Braves Targets: One Man’s Trash, the Other’s Gold

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For the Braves, it was an odd day as it almost seems like Alex Anthopoulos did the exact opposite of what was expected:

Combine the above 4 decisions with the declining of Darren O’Day‘s option, and it’s definitely a head scratcher that has left many fans confused. However, let this be a reminder that while Grant Dayton and Luke Jackson do not have options, these contracts are not guaranteed and the Braves have 3 players that need to prove their worth in Spring Training, or else they’ll be cut at a fraction of the cost (total for all would range between ~650K to 1MM depending on when the cut took place in Spring Training).

Yet, here we are, the roster is taking shape and the 40-man roster now sits at 38. The holes are still glaring (relief pitcher, big bat, bench bat, catcher), and now Anthopoulos has more toys to choose from ranging from stocking stuffers to a toy worthy of a year’s worth of attention.

Today, we will look at the most interesting non-tenders from yesterday and see if they fit the team’s needs.

Braves Targets: Hitters

  1. Kyle Schwarber– The cream of the crop hitter on this list, but defense is really really bad. Had elite exit velo numbers last year and HORRIBLE luck with a .219 BABIP. Seitzer could really help this giant of a man return to his former glory, but it’d be as a DH and that really isn’t an aisle the Braves will be shopping in until the DH situation gets resolved. Seriously…get busy, Manfred.
  2. David Dahl– A Birmingham boy and a good player that had a rotten 2020, Dahl is the biggest buy low candidate on this list, but there’s HUGE question marks here and you never know what you’re in fer when buying out of Denver. Sorry, not sorry. Could be a solid platoon option for LF, could be a dud.
  3. Eddie Rosario– Likely the most attractive option on this list as he provides the pop that is needed in the lineup. However, he gives Schwarber a run for his $ in poor defense as some of his drawn routes look like they were done by a Kindergartener on an Etch-a-Sketch. Sure, he’ll pop a few out, but he’ll cost some with his glove, too.
  4. Adam Duvall- I said Rosario is likely the most attractive option here, but Duvall was the better player in 2020. Ken Rosenthal seems to think the Braves will reconsider signing Duvall, and if there was a platoon in place for LF, there could be worse options, especially if the Braves get the DH and go all-in on someone like Ozuna.
  5. Maikel Franco– Odd that he put up his best year then was non-tendered. I’ll say this…he was better than Austin Riley in 2020, but doesn’t seem to have a fit on this team.
  6. Nomar Mazara– Like Dahl, this is a big buy-low candidate. Mazara oozes talent but has never been able to put it together. His exit velocity and hard-hit % sit at elite levels and that’s right up Seitzer’s alley.
  7. Travis Shaw– Likely the best fit for the Braves. He sold out on his swing a bit more in 2020, showing increased strikeouts, but much more power. He was a 3.5 and 3.6 fWAR player in 2017 and 2018 and deserves a big league contract and would be a good counterpart for Austin Riley.

Braves Targets: Relievers

  1. Archie Bradley– the cream of the crop here, Bradley would be a good get for the Braves. Velo dropped a bit, but he’s shown that his value isn’t tied to the fastball.
  2. Matt Wisler– I know…I know, but hear me out. Wisler became a different pitcher in 2019 and continued into 2020 by throwing his slider 80% of the time. While there was a lot of luck in his 1.07 ERA, there was also some really good signs including a 12.4 K/9.
  3. A.J. Cole– Strikeouts plummeted but Cole remained effective. Not a top tier reliever, but solid enough for middle innings.
  4. Ryan Tepera– Never forget that Tepera finished 18th in MVP voting in 2020. Seriously though, Tepera increased the amount he threw his cutter and it unlocked a lot of strikeouts.
  5. Nick Tropeano– An effective pitcher if he can stay on the field, Tropeano, like so many others, leveled up by focusing on movement and not on velocity.

Thanks for reading on some new Braves Targets. If you’re interested in seeing more players the Braves could go after, here’s a piece that could tickle your baseball senses.

Author: Ryan Cothran

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

28 thoughts on “Braves Targets: One Man’s Trash, the Other’s Gold”

  1. Lots of JC’s

    December 2, 2020 at 10:10 pm
    Crap. I have no idea why they would non-tender Duvall and give Jackson a contract. The Braves gave contracts to the 3 guys I would be happy to let walk and the guy who had at least a little value imo gets dumped. Hopefully things will become a little clearer in the next few weeks.

