Say what you want about the Braves, but they are not afraid

Even the Braves’ elders are awed by John Coppolella’s latest move. (Hyosub Shin/AJC photo)

Not to say I told you so, but … I kind of did. The Atlanta Braves have traded Andrelton Simmons, one of the two best defenders in baseball, to the Angels for more young pitching. (About a year ago, the same Braves traded the other best defender in baseball to St. Louis for Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins.)

Earlier speculation held that the Braves were talking with the Padres — yes, them again — about Simmons, and the Mets admitted they’d had similar discussions but the Braves had asked for Matt Harvey or Jacob deGrom in return. (Good for the Braves, I say.) And I know a lot of you are upset that they’ve traded Simmons anywhere, but here’s where I say …

I love their audacity.

I’ve gotten to know John Coppolella, who’s the architect of this grand redesign, a little, and this I can tell you: The guy is fearless. (He’s also very, very bright.)

I wrote a little something about the Braves last month and noted that the Royals traded Zack Greinke a year after a Cy Young season and the Mets dealt R.A. Dickey a month after he’d won a Cy Young. I didn’t cite those cases idly. I knew Coppolella saw them as templates. And, when last I checked, the final baseball game of 2015 involved the Royals and the Mets.

There’s no man on this roster Coppolella won’t trade for the right price. The Braves really like Simmons, but they also like Ozzie Albies, who’s not quite ready for the big leagues but is getting close. And they love-love-love young pitching.

I’m not to tell you the Braves are locks for the 2018 World Series. I will tell they believe in what they’re doing. They have a plan and they’re executing the heck out of it. Last season wasn’t pretty and next year won’t be, either, but they’re doing what they feel they have to do to get where they want to go, which is the World Series.

Maybe you don’t like what they’ve done. Maybe you even hate it. But I’m ready to bank on brass and brains. I’m willing to give the New Braves the benefit of every doubt.

Reader Comments 0

50 comments
patriotdog
patriotdog

Fact is, rebuilding hurts and it hurts worse when the builders refuse to admit they are rebuilding.

They are. And get your torches ready because I say there is no way Freeman is worth 17 mil a year, and the team would be much better off trading him for more young pitching. 17 million a year? What was Wren thinking ?

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

I am a BIG Fan Bradley but this has to be one of the dumbest columns you have ever put out! "Braves are not afraid".

You are correct they are frigging stupid!

Pelbacker
Pelbacker

Brass and brains are good.  The Braves management has neither.  The new GM is horse manure of a rather low grade.

pride
pride

Breaking news - the front office was celebrating their latest brilliance last night on Buford Highway at a Sezuan restaurant when they spotted a busboy throwing a towel in the bin, the busboy had some real heat on the toss so he was signed immediately and a bonus was added to the check.  Needing a roster spot Freddie Freeman was traded to a team and for players to be named later as his hugging had become a problem.

pride
pride

Only one team wins it all each year.  Fans keep coming for various reasons with one of the biggest reasons being living and dying with our favorite players.  The number geeks have completely left this factor out of their soulless calculations and for this reason they can go to hell for all I care.

Jpace
Jpace

My problem isn't with AJC writers or even the Bowman guy who does the Braves blog on their site. I've always assumed he was a Braves employee and helped communicate Braves management messages to the now sinking fan base. My problem is with John S, John H and John C for turning the mediocre Braves (approximately 2005 through 2014) into a laughing stock. Let the reporters alone and help Braves management make them a smaller...then smaller...then smaller market team by refusing to go to games. This is a self fulfilling prophesy form of management that we are watching How about a franchise name change when they move to Cobb County? Can't imagine how happy Sun Trust must be with their name being put up in neon all over the new stadium. And the Cobb County politicians who had to have met in private with Braves people during their recruitment efforts...thus breaking Georgia public meeting laws. Cobb County and Sun Trust bought a bill of goods as part of the Braves move to Cobb County...and into my neighborhood.

