Tha Sports Junkies 101

The Atlanta Braves Off-Season Update

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Let’s take a glimpse back at the Atlanta Braves 2016 season. The Atlanta Braves finished the 2016 season with a 0-1 loss to the Detroit Tigers, putting their record at 68-93, dead last in the National League East. Now the off-season has arrived and the Atlanta Braves have been putting money on the table.

R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon

The first major signing this off-season was the 42-year-old veteran knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. Then the Braves followed up by signing another veteran pitcher, Bartolo Colon. These can be considered risky moves as acquiring pitchers in their forties doesn’t always work out, but Colon had a great season with the New York Mets last year and Dickey is looking to turn things around. Plus knuckleballers like Dickey tend to have better arms later in their careers.

For more specific information on the R.A Dickey trade check out my previous article

For more specific information on the Bartolo Colon trade check out Xavier Sanchez’s article

Jaime Garcia Trade

The Braves didn’t stop there however, they continued to look for pitchers to add to the starting rotation and they landed on Jaime Garcia. The Braves traded three prospects, John Grant, Chris Ellis and Luke Dykstra, to the St. Louis Cardinals for starting pitcher Jaime Garcia.

This is another risky move for the Braves. Garcia pitched for the Cardinals last season putting up a 4.67 ERA and 150 strikeouts in 171 2/3 innings.

So what is the risk? Jaime Garcia’s 2016 season was the first time the 30-year-old lefty was able to pitch a full season since 2011. Garcia has been plagued by a number of elbow and shoulder issues that have caused him to miss chunks of his career.

However, Garcia has put up good numbers in the past, in 2010 he finished with a record of 13-8 and an ERA of 2.70. In 2011, he ended with a record of 13-7 and a 3.56 ERA. Aside from his 2016 season he has always pitched fairly well for the Cardinals, so the question remains, can he stay healthy?

Minor Deals

In a move that may have been under the radar to some fans, Atlanta has decided to resign backup catcher Anthony Recker to a deal worth $800,000. Recker was traded to the Braves last year from the Cleveland Indians and played 33 games for the Braves. His batting line was .278 AVG/ .394 OBP /.433 SLG with 2 home runs and 8 doubles. Out of Recker’s six seasons in the MLB last season was his best output.

Tuffy Gosewich is another catcher that the Braves have added to their roster. Gosewich agreed to a one-year deal with the club on Wednesday avoiding arbitration. The specifics of the contract are still unknown. The 33-year-old catcher played 33 games with the Arizona Diamondbacks last season. He produced a .156 batting average with 3 home runs.

On November 30th, the Braves signed infielder and outfielder Sean Rodriguez. They agreed on a two-year deal with $11 million guaranteed through a $1.5 million signing bonus and $5 million over the 2017-2018 seasons. Rodriguez played with the Pittsburgh Pirates last season and had a batting line of .270 AVG/ .349 OBP. / .510 SLG and 18 home runs. Rodriguez has played shortstop, second base, first base and the outfield. Adding Rodriguez bolsters their roster.

Braves Future Trade Rumors

The Atlanta Braves are still shopping for more starting pitchers which include the likes of Chris Sale and Chris Archer. Both Sale and Archer maybe available this off-season, but realistically the Braves best hopes are to acquire Chris Archer.

Chris Sale is no doubt a top 5 pitcher in the game and currently has a deal through 2019 that is way under market value. In order to pull of a trade for Sale, the Braves would need to trade top prospects and a high-caliber player to the Chicago White Sox. The main trade bait the Braves have is star prospect Dansby Swanson. Well, there is a problem with that. Swanson is a highly regarded prospect at shortstop, but the White Sox also have a top prospect at shortstop, Tim Anderson, so the odds of a deal for Sale coming to fruition is extremely low.

Chris Archer is more likely to be on the market this off-season after an extremely disappointing 2016 campaign with the Tampa Bay Rays. Archer finished with an NL worst 19 losses last season and a 4.02 ERA. If the Braves do end up landing Archer he will likely be behind Julio Teheran in the starting rotation for next season. The Braves still have a lot to do this off-season as their starting rotation still consists of 8 pitchers.

Stay tuned for more Braves signings during the Rule 5 Draft. Over the past two seasons, the Braves have taken bullpen pitchers in the Rule 5 Draft. This year they have the No. 5 overall pick and are looking to add either another bullpen pitcher or bench option to their roster.