If any of you have checked me out on Twitter (@NoahSports1 by the way) since I started earlier this month, than you know why I haven’t posted anything in two weeks.
If you read my blog and not my Twitter, than you THINK you know why I haven’t posted anything in two weeks.
I’ve been blogging for a year and a half and I’m no better at delivering promises now than I was after my first article. So it’s understandable if you figured that “something came up” or I “forgot” or whatever my excuses usually are.
But something did come up, folks! My computer BROKE!
Believe me. It really did break. Here’s what happened.
The weekend of the Open, a tree fell at the end of my street, causing a power outage. As I huddled with a flickering flashlight on my bed, certainly not scared one bit about the complete and utter darkness that befell my typically bright and happy room, the only thing bringing me joy was the thought that tomorrow I could write about sports.
I’m just joking, it wasn’t that bad. Well, at least not yet.
The next morning I woke up and my light was turned on. I scurried outside my room, leaped into my chair, and pressed a button on the keyboard.
It turned out that my computer was broken forever. I had to go two weeks without one. Finally, this week, a replacement came!
And now, it is all set up! That means this should never (knock on wood) happen again. So yes, that is what happened. Now I have a new desktop. It’s really cool, too.
Okay, enough of that. If you’re not too disappointed that my gripping tale of courageousness and perseverance is over and you’re still reading, than let’s talk about sports already. It’s been too long.
Here we have 8 Braves notes/views on our current extremely confusing situation as the deadline approaches ever faster. I’m really disappointed that I couldn’t bring you guys a complete Trade Deadline preview because of my computer problems, and this is probably all I can manage, preview-wise. I don’t know, I might have something out before the August 1st deadline.
In the meantime, check my Twitter over the next couple of days because I will be tweeting out deadline news, rumors and reports until 4 PM on Monday*!
(*=which, as you probably already knew or figured out, is the deadline).
8 PIECES OF BRAVES TRADE DEADLINE NOTES AND ANALYSIS
1: The Harrell trade
The Braves made their first official deadline move yesterday, flipping pitchers Lucas Harrell and Dario Alvarez to the Texas Rangers for INF prospect Travis Demeritte.
This may not sound like much to you. If you’re a casual Braves fan, you might not even know of Harrell or Alvarez. But that’s the point. Demeritte is a stud, and all it took to get him was two unseasoned veterans that were in the minors two months ago.
John Coppolella has worked the sign-and-flip to perfection here. Demeritte, the 30th overall draft pick in 2013 and the Rangers 20th-ranked prospect, instantly becomes the Braves’ second-best power prospect behind 3B Austin Riley. (Demeritte has hit 25 homers so far this season in High A ball.)
Lucas Harrell and Dario Alvarez are likable guys that did fine jobs with in their short time with the Braves in 2016. But if we lose 110 games it won’t be because of the departures of these two players. Like I said, that’s the point: We got a quality prospect for some guys that nobody wanted.
A+ trade by Coppy.
2: Updated situations for the guys from last month’s article
My last Braves article (in June) discussed the trade situations and rumors for three pitchers: Bud Norris, Julio Teheran, and Arodys Vizcaino.
We all know what happened to Norris. That’s old news. Norris has been wearing a Dodgers uniform for a month. But the futures of Teheran and Vizcaino continued to remain up for grabs… That is, until Coppy told us a few days ago that Teheran was not going to be traded and Vizcaino started to struggle and landed on the DL.
Vizcaino could still and very well might be traded – the injury is not serious at all and I believe that talks are not dead yet surrounding the fireballer – but most likely, Norris will be the only pitcher from that article that will be dealt.
Now, on to the good stuff: The rumors!
3: Addressing the Lucroy rumors
The Braves have asked about Lucroy (per Ken Rosenthal) meaning that Atlanta could be the “mystery team” that everyone got worked up about the past two days. A deal is, however, very unlikely.
The Braves do not appear to have much interest in Lucroy. Steve Adams of mlbtraderumors.com points out that the Braves would have to extend his contract if they wanted to make a deal, which understandably would make the potential acquisition less appealing.
Atlanta also should think twice before trading for the backstop for another reason: When will they actually need a star catcher? Next season as an answer sounds a little far fetched, and that is how much Lucroy has left on his current contract if his club option is exercised for 2017.
4: Addressing the Chris Sale rumors
Yes, the Braves actually are expressing interest in the White Sox ace, who is arguably the biggest name on the market right now.
Sale has been on the Braves watch list for years now. But don’t get too excited. The White Sox want five top prospects for Sale. Are we sure that the Braves really want to trade five top prospects for anything? Certainly not right now, right? (See note 8).
