Nothing says ‘Happy Holidays’ like another Braves’ trade (UPDATED)

Shelby Miller, who was acquired from St. Louis in the Jason Heyward trade, led Braves’ starters in ERA (3.02) last season. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

(UPDATED: 10 p.m.)

The Braves are selling holiday gift packs that include four game tickets and a “limited edition Turner Field Final Season ornament.” Because nothing says “I care about you this holiday season” more than tickets to watch a potential 100-loss team and an ornament commemorating a 20-year-old stadium that the team is abandoning for a taxpayer-funded boondoggle in the suburbs.

This week’s winter meetings have seen the Braves taking bids for their two best pitchers, Shelby Miller and Julio Teheran, which doesn’t seem to make sense because there aren’t many valuable and watchable commodities left on the roster — and they’re two of them. But Miller is arbitration eligible for the first time and is due a significant raise, and the Braves have this thing about spending money on players right now.

So away with him.

Yes, Coppolella traded another player. But at least this deal makes a little sense because the Braves are getting an actual major league player in return. Miller was dealt to Arizona for young outfielder Ender Inciarte, who has hit .292 over his first two major league seasons, as well as top prospect shortstop Dansby Swanson of Marietta, who was the first pick in last year’s draft, and Double-A pitcher Aaron Blair.

Inciarte hit .303 with 21 stolen bases last season. He can play all of the outfield positions. That works out well because the Braves have almost every position available.

Coppolella has a plan. I think. The problem with the plan is even if it works, which in itself is giving him a huge benefit of the doubt, success likely won’t come until the distant future. The Braves lost 95 games last season. Since then, they’ve traded Gold Glove shortstop Andrelton Simmons, possibly baseball’s best defensive player, to Los Angeles for two pitching prospects and almost 32-year-old infielder Erick Aybar, and shipped Cameron Maybin to Detroit for (wait for it) two pitching prospects.

Those two deals came after last July’s strange decision to move starter Alex Wood to the Dodgers for Hector Olivera, a 30-year-old Cuban-born third baseman who hasn’t accomplished much yet beyond benefiting greatly from capitalism ($62.5 million contract).

So there’s the potential of last year’s 95-loss club growing to a 100-loss  team in 2016 — yes, even with this deal. It would be an upset if the Braves weren’t still mediocre in 2017, when the new stadium opens to screaming crowds of hundreds. (Everybody else will still be on 285.) The safe bet at this point is the Braves won’t be good again until at least 2018, by which time Hector Olivera will be 33. Nice trade.

I can’t decide if Freeman is somewhere, handcuffed to a lamppost so the Braves can’t trade him, too, or if he’s sitting at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, hoping to be traded.

Miller’s exit leaves a hole in the pitching rotation on a roster filled with holes. But at least Inciarte and Swanson’s potential makes this deal palatable. Swanson, who played at Marietta High School and Vanderbilt, played in low-A last season and won’t be major league-ready for a while.

 

Before you buy your Braves holiday gift pack, you might want to check out the Braves’ current 40-man roster. I did. My eyes started bleeding.

Miller was acquired in the Jason Heyward trade. He finished only 6-17 last season but largely because nobody in the lineup on the days and nights he pitched hit acted like they wanted him around. He led all Braves starters with a 3.02 ERA. His last 40 starts have resulted in an ERA of 2.86 and a .230 opponents’ average with 203 strikeouts and 82 walks. But he has potentially three years of arbitration and is going to start making a lot of money soon, which might be counter to the Braves’ business plan because, well, they’re probably not going to sell a lot of tickets next year.

 But I’m sure it’s a very nice “Turner Field Final Season” ornament.

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40 comments
Spud
Spud

Wishful thinking, but I want Martin Prado back on the team. I might actually attend a few games next year if they re-acquired him. 

Ald420
Ald420

Screw you, Braves! You're dead to me.

E983
E983

This is a blockbuster trade that the Braves needed. Tony LaRussa and the D'Backs are ready to win now. They are now the favorite to win the NL West with their lineup and staff. The Braves have stockpiled a load of young pitching and position players that a couple of years down the road will light up the new stadium. The kid they got yesterday has got a bat to backup his glove. Simmons won't have that bat. Say what you please about Miller. He's a good starter that will give the D'Backs the staff they need. Remember, they just signed Greinke to a long term deal.