Jpace
Jpace

Yes, they did it...trade Simmons. In my view the trade shows nothing more than how pathetically the Braves are owned and operated...strictly as a small market team. They've started early giving up on 2016 and trying to convince potential ticket buyers that they are committed to rebuilding. Am not sure what that term means any more as it seems to me that teams like the Cardinals (and the Braves between 1991 and about 2005) seem to be in a constant transformation without asking history to stand still while dumping all the players and starting all over. I wish I had the energy to lead a protest outside Turner Field with the tens of thousands of Braves fans who absolutely despise what they are doing in the name of "rebuilding". The MLB Braves, as currently constituted (and likely constituted in 2016) wouldn't finish in the top half of any Triple A league. I think John S. has gotten too old to care any more and his Cleveland immigrant friend, Hart, is no better. John C. is so buried down in the organization that, even if he were any good, it would be hard to tell. The Simmons trade was a crappy way to get begin putting his signature on the team. Team ownership is a whole 'nuther story that I wish started in Atlanta vs. Colorado. Liberty Media is a sucky company with a chairman (some guy named John C. Malone) who is totally invisible. The great news, I suppose, is that in 2017 the Braves will be my Cobb County neighbor. It's a good thing that the stadium will seat fewer fans than Turner Field does. Terrible team, terrible management, terrible owners and even worse neighbors getting ready to move in...here come the Clampets.

TimBama
TimBama

The Braves traded one of the more iconic defensive players (equal in that area to what HOF Ozzie Smith was, but hits better) in the game for what many experts say is a rental player who probably won't be here all season, at best a 4th or 5th starter (Ellis) and a wild lefty (we already have a wild righty in Folty who can't find a place in the rotation or bullpen due to his wildness). Most of this won't matter with these pitchers though, when McDowell gets them under his tutelage and they wash out after TJ or shoulder surgery.


Meanwhile, the Red Sox traded for Kimbrel and the Padres got quality prospects in return. We traded for prospects from argubly the worst farm system in the majors (Angels). 


Don't get too attached to Freddie (Freeman). I'm sure he will be dealt by February, if not Christmas. Yet we get to keep Fredi (Gonzalez) who couldn't manage an Upward team to wins.  


This time last year, I trusted Hart and Coppy. After the past year, I think they are simply increasing profits for Liberty. 


sea8491
sea8491

Do not be a fool, this is how one organization operates when one lacks resources called money.

DrTruth
DrTruth

Frank Wren sure didn't waste any time getting Kimbrel up in Boston.  He drafted him here & the contract he signed him to still gives the Red Sox 3 yrs of control.  Giving up prospects to get a proven superstar while the morons here do exactly the opposite....

DrTruth
DrTruth

Replacing MLB players with minor league players is no huge accomplishment and it certainly isn't worthy of a promotion.  The problem comes once all of the proven MLB talent has been sacrificed for prospects that may or may or may not pan out.


Everyone knows few prospects actually make it to the majors, and even fewer make a substantial impact for a period of 3 or more seasons.  So out of all the prospects acquired, there have to be enough who can develop into MLB talent to 


1) field the majority of positions, including SP & bullpen AND 


2) provide tradeable assets to fill positions still open.


Of course these MLB level prospects all need to spit out of the farm system within a relatively tight time frame or they become spread out over too many seasons.


Once Freeman is traded away soon, the real work will begin.  The probable outcome is not a huge success or huge failure, but several seasons of mediocrity....just like the majority of MLB teams.

POV1948
POV1948

I heard radio clip of Coppolella today saying "I am not afraid." Made me wonder if Bradley is feeding him lines.  For anyone who hasn't heard him speak, his high pitched squeaky voice doesn't instill any more confidence than his deals.  I imagined a bubble over his head ... "I don't know what the hell I'm doing but this sure is fun, and Mark Bradley likes me!  I am not afraid."  

HUDDYS1FAN
HUDDYS1FAN

Might as well continue the trade of all things Frank Wren. 


Yea Coppy, we Braves fans really see what's happening here. All of the major contracts Wren doled out recently:


Dan Uggla 5 years 62 million, gone. Melvin Upton 5 year 75.25 million, gone. Craig Kimbrel 4 years 42 million, gone. Jason Heyward 2 years 13.3 million, gone. Justin Upton inherited 6 year 51.5 million, gone, and now......Andrelton Simmons 7 year 58 million, gone.


Leaving Freddie Freeman and Julio Teheran as the two remaining major contracts tied to Fran Wren : Freeman 8 years 135 million, Teheran 6 year 32.4 million.


So, When Freddie Freeman and Teheran are traded, don't be surprised. It's all part of the plan to rid the Atlanta Braves of all things Frank Wren. Scorched earth, burn it all down and start over from the bottom. Losing be damned, tanking another season or two.

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

Braves fans owe Coppella nothing after what he and Hart have done to this team

Pelbacker
Pelbacker

@VeryDisgusted Coppella must have some dirt on Schuerholz and some others.  Why else would they make him GM.  He is as pitiful as the players now on the roster.

mbbroe
mbbroe

I don't doubt their fearless approach and don't doubt they believe they are building towards a brighter future.  I find the timing to be worse than bad.  Building a new stadium, charging "fearless" PSL's for the privilege of buying more expensive season tickets at the same time they are proud to field a team that all know won't win...yet.  

Ersatz
Ersatz

The barves front office hogs and cobb political fat cats are certainly not afraid to use suitcases full of cobb taxpayer cash to keep the party going in the 28-story Applebee's in barvesworld.  Whatever barves fans are left in the Milky Way after the barves braintrust traded away all the players must be reassured by the team's shift in strategy from hits, runs, and double plays to brewskis, tater skins, and double orders of babyback ribs, all paid in full by cobb taxpayers.  While fans of barves baseball ponder these recent transactions, the billionaires in charge of the barves, and their rich buddies, are toasting $500 snifters of scotch and lighting $600 cigars with $100 bills from cobb taxpayer coffers to the coming years of 100-shutout-loss seasons of barves baseball in a shiny, new, and empty cathedral to everyone's favorite lovable losers.

Hammerman
Hammerman

Wake me up when the hitters get here.

richbrave
richbrave

@Hammerman


TEHERAN for a power-hitting catcher, and two more marginal prospects.


Or MARKAKIS in a straight up trade for a young up-and-coming backstop or BRAUN, possibly LUCROY maybe.


BRAVES have made one off-seaon trade. I predicted two and one FA get for the line-up.

Zing
Zing

I like audacity as well, particularly when your audacity can take advantage of others' sentimentality.  HOWEVER - there is a point where I think you have to draw the line, and I think John and John and John just crossed it.  The return you have to get for a "once in a generation" sort of player player who draws (favorable) comparisons to Hall of Fame shortstops is ... well, I don't think you can get an adequate return in prospects.  I think you'd have to get an equally HoF level player in return.  


Money wasn't the issue.  Simmons' deal was imminently affordable. So, while you never can completely judge a deal involving prospects until many years later (because who knows what these 2 pitchers will be), in terms of risk, this is HUGE, and really kind of unacceptable.  Coppy might be real smart, but, to draw an analogy, even the smartest gamblers get burned when they think they're smarter than they really are.

Bshort1
Bshort1

I don't have much longer to live so, after all these years, I am giving up on both you and the Braves. You for continuing to defend their "wait a couple of years" attitude and them for giving away our chances of becoming winners again time after time. Adios and good riddance!

richbrave
richbrave

@Bshort1 With 67 BRAVES seasons under my belt, I hear you loud and clear.

Jlahat1
Jlahat1

We trade the best closer and the best defensive ss in the majors for more young pitching?  Don't get it.. 

richbrave
richbrave

Well Mr. BRADLEY, the BRAVES' brain-trust obviously are following a blueprint they laid out sometime after they came here.


And if we mere fans and non-professionals knew what that was, we might be a bit savant ourselves. We're pretty smart too. 


You of course are much closer to the truth than we are. That's your job, and you're making a living doing it. 


So assuming long-term contracts [WREN's] are being moved for financial flexibility, who's next?


Yes, we got the starting pitching we want going forward into 2017 especially left-handed.


