On Julio, prospects, free agents and angry old men

  • With next year’s free agent market thin on pitchers, many expect the Braves to take advantage by trading Julio, perhaps at the trading deadline. No one should be untouchable on this team but I’d think long and hard before dealing our ace, owed roughly $9 million annually through 2020. That would leave the Braves with a rotation led by Matt Wisler and, hopefully, Folty. Aaron Blair still has some work to do, Lucas Sims is still maddeningly inconsistent and I’m afraid Tyrell Jenkins (opponents batting .284, 1.50 WHIP, only 27 Ks in 44-2/3 IP) is just not very good. Sean Newcomb is probably a year away and Chris Ellis projects as a middle-of-the-rotation type, at best. Trade Julio and you’ll have to deal for, or sign, a lesser replacement at a much higher price.
  • Why call up Albies and Swanson this year? I anticipate their arrival as much as the next person, but rushing them makes no sense. Same with Rio Ruiz, who doesn’t appear as close as Coppy boats. He has just a .706 OPS at Gwinnett with 45 strikeouts in 39 games.
  • I hated seeing the Pirates re-sign Francisco Cervelli, who wouldn’t been an affordable option for the Braves at catcher. While the free agent class is weak, there are some catchers worth considering. Wilson Ramos, who turns 29 in August, is raking this year for the Nats, though his penchant for injuries gives you pause. Matt Wieters, 30, would be an even bigger risk, though he’s starting to heat up at the plate. Our old pal Martin Prado has been hot all year, batting .371, and his versatility and right-handed bat makes him a perfect fit for these Bravos. I don’t see the front office spending on Yoenis Cespedes, who can opt out of his contract after this year and probably will, but Milton High School graduate Dexter Fowler, whose really taken off as a Cub, might remain in the team’s price range.
  • Fangraphs is rating each team’s announcers, and Chip and Joe come in at #29. I’m surprised they finished that high. They are bland, often uninformed (Chip said earlier Matt Harvey will be be a free agent after this season) and seem content with their caricatures as old men yelling at clouds (though Simpson was much better when teamed with Jon Sciambi). But I suspect the telecasts will get worse before they get better, as it appears FSN is grooming P.E.D. Byrd for a more prominent role. Byrd is as big a goober as Chip — the two of them together would be beyond insufferable, worse than even Bob Rathbun and Tom Paciorek. Chip talking and talking but saying nothing, Byrd trying to be funny and failing miserably … God save us.

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