2022 Offseason Braves Prospect List, 27-35

Ladies and Gents, Clint has been kind enough to relay his prospect list over from BravesFarm.com. He’s passionate about Braves prospects and, seeing as though I didn’t have time to complete a list this year, I’m grateful that he has allowed me to crosspost his, which contains 35 total prospects!

#27. Tanner Gordon, RHP

Drafted by ATL: 6th Round, 2019 from Indiana University (IN)

AgeHeight / WeightBats / Throws2021 Midseason rank
24-years-old6’5″ / 215 lbsL/R26th

The big righty pitched well in his first full season in the Braves organization. As a former sixth round pick from back in 2019, I’m sure Gordon was chomping at the bit to get back on the mound; following a strong 2.22 ERA in the Appy League during his draft year, the Braves decided to move Gordon to a starter’s role full time, and it appears to have been the right decision.

Split equally between Single-A Augusta (11 starts) and High-A Rome (10 starts / 1 relief appearance), Gordon held his own as a pro in 2021. With the GreenJackets, the righty averaged 10.1 strikeouts per nine and just 1.6 walks on his way to a 3.43 ERA. He wasn’t as overpowering with the R-Braves, with his K rate falling to 7.8 K/9 there, but he still maintained a decent 4.44 ERA, and just as important, as he rose a level he continued to keep the free passes down (2 BB/9).

Despite being built like a power-pitcher, the guys at Battery Power call Gordon more of a pitch-to-contact guy, and the drastic drop in K rate from Single-A to High-A sort of proved that this past season. The righty will pitch as a 24-year-old all year in 2022, so regardless, he’s on track to reach Mississippi at some point this coming season. I want to see how he handles the upper-minors before I get too invested, but so far I believe this could be a potential mid-rotation arm for the Braves.

#28. Brandol Mezquita, OF

Signed by ATL: 2017 from Dominican Republic

AgeHeight / WeightBats / Throws2021 Midseason rank
24-years-old6’5″ / 215 lbsL/R26th

Mezquita is a kid I’ve already wrote about this offseason and he’s someone Braves Country really needs to start paying attention to. As part of the 13 prospects originally lost due to the actions of former GM John Coppolella, Mezquita re-signed with Atlanta prior to the 2018 season and has been developing at the rookie levels ever since.

Still just 20-years-old, Mezquita will finally get his opportunity to showcase his talent in full-season ball in 2022. After parts of three seasons in instructs, the outfielder slashed .255/.367/.357 with 25 XBH (eight HR) and 27 stolen bases in 129 combined games – good for an overall 110 wRC+ as a pro hitter. Coming off a career-year at the plate in 2021 (132 wRC+) with the FCL team, Mezquita could evolve into one of the most exciting young prospects in the system. We’ll have to wait and see as he’s yet to log any meaningful games at even the Single-A level, but I believe he — and one of his outfield mates from instructs that we’ll talk about later — is the real deal.

#29. Andrew Hoffmann, RHP

Drafted by ATL: 12th Round, 2021 from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (IL)

AgeHeight / WeightBats / Throws2021 Midseason rank
21-years-old6’5″ / 210 lbsR/RNR

I’ve been interested in Hoffmann since he was selected in this past summer’s draft. At 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, and still only entering his age-22 season, the righty is both a two-year college arm AND young enough to still have a decent amount of projection left. The kid spent his first pro season with Single-A Augusta in 2021, where he made seven clean starts, logging a 2.73 ERA and averaging 11.2 strikeouts per nine to go with just 2.4 walks.

This kid has size, fastball velocity and a wicked secondary in his changeup. The only thing left for him to do is continue to develop the rest of his repertoire. And even if a third or fourth viable offering isn’t in the cards, the Braves will no doubt develop Hoffmann into an overpowering reliever. Like a lot of these guys on the back-end of this list, the righty just hasn’t logged enough time in the minors yet to get a good read. But I think it’s safe to believe in Hoffmann. How he handles a High-A challenge in 2022 will go a long way on determining what the Braves have in their 12th round pick.

#30. Trey Harris, OF

Drafted by ATL: 32nd Round, 2018 from University of Missouri (MO)

AgeHeight / WeightBats / Throws2021 Midseason rank
25-years-old5’11” / 220 lbsR/R20th

To be a former 32nd round pick, Harris has become quite the prospect, even if his stock has declined rather sharply over the last season. Coming off a MiLB Batter of the Year campaign from 2019 (in which he raked at three different levels), the Mizzu product spent all of 2021 with Double-A Mississippi, although unfortunately he wound up having his worst season ever as a pro (89 wRC+), and as a result, I now have him barely in the top 30.

There are a few issues impacting Harris’ stock: for one, he’s now entering his age-26 season, which is really too old for a prospect. Secondly, he plays a position (outfield) that is pretty crowded in the Braves organization, making his path to the majors even more difficult. And lastly, though Harris is a mature hitter with some pop and athleticism, he’s an undersized player that doesn’t absolutely flourish at one single thing on the field. As the seasons go by, he’s looking more and more like a future fourth outfielder in the majors, though we’ll see how he does in Triple-A Gwinnett in 2022.

