There will be plenty of decisions that will have to be made by the Atlanta Braves once the 2017 season is over but it appears that they will be fielding a younger team in 2018.
Braves GM John Coppolella spoke to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Mark Bradley on Sunday on a variety of topics including an early hint at what the 2018 roster might look like.
“I think we’re going to see a younger team. We’ve got arguably the best prospect in the game (outfielder Ronald Acuna) pushing his way up to Atlanta. He’s going to be given every opportunity in spring training. When he’s ready, nobody’s going to stand in his way. I said the same thing about Ozzie Albies this spring, and it’s the same way. You saw where we moved Brandon Phillips to third base. We will move other people to make way for this young player because he is that special.”
Coppy was true to his word in regards to Albies who’s promotion was surprising at the time as was the subsequent position switch by Brandon Phillips. That sentiment also carries over to the rotation where Coppolella indicated that the team wouldn’t be pursuing big name free agents and that several young pitchers would be pushing their way up to the big club and that they would be given opportunities.
That is a different strategy than the one we saw this season where the Braves plugged in several veterans as stop gap solutions.
Perhaps the biggest elephant in the room however at this time is the status of manager Brian Snitker who met with front office officials on Saturday. That meeting was deemed “productive” but Coppolella stopped short of commenting on Snitker’s status. Still Bradley goes so far to suggest that the Braves are leaning towards bringing Snitker back in 2018.
While none of this is totally unexpected, Coppy’s comments feel like a public declaration that the team is shifting into the next phase of the rebuild.