The hot stove is reaching its melting point during this week’s winter meetings, with an exponential number of rumors going around, leaving it up to the fans to pick and choose which ones are actually accurate, which ones are smokescreens, and which ones are just pure B.S.
Here is the newest rumor surrounding the defending NL East Champs:
Rangers have been talking with Braves and Mets about young controllable pitching….both teams looking for outfield help….Mets would prefer a right handed hitter though
— TR Sullivan (@Sullivan_Ranger) December 11, 2018
As Sullivan points out here, these two teams could definitely be a fit. The Rangers want young pitching, and the Braves still need to fill an outfield vacancy with Nick Markakis now on the open market.
So if there is any truth to this rumor, who could be the potential target(s) for the Braves?
Shin-Soo Choo was an All-Star last season and is a solid player in his own right. However, he is due $21 million the next two seasons, around the reported amount of money the Braves have at their disposal.
Now, if the Rangers are willing to take on Julio Teheran’s $11.2 million salary in a deal and maybe eat a few million dollars a year, the Braves could throw in a low-to-mid level prospect in that deal and walk away happy. Though the price tag is high, the Braves reportedly want a short-term deal with an outfielder, as reports indicate they are hesitant to give free agents a third year in negotiations. The Rangers would have the opportunity to buyout Teheran’s contract for just $1 million next season. However, the Braves are likely looking for a more economical option if they are going to give up any of their young pitchers.
Joey Gallo is one of the strangest cases in the MLB. The last two seasons, he has hit under .210 in both campaigns. However, his 40+ homers in each season have inflated his OPS to over .800 both seasons. He doesn’t seem like the ideal trade candidate, but at the right price, Gallo may benefit from a change of scenery and would be team-controlled until 2023. My money is on Gallo being what he is, a pure high strikeout, high power output hitter, but it would not be hard to imagine a scenario in which his flaws make him available for nickels on the dime.
We saved the best for last.
Right fielder Nomar Mazara is exactly what the Braves are looking for in right field. Mazara has had a great first three seasons in the big leagues, is still just 23 years old, and is team controlled until 2022. If there is any truth to this rumor, it is highly likely that Mazara is the Braves’ target. He is a bit of a random name unless you follow baseball closely, but would fit perfectly into the Braves young core.