Which Braves are apt to be traded by the deadline? Glad you asked

Don’t expect him to wave goodbye just yet. (AP Photo/Danny Karnik)

Three weeks until the trade deadline. John Coppolella, the Atlanta Braves’ general manager, responded last month to a will-you-buy-or-sell question by saying, “Both.” I take him at his word. If the Angels offer Mike Trout for Matt Adams, expect Coppolella to say yes.

But, given that we don’t know what’s apt to be offered by other teams, today’s exercise is limited to the Braves. Who stays? Who goes? In descending order of probability:

The aforementioned Adams: The Braves aren’t sold long-term on having Freddie Freeman play third base, which means the view of Adams remains unchanged. He proved an excellent fill-in at first base, but first base – in 2018 and beyond – is Freeman’s. Adams is eligible for arbitration, and the Braves aren’t eager to pay $5 million for a backup/pinch hitter. As it happens, there’s a natural trade fit out there: The Yankees DFA’ed Chris Carter last week, turning to Ji-Man Choi, a 26-year-old journeyman on his third organization who has more MLB strikeouts (30) than hits (21). The Yankees have baseball’s second-best farm system. Adams offers a real opportunity for the team with baseball’s best farm system to go shopping.

Jaime Garcia: His value has dropped over the last month, but he’s still a starting pitcher and he’s still left-handed. (And he has a walkaway contract.) Even good teams need pitching. That’s why the Braves loaded up on it. There’s always a demand.

Jim Johnson: He’s tied for the MLB lead in blown saves. Still, Johnson’s history is to wax and wane. His past four seasons, going by Baseball-Reference WAR: 2013 with Baltimore, 1.5 (not bad by closer standards); 2014 with Oakland and Detroit, minus-1.7; first part of 2015 as a Brave, 1.5; last part of 2015 as a Dodger, minus-1.6; 2016 as a Brave, 1.5. And he’s 34, which isn’t ancient as relievers go. It’s time the Braves gave Arodys Vizcaino another shot at closing, but don’t sleep on Jose Ramirez, who’s pretty darn good.

Nick Markakis: The four-year contract at $10 million per annum expires after next season. He was pretty good in Years 1 and 2. He has been less good this year. (B-Ref WAR of 0.1.) What makes this a prime opportunity for the Braves to pursue a deal is the ascendant Ronald Acuna, who’s at Double-A Mississippi and who was just anointed the Braves’ No. 1 prospect (and No. 10 in baseball) by Baseball America. Acuna is 19, but he’ll playing the outfield in SunTrust Park very soon, meaning Markakis or Matt Kemp will have to make way. Owing to a more affordable contract, Markakis seems more apt to depart.

Julio Teheran: A year ago, everybody wanted him. The Braves rebuffed all requests because, duh, they wanted him, too. That ardor has surely cooled. Going by B-Ref WAR, Teheran has been the least valuable member of this current rotation. (Bartolo Colon is gone, I remind you.) His ERA, WHIP, strikeout rate, walk rate and FIP (fielding independent pitching) mark career worsts since he established himself as a big-league pitcher. For years, the debate was whether Teheran could be a true No. 1 starter; today he’s not even a No. 3. That his past two starts have been excellent only deepens the concern: If he’s capable of doing that, why doesn’t he do it every time? I’d have been stunned had he been traded last summer. I wouldn’t be stunned now.

Brandon Phillips: On paper, he’s the most logical guy to go. He’s 36 and he’s about to become a free agent and he’s playing a position that could soon be manned by Sean Rodriguez if not Ozzie Albies if not both. Trouble is, he’s a second baseman. Most good teams have a good second baseman. (Altuve, Murphy, Pedroia, LeMahieu, Castro, Kipnis, Baez/Zobrist) There’s nobody desperate for Phillips.

Kemp: I’ve addressed this at length, but here’s the short version – the Braves like Kemp because of what he does, yes, and they like him even more because of the effect (hard to quantify, admittedly) he has on Freeman. A team forever pinching pennies isn’t crazy about paying $18 million per year through 2019, and his B-Ref WAR (minus-0.4) doesn’t reflect much value. That takes us back to the hard-to-quantify part. The Braves believe Kemp makes them – and their best player – better. If they could find someone to take that $18 million off their hands, they might trade him. I’m guessing they won’t find such a buyer.

