If the wishes of Braves players are of any consequence in the selection of the organization’s new general manager, then it appears that Royals GM Dayton Moore is the current favorite. Several veterans have reportedly voiced their support of Moore, who helped to build the Kansas City team that made two consecutive World Series appearances in 2014 and 2015.
The uncertainty continues for the Atlanta Braves who still don’t have a general manager after the resignation of John Coppolella. Several names have surfaced as potential replacements with none bigger than Kansas City’s Dayton Moore. At this point, Moore looks like a long shot to leave the Royals but that is exactly who several Braves veterans are lobbying for according to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman.
Unsurprisingly, the Braves have exercised their team option on catcher Tyler Flowers for the 2018 season after the 31-year-old had his best offensive season to date. The option was for $4 million in the upcoming season, which makes Flowers a tremendous bargain given his progression at the plate in 2017.
The Braves declined their 2018 team option on starter RA Dickey, who has reportedly been strongly considering the possibility of retirement this offseason. That issue may explain the move, but considering that Dickey would have been set to make just $8 million the move seems a bit odd in timing.
The more surprising decision was the Braves declining the option on RA Dickey who was exactly what they wanted from him in 2017: a veteran who ate innings and kept the team in ball games. That said, it is possible that Dickey has already informed the team that he is retiring which would explain this decision a bit. It is also possible that either Dickey wanted to have more options available to him and the team honored those wishes OR the Braves were unwilling to wait on his decision to continue his career with so much going on with the organization.
In the midst of organizational turmoil, coupled with yet another losing season, the one saving grace for the Braves (and the sanity of their fans) is the incredible strength of the club’s minor league system. Baseball America released their Top 10 prospects list on Monday, which once again showed the depth of the system, but also the varying array of opinions that exist regarding certain players and their respective potential.
On the downside, there were some guys that did get downgraded a bit. Kolby Allard at #7 shows that his stock is down a bit due to the fact that he did not show a particularly dominant fastball, but his plus command and plus changeup were noted by BA in their scouting report. Max Fried’s stock went up and down last year where he started as one of the hottest pitching prospects in the system, then he struggled in Double-A and dealt with blister issues, and then performed well in the majors. Kevin Maitan dropping all the way to #9 after all of the hype in the world is also concerning with scouts noting the amount of weight he put on as well as the fact that his swing from the left side being...well...not good in his pro debut.
The World Series begins tonight as the Astros and Dodgers kick things off with a huge pitching matchup that features two Cy Young Award winners in Dallas Keuchel and Clayton Kershaw. Los Angeles had the better record in the regular season, so they will play host for the first two games.
So much for the Fall Classic, which generally features a battle with the elements of cold and wind. This year the World Series begins with a predicted temperature of 98 degrees at game time, which will certainly change the feel of the game even watching from home.