What Is Going On With the Braves At The Trade Deadline? Well, We Got Jonny Venters.

Instead of a recap, I’ll just tell you that the Braves lost a baseball game yesterday, which has happened the majority of times they’ve taken the field in July. They are now 7-12 in July, by far their worst month of the season. They’ve now lost 3 straight, including one to a Miami team that was throwing one of the worst starting pitchers in baseball. And to compound frustrations, the Braves are currently the only team considered to be a contender that hasn’t made a trade that would be considered impactful. Simply put, in the highs and lows of a long season, this is a low.

The Braves have said from the beginning that they won’t trade their top prospects for reinforcements just this year. That’s nothing new. So when Zach Britton, Asdrubal Cabrera, Mike Moustakas, and other players we’ve been linked to were traded for players like Brett Phillips or Dillon Tate or Franklyn Kilome (and more in most deals), then it shouldn’t come as a shock that we weren’t willing to trade a player of that caliber. To me, what is currently a shock is that we literally haven’t traded anybody. We gave up bonus pool money with no intrinsic value to us for Venters, so we haven’t dealt a single player yet.

But there are 3 days left, and AA has said there is money to spend, some prospects to trade, and they want a reliever, a starter, and a bat. Technically, they’ve gotten a reliever, a reliever I knew we could acquire for nothing and had wanted, but he’s certainly not the reliever we wanted. But there are still plenty of relievers out there, and if we could get Venters for international slot, then we can get a little better for a little better. And there are only a handful of deals that we were made that I think the Braves actually should have made, and there are plenty of players left.

But if the Braves don’t make the impactful move, then it all goes back to last offseason, in my opinion. They decided to sandwich $20M+ from 2019 into 2018, and it seems they can’t reallocate that money. But they could have said that this wasn’t going to be The Year(TM), and they would not make moves, but they’ve said so repeatedly that they would. They don’t have to be first, though, so remain patient.

But the real problem is that the Braves are simply not playing well right now. They are 24th in July team ERA, and they are 23rd in July wRC+. They’re not good right now, and Asdrubal Cabrera or Zach Britton or even the great Manny Machado himself wouldn’t change that. Sam Freeman, Julio Teheran, Dan Winkler, Luke Jackson, Peter Moylan, Mike Foltynewicz, Sean Newcomb, Evan Phillips, and Max Fried all have ERAs over 5 this month. In fact, of all of those pitchers listed, Sam Freeman — Current Whipping Boy — has the best ERA! Newcomb has an ERA of 7 in 4 starts. Ender Inciarte has a 82 wRC+ this month. Dansby 69, Tyler Flowers 54, Kurt Suzuki 40. That’s got to improve. You can add anyone you want, but it’s not going to move the needle if a significant portion of the team slumps at the same time.

The team will get through this. Or they won’t, and the trade deadline won’t matter.

103 thoughts on “What Is Going On With the Braves At The Trade Deadline? Well, We Got Jonny Venters.”

  1. At Rob’s request, reposting…

    The deadline is about trading rental players. Teams that are out of contention can shed their contracts and rebuild to whatever extent they need to. Teams that are in contention can pay a premium to get over the hump.

    It’s not like players with more team control aren’t available, but they’re going to cost more and if you’re just trying to help yourself this year, that’s an unnecessary expense.

    We’re not just trying to help ourselves this year, which is where krussell’s pessimism comes in handy:

    One could argue that we’ll also have more holes to fill next year than we do right this moment.

    I mean I damn sure didn’t predict we’d have the best RF in the league in 2018, but we do, and he’s unlikely to be back next season (and if he *is* brought back there will be gnashing of teeth).

    Our catching tandem looks like it’s getting long in the tooth.

    Anibal Sanchez is a free agent.

    There’s more work to do “then” than “now”.

    This offseason, when the choice for teams looking to upgrade becomes “overpay for a premium FA” or do a trade, and when there are more bidders for players with control, that’s going to drive up demand and the price you can get teams to pay for your controllable assets to trade (vs right now).

