I, like many people, wanted and thought we were finally getting Kimbrel back. From Trading him in 2015, to Kimbrel Winning a World Series, now it was finally time to bring him back since our rebuild is going well and coming to a close. Kimbrel could’ve came back to help the Braves’ playoff push this year. Maybe provide a spark that energizes the atmosphere around the team.
Everything aligned perfectly to finally be able to bring him back home to close our our rebuild and, just like the Falcons Super Bowl victory in 2017, we were let down. I’m not going to gripe too hard about it as I’m in obvious shock and discouragement between the events of Wednesday and witnessing our pitching staff give up 5 or more runs 8 of the last 10 games entering the weekend series.
Today is new day though. Tomorrow will be too, and so I’m basically trying to talk myself into feeling better about where to go from here.
Ultimately, there is still the trade deadline to trade for Kim….
OK. I’m letting it go. Sort of.
All is not bad though. We added Dallas Kuechel to bolster a starting rotation that has become a liability lately. The trade deadline is less than 2 months away, which Alex Anthopoulos has said from the beginning he was more interested in than free agency. AA has already added pieces in Josh Tomlin and Anthony Swarzak via trade to help our inconsistent bullpen. So with a few more weeks left to make a trade there are still some moves that could be made
So who should we going after?
Outside of the Yankees, Astros, Dodgers, and Cubs, most of the teams vying for the playoffs need a closer. There should be a lot of interest in players but maybe not a lot of willing teams to part ways so let’s get creative and find the best guys on losing teams that might part ways for the right price.
Will Smith is the obvious, clear cut closer we should trade for. He’s a 7 year professional with a career 3.58 ERA, 10.5 Strikeout per 9 innings, and a 3.26 SO:BB. The best way I’ve always looked for relievers is to look at their Total Strikeouts, Walks, and Hits and compare them with the amount of innings pitched. This season Will Smith has 35 SO, 5 BB, and 13 Hits with 24.2 inning pitched while recording 14 saves.
He’ll be an unrestricted free agent in 2020 with a current salary of 4.225 million. He’s 2 years younger than Kimbrel and significantly cheaper. He’s a hometown guy playing his High School ball at Northgate High School (GA), meaning the resign-ability should be high for him in the offseason. All signs point to Will Smith as the number 1 guy we should target once the Giants accept their fates for the 2019 season and start selling guys off.
Shane Greene – He’s 30 years old and is 2nd in the MLB for Saves this year on a terrible team that has no future outlook for the season. They’d probably want some young bats and arms to fill out their future a bit more. The Braves need a closer and the Tigers need a better young core. We could package guys that are strong and not really in our plans to bring him here.
His strikeout rates aren’t as strong as Will Smith’s but with 28 SO, 7 BB, and 14 hits through 26 innings pitched is still a strong split. Next year is Arbitration Year 3 for Greene, meaning club control for at least another year as we search and groom our young arms for a closer of the future. This year he is scheduled to make 4 million. Next season looks to cost more but like Smith should cost significantly less than what Kimbrel was scheduled to make.
Alex Colome – The White Sox aren’t making the playoffs and still need pieces for their rebuild. After signing Kelvin Herrera to a 2 year deal and holding a club option in 2021, they would probably try and offload Herrera and keep Colome. However, Herrera isn’t the guy the Braves should desire when Colome has 13 saves on the year with a 2.19 ERA and 24 SO, 6 BBs, 10 hits on 24.2 innings pitched.
Any team with him would have club control as next year is Arbitration year 3 and at 7.325 million this season, the pay raise for next year shouldn’t jump dramatically to Kimbrel’s level. He’s 30 years old and the White Sox would do him a favor by trading him to a contender for his prime years.
Guys on teams that might not view themselves as sellers
Blake Treinen – He’s a 30 year old pitcher going into his Arbitration Year 3 so retain-ability would be nice. He’s scheduled to make 6.4 million this year, so still cheaper than Kimbrel and if we don’t like him after his 31 year old season we can let him walk in Free Agency. The main hurdle would be the A’s reluctance to sell him off for the right price being right in the middle of a playoff race. If the season heads south for them over the next few weeks, they may be willing to part ways with Treinen.
Over 32.1 innings he’s struck out 32 and walked 18. Obviously, the walks and hits (30 over 32.1 innings) aren’t great but if we strikeout on some other guys, he wouldn’t be a bad guy to have around if the price was right. I would be concerned about his high WHIP (1.485) given our circumstances.
Greg Holland – With 28 SO, 10 BB, and 10 Hits over 20.2 Holland could be a guy on the move come trade deadline time if the D-backs slide too far out of Wild Card contention. At 3.25 million, he’s relatively cheap and since he’s an unrestricted free agent next year, the D-Backs would benefit from a trade package for the 33 year old closer. This move would be a win now move for the Braves and shouldn’t cost a whole lot given the circumstances.
Ken Giles – We have the Toronto connection with AA and there’s also the thought of bringing Giles back into the NL East to potentially beat out the team who traded Giles away in the first place (Phillies). This would be a nice, sexy move for the Braves and sort of a power play against the Phillies who have done everything they could to build a Championship team.
Giles had a horrendous year last season with the Astros, eventually losing the closer job to Hector Rondon before the trade for Roberto Osuna that sent Giles to Toronto. This year has seen the 28 year old get back on track posting 42 SO, 7 BB, and 19 hits over 25 innings while recording 11 saves. With a 1.08 ERA and a 1.040 WHIP, Giles would offer an exciting young player to solidify our bullpen and excite the fans.
The Blue Jays desperately need pieces to improve their rebuild and with the Yankees, Rays, and Red Sox sitting nicely ahead of them in the division, they would probably be willing to trade Giles. He heads into year 3 of arbitration next season with a salary of 6.3 million this year. That might be too rich for the Braves but it would be sweet to have the Phillies ex-closer finishing out the division against them.
Cam Bedrosian – This one is a real creative piece that would fit nicely into what the Braves are trying to do. I don’t see Bedrosian as the closer but a nice piece in the bullpen to strengthen the middle innings to get to a closer. This season he’s posted 33 SO, 15 BB, and 19 hits over 29.1 innings with a 2.76 ERA. He’s young (27), under team control for the next 2 years, and relatively cheap. Add in the fact he’s a hometown guy from East Coweta High School (GA) and ultimately there’s a lot to like here.
Ultimately, if the Braves want to get to the playoffs/World Series and win then we need to solidify our bullpen. If Kimbrel cost too much or will be too long of a contract for a guy who will be 34 when his next contract is due, then the list of guys above should be right in the Braves’ wheel house. Atlanta has a lot of pieces in the farm system with limited spots on our current team as well as in the future.
Once the Braves decide on who we want to stick around and who we can part ways with the trade deadline should be fairly interesting. If they were to go after some guys then hopefully they go after some of the best guys that we’ve came up with here at TOSS.
Chop On and Go Braves.
*Stats and info from https://www.baseball-reference.com/
**Salaries and Contract info from Spotrac.com/MLB
***Images from the following sources: