Misc Baseball News

Braves’ Unconventional Offseason, Roster Strategy Clearly Has October In Mind — College Baseball, MLB Draft, Prospects

Braves' Unconventional Offseason, Roster Strategy Clearly Has October In Mind — College Baseball, MLB Draft, Prospects

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(Photo by Paul Rutherford/Getty Images)

The Braves’ decision to trade their last remaining position player trade chip (Vaughn Grissom) to acquire lefthander Chris Sale from the Red Sox, it added further evidence of how the Braves are operating differently than almost anyone else.

Many teams would look at Sale’s recent injury history and view him as too risky to acquire. The Braves not only acquired him, they quickly reached a contract extension with him to keep him in Atlanta for 2025 with a team option for 2026.

Most teams would feel nervous about trading away the only position prospect who can logically be expected to contribute in 2024.

The subtext is this: the Braves aren’t focused on making the playoffs. They’re focused on being ready to win in the playoffs.

Sale is a significant risk for a team with the goal of simply getting to the playoffs. It’s hard to count on him taking his turn every five days over a 162-game season. Sale has had nine stints on the injured list since 2018. He’s thrown 151 innings since 2020.

But there’s an easy case to be made that you’d prefer Sale to start playoff games over Lucas Giolito. Sale has been an average or better pitcher in every single season of his MLB career. Last year he started slow, but he posted a 106 ERA+. His underlying metrics were even better than his ERA. 

Yes, Sale’s tenure in Boston after 2019 is rightfully considered disappointing by some because of his never-ending run of injuries. He was generally effective last year, though, and he still misses bats. In comparison, Giolito has had three full seasons where his ERA has been 20% or more better than league average, but he’s also had three where he’s been well below league average.

The Sale move was the Braves’ sixth trade this offseason. The Braves have traded away 14 players while adding Sale, LHP Ray Kerr, SS David Fletcher, OF Jarred Kelenic and LHP Aaron Bummer. They also signed RHP Reynaldo Lopez as a free agent.

The Braves now have 24 pitchers on their 40-man roster compared to only 11 hitters. After trading away Grissom in the Sale trade, the Braves have no backup infielders on the 40-man roster. Long-time minor leaguer Forrest Wall is the only backup outfielder. Travis d’Arnaud is back to serve as the backup catcher. 

The minor league rosters aren’t much help either. Baseball America currently does not rate any Braves position prospect with a grade better…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at College Baseball, MLB Draft, Prospects – Baseball America…