Potential Atlanta Braves Trade Targets: American League

The Braves are definitely going to be scouring free agency and the trade market to try to fill some holes for the 2020 season. It’s with that in mind that I’d like to get a little bit of a head start and lay out the players that could be on the market.

Firstly, I chose teams that will likely be dealing. Some of these teams are 2,3, hell, maybe a lifetime away from competing again, and some are just teams with trigger-heavy GMs (nods Dipoto). Then, In setting parameters, I kept it quite simple:

  1. Most players on the list are under controls 2 year or less.
  2. On teams that are truly awful and have no chance of competing for the next 2 years, I stretched the limit.

Let’s get our hands dirty.

Orioles

SP: Dylan Bundy
Control: 2 years, through arbitration
Stats: 4.79 ERA, 161.2 IP, 2.5 fWAR

Thoughts: I’ve always wondered what Bundy would do outside of the nightmare that is the Baltimore Orioles. He’s still throwing his fastball 50% of the time even though it’s dropped in velo and his other pitches show better. He’s got pedigree on his side.

RP: Mychal Givens
Control: 2 years, through arbitration
Stats: 63 IP, 4.57 ERA, 0.5 fWAR

Thoughts: Givens is still striking out a ton (12.8 K/9) and keeping a reasonable BB/9 (3.7), but had a difficult time keeping the ball in the park this year. Is still able to pump the velo.

Blue Jays

SP: Matt Shoemaker
Control:1 year through arb
Stats: 28.2 IP, 1.52 ERA, 0.6 fWAR

Thoughts: Not sure what the Blue Jays squeezed out of Shoemaker that other teams could not, but he had a big GB% spike and that likely helped his numbers as K and BB rates are pedestrian. His FIP and xFIP suggest the ERA was very fluky.

RP: Ken Giles
Control: 1 year through arb
Stats: 53 IP, 1.97 ERA, 1.8 fWAR

Thoughts: Ken Giles likes to punch himself but he’s a heckuva reliever. Struck out over 14/9 and walked under 3/9. Had an elbow scare that kept him off the trade market, but he’s going to be dealt in the offseason or mid-season, and I expect the Jays don’t want to take a chance on that elbow holding out. FB/SL guy and both are good pitches.

Red Sox

OF: Mookie Betts
Control: 1 year through arb
Stats: .915 OPS, 6.6 fWAR

Thoughts: There’s a rumor out there that the Red Sox are likely to trade Betts this year because his arb-price is going to land him in a “we can’t afford you” place. There’s also a rumor going ‘round Twitter and the Braves blogosphere that Mookie really wants to play in Atlanta. I can’t find the rumor anywhere, but if that’s true, 2021 could be a fun year to speculate on the 2nd best player in MLB coming to the Braves. Betts is a superstar that would make any team better, but would truly put Atlanta into a new tier in 2020.

OF: Jackie Bradley, Jr.
Control: 1 year through arb
Stats: .738 OPS, 1.4 fWAR

Thoughts: JBJ had that one year where he was a 5+ fWAR player, but every other year he’s been for the Red Sox what Ender Inciarte has been for the Braves.

White Sox

RP: Kelvin Herrera
Control: 1 year w/option
Stats: 51. 1 IP, 6.14 ERA, 0.4 fWAR

Thoughts: Relievers are volatile and Herrera is no exception. Numbers were spiked due to an inflated BABIP, but if one has to look back to 2016 to find something positive, maybe there’s just not much left.

RP: Alex Colome
Control: 1 year through arb
Stats: 61 IP, 2.80 ERA, 0.6 fWAR

Thoughts: So..teammate Carlos Rodon pitches 34.2 innings of 5.19 ERA baseball and grabs a 0.9 fWAR, yet Colome has the above stat-line and only gets 0.6? Go home, Fangraphs. You’re drunk. Fastball/Cutter guy that went to his cutter much more in 2019 while his FB velo dropped quite a bit. Hmmm…

C: James McCann
Control: 1 year, through arb
Stats: .768 OPS, 2.3 fWAR

Thoughts: If the Braves want a stopgap to replace McCann, McCann might be a good option. Historically not great with the stick, but who knows? Something might have…oh, who am I kidding. It was likely the ball.

Royals

OF: Jorge Soler
Control: 2 years, 1st at 4.7MM and 2nd through arb
Stats: 3.6 fWAR, .923 OPS

Thoughts: Soler was a horrible fielder in 2019, but 48 HRs has a way to make you forget about such atrocities. Played mostly RF and maybe he shouldn’t.

