Shopping in THAT Aisle, Part 2 and Game Thread

If you missed part 1 of the series, you can read here.

It’s no secret that the Braves want a back-end bullpen piece for the stretch run. It’s also no secret that there are very few guaranteed stud relievers from year to year as the inning sample size in 1 individual year is so much smaller than a starting pitcher that results can vary greatly. However, there are relievers that are near locks at giving quality innings and those guys are going to be our focus for this exercise.

In the previous piece concerning Starting Pitcher targets, I deciphered that there are 7 teams willing to deal right now. Here are those teams:

Blue Jays, Orioles, Tigers, Royals, Mariners, Marlins, Giants, Reds

The following list comes strictly from those teams and while some of the players on the list might not even be available, they will be discussed in full detail just to annoy all of you. Let’s get to it!

Relief Pitching Targets

Ken Giles– (Toronto Blue Jays) under team control through 2020.

Make no mistake, RHP Ken Giles might be crazy. Make no mistake (yes, again), crazy closers are frickin’ fun to watch. When right, Giles rocks a heater that touches 100, a slider that leaves the strike zone, and a ground ball rate that is 42%. That’s it. That’s his calling card. That…and he’s crazy. He just recently went on the IL with elbow inflammation so that will be something to keep an eye during this holiday (trade) season. If he ends up being able to overcome the injury and show he’s healthy, it could be good for teams looking to acquire his services as any elbow news is bad news for value.

David Hernandez (Cincinnati Reds) Free Agent after 2019

Remember when RHP David Hernandez was a Brave and then he was traded and then he went on to become a good reliever and then our bullpen went on to sucking? /RantOver. Hernandez’s ERA looks troublesome but there’s a lot to like with a great K-rate (12/9 IP) and a BB-rate under 3 per 9. Aside from ERA, everything else lines up with his career numbers and I’d bet good $ that he’s going to even out his production for the rest of 2019.

Will Smith– (San Francisco Giants) Free Agent after 2019

The ultimate relief rental, LHP Will Smith is frickin’ electric and has a track record that dates back to 2015 of consistently great work. He’s typically a fastball/slider guy but mixes a few other pitches in just to keep batters honest. Will calls Newnan, GA home, so even if he’s not acquired this year, I’m sure he’d be interested to call Atlanta his team in 2020. The Giants will no doubt deal him.

Amir Garrett– (Cincinnati Reds) Under team control through 2023

Amir likely isn’t going anywhere. He’s part of the back end of a dynamic 1-2 punch that includes Raisel Igelsias. The problem is that he plays for the Reds and they rarely give him those opportunities. Another FB/slider LHP, Amir’s cost would be through the roof but I’d be down like a clown to scoop him up for a poor king’s ransom.

Ian Kennedy– (Kansas City Royals) Under team control though 2020

Still getting paid to be a SP (16.5MM in’19 and ‘20), Kennedy has had a career resurgence as a reliever after putting up back to back years of below average production as a starting pitcher. Currently carrying a K-rate of 11.8/9 and a miniscule BB-rate of 1.6/9, Kennedy, and his ability to keep the ball on the ground would fit in well with this club.

Trevor Gott– (San Francisco Giants) Under team control though 2023

There are many pitchers to try and pluck from the Giants, but none comes with as much team control as RHP Trevor Gott. Just recently activated off the IL from a forearm strain, Gott is someone to keep an eye on as the Giants literally got him for nothing and would likely be willing to sell high on him. He strikes out over a batter per inning and the low BB-rate and high GB-rate would fit nicely with the Braves.

Raisel Iglesias– (Cincinnati Reds) Under team control through 2021

It would be great if the Reds got buyer’s remorse on RHP Iglesias and decided to trade him at the deadline, but I can’t see that happening. Annual commitment jumps to 9MM in 2020 and is the same for 2021, but that’s hardly a deterrent for pulling off a trade for him. While he might not be the Reds best reliever anymore, he would immediately become the Braves best and, depending if Reds host a firesale or not, could be available…but my guess is no. Fastball has lost some velo these past 2 years which has also decreased its value and that’s a bit worrisome, but his offspeed stuff is still plus.

Shane Greene– (Detroit Tigers) Under team control through 2020

Don’t be fooled by the nice, shiny ERA of a relief pitcher and that’s what RHP Shane Greene is at the moment and that’s how the Tigers will advertise him. Still, he’s plenty good and would likely do well with the Braves with an over 50% GB-rate and healthy BB and K rates. Greene doesn’t possess the velo that some of these other trade candidates carry, but there’s value there as it’s well located and rarely straight. Due to the buy high nature, he’d be a little way down my list of acquisitions.

