In each of the last two years, the Braves completed a major trade (dealing Jason Heyward in 2014 and Andrelton Simmons in 2015) soon after the completion of the GM Meetings. General manager John Coppolella tells David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the club is prepared to again move quickly if another interesting offer comes along, saying that “we’re not going to wait around for any type of artificial date. I couldn’t care less about (waiting for) the Winter Meetings or whenever. The best time to make a trade is when a good trade is offered to you. We’re always trying to find ways to get better.” Here’s more from Coppolella…
- Starting pitching is clearly the Braves’ biggest winter need, though Atlanta is only looking for starters on short-term deals so none of the team’s young starters are blocked. Not that this winter’s free agent market has a true proven ace anyway, but even if it did, Coppolella noted that this type of pitcher wouldn’t be a target. “You don’t buy No. 1 starters, you grow them. You draft them, you develop them,” the GM said. “For us, it’s not efficient for us to go out and buy a No. 1 starter. Unless something drastically changes, you won’t see us going after a No. 1 starter.”
- Barring an offer of “something crazy” from another team, Coppolella isn’t looking to deal outfielders Ender Inciarte, Matt Kemp or Nick Markakis. Not only are the Braves “not out there shopping” these players, “in fact we’re not really even listening on guys. Because these are players that we really like and we feel like they fit us well on the field as well as off the field.”
- While Atlanta could pursue a catching upgrade in free agency, Coppolella reiterated that the team would be satisfied with its current Tyler Flowers/Anthony Recker tandem for 2017. The Braves could also look to trade for a catcher, though a deal to bring Brian McCann back to Atlanta seems unlikely. Earlier reports claimed the Yankees asked for either Inciarte or Mike Foltynewicz as part of a trade for McCann, and O’Brien reports that, in fact, New York wanted both Inciarte and Foltynewicz. Needless to say, talks didn’t get very far.