SP: Danny Duffy
Control: 2/31MM
Stats: 130.2 IP, 4.34 ERA, 1.3 fWAR

Thoughts: I don’t want to think of Danny Duffy being in a Braves uniform as he’s just another Julio Teheran except he’s left-handed and more expensive. Still, would the Royals make a team take Duffy in a Soler deal? Maybe…their GM isn’t very intelligent.

RP: Ian Kennedy
Control: 1/16.5MM
Stats: 63.1 IP, 3.41 ERA, 1.4 fWAR

Thoughts: Great season as a full-time reliever in 2019, bumping his MPH by 3. Rumor had it the Braves had a deal for him before dealing for Melancon, but Royals GM pulled deal back. Did I mention he’s not that intelligent?

C: Salvador Perez
Control: 2/28.4 MM
Stats:
Tommy John in March, 2019 Stats N/A
Thoughts: Salvador Perez was already going down as a player before needing Tommy John. Now, I can’t fathom any team taking on his money without seeing him play post-surgery. Has gotten a name more from pedigree, not from production. Prior to TJ, he put up 4 straight negative offensive years.

OF: Whit Merrifield
Control: 3 years w/option
Stats: .811 OPS, 2.9 fWAR

Thoughts: There are exceptions I’ll make to this list and Whit is one of them. The Royals are lightyears away from being relevant again and Whit is their knight in shining armor. Whit is a plug and play guy in the field and, coming up on his 31st naming day, the Royals would be downright foolish not to trade him very soon. He’s good at a lot of things and bad at none. He’ll be light on the pocketbook, but heavy in prospects to acquire.

Tigers

SP: Matt Boyd
Control: 3 years through arb
Stats: 185.2 IP, 4.56 ERA, 3.3 fWAR

Thoughts: Matthew Boyd is the Tigers equivalent to Max Fried with exception being that Boyd’s MO is FB/SL rather than FB/CB. His splits show that he has the ability to strike out anyone but struggles with hard contact, which tells me his location comes and goes. He’s got elite K-rates and keeps his walks per 9 under 3. If the Braves could grab Boyd for a few prospects, he’d be a great candidate to lead the rotation with Mike Soroka and Max Fried.

SP: Michael Fulmer
Control: 3 years through arb
Stats: No 2019 stats (
Tommy John surgery)
Thoughts: Fulmer was heavily targeted by the Braves a few years back and it’s good that the Braves didn’t pull the trigger as his health deteriorated and put him on the shelf for the entire 2019 season. Fulmer is expected back and healthy for the 2020 season. It’s rare for a team to trade a guy coming off of surgery, but Detroit could be willing to shop him if someone believes in his stuff enough to give up a decent package. Fulmer’s FB is his MO and sits around 96. When his elbow started barking, his movement left him. When right, Fulmer is a lot like Soroka, using hard sink to keep the ball on the ground.

Rangers

OF: Nomar Mazara
Control: 2 years through arb
Stats: 0.5 fWAR, .787 OPS

Thoughts: Only 24 years old, but seemingly running out of time to prove himself, Mazara put up his 2nd disappointing season in a row. Still, his hard contact increased in 2019 and his poor stretch was isolated to 2 months (not necessarily comforting, just laying down facts). Mazara comes with pedigree and an abundance of untapped talent, but this is now year 4 of mostly potential with no breakthrough.

OF: Danny Santana
Control: 2 years through arb
Stats: 1.9 fWAR, .856 OPS

Thoughts: I’m a Danny Santana naysayer and hated the fact that he received so much playing time during his stint with the Braves, but here I am speculating that the Braves could target him. Santana was a great fill-in for Texas last year as he played every position except catcher and pitcher (although some not very well), had near identical splits offensively, and was 21 of 27 in SB attempts. What more could one ask for a bench player?

SP: Mike Minor
Control: 1 year through arb
Stats: 208.1 IP, 3.59 ERA, 4.2 fWAR

Thoughts: Minor broke out in 2019 with the Rangers largely due to his FB/CH combo that made up ⅔ of his pitches on the year. Minor also had a career best 80% in runners stranded which explains a lot of the difference in his fWAR and bWAR. I’m not sure he’d slot in as numero uno on the Braves depth chart, but he’d likely help a lot.

RP: Shawn Kelley
Control: 1 year (through option)
Stats: 47.1 IP, 4.94 ERA, -0.2 fWAR

Thoughts: 3 years of samples, 7.27 ERA, 2.95 ERA, 4.94 ERA….oh the life of a relief pitcher. Kelley lives and dies by the long ball and if he can keep it in the park, he can be successful. The problem is that he’s in an extreme hitter’s park and travels to extreme hitter’s parks regularly. He’s a FB/SL guys and is best when his slider is his number one…but it can become lazy.

