KABOOOOOOM! POW! KABLAM! Blow it up, huh? Blow up the Atlanta Braves!
Blow up the 2nd youngest team in the Major Leagues. Oh boy…let’s look at another route, shall we before Alan takes control of Frank Wren’s brain and it really gets ugly.
As Martin Gandy wrote earlier today, I think the Braves should go 2-fer or maybe even 3-fer shopping from one team. Let’s break down what Alan thinks the Braves need in order to compete into October and the costs of acquiring such players.
Atlanta Braves’ needs as listed by Alan the Magnificent
1. An ACE starting pitcher- What we really need is for Mike Minor to start pitching the way he did the 3 years prior to 2014. Earlier this week, Mike’s struggles were documented in an article by Alan. Analyzed in depth and discussed just as equally, we came to a conclusion that his velocity and pitch selection were the same, but Fred pointed out that his movement has seen a a significant decrease causing ineffectiveness throughout all of his pitches. Since the velocity is the same, this drop in performance doesn’t scream injury, more a struggle in mechanics. It is my opinion that we have the best “fixer” in the game in the form of Roger McDowell. Hopefully, Roger can fix the minor details of Minor’s mechanics. If you don’t believe in Minor, believe in Roger. Minor is not the ace we are looking for, but he is most definitely a #2-3 pitcher when right. Selling Minor would be selling low on a 3-year proven talent.
2. Two reliable bench bats- We have the excess pitching at the farm necessary to acquire bench bats.
3. A premium left-handed reliever- If needed, we have the excess to get this as well, however I’m not sure that’s necessary at this point. Expecting Luis Avilan to be a sub-2 ERA pitcher in the Majors is unrealistic. However, letting Avilan figure out a few things in the minors and bringing him back rejuvenated and getting 2.50-3.50 ERA pitching from here on out is highly likely. I also believe in Chasen Shreve. With both Shreve and Avilan, I think the answer lies within.
4. Replacing B.J. Upton- Replacing B.J. Upton with an elite CF is highly unlikely as the Braves do not have the resources needed to pull off such a task. However, the Braves do have the resources to go out an get a complimentary piece to a lineup that wreaks of strikeouts.
My Proposal for the Atlanta Braves
Sell high in the offseason, trade for complimentary pieces NOW, completely reset the bench!
In the article aforementioned by Gandy, the Braves do enjoy themselves a 2-for trade (acquiring both Kyle Farnsworth and Rick Ankiel from the Royals, Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson from the Cubs) and I’d like to see them do it again…with one of those clubs.
If you haven’t taken a gander at the Chicago Cubs Minor League Prospects in a while, you might want to because the Cubbies are about to become relevant very soon, and soon might be next year. However, there are still some fairly large holes in the pitching department. With the making of a very powerful young core of talent on offense and the need for pitching next year, the Braves can take a few of the Cubs pieces that aren’t under team control for much longer without having to pay a substantial price. If I were doing a 2-for, here are the guys I’d go after:
My Trade Deadline Targets for the Atlanta Braves
1. Chris Coghlan- Not a great defender and would likely make the Braves shift their outfield around to where Heyward would patrol CF on days where he started, but a good hitter that could be slotted into the leadoff role. He’s also under team control for 2 more years and would likely cost under a million bucks.
2. Emilio Bonifacio- A super-sub that likely wouldn’t kill you defensively anywhere and could provide speed in a spot-start or off the bench. A switch hitter that hits LHP quite well and could be a platoon situation with Coghlan as Coghlan hits RHP well.
Hit the reset button on Atlanta Braves bench!
With the 2 acquisitions mentioned above, hopefully they come with prior trades, or trades that quickly follow of Ryan Doumit, Jordan Schafer, or even Ramiro Pena. As I mentioned in an article just yesterday, the bench has been terrible at their jobs this year and a drastic change is needed. Here are my suggestions:
1. Trade or release Jordan Schafer
2. Trade or release Ryan Doumit
3. Trade or release Ramiro Pena
4. Trade or demote Tyler Pastornicky.
5. Bring up Phil Gosselin
6. Bring up Steven Lerud
The bench would consist of Gerald Laird, Phil Gosselin, Chris Coghlan, Emilio Bonifacio, and Steven Lerud. Lerud is essentially there so Fredi can use the Gattis card when he chooses. However, Lerud is having quite a nice year at AAA and has really showed some patience and pop from the left side of the plate, hitting RHP to the tune of an .859 OPS! The bench is balanced quite nicely with 2 left-handed hitters that hit RHP well, 2 right-handed hitters that hit LHP well, and one switch-hitter that can flat out fly on the basepaths. Obviuosly, as mentioned above, I’d like for B.J. to be part of the bench and keep Coghlan/Bonifacio in a hybrid platoon.
Selling high on some Atlanta Braves this offseason and taking on a bad-contract swap!
There’s one thing I can agree with Alan on and that is the Braves need to make some moves and sell high on some players. However, I don’t agree with the timing as I think it should happen this offseason. Here are my suggestions:
3. Find a 3-way deal to make a Matt Kemp for B.J. Upton trade- The Dodgers would have to eat a lot of salary and they’re not necessarily in the market for another OF, but the idea of getting a good return on Justin and having Matt Kemp in left-field sure sounds tasty! Admittedly, this is not very realistic, but…
The Braves have to find a way to get the offense going, to fix the bench, Minor, and Avilan. If those can happen, we’ll cruise into the playoffs. If a few happen, we’ll sneak in. If none happen, we will have to bow to the almighty Alan. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen!
Tags: Atlanta Braves B.J. Upton Chris Coghlan Emilio Bonifacio Gerald Laird Jason Heyward Jordan Schafer Jordan Walden Justin Upton Matt Kemp Phil Gosselin Ramiro Pena Ryan Doumit Steven Lerud Tyler Pastornicky