    If I were the Jays or Rays, I would be waiting and not trading Stroman or Archer. Especially Stroman, who is probably having as bad a year as he is capable of having, results-wise.

    Maybe we could offer enough now to change other GMs’ minds. But I suspect these GMs know they’re sure to get a haul if it’s not merely the Braves in the mix. There’s not much risk in them waiting, unless Stroman/Archer get injured.

    We’re basically betting that we’re better off keeping our prospects to beat other teams’ proposals in the offseason. That is a bet that is not without considerable risk. The Braves are not maximizing the potential of this season. They’re risking fan loyalty — like, who could be expected to sit down and try and see it from their perspective? There’s no guarantee that this plan will work because after all this, another team can outbid us. It’s crazy, and yet it also is probably the best course of action.

    Could be wrong and probably am, but that’s my read as of this moment.

  2. As others said last thread, the list of “things we need to add” keeps growing and growing. Which means the logic of “we should add things immediately at the cost of future talent” declines with every new “thing we need.”

    If you need a starting pitcher, a shut down reliever, a platoon bat for CF, AND a better infield bat, then the actual logic begins to lean toward “this may not be the year.”

    Management is obviously trying to find moves that help now without killing the pipeline going forward. People who don’t like the wait, I understand. People who seem to think the GM is simply not trying, or worse, is actively lying and sabotaging the team this year… I don’t get those guys at all. That sort of thinking is, to be blunt, stupid. AA is working his deals, quietly and without fuss, as is his way. It may not get done, because the cost of fixing all of this year’s holes may be greater than what is reasonable to pay long term.

    I do wonder, in passing, how much Soroka’s seemingly season-ending shoulder injury plays into the equation. With him in the rotation, the need for a starting pitcher softens and you can look at things like a RP and a RH bat. Without him, you have three or four holes to fill all at once, and that seems a tall order if we’re thinking clearly about it.

    Also, the offense that was insanely efficient in the first two months has regressed to more reasonable form.

  3. We weren’t as good as were in the first couple months for the reasons cited, and we’re not as bad as we are now.

    I said it before, getting literally no positive value from Teheran, Gohara, Fried, Soroka, Allard, Wisler, and Sims hurts a lot right now. The rebuild hinges on the young pitching moving forward. The pen, Folty, and Newcomb were tremendous in the beginning of the year, they’ve all slumped to varying degrees, and someone else needs to step up. If it doesn’t happen, then the team won’t win 95+, which shouldn’t be a shock.

    I agree with Chief, though, that if we don’t make the trades to add key rentals, then go back to the youth movement and stop with the known commodities that aren’t any good. What Peter Moylan does between now and the end of the season doesn’t matter. Though younger, I could say the same for Freeman. Phillips, Reed, and Parsons should get more opportunities, and I would think we’ll see Touki by September. Probably the same with Allard. But if you let the deadline come and go and don’t improve, then your eye is on the future, so the roster should go back to reflecting that.

  4. Thanks for the deadline wrap up. Good job. IMO we are not a great team and if we make several trades we won’t be a great team. Good thing is that there are no great teams in our division. If somehow we made it to the playoffs, our chances of winning it all are low, but I say go for it if you can.

    I think the greatest impact player for this year is a starting pitcher that can go deep in games. He would allow one of our starters to go to the pen and would reduce reliance on the bottom end of our bullpen (whatever that turns out to be ). Problem is, a good, controllable starter is difficult to get. I still think we’ll make a move, but we’ll see.

  5. Our starting rotation still kinda sucks, with a scrap-heap one year rental being our first or second best pitcher. I think there’s room to audition Touki and Allard and not make it seem like we’re punting. They might actually be better.

    The bullpen woes are well known and documented so it’s not worth writing a dissertation about.

    We do need a lot of help. That’s why we should start fixing things right now. I’m not buying that we’re gonna fix it all in one offseason.

  6. @8 I am still not an Archer fan. Whatever his abilities, he never does quite put up results.