Angels

OF: Kole Calhoun
Control: option, 14MM
Stats: 2.5 fWAR, .792 OPS

Thoughts: I think the Angels are a good team to keep an eye on this offseason. As my friend Ben Chase and I discussed the other day, they’ve hired Joe Maddon and he likes his players to have positional flexibility. Right now, the Angels don’t seem built for that and I’d expect some rearranging. Calhoun ended up grading out ok in RF and cranked out 32 HRs, but only put up a .792 OPS, which tells a little bit about the rest of his offensive skill-set. Still, the Braves look like they’re going to need some LH thump and Kole is that.

SP: Andrew Heaney
Control: 2 years through arb
Stats: 95.1 IP, 4.91 ERA, 1.2 fWAR

Thoughts: Heaney still has a great K-rate and a low-BB rate, but the dude just cannot keep the ball in the park, and it’s been a problem for 6 years. Still, there’s real potential here if he can just stay healthy.

RP: Cam Bedrosian
Control: 2 years through arb
Stats: 61.1 IP, 3.23 ERA, 0.8 fWAR

Thoughts: Son of former Brave Steve, Cam’s FB is the get ahead pitch and the slider is the dagger, but he is by no means consistent yet and his .253 BABIP against shows he’s likely due regression. Still, he has pretty good peripherals and a near 50% GB-rate.

Mariners

OF: Domingo Santana
Control: 2 years through arb
Stats: .770 OPS, 0.0 fWAR

Thoughts: Domingo was a target of mine in 2018, so he’s got the Ryan curse of doom on him. Is a pretty horrible fielder and has been pretty mediocre the last 2 years and truthfully, I don’t know why I’m writing about him.

OF: Mitch Haniger
Control: 3 years through arb
Stats: .777 OPS, 1.1 fWAR

Thoughts: Haniger had a most unfortunate injury that I cannot discuss without a certain part of me hurting, but even before then, he was putting up numbers that weren’t what was expected from him. Still, Haniger is a “Markakis in his prime” type player that has a good approach at the plate that should keep his BA, OBP, SLG all above league average all the while playing adequate corner OF defense.

OF: Mallex Smith
Control: 3 years through arb
Stats: .635 OPS, 0.0 fWAR

Thoughts: Make no mistake, Mallex was bad last year. I don’t know the reason, but he was well below average offensively and defensively. However, with the idea of 2020 bringing the 26th man, 3rd catchers and speedsters might be finding their way onto rosters more frequently. I love Mallex’s demeanor. I believe in his skillset and I’d love to see him back in a Braves uniform.

3B: Kyle Seager
Control: 2 years, 39MM w/option
Stats: .789 OPS, 2.9 fWAR

Thoughts: Seager had 6 straight years of great performance, averaging 4.3 fWAR, then 2018 happened. He didn’t hit for average, couldn’t get on base, and his slashline suffered. 2019 saw him rebound as everything upticked. Just looking at his batted ball profile, he seems like a player that would do well under Seitzer’s tutelage, and I’d be willing to bet that Dipoto is ready to pull the trigger on trading Seager.

RP: Anthony Bass
Control: 1 year through arb
Stats: 48 IP, 3.56 ERA, 0.6 fWAR

Thoughts: Seattle unlocked something in Bass that no one else has that increased his pitching effectiveness across the board. He carries a great GB-rate that sits a hair above 50% and that would work well in a Braves uni.

That’s a Wrap!

Any on this list you find appealing? Who are you going after?

Thanks for reading!

Long live Braves Journal!

Author: Ryan Cothran

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

71 thoughts on “Potential Atlanta Braves Trade Targets: American League”

  1. A single year of Mookie Betts will cost so, so much more in prospects than any Braves fan will want to pay, but there’s basically no other move short of signing Gerrit Cole that says, “We believe that we will win the World Series in 2020.”

    Push the chips to the center of the table and make it happen.

  2. It’s not only who they might be, it is also what you have to pay.

    Sure, AA, check in on Betts. However, Boston is not moving him to anybody who thinks like a trade value calculator. Betts excess value won’t exceed 20 million. Do you think Boston accepts 60 million on the trade coming back? Pache and Waters are both higher than that. Maybe Anderson and Close on Wright. It is not happening.

    The CONCEPT of a well above average major league outfielder with only 1 year of control is a positive if we don’t have to trade Waters or Pache. Betts is a lot more than “well above average”, but for one year he hampers getting other talent that is more crucial.

