Given the increased interest in Shelby Miller, one tried and true adage rings true yet again – inexpensive, controllable starting pitching remains the most valuable commodity in MLB. Following the news that David Price signed with the Red Sox, Zack Greinke is likely to decide between the Dodgers and Giants this week, and Johnny Cueto and the Diamondbacks were at least pretty close to a deal, the huge perceived surplus of “available” SPs may well become a huge hole by the time the winter meetings begin this Sunday in Nashville. The speed surrounding this “change in the winds” has been pretty remarkable, even during the MLB hot stove season. Miller has suddenly become the hottest name being discussed in baseball circles tonight, roughly 12 months after many Braves fans screamed about how bad the return for Jason Heyward was when they landed Miller (and Tyrell Jenkins for one year of Heyward’s services when they had almost no hope of keeping their homegrown (and hometown) phenom.
So the question of the night is this – knowing there’s almost zero chance you can put a seriously competitive product on the field in 2016 (and possibly 2017 as well) and you may well be able to plug every current hole in the system you;ve been charged with rebuilding with players who will be ready by late 2017 or early 2018 at the latest, would you be willing to suffer the fans’ wrath if you could trade Miller, Julio Teheran, and Freddie Freeman and do that if you were in John Coppolella’s shoes?
No one knows what those three players might fetch in return until they go far enough down the road to be willing to trade them. However, given the media speculation about what the Braves MIGHT get, how willing would you be to finish the massive reconstruction of the minor league system with players with significant upsides whom the team would control inexpensively for years to come and the promise of new revenue streams that will allow them to significantly increase payroll back into the Top 10 range and allow them to bid on just about any player that becomes eligible for free-agency in the next 5 years?
Again it’s an entirely hypothetical question, but one worth asking. If you could land Ryan McMahon to play 3B and Forrest Wall to be your 2B for Miller, A. J. Reed to be your 1B, Daz Cameron or Kyle Tucker to be your CF, and Michael Feliz to add to the growing young stable of arms you’ve already stockpiled for Freeman, and Willson Contreras to be your Catcher and Jeimer Candelario to be your LF for Teheran, would you???