    Going back to @139 from the last thread. Let’s assume we need a SP, RP, and a bat. Here’s a possible deal with assets that are definitely available and meet all the criteria….. just for a fun suggestion.

    Let’s get Gausman, Schoop, and Brach from the O’s. Here’s what we might be able to use to get them – Teheran, Wisler or Sims, Anderson, Wentz or Muller, Bryse, R. Sanchez, Demeritte, Izzy or Lugbauer. That would be an 11 player deal not unlike what AA did in Toronto. If that’s not enough sub Gohara or Allard for Wentz or Muller.

    I do not think it’s a coincidence that all of the Braves’ public targets seem to be the next ones dealt. I do think that teams are using the Braves to up the ante on other teams and the first team that beats the Braves’ deal gets the player. And if no one is competing with the Braves then the team just refuses to sell. And I also do not think it’s a coincidence that the teams being willing to deal with the Braves are AA’s old teams (Toronto and LA). They may not want to take things out on him but on the Braves for past behavior. Businesses, like people, can hold grudges too.

    I also think we can improve the roster from within too. I’d just rather not wait until September to do it. Fried, Allard, Phillips, Touki, Riley, Parsons, Sobotka, Webb, Clouse, Burrows, Luis Marte, Peterson all have the capability or potential to improve some position on the 25 man roster. We already have a platoon partner for Ender in Reed. The FO could do things other than just making trades.

  7. I think that Culberson or Reed should have started for Inciarte last night and tonight as well against a tough LHP.

  8. I’m beginning to wonder if the Gwinnett Shuttle has had an adverse effect on some of the guys. Constantly looking over their shoulder, thinking I’m here for an hour or 6, or if I get one outing and give up 1 or 2 runs I’m out of here.

  9. Jeff Schultz has a column in The Athletic about the Braves “spiraling.” Haven’t read it.

  10. @12 I agree. I hope Fried comes through and gets a chance to stay. If he can avoid the blisters then he will be part of the solution beginning tonight and stay for the long haul.

  11. @12, really? Don’t you think they set expectations with the players beforehand about what they were up to and why?

  12. @14

    It’s somewhat standard Jeff Schultz fodder. There’s a line about football practice starting, there’s a line comparing Liberty Media to Scrooge McDuck, etc.

    On the latter front, it does seem we can count him on the side that says they’re not so sure that LM is actually going to allow the team to spend any extra money, despite what everyone involved is saying publicly.

    He also doesn’t seem to think we’re gonna wind up doing anything, outside of the Venters deal, which he spends a bit of time on lauding Venters’ comeback and admitting that it’s not what anybody had in mind for a trade deadline acquisition.

    And then there’s a bunch of folks in the comment section saying that this team isn’t a playoff contender and that we should trade Markakis and Sanchez and whoever else fits in with that lot, per yesterday’s conversation. Even a couple who seem excited about the prospect that this team may not actually contend until 2020 or 2021. I’m telling you, these sycophantic types who buy every line of bull the front office feeds and who think they’re being “smart” by taking a “pragmatic” approach and not expecting their team to actually compete any time in the near future are out there, and in enough numbers where they can’t be merely waved away. Thankfully, this site isn’t overrun with them.

  13. @16

    I’m sure they do, but that doesn’t mean constantly being shuttled around is any less exhausting, or that getting called up multiple times without ever getting a chance to actually show what you can do, or getting sent back down solely because you have options and a player who’s proved time and again that he can’t get the job done doesn’t, is any less dispiriting.

  14. @17, like Schultz has any real insight into what is going on. It makes no sense to claim there is money to spend when there is not. The simplest explanation is that AA has not found a deal he likes that improves the club enough for this year and next.

    You can argue whether that approach is correct. There is a case to made that trading for a rental which wouldn’t cost a boatload of prospects for incremental improvement this year would be worthwhile. But IMO its silly to claim without evidence that its all a big lie, or there is some vast conspiracy to lock the Braves out of the trade market.

