So the WAR difference is between Cole and your number 5. But then, your number 5 is
    a better long man / spot starter than your newly minted number 6. So, you pick up .5 WAR there. He genuinely could add 4 to 5 WAR to the roster. Comparatively, it is unlikely that Hamels adds more than 1 or Wheeler adds more than 2.

    Same thing in the pen. An elite arm pushes everybody back. So, you add WAR and WPA from spot 1 all of the way to spot 8.

  18. Braves declined Flowers option (and thus payed the $2 buyout now and as a port of this year’s payroll) and then resigned him from $4 million for next year.

    Just some creative accounting it seems.

  19. Or maybe Tyler Flowers, having a structured settlement and needing cash now, was not able to call JG Wentworth and instead restructured his deal with the Braves.

    I’m sorry. That was really lame.

  20. The new deal means Flowers gets $2M upfront with only $4M counting on next year’s payroll. I’m guessing AA had a little bit left in the kitty for this year and used it rather than lose it. It could also be Flow was really desperate for an immediate $2M because, well, who among us hasn’t been in that situation?

  21. Kakes is back too, same deal as Flowers.

    Don’t love it, not a bad deal if Nick is used properly, but we all know that ain’t happening.

  22. We all know from recent experience that there is exactly zero chance the Braves will buy into a QO FA. I can’t waste my energy wanting something I’ll never have. I want a QO pitcher who’s not signed by OD.

    As far as non-QO pitchers are concerned, either Pineda or Ryu would be just fine for me, but I would not go more than a year on either as age and/or infirmity and/or drugs makes either a huge risk.

  23. Nick Markakis is once again an every day OF in Atlanta, I guess. Have to figure so since Snit is still at the helm.


  24. The POTUS grabbing the breasts of Kurt Suzuki should have bipartisan support. No political debate whatsoever. Haha.

  25. Well, Markakis did get his house robbed, so he probably needed the cash too.

    In all seriousness, it’s pretty interesting that a perceived $4M in commitments has now been added to the 2019 payroll. With how shrewd AA has been with payroll since he took over, I think he can do something decent with that.

  26. Also, I’m not sure why this guarantees that Nick is the starting right fielder. If AA truly has no control over how Nick Markakis is used, then I don’t know who to fire, the stupid manager or the limp GM. I mean, what’s worse, Snit’s an idiot or AA can’t control his manager?

  27. Teheran’s option has been declined. Wonder if he’s a goner or if they try to bring him back for less.

  28. I would really have to question my fandom if Nick Markakis is the starting right fielder next year. I was already surprised he played every day yesterday (though I’m sure some of you would think I was naive for doing so), but it was slightly defensible considering the way the payroll ended up being allocated and the number it ended up at. But it would be insulting to Braves fans if he was again this year without some big roster-altering moves.

  29. Nick is to Snit as forks are to kleptomaniacs.

    Neither can control themselves around the other, Rob.

  30. Nick should be the 4th outfielder/ insurance in case RIley can’t handle LF. Betts in RF obviously.

  31. I’m going to be real upset if the Opening Day 2020 lineup features Markakis in left field and Riley/Camargo at third.

  32. What’s the deal with the contract restructuring here, by the way? I don’t quite understand why they couldn’t just pick up the options and kick the 4 million in the coffers over to next season? They’re nowhere near any luxury tax considerations. It’s not a major thing. I just don’t understand the “why” this way, and I’d like to.

  33. Are we expecting the Braves to sign 2 outfielders this off-season? If not, do folks expect Markakis to ride the bench while a combination of Riley/Camargo plays LF?

  34. @ 41,

    For accrual purposes, it should have been charged this way anyway. If FO considers payroll to be on the cash basis and if AA has 4 million left for 2019, then that is 4 mill extra for next year.

    It means SOMETHING or they would not have done it. We just don’t know exactly what it means.

  35. On Julio, KLaw had already treated it (this morning) as if he was getting declined and had Julio in front of Keuchel by one place. And, looking at where Kiley had Keuchel, the industry consensus is that Julio and Keuchel are in the same tier.

  36. @43 I’d think Markakis/Duvall will have LF. And I bet that Nick is going to be this year’s Joyce.

    Kole Calhoun just hit the open market. He’d be a nice Markakis replacement, if we can get him at half his option price. The idea being that Nick replaces Joyce and Calhoun replaces Nick.

