Atlanta Braves Armchair GM, 3&4!

2 of 4

Aug 19, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher

Jeff Samardzija

(29) pitches against the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Braves Armchair GM VeeDub!

As an Atlanta Braves armchair GM, VeeDub enjoys listening to AudioBooks before making any decision feeling that there’s clarity to be found in the monotony of hearing the same voice for hours on end. VeeDub also has 7 cats of which keep him company in his 600 square foot studio overlooking the construction of Suntrust Park.  His drink of choice? Due to the cats and unending hammering constantly interrupting his DVR’d episodes of Downton Abbey? Espresso. Lots and lots of espresso.

Tier 1 – Max budget of $15M
SP-Brandon Beachy: 3MM
RP-Jerry Blevins: 2MM
RP- Neal Cotts: 2.5MM
LF- Steve Pearce: 4MM
Bench- Juan Uribe– 3MM

This is nearly impossible! $15 mil just doesn’t buy as much as it used to!

Where there are empty slots, I’d just insert a rookie because, in today’s baseball finances, not many “free agent level” players are making less than $3M per year and, if they are, they probably won’t produce much more than your average AAA graduate.

I’d bring Beachy back. Why not? He’s cheap and that’s important in this scenario.

Sign Steve Pearce, because the Braves need SOME production; even if it’s only half of the time via platoon.

Juan Uribe is on every one of my lists because he provides not only pop from the bench but he’s a steady, professional presence who’s a proven clubhouse leader…and he can be hired cheaply.

Tier 2 – Max budget of $25M

SP-Brandon Beachy: 3MM
RP-Jerry Blevins and Neal Cotts: 2MM  and 2.5MM
LF-Gerardo Parra: 6MM
C-Dioner Navarro: 5MM
Bench- Steve Pearce: 4MM
B-Juan Uribe: 3MM



In this scenario, money is still extremely tight. This will be a much more enjoyable exercise once Bourn and Swisher are off the books!

Since money is so tight, we’re focusing on buying low on players that have proven they’re capable of delivering average production. Yeah, aim high, right?

That said, I believe Parra, Navarro and Pearce would be good complimentary players (to Atlanta’s core group).

Tier 3 – Max budget of $35M

SP-Jeff Samardzija: 10MM
RP-Jerry Blevins: 2MM
RP-Neal Cotts: 2.5MM
LF-Colby Rasmus10MM
C-Dioner Navarro: 5MM
Bench-Steve Pearce: 4MM
Bench-Juan Uribe: 3MM


OK, now we’re getting Simmons and Freeman some help. This budget allows us to bring in a couple of quality players in Jeff Samardzija and Colby Rasmus.

Samardzija’s troubles this past year have been well documented. That’s why I’d try to sign him on to a one-year, $10M, bounce back contract. With better defense and pitching in the National League, Samardzija should have a decent season with Atlanta and, hopefully, he’ll eat up a lot of innings.

Colby Rasmus, like Jeff Samardzija, has had both good and bad seasons recently. True, he’s coming off a good season with Houston but we all still remember 2014 and the 225/287/448 slash line he threw up. He can play some defense and he has some pop but a career .313 OBP is barely adequate. In fact, his career OPS+ is only 105; the definition of slightly better than average. A note about his defense, however, I’d put him in RF and move Markakis to LF. I think Markakis’ throwing arm is of average power and accuracy but his range is very limited. Overall, I believe Rasmus would serve Atlanta best in RF.

Tier 4 – Max budget of $58M

SP- Wei-Yin Chen14MM
RP-Darren O’Day7MM
RP-Jerry Blevins: 2MM
LF-Alex Gordon16MM
C-Alex Avila6MM
Bench-Ben Zobrist10MM
Bench-Juan Uribe: 3MM

OK, a budget of this caliber would greatly improve the Braves. In fact, I’d say this team would play better than .500 baseball!

Wei-Yin Chen is a groundball pitcher who would become even better with Simmons and Freeman playing behind him.

Likewise, O’Day is a groundball machine who would feed batters to the Gold Glove shortstop.

Alex Gordon would not only provide solid defense but, like Ben Zobrist, he consistently produces high OBP’s. With Zobrist leading off and Gordon batting second, Atlanta’s lineup is much more frightening.

Also, I’d give Zobrist the 2B position and Jace Peterson could come off the bench.

Alex Avila had a bad season last year but he has a career .325 OBP and he’s known as a good defender…well, at least not a bad defender.

A potential roster for this team could look like this:

Zobrist 2B
Gordon LF
Markakis RF
Freeman 1B
Olivera 3B
Avila C
Simmons SS
Maybin CF

J. Peterson

S. Miller


It’s a shame that option #4 isn’t a real choice because, of the four, this is the only budget that would get the Braves back into contention.

That’s it from VeeDub! I really like the idea of Alex Avila and could be a great buy-low option! Now on to #4 Armchair GM, BraveNewWorld

Next: Braves Armchair GM BraveNewWorld