Finding a balance with prospect capital

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    It’s been a long time. I shouldn’t have left you, but my job called and think they deserve more time. Actually, they seem to think they deserve all of my time. With the deadline approaching, I’ve been wanting to do a few deadline-centric pieces. The first is going to be something I touched on last week on twitter.

    This was the thought that started it all:

    Let me forward this by saying that I’m firmly on “Team Trade The Prospects”, but I also know the value of holding onto prospects at certain times. To me, having all the prospect capital in the world, like the Braves do, only has value if you use it as such. The idea that the Braves should meet or beat every trade just because they can doesn’t work.

    The trade my tweet was referring to was the Brad Hand to Cleveland deal for Francisco Mejia. While the Braves could certainly use Hand, and he fits into the idea of not trading impact prospects for rentals, I don’t feel he answers enough of the Braves questions right now to justify the move. In fact, as much as the Braves bullpen is leaking, I would put acquiring an elite reliever like Hand near the bottom of the Braves needs right now.

    In reply to that tweet, I got some pushback from people that want to win now. I fully understand the idea of wanting to make trades to improve the team (I’ll touch more on that in some other articles coming up soon), but the trades have to be the right trades.

    Most teams at the deadline with aspirations to win a World Series aren’t shopping for starting pitching, relief pitching, and bats at the same time. This Braves team has a lot of holes. Some of those holes can be patched, but you have to know what you’re trying to accomplish in doing so. I referrenced the Mark Teixeira trade to provide some pushback on “win-now” trades. While the Teixeira trade was exciting, it didn’t amount to anything positive for the Braves, because Schuerholz pushed in too many chips to fill one hole on a team that had many.

    The difference in that situation and this one is that Schuerholz knew he was stepping away at the end of that season, where Anthopoulos just got hired and is expected to run this team for a long time. Schuerholz could make the risky move knowing he wouldn’t have to be around for the recovery. That job was going to fall in the lap of Frank Wren. Anthopoulos has to make safer, or more calculated, moves that will still leave him with a chance to improve this team as the years go on.

    The Braves have a deep prospect pool. We all know that. We also know that they probably won’t all pan out, and if they somehow miraculously did, the Braves would have way too many starting pitchers to fit into a single rotation. They’re going to have to move some of their guys, but they need to wait for the right deal and for the right time. A relief pitcher is not the guy to start unloading your chips on, especially in deadline deals where the value for the major league piece is often heightened.

    When the Braves start trading prospects for major league pieces, they need to know those trades are putting them in position to win. Another repeat of the Teixeira trade, where the Braves move a ton of prospect capital for very little major league gain, would effectively push the reset button on the rebuild that started years ago. The last thing the Braves need to do now is to make some trades that put them back in a place of treading water like they were doing for nearly all of the Frank Wren era. After you spend too much time treading water, you get tired and sink … and that’s when you get the 2014 Atlanta Braves.

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