#31. Tyler Collins, OF

Drafted by ATL: 8th Round, 2021 from McKinney Boyd HS (TX)

AgeHeight / WeightBats / Throws2021 Midseason rank
18-years-old5’11” / 180 lbsL/RNR

The guys at Battery Power give him a Michael Bourn comp as Collins is your prototypical lead-off hitter, wielding plus speed and an above average ability to get on base. The 18-year-old was impressive with the FCL team in 2021, getting with the organization in time to play in 23 games down in Florida. In instructs, Collins slashed .347/.424/.453 with six XBH and 12 stolen bases – good for a solid 140 wRC+.

The Braves have a couple of options with Collins – they could either leave him in extended spring training and let him get a few more PA at the rookie level, or they could start him out in Single-A Augusta in 2022. With him turning only 19 in March, the organization definitely doesn’t have to rush. This kid could be a future star in center field.

#32. AJ Smith-Shawver, RHP

Drafted by ATL: 7th Round, 2021 from Colleyville Heritage HS (TX)

AgeHeight / WeightBats / Throws2021 Midseason rank
19-years-old6’3″ / 205 lbsR/RNR

Shawver is a raw prep arm the Braves took a chance on in this past summer’s draft. The team really likes his mid-to-high 90s MPH fastball and wicked slider, and with his ideal size/build, there’s a solid chance he can stick it as a prospect starting pitcher. At just 19-years-old, he has plenty of time to develop more secondary offerings.

Like Collins above, the Braves could give Shawver more time in rookie ball or start him in Augusta in 2022 – either choice is a viable one and wouldn’t be surprising. The righty struggled with the FCL team this past season, posting an 8.64 ERA in four starts. Although, he did show an ability to induce a ton of swing and miss as he struck out a whopping 16 batters in just 8 1/3 innings (17.3 K/9). I’m interested to see more of this kid.

#33. Kadon Morton, OF

Drafted by ATL: 19th Round, 2019 from Seguin HS (TX)

AgeHeight / WeightBats / Throws2021 Midseason rank
21-years-old6’2″ / 195 lbsR/RNR

Morton is the outfield mate I mentioned in the above Mezquita excerpt. For a few seasons now, the two 21-year-olds have made quite the pair down in instructs. But now’s their chance to shine in full-season ball.

Mezquita and Morton seem fairly similar, though I’d say the former is a little less raw as a prospect, with the latter striking out 35% of the time with the FCL team in 2021. In fact, Morton — a former 19th round pick — really has yet to do much at all at the plate so far as a pro, with a lot of the expectations surrounding him being built from projection. Either way, the kid’s career is still in it’s beginning stages as all 77 games thus far have come in instructs. We’ll be able to tell much more about Morton this coming season when he likely joins Single-A Augusta.

#34. Greyson Jenista, OF/1B

Drafted by ATL: 2nd Round, 2018 from Wichita State University

AgeHeight / WeightBats / Throws2021 Midseason rank
25-years-old6’4″ / 210 lbsL/R25th

Other than an impressive 33-game stint in Single-A back in 2018, this past season was the best performance Jenista has put together so far, posting a 124 wRC+ with 19 homers, 42 RBI and seven stolen bases in 89 games with Double-A Mississippi. Sure, the former second round pick only hit .216 for the year, and he struck out at a 35.9% clip, but the production was still impressive as he also raised his walk-rate by 5% compared to his 74-game sample in Double-A back in 2019.

The evident issue with Jenista’s stock, other than the fact that he’ll enter his age-25 season in 2022, is that whiffs have been a problem essentially his entire career, and if it wasn’t for his breakout in the power department last year, his bat would’ve been nearly unplayable.

Given he’s logged 163 total games with the M-Braves over the last two seasons, it’s safe to say that Jenista will be in Triple-A Gwinnett this coming year, where he’ll need to show he can be more than simply a platoon hitter; in 2021, the lefty-batter hit just .147 versus southpaws, compared to a solid .242 AVG against righties. Jenista is running out of time, but if he can slug with the Stripers like he did with the M-Braves, I could definitely see some options opening for him.

#35. Alan Rangel, RHP

Signed by ATL: 2014 from Mexico

AgeHeight / WeightBats / Throws2021 Midseason rank
24-years-old6’2″ / 170 lbsR/RNR

No one wants to be the last prospect on the list, but this year I wanted to find someone both different and deserving, and Rangel certainly fits that mold. The 24-year-old righty has been in the Braves farm system for going on eight seasons now as he joined the organization as just a 17-year-old. The team must think a lot of him, too, because Atlanta protected him from the Rule 5 Draft this year, selecting his contract back in early November.

So why is his prospect stock so low? Well, it’s actually as high as its ever been for him. The Braves have always been really conservative with Rangel, letting him develop in instructs for two years before he spent parts of 3 seasons (or 327 2/3 innings) at the Single-A level, just earning his first taste of High-A in 2021. However, the promotion proved to be the right choice as Rangel averaged 12.1 strikeouts per nine and just 2.7 walks, posting a 3.57 ERA with Rome this past season. By early August he was moved up to Mississippi, where he held his own there as well, managing a 4.50 ERA with 10.8 K/9 and 1.3 BB/9 in seven starts.

