Where Do the Braves Go From Here? And Game Thread

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Ladies and gents, get ready for 2 weeks of poisonous spiders, man-eating plants, and bloodthirsty baseball players. Over the next 13 days, the Braves will play 14 games against the Padres, Mets, Phillies, and Brewers.

  • The Padres are 55-41 and 2nd in the Wild Card
  • The Mets are 49-42 and 1st in the NL East
  • The Phillies are 47-45 and 2nd in the NL East
  • The Brewers are 56-39 and 1st in the NL Central

Put bluntly, every team the Braves are playing have something worth fighting for, will likely be looking to add, and are either better or just as good as the Braves current team. As Freddie Freeman said, these next 2 weeks is a gauntlet and there are 12 games before the trade deadline (assuming there are no rainouts).

  • A 9-3 record puts the Braves at a 54-50 record
  • A 7-5 record puts the Braves at a 52-52 record

In my opinion, 7-5 is the floor to which AA will click “buy”. If the Braves are below .500 come the deadline, they’ll sell. Guys like Charlie Morton, Drew Smyly, Chris Martin, Shane Greene, Joc Pederson, Stephen Vogt, Orlando Arcia, Ehire Adrianza, and Jesse Chavez will at least be shopped, and Will Smith could enter the fray if the relief market is as desperate as what it seems to be at the moment.

What if they Add?

If Braves add, I figure they’ll be looking for rentals and, if AA wasn’t blowing smoke, price tag shouldn’t matter all that much. It’s my opinion that Anthopoulos will be extra gun-shy considering his star, Ronald Acuna Jr., is on the shelf. In all likelihood, what he’ll add is platoon matches and relievers to complement the rest of the roster. In adding Stephen Vogt and Joc Pederson, the Braves have answered 2 question marks, but there’s still a need for 2 relievers and another bat. However, if there’s that one difference maker that comes available that could work with this roster beyond 2021, I could see Anthopoulos pulling the trigger. Jose Ramirez? Josh Donaldson? People keep telling me the Braves already have a 3B, but I see a LFer for now.

On the rental market, Eduardo Escobar seems like a pretty great fit and could help by allowing Austin Riley to transition to LF, giving the Braves an upgrade both defensively and offensively. Asdrubal Cabrera could do the same, but the offensive upside isn’t as high.

For the relief option, I’m guessing they’ll be looking for EVERYTHING. There’s not much that hasn’t been a disaster since the new sticky rules and, outside of Luke Jackson and Will Smith, there’s no one trustworthy. Craig Kimbrel is the obvious choice, but that’s more of an all-in move as Craig might be the most expensive addition, in terms of prospects, that could come this trade deadline.

At the top of my list for rental relievers would be the Cubs RH Ryan Tepera. He’s had a nice year, will be a free agent next year, and his spin rate hasn’t been affected by the newly implemented rules.

Braves Lineup

Touki Toussaint takes the mound tonight in an audition to stick with the team until Ian Anderson and/or Huascar Ynoa is ready. If he pitches well, a transition to the bullpen when 1 of the above come back, could be good for both Touki and the Braves.

Author: Ryan Cothran

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

67 thoughts on “Where Do the Braves Go From Here? And Game Thread”

  1. 2 things:

    1. Freddy Tarnok was assigned to AA Mississippi
    2. Charlie Morton was scratched from tomorrow’s start.

    The 2nd one is…intriguing.

  2. Ironic that, at least on my screen, your line about people telling you the Braves already have a 3B but you see a LFer for now is next to the sidebar tweet & linked article from Mark Simon/SIS about how Riley has improved his defense this year from bad to average.

    This week Fangraphs is counting down 10 players a day in its annual list of the top 50 MLB players by trade value (which takes into account contracts and years under team control as well as expected value over those years). I had thought they would have Riley somewhere in the 31-50 range, but they don’t. The various rest-of-season projections they cite on his player page all think his OBP will fall significantly from its current level, so maybe they don’t think he’ll be all that valuable. Or maybe they think he’s 29th or something. I believe Acuna & Albies were both in the top 3 or 4 last year because of their team-friendly contracts as well as their ability.

  3. Agree about Riley’s defense. I just hope AA sees the same thing. He is one of the worst defensive 3B in mlb by several metrics.

    I don’t understand why the Braves should go for rentals though. They are extremely unlikely to make the playoffs no matter what they do. I would ONLY trade for players signed through next season. The cost would be higher but they are just throwing prospects away if they go for rentals. That’s just my opinion. My #1 target would be Richard Rodríguez from Pittsburgh. Lots of control.

  4. Thank you, Ryan.

    Those who wanted the kids, here they come.

    Also TC, if I read their tracker correctly, says we have signed all but three of our draft picks. One of those not signed is our number one.

  5. Possibly an overly simple comparison, but Touki is a bit like a right-handed Newcomb. His walk rates on his rehab stint aren’t any better than the past. I don’t think he’s a starter long term for that reason.

  6. 4 — If the Braves get smacked around through this stretch you may get your wish.

    Some good news:

  7. @6, as I read it, all but 4 have signed, numbers 1, 16, 19, and 20. Number 20 (Evans) seems to want lots to not go to Florida, and it looks like he was a fallback option in case a couple of the high schoolers who were expected to get overslot bonuses decided to go to college after all and the team found itself with unexpected overslot money. From what I’ve read, players in the first 10 rounds generally have agreed on bonuses by draft day, so I assume Cusick will eventually sign.

