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Braves Mailbag: Future catcher, Drew Smyly and more

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Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Thanks to everyone that sent in questions for this week’s mailbag! Let’s get right to it.

It seems like Johan Camargo is being used purely as a depth piece. Barring an injury situation, it doesn’t seem likely that he will see much playing time in the majors. What does he need to do to improve his stock? And what level of interest might he draw on the trade market?

With Ehire Adrianza already on the Major League roster and Orlando Arcia at Gwinnett, it might take multiple injuries for Camargo to work his way back into the picture for the Braves. Honestly, I don’t have a good answer other than to play better. He hasn’t seen many opportunities but that good 2018 season clearly looks like an outlier now. Despite good numbers at Triple-A, he doesn’t have any trade value because anyone interested can probably sign him for cheap after he is non-tendered during the offseason.

Not sure if I’m too late for this week’s mailbag, but I’d love to know your thoughts on how the Braves should handle the catcher position in the future. Specifically with Contreras and Langeliers, does one of them need to change positions or do you think trading one is the better option?

With Contreras holding his own in the majors and Langeliers putting up big numbers in Double-A, I figure we will be getting this question a lot. I wouldn’t do anything as I think there is room in Atlanta for both, at least in the early going. Prior to this season, we have seen the Braves utilize a catching tandem, splitting the playing time almost evenly to good success, and Travis d’Arnaud is currently in the final year of his contract.

I guess a trade is possible and If I have to pick between the two, I’d still go with Langeliers because he is the superior defender. Still, I hope we see at least one season with both working in tandem for the Braves.

Do you think the Braves should go after an established outfielder to replace Marcell Ozuna? I worry about having Ender Inciarte and the journeymen like Ehire Adrianza, Guillermo Heredia and Abraham Almonte playing the outfield even though they have done fairly well.

Should we trade for David Peralta?

This is the question isn’t it? There is no doubt that the Braves will continue to ride guys like Guillermo Heredia and Abraham Almonte as far as they can, but will likely need to address the outfield at some point this season if they hope to remain in the division race. At this point, it is hard to tell what the trade market might look like and how eager teams will be to move established players, but I am sure that the team is already in the process of evaluating their options.

As far as internal options go, Cristian Pache wouldn’t plug the hole in the lineup but his defense in center would provide a boost provided he can produce at the plate at something resembling a league average rate. Drew Waters could become an option at some point as well, but the Braves would probably be best served letting him spend as much time at Triple-A as possible. Cory ran through some potential trade possibilities earlier this week and I’d add names like David Peralta and Robbie Grossman to that list as well. Peralta hasn’t been great this season but most of the projection systems think he could be slightly better than league average with the bat over the remainder of the season. His defense isn’t great and pulls his value down a bit, but barring a blockbuster, league average is probably the best the Braves could hope for.

Muller and Wright have been pitching better recently at Triple-A and they are both on the 40-man roster already. How much longer will the Braves deal with Smyly’s 4 inning starts before they send him to the bullpen or demote him?

It is safe to say that Atlanta’s lottery ticket signing of Drew Smyly hasn’t worked out, at least through his first 10 starts of the season. While some poor decision-making has factored into his results, there is no sugar coating that he has been bad. It is unlikely that he is going to find his roster spot in jeopardy, but you do have to wonder if they might consider seeing if he could be successful in a multi-inning relief role.

I’m as big a fan of Kyle Wright as there is but nothing I would say about his performance at Triple-A this season has been inspiring. Muller has been lights out of late overcoming what was a really bad start to his season. Even with his recent success, he has seven career starts at Triple-A. Bryse Wilson is another option to consider but isn’t even striking guys out at Gwinnett.

So the Braves have options to replace Smyly, but those options aren’t without their own question marks.