Would Braves trade Shelby Miller? Yes, if …

“Psst. I hear you’re going to Arizona.” (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

There being only so many hours in a day, it’s not my intent to address every single rumor/report regarding the Atlanta Braves. But the latest round — meaning after the Freddie Freeman rumor/report, which John Coppolella has said isn’t happening in such an impassioned way that the general manager would look ridiculous if it does — does warrant comment.

One, as passed along by the peripatetic Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, is that the Braves have discussed sending Shelby Miller, their best player in 2015, to the Diamondbacks for … well, somebody pretty good.

Here we note that Rosenthal said, “Perhaps.” But if the Braves didn’t ask about A.J. Pollock, the 27-year-old center fielder who posted a WAR value of 7.4 … well, they’re idiots. And I can attest that Coppolella and John Hart are not idiots. (They might also have inquired about Paul Goldschmidt, but that’s on the order of inquiring about Mike Trout.)

As David Schoenfield of ESPN’s SweetSpot notes, the willingness to dangle Miller could be the sign of something. Writes Schoenfield: “The trade proposal points to something else: The Braves realize that maybe you actually do need to field a lineup with eight position players. And also that they’re not necessarily planning the next potential Braves playoff rotation to be constructed around Miller.”

My last read of the Braves’ projected rotation for 2017 is this: Miller, Julio Teheran, Matt Wisler, Sean Newcomb and Lucas Sims. At 26, Miller would be the oldest of the five. But debate continues as to whether Miller is a true No. 1 starter — they’re aren’t many of those — and whether his value will ever be higher than it is today. If the in-house belief is that it won’t be, it makes sense to sell high, especially if the return involves an excellent everyday player, of which this team has exactly one (Freeman).

Since you asked, the Braves believe the following young pitchers do have top-of-the-rotation potential, though not all and maybe none will realize it: Newcomb, who’s 22 and who was acquired for Andrelton Simmons; Touki Toussaint, who’s 19 and who was acquired for Phil Gosselin and money; Max Fried, who’s 21 and who was acquired for Justin Upton, and Kolby Allard, who’s 18 and who was the Braves’ No. 1 pick in June. But the latter three won’t be big-league ready for a while. (Newcomb, Toussaint and Fried were also Round 1 picks, FYI.)

More from Rosenthal: The Braves are pursuing relievers Darren O’Day and Matt Thornton. O’Day is considered the best reliever among free agents. Per Rosenthal, he’s seeking “a four-year contract in the $28 to $36 million range.” That’s a significant amount of money for a guy who hasn’t been a full-time closer, but the Braves did say their first priority over the offseason was to upgrade the bullpen.

Writes Rosenthal: “The Braves likely view O’Day as a potential closer. Thornton, 39, is coming off a strong season with the Nationals and would serve in a setup role if the Braves signed him.”

Surely one of the reasons the Braves said they planned to spend for relief help is because — not to be cruel — that’s all they can afford. A big-time starting pitcher or position player will command upward of $100 million in free agency.

Even if they sign O’Day/Thornton/both, I wouldn’t go so far as suggesting this is proof that they’re not tanking. (As Coppolella insisted to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.) They’re still going to be terrible next season. But there will come a day, or so the Braves desperately hope, when they’ll need a real bullpen, as opposed to the departure lounge of last season. This would be another investment in their future, and not an extravagant one.

Further reading: Memo to Coppolella: Don’t vent.

Still further: The Braves can’t afford to trade Freeman.

Further still: Would the Braves trade Freeman? No.

Even further: The Braves’ audacity inspires … well, awe.

Also further: Say what you want about the Braves, but they are not afraid.

And further: Would the Braves trade Simmons? Sure.

And yet further: Braves fans can take heart from this October.

Reader Comments 0

22 comments
Mike755
Mike755

Trade Freeman and keep Shelby Miller. The Braves could be the first team with a starting pitcher with an ERA under 2.00 and still lose 20 games in the same year.

patriotdog
patriotdog

I don't understand the reluctance to deal Freeman. He's good, but not 17 mil worth of good. This is a 95 loss team, everybody should be on the market, and Freddie should bring a big return.

SomewherenSGa
SomewherenSGa

They will get rid of anyone except the one who needs to go Manager FG

Bogey
Bogey

Well, as usual all Dr. Truth does is blow hot air and complain about decisions. In Oct '14, The Braves had the 29th ranked farm system and 2 MLB caliber stating pitchers in their entire organization (Teheran and Wood). Beachy and Meds were coming off TJ#2, Harang and Santana were not worth the $ they were going to be offered elsewhere, and Minor was a complete ? mark. Nothing was ready from the minors.

Hart and Coppy in 1 year now have the 2nd ranked farm system and plenty of top arms to choose from by 2017. Yeah, the Braves lost last year and likely in '16, but the sustainable winning is coming soon. They haven't rebuilt in 25 years and this was 8 yrs overdue.