  8. @5 Ugh. I see that his stats the last 30 days aren’t as great as they were the first part of the season. Stupid sticky stuff.

  9. I’ve been a big Touki fan since the first time I saw him. I don’t really expect it to happen, but if he can ever command his stuff, he will be a star.

  10. Nice start, Touk.

    I pull for this kid to make it. I love his name. Reminds me of a Fruit Loops commercial.

    How about some runs, Hammers?

  11. Joc’s bunt does not appear to have inspired the other lefties the way I’d hoped.

  12. Has Touki changed his pitching motion? It’s been a while since I’ve seen him, but I don’t remember the abrupt little quarter-turn as he comes set.

  13. It’s crazy that we are starting Touki, Muller, and Wilson in three straight games considering the way their careers have gone in recent memory. But if you told me in 2016 that the Braves would be starting Touki, Muller, and Wilson in 2021, I wouldn’t bat an eye. Weird how guys just kinda end up where they belong with weird paths along the way. I hope all 3 can stick.

  14. Some utterly vile filth coming out of this kid’s right arm.

  15. If we had a pen as deep as San Diego’s, we’d tell Mr. Touki “nice work” and to hit the showers. Instead, we have to try to get another inning out of him. By comparison, noted toolbag Blake Snell doesn’t even average 5 IP per start this year.

    Why is Blake Snell a toolbag?

    1) The “I gotta get mine” comment on Twitch. If you thought it was fine, whatever. It’s not right when owners act like they’re getting squeezed; it’s not right when Latrell Sprewell can’t “feed his family” or guys like Snell make tone-death remarks.
    2) He thinks he’s an ace, but he doesn’t do the one thing aces do: pitch deep enough into ball games (5.04 IP per start for his career). And Cash got all that heat for pulling him last year, and yet Snell thinks he’s an ace.
    3) He etched “Zilla” into the sun shelf of his pool at his house in St. Pete (a colleague sold it). He’s a tool. https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/6067-Bayou-Grande-Blvd-NE_Saint-Petersburg_FL_33703_M62839-04080#photo8

  16. Eh, Snell has sucked this year, but I don’t hold an athlete preening against him. You just gotta back it up, and if you don’t, you get a lot of Bronx cheers.

    Sprewell’s problem wasn’t that he preened. It’s that he choked his coach.

  17. I’m pretty sure Wright and Wilson will be out of options next season. If we option Touki back to the minor leagues at some point this season, he will be OOO too in ‘22.

  18. They should abso-freaking-lutely not take Touki out of the game. He’s thrown less than 70 pitches, for God’s sake!

  19. @26 Which basketball player was it that said he couldn’t feed his family? I think I’m confusing Sprewell with someone else.

  20. I think he said that too. Rasheed Wallace, Mr. “Cut the Check,” said something similar. And honestly, I’m completely okay with it — these guys can only earn for a very small part of their working life, so they gotta make as much as they can. Pay ’em what they’re worth.

  21. I had forgotten that part! That reminds me of Derek Bell and Operation Shutdown.

  22. Alex, I totally want players to make as much as their market will bear as well, though I know we’ll disagree over whether or not their markets are fair. But c’mon, there’s a way of saying that you’re unhappy with the quality of the offer you’ve received than saying, “I gotta get mine,” or “I have a family to feed”. I shouldn’t complain to the lady who cleans my house that my sports car has a scratch on it (if I had a sports car).

  23. Well, I was wrong about pulling Touki. He’s mowing. I hope I didn’t jinx him.

  24. I still wouldn’t take him out here. This is virtually a guaranteed loss with the bullpen in the game.

  25. @37, I think you totally get to dunk on him if he faceplants like Sprewell or Snell! But if he backs it up, I give him respect for walking the walk.

  26. Matzek has been perfectly useless since the umpires stepped up their enforcement, but there really are no trustworthy options here.

    He literally has no clue where the ball is going.

  27. @34 It’s sad but a lot of those guys go bankrupt. The first thing they should do when they get their 1st contract is hire a financial consultant.

  28. Great job Touki. I think there is a coach in the minors that is doing some good work with these guys.

  29. So Chris Martin on to protect a one run lead with Tatis and Machado coming up. What could go wrong?

  30. Why Martin when Jackson was already up and warm???? Snit doesn’t know his own players.

  31. Can someone confirm if the higher Swanson bats in the lineup the worse he hits?
    No APBA players?

  32. We had 5 participants go on the record Sunday as to who they would use in the 7th, 8th, and 9th with a 3 run lead or less. No one had Chris Martin.

    Rays 7, Braves 5

  33. What is the purpose of playing an infielder so deep in right field that he can’t throw the batter out at first?

  34. Is anyone else bugged by the way Glavine consistently says the ump got the call of a ball correct when it’s a couple of inches off the plate? Did he ever watch himself pitch?

  35. @55, another way to score your contest would be to count up the innings pitched by the relievers each of us chose before one gives up a run. Using that method, CindyJ and Roger (and Roger’s alternative, if that counts) each have 1-1/3 IP. You & I have 1 IP, and Mr. Plow has 0.

  36. @61 – CindyJ and Roger had Matzek in the 7th, they also had Smith in the 9th, along with JamesD84 and myself. Congratulations, no participants fired today.

  37. @63 – Not going to change the rules now that we’re underway, although there’s no real prize. It would be interesting to track it in different ways though.

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