    The most crucial thing now is one more established Major League caliber catcher who is well above average. We don’t need all of how much better Grandal is than average, but if we get him, we will have to pay for that and base it on 120 games or so.

    Why is that more crucial? Because there is a moderate chance that doesn’t sound stupid (a) that Pache could be a 60 or better defender and carry a 100 OPS +, (b) that Wright or Anderson or Newcombe could carry a Major League 3 level for 150 plus innings, (c) That Waters could carry the long side of a platoon with Duvall and be a 60 defender in left or 50 in center and have a 110 OPS +, (d) that either Minter and / or Sobotka return to near 2018 form or others from the minor league relief entourage step forward.

    Our FO needs to be focused on what can we get that helps consolidate WAR and bring WAR into the 2020-2021 window that you can get by trading out a pu pu tray. Maybe the Orioles or Mariners would jump at that. And, if Fast has an idea for a solution on Bundy, then he makes lots of sense.

  3. @1
    If Mookie truly wants to play in ATL, maybe the Braves could work an extension into the negotiations, and if that were the case, someone like Waters or Pache starts to make a whole lot of sense.

    For me, I’d do Waters for Betts first day of the offseason if it came with a buyout of his last year of arbitration and a 5/135MM deal.

  4. I am not enamored with any of the pieces mentioned for various reasons. Merrifield is the best but would cost a ton. Mookie is overpriced (and will never approach his 2018 heights again) and Mallex can’t hit anymore. I don’t see a ton of excess value on Seagers contract but if we can’t resign Donaldson that one at least fills a need and wouldn’t kill the farm.
    On the pitching side, I lobbied for Bundy 2 years ago. Not so sure about that today with the loss of velo. I might go for Boyd or Fulmer if the price is right but the Tigers had unreasonable expectations abut both in the past. Relievers we have.

  5. @5
    Yeah…as soon as I put it down, I realized it was well below his market ask. Still, if he wants to play here, he’ll have to accept below market value. Maybe 6/180?

  6. Betts is the same age as Harper, and a better player- so I’d say that’s probably the type of contract he’ll shoot for, adjusted a bit for the age difference heading into free agency. I think he ends up in the 9 yrs and 250 million dollar range, myself. If he really, really does want to come to Atlanta, I don’t know how much he can come down on that before he gets some backlash from the MLBPA? Would a 3 yr extension offer of 120 million be just completely insane?

    I love the idea of getting Betts, just not for the price of Pache, Waters or Anderson if it’s only for a single season.

  7. Three thoughts on your list, Ryan…

    First, you’re mean for even suggesting the Braves might look at bringing in Danny Santana again. Lol.

    Second, I really want to see Ken Giles closing for the Braves next season. That’s my favorite trade target on your list.

    Third, would Calhoun for Tehran make sense for both teams? It seems it to me. The Angels need pitching, after all. The money’s about even. Another non-elite pitching prospect could be added, if need be.

  8. Mookie wants to be paid what he’s worth. He has made it extraordinarily clear that he will not be signing any hometown discounts of any kind — that’s the only reason the Sox are even considering trading him. There is no chance for getting him for less than 100 cents on the dollar.

  9. Give me Betts.

    I’ve been (mostly jokingly) in the trade for Trout crowd, so if Betts is actually available theres is no reason to be rational here…do it. I dont care if it’s one year, I’ll take my chances on re-signing him. If he walks, at least we took a shot and get a comp pick back.

  10. @9
    I don’t think 6/180 is unreasonable, although I don’t think I’d like it for the Braves.

    @king
    I’ve seen guys on Twitter make that fake trade and, while it does make some sense, it makes more for both teams to let those guys walk and find someone cheaper.

  11. Cole Calhoun might be non-tendered, no sense trading for him just yet. He has been known to check into hotels under the pseudonym “Matt Joyce”.

  12. I, like, Karl don’t find a whole lot of the list particularly compelling, though it was well-compiled by Ryan. The other attractive players on the list will come at a price I hope the Braves don’t pay (Betts, Whit).

    With that said, I think I might just take up a yearly hobby of wanting Mitch Haniger. The injury is flat out horrible, but he should be able to get back to where he was. And while it may not excite folks to say that he’s Nick Markakis in his prime, that’d be perfectly fine with me.

  13. Not sure your standards of reasonability, Ryan, Rendon’s going to get somewhere over $200 million, and he’s older and not as good. I don’t see any reason in the world why Mookie would take just a measly $180 million unless it was for a super-short contract (like literally, a four-year deal).