Two moves the Braves should make at the winter meetings: bring JHey back home - pay him 10/$200 million. Freeman will convince him. Atlanta has plenty of money available: just saved annually $15 from BJ, $11 from Kimbrel, $13 from Uggs, and $5 or so from Simmons. Move Markakus to LF OR trade him to Baltimore for prospects IF they elect to use Olivera in left. Personally I would just put Olivera back at 2nd where he's always played and platoon Hace and Garcia at 3B unti Ruiz or Austin are ready in '18.

2nd move: package up Bethancourt' Maybin/ Olivera, and a top arm for Jonathan Lucroy with the Brewers. With so may young pitchers here now and coming we need a veteran catcher to shepherd them into their prime years.

Both of these deals are very doable.

DrTruth
DrTruth

@Bogey In 2015, the Braves lost more games than all but TWO teams in all of MLB.  In 2015, the Braves bullpen was #29 out of 30 teams and only 0.02 ERA from dead last.  They scored 573 runs and allowed 760 runs.  You celebrate failure.  Congratulations!


Bring Heyward back for $200 Million and 10 years?  Did you just fall and hit your head?  Freeman "will convince him"???  How is it there in FantasyLand?


Freddie Freeman CAN'T WAIT to get as far away from this organization as possible and every day he regrets signing his life away to the Braves.  Freeman is a winner surrounded by an organization full of losers.  I remember when he used to smile.  I suppose that's the kind of situation you would try to pull people into, huh?  How would you like to be a player in your prime and be told, "everything we're doing is for the future"?  And every morning you wake up a day older while you wait and wait and wait.....


"2nd move: package up Bethancourt' Maybin/ Olivera, and a top arm for Jonathan Lucroy with the Brewers."


Do you even know what the Braves gave up to get Olivera?  Now you want to deal him with Bethancourt and a "top arm" for a catcher with a line of .264/.326/.391 last year when the Braves just re-signed AJ?  Why so eager to trade Olivera when you've barely seen him play?  Where you gonna get this expendable top arm from?  Better yet, why would you even consider bringing a guy into a 95-loss situation like this wha just said this past summer, "coming to the field and getting your butt kicked everyday is terrible for a veteran player"?  Unbelievable....


Lucroy will probably be dealt this winter.  But with Wieters off the market, whoever gets him will overpay.  The Braves can't afford to give up so much to fill one position when there are many more to be filled....Yeah, your deals are doable if you simply want to dig the hole deeper.


Thanks for the laughs this evening.

Bogey
Bogey

Once again, nothing but loud noise....never a single suggestion as to your brilliant GM moves.

What did they give up for Olivera? An overvalued infielder in Peraza and a low ceiling pitcher in Wood. The value in Olivera is either play him or flip him to better the team in a needed position, like catcher. And Lucroy is significantly better than Weiters. The reason the Braves gave accumulated so many arms is to use them as assets to fill position players. With the exception of maybe the Mets and Nats, every team ALWAYS needs pitching.

And if you don't think JHey will get $200m, you're not paying attention.

Stop whining and present a case....

DrTruth
DrTruth

@Bogey Like I thought....You DON'T even know what they gave up for Olivera.  You just want to trade him after 20 or so games.  Real shrewd of you.


I don't get paid to "present a case".  I'm a fan, just like you.  And I'll leave it to you to get on here and share your idiotic dream trades that will save this franchise.


I decide whether of not I'll be buying tickets to take the family to see whatever product is on the field next year.  And that will be decided by the guys who do get paid to put the best product on the field.  And so far they put out a product that finished 28th out of 30 teams.


"The value in Olivera is either play him or flip him..."  WOW....You come up with that all by yourself or did someone help you?  Let's see...."Duh...I think they should either play Olivera or trade him.  I'm showing everybody how super brilliant I am...Duh."


And if you think the Braves are going to bring Heyward back for $200 Million and FF is going to convince him to return to this Field of Sadness, then you need a check up from the neck up.


I hope your caregivers don't let you get around sharp objects.

DrTruth
DrTruth

Yep....I said a few months ago that these guys are ADDICTED to the numbers, and the numbers constantly change.  That means it doesn't matter who you are....If you're in a Braves uniform, your days here are "numbered".  


One month a guy is the #1 prospect in the farm system.  Next month, he's expendable.  Then the guy who was the #1 asset returned in a fire sale is now being shopped....And he hasn't even been here for a full season yet!


Get used to this manic-depressive action.   John Hart was buying and selling players last season like a nymphomaniac hooker.  It's what happens when you're a GM who is ruled by the numbers.  The numbers always change.  So you shop your best players before their numbers drop and you shop for players whose numbers haven't yet "peaked".  Yeah, good luck with that!


It's the most INSANE way to try and rebuild an MLB club after you destroy one.....Forever trying to get that "edge" on the numbers.  What happens is the numbers eventually consume you and end up puking you out all over your most glorious plans.


They traded away the present for the future without realizing there now has to be a present in order to sell obscene season tickets for the future ballpark...My friends, you can't clusterfluk yourself any more perfectly than that.