Because he started his pro career so young, Rangel is still only entering his age-24 season, so he’s pretty close to following a traditional track through Double-A in 2022. An uptick in fastball velocity, and solid secondaries that include a breaking ball and a changeup, has allowed Rangel to evolve from a pitch-to-contact guy to more of a power-pitcher lately, and the ability to induce strikeouts is giving him a nice trend heading into next season. We’ll see if he can keep it up. If he’s able to… I could see him moving up the list rather quickly.

109 thoughts on “2022 Offseason Braves Prospect List, 27-35”

  1. Of this group, Rangel really interests me and it has everything to do with the Braves choosing to add him to the 40-man roster. On the surface, his 3.87 ERA between A+ and AA as a 24 y/o isn’t all that impressive, especially out of the bullpen. However, digging deeper, Rangel only walked 2.2/9 while striking out 11.7/9 which equates to a 5.23 K/BB rate. That’ll do. And, as Clint discusses, he added velo this offseason.

  2. Per Jeff Passan’s Twitter, Matt Olsen has been traded to the Braves.

    Pache, Langeliers and two others headed to OAK.

  3. OF Cristian Pache, C Shea Langeliers, SP Ryan Cusick and SP Joey Estes, according to Passan.

    Massive overpay. Why not just sign Freddie?

  4. …1.

    I was hoping that maybe the deal wasn’t fully reported yet and the Braves would also be getting Manaea or something, but no, that’s the whole deal. Jesus. What an awful trade. AA hordes prospects for the better part of five years and finally spends them like this? Making panic trades is one thing, but it’s even worse knowing that it was completely unnecessary. If they hadn’t dicked around trying to nickel-and-dime their team leader and longtime stalwart, they wouldn’t have had to do it at all.

    Also: Better be more coming, or Adam Duvall is your everyday centerfielder. Also Ozuna is back. Ugh. Gonna be hilarious when the team just pockets all its profits after a deep playoff run. How can a team win the World Series and still start the next season feeling absolutely sickening?

  5. Langaliers and Cusick are the biggest losses, IMO. Pache’s bat remains a big question mark. I don’t know much about Estes. I guess if you’re hell bent on not paying Freddie, this is the best Plan B, but the loss of talent will hurt the farm in the mid-term.

  6. I think this shows AA’s reluctance to give out the super long term contract and that he has doubts about Freddie’s production the last few years of the deal. Like I said a couple of days ago, the end of the Pujols and Miggy deals was not going to help Freddie stay with the Braves as those were/are terrible deals for the team the last 2-3 years (at least).

    I really don’t hate this deal. Langeliers and Cusick are losses but I think we all have doubts about Pache moving forward. I would rather over pay some instead of getting stuck with the Rico Brogna/Rob Fick type dudes.

    Maybe we resign Rosario and Soler now? Maybe Joc? Still no centerfielder there.

  7. This is a really strange trade given that we already have a… wait…

    ….oh no.

  8. I feel empty inside. Guess I better get started on these stages of grief right about now.

  9. I don’t think much of Pache or even Langeliers ability to hit at the ML level but I will also say, wow.

    Seems like a serious overpay for a guy hitting .252 in his career. His OPS+ is 134 but still.

    FF’s OPS+ is 138.

  10. I’m already seeing “It’s for the future!” takes elsewhere, but the thing is, of these two options:

    +5-6 years of Freeman
    +A bunch of prospects
    -A bunch of money

    +2 years of Olson
    -A bunch of prospects
    +A bunch of money

    A is actually way better for the future than B! The only way this makes even a little sense is if Freddie ends up signing for 200 million or something — and even then, I’d wonder. Otherwise it’s just a pure money grab, and cheapness is not the most appealing quality from a team that just won the World Series.

    People are also suggesting the Braves will extend Olson, but that’s nonsense — if you’re not willing to pay Freddie what he’s worth, what makes you think they’ll pay Olson? Get ready to do this again in two years.

    The worst part is that I actually do really like Olson as a player, and think he’s probably the best non-Freddie option for first base in 2022. I don’t want to give the impression I think he sucks or anything. But the circumstances of his acquisition are just so awful.

  11. Even without touching on the prospects I’d rather have six years of Freddie than two years of Olson. (I have zero faith he’s getting extended)

    Also – the catcher of the future is Travis d’Arnaud.

  12. Braves acquire Matt Olson from Oakland
    Shea Langeliers, Cristian Pache, Ryan Cusick and Joey Estes are headed to Oakland

    NNNNNOOOOOOO !! The best Cathcing prospect weve had in years and power arn in Cusick

  13. Should have just resigned Rosario and Rizzo and kept Langy and Cusick .. those 2 are gonna be stars I think .. should have just paid the man .. the face of the Braves is gone !!!!!!!!!!! SAD DAY !!!!!!

  14. I hate it, too, but…

    If Freddie’s a Dodger no matter what — we’re not giving him the 6th year, which I get — this is the best alternative. We still have a very formidable club.

  15. We gave up our #1 and #2 prospects for this .. that is unheard of … really !!!!!!!!! thats crap …… downhill from here fellas .. Olsen will FA outta here in 2 years and we will have lost a starting catcher , of and power arm in Cusick and Estes ………… AA needs to stcik to these 1 year deals ..his long range trade abilities suck >>>>>>>>>>

  16. If we can get Rosario resigned might look like this !! Pretty stout .. glad i dont watch alot of Dodger games ..wont miss Freddie as much ..

