Winter is Coming: Offseason Review, Atlanta Braves


Worst Franchise Move: In the later part of 2008, the Atlanta Braves traded Mark Teixeira to the LA Angels of Anaheim for Casey Kotchman. We all know that in 09 Teixeria went on to get a (especially at the time) massive contract with the Yankees of 8 years $180 Million. That year, Tex hit .292 with 39 HR’s and 122 RBI’s. In that same year, Kotchman hit .282 with ATL in 87 games but only had 6 HR’s and 41 RBI’s before being shipped to Beantown for the remainder of the season. This has to be the biggest bust of a trade that I can think of in the teams history.

One move to make for 2020: I think the offense for the Braves is in a good spot and should continue to be great in 2020. The biggest question is Josh Donaldson. If the Braves can bring him and his 37 HR’s back, it would be ideal to keep him and Freeman back to back in the heart of this lineup. If Donaldson goes elsewhere, it will leave the Braves with a huge hole in the middle that they will need to fill. Aside from Donaldson, I think they need to bring in a pitcher to help boost this rotation. They already  added Will Smith to help improve the bullpen, but signing someone like Bumgarner would be a huge step in the right direction for the 2020 Atlanta Braves.

Worst Franchise Move: This is one of my favorite moves to ever happen mainly because it involved my favorite player. Without further comment, the worst move the Braves have made all time is trading young righty Adam Wainwright to the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals traded JD Drew and Eli Marrero for Adam Wainwright, Ray King and Jason Marquis. The main reason this move sucked is because of the numbers  Adam Wainwright ended up posting: a 162-95 record with a 3.39 ERA and a 7.60 K/9 in 14 years and he has just signed on for his final year in STL.

JD Drew was incredible in his only year with the Braves, he hit .305/.436/.569 with a 1.006 OPS and 31 home runs. Eli Marrero also only played a year, and  hit .320/.374/.520 with an .894 OPS and 10 home runs. Both players only playing for the Braves for one year is why this trade is among the worst they’ve made, and not to mention Marquis was a fairly reliable starter for the Cardinals as well. In the end, the Cardinals got significantly more value than the Braves in this deal; my aunt is a Braves fan and she cringes whenever I wear my Wainwright jersey or even say the name Adam Wainwright. 

One Move To Make For 2020: Keep adding pitching; they have a good start with Will Smith and Chris Martin to add to a dominant bullpen with Shane Greene and Mark Melancon, but, they need to add at least one starter. It may not be a top tier starter like Gerrit Cole or Stephan Starsburg, but it could be someone that can eat innings such as Wade Miley, Cole Hamels or bring back Dallas Keuchel. You could have a rotation of Mike Soroka, Max Fried (versatile for bullpen and starter roles), Mike Foltynewicz, Kyle Wright or Touki Toussaint and a veteran pitcher. This does two things: he’ll be a great teacher to the upcoming pitching talent and they’ll have a very stable back of the rotation to get to Soroka as their number one. 

Worst Franchise Move: The worst franchise move in Atlanta Braves history took place on December 13th, 2003 when the Braves traded away Ray King, Jason Marquis and Adam Wainwright to the Cardinals for JD Drew and Eli Marreo. Why is this trade so bad? All three of those pitchers went on to have solid/great careers for the Cardinals. Wainwright in particular was part of two World Series titles, where he was a major contributor in both championships. Wainwright is still going strong for the Cardinals at 38 years old and has a strong case to be a Hall of Famer when he eventually calls it a career. The other pieces, King and Marquis, were also solid pitchers for the Cardinals with King as a setup man and Marquis having solid years in St. Louis. While J.D. Drew had a fantastic season in Atlanta, he left to join the Dodgers in L.A. the following offseason while Marreo never had a big impact in Atlanta. 

One Move To Make For 2020: Add a starter. While the Braves had a great regular season, they imploded in Game 5 at home against the Cardinals. They added Kuechel on a one year contract in mid-June and it would be wise to ink him to a multi-year extension in the 2-3 year range to be a third guy in the rotation. There are questions about Josh Donaldson’s return to Atlanta as the soon to be a 34 year-old had a bounce back season with 37 HR. If Donaldson doesn’t resign, management should have the green light to add a top tier starter such as Gerriot Cole or Stephen Strasburg. There are veteran arms as well in free agency that can eat up innings such as Cole Hammels and Wade Miley. Whether Donaldson is brought back to town or not, the Braves need to re-sign Kuechel and add another arm to help their rotation with Mike Soraka emerging as a bonafide ace.