When trading for prospects, it is essential to remember you are essentially buying lottery tickets. The team is now three seasons into its rebuild. They have built a great young core and have been smart with money. Basically, they are building the foundation for when they will make the final push to spend. We have seen teams such as the Cubs and Astros use this formula to build sustainable success, and they are set for years to come.
As the team improves, better players will take the places of players who are just excess from the rebuild. If the team wants to take the next step in 2018, they could benefit from addition by subtraction. This mainly applies to the bullpen. The Braves have some very talented late-inning arms with potential, but mismanagement has cost them games. Brian Snitker’s love affair with the likes of Jim Johnson, Rex Brothers and Ian Krol could ultimately end up costing him his job. While the Braves will likely bank on a rebound year from Johnson, there is no reason for the team to bring the likes of Krol and Brothers back for next season. Both southpaws have not been able to get the job done, while Sam Freeman and AJ Minter have shined.
The Braves will also have to consider cutting the cord from two former top 100 prospects in Aaron Blair and Matt Wisler. Blair has struggled to get out batters while being stuck down in AAA, and the Wisler-to-the-bullpen experiment has been a failure. Wisler has eye-popping stuff, but it has gotten to the point where they simply cannot put him in games.
Some of these guys could ultimately end up in the farm system as depth, but clearing room in the bullpen could allow the team to sign an established veteran reliever. The Braves seriously need an effective veteran with experience to mix in with the up and coming youngsters. It is also hard to justify roster spots for these guys over a youngster such as Akeel Morris, who dominated in limited action with the big league club.
Another guy to keep an eye on is Jace Peterson. Peterson has not developed as planned, and him becoming some type of super-utility role player overnight is simply far-fetched. People forget that Jace will turn 28-years old next season, and he’s simply out of time. Johan Camargo has essentially replaced Peterson, and Lane Adams is more than capable of holding down all three outfield spots. He is just another young player acquired in the rebuild who has flopped.
This is not to say Coppy has done a bad job. The success rate for prospects is much lower than you would think. 70% of them fail. But holding on to some of these pieces for too long is not only blocking the paths of other players, but it is costing Atlanta games. It is time for Atlanta to cut the fat and start prioritizing winning games over developing post-hype prospects.