Archive for July, 2019

#186: The Second Half Begins

Vox O’Reason

July 12, 2019

Well, the unofficial second half begins tonight and the Braves are certainly in the catbird seat as they sit on a 6 game lead over the rival Nats in the surprising NL East. But a lot can change over the next 3 weeks as the season’s sole trade deadline looms on July 31. Now that the All-Star break is over, the front office action should begin to heat up all across the baseball landscape. Of course, we all know that the real frenzy won’t occur until the last 72 hours as all sellers will hold out for the best deal in the last days unless blown away by an over pay early.

 

Mike Soroka
Dallas Keuchel

A-Train has his radar firmly fixed on pitching as the Braves already have a a potent and deep lineup, and arguably the best bench in baseball. At the same time, the rotation is still in flux and is rife with question marks despite the recent addition of Dallas Keuchel. And God bless young All-Star Mike Soroka.

So who is available? Well, we’ve all heard the Madison Bumgarner rumors since the offseason. And while I believe there are still some pros with MadBum, he’s a 2nd half rental that will still carry a hefty prospect cost.

Zach Wheeler

Zack Wheeler is also churning through the rumor mill. Alex went after him last season, but he’s now also a half season rental, on a division rival, and the prospect cost would be heftier than MadBum. Said mill is also churning out the obligatory Marcus Stroman connection, and a hot rumor yesterday morning said the Jays and Braves were in discussions. That was subsequently denied by both sides though. Still… he is a pretty good “fit” and has a long connection with his former GM. The hot young name, and the latest to be directly tied to Los Bravos, is Detroit youngster Matthew Boyd. My fear with him is that he’s their latest version of Michael Fulmer and they will try to extract a premium return while his value is at its peak.

And what of Michael Fulmer today..?

My money is on the guy we haven’t heard of yet. It’s AA’s modus operandi.

Zach Greinke

Name to not sleep on: Zack Greinke. Once again an All-Star, the enigmatic Greinke is a major salary drag on the non-contending Snakes. A connection here might be a way for Thoppy to lessen the acquisition cost in prospects and utilize some of the club’s infamous “financial flexibility”. The more money he is willing to cover, the less prospect capital would go the other way.

Anthony Swarzak

A quick glance at the bullpen might give cause to place it as a priority over the rotation, but the reality is that since the arrival of Anthony Swarzak from Seattle, the Braves bullpen has been among the best in baseball. That’s a little misleading, though, as most bullpens in baseball have alot of needs and the Braves are no different. Luke Jackson is “getting by” as the defacto closer, but he’s no closer. And the Braves still need a guy they can count on to slam the door in the 9th.

Possibilities? The Giants’ Will Smith is the biggest available name, but will also be the subject of the biggest bidding war. The Pirates’ Felipe Vazquez has been mentioned, but I’m not sure the Bucs view themselves as sellers. The guy that seemingly makes the most sense is the Jays’ Ken Giles, a former top closer having a strong comeback year. He is a good fit in a similar vein to his teammate Stroman. One possible name to watch for is SD’s Kirby Yates. He’s a pretty good veteran closer signed only through 2020 on a team that is not poised to overtake the mighty Dodgers anytime soon. They’d be foolish not to listen to offers on him.

As much as we will begin to hear the beloved local ballclub connected to a myriad of names over the next 29 days, I defer to a quote from our new Homeboy Upstairs himself, who says (and I’m paraphrasing), “If you’ve heard us connected in a rumor, then you can pretty much count it out.” He runs the tightest front office among fellow GM’s, and any accurate rumor would have to come from the other side.

Still… it ought to be fun trying to keep up. It’s one of my favorite times of the year. 😀

 



%d bloggers like this: