Don’t remove me, Braves Journal regulars. This will be the last time you’ll see Ender Inciarte trade scenarios on this page. Sure, they’ve been a pipedream since starting these hypotheticals years ago and they’ll likely end as a pipedream when the 2021 season comes to a close and the Braves wash their hands clean of his contract. But…I can’t help it. It’s trading time and I’m going to look at trying to even out some money to deal Ender once again. However, let’s not pretend that Ender has the worst contract on the team. That goes to Marcell Ozuna followed by Will Smith. Drew Smyly was putting his name in that hat for most of the year but has pitched rather nicely of late. Still, it’s Ender’s last year, this has become a tradition as glorious as fruitcake at Christmas and hopefully that trend will also end in 2021.
The Bad Contract Swap…it Actually Happens
When I write these posts, it’s pretty crazy that many come out screaming, “This will never happen”. It’s true. These hypotheticals will likely never happen. However, there have been bad contract swaps that have happened 3 times in recent memory, 2 under Alex Anthopolous and 1 under John Coppolella:
- The Hector Olivera Trade, Part 2: Yes, Part 1 was awful, probably got a single digit rating on Rotten Tomatoes from Braves fans. However, at least Part 2 meant the women abuser was no longer part of the the team. Braves got a decent bat and a horrible, horrible fielding Matt Kemp.
- The Matt Kemp Trade: The Dodgers were toot-tooting the engine and tailing on the caboose. To consolidate funds, the Braves took on a whole lot of $ in 2018 and traded Matt Kemp to LA in exchange for Adrian Gonazalez, Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, and Charlie Culberson. Adrian was released, McCarthy played poorly, Kazmir stayed injured, and Culberson became the hero we all needed. Baseball is strange.
- Anthony Swarzak Trade: Braves were depending on Arodys Vizcaino to anchor the bullpen in 2019. Unfortunately he was the anchor of the DL and Braves sent him along with Jesse Biddle to the Mariners in exchange for Anthony Swarzak. Swarzak carried the bullpen for about 3 months before he turned back into a pumpkin and now he’s just rotting in a field somewhere. Vizzy never pitched for the M’s and Biddle was Baddle.
So…look above. There’s hope. Maybe a fool’s hope and I’m self-admittedly a fool.
Ender Inciarte Trade Scenarios
In this exercise, we’ll look at teams that might have a need in the outfield or a contract deemed underwater. Braves are in need of bench bats, a big bat, and relief help. Let’s get to it:
Breakdown: Word is Josh Donaldson could get traded soon. The fit has not been ideal for the Twins as, apparently, Donaldson rubs some people the wrong way. I don’t know if the stories were true about Kevin Seitzer and Donaldson butting heads, but he seemed well-liked by the team and was a good fit for what the team needed at the time. With the DH nearly 100% for the 2022 season, Donaldson could finish out his contract with the Braves. The $ would be about even for 2021, but Braves would be paying $7.75MM more than Will Smith’s $13MM in 2022 and all of Donaldson’s $21.75MM salary in 2023.
Breakdown: Braves get a chance to battle test 2 arms while giving up on one that’s looked promising in the minors. This is my least favorite deal. I like Touki.
- Braves get Daniel Bard and Mychal Givens
- Rockies get Ender Inciarte, Sean Newcomb and Jasseel De La Cruz
Breakdown: The Rockies are always looking for controllable arms and they’d get 2 in this deal. Braves get immediate bullpen help. This one feels far-fetched.
- Braves get Kole Calhoun
- Diamondbacks get Ender Inciarte and Sean Newcomb
Breakdown: Diamondbacks aren’t competing in 2022 and that would be a good place for Newcomb to go to get regulars starts without pressure. Calhoun could be a platoon LFer or a bench bat, but either way, he’s a real upgrade.
- Braves get Jorge Soler
- Royals get Ender Inciarte and Sean Newcomb
Breakdown: Might be the most doable trade on here. Ender and Jorge’s salaries are nearly identical and Royals can give Newcomb a real run in the rotation. Jorge Soler has elite exit velo numbers and could really use a dose of Seitzer.
My personal favorite is the Donaldson deal and while it’s risky, I like getting out from under Will Smith’s deal having Donaldson back in the middle of the lineup to play 3B in 2021 and DH in 2022 and beyond. I also like the deal to acquire Soler as it has real potential to pay off.
Tonight’s Lineup and Note on Matchups Until All-Star Break
The Braves play 9 games before the All-Star Break, 6 with the Marlins and 3 with the Pirates. Going 6-3 during these 9 games would put the Braves at 45-44 going into the break, the first time to be above .500 for the year. These are bad teams and the goal seems attainable. Let’s get it on!