Now they're scraping the bottom of the barrel and nobody wants it.  So they have to unload whatever "prime" future pieces there are to put butts in the seats and avoid losing more than 100 games in 2016.  Sooner or later, somebody at LM has to open up the checkbook for 1 or more splash FAs....After all the trading "currency" has been burned, the only thing left is real currency.

DrTruth
DrTruth

Actually, Miller came over in the Heyward trade so he was here for a full season.  He just didn't post a W in June, July, Aug or Sept so it seemed like he wasn't here a full season...

DrTruth
DrTruth

@Hopeless in ATL  Frank Wren is gainfully employed again, in less than a year.  He already improved his bullpen with Kimbrel.  He got the best closer in the business for the Red Sox.


Guess who the closer is for this bullpen?  No....I mean GUESS who the closer is for this bullpen???

Hopeless in ATL
Hopeless in ATL

@DrTruth @Hopeless in ATL I think we saw our closer last year, it's Vizcaino in case you missed it.  We also have Shae Simmons on deck and I believe Williams Perez will be a good one out of the pen.

DrTruth
DrTruth

@Hopeless in ATL  He'll be fired for the 3rd time soon?  That's a change for you.  Just a few weeks ago you kept going on about how he would never work in baseball again....

DrTruth
DrTruth

@Hopeless in ATL  Yeah, Viz was one of about a dozen over the course of the year.  Nothing says any of those guys will even make spring training.....in a Braves uniform.

Hopeless in ATL
Hopeless in ATL

@DrTruth @Hopeless in ATL You have me confused with some other rational person, but Wren was hired as Senior VP (a retirement position). I'll be surprised is somebody gives him authority to deal.

DrTruth
DrTruth

@Hopeless in ATL  He does know how to build a bullpen.  He just put rebar & concrete in the Boston pen with the best closer in the game.


So you really can't see Wren was the one who brought Kimbrel to the Red Sox?  I gave you more credit for being perceptive than I should have....My bad.

POV1948
POV1948

So why does it make more sense to let go of a player at peak value rather than actually USE HIS TALENTS TO TRY TO WIN when he's at the peak of his game?  


Miller is the one guy on the staff who looked like a top of the rotation starter last year.  Teheran has backslid from the promise he once showed.  Let's hope he recovers but in the meantime the Braves have one reliable starter who gives them a chance to win almost every time out and kept his head straight in spite of no run support and multiple blown saves.  Wisler, Perez, Banuelos, Folty, and the gaggle of prospects are all ????  Now it looks like the one proven solid starter (and a guy with some grit) could be the next guy out the door.  


I'm betting #TankerJohn's promises about Freeman came after he tried to trade and couldn't get a semi-adequate return.  Miller and Freeman probably are both praying to escape this lunacy via trade.  


I loath the too-smart-by-half people running this organization. 

ErnestB
ErnestB

There was speculation on 680theFan this morning about interest from the Dodgers in Miller.  Their proposed trade was Miller for Puig, given some recent comments by Andy Van Slyke that a 'high paid player' does not want Puig on the Dodgers, thus addition by subtraction.

DrTruth
DrTruth

So now the rubber meets the road!  


The fire sale was easy.  Acquiring/developing the talent to replace the MLB players who were jettisoned is the part that will have these clowns suffering daily panic attacks as the 2017 Opening Day at SunTrust Park marches closer and closer every day....and it will never slow down.


I thought part of the rationale for trading Kimbrel was "they won't be competitive during the rebuild, so they don't need a closer"??  Now after a 95-loss, and clearly non-competitive, season they're shopping for a $7-$9 Million/Yr closer in O'Day?  Once bidding wars start, they'll pay even MORE than FMV for positions they have to field.  BTW, Kimbrel only made $9 Million last year and will make $11 Million next season and right now he's the best closer in the business!


Coppolella is an idiot who's in way over his head.  There's no nicer way to put it.  Watch and see what DESPERATION does to a guy like that.  John Hart's already packing his bags for FL and a daily itinerary that includes only tee times because he doesn't have the GUTS to stick around and do the hard work after he DIRECTED the destruction of this franchise...


"Sorry JS....But you know I sure do miss my family.  And you know how much I like golf.  Hugs & kisses to everyone for me, OK.....And good luck with the rebuild.  It's been fun, but I've gotta run...HART OUT!"


Oh, and Bradley, you need to recognize while you were being told on the sly that Freeman wouldn't be traded, they were in the market shopping him.  Just because they could only get 2 TJ's and a 3rd baseman recovering from herniated disk surgery (or similar low-ball offer) for him so they pulled him back doesn't mean they weren't TRYING to trade him.

Hopeless in ATL
Hopeless in ATL

@DrTruth What a bunch of crap.  If you know half as much as you claim, then you should have a job in a front office somewhere.  

DrTruth
DrTruth

@Hopeless in ATL  Hey there Coppy!  You'll understand why I often think you're Coppy.  


Every time I see "Hopeless in ATL", who else could it be but John Hart or Coppolella?