It looks like Braves Country may be adding another new piece. It appears that the next player is about to be shown the door. And unlike the last few, I could get on board with this one if the price is right.
You know me by now: in two years of covering baseball for several different sites, I never jump at trade rumors. I wait until the trade goes down, and then I analyze the pieces involved for you. But living in Tomahawk Country, where I have remained quiet through many moves while they were in the rumor stage — well this one was too juicy to pass up.
The continuing race for the most active GM in baseball continues, as John Hart of the Braves seems to be at it again. According to Jon Heyman:
braves were meeting late into night and reportedly made progress. a trade w/ shelby miller could happen as soon as today.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 8, 2015
Some feel — like over at the very reliable MLB Trade Rumors — that the Arizona Diamondbacks are the team in play. It makes sense for two reasons. One — Dave Stewart is just as active as John Hart in the remodeling game — and two — the Braves have not made it a secret that the want A.J. Pollock.
Now, the Braves asking price on Shelby Miller has been rather astronomical thus far this offseason. Rumors were they wanted either Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber or Addison Russell from the Cubs and Luis Severino from the Yankees.
They also checked in on Pollock several times.
I like Miller a lot, I have since he was a rookie. I mean, don’t you love any rookie that comes up through the St. Louis Cardinals pitching factory they call the farm system?
Last season, at first glance and for those of you who meet the ire of Holloway and think that wins matter, Miller had a “terrible” season. He finished an abysmal 6-17. The truth is nearly every one of those losses was on the Braves, not Miller.
This was a guy who teased a few no-hitters for the Braves last season. This is a guy that led the entire rotation in both ERA (3.02) and WHIP (1.247) and the Braves had a lot of guys take the mound last year. He tied for the team lead in strikeouts with Julio Teheran, and they eerily walked the same amount of batters as well.
Teheran and Miller are both 24-years old. As a follower of the Braves I think it is wiser to keep Miller and shop Teheran, but we know the Braves philosophy right now. Miller is only under control until 2019, while Teheran won’t smell free agency until 2020. The longer they can keep you on the cheap (at least cheap in a trade market that just saw Rich Hill get a $6-million deal), the more valuable you are to this rebuilding franchise. No matter how much you think Teheran stinks (like I do).
I think landing Pollock would be a great deal, but I think there would be a lot more involved on the Braves side. For those of you not privy to A.J. Pollock, he is the Gold Glove center fielder for the Diamondbacks who is coming off of a breakout season. He’s 28-years old and won’t be a free agent until 2019 like Miller and is making roughly half a mill a year… also like Miller.
Most importantly, Pollock is a bat.
Remember those Braves fans? The offensive weapons you need to win ball games no matter how many elite young arms you stock your farm system and bullpen with? Pollock is a good one.
|162 Game Avg.||162||622||566||91||166||36||7||15||59||27||6||46||92||.294||.347||.464||.811||120||262||12||2||2||5||1|
|NL (4 yrs)||400||1535||1398||224||411||90||18||37||146||66||15||114||228||.294||.347||.464||.811||120||648||30||6||5||12||2|
Not too shabby, huh? While the Braves are waiting on Mallex Smith in Triple-A (and Braxton Davidson much further down the ladder) there have been question marks about his defense. He makes eye opening defensive plays, but people are concerned that it’s because of his blazing speed making up for bad judgement. Take a look at the analysis in the link below:
Pollock is a big bat, with 20-20 potential and a Gold Glove. This would be a huge move — at a huge cost, don’t get me wrong — for the Braves. Sending away a 24-year old arm — especially a successful Major League one — is never easy, but this is why the Braves have been stock piling arms, right?
Stewart has claimed to say that he’s willing to listen to offers, “but with the understanding that we’re not entering any room with the intention to trade A.J. Pollock (MLB Trade Rumors, again).” I simply think when it comes to the Braves, they have the fire power to persuade someone when it comes to young, controllable pieces, especially to a Diamondbacks team looking to contend for the next six years while they pay off Greinke.
It would be tough for the Diamondbacks to let Pollock go, but it wouldn’t be lunacy if they did. Miller presents a better No. 2 punch than the Diamondbacks currently have to offer, and there is no denying that Greinke and Miller would be a tough combo to start a series against.
This is all rumor mind you, and all I have done here is added my two cents. This is the one trade rumor that has excited me for the Braves since they traded Kimbrel. Don’t be surprised if nothing happens at all, and certainly don’t be surprised if by this evening Miller is traded away for three 18-year old pitching prospects that you have never heard of.
After all… this is Braves Country.