A risk the #Braves should take

Justin Upton will be leaving, it’s just a matter of when. And Evan Gattis is not an outfielder, nor is he much of a catcher.

Accepting those realities leaves the Braves in a bind. They either can’t afford or don’t have a position for their only two sources of right-handed power. There are no prospects on the horizon, they have little to trade (save for their own right-handed hitters) and the Braves can’t compete financially for more established free agents.

That doesn’t mean they won’t have to overpay for Yasmani Tomas, probably a contract in line with B.J.’s 5-year, $75 million deal. A big risk, but Tomas, 24, has a much bigger upside and the Braves won’t have to surrender a compensatory draft pick. In 205 games in Cuba for the Havana Industriales, he hit 30 home runs with 104 runs batted and is considered to have above-average speed. But it’s the power that has teams salivating.

We’ve been persistent critics of B.J.’s contract, but here’s the difference. The Braves had options then (the Nats acquired Denard Span for a pitching prospect), and B.J. was already showing signs of regression (his OBP had dipped from .386 in 2007 to .298 in 2012). Tomas doesn’t have to be a superstar, but the potential is there. At this point, it’s the best the Braves can do.

It appears John Hart agrees. The Braves have already made an offer, according to Peter Gammons, and are considered, along with the Padres, favorites to land the Cuban slugger.

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12 comments

  1. It would be really ironic if the only holdover OF was BJ. I would be OK with trading Juston.
    Half the time he is hot and the rest he is frigid. His stats are overrated. Most of his production
    comes on his power swings. Crunch time, he can be pitched to.

  2. It’s definitely an intriguing proposition. I’m for just about anything that will keep gattis out of the outfield and constanza out of the lineup

  3. Every year when some team installs the latest Cuban superstar into their lineup and sees immediate results, I wonder why that couldn’t be the Braves (even if Puig is a head case and Abreu can’t play anywhere but 1B).

  4. This article should be titled: “A Risk the Braves HAVE Taken…2 Times Too Many…And Should Never Take Again”
    Power nowadays is not consistent enough to invest in. It’s not what it was 12 years ago. Most “power” guys now come with a lot of strikeouts and a low average. Plus, a “power” guy now is considered someone who hits 25 hr’s a season. Look at the bigger picture…25 homeruns is not nearly enough to make up for loss of average and increase in strikeout, especially with RISP. If we were talking about a 5 to 7 year/15 mil a year contract with someone capable of hitting 40 hr’s and .270-.290, then yes, let’s take the risk. But power has lost its credibility, and the BJ’s and uggla’s should serve as example. But what makes the Tomas situation even more scary, is the fact that he’s never seen a pitch in the majors. He’s put up mediocre power numbers and a relatively low average against non-MLB pitchers. Way way way too risky, especially if we’re still paying two guys who we should’ve learned this lesson with.
    To me it would be safer to invest bigger in a guy who is going to get on base and who’s gonna put the ball in play against the dominant pitching in the NL east. That should be a priority.

  5. The Braves need a left fielder. Tomas or Gattis. Tomas or Gattis can’t play the field. Tomas will be the more costly. Gattis has the experience but is tremendous trade chip.

  6. I have to disagree. The risk of piling on another big contract that could go poorly is too much right now. If the Braves were on the verge of contending, and Tomas might be a difference maker in the postseason, perhaps it would be a good bet.
    Though his swing is very reminiscent of J UP, and the upside is big, the thought of another dead-weight long term contract is too much. I’d rather spend a couple of years watching the farm system build up with prospects than try to replace the good Upton with a slightly cheaper but uncertain version.
    On the other hand, perhaps Tomas is the next Jose Abreu and I’ll be proven wrong.

  7. No worries. Tomas signed with DBACKS. I guess the RF will be Nate Schierholtz in 2015..

  8. I’m relieved this signing didn’t happen and I agree with Andrelton’s points.

    On another note, I’m still bummed by the Heyward trade. Even through the bad decades, there was always someone who was easy to root for. Aaron, Niekro, Murphy — at least one of these three was on the team and kept me engaged. Heyward was the closest we had to them. We are set to embark on a fallow period here and it sure would be nice to have someone on the roster who was likeable.

  9. I have a hard time liking a guy who blames the music choices coming through the P.A. system for the team’s performance.

  10. It’s hard to believe, but Heyward was also our longest tenured player, if Medlen isn’t re-signed–which seems unlikely.
    Now it’s Freddie and Kimbrel, and I’d say there’s a decent chance Kimbrel gets moved if we aren’t contending mid-season.

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