    December 3, 2020 at 1:38 am
    We’re stuck with Ender unfortunately. No one is taking him off our hands.
    Use Duval’s money to sign Ozuna and I’m fine with the move. Ender would become Ozunas late-inning defensive replacement.

    December 3, 2020 at 6:27 am
    My understanding is that Jackson’s contract isn’t guaranteed. So if he’s JAG in spring they will probably let him go then.

    Camargo presumably would also be in that category.

    Rob Copenhaversays:
    December 3, 2020 at 8:58 am

    I swear I thought the list was longer, but I’m humbled you’re keeping it. Wisler had a good year last year, so I stand half-right on Wisler. Really incredible how that car accident effectively ended Rodriguez’s career.

    I’m not some Jackson apologist. I’m just saying you could do a lot worse for $1.9M and the last spot of your bullpen than Jackson. Don’t lump me in with the “Luke Jackson is an elite closer” Twitter trolls because I’m definitely not there. If you get 50 league average innings out of Jackson, it’s money well spent. That’s the difference between Jackson and O’Day: if you’re looking to spend a couple million bucks, Jackson is a way better bet to give you 50 mediocre innings.

    Rob Copenhaversays:
    December 3, 2020 at 9:08 am
    So, I hate to be the guy who likes all the team’s moves (I’m less sanguine on Smyly, FWIW), but I like non-tendering Duvall. I think you can probably re-sign him for cheaper anyway, especially with how deep the OF market is, but I also don’t think he’s a great fit for the roster. He doesn’t necessarily have a platoon advantage, and if you’re looking at even paying him $5-6M (probably more), why not put that money towards simply getting a better OF and signing a Matt Joyce-type for no money for the bench? But like I said, I think they can probably get him cheaper, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s back next year.

    December 3, 2020 at 9:09 am
    Schwarber non-tendered as well. Schwarber is younger, less talented defensively, has at least as much power, but is left handed, and makes a little over twice as much money. Would you rather have Schwarber or Duvall? In that evaluation, does the money matter?

    December 3, 2020 at 9:30 am
    @ 45,

    The reasons why yes on tendering Duvall (I have to assume that they will not be able to get any other respectable outfielder because I don’t have inside info).

    He might be a slightly higher paid 4th outfielder (if we do sign a major player or if his ability plays down), but for a playoff team, that is necessary.
    Duvall is at least league average as a left fielder and probably just under as a right fielder. He could play center for a game here or there if you have mass injuries and are doing major roster shuffles.
    You only owe 1/6th now, 1/4th once spring training starts.
    Camargo and Jackson both seem very fungible to me. Like, we can EASILY find that good of a player and holding on to them doesn’t look like it appreciably makes the team better than almost certain options that will be available. This point is to say that allocating more money to Duvall and eliminating Camargo and Jackson to justify it is a smarter deal.
    Unlikely (I would peg at 10 to 20%) that Duvall is genuinely now a slightly better hitter (like say 120 to maybe 130 OPS + on regular non platooned playing time). Power and patience both are skills that seem to expand in 30ish players. AND THEREFORE
    If he plays up in 2021, then you can squeeze one more arb year at 12 million or so.

    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.)says:
    December 3, 2020 at 9:53 am
    Yes, I’d take a flyer on Schwarber as a bench bat in a heartbeat.

    December 3, 2020 at 10:32 am
    Hola amigos,
    I know it’s been a long time since I wrapped at ya, but it took a while to mentally get over that whole 3-1 thing.

    How we feelin’ about the roster? Starting pitching seems set.

    The lineup? IMO they need to resign/replace an OZUNA level bat AND improve the hitting in either LF/CF/SS/3B. All 4 of those positions are a good bet to hit below or near league average right now. The playoffs showed how tough it can be when your bottom of the order turns into some auto-outs. I think SS & CF are locked with Swanson & Pache. Got to get some guys batting with an OPS+ north of 110 in LF and 3B. I am bearish on Riley after elite pitching made his bat look slow as molasses in playoffs. What does the collective wisdom of this weblog think?

  2. My choices on this list: Shaw, Mazara, and Bradley. Braves need the LH bats and neither of the first 2 should cost much but could really provide a great deal of value. Bradley takes Melancon’s place.

  3. I still have a visceral distaste for Schwarber after he was worshipped day after day in the 2016 postseason by the usual suspects at Fox.

  4. the Bravesownership is to damn cheap to get real good players and why keep camargo because this guy hasn’t showed a thing in the years he has played for this club

  5. Would be very much on board with Bradley and or Wisler. None of those bats do much for me.

    I’d still like to see them get Turner and Pederson.
    And rotate Riley with both of them.