    Acuna – RF
    Albies – 2b
    Riley – 3b
    Olsen – 1b
    Ozuna – DH
    Rosario – LF
    Duvall – CF
    D ‘Arnaud – c
    Swanson – ss

  17. My takes:
    1. Glad we got something solid for Pache. I think his star had dimmed.
    2. I know Olsen mashes, but I don’t know much about his game or approach. Anybody clue me in?
    3. Freeman made Atlanta’s lineup so good because he was the “professional hitter” who could hold his own against the other team’s ace. Could pull the long ball or go the other way for a single. Made pitchers work. Hoping Olsen does the same.

  18. The shock has worn off and I’m kind of ambivalent right now. I suppose we’ll see Freddie get a dollar figure that AA was never going to match. If I had to guess, Langeliers is probably the one guy we’ll look back at and wish we could have back.

    Taking a step back, though, Freeman should have never entered free agency, unless the Braves were really banking on that hometown discount. You have to think that the front office has an extremely pessimistic view of giving a long-term deal to a 32-year-old, bona fides be damned.

    If Freddie was not going to be re-signed, then this was pretty much AA’s only play in order to keep morale and buy-in inside the clubhouse. Letting Freddie walk and throwing the ghost of Rico Brogna or Matt Franco at first was not going to be a tenable move.

    Even though this may work out, I’m disappointed in the Braves acting like a small-market team who can’t support a big contract.

  19. Olson has more power than Freddie and walks a lot, but has weaker bat-to-ball skills. He cut his strikeout rate pretty substantially last year, but before that there was a lot of swing-and-miss in his game. He’s an excellent defensive first baseman (but then, so is Freddie). They’re roughly equivalent in production (4-5 win player with upside for more, but also collapse potential thanks to being pure first basemen), but the shape of that production is somewhat different.

    For the Braves, the main upside here is that he’s younger and cheaper. But I don’t like emptying out the farm system in order to avoid having to pay a guy. That seems like giving up more surplus value than the money is worth.

  20. If we were wanting to sign Freddie and also sign either Justin Verlander or Nelson Cruz, then Freddie might still be in play. The money’s there.

    Did AA just trade for Olsen to strengthen his negotiating power with Freddie?

  21. If nothing else, we were finally willing to make a trade that featured A level prospects. If we weren’t gonna get Freeman, this is the only path that doesn’t involve a serious downgrade. The defending World Series champion should not be intentionally making themselves worse to hold onto a catching prospect who’s at least a year away. Also, I had seriously started souring on Pache. I can’t say I know much about the two pitchers.

    Having said all that, I’d have rather paid Freeman.

    @30: I mean, all the beat writers are talking about the end of the Freeman era and AA is apparently getting emotional when talking to the media. Freddie hasn’t officially signed anywhere else yet, that’s true…but let’s be real, he’s gone.

  22. Teixeira 2.0

    Olson’s getting traded next summer for K.C. Carchman. You heard it here first.

  23. LOL, could somebody run that back for me about stages of grief from a few weeks ago?

  24. The obvious implication is that Freddie is gone. Olson + Freeman would be one hell of a power move for Anthopoulous.

    Hey, at least our star talent isn’t fracturing his wrist playing around in the offseason.

  25. @29 – Thanks bravesword, that helps.

    I guess my only concern now is if this was done because of payroll. Like, did they trade prospects instead of sign Freddie just to keep payroll down? Not the time for that.

    But opening day isn’t here yet and I suppose we just have to let the cake bake before we react to it.

  26. This is the package I wanted to give up for Reynolds, not Olson. I guess the plan is Duvall as a bridge and then Harris.

  27. Man, the Freddie Freeman news is rooouuuuuuughhhh. Hard to say goodbye. If Freddie ends up signing for anything less than 6 / $180M i am going to be extremely mad that couldn’t keep the guy.

    On other topics – I was wondering what the plan is with Ozuna, and figured that if the Braves were going to bring him back we would start seeing news articles about Ozuna being a new man, making amends etc. And sure enough: https://sports.yahoo.com/ozuna-addresses-braves-domestic-violence-164011713.html

    I think it’s safe to assume that Ozuna is going to play every day for the 2022 Braves either as a DH or a LF.

  28. Haha you’re right, Fun Police. I was in denial.

    But I’ve made it all the way to acceptance very quickly. Olsen can hit. He’s a Georgia boy. Freddie’s happy, Braves are happy, Olsen is happy, I’m happy.

  29. I hate losing Langeliers. And FF5. It really does feel like Texeira 2.0. I guess Oakland is lined up to be a great team soon. Who’s our catcher of the future, Contreras or Tromp?

  30. Worth watching Alex’s whole press conference if you can. It’s clear that it was a tough decision, but they had the Olson trade lined up and thought they weren’t going to be able to resign Freeman. Best decision for the club to just move on and make the best deal you can for a replacement. Now to find a center fielder….

  31. Totally worth watching AA’s press conference, he is absolutely torn up about this.

  32. Pragmatic side of me: We got younger and cheaper with about the same production and now with more money to throw around now or at the trade deadline.

    Emotional side of me: F U Liberty!!!

    I will say that between this and the lockout, there may well be fewer Braves fans today than there were at the end of the WS.