  15. @19

    It’s tough to find any information as all but one of the main beat guys is in Cooperstown (which is pretty irritating, if you ask me…maybe I’m alone in that sentiment), but the one that remained in town is couching it in terms of a day off. It’s just stupid enough to be credible, given how this team has given days off to a bunch of players who just had a week off several times this season.

  16. @19 Just the usual throwing of the season to prove the FO is right not to buy into this season.

  17. Put me in the camp of those who aren’t freaking out until we see what happens at the deadline. If I am wrong, I will then freak out at a level appropriate to that of a 54 year old man mad at a baseball team.

  18. 26 —Oh, I misread the post at 17. He was talking about Schultz’s article and its comment section.

    Jeff Schultz can eat my shorts.

    TC has a post suggesting improvements on our team with in house solutions. That’s fine, but one of the author’s suggestions is replacing Anibal Sanchez. You know, the guy who has been arguably our best starter for the last 2 months. LOL

  19. @19 .. I hear they holding him out .. May be traded for a promising class AA .. relief pitcher …

  20. Apparently the Braves are scouting Sonny Gray. Not that it would be a 1 for 1 swap (Julio is signed thru 2020, Gray at lesser cost thru 2019), but would you rather have Gray than Julio? Gray has been underwhelming in New York.

  21. 33 — I’d do it.

    Teheran actually is signed through 2019 with a team option for 2020, which I’m sure will be declined.

  22. There’s a little bit of steam on the Twitter machine about Beltre.

    Also, we need to score runs. These two thoughts are related.

  23. Max is every bit as good as Woods.

    In fact, to me, it looks like Max is pitching better than either Folty or Newk. He just needs to stay healthy.

    Are you guys seeing that curve? Wow!

  24. Fried looks really good. 5 K’s through 3 1/3. But this hitting is just not going to cut it.

  25. Might seem weird, but with the way Fried starts his delivery, it reminds me of Mike Remlinger a little bit.

  26. Chip, referring to prospects, called them “suspects”. This proves Chip reads Braves Journal, and specifically krussell’s prose.

  27. Fried is due up 3rd in the bottom of the 5th and will probably be PH for. I think I trust him the third TTO more than I do the middle relievers.

    But if we have runners on base then Snitker will have to hit for him. With the bases empty I let him hit.

  28. I’d love to listen to Joe over the Dodgers’ announcers on MLBN. They think they just coined the term Acuna Matata and are congratulating each other on it. And them making several Lion King references.

  29. This is why when Snit complains about the BP being tired I have little sympathy.

    Edit: Typical

  30. Incomplete roster. Thin starting pitching, so pen gets taxed. Can only get 5 IP out of the starter, and you pitch-hit with subpar option. Back of pen gives up runs in close game. You’re just not going to win enough baseball games with this roster.

  31. The Dodgers offense is good. Haven’t been that impressed by Wood tonight. Swinging at some bad pitches.

  32. Markakis has 4 HRs in his last 66 games. 1 per every 65 at bats. That’s just not good enough for the clean-up spot no matter how many doubles you hit.

  33. @65 – True, but for me, when we’re identifying the offensive problems on this team, Markakis isn’t really the issue.

  34. @64 I agree. But at that point needing a baserunner of some sort was more important that the SP.

    @62 I think that’s a bit pessimistic. Bottom line is this just a team slump in hitting. If we were still scoring 5 runs/game, the SP would be just fine. And the relievers would still be the glaring weakness.

    One interesting thing is that the last 4 games have all been against lefties and the Braves may have been overachieving against lefties earlier this year. Putting some righties in against the lefties (e.g. Reed for Inciarte) may have been able to jumpstart the offense this series.

    I am wondering if some real bizarre lineup change might help just shake things up for a game or two. Camargo first, Freeman second, Acuna third, Albies fourth, Markakis fifth – something like that.

  35. Nick Markakis’ .816 OPS in his last 66 games out of the clean-up spot is definitely one of many problems.

  36. I’m going to take a page out of Chief’s playbook a little bit, but if you continue to throw Moylan in close games, the Braves’ definition of competing is different than mine.