Atlanta has worked very hard the past two years to stock up on big-name and big-talent prospects, and a huge chunk of their prized haul would have to leave town if they want Sale. It would not be wise in my opinion to make this move.
But if there is interest, then there’s a chance (as slim as it may be) the Braves bite the bullet seriously go after him. The Braves certainly do have a lot of what the White Sox want…
5: The three Braves names to know for the deadline
Nick Markakis, Jim Johnson, and Erick Aybar. Those are the three Braves names you need to know as August 1st draws closer and closer.
Let’s start with Markakis, the highest-profile free agent signing the Braves have made since they started the rebuilding process. Markakis has been mentioned as a potential trade piece for a while now, but direct interest in the right fielder for the most part has been sparse.
The Royals have reportedly shown some interest, but a Markakis trade would mean that Kansas City is looking to contend, and that just might not be the way to go for the defending champs: They are below .500 and in 4th place (9 games back) in the AL Central.
Their recent struggles have prompted the club to put closer Wade Davis on the market, and if that doesn’t suggest the Royals have all but thrown in the towel on 2016, then I don’t know what will.
Next, we’ll look at Aybar, who has been a major clunker at the plate this season. The Braves have made it clear that they are aggressively shopping the shortstop, but Coppolella is apparently putting a big asking price on Aybar. Aybar, a free agent after this season, will almost certainly be deemed unworthy of one. If they Braves want to move Aybar, and it’s quite apparent they do, they might have to settle for unloading him Kelly Johnson-style with little in return.
And now, Jim Johnson. Our new closer’s stuff has been sharp and he had been putting up solid numbers since he returned from the DL last month. Numerous reports have said that Johnson has been receiving strong interest, which is not surprising: He’s cheap, has a high ground-ball rate and is a better pitcher than his poor 2016 numbers suggest.
To my knowledge, a full or nearly complete list of teams with interest in Johnson his unavailable. The only team we know of is the Mets, who, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post, have called asking about the reliever. Whoever it is, they’ll probably need to overlook his disastrous performance after being traded last year.
6. The other guys being talked about
The Braves, as the Dario Alvarez trade and Ken Rosenthal report suggest, are shopping their lefty relievers. Expect at least one of Krol-Cervanka-O’Flaherty to be moved by Monday afternoon if Johnson isn’t dealt.
Veteran outfielder Jeff Francouer is also being shopped, perhaps as aggressively as Aybar. Francouer has more appeal than Aybar for sure (above-average bat against lefties, great clubhouse guy, solid in outfield).
Ender Inciarte is another name that has been popping up as a possible trade chip ever since arriving from the Diamondbacks this winter. The Braves will reportedly listen on Ender Inciarte but, barring a crazy offer, will not pull the plug.
There’s been some talk about Gordon Beckham as well. Beckham has mostly identical trade value to Erick Aybar: Backup infielder with little value at the plate but enough to offer that he would have at least some type of role with any contending team he would land on.
7. Making sense of the Braves deadline strategy
The Braves are expected to be among the most active teams this weekend. But the Braves’ exact plan for this week is a little bit more blurry than it once was.
The fact that Lucroy and Sale made it into this article is a little odd, and suggests that the Braves are actually considering being…. buyers?
Nope, I’m not kidding. It’s probably not going to happen, but if management is interested in Chris Sale – a guy, as I have mentioned, the Braves would have to give up 5 top prospects for! – than it is definitely exploring the idea of buying at least some and maybe a lot.
Don’t expect this, obviously. It would be going against every move the Braves have made in the past two years. But every Braves fan knows that eventually, when they get good enough, they will flip the script and start to buy.
The Braves are, as their 35-67 record suggests, not quite there yet. But John Coppolella looks like he knows exactly what he’s doing (I guess…) so don’t rule anything out.
Sorry for the misleading title of this note. When the worst team in baseball explores buying, there is just no sense to be made whatsoever.
Let’s put this to rest quick: I highly, highly doubt the Braves will do any buying. Sale and Lucroy are more pipe dreams than reality, at least until we understand the front office’s true stance on these players or what exactly they want to do this weekend.
I don’t think Atlanta will get enough in return to prompt a trade of any cornerstones. I think we’ll see Johnson, one of Aybar and Beckham, and one lefty reliever (let’s say O’Flaherty) leave town, but no one that you could make a case for building around like Teheran or Vizcaino.
Either way, it should be interesting, because if there’s one thing you should take from the past year and a half, it’s that you never really know what the heck Coppy has up his sleeve.
Thanks for reading! Be sure to stay tuned on Noahsports for more deadline updates and to subscribe and follow @NoahSports1 on Twitter!