There were a lot of eggs for a long time in the J.T. Realmuto basket. And those eggs were emptied out of said basket and smashed on the ground. So at this point, we’ve not been told we are in on anyone by the front office. I mean, have we? Payroll currently stands at around $114M, and if you care to read anything by Bill Shanks, you may appreciate this bite-sized cheat sheet on player payroll:
So who’s still out there?
He’s 31. He’s missed a little bit of time 2 out of the last 3 seasons, but he has been mostly durable in his career. Houston, realistically, needs him back, so I wouldn’t be surprised for him to go back there. But the Braves have already said they’re leaning again towards a six-man rotation, so you could add him and still not be denying a spot to a promising. MLBTR projected him to get 4YR/$82M. MLBTR has largely been over on every deal that has been signed, but they have been low on some. I would think that he’ll get somewhere in the $18-21M range, and he’ll probably get 4 years, even at this point of the offseason.
Hey, why not? If they’re going with a 6-man, why not get some depth? Also, it’s not my money. If he inks the 2YR/$24M deal MLBTR is throwing out there, do you have a problem letting him be another good lefty in the rotation? And listen, that’s a two-year deal, double the commitment we’ve come to expect from the Braves. There’s tremendous value in a guy you can pretty much guarantee will make you 30+ starts, something Gio has done 9 out of the last 10 years. Only 52 pitchers made 30 starts last year. 2 of them were Braves, by the way. How quickly we forget the times where Buddy Carlyle was thrown out there as a rotation member.
Just do the deal already. MLBTR had him at 4YR/$70M. I don’t think he gets that now, but I do think he gets at least 3YR/$48M. And if you can get him for that, I think you have to do it. We’ve gone from spending about a cumulative $6-7M on the pen to having around $16-17M committed, so that’s a step in the right direction. But Kimbrel would slide everybody down an inning in the pecking order, and that would help what is still a young and inexperienced pen. Plus, it’s wishful thinking to suggest that Arodys Vizcaino is going to spend 162 games healthy in the bullpen.
I could see a deal re-approached in March. If the Braves have 6-7 guys throwing really well in Spring Training, they may look to use that time to get better value out of our pitching prospects. There’s two issues: you’d really like to be able to use your pitching prospects if they’re ready to go, and you want to prove to teams that they’re ready to go to get max value. So if you get to Spring Training and that’s in place, then you’re a World Series contender. Bottom line. So get Kluber. I wouldn’t have done it for Realmuto, but if they want Wright, give them Wright. Ender is obviously not nailed down by any stretch of the imagination. Ender Inciarte, Kyle Wright, and Joey Wentz would be a painful but fair value for a guy like Kluber.
I’m not giving up on this just because they signed Nicholas Markakis. Same deal as Kluber; if guys are throwing well in Spring Training, how about send one to Detroit? Castellanos is another guy I don’t think you owe 600 PAs to. If you can get him and pencil him in for 400 PAs between DH against AL teams and corner outfield, then he helps the team a lot. He’ll make $9.9M this year in his last year of arb, so it won’t cost much to get him.
The Braves need to trade for patience to give to their fans. Listen, the whole market is slow. Fans of teams all over baseball want this offseason to be done. 11 of MLBTR’s top 50 FAs have yet to be signed, and we’re less than a week away from pitchers and catchers. Guys that you would welcome onto your team that aren’t on the top 50 list are still available (Josh Harrison, Tony Sipp, Asdrubal Cabrera, Adam Warren). Two of those remaining free agents are the two best this offseason. That also has a ripple effect into the trade market. Until that happens, you’re seeing a huge chunk of the market not opening up. And until that happens, the Braves are, in some ways, just like every other team.