Archive for January, 2021

194: Another Trade Proposal

Vox O’ReasoñJanuary 8, 2021 at 9:32 am

How can the Braves respond to the Mets recent acquisition of Mike Lindor from Cleveland ?

Well, the most obvious answer is to sign the top remaining offensive FA on the market. But the word is that George Springer has already turned down 5 yrs/$150M from TOR and is seeking closer to $200M. Even in the best of times, I do not believe that the Braves organization is going to pay $30M, 20% of their total payroll, for one player in 2021, especially when a Freddie extension is on the horizon. It’s just not in their DNA.

So what can they do? I’m glad you asked…

The Braves finished the 2020 season with a payroll of about $158M (in 162 game terms). Their current estimated payroll, as constituted right now this morning, is about $120M. We have no way of knowing what the threshold is. There are arguments going both ways. For the sake of this proposal, I’m going to go with the same figure with which they ended 2020 being $158M.

First, I make the trade for Kris Bryant. CHC needs to trade him, even if publicly they say they don’t. They really do need to make the trade. Because he comes with just 1 year remaining on his deal, and is a Scott Boras client, it’s essentially gaining his services for 1 year… a year in which he needs to rebuild value for his FA run. Sound familiar? It falls into the same pattern we’ve had with Josh Donaldson and Marcell Ozuna. Only this time we have to give up trade equity to make it happen. Follow me all the way through before you start picking my proposal apart. In modern day deals, it’s not uncommon to trade away a top prospect alongside a bad contract. That’s where we stand with Ender Inciarte. At some point, the Braves are going to have to start using some of their prospect equity or said prospects are going to wither on the vine. I say they need to do it now. I propose packaging top pitching prospect Kyle Muller with Ender Inciarte and throw in Sean Newcomb for Bryant. (The Cubs need a CF, BTW.) Lose Ender ($9M) and Newcomb (pre-arb, likely +/-$1M) and add Bryant ($19M), net addition = $9M.

Second, sign Michael Brantley. MLBTR estimates 2 yrs/$24M. I’ll go with 2 yrs/$26M because the recent FA signings are slightly higher than their estimates. He becomes your starting LF and part-time DH. With Bryant and Austin Riley, they combine to give you a rotation for 3B, LF and DH, keeping veteran legs fresh through October. And in the instance that there is no DH, then you have strengthened the bench for 2021 with Riley who can spot start for both Bryant and Brantley. Plus, Brantley gives you a LH bat and high OBP that is sorely missing from the current batting order. Top 5 in the order is Acuña, Ozzie, Freddie, Bryant, Brantley. Follow that with d’Arnaud, Dansby and Pache. Pretty stout. If you have the DH, then Riley gets slotted in after d’Arnaud. Not too shabby, IMO. Net addition = $13M.

Sign Jason Castro as backup catcher. He made $6.85M in 2021, and would probably look for at least a 2 year guaranteed deal for about the same. I say 2 yrs/$14M. He gives you a good LH compliment to Td’A and can capably catch enough games that we won’t burn out our starter by September. He is also the veteran backup to 2022 starter William Contreras, but I digress. Net addition = $7M.

Thus far, we’ve only added $29M to the payroll, still $9M less than we ended 2020. I can still afford to go out and get a real 4th OF… and maybe more.

How about reunite with veteran Nick Markakis for 1 yr/$2M (last year’s contract)? Then reunite with Mark Melancon for 1 yr/$4M (MLBTR projection). Bench is better (Markakis > Almonte), bullpen is better (Melancon > Luke Jackson). Net addition = $6M.

We’re still $3M under last year’s final payroll number and we have a lineup that can play with any in MLB.


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