I’m sure most of you know by now but all of my hopes and dreams have been crushed as Zack Greinke has been dealt to the Angels for some prospects most of you have probably never heard of. It was a good haul for the Brewers in my opinion but I still can’t look at this trade from any point of view but the sad moping whining Braves fan point of view. I guess real trades are more difficult to pull of than my trades in MLB 2K12.
But as they say, “life goes on.” The Braves definitely aren’t out of the playoff race because of this deal. It doesn’t affect them nearly as much as it affects the Texas Rangers but there are still some questions that need to be answered.
- Are the Braves still going to try and go after a slightly less than top of the line starter?
- If so then who are their top targets?
- Is it smart to change focus and look for relief arms instead of a starting pitcher?
- If so then who are the top targets?
None of these questions can really be answered accurately by anyone other than top men in the Atlanta front office so the only thing I really have for you guys is pure speculation and good ol’ Moneyball scouting intuition. Take it for what you will.
Personally, I think Frank Wren’s thinking is somewhere along the lines of “well we didn’t get the top guy on our list, none of the other pitchers available are really in his tier of talent or difference making ability, so there is no need to try and force a deal for a Lester/Shields type of pitcher. We still have other holes to fill and we have Kris Medlen sitting here capable of starting if we need.”
I don’t think that’s what a lot of us Braves fans want to think (particularly me) but at this point it is probably better to be smart than risky. Like I mentioned above James Shields and Jon Lester are not anywhere near what Zack Greinke is talent wise. It would be foolish to try and give Andrew Friedman what he wants for his “ace” at this point and the only way you will see one of them in a Braves uni is if the price falls back down to Earth.
So I guess we’ve answered the second question. I do believe that Shields and Lester are the best options for the Braves at this point. I want nothing to do with Francisco Liriano, and the price tag on Josh Johnson will be astronomical given what he has done in his (limited) body of work, and the number of years on his current contract.
In addressing the third question, I do think it is smart to change focus on relief pitching but only because of two very important things:
- Kris Medlen is on our team
- Ben Sheets has exceeded pretty much everyone’s expectations so far in his first 3 starts going 3-0, pitching 6 innings every game, and most importantly letting up just one run over the entire 18 innings. Yes, I am surprised.
So if the Braves decide to focus on relief pitching, our potential playoff rotation would look something like Hudson/Sheets/Hanson/Minor/Medlen. That’s not elite and it’s not horrible but is it enough to do it? I’m not too sure… it really depends on how Hanson and Minor perform down the stretch. They have the potential to be great but (particularly Hanson) have not lived up to their expectations so far.
So adding a solid relief pitcher and shoring up the bench may be the most exciting things us Braves fans see this trade deadline. Definitely not what we were expecting but still additions that will help us move towards a World Series ring. It could be too little too late but we still haven’t even given Wren and the boys a chance to do anything.
It will be interesting to see what happens, there are a number of different routes to take. Let’s just hope that this trade wasn’t the big trade we have been waiting for.