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Braves Mailbag: Payroll, six-man rotation and more

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Atlanta Braves v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves held their second annual Chop Fest at SunTrust Park on Saturday which means we are moving a step closer to spring training and the 2019 season. However, not much has changed for the Braves from a roster standpoint and that is the focus of today’s mailbag. Thanks to everyone that sent in questions.

Is AA biding his time to make the big splashes many of us believe are necessary or was the “adding to payroll” talk just lip service?

I figure this is going to be a common theme that comes up throughout this season. Comments were made about “being able to shop on any isle” but the truth is we don’t really know what has been discussed internally when it comes to payroll. What we do know is that Atlanta’s payroll has not surpassed last season’s at least until this point.

Alex Anthopoulos said that the team still had money left to spend during the State of the Team address during Saturday’s Chop Fest. The Braves made a significant expenditure to add Josh Donaldson and Brian McCann back in November but haven’t done much sense besides agreeing to deals with their arbitration eligible players.

The answer is probably a little bit of both honestly. Payroll probably won’t rise to the levels that most fans will want to see it. In one sense they probably could not spend enough to appease some of their critics. However, given the slow market, it is very possible that Anthopoulos and the Braves are just biding their time and looking to get the best value possible. We could see a flurry of moves before the start of spring training that could change the entire feel of this offseason. It is also possible that we won’t see that payroll addition until during the season as more players become available and team objectives shift.

Should the Braves consider going with a six-man rotation? Could be a way to lessen the effects of the SP logjam while also limiting IP on rookie arms.

Brian Snitker talked about this Saturday at Chop Fest and said that if everything remained the same with the rotation that we would likely see a similar situation as we saw last year where they used a number of different pitchers in the fifth spot. That would allow them to give everyone an extra day off which seemed to be beneficial down the stretch. It would also allow them to get more of their young pitchers into the mix. It might not be a strict six-man rotation but it sounds like they will continue to be creative in giving some of their top pitching prospects opportunities.

Which is the correct approach for a GM?

A) General managers should enter the offseason with a plan that they stick to regardless moves made by teams within the division.

B) General managers, to build the most competitive rosters, should adjust their plans based on signings and trades made by other teams.

There is no one right way to do things but chasing or letting what other teams are doing during the offseason feels like a recipe for disaster. I think the best course of action is to have a plan coming in and do your best to execute it. Things can change along the way and a player that was not available at one point might become available later, so you need to remain flexible, but trying to make moves based off of what other teams have done just does not seem very prudent.

Who is the starting pitcher that takes the biggest stride/leap forward this year?

I’m going to cheat a bit and name a guy that could end up being a reliever but I still would like to see him get a chance to start and that is Max Fried. I think that if Fried can stay healthy he can have a big impact no matter what his role ends up being. He isn’t a guy that has been talked about much lately for the rotation but I still think he has the stuff to be a good starter. If he can just avoid the blister problems that have plagued him, I think Fried could be the young pitcher that takes the biggest step forward in 2019.