R.A. Dickey: Remember that team option for $8 million for next season? The Braves could wind up exercising it. Dickey has been very good lately – three earned runs over his past four starts, all of the quality variety – and $8 million for an OK starting pitcher isn’t excessive. Also: The best pitchers in their farm system (Allard, Soroka, Wright, Gohara) are projected to start next season in the minors. There might be a continuing need for Dickey over the first half of 2018. Besides, there’s not much of a midseason market for a knuckleballer.

Reader Comments 0

28 comments
ljparent
ljparent

I wonder if Dansby Swanson would have any trade value? I think they should at least send him back to AAA, to work on his fielding, and also to learn how to hit a slider away. Camargo is a better fielder, stronger arm, better hitter and faster. He deserves to play full time, so see if he can continue his recent success. Does any one have any thoughts regarding my musings?

BillEGoat
BillEGoat

@ljparent Swanson has looked like a guy who needed a full year in triple-A, like Freddy Freeman had.  He us a weak link right now, with glove and bat.

TZMAC
TZMAC

Camargo looks good - but we need to see how he's hitting the second time around the league. Swanson hit .302 in 38 games last year.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

Braves under .500 at the Deadline ,will sell off vets thus cutting as much salary as possible. Package of  Adams and Teheran together may get a couple of decent prospects in return but doubt seriously a #1 or #2 starting pitcher will be the return. 

sea8491
sea8491

Mark, because of past pitching trades (Wainwright and Alex Wood), please tell the brain trust of the Atlanta Braves not to trade any younger developing pitchers, do not trade Teheran.

patriotdog
patriotdog

Fresdie isn't a 3b and Danaby isn't a SS.

It's time to trade Adams, get FF back to 1b,

make Camargo the 3b, Albies the SA and Dansby the 2b. If that doesn't float the boat

let Camargo play SS and give Dansby a ahot at 3b until Albies is ready to take over at SS or 2b.

Don't let Adams' value fall, ala Jaime Garcia and Jim Johnson. Do it now.

E983
E983

Let's see who's offering who for what. Then make the best move.

Neal Floyd
Neal Floyd

Vizcaino should be the FIRST to go!

TZMAC
TZMAC

1. Jim Johnson goes - unreliable as closer. Hopefully Mauricio Cabrera can right his ship soon.
2. Unfortunately - Brandon Phillips has to go because is a free agent. He's done everything we could ask and is a great guy, but ..... we won't resign with Albies about ready.
3. I wish Adams could play a serviceable OF - I'd put him in RF and trade Markakis. At best we might manage him in LF, but doubt Kemp could handle RF. And we have to have Kemp's RH bat. So if Freddie at 3B isn't an option - Adams has go.
4. J. Garcia goes because at end of his contract. Would love to see Medlen make it back to Braves.
5. If offer is right and can lead to acquiring a true #1 pitcher then Teheran goes. He is at best a #2 starter, probably a #3. To advance in playoffs - have to have a power #1 starter.

GymAnalytics315
GymAnalytics315

How much could they get for Swanson?  I like Camargo in his place.  And they can't play Swanson at second... where there's soon to be a log-jam.  

BTC
BTC

Send them all packing...

lanierbob
lanierbob

The braves have to keep Camargo in the lineup.  I think he's a better ss than Dansby.  Better range and better arm.  Keep him at short if Ruiz pans out at third and try Dansby at second.  I like Dansby's hustle, but he makes too many errors and isn't as good as Camargo

If Ruiz is OK at third then move Freddie back to first and trade Adams for a good pitcher.  I'm just not sold on Dansby yet and Who knows but Albies might beat him out for 2b


UnbiasedObserver
UnbiasedObserver

Only a few should they hold on to.


Their shot at the playoffs is virtually nil.

SouthGeorgiaStrong
SouthGeorgiaStrong

Adams about a 70/30 but since the wait lost I would have to get a good player for him

SouthGeorgiaStrong
SouthGeorgiaStrong

Never was crazy about Kemp until he put on that Braves Jersey 90/10 on him

SouthGeorgiaStrong
SouthGeorgiaStrong

Man wish Phillips could play forever, always wanted him in a Brave uniform he plays the same all the time and it's contagious 90/10

SouthGeorgiaStrong
SouthGeorgiaStrong

Nick Markakis does not hustle enough. He has had games I believe he should have caught ti but just let it come to him. so about 60/40 on him

thebiscuit
thebiscuit

Teheran must go.  I wanted him gone last year. He's too inconsistent.  He's made himself valuable again. Now's the time.

SouthGeorgiaStrong
SouthGeorgiaStrong

@thebiscuit I am 50/50 on him. but like the article says he has the stuff why not all the time. Lazy, is not a mindset for a #1 pitcher