#Braves can ill afford an injury

Matt Kemp and Nick Markakis are over 30 years old. Ender Inciarte has yet to play more than 132 games in a season. So the odds are strong one or more of the Braves starting outfielders gets injured. Then what happens?

Right now, we’d get a daily dose of Emilio Bonifacio. One day is too many.

There’s no replacement on standby in Triple-A, where Dustin Peterson, who’s not major league-ready to begin with, will start the year on the DL. Coppy’s refusal to give Angel Pagan a major league contract cost the Braves a chance to add a legit fourth outfielder. Pagan’s demand was reasonable, considering he hit 12 homers and stole 15 bases with a .331 OBP last year.

There were other options, like Gregor Blanco and Chris Coghlan, but they ended up signing minor league contracts with the D’backs and Phils. Blanco would’ve made a lot of sense because he can play center and right now, Ender is the only legit CF on the roster. That’s the only thing saving us from another year of Jeff Francoeur.

The presence of Ozzie Albies and, to a much lesser extent, Rio Ruiz, makes the loss of a infielder (save for Freddie), a bit more palatable. But let’s face it: the Braves bench is abysmal. With plans to carry 13 pitchers, there are only four openings and right now the smart money is on D’Arnaud, Peterson, Suzuki and Bonifacio.

The Bomb Squad, they are not. Snit will think twice before pinch hitting any of this crew.

It’s hard to contend with that kind of depth, and there’s not much more on the pitching side. Blair and Wisler have been hit hard this spring, and with two 40somethings in the rotation (who’ve been getting shelled so far), you better have some options ready to go.

I don’t see this team contending in 2017. Frankly, I think .500 is a stretch. One key injury could send them spiraling back to total suckitude. But hey, it’s still early.

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4 comments

  1. Spot on description……ABYSMAL. Just don’t trade anything of value to improve the bench marginally. A slightly improved bench won’t help in a significant way.

  2. Yeah, I think the one thing I want to look for is our young pitching to be consistent and post good numbers all year long; I think that would be the best thing that could happen.

    We know Freddie will be solid, and hopefully Kemp and Markakis can put up decent numbers; however, I think that will only get us to around 75 wins or so. No need to be optimistic about this squad just yet.

  3. Gohara is an intriguing prospect. Considering that the Braves aren’t much good even with Smith, I’m OK with letting him go. But then Coppy should have gone out and signed Blanco or Pagan because you’re right: we need a quasi full-time outfielder.

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