How John Hart Is Quickly Fixing The Braves
By Jordan Gluck (MLB Reports Writer/Part-Owner): Follow @jgluck777
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How John Hart is quickly fixing the Braves
When you think of the Atlanta Braves you think of three things:
They were perennially the best team in the NL for about 15 years and they are looking to get back to that especially once their new stadium opens in Cobb County in 2017.
John Hart who has a history of creating sustainable business models on the field was brought in and he’s cleaning up. Im not saying the Braves are World Series champions in 2016 but they will be competitive from then on.
So far Hart has Noticeably:
Bought out the last year of Uggla’s contract.
Rid Melvin Upton’s contract (Also trading Kimbrel) for Matt Wisler, Cameron Maybin, Jordan Parouback, A draft Pick, and Carlos Quentin (Bought out to balance $)
Trade Justin Upton on the last year before free agency for Max Fried, Mallex Smith, Dustin Peterson, and Jace Peterson,
Trade Evan Gattis to the Astros for Mike Foltynewicz, Rio Ruiz, and Andrew Thurman
Trade Jason Heyward on the last year before free agency for Shelby Miller
Acquired Trevor Cahill, draft pick and 6M from Diamondbacks for Josh Elander and low end prospect
Signed Nick Markakis to 4 yr 44M contract
He hasn’t even been on the Job for a year yet. Only one player (Freddie Freeman) in the opening day lineup this year was ON THE TEAM last season. So now we transitions to where does that leave them now and toward the future.
They spent 115M on payroll in 2014 and now its about 85M and thats with the money they are eating on Uggla and Quentin. They currently have only 52M committed for next year and i am guessing they can hold a payroll of about 135M when they move into their new ballpark.
They don’t have a noticeable free agent until 2018 (Mike Minor) or 2019 (Nick Markakis and Shelby Miller)! So they will not lose anybody noticeable for a long time save Cahill but he has to have a good year to be of value and tradable at the deadline. Here is what i think of the key prospects they have/ acquired
Christian Betancourt C- Good defensive catcher but will he ever hit in real game like he does in the batting cages?
Jose Peraza 2B- Future leadoff hitter and SB of the future potential to be plus plus at top of lineup with speed and bat.
Rio Ruiz 3B- Always been a fan and should hit with good bat and slightly above average power
Mike Foltynewicz P- To me I see a shutdown closer but i don’t think he’s a starter.
Matt Wisler P – I see a #2 or #3 SP that should be able to come up this season.
Lucas Sims– A Georgia kid that can be a Starter by midway through 2016.
Max Fried- I have always been a fan since he was drafted 9 by the Padres but now TJ surgery will take a year out of his development. I think he will still turn out good but not until 2017 at the earliest in a Braves uniform. ‘
Looking at the future lets look at the team starting from 2016 with 2016 salaries
Jose Peraza 2B 500K
Nick Markakis RF 11M
Freddie Freeman 1B 12M
Chris Johnson/ Rio Ruiz 3B 7.5M/500K
Christian Betancourt C 500K
Andrelton Simmons SS 6M
Cameron Maybin CF 8M
Eric Young? Kelly Johnson? (Probable FA) LF 500K-X
In total payroll as it currently project will be about 70M which leaves anywhere from 20 to 50 Million dollars available to spend. They have a lot of money but there isn’t a terribly large amount of holes to fill in key spots.
A depth starting pitcher is needed as is some bullpen help but that shouldn’t cause you to smash the piggy bank. Offensively they absolutely need an Outfielder and they might need a catcher depending how Betancourt’s year goes.
They also have more prospects at lower levels I didn’t talk about because they likely won’t be relevant in 2016. As it stands right now I would estimate this is about a .500 team.
THEY WILL HAVE A NEW MANAGER NEXT SEASON AND THAT WILL BE A BIG IMPROVEMENT!
Here are some options that are available at this deadline or 2016 free agency (next years deadline is a little far for me to make predictions for) to make the playoffs a possibility
Wilin Rosario C Rockies He is a power hitting catcher that can be had for not such a big price. I think he could be a steal and could possibly play first base in emergency. The downside is his defensive work at catcher is subpar and needs seasoning.
