The Braves GM returned once again to tackle some questions from the fans. Here is a highlight of some of the more significant entries.
On The CBA
Question: What part(s) of the new CBA will have the biggest impact on the Braves, your job, etc?
Answer: The biggest changes involve the amateur draft and foreign signing rules. Ultimately we will be as good as our scouts & player development.
On Team Construction
Question: What’s the focus for the rest of the winter?
Answer: Don’t do anything stupid. We have gotten better and held our prospects. We want to improve gradually not “win” the off-season per se.
Question: Miguel Montero, Susac?
Answer: Also asked about Wieters by others — we are good with what we have, but if something crazy falls into our lap we have to consider.
Question: Will Adonis Garcia platoon with Rio Ruiz at 3B for 2017 or will Ruiz start in AAA for 2017?
Answer: Rio had a nice year & did a great job of conditioning. He has a very bright future & will get opportunity along with Adonis.
Question: Ender Inciarte: high average, low walk rate, good speed, great D. Attributes don’t age well. Sell high candidate?
Answer: Again, I don’t want to say anybody untouchable or not, but love Ender & what he does for our team & how he fits with our other outfielders.
Question: Kelly Johnson a target for you to fill out the bench?
Answer: I’ve stayed in touch with Kelly throughout the off-season & spoke to him earlier this week. Terrific talent, better person, can help us.
Question: As of right now, who is most likely to be in the starting rotation in Atlanta on Opening Day?
Answer: Front four will be Teheran, Colon, Garcia, Dickey. Fifth spot will be competition between Danks, Folty, Wisler, Blair. Competition good!
Question: Trevor Plouffe seems like one of those bounceback candidates that you love to gamble on. Anything there?
Answer: Would rather see Adonis & Rio while saving $$ for more pressing needs.
Question: Were you surprised at the high prospect price for established major leaguers? Seems worse than usual.
Answer: Agreed that prices were high which is why we did not play. Think it’s a function of such a weak free agent market.
Question: Do you see AJ Minter starting the season in Atlanta? And will he be on any sort of innings limit this year?
Answer: AJ Minter is somebody we speak about often & likely to be a very big part of our 2017 team. Nasty in a good way.
Question: How is Ozzie healing? Ahead of schedule or behind or right on?
Answer: Great question. We got an update late last week that he will be able to resume baseball activities in January — ahead of schedule.
Question: Who is your bet to be the first pitcher we will see in the majors from last years Rome rotation?
Answer: Likely Max Fried or Patrick Weigel just because they are older so intuitively that makes sense, but all six of those guys are legit.
Question: Is Alex Jackson viewed as a catcher right now?
Answer: We are going to try it in the spring and see where it goes — if he can stay there and continue w/power it’s a big upside play.
Question: What prospect do you think has the best chance to make the opening day roster?
Question: Have there been talks of moving Demeritte to 3B since Albies is also like (GOAT) like you?
Answer: We are exploring Demeritte and others playing multiple positions to increase their versatility so they provide more options at ML level.
On Draft Strategy
Question: A question straight from Italy, what will be the the general strategy with the top pick in the next draft? BPA? Or load up on pitching?
Answer: BPA always the strategy — will come down to our scouts, who are really good & we are fortunate to have.
Question: Have you already contacted all 14 teams with competitive balance picks to discuss trades?
Answer: No. Of the 14 teams only 5-6 realistically would even consider trading them — but yes I have contacted those teams. I love the draft.
Question: Do you plan on trading for additional draft picks before the next draft?
Answer: I will try like hell to do this — last two years there have been five picks traded and we have gotten four of those picks.
Question: It’s early, but with the draft position you have, do you see yourself having a similar draft strategy as last year?
Answer: Depends on so many things, but safe to say we value quality over quantity — meaning less players w/higher upside, so in that regard, yes.