And four bridges to the future in PIERZYNSKI, OLIVERA, 

MAYBIN, and AYBAR.


But contracts still remain:


TEHERAN, FREEMAN, MARKAKIS


plus BETHANCOURT who obviously can't handle pitching well, and whose bat is .......... ah-h, deficient at best.


So, Mr. Sportswriter, what's the next best move for the brain-trust?


Enough young arm talent to move TEHERAN for that front-line catcher we need going forward?


Or a bat with some serious heft for the middle of the line-up ala FREEMAN? So it seems FF's safe for the moment. Strike him from the endangered list of long-term contracts?


I certainly cannot see one of the aforementioned three being moved for major bullpen help. Plenty of arms who can be out-getters for an inning or two around MLB that don't carry that type of pricetag.


Mr. BRADLEY please give us your take on the immediate short-term future of the BRAVES players.





Long
Long

Hopefully, all of this pitching will shut out all of the other teams and Freddie will hit a 3 run bomb every night! Go Royals!!!!!

Crapwheelie13
Crapwheelie13

Ok. But isn't baseball supposed to be entertaining. Simmons, Kimbrel, and Hayward were entertaining. None of the current Braves are even remotely entertaining. There's no reason. To watch this team in person or even on TV.

POV1948
POV1948

@Crapwheelie13 You are right.  Hart/Copollela are putting an unwatchable product on the field. 

DrTruth
DrTruth

I remember when the Atlanta Urinal & Constipation actually had somewhat objective sports writers.  What they have now defies rational explanation.


For example, Monday's sports page had in huge type:  


"IN BIG NEED OF A BACKUP PLAN"


And today Mark Bradley has once again cut & pasted his man-crush drivel about how brilliant Coppy is and how he would follow him to the moon and back.


Here's the unfunny irony.  The huge type headline was written about the 6-3, second place Falcons while Bradley's never-ending fawning over Coppy (who reminds one of Chauncey Gardiner from Being There whenever his handlers remove the muzzle and actually let him speak in public while they uncomfortably watch as every word leaves his lips in constant fear that someone outside the front office will discover that he's not brilliant, but actually suffered major brain damage from a horrible childhood accident) is unrestricted bro-love for the guy who just got promoted for piloting the Braves to a 95-loss season while achieving such milestones along the way as "worst losing streak in 25 years" and "worst season in 25 years".....


That's where Braves fans are today.  We have a new GM that seems to fear his own shadow when speaking in public, a local sports media that's more concerned about a 6-3 pro football team instead of a 95-loss pro baseball team and a Braves front office who ran fans away in droves but handed out promotions and high-fives to each other for increased LM profits this past season (the worst in 25 years).


Braves fans are so fu(#ed....

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

@DrTruth  The local sports media is most concerned about a mediocre SEC team that gets less out of more


If this was Boston or Chicago or NY, Coppy would not get away with this -- Braves fans should be outraged over the whole process


DrTruth
DrTruth

@VeryDisgusted  Honestly, I don't think they even care about the fans.  They don't care if we show up or not.  Attendance and TV audience both dropped big this year but Braves profit for LM went up.  That's why they're able to get away with crap like this.....Nobody at LM cares as long as profit is up.


And you're right that other markets wouldn't put up with failure like this.  If the Red Sox would have had a Sept collapse back in 2011 like the Fredi-managed Braves did, they would've immediately fired their manager.


Oh, wait a minute....They did....And they did.

FreeAgentFan
FreeAgentFan

@DrTruth  Spot on -- and note they did not tolerate two last place finishes from their farm system oriented GM after the 2013 championship season.  They canned Benzo the Clown for being too cautions -- now they got Dombrowski who knows how to operate in a big market -- and he has already made one of his marks with Kimbrel.


I will go on the record arguing the yrs of Frank Wren were not that bad -- unfortunately he ran into some real buzzards luck particularly with the Mc Louth trade and BJ sign.  And the system was still developing players -- where did Wood and Simmons come from etc.  There were player development successes under Wren



Come to think of it a guy like Cherington could function well with a team run the way the current Braves are run. 


