The Braves front office recently had their annual organizational meetings in Orlando, and the clear topic of discussion was how they plan to go about improving the squad as they enter what will surely be an intriguing offseason. GM John Coppolella shared some of those plans with Mark Bowman — including whether or not they’ll use their prospects to acquire a starting pitcher via trade. Judging by the quote below, they may not be especially willing to use them for a quick fix.
The pool of starting pitchers on the free agent market is weak this offseason, but the Braves are reluctant to trade some of the top prospects they have acquired over the past two years.
"If there's a need, we'd probably rather fill it via free agency, rather than through trades," Coppolella said. "We've worked so hard to add all of these young prospects and all of this young talent. The last thing we want to do is to trade away three or four of them that we like, so that we can get a quick fix. Everything we've done has been the hard way for the long haul. There haven't been any quick fixes or anything done easy."
Bo Porter and Eddie Perez are attracting attention from teams outside of the organization. Despite taking on a role as a Special Assistant to the GM, Porter is rumored to be in the running for the vacant Rockies managerial position, and (according to David O’Brien), Perez is being considered for both the Rockies job and the Diamondbacks job as well.
We don’t know for sure yet whether or not SunTrust Park will be a hitter’s park or a pitcher’s park, but one thing is for sure — there won’t be too much foul territory for defenders to utilize at the new ballpark. The crew over at Tomahawk Take took a look at this particular element of the new ballpark, and also compared it to the foul territory at Turner Field and Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.
After the Cubs dismantled Jelly Joe Blanton (and completely blew up a tactical decision from Dave Roberts in the process) in Game 1 of the NLCS, the Dodgers came back strong in Game 2. That’s because they had Clayton Kershaw going, and the Dodgers ace pitched seven shutout innings and looked every bit like one of the game’s elite pitchers. Kenley Jansen entered the game in relief and picked up a six-out save, and now the NLCS will be heading to the west coast tied up after Adrian Gonzalez’s second-inning solo homer stood up as the only run of the game.
After getting rid of former GM Dave Stewart and stripping Tony La Russa of most of his power, the Diamondbacks have started healing themselves by hiring former Red Sox executive Mike Hazen as their new GM. Hazen was the GM of the Red Sox, but with the way their organization is set up, he wasn’t exactly the main decision-maker in Boston. Now he’ll be calling the shots in Arizona, and he’ll be bringing an analytical mindset with him to the desert.
In January 2015, ESPN rated the Red Sox as "all in" with regard to analytics, and there’s little to suggest they’ve pulled back in that direction since.
Hazen should bring a similar mindset to the D-backs, with Peter Gammons quoting one of the highest-ranking Red Sox officials as saying "Mike Hazen is Theo." If so, then we can expect changes from the old-school approach of Stewart, who stated not long after his appointment, "I think the fact that Tony (La Russa) is here and that we have more baseball people — (Shields) probably sees us as a true baseball team vs. some of the other teams out here that are geared more toward analytics and those types of things." That said, the Diamondbacks did put some effort into expanding their efforts, creating a department of both full-time employees and interns under director of baseball research and analytics Ed Lewis. But it was still only a handful of people, and I suspect it’s an area we will see expand significantly further under Hazen.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the Braves are probably done fleecing the Diamondbacks. Those were the good ol’ days.