A lot of things have to happen for a baseball team to win a World Series. A team must have it’s front office/management, pitching, and position players all on top of their game to win the piece of metal (shout out to Rob Manfred) that is the ultimate aspiration for every franchise to begin each season. In this three part series, I will examine what the Braves will have to do to win the World Series.
The Front Office
Alex Anthopoulos has been a very good GM for the Braves as long as he has been here, and was recently rewarded with an extension and promotion. He has done a great job supplementing the young talent that he inherited with veteran players that can put Atlanta into contention, such as Josh Donaldson, Marcell Ozuna, and Will Smith. He has notoriously been very patient and process-oriented as well as keeping a tight-lipped front office. If there has been one complaint during his tenure, it has been the lack of a real splash trade using Atlanta’s deep farm system to add an impact player.
While I believe that the Braves can win a World Series this season without a splash mid-season trade, it certainly would help the cause and decrease the number of players on their roster that would have to stay healthy and hit their ceiling this season. What is almost certain is that Anthopoulos will have to do something at the trade deadline. This could be acquiring a stop-gap player to fill in for an injured player, supplementing the team’s depth, or finally making that splash trade we’ve all been waiting on. There are three spots where I think a splash trade is most likely, assuming everyone is healthy: a front of the rotation starter, third base, and shortstop. A front-line starter is the most likely trade target in my opinion, since there are a lot of question marks in the rotation. The “safest” arm is likely Mike Soroka, who will be entering his second full season and is 22-years old. A big-time starter like Mike Clevinger could be the piece that puts Atlanta over the top. Third base is dependent on whether Johan Camargo or Austin Riley can step up and be a difference maker at the hot corner. If they can’t fill the void left by Josh Donaldson, options such as Nolan Arenado or Kris Bryant might be appealing to Anthopoulos. Shortstop is much more controversial to discuss, but if Dansby Swanson fails to prove he can be an asset at the plate or that he can stay healthy, he could be seen as the weak link and the front office could look to make a trade for a player like Francisco Lindor. These splash trades are not entirely necessary for Atlanta to win the World Series, but would really help the Braves in match-ups versus the juggernauts that are the Dodgers and Yankees.
Brian Snitker has been a controversial topic among Braves fans in the past few years. I’ll start with the good and say that he needs to continue to be the lovable leader that has so clearly inspired the players while he’s been in Atlanta. What he’ll need to do differently is to give the players some rest. He doesn’t have to turn into the Dodgers or the Rays in terms of how creative they are, but after two straight postseasons in which the Braves players have so clearly been gassed, he needs to give them a little more rest this season. Even holding the lineup regulars to “only” 150 games would be enough, but Snitker cannot continue to play players for 160 games and expect them to have enough energy left in the tank for a deep postseason run. If Snitker cannot find a few more days of rest for Atlanta’s stars this season with the improved depth on this roster, then he will be setting the Braves up for yet another disappointing postseason.