    Betts is the second-best player in baseball – he’s a very good defensive center fielder who hits for average and power and Scott Boras is his agent. I’d be surprised if he gets less than $300 million.

  14. Mookie was around the 10th-13th best player in baseball (BRef vs FG) in 2019, and in a sport where recency bias reigns supreme, that’s important. 6 years/180MM might not get it done, but I think that might be the Braves limit from what little I know on the inside workings of the front office. Maybe 200MM.

    Also, Mookie doesn’t play much CF anymore. He’s been mostly a RF for 4 years. However, he’s the best defensive RFer in the game.

  15. I will do a massive amount of cartwheels if the Braves go all in with Betts. Until it happens, I won’t believe it. Previous spending patterns and offseason dynamics seem to suggest that the team isn’t going to be making moves like that. I sincerely hope I am wrong.

  16. Ryan…

    At the risk of again being labelled a complainer may I please suggest that you are inadvertently quashing day to day connected discourse on our blog.

    You have recruited several worthy writers from our ranks. You yourself have authored several pieces of prodigious length and scholarship such as the one you posted earlier this morning.

    So what is my beef? That these various pieces are being laid on top of each other so rapidly(every 24 hours?) that any ‘normal’ everyday banter by members between them on umpteen topics is swamped before it might take off into something of real interest.

    So it seems to me the danger is we are becoming a magazine rather than a blog. What is the difference? One is pre-structured and follows predictable parameters. The other is ‘bar talk’ as it used to be here. Informal, anything goes, impossible to predict where it may go. The subject matter jumps and dives all over the place.That to me is a blog.

    So how could we accommodate these two constructs. Pretty simply I might suggest. Reduce the number of commissioned pieces to, say, three a week – it’s a long winter after all – which will encourage people like me to post more often when we see the hammer isn’t coming down so fast.

    And show some sensitivity when you do decide to start something new to check what you are following – say a poem(!) for instance which at 9 in the morning has been ‘up’ a full 15 minutes. Yes, I have a vested interest and trust you will agree a poem about Braves baseball is per se as worthy here as any long detailed statistical review.

    So that’s my case, I apologize for its length. I would welcome your reaction and, more importantly, the comments of all others here with an opinion on this. Magazine or blog?

  17. Blazon,

    The plan for the offseason has always been the same and that is 1 piece per day and that piece goes up in the morning when I can get around to posting it. I have a 1 year old, a 4 year old, a full-time job, and I’m spending countless hours organizing posts and researching content, so my apologies if I put up a piece over your poem as it wasn’t my intention.

    Also, if anyone else that’s a regular has issues about how the blog is being run this offseason, please send me an email. I assure you that I’ll hear you out with an open mind

  18. @Alex
    A 3 year sample doesn’t tell me anything about his 2019 season, of which he was a top-10-13 player, not top-3.

    Both Cody Bellinger and Alex Bregman were much better in 2019 and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them both above him in 2020.

  19. I’d love to deal for Minor still, but I doubt he’s available.

    I’m looking forward to hearing who might be interested in selling and beginning my lust then. A couple years ago, I was wanting the Braves to deal their prospects more aggressively than I am now with attrition being largely to blame, but with a young pitching prospect core of Anderson, Wright, Wilson, Touki, Davidson, Muller, Ynoa, etc., I think there’s someone in there that could headline and we wouldn’t miss them. I fear we don’t have enough on the position player side (prospects at least) to deal from that side.

  20. Coop, what are you thinking about this weekend? I do not share the optimism that my fellow Gator fans do. This’ll be a tilt, and I couldn’t tell you who will win.

    I would love to hear the predictions from the Dawg fans on here.

  21. Ryan, at the risk of being insensitive, the daily content is most welcome and is the real worthy substance. I appreciate the effort that goes into it. Keep up the good work

  22. @23 I agree.

    I love the banter, but during the offseason, it is these articles which keep me checking in daily.

  23. From the above list, my opinion on legitimate targets that might really be available – James McCann, Whit Merrifield, Mike Minor. Those guys could really help. They are all low cost, value options. We should have some leverage with Texas as we have already given them a Minor replacement (Kolby). For McCann, we should have Detroit’s favor by overpaying for Greene. They already have their version of Alex Jackson in the minors but maybe they would take Contreras. I wouldn’t mind seeing a Grandal/McCann combo behind the plate for us. It’s hard to imagine how much better we’d be with the opponent’s running game under control.

