John Coppolella’s start to his relationship with Braves fans as GM got off to a bit of a rocky start. Coppy got the (probably deserved) reputation as being tone deaf to the concerns of fans that want to see the Braves competitive now and who didn’t want their favorite players traded away. This was particularly true after the Andrelton Simmons trade which resulted in Coppy making claims about “not running for office” and lashing out against critics and fans alike that were upset.
Times have changed a good bit, however. While the Braves’ front office still has its critics, in the wake of the stellar Shelby Miller trade that fans were almost universally excited about as well as efforts made by Coppolella to reach out to fans have helped to, at the very least, come to a mutual understanding if not outright fondness. One of the more high profile ways this has happened are with the #AskCoppy Q&A sessions that Coppolella has been doing on Twitter on a pretty regular basis. His candid answers and sense of humor have endeared him to fans and it just so happens he did one yesterday which was both entertaining as well as very illuminating. Here are a couple of highlights.
First, he shared his thoughts on why rebuilding hurts as much as it does and his general thoughts on rebuilding.
If it didn't hurt everybody would do it. I know what we are doing is right and will lead to long-term success. https://t.co/MELKmQjSis— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) June 24, 2016
This comes across as a “of course he has to say that” sort of thing, but Coppy’s statements on this have been consistent and seemingly genuine during the course of the season. Rebuilds really suck in the short-term and that is why few teams really commit and go through with it, but for better or worse the front office believes that given the financial realities of today’s game, this is the best way to be successful long-term.
Next, Coppy was asked specifically about his interest level in Wil Myers from the Padres.
Yes. I have called AJ Preller about him multiple times. https://t.co/b0zIsyieBd— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) June 24, 2016
This is an example of the type of candid answer that has been lauded by fans during this Q&A. It would be easy to give a non-answer like “Wil is a great player, any team would be lucky to have him, we are evaluating a lot of options”. Instead, Coppy shoots straight and lets fans know what is going on a bit behind the scenes, which is comforting given that fans feel like they need the team to make more steps in the direction of, well, winning.
One of the more shocking moments of #AskCoppy was when he was asked about the trade that sent Alex Wood and Jose Peraza to the Dodgers and brought Hector Olivera to the Braves.
Yes -- bad trade for us and one that I wish we had back -- all we can do is learn from it and move forward https://t.co/LXvZPoKSwK— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) June 24, 2016
There’s no hedging here, no comments about hindsight, etc. Yes, the Olivera trade was bad, yes we wish we had those guys back and didn’t have Olivera on the team. Of course, it hard to argue with that at this point given Olivera’s lack of production and current charges pressing against him, but you generally don’t hear front office personnel look back at trades involving players on the current roster and say “Yeah, that was bad”.
For those wondering if he shared any interesting thoughts on the trade market regarding Julio Teheran and Freddie Freeman, first...his thoughts on Julio.
And on whether teams have been inquiring about Freddie Freeman recently
I find the part about Freeman hard to believe given that just about every player worth anything at least gets the tires kicked every once in a while, especially one that is surging like Freeman is. However, the Braves seem steadfast that they are not moving him and while they seem less steadfast regarding Teheran, it seems like the Braves would be perfectly happy keeping him.
The last one we’re going to highlight specifically was a question whether the Braves think that drafting 1st overall next year would be considered a “win” for the organization despite what it means in the W-L column.
1-1 is a loss and embarrassing to the organization. We are all trying to win as many games as we possibly can. https://t.co/5Nka93leBy— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) June 24, 2016
This is a nod to the notion of the Braves are purposely gunning for the top pick. We all knew the Braves were not going to be good, but no one thought the bullpen would be as awful as they were for the first month and a half of the season, Erick Aybar and Adonis Garcia would be the worst fielding left side of the infield in recent memory for April and May, Aybar would also forget how to hit, Ender Inciarte would get hurt, and that Freddie Freeman would start the year off as poorly as he did. It hasn’t been fun for most of the first half for Braves fans, but it appears at least that the front office has no interest in gunning for the top pick if thats what it takes to get there.
A few quick notes on other topics covered in #AskCoppy
- He thinks hot dogs are sandwiches (this author agrees)
- He thinks Matt Wisler is talented, but sees that he has regressed over the course of the season
- He thinks Ender Inciarte could easily become a fan favorite
- The Braves will be trading prospects to fill needs, but it won’t be for rentals
- He likes and respects analytics a lot, but doesn’t think they are the end all, be all. Seems especially skeptical of defensive metrics and the value of defense on the free agent market.
- The Braves have no interest in Yulieski Gourriel
- He would likely trade his wife for Mike Trout (this led to a hashtag proclaiming his love for his wife)
- He likes ketchup....a lot
The Q&A easily went 1.5 hours yesterday, so lots of fans got to interact and get glimpses of the man that has been entrusted with the direction of the Braves. It was certainly an interesting session and one that we all should be glad is turning in to a regular occurrence.