Braves GM John Coppolella has apparently had it up to here with all of this talk of the Braves tanking. Even though all signs point towards the Braves basically using 2015 and 2016 as bridges towards hopefully being competitive in the first season at SunTrust Park in 2017, Coppy refuses to publicly admit that the Braves are in fact tanking. In fact, Coppy went on to say that the Braves will win more games in 2016.
"We want to win," Coppolella said. "I don’t think anybody wants to lose. It’s painful. But we had one bad season, not three of four years.
"If we truly were going to tank, we wouldn’t have had Aybar come back in the trade. If we were trying to tank, we wouldn’t have signed (catcher) A.J. Pierzynski. If we were trying to tank, we would have traded Maybin at the deadline last year, and we had plenty of offers.
"We want to win. And we will win. I’m not under any delusions that we’ll win 110 games, but we’re not going to lose 95 games again. We will win more games than we did last year."
Now, it's still very early in the offseason and there's always a possibility that the Braves could turn up the heat and actually start trying to focus on improving the major league team. But right now, it just seems like Coppy is trying to sell Braves fans some oceanfront property in Buckhead. Craig Calcaterra's having none of it, that's for sure.
Meanwhile, the Braves were once again at the center of some big-time trade rumors, and this time they involved Shelby Miller. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Braves and Diamondbacks had talks concerning a possible Shelby Miller-for-A.J. Pollock deal. Naturally, the talks didn't progress pretty far, but this should tell you just how shrewd the Braves are being right now in that they're willing to trade Shelby Miller after the season he just had. I'd imagine that we're going to hear a lot more rumors like this as the offseason progresses.
The Braves still haven't given up on C Christian Bethancourt, but the future isn't exactly looking bright for the 24-year old who once figured to be the Braves' catcher of the future. While there are no doubts about his defensive skills, his offense has left much to be desired and the Braves are concerned with his ability to call games as well. Therefore, it seems like Bethancourt's future with the Braves is in a bit of limbo right now. He's supposed to be splitting time with A.J. Pierzynski next season, but we'll have to see if that's actually the case in 2016.
There were no major surprises when the BBWAA announced their Managers of the Year for the American League and National League, as Jeff Bannister of the Texas Rangers and Joe Maddon of the Chicago Cubs took home honors for their respective leagues. Bannister's managerial efforts led the Rangers to a worst-to-first finish as they surged their way to a AL West crown, while Joe Maddon steered the Cubs' youth movement all the way to the National League Championship Series.
2016 will be Red Sox DH David Ortiz's swan song, as the Boston legend announced that he'll be retiring after the 2016 season. Ortiz is basically a folk hero in Boston and to the Red Sox nation-wide fanbase, which means that you should probably prepare yourself for what's going to be a year-long victory lap for Ortiz. This will also start up his Hall of Fame debate as well, but hopefully we'll all just appreciate his career for what it was before we start yelling at each other about whether or not his career merited Hall of Fame consideration.
Oh, Marlins. Jose Fernandez is one of the lone bright spots for the perennially-struggling Miami Marlins, so naturally there are now rumors that Miami is trying to ship him out of town. The Marlins denied the rumors yesterday, but it's the Marlins so nobody really knows if they'll stick to their word of not trading him. For all of the hand-wringing that's going on when it comes to the Braves' rebuild, this has been the Marlins' M.O. for most of their existence, so the Braves are learning from the masters in Miami when it comes to this type of stuff.
In case some of y'all checked out on the Braves season during the dog days, there was actually a moment when Andruw Jones announced during an in-game interview that he had not retired yet and was planning a comeback. Now, he's apparently told our friends at MLB Daily Dish that he is indeed making a comeback attempt, and will retire only if he doesn't receive any offers this offseason. I'll howl with laughter if the Braves offer him a deal, but I'll also love it because the Braves might not be any good in 2016 anyways, so we may as well go for the nostalgia.