  24. @ 22, Rob,

    My perspective on Georgia and Florida. I started the season laughing at Florida for thinking they had caught up to Georgia. The recruiting differential over the past 4 years makes it seem that Georgia should have much better athletes all around. I also thought Felipe Franks was overrated by some.

    Trask, on the other hand, is cool and collected and effective. I saw Florida v. Auburn and thought “either Auburn’s offensive line is a lot worse than I thought or Florida’s defensive line is a lot better than I thought or maybe both.” If Florida is able to play as well on the line of scrimmage as it did in that game, it will be hard for Georgia.

    Georgia’s offensive line is very talented and deep.
    However, watching what has happened, Solomon Kindley is the beast and key. When he has been fully ready to go, the offensive line is sealed. When they mix and match (even with very good players) there is a drop off. Cager is probably out which means Georgia has problems at receiver. However, with Kindley back, they actually have the talent to do a Herschel Walker era game and run it 60 times for 300 yards.

    Georgia’s pass rush has been seldom effective. However, I think they are gearing up to stop the run with the linemen, both by whom they select and schemes. Travon Walker is supposed to be ready to go and he is a 5 star freak of nature. Both Julian Rochester and Jordan Davis have been limited by injuries, but are probably 95% or better. But Trask is good enough that Georgia’s D has to create some of those “1.5 second” plays. If they can’t, Florida will score 28 to 35.

  25. I’m going to leave this piece up another day as I think it’s getting good traffic, and maybe it’ll help increase dialogue. We will try to have 1 piece/week that stays up for an extended period of time as a compromise.

    For the future, we will continue to do Braves Player Reviews and each of those will have 1 full day on the blog. Any larger pieces that are a lot to digest and getting comments, will stay up an extra day.

  26. In my response to who I’d like on this list, while it all has to do with cost, I’d love to take a run at Matthew Boyd, who I think could be a thing if he could get out of Detroit.

    Also, I’d be very interested in Jorge Soler, and would love for the Royals to be dumb enough to make the Braves take Ian Kennedy’s salary back to grab him for cheaper.

    I also want Mallex Smith back as the 26th man on the roster. He can hit, no matter what his 2019 says.

    Ken Giles would be fun.
    Mookie Betts would be fun.

    Both are going to cost more than what I’d want a rental to cost.

  27. I partially don’t understand going “all in” on Betts without an extension. I mean he’s a magnificent talent, so I get it from that perspective. Betts and Acuna Jr is the best OF in baseball, even if Nick is the every day third component there.

    If Betts is the big move, does that take them out of the Donaldson market? If so, you’re dropping off at 3B while upgrading in the OF. Maybe that’s a net gain, I don’t know. Here’s my thing though, is this pitching staff, as constructed, one you go all in with next year?

  28. cliff, I was definitely not one of those that thought that Florida was closing the gap. The recruiting rankings aren’t infallible, but they’re a pretty good guide across 80 players per team who’s talented and who’s not. And Florida is not even close to Georgia. So I have a healthy respect for a healthy Georgia team that, to your point, has an offensive line that gives Fromm plenty of time to pick apart Florida’s spotty linebackers and secondary.

    But yeah, I think if Florida’s OL is an improved as it seems to have been during this stretch of Auburn/LSU/SCar, then Trask could have enough time to put up 4-5 scores. I do think that whoever gets to 4 touchdowns is probably the team that wins.

    For me, this is a game that feels like the LSU game. I don’t necessarily think we’ll win, but going into the game thinking you have a shot is where you’d want to be in Mullen’s second year after the talent levels being depleted under the McElwain era.

    If Georgia loses to Florida, does this affect Georgia’s perception of Kirby Smart?

  29. @28 I do like Soler. I’m also a believer in the idea of punting on OF defense in one COF spot, if the bat is special. No one has ever won a 0-0 game, after all. If you’re KC, do you ask for a significant prospect for him though? I mean 2 years of control there would seem to justify it. If they’d just be happy pairing him with Kennedy to offload the money, and they’d send them to Atlanta on the cheap… Well KC would have to be my favorite AL team, I imagine.

  30. If we added Boyd, Soler, and Mallex and re-signed Donaldson, then that would be a heck of an offseason. That would require a huge prospect hit, but that would still keep us well within budget. Add a decent catcher to split time with Flowers, and you’re all good.

