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.