So, unless you have had your head in the sand or have a mind that is weary by too much April 20th celebrating ;-) then I think you’d have to agree that the Braves bullpen has been less than good. Perhaps something that people forget is that the Braves have had a bad bullpen for a very long time. It’s one thing to have a bad bullpen when your team is trying to be bad, but it is another thing entirely to have a bad pen on a competitive team, and the 2019 Braves have been putting the “bull” in “bullpen” from the open.
Now, a lot can be said about how the Braves could have—and still can!—signed Craig Kimbrel and it how would’ve gone a long way toward stabilizing the relief corps, but that would cost both money *and* a draft pick, and while the team has money, have you seen all the talented 17 year olds in this country? Can’t pass on that sweet sweet draft pick. Besides, Craig probably demands a contract as large as his beard. And sure, we can talk about how there were several non-Kimbrel relievers signed to one-year or minor league deals for less than $3 million this offseason, but we just don’t have the time to discuss the mysteries of the world. We have to focus on results. Considering that, like Jesse Biddle, the Braves are most likely out of options, what can we do to improve the current relief staff? Here’s my best plan for how to turn this bullpen into the championship caliber bullpen that it needs to be.
Welcome Everyone To the Jungle
I think that we can pretty much conclude that the Braves aren’t going to sign Craig Kimbrel. Actually, no one is going to sign Craig Kimbrel. He’s never pitching again. You heard it here first. Since Kimbrel is retired, maybe we can put his entrance music to good use? I suggest that we improve the pen by having *every* Braves reliever adopt Welcome to the Jungle as their entrance theme. Doing so may subtly encourage each Braves reliever to do their best Kimbrel impression and load the bases in every inning before striking out the side. Chad Sobotka doing that little thing with his arm that Craig does before spinning a slider across the plate? Priceless.
I’m not superstitious, I’m just a little stitious
Let’s face the facts here, superstitions have been a part of the game for ages, and given that Braves Twitter multi-handedly sparked the Braves into competitiveness after their opening series sweep against the Phillies by collectively deifying Tiger Woods, it’s time that the rest of the team started carrying their own weight. Let’s have Shane Carle jump the foul line every time he walks to the dugout. Luke Jackson has to shout “skittles!” during his windup. A.J. Minter must take his glove off every time a hitter fouls off a pitch. Josh Tomlin can’t resist the urge to throw dirt in the air like Lebron James after each hitter is announced. And Jacob Webb just can’t avoid celebrating a strikeout by tossing a piece of bubble gum into the air and catching it in his mouth. This bullpen will go from trash to elite faster than you can say “Tiger Woods.” You’re welcome for that Masters win, by the way.
The Major League Plan
This is apropos given that we just played the Indians, but remember that scene where Lou Brown motivated his team to victory by placing a poster of their owner in the clubhouse? With every win, Brown removed a piece of the poster, revealing more of Rachel Phelps for his team to see. Honestly if you haven’t seen Major League, what are you even doing here? Do you even like baseball? Shut this down and watch it. Anyway, I’m envisioning a piece of a Terry McGuirk poster being revealed with each walk issued by the Braves bullpen, and now you’re envisioning it too. If that won’t get pitchers to throw strikes, nothing will.
…or they could just sign Kimbrel out of retirement. Either way, do you have a suggestion for how to fix this bullpen? Drop it in the comments. Let’s get weird together.