Here’s the latest from Braves GM John Coppolella, via the first part of a Q+A with Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- Brian Snitker is a serious candidate to shed his interim manager tag and take the job on a more permanent basis, but Coppolella indicates the team will look to outside candidates as well.
- Coppolella says flatly that the Braves aren’t trading Julio Teheran, who, of course, has been the subject of months of rumors and discussion. As we’ve noted elsewhere in these pages, Teheran is controllable through 2020, so the Braves could conceivably hang onto him as a veteran anchor for their rotation, even though his fine season and the relatively limited number of good starting pitchers available would also make him a strong trade chip this summer.
- The recent spate of injuries to pitchers — both within the Braves organization and elsewhere — itself demonstrates why the Braves emphasized pitching so much in their current rebuild, Coppolella says. He notes, though, that part of the Braves’ strategy was a function of opportunity. The organization’s core of young pitching now includes Ian Anderson, who the team selected with the third overall draft pick last month even though they already had lots of young pitching. “There’s so much attrition associated with pitching that you truly can never have enough talent or depth when it comes to arms,” Coppolella says. “It’s great the Cubs built around bats, but that’s what was available to them in the draft. There was no Kris Bryant or Kyle Schwarber in the draft this year.”
- The Braves’ trade of Bud Norris late last month was motivated in part by a desire to beat the trade-deadline rush and get as much as possible for a player who would be a rental for his new team, Coppolella confirms. “It was difficult to trade Bud, but knowing he was a free agent after the season was the overriding factor,” says Coppolella. “Bud was pitching terrific and the Dodgers made us an offer that we felt compelled us to make that move at that time.”