Shopping in THAT Aisle and Game Thread

Major League Baseball is filled with some bloody awful teams. As of Monday night, there are 5 teams that are on pace for 100 losses. The last time that happened in baseball was never. The split in the elite teams and the awful teams are getting bigger and if we’re being honest, it’s a real problem. There are too many teams that, due to financial constraints, have to sell off their assets at the first sign of a poor season. Or like the Tampa Bay Rays, no matter the outcome of the previous season, there’s a fire sale of players nearly every offseason and players that are on the verge of making actual money are dealt to allow cheap players in the pipeline to take their spots. The ferocity of those moves have made the Rays competitive year after year, but it’s also made them very hard to root for as there’s such a large turnover of faces on a regular basis.

It’s quite apparent the teams that are already out of postseason contention, especially in the AL where the splits between the best and worst are so astronomical that one could likely put good $ on the 5 teams that will make the playoffs and at least get 4 correct (my $ would be on the Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Twins, and Astros). Without a doubt, AL teams like the Blue Jays, Orioles, Tigers, Royals, and Mariners are likely ready for business.

The NL looks a little different because there are so many teams hovering around the .500 mark and some teams like the Nationals that have an abundant amount of talent, but are underperforming. Regardless, there are still 3 teams that are likely ready to see what teams would pay for their most prized (or expiring) assets and those 3 are the Marlins, Giants, and Reds.

Final Qualified Trading Partners:
Blue Jays, Orioles, Tigers, Royals, Mariners, Marlins, Giants, Reds

Positions to Fill

Unless an injury pops up, I cannot imagine that the Braves will be looking to add anything on the offensive side. Pitching, especially back-end bullpen pitching, seems to be the largest need. However, it wouldn’t shock me to see a bold move for a starting pitcher that could aid in a postseason run. So the 2 positions we’re looking to fill in this exercise is a relief pitcher and a starting pitcher. Today, we will focus on the Starting Pitcher candidates that are producing at a level considered to be a 1 or 2 in a 5-man rotation.

Starting Pitching Targets

Matthew Boyd (Detroit Tigers)- Team controlled through 2022.

Boyd is a LH with a great fastball and slider. Peripherals suggest that he could turn into an elite SP should he keep the ball in the park. Ground ball rate is good, K-rate is nearly 12 per 9 and walk rate is below 2 per 9.With the years of control he’ll cost a ton, but I cannot imagine the Tigers think their window of opportunity is in the 3-year range.

Tanner Roark (Cincinnati Reds)- Free Agent in 2020.

Not a sexy option, but is durable and finding added success by keeping the ball in the park, which is doubly odd considering his home park is a bandbox. Roark has doubled the usage of his slider and it’s been a plus pitch so far. Since he’ll be a FA after this year, the Reds will likely be extra motivated to move him.

Sonny Gray (Cincinnati Reds)- Team controlled through ‘22 with an option for ‘23.

Fresh off a team-friendly offseason extension, Gray is controlled through 2022 with an option for ‘23. He’s ditched pitches that he felt forced upon him while wearing the pinstripes and it’s made quite a difference. Fastball, slider, and curve make up most of his arsenal and have been plus pitches in 2019. His ground-ball rate is above 50% and that would seemingly work well in a Braves uniform. I cannot imagine he’d be available as it’d look really bad on the Reds for them to trade him after extending him, but if he were, he’d be a good target.

Marcus Stroman (Toronto Blue Jays)- Team controlled through 2020.

Known as a fierce competitor, Stroman is seemingly back to form and is ready to move on from Toronto. Strikeouts have never been his calling card but he’s good at keeping hitters off balance and keeping the ball on the dirt (career 60% GB-rate), which should fit in nicely with the Braves. If the Blue Jays don’t cash in on Stro this deadline, they’re downright foolish. He constantly plays with his pitch selection but has all but ditched the slider and has double his curveball usage and it seems to be working.

Luis Castillo (Cincinnati Reds)- Team controlled through 2022.

Another Reds pitcher and another guy that has huge ground-ball rates, Castillo is breaking through with his big fastball, a good sinker, and one of the best changeups in the game. As with Gray, I cannot imagine he’s available, but if he were, it’d cost an exorbitant amount.

Spencer Turnbull (Detroit Tigers)- Team controlled through 2025.