  33. Peanut says the Braves never really made a strong push for Freeman, but you wouldn’t know that from AA’s presser. He looked legit bummed out about this trade.

  34. Olson’s 6-foot-5, bats left, throws right, plays a great 1B, walks a lot & hits for power – sound familiar?

    Essentially the same career walk rate & same career SLG % as Freddie. Strikes out more than Freddie (22.4% to 19.7%) & doesn’t hit for the same average as Freddie (.252 to .296).

    As has been noted, FWIW, the dWAR doesn’t love Freddie (-8.0 career), but digs Olson (+1.2 career).

    And he’s from Atlanta.

  35. I know the focus is on our guys — Freddie, Pache, Langeliers — but Matt Olson is really good. And the Braves now have A LOT of money to spend. Olsen will make $12M this year, so if FF5 was to make $30M this year, that opens up $18M just in the Freddie vs. Olson situation, so you have to add whatever they do with the $18M in the equation @18. And then add that to whatever else they are planning to spend on the players they’ve expressed interest in — Cruz, Verlander, Rosario, whomever else — then we’re looking good.

    Did not know Olson went to the same high school as Frenchy.

  36. People did the “Teixeira went to Georgia Tech!” thing there as well. If Olson’s like most guys, he’s not signing unless he gets market value. AA only signs guys if they’re willing to take less (or sign a one-year deal). I wouldn’t get my hopes up there.

  37. @47 I think if they spend $18M more than they would have with Freddie, I’m definitely on board with the strategy, though those four prospects feel like a lot.

  38. Nelson Cruz signed with the Nats to DH – 1 year / $15M, so he’s off the table. I wonder what Jorge Soler’s market looks like? I would like him to return in LF.

  39. @44 I cancelled my MLB.tv subscription during the lockout.

    Going to take a long look at how many games are getting blacked out as Apple+/Peacock exclusives before I re-subscribe.

    Between the Truist Park deal, owners squeezing the players with the lockout, Liberty cheaping out on Freddie and MLB generally %^*#ing all over the fans (ghost runner rule is coming back) I’m not feeling a lot of love for Major League Baseball right now.

  40. So who’s the team leader on the field now? Who’ll be Chipper’s best friend? Is Dansby the closest thing now to a leader?

  41. Let’s say Freddie signs for $30M per. Verlander signed for $25M per, so it’s hard for me to think that Atlanta was in at max value on Verlander and Freddie. That’s, of course, $55M. They were probably a little closer to max value with Cruz at $15M. So Freddie + Cruz is $45M. I think that’s probably closer to the number they have available before Olson, so now it’s around $30M.

    I also don’t think that this was all about Freddie vs. Olson. AA has got to be getting sick of not trading prospects who then sees their value tank. It is a very fair question whether Pache ever hits enough. Langeliers hasn’t played above AAA. I’m definitely giving AA a lot of the benefit of the doubt here, but I’d have to also think he wanted to get max value for Pache and Langeliers.

    The owners just can’t win with some of you people. They’re cheap for collecting prospects; they’re cheap for trading prospects to not sign FAs.

  42. They could try not being cheap. That would work. I guess there are fewer yachts to go around that way though.

    The Braves are rolling in money. I simply don’t believe any argument that begins with “Well, the Braves couldn’t afford…”

  43. @55 You’ve already made up your mind before the offseason’s even done. You really think they’re done? That they traded for Scratch and Dent Freddie and hoped we wouldn’t notice?

    Wait, don’t answer that…

  44. I don’t really see how they make the team meaningfully better given the players available, no. I mean, they could sign Soler or whatever for a marginal upgrade, but they’ve priced themselves out of real difference-makers. They don’t have any prospect depth for trades and have made it clear that substantial free agent outlays are not on the menu. They’ll grab a mediocre outfielder and a back-end pitcher and call it done.

    And really, it’s not like the organization has never done this before. I’ve spent plenty of offseasons waiting for the other shoe to drop.

  45. Duvall in CF is really not a terrible idea. Bryant in LF, Duvall in CF, Acuna in RF, Ozuna @ DH.


    A little too right-handed, but that’s a good lineup, and you still have some money left over.

  46. Man, I’m bummed. Wanted Freddie to retire a Brave.

    That said, Olson is really good. Going to be very interested to see what they do with the “savings” on Freeman over the next six years.

    I trust Anthopoulos pretty much implicitly at this point. A thought that occurred to me is he knew the easy move was to sign Freeman — no one would’ve held it against him if the last year or three of whatever Freeman’s contract ends up being were to go south. He knows he’s playing with house money right now. And yet, he chose to go a different route…consider me intrigued.

  47. If the team had wanted to cheap out, they’d have not done anything and we’d have wound up with some bum at first base. Matt Olson is the best first baseman on the trade market, and the rap against AA/Liberty over the last several years is they were unwilling to make big signings or big trades. Well, they’re not unwilling to do that anymore. Acting like it’s still the 2018-19 offseason just makes no sense. This team just won a World Series and went and traded for the best available first baseman on the trade market. Unwillingness to do anything is clearly not the problem…if there even is a problem.

