Grading the Braves’ Trade Deadline Efforts and Game Thread

Monday at 4 p.m. marked the trade deadline for the wacky 2020 Major League Baseball season. The Atlanta Braves were poised to be one of the busiest buyers as the deadline approached, with a three-game lead in their division but big needs in the rotation and perhaps in the lineup or bench.

Unfortunately, those needs largely went unmet.

IN: Tommy Milone, SP
OUT: Two Players to be Named Later

The Braves found themselves in a unique position as they approached the deadline. They’re the leaders in the NL East and seemed poised to return to the playoffs for the third straight year, but at the same time, the best way to describe their rotation is that it is Max Fried, Ian Anderson and a handful of question marks. And Anderson has one big-league start – albeit a really good one – under his belt.

With that in mind, the team’s first deal on Sunday made plenty of sense.

Tommy Milone, sitting at a 3.99 ERA with a 1.261 WHIP for the Orioles before an atrocious first outing with the Braves on Sunday, is not the playoff starter that many fans were dreaming of. But the fact that he pitched for his new team shortly after hopping off a charter the day he was acquired speaks to the dire straits the Braves faced in that area of the roster. And when you factor in the low cost for a starter that should eventually eat some innings for a team that badly needs innings eaten, it’s tough to be too critical of this move on its own.

GRADE: B

Overall

It’s tough to see the lone grade for a deal in this post and then see negatives, but the real disappointment is in all the deals that didn’t get made. Mike Minor went from the Texas Rangers to the Oakland Athletics for two PTBNL. Mike Clevinger went from the Cleveland Indians to the San Diego Padres for a haul of prospects in terms of quantity, but without the Padres relinquishing their true studs from the farm. Lance Lynn, Joe Musgrove and even former Brave Kevin Gausman stayed right where they were.

Additionally, Joey Gallo stayed in Arlington, Texas, with Lynn, while Starling Marte went to the Miami Marlins. The Toronto Blue Jays made several moves.

But the Braves, who have seemingly needed a frontline starter for longer than Cristian Pache has been alive, are apparently moving forward with a rotation of Max Fried, Ian Anderson, Robbie Erlin, Josh Tomlin, and Milone. Simply put, that isn’t good enough, and general manager Alex Anthopoulos should have to answer much tougher questions about his inability to meet the team’s needs than he’ll likely face.

Grade: D

There is a game tonight, but the lineup is without Ronald Acuña Jr. who was removed from yesterday’s game with a tight hamstring. Here’s to hoping that Chip Caray gets to talk about how Cole Hamels, Tucker Davidson, Cristian Pache, and Ozzie Albies are the equivalent to big deadline deals for the Braves.

43 thoughts on “Grading the Braves’ Trade Deadline Efforts and Game Thread”

  1. As evidenced by the fact that the beat writers seemed to lap up the Folty BS, I’d say you’re right that he won’t face very many tough questions.

  2. For what it’s worth, I’m not unhappy that we continue to try to get some squeeze out of Folty, Newcomb, Wright, Wilson, and Touki. I mean, they made a decision as an organization to stockpile pitching arms, so until they’re dead or gone, they need to keep at least one spot, if not two, open to let them try their hand. I would also think they would look at putting a couple of these guys in the pen down the stretch (maybe Newcomb?).

    The big problem, though, is that we are simply running out of time to see who we would give the ball in a playoff series. You’re going to start 4 starting pitchers in a playoff series. You have 1 that you know you will start. How the bloody hell are you going to determine who takes the ball for the other 3 over a span of one month? That just seems completely unrealistic.

  3. By the way, I have not had to do a game recap since August 6th. Thursday ended up being the winning day this season, and I’m off again this week. If someone wants me to pinch hit, I’m happy to.

  4. D grade feels right. I get that few impact starters moved, and I get that AA doesn’t want to mortgage the future for a month of crazy baseball where everything could shut down at any moment due to the pandemic.

    But we’re playing baseball. And as long as you’re playing baseball, you gotta play to win. I simply cannot accept that the front office looked at this roster from top to bottom and said, “I like my chances with this pitching staff.”