Nick Anderson– (Miami Marlins) Under team control through 2025 (at least)

Another product of what has turned into a surprisingly young and good Marlins pitching staff, Anderson has Kimbrel-esque peripherals without Kimbrel-esque results. Another fastball/slider guy that has found more success in the slider than the fastball and that’s why he’s used it more in recent outings dating back to May 27th. He’s 28 and just getting started and could skyrocket with refinement…or could fizzle out into the great nothing if he’s not adaptable.

Sam Dyson– (San Francisco Giants) Under team control through 2020

It’s easy to jump on the Will Smith bandwagon, but Dyson is almost equally worthy of our attention. The fastball is his calling card and has the bite to be the it pitch for him, inducing ground ball after ground ball. As a Braves fan, this is what we should be looking for in a pitcher coming from a pitcher friendly park, and his 64.3% GB-rate is music to my years.

Robert Stephenson– (Cincinnati Reds) Under team control through 2023

Another Reds reliever and another good pitcher, Stephenson is striking out over 12 per 9 and walking 3.6 per 9. Like nearly ever Red that I’ve listed here, I cannot imagine he’ll be traded as he comes with so much control, but he’s already 26 and there could be reasons to sell high as relievers are volatile. Uses his slider more than his fastball so that should give Mike Fast a fun toy to play with should AA pull off a trade.

Thanks for reading? Who’s your choice from the list? Got another idea? Let’s hear it!

Long live, Braves Journal!

Author: Ryan Cothran

Ryan is the site editor and manager of Braves Journal. Follow him on Twitter.

62 thoughts on “Shopping in THAT Aisle, Part 2 and Game Thread”

  1. I do remember the saga of David Hernandez. I want to say that we kept Akeel Morris over David Hernandez. That was the 40-man spot up for grabs at the time. I could be wrong.

    Brach pitched in almost half of our team’s games after acquiring him, and he had a 1.52 ERA. For me, that’s about a best-case scenario for a reliever you pick up. Same with Venters. He actually pitched in one more game than Brach (he was acquired a couple days previous), and he had a higher ERA but almost an equivalent FIP. If the Braves can add 45 IP of relief help down the stretch to the current pen, then that would help tremendously. We may not be able to afford a true shut down closer, so getting someone who can share in the closing duties situationally, and someone who can be really helpful as a LOOGY or ROOGY (both Venters and Brach didn’t average an inning per outing) might be what we’re looking at.

    Kennedy and cash would be a really interesting closer option. He’s currently finishing games for KC. Brach, Venters, and Kennedy are all groundball guys, whom we have made a habit of acquiring.

  2. Has anyone ever met Ben Ingram? I have a theory that his radio voice is not his real voice.

  3. He reminds me of those radio and TV announcers who would yell into the microphone, “Sunday! Sunday! Be there!”

  4. @5 – “One day only! Come see “Big Daddy” Don Garlets and the Queen of Speed” Shirley Muldowney as they race to over 300 miles an hour!”

  5. From the last thread:

    Snitker has really mishandled Camargo. He is going to run some of our guys into the ground by August. Nick Markakis should not be leading the league in games played. Our entire lineup in fact dominates the games played leaderboard except for Donaldson, the catchers, and May call up Riley.

  6. @7

    That hurts to look at. There’s just no freaking point when have you someone as good as Camargo on the bench. Why don’t the beat writers question him?

  7. The Braves have placed Sean Newcomb on the 7-day IL for concussion protocol. This makes me very happy. No way he should be playing for a week after getting hit like that.

  8. @7
    This is Snitker’s struggles on point. Literally discusses the importance of giving guys rest in pre-game interviews, then fills out same lineup nearly everyday. What happens? A stale bench and tired regulars.

  9. Camargo had been showing some signs of coming out of it last time he played in a couple of games but got buried on the bench again and rarely even pinch hits anymore.

  10. I’m happy to see Newcomb go on the IL, but I’m still concerned. Some players have had hits like that affect them mentally throughout their careers.

  11. 9 — He probably is having some delayed symptoms. He was supposed to be rested enough to be available to pitch today so I doubt it is roster manipulation.

  12. Looking at where Camargo could play, Swanson and Albies are both young, so you’ve got to figure they’re going to play about every day. Donaldson has been getting time off. I know some want him to play more over Nick, but Nick’s been solid. It’s going to be hard for a manager to turn a respected veteran into a platoon player when he took less money to stay, was promised a starting job, and is producing.

    He’s going to be a UT guy on this team, especially so in the coming years. Pache and Waters will be occupying the OF, and Riley will be playing every day at 3B. ABs will be hard to come by. Just looking at the whole overall picture, I’m not really outraged he’s not playing practically every day.