If Detroit wants to trade a player that was considered a bit of an afterthought turned good MLB pitcher, Spencer Turnbull is that guy. He’s got a Brandon Beachy feel to him as his arm seems to be held together by duct tape and willpower. Normally, guys this young that pitch so well stick around with 1 team for a while, but Turnbull would be a big time sell high, cashing in on great ground-ball rate. Feels like 2016’s Michael Fulmer and we all know how that ended.

Pablo Lopez (Miami Marlins)- Team controlled through 2025.

The Marlins are doing something right with their young starters as many are thriving this year and Pablo Lopez is leading that charge. Lopez is a 4-pitch pitcher that spreads them out pretty evenly and gets ground balls at a near 50% clip. With the team control, and the idea of being inside the division, the likelihood of Lopez being made available to the Braves is likely near 0%.

Brad Keller (Kansas City Royals)- Team controlled through 2023.

Stop me if you’ve heard this, but Keller is another GB pitcher that would fit well with the Braves. He’s a 3-pitch guy but his go to is a hard slider. There’s a lot of contact here, and he doesn’t strike out many but the result cannot be denied. Like Lopez, I don’t foresee the Royals trading Keller, especially considering the return would likely be underwhelming.

Marco Gonzalez (Seattle Mariners)- Team controlled through 2023.

I’ve got a good friend that’s a Mariners fan and he has absolutely no idea how Gonzalez is successful. He barely breaks 90, throws a ton of pitches just to get to the 6th inning, yet when it’s done, he’s put up a decent start. Sound familiar? Yes, he’s Seattle’s Julio Teheran. With a 5-pitch mix that’s nearly evenly distributed, he changes speeds, moves in and out of the zone, and imbalance is the calling card. Dipoto would trade his kids if it were a good deal, so no one wearing a Mariners uniform is safe.

Madison Bumgarner (San Francisco Giants)- Free Agent after 2019.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that Bumgarner isn’t the starter that ran 6 straight years of 200+ innings and ~3 ERA baseball, but he’s still good…and fiercely competitive. The Giants will no doubtedly trade him and I’m sure he’d love to go to the Braves, but is he a good fit? I cannot imagine he would be. This team is fun. This team is boisterous. This team is a bit obnoxious. Those are things he doesn’t like, but he is a southern boy and it’s well known he’d like to pitch for the Braves. It’d likely cost 1 good prospect in return and a few lottery inserts, but it could come with a window of negotiation for an extension since he’s creatively put contenders on his no trade to induce said discussion. We’ll see, but he makes 3 guys on this top-10 that are near 100% likely to get traded.

Who’s your choice of these 10? Or do you have someone else in mind? Let’s hear your thoughts! Thanks for reading, and….

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Author: Ryan Cothran

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47 thoughts on “Shopping in THAT Aisle and Game Thread”

  1. MadBum. He and McCann enforcing The Unwritten Rules of Baseball would be quite a force to reckon with.

  2. Continuing the thought from last thread on Cano. What would possess any team to take on a contract that will pay him $24 million through his age 40 season in 2023? His last really good full season was 2016 when he hit 39 home runs. Not surprisingly, his best year before that was 2013 when he was 30 years old. At age 36 this year, Cano’s 4 homeruns in 179 at bats are disappointing, but not incredibly shocking.

  3. MadBum…maybe in a better situation he can recapture some of his former magic.

    Another great column Ryan!

  4. Stroman is my pick based on the balance of how much he’ll cost (only controlled through next year), projectability, and how realistic that the team would trade him.

    I also think MadBum is much better than he’s shown, and would benefit from playing for a contender and in front of our defense.

    Matt Boyd is going to be expensive.

  5. Stroman if the price is reasonable, although I’m not sure how much of an upgrade he’d be compared to what we’d get from a guy like Bauer.

  6. With all the miles on his arm Bumgarner’s awfully old for his age, and he hasn’t been right since he got stupid on a dirt bike. And he’s been awfully mediocre in one of the best pitcher’s parks in baseball.

    He could be a perfectly fine #4, but I don’t buy that he’ll ever be the guy he used to be, and I don’t think he’ll be available at the kind of price I’d be willing to pay. I don’t want to pay the price that the Giants are going to be forced to ask for, all for the privilege of trading for a shadow of his former self.

