Now that the Braves have a new GM and MLB has handed down the punishment for John Coppolella’s and John Hart’s international spending scandal, it feels like we can finally shift our focus to the offseason. Here is part four of our offseason questions series:
The Braves could go into next year with a rotation that features no one older than 27. Julio Teheran, Mike Foltynewicz, Sean Newcomb and Luiz Gohara seem like locks for four spots (assuming none are traded, of course) with Max Fried and Lucas Sims battling for the fifth.
On the Julio Teheran front: it’s anyone’s guess as to what Anthopoulos thinks of him. He’s been subject of trade rumors for two years now. Trading him would be selling low, but some team out there might chalk 2017 up to a fluke in a new ballpark. His road splits (3.14 ERA/4.51 FIP) are far closer to what we’ve come to expect compared to his home numbers (5.86 ERA/5.40 FIP). He’ll only be 27 on opening day with three years remaining on his contract.
Even if Teheran bounces back to pre-2017 form, Newcomb, Foltynewicz and Gohara all take steps forward and Fried or Sims can handle the fifth spot — those are all large ifs — then the rotation could probably crack the middle tier of rotations in the NL. I’m not real confident all of that happens, though, and it would seem wise to at least bring in one veteran starter to join the cause.
John Coppolella was always on the prowl for an ace to headline his rotation. Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Justin Verlander and others were all traded, but none came to Atlanta given the steep prospect cost.
Will Anthopoulos have a similar desire to add a frontline? Or will he let the kids in Atlanta continue to develop (and take their lumps, too) as the likes of Kolby Allard, Mike Soroka and Kyle Wright make their way through the minors?
The good news for Atlanta is there will be no shortage of options to consider. It doesn’t make sense to add anyone significant if they aren’t signed through at least 2019 given the team’s trajectory. It might also be wise to give the kids another year to develop given their upsides and the unlikeliness that the Braves seriously contend in 2018. My best guess is a veteran stopgap is signed (or traded for) to help out next year, which leaves plenty of options for the years beyond.