The #Braves do not have any desire to trade Kimbrel. They remain optimistic about the upcoming season.
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) January 15, 2015
You mean they remain deluded about the upcoming season.
I’m not buying it. John Hart had me convinced Evan Gattis would be starting in LF on Opening Day. Fortunately, he won’t be.
The Astros trade is Hart’s best move so far. They finally got a promising bat, 3B Rio Ruiz, and his numbers are encouraging. He batted .293 last year at High-A Lancaster, walking 82 times with only 91 strikeouts. Though Ruiz hit only 11 homers, the sweet-swinging lefty’s 37 doubles suggest developing power.
Ruiz is at least a year away, so we’re left with a line-up that features Chris Johnson hitting clean-up. This is a bad team, and Kimbrel is a luxury they can afford to trade.
Despite the Braves’ rhetoric, newly acquired Mike Foltynewicz seems like a potential replacement for Kimbrel. From The Houston Chronicle:
Foltynewicz, a rookie this past season who brings a triple-digit fastball, was slated to enter spring training with a chance at the fifth spot in the rotation. If that didn’t work out, the 22-year-old was looked at by many as a potential closer because of his overpowering stuff.
I’d wait until the trading deadline to deal Kimbrel, when his value could be at his highest. The Braves need young, controllable bats more than they need an elite closer.