Alex Avila C Tigers He had a good year a couple years ago and has been in the average to below average rand since. It is difficult to assess how much of an upgrade this would be.
Matt Wieters C Orioles He will be the top rated catcher and is a Boras client. He will get paid but seems like a nice fit for the Braves as he can hit in the middle of the order and be a franchise icon moving into the new stadium.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C Marlins With JT Realmuto likely to take over the starting catching job for the Fish soon Salty should be available for trade and will likely not cost much to acquire. HE is average at best though.
John Jaso C Rays He has had some good years and can be serviceable as catcher. An underrated hitter for years and probably the best speed at catcher in the league (which doesn’t say much)
Dioner Navarro C/DH Blue Jays When Russell Martin was signed he lost his starting spot behind the plate but still possesses a nice bat and can move back to catcher. He should be paid in some way or another the question will be does he have a good enough season to require a tender be placed on him.
Derek Norris C Padres With Austin Hedges close to major league ready (who can’t hit) they could look to move Norris to fill needs elsewhere. These teams have already combined for a couple trades over the past 6 months.
The following catchers may also be available for the right price or in the right situation
Travis d’Arnoud C Mets
Carlos Ruiz C Phillies
Christian Vaqsuez C Red Sox
Gary Sanchez C Yankees
Kurt Suzuki C Twins
Andrew Susac C Giants
Yoenis Cespedes LF Tigers One of the better free agents available this offseason and he should get a big contract this offseason. I feel he would look great in the Braves outfield.
Alex Gordon LF Royals He holds a player option for next season which he has said he will use but that wouldn’t be the smartest financial move. If he decides to leave he will be expensive.
Justin Upton LF Padres Likely the top free agent this winter due to the lack of quality bats on the free agent market. This would be a fun reunion.
Jason Heyward RF Cardinals After being traded away this offseason I don’t know if he will return to Atlanta but it would be a great fit. The wallet would have to be open.
Carlos Gonzalez LF Rockies Cargo has had injury problems in the past but he is a great player when healthy. The Rockies are spending a lot of money on him and Tulo for a mid market team and may look to move an outfielder.
They could also potentially use another SP mostly for depth.
Here is what they could look like next year in 2016
Jose Peraza 2B
Yoenis Cespedes LF
Freddie Freeman 1B
Matt Wieters C
Nick Markakis RF
Chris Johnson/ Rio Ruiz 3B
Andrelton Simmons SS
SP1 Julio Teheran
SP2 Alex Wood
SP3 Shelby Miller
SP4 Mathew Wisler
SP5 Mike Minor/ Free Agent (Bud Norris?)
CL Jason Grilli
SU Shae Simmons
SU Luis Avilan
This would be about a 105-115 Million dollar payroll and looks to be a pretty competitive team. Of course I don’t know if they will land both Wieters and Cespedes but with the space in their budget they can do it.
John Hart has turned teams around before and he will do it to the Braves again.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***
A Big thanks goes out to our Writer/Part-Owner Jordan Gluck for preparing today’s feature post.
Note from Editor: Also congrats to Jordan Gluck for picking KC as the AL Pennant winner in the 2014 season, successfully running the MLB Reports prognosticators for picking at least World Series participant every year since 2011 for preseason selections.
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Posted on April 25, 2015, in MLB Teams State Of the Unions and tagged alex avila, alex gordon, alex wood, andrelton simmons, andrew susac, Atlanta Braves, austin hedges, austin jackson, Bobby Cox, cameron maybin, carlos gonzalez, chipper jones, christian bethancourt, dan uggla, derek lowe, derek norris, dustin peterson, eric young, evan gattis, freddie freeman, gary sanchez, hank aaron, Jace Peterson, jarrod saltalamacchia, jason grilli, jason heyward, john jaso, john smoltz, jordan parouback, Jose Peraza, Josh Elander, julio teheran, justin upton, Lucas Sims, Luis Avilan, Mallex Smith, matt wisler, max fried, Melvin Upton, Mike Foltynewicz, mike minor, nick markakis, rio ruiz, russell martin, shane victorino, shelby miller, Sun Life Stadium, tom glavine, trevor cahill, willin rosario. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.