MaybeMaybeNot
MaybeMaybeNot

This will end up being the Ozzie Smith for Garry Templeton trade that haunted the Padres for decades.


Simmons is that rare once in a generation defender that should be un-tradeable. Simmons is a proven commodity, a player who hardly ever comes along.  These pitching prospects are a crap shoot at best.

POV1948
POV1948

What's to be afraid of?  $ is the only metric that matters to this crowd and their profit margin was great this year in spite of horrendous baseball.  They can't lose, and they obviously don't care if the fans do. 

khd713
khd713

Whatever else you can say about this new, young GM, he's sure got a set of big ol' brass ones. 

Gtchoke
Gtchoke

How bout those yellow jackets! Bye bye bowl. Great offense johnson. Pathetic retarded offense and coach

oldgrumpyguy
oldgrumpyguy

Is it just me or is this starting to look like an expansion draft? 


Mr. H
Mr. H

I feel you Mark. I talked with Tommy countless times when he was a Brave. I worked at the stadium. He was such a nice kid. What a horrible ending of a young man with so much life ahead of him.

MarkPendley
MarkPendley

And by the way, I would get to a hospital pronto, Mark.  You are suffering from a life threatening condition if this move makes you think of the word audacity.  This moves so far ahead of the Dale Murphy and Dominique Wilkens trades as the worst in Atlanta sports history that the only way it will ever be topped is by the upcoming Freddie Freeman trade.

HUDDYS1FAN
HUDDYS1FAN

December 10th 1981 the San Diego Padres traded a young defensive whiz by the Name of Ozzie Smith to the St.Louis Cardinals. The rest as they say, is history. Which apparently has been lost upon the three Johns.


So I'll say it out loud........fella's ya'll just traded not only the best defensive player since the great wizard of Oz, ya'll traded what is potentially a Hall of Fame ballplayer.

MarkPendley
MarkPendley

I have never felt worse about a team that I support than I do this evening.  This organization doesn't even pretend to care about competing, let alone winning, in the next 4-5 years.  Next season's attendance numbers will make the Marlins look like the Red Sox.  Charlie Finley wasn't as reckless forty years ago as this organization has been in the last 12 months.  This is sickening.


MarkPendley
MarkPendley

Trading your best player, as in the examples you mentioned, is one thing.  But systematically trading every player who knows which end of the bat to pick up for a series of lottery tickets in hopes that a few of them actually pay off is begging your fans to leave and not come back.  This will turn more Braves fans off than the 1990s  era strike ever did.  This "team" will not win for at least 5 years, There is not one reason to buy a ticket to a 2016 game.  We haven't even reached Thanksgiving, and the baseball season is effectively over for Braves fans.  If an organization was deliberately trying to destroy their fan base, they couldn't have done any better job than this one has done.  This should be criminal.  

JohnCL
JohnCL

This is a great deal for the braves. Andrelton Simmons ranked 3rd in MLB in WAR last year. Erik Aybar ranked 14th. Their offensive WAR was exactly the same. Simmons was much better defensively. So we went from an A+ to a C+ or B- at SS. In return we got 2 A+ pitching prospects.


It sucks for the immediate future, but this is exactly how to rebuild a team. We have missed the world series for the past 15 yrs after making 5 of 10 in the 90s. It was time for a fire sale and a new direction. This will pay off in the future. Very few fans are willing to be patient. I am glad to see us on the right track after years of trying to follow the Yankees template without the yankees money.

Kwajbraves
Kwajbraves

This FO has gone full retard.  They are the new Marlins

POV1948
POV1948

@HistoryofMatt Lots of teams have tried to fix wild fireballers, very few have succeeded.  

CarrollSterne
CarrollSterne

Mark, I love you but you are wrong. We need an owner that cares. The functionaries don't matter.


coachof3sports
coachof3sports

Please get rid of John Hart, look out Freddie you are next !


ronlee1975
ronlee1975

That trade with the Dodgers was plenty enough to have serious doubts about this guy's sanity.