    Acuna
    Albies
    Freddie
    Donaldson
    Soler
    Ender/Riley/OF Prospect
    Dansby
    Catcher

    Bench
    Catcher
    Camargo
    Culberson
    Markakis (I almost can’t even write this because I don’t think it actually can happen)
    Mallex

    Soroka
    Fried
    Boyd
    Folty
    Teheran/Anderson/Wright/Wilson/Touki

    Melancon
    Green
    Newcomb
    Jackson
    Webb
    Minter
    Walker/Ynoa/Blevins/Dayton/NRI/ML FA/Whomever

    I’d go to war with that.

  31. @34
    I’m not making the exact opposite argument for Mallex, rather trusting his history, which is the large sample.

    In weighing a top-3 player in the league, I think it’s pretty important to look at the latest, greatest sample and Betts wasn’t near the top-3.

    Mookie’s long sample tells us he’s a great player. A 3-year sample tells us he’s 2nd best in the league. A 1-year sample tells us he’s a top-10 player in the league.

  32. I know walk years have conflicting data, but I would bet that Betts (see what I did there?) to have a huge walk year.

    That wRC+ of 185 in 2018 really sticks out, so far, as an outlier for Betts’ offensive production. His last 4 years are 136, 107, 185, and 135. I would imagine he’s more the 135 wRC+ guy that he’s been exactly in 2 of the last 4 years. Each time it was about a .900 OPS, and he didn’t run as much this past year as he did in previous years.

    He’s had one season where his defense and speed graded out really well and his bat was Troutian, and 3 of the past 4 years he’s pretty been two of those 3, but not all three. So while I think he has an elite season this year, he’s going to get a huge deal that reflects being a top 3 player, and he may not be that every year.

  33. I know there are players who can thrive while switching organizations a lot, but I don’t know if Mallex is talented enough (and experienced enough; he’s still reasonably new to baseball) to switch orgs every year. My love for Mallex is well-established, so I could see the Braves finally getting the Ender/Mallex debate right and trading Ender and ending up with Mallex. I think Mallex is a better fit for a 4th OF/bench role anyway, especially with the 26th man, and that was not part of the debate in 2016.

    I’m a fan of all types of baseball (power, speed, pitching, defense), and the Mallex’s of the world are fewer and farther between, so I wish one of them was on our team.

  34. @ 30,

    Rob, Georgia is not as cutthroat on coaches as Florida, Alabama, or Auburn. The Richt era shows that. He fell of his peak in 2008 and was still around in 2015.

    I think Georgia fans are less forgiving than in the old days, but I also think they will be very conscious of “you could do a lot worse and might not could do better.” Everybody knows Kirby has recruiting covered. If he has 3 to 5 more years of “one mysterious loss”, that may start to wane. For now, you could not expect anyone to recruit better.

    Also, Kirby seems to have passed the other big test for a new head coach without a lot of head coaching experience, but with some success. That is, replacing coordinators and position coaches. Saban is the best at that and Kirby learned a lot from Saban, and that is a test he has proven himself in.

    The “game management, substitution management, game planning, clock management, etc.” bubble still seems to need some work. Part of that is recruiting well causes players to sit on the bench mostly for a year, then play for 2 years, and then be gone. We have 4 very good offensive linemen NFL eligible this year. 3 of the 4 most effective receivers. The top 2 rushers. The quarterback. Two starting safeties. About 5 of the top 8 interior defensive linemen.

  35. @22: Rob, I have faith the better team will win Saturday. I fear the better team is UF. You shall see. I am flying into the wilderness this afternoon and will not know the outcome until, God willing, I return to the US of A in three weeks.

    That said, I hope (that word again) your team gets (ahem) swamped.

    Good article, Ryan. The frequency of good stuff this offseason wows me, spot on as to both content and timeliness. Please keep up the good work. I look forward to reading every word when/if I return.

    Go Dawgs! More importantly,

    GO BRAVES!

  36. How much do you guys think this offseason’s acquisitons should reflect a possible DH in 2021? There was a lot of rumble about that, recently.

    For example, Soler. If he is an outfielder in 2020 and DH (Pache and / or Waters playing full time) in 2021, then he makes a lot more sense.

  37. @42

    I’d say it’s a near definite that it’s going to happen in 2021, and if a team doesn’t start looking to fill that hole now, they could be scrambling later. Soler would be a great bridge to DH, and truthfully, I can’t wait for the DH so I can stop complaining about how bad Snitker is at resting his everyday position players.

  38. Like I said, I believe the recruiting rankings, so I just can’t see how Florida can possibly be better than Georgia. I guess I just don’t want to get my hopes up that if Florida can beat Georgia with this talent gap, then there may not be a time in the foreseeable future that Georgia should ever beat Florida consistently, and that just sounds like lunacy to me. However, last year Georgia had 61 blue chip recuits; this year they have 59. Last year Florida had 35; this year they have 39. And as every Jim McElwain recruiting class comes off and is replaced with a Dan Mullen recruiting class, the gap that separates Florida from Georgia should shorten.

