Tag Archives: Tyler Flowers

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’ 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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HOME RUN!!!

The news about the trade Braves’ Nation has been waiting for since word first began to leak out last winter that the organization was considering a retooling/reloading/rebuilding period began to circulate around 8:15 eastern Tuesday night. Speculation about whether the Braves would trade Shelby Miller has been all over the place for the last 10 days or so, and grew louder and louder once teams began to see what the going rate for higher-end Pitchers was on the free-agent market following the David Price, Zack Greinke, Jordan Zimmerman, and Jeff Samardzija signings.

Ken Rosenthal broke the news that Atlanta had agreed to send Miller to the Arizona Diamondbacks during the MLB Tonight telecast on the MLB Network moments after news that the Cubs had agreed to terms with another of the most sought-after players known to be available in Nashville this week – super-utility whiz and 2015 World Series hero Ben Zobrist – but his sources had not yet confirmed the pieces the Braves would be getting in return. Soon after, analysts and pundits alike were stunned to find out exactly how much some clubs value what I’ve been talking about since the rebuild began – young, high-end, controllable starting pitching.

While one can argue that the deal made sense for an Arizona club that appears to be “all-in” for the next couple of seasons, it’s hard not to look at the return as a HUGE win in the long run for the Braves…

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