What the Yankees Could Use from the Atlanta Braves
The New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves formed a bit of a rivalry in the late ’90s, squaring off in two World Series’. Could they once again link up, this time for a trade benefitting both clubs?
At 68-93, the Braves finished the 2016 season 26.5 games back of first place in the NL East. Yet if you talk to a Braves fan, they seem to glaze over that fact with a rebuttal stating that the club played much more competitively after Brian Snitker took over as manager, compiling a 59-65 under his guidance.
The tomahawk chop contingent also love to let it be known that their farm system is bursting at the seams with talent, just waiting to explode upon the Major League slate.
While that may be true, I enjoy pointing out that following the Aug 1 trade deadline, MLB.com now ranks the Yankees as the No. 2 farm system in all of baseball–the Braves have fallen to No. 9.
The Braves are in the is weird waiting for something big to happen stage–they brought up former No.1 draft pick Dansby Swanson, but then go out and trade for Matt Kemp.
I get that the organization came out and said they are willing to take on bad contracts in return for draft picks, but where do they draw the line? So keeping with this trend I present to you a potential transaction that gives both the Yankees and the Braves what they need for 2017 and beyond.
Trading With the Braves
When looking at the Braves’ depth chart, the only name that really jumps off the page is Freddie Freeman. In staying with my overall theme of realism, though, as much as I think Freeman’s left-handed stick in Yankee Stadium would result in way more than the 34 home runs he hit this season, I just don’t see the Braves trading their franchise player–especially as they ready to move into a brand new park.
Swanson also won’t be going anywhere, anytime soon (nice trade D’backs), so I’d steer clear of all their other position players, including Nick Markakis and Ender Inciarte. The Yankees don’t need any more light-hitting outfielders.
The one guy that is intriguing for a number of reasons, and worthy of a flip-flop of players is Julio Teheran. Teheran’s name was actually floated numerous times in trade talks this past season, so it wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see him pitching elsewhere in ’17.
Being the ace on a bad team is easier said that done–because there’s that little missing ingredient to winning games called run support. That’s why a 7-10 record with a 3.21 ERA while pitching 188 innings is a lot better that most give him credit for.
The two-time All-Star is still only 25-years-old, has won 14 games twice in six seasons, and is club controlled at $37MM through 2020 (includes a $12MM club option for his final season).
Technically, Teheran is a fly-ball pitcher, and in the bandbox known as Yankee Stadium this could become an issue when facing left-handed hitters. But Teheran has gone through stretches of keeping the ball down in the zone, resulting in high strikeout games–exemplified when he sat down eight batters in seven innings of two run ball on Aug 30 against the Padres, before capping off his ’16 campaign against the Tigers on Oct 2 when he struck out 12–allowing no runs in seven frames.
As for what the Yankees can send the Braves in return, it begins with Atlanta’s former favorite son, Brian McCann. The chatter was hot and heavy before the trade deadline, that the two were negotiating such a deal, so why not give the Braves exactly what they want and need? Tyler Flowers is a fine backup, but that’s all he is.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still more than happy to keep McCann in the Bronx, as I feel he can still catch 60 or so games next season, hit 20 home runs or more, and be a mentor to Gary Sanchez. But the Yankees are in dire need of pitching–especially ones that are young and hungry.
McCann’s $34MM guaranteed over the next two seasons is of no consequence to the Braves, but even so, the Yankees will likely have to sweeten the pot a bit. Scanning the Braves’ 40-man roster, and top 30 prospects list, it appears the one position they’re short of talent is in the outfield.
Jake Cave would be a very nice fit for the future incarnation of the Braves. The 24-year-old lefty can play all three outfield positions–has the strength to potentially hit double digit home runs–and has enough speed and arm strength to stick at the big league level is he’s given the chance.
Signing a Former Brave
It’s not a great group to choose from, but if I had to go with one guy to bring something to the table that Yankees could use in ’17, it would be Josh Collmenter.
The former 2014 opening day starter for the Diamondbacks has never quite lived up to the hype of that former designation, but showed signs of being a capable long reliever in 2016, going 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings. With a mid-90’s fastball that saw 16 batters swatting at flies, a one-year, $750,000 deal would be a wise investment.