Even though there hasn’t been much movement on trade negotiations between the Braves and Marlins when it comes to one or both of Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto, it appears that the agent of the former is trying to speed things up a bit. Yelich’s agent told ESPN that “the relationship between player and team is irretrievably broken.” We’ll see if it speeds things up, but I’d imagine that this increases the likelihood that the Marlins are going to try to get a clearly disgruntled player off of their roster via trade.
So, we all know that Ender Inciarte is a very, very good defender in center field. Fortunately, we currently live in a time where we can use more than just the eye test to get a handle on just how good a player is with the glove and that’s where Statcast comes in. Mark Bowman’s latest article for the Braves’ official website did a good job of trying to get us all to appreciate just how good The Game Ender has been in the outfield so far.
Baserunning speed and outfield speed are not identical, but it goes without saying that Hamilton would win any foot race against Inciarte, whose defensive prowess is a credit to his great instincts, which include the ability to quickly react to the direction of a ball hit to the outfield.
It should also be noted that Hamilton spent some time this season flanked by Adam Duvall, who has totaled 30 5-star and 4-star plays over the past two seasons. Inciarte has had the opportunity to make more great plays, as he has spent portions of the past two seasons flanked by Kemp and Nick Markakis, who together combined to make 12 5-star and 4-star plays over the past two seasons.
Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto aren’t the only players who are disgruntled with their current team diving headfirst into tank mode. After the Pirates traded Gerrit Cole and Andrew McCutchen over the span of a few days, Josh Harrison decided that enough was enough and he put out a public statement via The Athletic that outlined his request for a trade. So now there’s another solid player who is currently on the trade block.
Meanwhile, this painfully slow offseason has made it clear that something may be wrong with the system at the moment. We’re less than a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting for camp and there are still some pretty prominent free agents who haven’t signed for a team yet. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports wrote at length about what he feels is a broken economic system in the game and he even shared the story of a free agent who is willing to sit out until midseason in order to get a good deal for himself.
Recently, one of the best free agents available this offseason met with a friend, and he admitted something shocking: He was preparing to sit out until the middle of the season. The market for his services this winter was so thin, the offers so incompatible with his production, that he worried he was going to need an external force to compel teams to pay him what his numbers say he’s worth. Maybe it would take a playoff race.