The Atlanta Braves continue their massive rebuild, that has become an extremely painful process for fans. Really, the best way to explain it, is as a learning aspect, that through time, hopefully resolves their needs quickly. Parting away essential talent away in place of future success long-term is a gamble.
This gamble continued when the team shipped defensive wizard and two-time gold glove winning shortstop Andrelton Simmons to the Angels for Erick Aybar and two top pitching prospects, Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis.
This trade from afar, shows that the Braves are willing to take risks now, in order to stabilize a plan for the future. Atlanta’s plan moving forward is solely based off of sticking to its outlet several years ago. It’s definitely something you can lean on, but as much as Braves’ fans will miss Simmons’ masterful glove-work. The reality is, his bat never developed as everyone had hoped and his contract was going to get pricey very soon.
Those are some of the reasons the front office felt this deal had to be made. It’s easy to feel as if this move wasn’t necessary, but think about it: Atlanta once supplemented Craig Kimbrel, Evan Gattis, Justin Upton, Jason Heyward and Andrelton Simmons on the team at the same time and were still unable to become a serious contender. It was time for a change, and an alarming trade of one there franchise’s cornerstone players needed to be made. Something, anything, to take-on a very active approach to revive a dried up pipeline to the major leagues.
This trade is similar to the others dealt in years’ past, but in this case, the pitchers the Braves acquired are built for the future. Regardless of how Aybar performs at shortstop, this position is merely a stopgap at the moment.
Currently, in the Braves’ mindset, they are putting their entire faith in a re-worked farm system. A farm system that has contained a shortage of talent. With Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis as the next wave of talent to emerge in the pitching staff, going big was the Atlanta’s only option. Newcomb, who is a 6’5″, 240 pound left-hander who has an electric fastball that runs up to 99 mph.
He complements his fastball with a change-up and a curveball. Many baseball experts say he has ace potential and will more than likely be up in the majors next season. He is just 22 years old, and last season in the minors, he sported a 9-4 record with a 2.75 ERA. He carries very high upside and his potential is through the roof once he is awarded an opportunity. And for the Braves, this opportunity will come sooner rather than later.
Atlanta’s other pitching acquisition, Chris Ellis, is a 23-year-old right-hander that has drawn comparison to the likes of former starter Kris Medlen. Ellis bears not-so overpowering stuff, but if he’s able to control his secondary pitches for instance his change-up, he will seek progress immediately.
The experts believe he needs a little more time to develop than Newcomb does and it’s figured he’ll be best suited out of the bullpen when he first comes up. More so, in 2017, these two guys will have good enough upside to bring success. For now, the Braves next biggest task is to re-stock its minor league system. They still have a lot of options to sort through and to figure out what’s best for the organization, but this time around, the ability to flip some of these top prospects for major league talent, specifically offensive players to go with this young pitching they’ve accumulated.
By no means is it the best option to get rid of fan favorites and good baseball players, but sometimes sustaining a rebuild works ideal. Atlanta is clearly sticking with the plan, even if the road gets tumultuous. After the conclusion of just the first week of a wild and wacky off-season to come, brace yourself Braves fans, because there’s more in-store. Atlanta at the end will have to dish out $30 million left over in cap space. So acquiring talent via free agency might not be a bad route to go.