    Odorizzi gets a QO. I predict he’ll either accept it or he’ll be the one that waits until June for his contract. Keuchel was a former CYA; Odorizzi is not.

    Martin Perez might make a good replacement for Julio, especially if he has to take a minor league deal. I could see Josh Tomlin doing as well as Julio, too.

  37. I sure hope that declining Julio and adding $4M to payroll means we are definitely playing in both the Donaldson and Grandal markets. Take Donaldson’s $23.5 and bump it up by the $4M means you can give him up to $28M. Take Keuchel’s $13M and Julio’s $12M and you have money to pay Grandal with something leftover for a mid-range SP (say $18M to Grandal and $7M for the next Julio).

    If they can trade out Melancon’s $14M, a whole world of opportunities opens up.

    I sure hope that’s the plan. If you take JD and Grandal this year then you can look for that “ace” next year while trying to develop one this year.

  38. I see some thought process coming together:
    1. Acuña starts in CF vs. LHP, RF vs. RHP.
    2. Markakis starts in LF vs. RHP
    3. Ender starts in CF vs. RHP
    4. Duvall starts in RF vs. LHP
    5. Riley starts in LF vs LHP.

    Honestly, that would be fine, if Donaldson is signed.

  39. I’m fine with this so long as the plan is to let Markakis platoon for April/May then move into the full-time co-mascot role with Blooper.

    As to the Starting Pitcher targets, I’ve said it on this weblog for like 6 months – Gerrit Cole should be the target for the Braves. There is no reason not to push the chips in this season. And that means spending more money.

    Anything short of a top-10 payroll in 2020 should have every Braves fan steaming mad. Look at where Braves payroll was the last few years they actually won a playoff series. Not a coincidence.

  40. @50 I like your thought process but Duvall has only played LF in a Braves uniform. Riley has the arm for RF. But…..

    I’d rather see a Pache/Ender platoon in CF, Acuna in RF full time, and Duvall/Markakis (or Duvall/Calhoun?) in LF. You can bring Riley back up from AAA when he’s ready and send Pache down for more seasoning.

    I also like the idea of giving Ronald one position to play and be good at. He is still young and developing. You take a lot for granted with a STB 22 yo kid when you treat him like a 30 yo veteran.

  41. Anyone wanna guess who accepts a QO this year? 10 choices. My money is on Odorizzi and Will Smith accepting QOs.

    I doubt Smith wants to see the same thing happen to him that happened to Kimbrel.

  42. @53 I’d say Will Smith accepts for sure. If Chapman wasn’t ready to gamble on the market, Smith has to be concerned.

    I think Odorizzi declines, though. He’s young enough that some team will pay him.

  43. With today’s declined option on Teheran and the $ that was attached to 2019’s payroll (Flow, Kakes, and Ham’s buyout), the Braves “saved” 15MM. The payroll with cost-controlled players, arb-estimates, and pre-arb guys, now sits at 88MM.

    That’s 32MM to spend if the OD payroll stays the same.

    It’s worth noting that with the 5MM addition to last year’s payroll, total spent in 2019 was 141MM. While I don’t expect the payroll to hit 141 on OD, there’s at least a chance that AA sees the need to add upfront and pushes to 130MM on OD. If the Braves were to trade Ender AND there’s an increase to 130MM, that’s 50MM to spend!

  44. Looking at the 10
    Cole, Donaldson, Rendon and Strasburg definitely reject the offer

    Abreau and Smith accept for sure, while

    Bumgarner, Odorizzi, Ozuna and Wheeler will think about it.

    Ultimately I think Madbum and Ozuna sign multiyear extensions with their current teams.

    Wheeler might not get a $17.8M average but will look for 3 years $50M.

  45. After seeing the prediction on Michael Pineda only at 2/22MM (which would actually be 2/19.25MM due to the suspension), my fire is inextinguishable.

  46. @55 If the Braves don’t match 3/25 on Donaldson, I’m going to be fuming. They can’t let him getaway.

  47. @59 I saw that and was thinking the same thing. 3/75 should be a cinch for the Braves to stomach for Donaldson.

    They have Grandal at 4/68 but if he’d take 3/51, maybe with a mutual option for a 4th year, then the Braves should be able to stomach that too.

    Both AAVs are right in the wheelhouse of where we thought they’d be for the Braves to play in that sandbox. Plus no QO to worry about for either. Shea has got to be at least three years away.