  6. Oddly, I made a comment a couple of times this year that Riley and Duvall looked like the same player – one on the way up and the other on the way down. I do wonder if something like that played into the non-tender. A left-handed Duvall would not have been non-tendered.

    David Dahl = Ender Inciarte at least right now.
    Travis Shaw looks like the LH infielder version of Duvall (from 2018). It’s possible Camargo has more rebound potential.
    Rosario is the best LH platoon option (better defense than Schwarber for what it’s worth) and LH off the bench but he may ask too much.

    I wonder if this opens the door for a Brantley and Ozuna signing. That would be nice. Just ditch the platoon altogether. Assuming Pache hits ninth, a lineup with Acuna, Brantley, Freddie, Ozuna at the top is going to end up getting Brantley a lot of late inning righties to see and Ozuna a lot of late inning lefties to see. Signing Brantley would almost certainly head off another Nick Markakis signing.

    Bradley would be a nice get. He would be a good replacement for Melancon.

  7. On the other hand, John Dahl, the director of Rounders, is definitely underrated.

  8. @9: Not by me. Red Rock West and The Last Seduction are both outstanding. And, yes, Rounders.

  9. Ryan,

    Catcher is NOT a glaring hole. The only way it might be is if D’Arnaud is injured or seriously goes pumpkin again (latter I do not expect, at all). The back up catcher will only play in 40 games. If you don’t go for a real starting catcher, and if you don’t play the back up more than 40 games the difference between Realmuto and Jeff Mathis (as your backup), which is a ludicrous way to look at this, intentionally) is maybe 1.5 WAR. We can get the more reasonably expected half WAR and not be worried about where another half WAR might come from at catcher is kind of silly when you have one almost major league backup catcher out of options, one who played some last year and looked alright. and one more that probably at least makes near elite status defensively even if he might be suspect hitting. Spending money or talent to shore up catching seems to me to be a major misallocation of resources.

  10. I would prefer the backup catcher to play in closer to half the games — the one thing we know about d’Arnaud is he gets dinged up and he will miss time, plus we need to make sure to rest him when he’s healthy.

  11. @13: Yep. Dahl Power Rankings
    1) Roald
    2) John
    3) David
    4) Arlene

    Arlene has dropped a lot in recent years. Back in the 50’s she was #2.
    Dolph Lundgren is on the permanently ineligible list for a number of reasons.

  12. As to backup catcher, it may be that Contreras is ready. We’d have a much better idea if he had been able to have a minor league season. That’s true of so many of them, of course. Like everyone, I really liked what we saw of Pache last October, but I’d feel a lot better if he had some more AAA under his belt.

  13. A BJ thought exercise…

    Y or N on the following players on HOF at the end of their careers.

    Freddie Freeman
    Ronald Acuna Jr.
    Ozzie Albies
    Mike Soroka

    Just Y or N please.

    I’ll go
    Y, Y, N, N

    Albies and Soroka into the HOVG.

  14. N,Y,N,N

    I hope Freeman makes it. A lot of players face declines in their 30s that seem more abrupt that expected earlier and Freddie could decline by an expected amount, still be a great player for a long time, and still come up short. I think he will be hurt by playing 1B. I have to vote yes on Acuna based on my account name! Though I think he has the best shot. Just a lot of time to generate good counting stats. I would vote no on any young pitcher given the likely wide array of possible career trajectories.

  15. The Braves are scheduled to play the Dodgers on Sunday, June 6, 2021 in Atlanta. Anyone want to predict the winning pitcher with any degree of certainty? At this point in their careers I think you can predict the HOF inclusion for Acuna, Albies, and Soroka with about the same degree of certainty. I think the speculation on the HOF candidacy for Freeman is starting to get interesting, but the other guys need a few more years.

  16. @22 so funny you are mentioning the Dodgers game in June 6 – I have booked a flight last week to watch the Dodgers weekend series. So, I can happily predict that the Braves will beat the Dodgers with Smyly being the winning pitcher.


  17. I don’t think any of them has a 50% HOF chance right now, so NNNN, unfortunately. Acuna looks to have the best chance, but injuries worry me for his long-term prospects. Adding up all the <50% chances, I expect that one of the four will make it.

  18. YNNN

    People are assuming way too much on Acuna, and there really isn’t a whole lot to indicate that either Albies or Soroka will, at this point.

    Freeman’s MVP has put him over the line for me right now, though his chances aren’t that much over 50-50.

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