  7. FWIW (not much obviously) Phillips and Bowden came up with a deal that sent Touki, Newcomb, Wright and Inciarte for Giles, Stroman and Biagini (insane).

    In two separate articles Bowden also suggested Allard and Burrows for Felipe Vazquez (would do) and LeClerc for Inciarte (would do).

  8. Alex R…please cut back on the cryptics for us old folks. I thought i knew quite a bit about Ububba, wondered where he was, how he was doing.

    I can only guess, back when, he made some pronouncement about what was going to happen in/by 2019?

  9. @6

    a shadow of his self
    they’ve already assigned him to the shelf
    but if you and i come along
    dusted off, you’ll not get him for a song.

  10. Nice and well put together article, Ryan.

    Boyd, to me, is the best pitcher on the list. He’s had a good season so far this year. He’s also a guy who’s had a career ERA closer to 5.00 prior to this season though, too. So the team would giving up a huge prospect haul for projection, which gives me cause for pause.

    I like Stroman. He won’t have as much team control, but you have to believe that lowers the price some, right? He’s a good competitor, too. Also adding a right-handed pitcher could have it’s benefits since Keuchel’s going to be dealing from the left side.

  11. Luis Castillo, please.

    I think MadBum will be great for the second half of the season and especially for the playoffs. I wouldn’t extend him though due to all the reasons mentioned above.

    Really cool to have you back on here, Ryan.

  12. Thanks for reading, you all! This is a 3-part series. I’m not sure when I’ll put out the other 2 pieces, but could be as early as tomorrow afternoon for piece 2, and Thursday for piece 3.

    So many scenarios to throw out there. Do Braves go hard after team control, or do they sell off some pieces for a shorter return?

    If I had to make a list of players the Braves would be willing to trade, it’d be the following:

    Alex Jackson
    Travis Demeritte
    Adam Duvall
    Kolby Allard
    Luiz Gohara
    Bryse Wilson
    Joey Wentz
    Thomas Burrows
    Tucker Davidson
    Jeremy Walker

    There’s MLB players in there too (Winkler, Ender, etc), but the guys plugging up the 40-man, or very soon to be doing it, will be first on the chopping block.

  13. 12 — There were a few who lost interest in the team when they moved out of the city of Atlanta to the suburbs. I think he was one of them.

  14. For you record keepers.

    This the first time in Braves history, tonight, when we shall be facing an opposition starting pitcher whose General Manager worked for him for several years immediately prior.

    Who/how?

    @10…got it, thanks.

  15. @16: First, the Braves have already faced deGrom in the van Wagenen era. Secondly, Dave Stewart was an agent before he became GM of the DBacks, and I’d need to see a list of his clients before assuring myself that the the deGrom-van Wagenen was not matched at a previous Braves point.

    But it is certainly rare to face a team in which both the opposing pitcher and the opposing GM have noble particles preceding their patronymics.

  16. @17

    I should have known better. Since retirement JonathanF has far too much time on his hands. Patronymics indeed. But absolutely correct.

  17. van Wagenen
    at this rate clearly too many a flagon then
    his clients now departed
    it is for us a time to be righteously hard hearted.

    Ububba we miss you.

    And would like to suggest for those of us who enjoy setting the odd quiz question here for fun that if we end it with a double asterisk ** no looking up allowed. No, i’m not looking at you JF but did you really get vanW, spelling and all, from memory? Anyway, new rule not yet in place!

  18. I live here in New York and see van Wagenen’s name just about every day. In addition, there is a Van Wagenen Ave about two miles from here. I can spell Saltalamacchia from memory as well.

  19. I buy MadBum for one reason – ability to beat the Dodgers reliably. For his career, he is 15-13 with a 2.52 ERA against the Dodgers. This year alone, he is 0-2 with a 0.95 ERA against the Dodgers…… THIS YEAR’S Dodgers. That’s all I need to know.

    This team is good enough right now to get to the playoffs. We could use some relief help (Will Smith anyone???), but still we have enough depth in pitching to already be there. Whatever, whoever we add from here on is to win the playoffs.

    Many of the players Ryan mentions, especially the ones with lots of control, have very short track records (Adam Duvall short) and would cost excessive amounts of prospect assets. That proposed trade for Stroman/Giles that Phillips/Bowman were suggesting just makes me shudder. Stroman could “go Julio” on you at any time, too. TT’s take on him is that he hasn’t seen the best offenses this year and that’s helping push his numbers.