    MLBTR has the Braves settling for Moustakas and Hamels. I don’t think either would sign with Atlanta or Atlanta would not sign either.

    Corey Dickerson would be a two year Markakis contract and Calhoun might go for a one year Markakis contract. Either would be an improvement.

  48. @60 Yeah, I thought the Braves signings they predicted were rather odd, too. When you run the numbers, basically they just slotted Hamels and Moose into Donaldson’s salary. So unless they’re thinking trade somewhere, a lot of budget space was left on the table.

    The other peculiar part is why Hamels? I don’t see the Braves needing a rotation “depth” piece at that price. Moose makes sense if someone goes crazy on the years on Donaldson, but I just don’t see it. 3yrs and 75mil on Donaldson should be a no-brainer. I’d go 3yrs and 81mil, if need be.

    Would also seem to be more than enough money to do something else, like Grandal and a moderately priced arm or two for the pen.

  49. @61: My guess (and it’s just a guess) is that they don’t see the Braves signing multiyear deals any more with top players. Not counting arb buyouts (Acuna, Albies, etc.) the only deals they sign are ones like Markakis and they see Hamels/Moose deals like the Markakis deal. I think it’s based on history, not fit or salary space.

  50. @62
    I think it has more to do with age than anything else. They were willing to go 6 years on Harper, but that was it. IMO, they’re not going to give more than 3 years to anyone over 30.

  51. And giving 3 years to a player who is going to be 34 might be cutting it really close on what they’re willing to do.

  52. At some point though they’re going to need to be willing to assume some risk to win a WS. You either spend massively on guys in their prime, or go the extra year on the aging vet. They’re not going to win it all with the 1 yr vet signing, and hope for the best; unless they’re just hoping to luck into it. I wouldn’t call that a strategy, however. I’ll be completely frustrated if they choose to work within the confines of 1 and 2 year deals.

  53. @65 I feel the same as you, and I bet others do too. However, I’m not fully convinced that it’s not part of their strategy. They were willing to go 6 years on Harper, and I don’t know that they wouldn’t go longer on a hypothetical Trout-type talent. The caveat here is whether they go 3 years to Donaldson and whatever else they might pick up–the real issue, as I see it, is that Gerrit Cole may not be available to us, and at some point, as you’ve said, you’ve got to be willing to take on some risk via paying for a player in his prime. I prefer to believe that they’re willing to go the distance given the perfect situation with a player (right age, right metrics). They can’t simply throw up their hands when it comes to the starting pitching market, as I already feel like they missed on Patrick Corbin. Maybe they’ll find an ideal trade candidate and we’ll add an established 1-2 starter that route.

  54. Part of the point that I didn’t really get across in @66 is that I think the front office has a plan that they’re sticking to and there is a point when they know they should strike up a higher risk contract. If Gerrit Cole was 26 and didn’t have his heart set on playing for a west coast team or wearing Boras-sponsored gear, then AA would be out of his mind to not reach and add that type of starter to the rotation. The asking price for the Braves, though, is likely to be well north of what they calculate is worth the risk.

    I think they will try to make the 2020 team better, but their plan could always allow for this team to ripen on the vine if the right pieces aren’t there in free agency or via trade. 2020 could be a bump in the road if the next off-season could be more promising.

  55. 2001 Atlanta Braves:
    Revenue – $160 million
    Payroll – $95 million (5th in MLB)

    2019 Atlanta Braves:
    Revenue – ~$350 million ($344 in 2018)
    Payroll – $118million (17th in MLB)

    It’s pretty obvious what the problem is. Do not let the organization cry poor or buy into the “budget constraints” narratives. They CAN spend the money, they may just not WANT to spend the money.

  56. So I received a notification from my Score app with free agent predictions, so naturally I took a look. They predicted us to sign Mad Bum for 5/95 and Donaldson for 3/70. I don’t think there is any way we go 5/95 for Mad Bum and I felt like the JD money would have to be a little higher to get him back. They also had Cole to the Angels at 8/244, Strasburg to the Astros at 5/150 and Rendon back the the Nats at 8/280.

  57. @MikeM

    I’m not sure where you’re getting your numbers, but that looks to be the OD payroll, not the final payroll. The final number, after yesterday’s buyouts being factored in , was 141MM.

    To me, that’s encouraging for 2020.

    New thread about to come as this one is a little slow today.

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