OXON HILL, MD – After talking with John Hart and John Coppolella this evening, it appears that the Braves feel like they would be fine, and are in a good position, should they have a quiet Winter Meetings. The biggest of rumors swirl around a trade that would send Chris Sale to Atlanta, therefore giving the Braves the “ace” pitcher they covet. As things stand right now, the Braves would LOVE to have Chris Sale…..who wouldn’t? But the asking price from Chicago is far too high for the liking of Coppy and Hart. The two didn’t name any names, but it’s with certainty a trade that would involve the Braves sending Dansby Swanson, a current starting pitcher (Foltenewicz or Teheran), plus 2-3 top prospects to the White Sox. Coppy and Hart were both adamant about “sticking to the plan” and not unloading the system that they worked so hard to build. “We don’t want a window [to win in] we want waves” Coppy said. Insinuating that their goal is to maintain a steady pipeline of great prospects to a winning big league club. They don’t intend to cut off the pipeline just to have a 2-3 year window to win now.
One of the biggest reasons they feel that way is because they feel like they have multiple future 1’s and 2’s in their minor league system, and they don’t want to trade them away, only to get 3 years down the road and see 2-3 guys they used to have pitching at the top of other big league rotations. For now, the plan (which could always change) is to go to Spring Training envisioning their rotation being Julio Teheran, Bartolo Colon, Jaime Garcia, R.A. Dickey and Mike Foltynewicz. Other young players like Matt Wisler and Aaron Blair “will have their shot, but when they get that shot this year, it’s really going to be time to take that next step” John Hart said. Insinuating that if they come up to pitch in the big leagues in 2017, and aren’t any closer to being consistently good, then it may be time to look for other options.
One thing is certain, the Braves brass has has made it abundantly clear that the young guys who have had opportunities to pitch in the big leagues already don’t have any guarantees. Every position has to be earned. The 2016 Braves staff only had 2 men pitch more than 150 innings (Julio Teheran and Matt Wisler), and only 1 went beyond 180 innings (Teheran). While going 20-10 in their final 30 games and being amongst the best offensively from August on, the Braves had no pitching, and no one to eat innings. The additions of Garcia, Colon and Dickey bring the hope of more innings from starters, and essentially put Folty, Wisler and Blair in the position of “get better or don’t plan on being in the big leagues with Atlanta.”
Ben Ingram – Atlanta Braves Radio Network