We had a brief hiatus, but we’re back with Tomahawk Tuesday! You ask Braves questions and we answer ’em, simple as that! Let’s take a look:
@brile72: which big name player will we go after in 2017?
Good question, Ben. 2017 is when the team moves into the new stadium, and management has made it clear they want a contender when that happens. Unfortunately, the free agent market for 2017 looks pretty weak. If I had to guess, I would say the Braves will end up trading some of their pitching assets for a bat. If the team doesn’t believe in Christian Bethancourt, I think this guy could be Jonathan Lucroy. He will be in the last year of his contract, as the Brewers would be fools not to use their club option. While many may fear giving up assets for one year of Lucroy, he is a loyal player and has been quoted saying he wants to be a Brewer for life. If the Braves think he can carry over this loyalty from the Brewers and work on a long-term deal, then they should make a move. The two sides have been far apart in negotiating an extension, and the Braves have been linked to him for a while now. Similar to what happened with Jason Heyward and the Braves, it’s Milwaukee that is holding back negotiations. While he’s having a down year, Lucroy led the league in doubles last season and finished 4th in MVP voting. He’s a guy who usually hits for a high average and has a ton of gappers, and he’s a perfect fit for what the Braves are trying to do on offense right now.
@briangantt1: most likely add to the offense is who?
If my calculations are correct, the Braves will likely only have around $15 million to spend next season with Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher on the bench. If I had to put my money on a big name offensive addition in the Braves’ price range, it would have to be Alex Gordon. The career Royal has current Braves hitting coach Kevin Seitzer to thank for turning around his career offensively, and his contact bat and elite defense make him similar to Nick Markakis, with added power. I think there will be mutual interest between Atlanta and Gordon if the Royals don’t make a strong push for him. While we do have Michael Bourn under contract for next season, who is currently our starter in left field, he’s more of a center fielder, and the team doesn’t want him to see too much playing time anyways. His 2017 option vests at 550 plate appearances. If you haven’t noticed, the Braves like doubles and great defense. Gordon would be a great add.
@realslimgaede: Does taking on $29 mil in payroll in most recent trade mean #Braves won’t be big players in free agency til after ’16 season?
As I said in the previous question, I believe we will probably have around $15 million to spend. We certainly won’t be making a big splash, but an Alex Gordon isn’t out of the question. I think what the Braves had in mind when making that deal was getting flexibility for 2017, as they added payroll for 2016. So if you’re waiting for the Braves to spend big, we’re at least a couple years away.
@rcatlfins24: what r the teams plan at catcher? Do they still see Bethancourt as the future? Or look outside the organization?
If you ask the Braves’ Front Office what they think about Christian Bethancourt, they will tell you they still hold him in high regard despite his demotion to AAA a while back. Bethancourt has actually hit very well with the bat in Gwinnett, it’s his inability to manage a pitching staff that has the Braves’ brass concerned. Many are also saying that the Braves are likely to bring back A.J. Pierzynski. As I stated in a previous question, the team has been linked to Jonathan Lucroy. I’m not telling you to give up on C-Beth, and I don’t think the organization has. However, the future at backstop is cloudy, and the team is certainly weighing all their options on a day-by-day basis.
Thanks for the great questions! Tune in next week to see if your question gets answered. Don’t forget to tweet or DM us your questions!