(UPDATED: 10 p.m.)
The Braves are selling holiday gift packs that include four game tickets and a "limited edition Turner Field Final Season ornament." Because nothing says "I care about you this holiday season" more than tickets to watch a potential 100-loss team and an ornament commemorating a 20-year-old stadium that the team is abandoning for a taxpayer-funded boondoggle in the suburbs.
This week's winter meetings have seen the Braves taking bids for their two best pitchers, Shelby Miller and Julio Teheran, which doesn't seem to make sense because there aren't many valuable and watchable commodities left on the roster -- and they're two of them. But Miller is arbitration eligible for the first time and is due a significant raise, and the Braves have this thing about spending money on players right now.
So away with him.
Yes, Coppolella traded another player. But at least this deal makes a little sense because the Braves are getting an actual major league player in return. Miller was dealt to Arizona for young outfielder Ender Inciarte, who has hit .292 over his first two major league seasons, as well as top prospect shortstop Dansby Swanson of Marietta, who was the first pick in last year's draft, and Double-A pitcher Aaron Blair.
Inciarte hit .303 with 21 stolen bases last season. He can play all of the outfield positions. That works out well because the Braves have almost every position available.
Coppolella has a plan. I think. The problem with the plan is even if it works, which in itself is giving him a huge benefit of the doubt, success likely won't come until the distant future. The Braves lost 95 games last season. Since then, they've traded Gold Glove shortstop Andrelton Simmons , possibly baseball's best defensive player, to Los Angeles for two pitching prospects and almost 32-year-old infielder Erick Aybar, and shipped Cameron Maybin to Detroit for (wait for it) two pitching prospects.
Those two deals came after last July's strange decision to move starter Alex Wood to the Dodgers for Hector Olivera, a 30-year-old Cuban-born third baseman who hasn't accomplished much yet beyond benefiting greatly from capitalism ($62.5 million contract).
So there's the potential of last year's 95-loss club growing to a 100-loss team in 2016 -- yes, even with this deal. It would be an upset if the Braves weren't still mediocre in 2017, when the new stadium opens to screaming crowds of hundreds. (Everybody else will still be on 285.) The safe bet at this point is the Braves won't be good again until at least 2018, by which time Hector Olivera will be 33. Nice trade.
I can't decide if Freeman is somewhere, handcuffed to a lamppost so the Braves can't trade him, too, or if he's sitting at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, hoping to be traded.
Miller's exit leaves a hole in the pitching rotation on a roster filled with holes. But at least Inciarte and Swanson's potential makes this deal palatable. Swanson, who played at Marietta High School and Vanderbilt, played in low-A last season and won't be major league-ready for a while.
Before you buy your Braves holiday gift pack, you might want to check out the Braves' current 40-man roster. I did. My eyes started bleeding.
Miller was acquired in the Jason Heyward trade. He finished only 6-17 last season but largely because nobody in the lineup on the days and nights he pitched hit acted like they wanted him around. He led all Braves starters with a 3.02 ERA. His last 40 starts have resulted in an ERA of 2.86 and a .230 opponents’ average with 203 strikeouts and 82 walks. But he has potentially three years of arbitration and is going to start making a lot of money soon, which might be counter to the Braves' business plan because, well, they're probably not going to sell a lot of tickets next year.
But I'm sure it's a very nice "Turner Field Final Season" ornament.
- Kirby Smart's big task is making Georgia believe it can be great
- Falcons season goes from fantasy to nightmare
- Short takes: Playoffs?!? Falcons look dead in that department
- Georgia's hiring of Kirby Smart looks good by comparison
- If Alabama's defense is a sign, Kirby Smart looks ready to be a head coach
- Short takes: defense, running game could carry Alabama to national title
- Here's hoping Mark Richt is doing this for right reasons
- Weekend Predictions: Alabama restores order after a wacky week
- Blog: Miami makes a great hire; did Richt make a great decision?
- On Kirby Smart, coordinators, loud but effective strength coach (video)
- Kirby Smart hire makes sense for Georgia, even if wow factor lacking
- Richt will enjoy quiet for first time, may be done coaching
- Greg McGarity's career will be defined by first major hire
- Falcons have a problem, and surprisingly it's their quarterback
- Richt's firing confirms what many believed: It was time for a change
- McGarity mum on Richt, and Georgia's win doesn't feel like a celebration
- Short takes on Georgia's win
- Johnson, Bobinski confident about Tech's future
- Weekend Predictions: Dogs over Jackets in Bad Aura Bowl
- A new tradition, in the spirit of Furman Bisher: Giving thanks (to those who deserve it)
- Overreaction Monday: Richt's status, Ryan's fall, and does Tech have a chance?
- Georgia Tech loses Justin Thomas, ball and all hope
- Short takes: Jackets lose Thomas, fumble nine times (yes, nine)
- Weekend Predictions: It's marshmallow opponent week
- Coppolella tired of being roasted, says, 'We are not tanking'
- Roddy White has survived far worse things than reduced role in offense: tragedy
- Why are those Freeman T-shirts included in Braves' clearance sale?
- Overreaction Monday: Richt's ploy, Falcons' bye, Braves' salary dump
- Jeremy Pruitt's defense is salvaging Georgia's season
- Short takes on Georgia's win over Auburn
- Simmons gone, and Braves' offseason already looking like last one
- Weekend Predictions: It's not a good time to invest in Georgia
- Former Georgia player Faloughi at center of Missouri protests
- Overreaction Monday: Kyle Shanahan, have you met Roddy White?