Brando21
Brando21

Mr Schultz, I simply can't relate to your lack of insight. I like Shelby, but he is a fairly overvalued, middle of the rotation starter. He was fortunate enough to leave a ton of baserunners stranded, which kept his ERA from being quite a bit higher. That doesn't project well for his future. With all the young potential studs on the farm, the Braves need to hand the ball over and see what they can do. Inciarte actually figures to be more valuable by himself than Miller, and Swanson and Blair have 95% of the baseball world saying the Braves just fleeced the D'Backs. I can't tell if you actually believe the drivel you just wrote or if you are trying to appeal to angry, uninformed readers, the way Fox News does.

GaLatino
GaLatino

@Brando21 You're missing the point.  The trade IS a great trade, but it's heavily built on the future, and even though it looks a little brighter after this trade, and I'm starting to see the plan, we are almost virtually guaranteed to have the worst record in baseball next year, and I would be utterly shocked if we were even a 75 win team in 2017.

ShaunATL
ShaunATL

Rebuilding works: http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/just-a-bit-outside/story/atlanta-braves-rebuilding-andrelton-simmons-trades-pirates-royals-cubs-mets-111815


It feels dirty but fans will always return to a winner, regardless of how ugly things get during a tear-down (with the possible exception of the Marlins, who have taken tear-downs and rebuilds to an extreme).  


Any fan who the Braves have lost or will lose will either return or there will be at least 2-3 more fans to replace him/her once they start winning again.  

GaLatino
GaLatino

@ShaunATL I agree that it should work, but all of those teams still had a 4-5 year window start to finish before contending again.  '16 and '17 will be rough folks.  2018 is the year you need to look for.

E983
E983

The Braves are accumulating some young talent that will eventually make this club a winner. Look at the recent past of the Astros. 100 loss seasons to a wild card in 2015. It'll be worth it.

TideDawg
TideDawg

Well Jeffy! When you write articles designed to inflame the fan base you already know that there are some out here that go overboard. Profane is not the way to go but some guys only speak that language. I definitely don't condone that way of expressing oneself but you reap the consequences of what you write. Let's start getting positive for next year without predicting a division, SEC, or National Title before they get through spring training.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

I guess Hart and Coppy decided the Braves lost 95 games last year with Miller pitching ,so trade him while the market is high. I was expecting Inciarte and a pitching prospect to be part of a deal with the Dbacks ,but never expected them to include Swanson. I also thought Miller would be part of a (melvin) type trade. I am glad to admit I was wrong on this one. 

jschultz
jschultz moderator

Some of the comments on here were profane and removed. I hate playing nursery school teacher but you will be banned from commenting if this continues. I'm particularly looking at you: "Answered This."

AnsweredTHIS
AnsweredTHIS

I would appreciate if you would say the same thing to the guy you allow to use racial slurs on the blog. I am particulary looking at you for that JS!

Kwajbraves
Kwajbraves

I'm not a big fan of this FO but this was a good trade.  Yes this team will suck really bad next year but the future start looking better.

TideDawg
TideDawg

If Fredi Gonzalez is so highly thought of....why isn't he being traded? And throw in Bobby Cox to sweeten the deal. They better trade Olivera before MLB teams realize he is a clone of BJ Upton. The ball boy has to go. We need ball girls. Is it true the Braves may trade for Matt Ryan? I heard he was a pretty good high school pitcher. The Braves will be playing in "The Top Prospects" division next year. And finally......uhhh, there is no finally...the Braves ran out of players to trade unless they want to start getting rid of the prospects.

GaLatino
GaLatino

@TideDawg No reason to fire Fredi now, he can guide them through all the losing just fine.  I predict he'll be out after next season, when the club is sold and a new FO is brought in to bring the team into the 21st century.

ltdbrave
ltdbrave

Wow!, nothing like a good dose of sarcasm! Would have thought you would have waited until 2017 when the results were in!

GaLatino
GaLatino

@ltdbrave Anyone expecting "results" to be in by 2017 is either delusional, on drugs, or related to someone in the Braves FO.  Which one are you?

Mr. Negative
Mr. Negative

Any decent MLB player they got will be hyped up to the max to sell tickets. Then he will be sold to the highest CASH bidder by the deadline. Quite the shell game Liberty has going here.

JeffCriswell
JeffCriswell

Great trade for Atlanta. Swanson may be playing second, by the way, as we have another ss prospect waiting in the wings. So, Olivera, Freeman, Swanson, and Albies? That's a fairly compelling infield. This is the first trade that seems to give the team some definition. 