  13. @14 I definitely think there’s a balance between him playing nearly every day and where he is right now. Let’s say you got Johan an at bat off the bench in 80% of the games he doesn’t start, a start 3 times a week, and junk time once every 10 days. Based on how many games we’ve played, that’d be around 175 PAs. And he’s had 125 PAs so far. It may not seem like much, but those extra 50 PAs means he’d have 4 more PAs a week, so basically a start and a PH a week more than what he’s giving. I think that could be the difference between the guys wearing down over the course of the season and Camargo also staying fresh.

    Bottom line, though, there’s just no reason why Markakis is leading the league in games played. Get someone in there, and Camargo makes the most sense. Nick had a .877 OPS in the first half and .701 OPS in the 2nd half. He doesn’t have nearly as much room this year in his performance to date to lose that performance.

  14. As much as you want to get on to Snitker, it’s hard to fault a manager when the offense is averaging over 6 runs per game lately. All of the starters have contributed.

  15. The only real issue is not getting Neck more regular rest. Camargo has played himself out of at bats with his dismal performance this year. Complaints about not getting him more games because of how “good” he is explicitly ignores the fact that he’s been sub-Inciartian this season.

    That said, Markakis is hitting .095 against LHP of late. Sitting him for Culberson is a no brainer against a LH starter.

  16. I love Claude. I wish he’d start in right field twice a week and at some infield spot another. He has not been great in limited at bats, whereas Joyce and Charlie have. I understand why Johan sits, but I wish he’d get more chances.

  17. I don’t recall ever seeing a Braves team with this kind of roster depth. The ’93 team was deep, but not like this one.

  18. Holy crap, have the Braves thrown out a single would-be base-stealer all year? I know they’ve had to have, but I swear I haven’t personally witnessed it happen yet.

  19. Because Charlie is starting tonight, the lowest OPS among the starting 8 is Swanson at .798. That’s lineup depth.

  20. That homer by Freddie is a great example of what Rob said earlier–that would have been a double last year.

  21. Someone tell Freddie to stop killing these rallies! It’s the 21st time this year he’s pulled this crap!

  22. Jeff, maybe you shouldn’t be criticizing someone else for swinging at a ball out of the zone.

  23. Acuna not only broke in – he jogged back to get the ball. Run – show you care!

  24. …and he then threw out the runner at 3rd.

    Criticizing him for not being a great defensive player is fair. Saying he doesn’t care is not.

  25. The throw was great. The fact that Rosario tried for third in the first place was due to Acuna’s lethargic go get the ball.

    Or are you suggesting that was his plan all along!

  26. Max is no ordinary mortal. He was awful in the first, has pitched better each time since then. I doubt he’s worried by TTO.

    Thunderstorms galore in Ohio, no reception for 25 minutes- maybe Max has blown it by now!

  27. Aren’t you the same guy who wanted Acuña to tone down his play after too many collisions with the wall? Now he suddenly doesn’t care? Come on.

  28. Blazon, it’s really not a good take to question multiple major league players’ effort and caring levels on the regular. These guys are really trying hard in the way they want to show it.

  29. Glad to see Fried get a chance to finish that inning—and to get through it. Good learning experience.

  30. @39 Agreed. Gotta let them pitch through trouble. Fried’s like 24 years old anyway. He’s a grown up.

  31. Better game now. See you later, Matz. You’re mighty good, but you’re just a Mutt.

  32. Did anyone see how giddy JD was after he hit that HR? I think the kids might be rubbing off on him.

    Good to see Ozzie get a 2B and RBI on his necklace night.

  33. Dear AA,

    For trade deadline, please get me a shut down reliever who throws strikes. A TOR starter would be nice too, but I really want the strike-throwing reliever.

    Thank you.

  34. @35

    Sorry, have to disagree. If you see it, call it. Acuna just now did not run out his third out in the 6th. He does that semi regularly. In what kind of enterprise do you turn a blind eye to lack of effort. If your criticism arises from the frequency of complaints lately i plead guilty. But i’m not an elite athlete, they are supposed to be.

    Meanwhile Charlie Culbertson reminded us how it’s supposed to be done. When they finally got round to showing that play it was textbook and Francoeur did a great job calling attention to it. Full speed to the ball, no hedging, no hot dog. Heck of a throw dispatched post haste, making the great Flowers tag possible.

    As a postscript I would say this. It is more contentious when you enter the field of ‘maybe not trying’. Too much of that is too much. But when you can actually see something with your own eyes, good or bad, let’s talk about it.

  35. 50 — Acuña was sprinting pretty hard on that play. And even if he didn’t, it would be hard to blame him seeing as how he has played every inning of every game for a long time.

  36. Swarzak really has been quite a find. Biddle has pitched as poorly for Seattle as he did for the Braves.

  37. gNats take 2 from the Phils. Woohoo.

    We better watch out for the Natspos. They may be the primary competition soon.

  38. Aw, c’mon. How can you not love our Nicky Kakes?

    Now I think we have enough Luke Leverage.

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