  48. I don’t really see how they make the team meaningfully better given the players available, no.

    Wait, what? You do realize the following players are still available:

    Kris Bryant
    Nick Castellanos
    Carlos Correa
    Trevor Story
    Anthony Rizzo (DH)
    Kyle Seager

    They still have enough prospect capital if they really wanted to create a package for Bryan Reynolds. They could do all sorts of stuff like package Dansby for a CF and sign Correa.

    Basically what you’re telling me is that if they Braves went to camp with Pache in CF and Freddie at 1B, you’d be tickled pink because you like Freddie and Matt Olson used to play for a different team. But they can basically get the equivalent player and spend the savings somewhere else, and somehow that makes them cheap? Or you think they won’t because of reasons that haven’t been true for years.

  49. @58 When healthy, Acuna can play CF (roughly about as well as Duvall I think) but I suspect Acuna’s CF days are largely over – Braves will do what they can to protect wear on tear on their superstar by putting him in RF.

    Now that I look at that proposed lineup, I do see that we have only have one guy who bats lefty (Olson) plus Ozzie, who is a switch hitter but sucks from the left side. I’m still of the mind that the best remaining pickup would be Soler – I just think he’s a much better hitter than Joc or Rosario. Bryan Reynolds would really be the perfect fit, but the price will be very high (otherwise he would have already been traded) and the Braves have other decent-fit options on the table like Soler and Rosario.

  50. Olson is probably the best Plan B you could ask for, but given Plan A was both easier and smarter, I’m not going to praise them for a successful pivot. Letting Freddie walk and then letting yourself get taken behind the shed because there’s only one acceptable replacement isn’t exactly the model of brilliance.

    It’s like totaling your car, getting swindled on a new one, then expecting people to praise you because the new one is a smooth ride.

  51. @62 Joc as a DH vs. RHP makes a lot of sense and brings up the RHB-heavy lineup. And, really, that’s all he is at this point. He can tweet all he wants to drum up interest in his brand, but he’s a platoon DH as far as I’m concerned.

  52. @61 — Rizzo is toast, Seager is retired, and the rest of those are way out of the Braves’ price range. None of them will take an AB for the 2022 Braves.

    I honestly cannot envision a trade package for Reynolds that makes sense. It probably involves Contreras + Harris minimum, and if you’re not signing marquee free agents you can’t trade all your prospects.

    Ironically, if you’d signed Freddie you could have put some of the Olson prospects towards a Reynolds trade instead and had a better team overall.

  53. @63

    Certainly better than not pulling the trigger on the Olson trade to wait for Freeman and then having Freeman leave anyway. And you may say, “Well, just give Freddie what he wants and then that’s done,” but it doesn’t necessarily work that. It could’ve worked like that if you’d locked him up before this offseason, but now, there was no way to guarantee that he signed with you.

  54. @63 You can mold any scenario into an anti-owners scenario.

    What if this was all on AA? What if he thought Olson + whatever the savings can buy > Freddie, Pache, and Langeliers?

    I agree with Stu; AA has definitely earned the benefit of the doubt and should be free from suspicion.

  55. In general, there’s something to be said that we have the player who wanted to be in Atlanta. I genuinely think Freddie and Chelsea want to be in LA, and I’m really happy for them if that’s the route they decide.

  56. If I had to play amateur psychologist, I’d guess that Freddie wanted to be here and Chelsea wants to be there and that may have been part of the reason for the delay in a decision. That plus his agent trying to play us and the Dodgers against each other to maximize the deal (which is the agent’s job, in theory).

  57. Reality has a well-known anti-owner bias, it’s true.

    AA’s a person, not a baseball god. He’s done good work, but he’s also made mistakes, and I think this is one of them. It indicates certain priorities that I strongly disagree with, and I think it makes the organization weaker long-term for no substantial short-term gain.

  58. FWIW, AA reportedly gave Freeman’s camp no warning they were going to pull the trigger on Olson. I guess they must have been really far apart.

  59. Olson is probably the best Plan B you could ask for, but given Plan A was both easier and smarter

    Good lord. The other day, I asked if there was a comparable here–a team that just won the WS letting its over-30 face of the franchise walk. Someone responded: Pujols in ’11, Pedro in ’04, Matsui (questionable that he fits the bill here) in ’09.

    Pujols was 31, or so he claims. How many seasons was he good for on the Angels? How many seasons was Miguel Cabrera good for after 31?

    Now, is Freddie as good as Pujols or Cabrera were?

    I’m looking at those WAR totals right now… This isn’t hard.

    Pedro and Matsui obviously aren’t as useful as comps, and yet the point still stands.

    I hope I never have to read “But we’ll just have to pay someone else to play 1B in two years!” ever again, that’s how dumb it is. I’d rather have to pay someone else to play 1B at a high level than to have to pay what the Dodgers or whoever will be paying for a player who, you’d have to assume given all the information we have, will be in decline. The former is what you’d call smart. The latter, what you’re advocating for, is what you’d call stupid.

    This is a mistake that you WANT the Dodgers–your toughest competition–to make! They might actually make it! This is good. This is how it goes. The trade is fine. Olson is significantly more than fine.

  60. Sucks about FF5.

    I don’t think Pache is that good and I’m fine with giving up Langeliers. He may only be a backup. Some of you get too attached to prospects. The day we sent Marte for Renteria, this place imploded. If we run it back this year or next, you all will have forgotten Pache likes your Tweet.