    Either they’re fooling themselves, or they simply failed to execute. Literal replacement level talent like Tommy Milone and Robby Erlin ain’t enough. (Though it’s a remarkable indictment of our ballclub’s pitching depth that a guy like Robby Erlin — who has a career -3 rWAR — is viewed as an upgrade over our other starting pitching options.)

    I’ve been about as enthusiastic a supporter of Anthopoulos as anyone, but he kicked the ball today. He basically announced that the team is more or less punting. As a fan, that was a bitter pill to swallow in 2015, but I swallowed it, because the team promised that we would be contenders in 2020.

    Now it’s 2020, and they just picked up a 15 and told the dealer that they’d like to stand pat.

    Whether it’s cowardice or incompetence, it sucks.

  5. Summer 2018: It’s to early to trade our prospects. Don’t trade the farm for Manny Machado. Our future is bright! It’s not like Johan will go 0-15 in the playoffs or anything.

    Winter 2019: These 1-year deals are fantastic! We didn’t get Harper or Machado or Corbin, but they weren’t good value. We’re gonna have so much flexibility in a couple years to make some big splashes!

    Summer 2019: Nah, we don’t need Grienke or Castellanos or Bauer. Keuchel is ready to go. You’re gonna be glad we kept these prospects and flexibility!

    Winter 2020: Sure, Liberty Media could theoretically afford Gerrit Cole, but trust me, the value isn’t there. Yeah, the Yanks may be good for a few years, but they’ll be sorry in 2028. We don’t need him anyway, we’ve got sooooo much pitching. Did you see Folty in Game 2? AA is just saving money for the trade deadline. Never know what you might need to add come August!

    Summer 2020: Guys, it’s pretty clear the other 29 teams are not properly valuing Atlanta’s prospects. Their loss. Man, are they gonna have egg on their faces when Waters and Pache win back-to-back MVPs.

    October 2020: I mean, this wasn’t a REAL championship anyway. I’m glad we didn’t have to watch past the 1st round anyway. Can’t say I loved losing to St. Louis again…

    Winter 2020: There just aren’t any frontline starters available. Bad market that nobody could’ve seen coming. Who can expect them to add payroll in these uncertain times?

  6. By the way, I bet that when/if Newcomb comes back up, it’ll be as a starter. I just can’t fathom them seeing the trash fire that is the rotation and deciding that he’s better used in the bullpen. Maybe he is in a perfect world, but that’s definitely not where we are right now.

  7. Even the Marlins made a positive move. The Marlins!

    AA gets an F for effort and an F for execution.

  8. @4 Well, this is our third time at the trade deadline where we’re in 1st place, and we needed to move the needle. As you put it, we chose to stand pat. It being the third time we’ve been in this situation, after a long wait to see if we would do anything, and we did nothing–that’s a pattern. I said it back during the off-season that this GM isn’t very creative. He doesn’t take any risks, really, and he doesn’t get creative at making salaries fit the team’s objective.

    I mean that in that you look over at the Nationals who are strapped for cash, and they keep finding ways to retain or acquire the talent they want. Some teams can’t wait to have some financial flexibility to spend on elite talent. Our team can’t wait to stash that flexibility under a pillow for a rainy day!

  9. I just turned on the game, so I don’t know if the announcers mentioned it, but Markakis now has more doubles than singles on the season (10 vs. 9, plus 1 HR in 17 games plus an inning). That seems unusual and unlikely to last.

  10. The Nats aren’t strapped for cash – they drop a few hundred million on starting pitchers when they feel like it. They’re just owned by the Lerners, who can be skinflints when they aren’t spendthrifts.

  11. Rob: Just saw your post. I’m blacked out, so if you could take Wednesday I’ll owe you one. Feel free to use all the fabulous Marty Perez material I had ready.

    I’m listening to Red Sox radio now… that’s no way to listen to a game…

    and a balk, huh?

  12. Wonder if Peanut has a “Silencing His Critics” article written so he can add names.

    I give our trade grade an F-

  13. @15 instead of AA maybe he should be FF for a minute anyway…and I don’t mean Freddie Freeman

  14. It’s almost like umpires are trying to make the case for robots. They have not been stellar this year

  15. I fear we’ll only have Mr. Fried’s services for five innings tonight. He’s done a good job fighting through it, but he doesn’t have his best stuff tonight.

