Tag Archives: Nick Markakis

Is This The Time For Coppy To Meet With Yoda?

OK – I get it. The holiday season is ticking away, Braves fans that are also Star Wars nuts have already seen the latest installment of the series multiple times, and most Braves fans everywhere are getting antsy for another addition. I’ll admit I’m guilty of being a bit overzealous and getting the cart before the horse as well – still looking for every possible way to upgrade the 2017 roster in the hopes that the team can be “in the mix” as late as the non-waiver trade deadline if not later. The thing is, I’m not John Coppolella – and the best course of action at this point is probably for him to heed Yoda’s advice.

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Could The Braves Be Competitive In 2017 And 2018 WITHOUT Giving Up Core Pieces?

Just doing a little daydreaming on the eve of Hot Stove season, and expanding on some minor moves suggested by the guys on XM’s Inside Pitch (Casey Stern and Brad Lidge) this afternoon. After they both pushed the long-rumored trade for Brian McCann, they went on to say that they thought signing Justin Turner would be a great move (even though he was given a Qualifying Offer by the Dodgers today). After pondering the fact that the Braves’ first round pick next summer is protected and dreaming on how much those moves would further improve Atlanta’s offense, I can’t say that I’d disagree.

Of course if John Coppolella & Company would consider giving up a draft pick and something of value to add that kind of offense, you have to imagine that they’d go even further and try to put a truly competitive team on the field to open Suntrust Park next spring, so they’d have to go even further – but could that be done without mortgaging the future???

I think it could, and here’s how…

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Braves’ Top 30 Prospects – Postseason 2016

 

Boy, oh boy – what a difference a year makes!!!

Here’s When Sid Slid’s take on the Braves’ top prospects at the end of the 2016 season with their projected 2017 placements (with ages during 2017) as well as projected ETAs for arrival at SunTrust Park.

Also keep your eyes peeled for a soon-to-come interview with Braves’ Director Of Scouting Brian Bridges where he’ll get to share his thoughts on where so many couch-evaluators (like yours truly and the rest of us) go wrong as well as his great insight about other topics we will all be on the edge of our seats to hear!!!

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Braves’ Organizational Depth Chart – Pre-Trade Deadline 2016

 

Here’s a quick look at where the organization stands prior to what could be a busy week during the rebuild. Even if the Braves aren’t particularly active on the trade market, we could be getting closer to some veterans being released to provide opportunities for some of the youngsters to get their feet wet at the MLB level with an eye towards Opening Day 2017 at SunTrust Park. This is not a reflection of our Midseason Top 30 Prospects which will be unveiled following the deadline.

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Patience Really IS A Virtue

So I’ve been hearing from a lot of Braves’ fans recently who say they’re still amazed that the team’s brass still contends that the team can be competitive, and much sooner than many people think. John Schuerholz was quoted as saying that could even be as early as late-2016, and that could be accomplished WITHOUT altering “The Plan”.

Is that REALLY out of the question??? I certainly don’t believe so. The current MLB payroll stands at ~$95 million, leaving somewhere in the neighborhood of $20-$25 million to spend without expanding the budget if the $120 million max figure John Hart referenced last winter is truly the cap. This winter’s free-agent market has collapsed for several useful pieces the organization could bring in on short-term deals that could both substantially improve the big club’s roster AND leave clear paths to playing time for the impressive youngsters when they’re “ready”.

“Yeah, sure.” many will say, but it really isn’t out of the realm of possibility IF “The Johns” really wanted to be more relevant, and here’s a few ideas about how…

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Just How Competitive Do The 2016 (Or 2017) Braves Want To Be?

New years always seem to lead to new ideas and new hope. While the clock was counting down on 2015, it suddenly occurred to me that the Braves could very quietly sneak in and top off their winter by adding a seemingly forgotten player that could not only inexpensively bolster the team’s offense over the next couple of seasons while also bridging the gap to the future with a move I hadn’t yet considered. The addition of new CF Ender Inciarte (coming over from Arizona in the Shelby Miller trade) should help, but he doesn’t bring the skillset to generate lots of runs on his own.

There’s little doubt the team needs to improve substantially on the offensive side of the game if it hopes to keep from flirting with a 100-loss 2016 campaign. The most obvious “hole” the team has is a 20-25 HR power source (preferably right-handed) to slot behind Freddie Freeman in the lineup. The 2015 Braves finished 30th in runs per game (3.54 – .24/game less than the Marlins), 30th in runs (573 – 40 fewer than the Marlins), and 30th in HRs (100 – 20 less than the Marlins). While the obvious “quick fix” is still available on the free-agent market in the form of a Justin Upton or Yoenis Cespedes, those players will require substantial long-term commitments in both years (5+) and dollars (likely in excess of $100 million).

Since the organization doesn’t appear to be keen on the idea of bringing someone in at those levels, here’s one option that I feel could help quite a bit without being a power guy…

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“Topping Off” The System

Now that the rush of the Winter Meetings has passed, we’ll turn our focus to other potential moves that could be forthcoming as “The Johns” continue their quest to transform the organization’s system into the best in the game. The question recently being asked by many in the industry has been “Why not go ‘all the way’ while you’re at it?” In other words, now that you’ve “mailed it in” in 2016 – and potentially 2017 as well – why not go ahead and gut the big club’s roster and add even more prospects to the impressive pile you’ve already built? While it would sting for a little bit, I’ve been in the minority who have thought that should be the goal for some time now. For the record, I’ve been in favor of beginning a rebuild for a few years – while the team was exciting to watch with the Uptons, Jason Heyward, and Evan Gattis in the lineup, I also felt that it just didn’t have that “it” that it was going to take to get over the hump and win another Championship, and the window that it had with those guys was rapidly closing if payroll couldn’t be increased.

There are compelling arguments that can be made for either stance as the answer to that question. It’s completely understandable for younger Braves fans to be impatient – 2015 was the worst season they’d experienced in their lives. That said, the older generation saw much worse in the dark days (the late 70s through the beginning of “The Run” with the exception of Dale Murphy’s  two MVP seasons). That crowd tends to feel that sacrificing a couple seasons is more than OK with them as long as they don’t have to go through that again.

Since I’ve already tipped my hand about my view, I’ll explain the reasoning a bit and take a look at what doing so could mean moving forward…

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