    We won the World Series with Duvall playing center. Pache wasn’t going to be the starter this year.

    Stu is right. What do we do with the money we just freed up? Do we extend some of these guys? Do we go shopping on any isle?

    Relax. We are the world champs. In AA I trust.

  61. This club has a decent chance to win the WS this year & next…

    None of the prospects we just traded were realistically going to help us in that endeavor, but Olson will.

    I love Freddie, but we weren’t going to give him the extra year. C’est la vie.

    Let’s go get another piece & go for the repeat.

  62. Just to be clear, we clear half a billion in profit last year and now we’re going to start acting like the Rays?

  63. Ububba is right. We still have money to bring in (or back) some useful bats and another starter.

  64. AA likely tries to extend Olson with this year’s money by sweetening his pre-arb years to get a discount on the back end. Maybe a 6 year deal for $105-115MM. That would take him through his age 32 season, same as Freddie.

    I’m fine with this trade, but would be REALLY fine if he’s extended. Only Langeliers hurts me. He would’ve been my number 1 prospect this year.

  65. One thing we can say for sure is that AA has more information than anyone on this board does, particularly what it would actually take to sign FF in terms of years and dollars. If you know that a deal is not going to come together, it would be malpractice not to execute a different plan. And it’s better to execute it now before FF signing with the Dodgers (or someone else) is official. I hate that we are losing FF, but at least we have a GM that isn’t sitting on his hands.

  66. Well, that was big news to wake up to. It sucks as a fan, but so long Freddie. Get your big payday, you’ve earned it. I will always have fond memories of your time in Atlanta.

    Like everyone else, I am very curious as to what Freddie eventually signs for. But with the money saved, I hope we get another bat. My initial preference was for Soler, but given the right-handed nature of the line-up maybe Rosario or Joc would be better.

    Overall, I would’ve preferred Freddie to stay, but Olsen is very good (and maybe better). We just got younger and still have money for more additions. Go Braves.

  67. FF was gone the moment it was clear he was going to test free agency. How can you guys not see that? All AA did in response is go out and sign a younger version of FF that is cheaper and arguably better – his home park is huge, cold, and has massive amounts of foul territory. Put him in Truist and I think we’ll like what we see. No complaints here. If FF wanted to be a Brave he would be, but he didn’t, so…bye.

  68. The key to my feeling good about today’s developments (that’s my standard for evaluating this 😀) is how AA spends the money he has saved this year. He’s got an extra 18 million or so to spend. We need a center fielder and another starting pitcher.

    But are there any quality center fielders available? Reynolds of course, but that would take the rest of our top
    prospects. It may be they are ok with Duvall in center most of the time (he’s really not bad in center), in which case corner OF thumpers like Bryant, Soler, Castellanos, and/or Rosario are the target. In any case, I want to see a couple more additions.

  69. I’d rather have kept Freddie, but AA had a small window to work with here, exacerbated by the lockout. Keep waiting on Freddie, someone else nabs Olson, and Freddie bolts anyways. Or, Freddie bolts and Oakland has even more leverage. Then you’re looking at an even bigger prospect package or a black hole at 1B with no obvious “good” replacement. I think AA made the best decision given the cards he had. He’s got a 4-5 WAR 1B for at least the next two years. Freddie’s slowly moving process forced AA to move (caveat: he should have been extended before 2021).

  70. Since everyone else has their hot take, here’s mine.

    The real loser here is Shrug Emoji… he has no chance of getting to the HOF now.

  71. If Lorenzo Cain of 2015-2018 is available I’m all for it. If it’s the 36 year old 2022 version of Cain I’ll take a pass.
    Really, what center fielders might be available right now? Currently we have Duvall and Heredia. I think given his knee injury, Ronald’s days in center are behind him.

  72. I hate loosing Langy and Cusick … think they are possible stars … but one good thing is we will never have to watch them play … I never heard of any of the A’s players .. but FF must have been holding for that 6th yr .. we will never know .. it would have been nice to call FF and say Olsen is going down .. need answer now …

  73. Matt Olson broke up Folty’s no-no in the 9th. I now feel differently than I did about both Olson and Folty.

  74. I hate to see Freddie go and would love to someday see his 5 retired out there, but AA made the right move going younger and cheaper and in doing so opens up the payroll flexibility to add a veteran starter and another OF/DH type. I think the handwriting was on the wall when AA aggressively pursued Manny Pina knowing he would part with one of his top catching prospects, likely for Olson. I am not too upset about Pache or Langoliers, and it appears Michael Harris may be the next home grown CF, and he’s a local kid at that. My biggest concern is about leadership, and would assume Ozzie is next man up.

  75. We’re fine in CF. Duvall is a gold glove winner, so surely he’s not bad there defensively. His bat plays very well there.

    It’s the outfield before Ronald comes back in May that’s an issue. Plus if we pick up any injuries we don’t have much depth as of now.

    Opening Day
    LF – ? (Waters / Harris) or FA signing?
    CF – Duvall
    RF – Heredia?
    DH – Ozuna

    Not sure if I’m missing anyone. It’s making re-signing Soler or Rosario a better idea each day. I’m very glad we kept Harris, who might get some games this year. I don’t want to see Ozuna in the field.