  16. Austin Riley’s resurgence continues! And to think some of you jokers wanted to trade for some ham-and-egger third baseman to split time with him last week!

  17. Yeah, that wasn’t unforeseeable, I’m afraid.

    At least Riley can apparently get the ball in the air with less than two outs.

  18. I’d send Max back out there to start the sixth. I don’t think they will, though. I just think we have to get more innings from our starters. I fear the bullpen is gonna start to become taxed and if it does, we’re totally screwed. It’s part of the reason why I’d have traded almost any prospect (perhaps not Pache or Anderson, but probably anybody else) to get another starter in here today.

  19. Max is a lot more important to our team’s future than any three members of the bullpen, and he was struggling to find the strike zone in one pitch out of three. He’s gassed.

  20. I hear everybody isn’t feeling great after the bad trade deadline today, and I get that. But this is as good a game as we could wish, looking forward, for the Braves.
    The ace didn’t have his best stuff, but he fought through five innings, and our offense picked him up, with a crucial youngster playing the starring role.

  21. Another thing we could do to make it less likely that the bullpen gets taxed is to have one of these guys who just absolutely breezes through an inning in a 4-run game go for a second. We’re about to be 0-for-2 in that regard tonight.

  22. I thought Ynoa would’ve gotten an inning or two. Perhaps O’Day go 2 innings.
    You’d think 6-2 is enough to relax a bit.

    Or the fresh prince just wanted to make it a save situation

  23. And it’s gonna cause us to have none of Martin, Smith and Melancon available tomorrow, so that’ll be fun if we actually need them then.

  24. I’m choosing to be illogically optimistic, and I’m buying into a narrative where our baseball people feel confident in Hamels’ ability to be good to go as soon as he’s eligible to come off the DL, and that one of our army of blue chip prospects will be able to contribute quality innings.

    Also, has “Arab Singles” officially been upgraded to “Arab Doubles” yet?

  25. @38 Yeah, so am I. It’s been working so far… Of course it would have been great to get another starter but I continue to trust AA that the price was just too steep. Would not have wanted to lose Pache or Andersson.

    With our bullpen, we will go a long way – if used in a smart way by Snit. Just gotta hope for anyone/ any two of Hamels/Wright/Folty/Tucker show us something in a couple of weeks. Newk needs to get moved to the pen.

  26. You can’t get that mad with AA if you don’t know what was asked for Clevinger…and you don’t…it’s pointless, unfair to him and will keep you awake at night…until, if ever, you do find out, just stuff it, throw it away.

    Alternatively, ask Ryan if either of his two sources knows…or rather Bowman who has come out on Twitter and named four names split seemingly into almost any combination of two. No pairing seems acceptable in the cold light of the next morning…

    Finally, Riley was one of the names. Which one? The unhappy kid or the improved version who smiled, slugged and fielded his way through last night’s game like a tyro, loving every minute? What’s he worth now? What was he worth a month ago? Anderson too. When you talk to the other side do you have two aces in your hand or two tens? In whose opinion?

    Be happy. He did a good job. The market was silly. He had the sense and experience to recognize it.

  27. There was a young guy pitching for Boston last night in the middle innings – name was Larde or something like that – who made me almost tear up he was so like Touki…but so much better than Touki is today who is becoming a marginal asset apparently. He was a tall, thin Black guy with a whippy, nasty delivery often in the second half of the nineties with a ton of movement and great location half the time. He was in his his very early twenties. A slinger was the word that came to mind. Yes, please, can we trade you Clevinger for him? You know, the guy who’s been ostracized by his own team mates. And now would be by ours.

  28. FOR MAX, who else is there?

    The very thought of you makes our hearts sing
    Like an April breeze on the wings next spring,
    Then you appear in all your splendor,
    Our one, our special glove.

    The shadows fall and spread their mystic charms
    In the hush of night if control alarms
    We’ll hear those tips, they’ll chase your bender
    Our one, our only glove.

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