Miles Schmidt
Miles Schmidt

Let's not get bent out of shape, Braves Nation. We have to pay our dues in order to have a dominant team, akin to what we had in the nineties. 

GaLatino
GaLatino

@Miles Schmidt I wouldn't call one World Series win in 14 straight tries at the postseason "dominant".  That's a shade above the Bills of the 90's.

pinkygonzales
pinkygonzales

Just wanted to put in my two cents as far as the Shelby Miller/Julio Teheran trade rumors go. This may be a controversial opinion, but this all makes sense to me. when we were stockpiling all that minor league pitching, I think assumption was that we would get bats by trading from our minor league arsenal. But in fact, it makes sooooo much more sense that we would trade the Major Leaguers, because the return would be so much higher. With the signing of Norris, it became clear that someone was probably going to get traded, as we now have more pitchers in need of a spot in the rotation than we have spots in said rotation (Miller, Teheran, Norris, Folty, Perez, Banuelos, Wisler, and perhaps Jenkins and Newcomb). That's also while noting that Fried, Allard, Toussiant and maybe Lucas Sims are still in the organization and could also be impact arms. Clearly, with the asking price that we have stated for Miller, we are looking for young impact bats. If we are able to get one for him, it makes us worse next year, but we have so many holes in our lineup that we need to be able to fill them. We should have seen this coming. Trading Wood last year for Olivera was a sign that we would be willing to trade players off of our major league roster to teams looking to contend now in exchange for young(ish), controllable bats. Trade Miller (I never really got used to him anyway in Atlanta), but don't drop your price. Get that young impact bat that we can plug into our line up for years. This is painful, but I can now see the plan.

Ken007
Ken007

Jeff, you got it. I'll go further than you did. The Braves will not be contenders for at least a decade. Want more? The Braves front office are liars, so don't believe anything they say. Hart and the new GM went at least four trades too far IMO because they have become addicted to the action. The Braves are nothing more than a Yahoo Fantasy sports franchise at this point Forget me buying tickets to a game, if they were playing Opening Day in my backyard, I'd close the blinds.

Carterev
Carterev

Jeff, extract firmly planted tongue from cheek and consider the psychological damage done to a young pitcher who has to watch the Braves' offense, and rely on that offense for wins.  Maybe a season in Atlanta earns you a new lease on life elsewhere.   At any rate, the circle has turned back to the '70s, when you and your 500 closest friends could watch professional baseball in peace. 

dtanner311
dtanner311

pro sports now is nothing more than a ripoff, do they even care about winning or just making money, and always trying to con new stadium deals at taxpayers expense, overpriced players and tickets I aint going 

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

This is ridiculous. Anybody that trades Miller is a fool. Miller already proved he could pitch for a horrible team. Why not, say, keep around a gold glove shortstop ?

I thought, last year we were seeing the quickest tear down and rebuild ever, but no, they're still tearing down.

JeffreyEav
JeffreyEav

Oh and I wouldn't bet on any top shelf bourbon next year. They can't afford that either.

Starksy
Starksy

But...both Chip Caray and Joe Simpson are enthusiastic about these subtle strokes of genius from Braves management.

BruceDub
BruceDub

Spoiled.. Be good or bad but don't sit in purgatory. Glad you aren't running the team!

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

Does this mean the Hot dogs and cokes are still going to be on sale this season. Great marketing plan take advantage of sale prices $4 hotdog and $3 cokes to come watch a AAA+ baseball team. Why not just go to Gwinnett, they put a better product on the field and likely could beat the big club on a regular basis. 

Bhorsoft
Bhorsoft

Makes sense. Trade our last two established pitchers for more pitching prospects. 


Come next year and beyond we'll just put 9 prospects on the mound and watch 'em throw baseballs at the umpire. Games will be quick so you should be able to catch a "businessman's special" during your lunch break.

WindBlowing
WindBlowing

To go with the ornament, the Braves are releasing their 2016 Bobblehead = Generic pitcher with changeable jersey name and detachable Tommy John arm.

RangeRover
RangeRover

Fun to be a sports fan in the Sate of Georgia with the Falcons embarrassing themselves, the Hawks returning to being the Hawks and the Dogs and Jackets grossly underperforming as expected.

Well, I'm a better husband and father on weekends...

I'm going Snow Skiing in Utah...

Ald420
Ald420

Think of all the money you'll save by not going to games anymore. I'm looking forward to that