    I don’t think the Reds are going to sell. I don’t think the Marlins will sell to us. DET would be a decent trade partner as would SF. Again, SF is more interesting not only for MadBum but their plethora of relievers and the fact they are all battle-tested against the Dodgers.

    With regards to controllability, I think AA has proven that he is interested in no more than one year beyond the current year. And he also has a bias this year to rentals. I cannot believe that MadBum and W. Smith are not at the absolute top of his list.

  20. Has anyone noticed that every significant veteran on this team is on a one year deal or an expiring deal (Donaldson, Keuchel, McCann, Swarzak, Tomlin, Blevins, Joyce, O’Day) or a deal in it’s last year with an option or has one more arb year (Markakis, Teheran, Gausman) or a two year deal (Flowers). The only exceptions are Freddie and Culby and Dayton – the only guys born in the 80’s that can’t reach free agency as early as 2021. They will not pick up anyone this year who will be controllable beyond 2020. They may negotiate some extensions over the winter (cheap ones, right?), but they are still shedding veterans and building with kids.

  21. I’m with Alex about MadBum being a shell of his former self. I suspect, though, that Roger has it right that he’s at the top of AA’s wish list, mainly because there’s no commitment beyond this year.
    I hope if we do sign him that I’m wrong, and that he is still the Dodger killer of old. Perhaps he will be the equivalent of Doyle Alexander for the Tigers in 1987. (Let’s just hope we don’t give up a Smoltz equivalent for that benefit)

  22. By the way, great work, Ryan. I look forward to your reliever trade targets. I imagine that’s the main aisle we’re shopping in.

    And before it’s too far behind us, thanks to Cliff for another brilliant recap.

  23. Man, this is a deep lineup we’re fielding right now. The lowest OPS among the starting 8 is Markakis at .784.
    Those teams earlier this decade that put Melvin and Uggla out there every day were painful to watch despite good numbers from most of the starters.

  24. Julio is seeing some regression tonight. And with the way DeGrom is pitching, it’s not looking good.

  25. Another shift that works against the braves. I wonder if those have to do with the weird UZR ratings for the braves this year.

  26. Teheran was due for an outing like this. He’s not a sub-3 ERA guy. His K/9, H/9, BB/9 are all within 1/10 of a point of last year. The only thing is that he’s made a sizable improvement on the home run ball. But according to FIP, that hasn’t justified the ERA reduction.

    bWAR does love him because his FIP is still quite good, as influenced by those peripherals. But he simply can’t give up home runs, and he’s already given up one tonight. The 3 doubles haven’t helped either. He’s just not going to be a guy to survive that much hard contact with a walk rate of 4 per 9, non-elite K numbers, and 6 hits per 9.

  27. If the Braves do not advance past the first “round” of the playoffs, whether it’s in the Wild Card game or the first round of the playoffs, many will say that it’s because of the lack of postseason experience of the entire squad. I wonder if that weighed in their minds as they signed McCann and Donaldson. So if there is any intangible effect to having someone who is past his prime but has tons of postseason excellence, you have to give the Bum a bump in evaluating him.

    I don’t care what he’s done the past couple years. I do like giving Madison Bumgarner the ball in a postseason. We’re talking about a guy who threw a complete game shutout against the Mets in the Wild Card game of 2016. 102.1 IP of 2.16 ERA pitching in his career. A 0.89 WHIP. There’s just something to be said about a guy who’s been there being on a team with a bunch of youngsters.

  28. When our entire offense goes cold for a week, don’t freak out. This team is going to be a wild ride I think.

  29. Would trade Kolby Allard with either Swanson or Camargo plus either Inciarte or Markakis for Felipe Vazquez, Kyle Crick and Starling Marte.

  30. We were due for this. We’ve gotten to deGrom before but not tonight.

    @38 We need a Dodger-killer.

    @39 I tend to agree that Touki is not impressing. I’d like to see him starting again at AAA. Maybe it’s time to give another prospect a chance for a few weeks of major league dollars. Maybe Weigel?

  31. If we come back and win this game, I will go out on a limb and say nothing will stop us. We’ll win the world series in 4 games.

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