  76. @95

    I would guess Dansby, but it’s entirely possible he’s on his way out after this year too. Ozzie would be next on my mental list for mythical team captain after Dansby, though, so maybe it will be him.

  77. I guess I have to admit that evaluation of this trade does have to depend upon what happens next. We need a solid bat in the outfield and some more left-handed pop (Rosario?). I also think that Acuna’s later availability gives us an opportunity to give some players a tryout (Waters/Harris) early in the season. If you guys recall, Ozuna was not exactly lighting the place on fire when he got injured. Where are we if Ozuna does not really get back to good?

  78. Having had a period of reflection, I’ll add my own thoughts

    My instant reaction (and one I nearly jumped in with) is that this is a great trade for the Braves from a pure baseball decision. (I have Olson in a long standing dynasty fantasy league, and I would have laughed at this offer). Pache’s star has waned, the pitching prospects are exactly that and Shea might be good, but how much impact will a catcher really have? As another esteemed commenter noted, the Braves window is still open and AA has acted to put the best alternative at an open position

    I like to think that, going back to the phrase pure baseball decision, that Freddie would have re-signed and all would be well with the world. But as again has been noted, there is more to his life than baseball, and this period will come to a close in the next 6-8 years. I hope that the Dodgers give him all the cash, and I wish him every success until the Braves play them

    Which brings us to what happens next? I’m actually OK with how things stand, in the belief that AA has a plan and pieces will be added. Let’s not lose sight that the Braves scrubbed through the first half of last year and still won it all – in that scenario for 2023, and with an element of good fortune, they can hope to have Acuna and Soroka contribute at the sharp end of the year, and they have the ability to pivot mid-season if necessary

    To finish on a lighter note. One of my girls is a huge Braves fan. To date, her shirt purchases are Upton, Donaldson and Freeman. I may suggest not having a Fried one for this year, for fear of continuing the exit pattern

  79. I’ll agree with Stu. He’s usually right.

    I just hate this. Hate whatever it means from a big picture sense. Hate it from a baseball perspective. It didn’t need to happen. It shocked everyone in baseball and every one of us. Whatever happens from here on out, today feels like the day after the Andrelton Simmons trade: a day of shock and sadness.

  80. As to the guys we traded:

    Langeliers looks like he’s got excellent in-game power already, and I could definitely foresee him turning into a pretty good MLB catcher in short order with a combination of good defense and power (offset by a poor K/BB rate), something in the .700 – .750 OPS range and 2 – 3 WAR a year max. That said, the Braves are set at the C position and we’re contending now, plus William Contreras is still in the system and has (IMO) a slightly higher ceiling.

    Glad to see the Braves didn’t trade away Harris or Strider.

    Pache may be a “change of scene” guy, I dunno. Feels like he’s going to get plenty of chances to figure out how to be league-average at the plate over in Oakland.

    I am prepared for the Braves to sign one more OF (Soler/Rosario hopefully) and one more decent pitcher and then save their pennies for midseason pickups if our situation warrants it.

  81. I hope you’re right about Contreras. I know he’s young, but I haven’t been impressed with his hitting or catching so far.

  82. Freddie Freeman did everything the Braves could possibly have asked of him, on and off the field, for 11 years. He performed at a consistently high level, won an MVP, helped us win a WS, was a clubhouse leader, and stuck with us during some rotten rebuilding years. He is Braves royalty and always will be. I of course have no insight into FA negotiations, nor do I have a summer home in FF’s head, but if he has decided he wants to play somewhere else, vaya con dios. He’s more than earned the right to go do whatever he wants.

  83. @102: Hate is such a strong word. What would you do about it? Reinstate the reserve clause? Fire AA? Make two negotiating parties reach a mutually acceptable conclusion in the presence of deeper-pocketed third- and fourth-parties whose interest is that the first two parties not settle?

    This was Plan B all along, and it wasn’t a secret. To me, the amazing thing is that in negotiating with Oakland with their full knowledge that AA’s alternative was Plan C (I’m still holding out for Shrug Emoji) that he managed to leave Harris in the system.

    Is there a part of me that would have liked to see Freddie stay? Sure. But there’s a part of me that wants Yale to be the NCAA basketball champion this year as well. (The women’s team made the hockey Frozen Four, by the way, if you didn’t know.) When they don’t, though, I promise not to hate it.

  84. @101 — Hm? About the same as I feel about most great player injuries, I suppose. It’s unfortunate that fans won’t get to see as much of a generational talent in his prime, and it sucks that one of the few teams that’s genuinely going for it seems so snakebit. I’m a little surprised the Padres didn’t include behavior clauses when they were drawing up his extension — motorcycles and athletes are a famously bad combination, and teams have successfully forbidden them in the past if memory serves.

    That’s about it. I feel roughly the same way about it as Acuna’s injury last year — minus rooting bias, of course. Maybe Trout is a better comparison. Or Griffey Jr, for that matter.

  85. @ 106

    I’m with Jonathan regarding the use here of the word ‘hate’…easy to get carried away in sports fandom where its intent is innocently parochial we must now find it unacceptable seeing what we see every night on our screens. God it’s awful. And btw is anyone here aware of the contact points of any organisations in this country aiding the temporary resettlement of Ukranian refugees, would appreciate hearing about it.

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