    I expect teams like LSU and Georgia who have tons of elite talent to beat Florida like a drum, and that’s why I thought we would lose to LSU and I’m not optimistic about Georgia. But if Florida can win this year, then I think the gap between Mullen and Smart in the deficiencies cliff cites are worse than they appear now. I would say there’s a small-to-medium gap in Mullen’s favor, but a Florida win on Saturday would tell me it’s a big gap.

  39. 2/3 of the national league clubs would need to ratify the change to the DH. I see definite “NO” votes from Stl, SF, and Pit and likely from Cin, Col, and LA. I suppose they could bribe teams by greatly raising the cap which would benefit LA and SF but then salary disparity would get ugly once again.

    We must also take into consideration that under the current CBA owners are making lots of money — and changing the likely NL team salary structure is, at least in the short term, going to cause a spike in player salary which owners will want to avoid. Really, from their perspective, last offseason couldn’t have played out much better as the Harper and Machado contracts made sense within the framework set several years before in the Stanton deal. Many of us remember when most every offseason saw double-digit percentage increases in salary. Also remember that these are the people that saw the Kimbrel and Keuchel situations as a positive!

    I’m betting against the change this time round.

  40. @Rob
    Mallex and/or a 3rd catcher is what the 26th man is all about since it’s apparently going to be a rule that a team can’t expand the pitching roster to more than 13.

    With the DH coming, there’s going to be some really stale position/bench players with a 26-man roster.

  41. Atlanta absolutely foresees the DH coming in 2021. That’s why they’re keeping Markakis around, so he can be their DH in 2021.

  42. The DH is coming. May as well plan for it.
    With the DH coming

    Isn’t this strangely prescient-sounding for something that’s completely up in the air? It’d be funny if it didn’t happen, like a Chief preseason pick of 82 wins for the Braves.

  43. All the news reports indicate it’s nearly impossible for the DH to come to the NL before 2022 since the CBA doesn’t end until 2021.

  44. @51: yes, that sounded like I knew something I do not. Better had it read, I think the DH is inevitable. May as well plan for it.

    I have a knack for being both stupid and wrong.

  45. Channeling my inner blazon:

    Three years hence
    The DH is worth exploring.
    By then we’ll be on the fence
    As to whether or not baseball should be more boring.

  46. I will hate the DH forever, of course. But I’m curmudgeonly beyond my years. I’m beginning to wonder whether we’d be better off without recording technology of any kind, so live events were always only ever ephemeral, and any attempt to recreate them would be perceived as exactly what they were — recreations, not recordings.

    Similar, but not the same — like when ? and the Mysterians rerecorded their old songs so they would own the masters.

  47. I don’t want the NL to adopt the DH. It’s the one league that’s gotten it right so far. Please don’t ruin that, NL!

    Speaking specifically in regards to the AL, this is the only sport where if you’re not good at something, the solution is just don’t do it. Great life lesson. Lol. In football, I’m sure most kickers and punters don’t enjoy tackling, but they do it anyway. There’s no designated tackler. So why can’t, or shouldn’t, pitchers be forced to hit?

  48. Given the comic ineptness that Braves pitchers’ hitting has become (and our staff’s unwillingness to actually get the opponent’s pitchers out) one would think the rest of the league would be loath to adopt the DH

  49. How far out the path must a man run out before they call it an out?
    How many throws must a pitcher sail before it hits in the hand?
    How many riots can one ump start before they’re forever banned?
    The answer, my friend, is blow another call,
    The answer is blow another call.

  50. Remember when Strasburg would always implode in the Atlanta heat? Good times…

    The Astros suck if they can’t mash homers.

  51. Thanks Alex. If only the game would have been in Washington we could have invoked the “3 riots and you’re out” rule.

  52. New thread.

    *Reminder that Player Reviews will stay up for 24 hours and offseason analysis, which generally creates more discussion, will stay up for 48 hours.

  53. @69

    Why, what’s the hurry? Judging by some excellent comments already posted here some of us actually watched Game 6 of the World Series, won in fine style by our near 20 games a year NLEast primary opponents.

    This wasn’t a run in the park. It was October baseball at its finest and, if we’re lucky, we might see a memorable Game 7 tonight. Will that also be ‘capped’ by tomorrow mid morning too? I remain at a loss to understand your priorities and obligations to this membership.

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