  37. @72 No. It’s a close game so Albies, one of the Braves best hitters is inserted. Just a normal double switch.

    @71 Who would be a better option?

  38. @75

    You’re right. But it highlights the need for an acquisition. Need a right-handed power bat, and Beltre is probably the only one left that makes sense for us.

  39. I dunno. At this point if you get a man on 1st and no outs and Freeman/Markakis can’t even advance him to 2nd while making three outs, it’s going to be hard to buy or trade your way out of that situation.

  40. Why is it all of a sudden that Snit is going against the book with every pitcher? Freeman and Venters both against righties. Did that the last couple of games, too.

    This is just painful to watch

  41. I think this FO is chicken-shit afraid to DFA a veteran with no options.

    I think just about every pitcher at Gwinnett could do better than Moylan and Freeman. On the other hand, Brothers and Socolovich are still in the organization.

  42. We got good lefty pitchers in pen huh …… team is throwing it in cause they see FO not helping .. they were in the thick of it .. and see all.these teams improve by giving up not too prospects .. they gotta be scratching head …

  43. It almost feels like Allard, Gohara, and Touki are all better than at least three members of this staff.

    At least Everyday Jonny didn’t get any of those runs.

  44. I’m just hoping that Snit wants Freeman to try to figure it out before he is dfa’d. That’s a pitiful explanation but that’s all I’ve got. Newsflash, Sam Freeman is not a good pitcher and he won’t figure it out.

  45. I’m not sure if Beltre would be much of an upgrade, but if we can get him for a little bit of nothing, I’m okay with it. He has had a solid career and I was thinking he could be a HOF candidate at some point.

    Not to take anything away from him, but Beltre has 467 hrs and an .820 ops over 21 seasons. Chipper had 468 hrs and a 930 ops over 19 seasons. Chipper was pretty good.

  46. A team that thought Jonny Venters was a good deadline acquisition isn’t going to trade for Adrian Beltre. That would be the most un-Braves move this FO could possibly make.

  47. Venters is a fine acquisition. He’s better than half of our bullpen and cost us basically nothing. Getting him should have absolutely nothing to do with us getting other players.

  48. Replace Freeman with Mariano Rivera and we still lost 3-1. We need the bats to wake up. If the whole team can’t hit, then AA needs to start drinking heavily, now, because there’s not much he can do to fix it.

  49. Dave Roberts said he didn’t appreciate Joe Simpson calling his team out for not wearing uniforms in batting practice lol.

  50. The Braves have lost 13 of 18 and are four games under .500 since June 1.

    This must have been what Mets fans went through: A good start and then meltdown, and you keep telling yourself tomorrow it’ll stop, but it just doesn’t.

    “Well we’re still in first place, well we’re tied for first not a big deal, well we’re still ten games over .500, well we’re only a game back, well we’re still eight over, well we’re still five over, well we’re still above .500…”

    It’s such an agonizingly-slow train wreck.

  51. @50. Joe is the worst. On top of being the most boring commentator, he’s a moron for making such a fuzz about it. Just watched the clip – what a tool. Free Paul Byrd!!

  52. @98 This team IS better than that. What seems most odd is Freddie’s slump. I’m not sure Neck is enough protection. Two years ago Freddie went nuts after we acquired Kemp. The one thing Beltre might help with is someone to bat cleanup. Schoop could do that too. Or maybe Albies or Acuna. Might be time for Neck to leadoff.

    Note: Rob – your idea first, of course.

  53. There is no certainty this team will be in contention at any point in the next decade. We have heard we are 1-2 years away for the last three years.

    Now we are in a place to compete and we aren’t even being mentioned in rumors anymore.

    I’m tired of hearing about how the Braves will have a ton of money to spend soon and how some guy dominated for three innings in Danville.
    I have a feeling they will try and low ball a ton of free agents and say “We tried to land Harper, but in the end we felt Mallex Smith was a better fit…”

  54. I assume Braves State Media will have a story out soon about, “This all happened a year early and you should settle for a half of good baseball. Buy 2019 season tickets now!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *