Don’t buy #Braves contention myth

If the Braves, as they claim, think they can contend for the playoffs in 2017 why is Adonis Garcia atop the depth chart at 3B? Why are they trading Mallex and Shae Simmons for another prospect, and not a third baseman or catcher? Why trade them at all?

And why are they talking about bringing back Jeff Francoeur?

Why not pursue a trade for Yangervis Solarte, a much more productive option than Kelly Johnson or Aaron Hill (or Brandon Phillips, for that matter)? Or attempt to sign Jae-gyun Hwang, a Korean third baseman who could be the next Jung Ho Kang, minus the DUIs? He won’t cost much so, if he turns out to be ordinary, big loss. We already know Hill and KJ would be ordinary, at best.

The 2017 Braves’ ceiling was probably 81 wins. The Smith and Simmons trade dealt a blow to their depth, and they’ve failed to fix the black holes at 3B and behind the plate. Because of that, a .500 record is more likely a pipe dream than a reasonable goal. It’s a shame the front office isn’t aiming a little higher.

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7 comments

  1. Right now the Braves are all about value, as they should be. That’s why they just picked up a prospect that could potentially be an ace as well as a left-handed option in our bullpen. What did they give up? An exciting speedster that doesn’t have much value in Atlanta because he’s blocked, as well as a good, hard throwing righty for the pen. Hard throwing righties are a dime a dozen in our system. We needed some lefties to have some balance.

    You refer to Adonis as a black hole, but he hit .293 and hit 9 HRs after the all-star break. If he were to keep that up, it seems to me that he’d be at least league average.

    The catcher situation is a problem, but who do you suggest we should get, that would actually make a big difference? There isn’t much out there to sign.

    This brigs is to trades. The Braves have made it clear that they have built up their farm system in a way that should be able to bring wave after wave of prospects, avoiding another rebuild in the short future. If the Braves would make trades for the positions of need, they would mortgage the future in return for only marginally helping the short-term. I feel they are doing a great job at putting most of the effort on our long term, and addressing the short term when possible.

  2. The trick is going to be picking the right prospects to trade, and at the right time. That is their stated strategy, as I understand it.

    Your point about the catching situation is valid — there are few options, I don’t trust Adonis. His defense was improved but still barely adequate. And I’m not suggesting mortgaging their future. With two corner OF’s in their 30s, one of whom is atrocious defensively, a speedy 4th OF may not be a need but hell if I want to see Francoeur out there. And you wouldn’t have to mortgage the future to get a Solarte-type.

  3. I’m actually okay with Adonis, at least for a year or two.

    Mallex is technically blocked by Inciarte but that’s something of a false choice. As pointed out in the other thread about his trade, he was a good insurance policy against injury and also a good guy to have around to spell the main three, unless you want them to play 160 games.

    I would really love us to move on from Markakis. His signing was a mistake and it’s not getting any better as time goes on.

  4. What do you mean it’s not getting better as time goes by? He hit 11 HRs over the last half of the year and hit .289 after the All-star break. A great role model who hits 20 HRs a year and bats .289 is someone you want to move on from? I’m cool with him for now. He can teach the young guys a lot.

  5. There is no way Markakis is hitting 20 HR’s next year. His strikeouts increased sharply last year. Not a good sign. That being said, this is not a good team. He won’t be sucking the team down like Jeff Goddamned Francouer used to do. And as you say he is a positive influence.
    I like Mallex. He’s a valuable fourth outfielder. Teams go into the postseason with a guy like him getting 200-300 AB’s. But the Braves suck right now. We might as well continue to stockpile pitching prospects. And Acuna is coming up quickly.

  6. I believe certain players can exercise a positive influence on a young team but I’m not that sure Markakis is that guy. It seems more like everyone is at least a little leery of him.

  7. I have no problem with trading Smith. He’s currently blocked by Inciarte, and Acuna, who has a much higher upside, is behind him in the system. So basically, Smith was going to be a fourth outfielder for a year or two, and for that potential, the Braves received a top pitching prospect. Had Smith stuck around and performed at or, gulp, below his .238/.315/.365 of this year, his value would have plummeted.

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