It may be discouraging for some to see the likes of Jaime Garcia head elsewhere after the Braves were competitive in the season’s first half, but the reality is that the Braves are likely a year away from really competing for a playoff spot. That is okay, considering the progress the Braves have made from the past two seasons. Trading Garcia was simply good business, as he was on an expiring contract and netted the team a potential future big leaguer. It was far from a sexy trade, but not a terrible one. Atlanta has a great farm system, but it would be in their best interest to keep reloading as long as they are not true contenders. The Braves have a few more pieces they could part with and keep a competitive team intact, while potentially acquiring pieces for the future. Let’s take a look.
Brandon Phillips is a fan favorite, and everyone would love to see him remain on the roster through the end of the season. This will likely be the case, with Ozzie Albies getting a September call-up. However, if they feel as if Albies is ready, they could opt to move Phillips and likely get a return similar to what they received for Jaime Garcia. Phillips can still play and he is barely due any money for the rest of the season, courtesy of the Cincinnati Reds. However, he can block trades to multiple teams. It would be hard to pull off, but Phillips could be a piece worth selling to create playing time for Albies if the team thinks it is his time.
Kurt Suzuki is quietly having one of the best hitting seasons of his career. Brian Snitker has done a terrific job of dividing playing time between Suzuki and Tyler Flowers. However, catching help is hard to come by, and if a team that is competing needs a catcher, the Braves may be able to demand a mid-level prospect. Suzuki is a free agent after this season, and Flowers has proven he can handle a full-time role. The Braves will have to find another backup catcher, however, since they just shipped Anthony Recker to Minnesota. There is also a possibility the Braves try to keep Suzuki this offseason to assume the same role next season, given the production of the duo as a whole.
Motte could be a dirt-cheap option for contenders desperate for bullpen help. Unfortunately, he is currently sidelined for around the next week, but he is a good bullpen veteran with playoff experience. The Braves could potentially get a minor leaguer for him and would open up more opportunities for the young guys to establish themselves in the second half of the season.
This is not about getting a return for Krol as much as simply trying to find the guy a new home. Sam Freeman and Rex Brothers are nothing special but have proven to be much more effective lefty options in the bullpen. With AJ Minter coming up most likely sometime this season, Krol’s days could be numbered given his poor performance.