Coppy with Keri – Atlanta Braves GM goes long on number of big subjects
By Colby Wilson
The Braves GM goes long on lots of things on The Jonah Keri Podcast
So before Fredi Gonzalez was finally axed, John Coppolella appeared on The Jonah Keri Podcast. There’s not much point in going over the brief words used to describe the difficult task in front of Fredi, because it’s now moot—Coppy may have already known he was planning to end Fredi’s tenure the same day he and Keri talked. But he said a lot of other interesting things in one of the broader looks at his life and processes that we’ve gotten to see (or in this case, hear, and you should listen to the whole thing if you’ve got the time):
The Jason Heyward Saga
Coppy said he knew that Jason Heyward was gone after 2015; not only that, he said he didn’t blame him. They simply couldn’t pay him. They knew they’d lose Justin Upton too. So what to do—roll the dice or make the tough call? They decided to accrue young talent.
Coppy said that trading Jason Heyward, “broke my heart,” but that he knew they couldn’t sign him, with no farm system, they decided to do what was best for the organization long-term.
“Our fans would’ve enjoyed Jason Heyward for that final year,” Coppy said. “It would’ve been great. But I also think they’re going to enjoy seeing Dansby Swanson, and seeing Ender Inciarte, and seeing Aaron Blair. I think they enjoyed seeing Shelby Miller, who was our lone All-Star last year. I think they’re going to enjoy seeing Tyrell Jenkins.”
What I would’ve loved to know is HOW Coppy knew Heyward was gone and WHY he was the first to go in the firesale. He’s been an injury-prone .260 hitter who plays excellent defense for most of his career—I believe our own Josh Brown has a scorching hot (seriously, handle with gloves) Nick Markakis-Heyward take, if you’re so inclined. I know young, talented players like Heyward don’t grow on trees and are wise to cash in when they can. But factoring in local ties and the money that Atlanta was later able to take off the books with other trades, it seems strange to have started with Heyward and not waited until after other avenues were exhausted.
Next: The Yankee Trade That Wasn't