Braves: Injuries and Performance Make Decision to Sell an Easy One
With all that’s happened in the first half of the 2021 season, it certainly feels like the writing is on the wall for the Atlanta Braves.
The idea of this Atlanta Braves team even considering being sellers at the trade deadline would have seemed crazy back in March/April.
A team with as much young talent as this team has — a season after being one win away from the World Series — no one could have predicted them being in this spot.
But everything we’ve seen so far suggests this just isn’t the year for this team.
From losing the All-Star Game, to Mike Soroka’s continuing setbacks, to Marcell Ozuna, the inability to get over .500, and now losing our most exciting and talented player in Ronald Acuna Jr. — nothing has gone the Braves’ way in 2021.
And yet they enter the All-Star break just one game under .500 and only four games back in the NL East. That may have a lot of Braves fans hanging onto hope, but not me.
I’ve seen enough to know this team just doesn’t have what it takes to win a World Series this year.
Could they potentially hang around and win the NL East … sure, the division has been bad enough to afford the Braves that opportunity.
And there is certainly value in winning the division and gaining more experience in the postseason — even if they get swept in the first round.
But they would have to go 46-27 the rest of the way to win 90 games, which is generally what it takes to win a division.
Can a team that hasn’t had a winning percentage above .500 all year play .630 baseball the rest of the way without their best player and MVP candidate?
With the Giants, Diamondbacks, and Padres all on pace to win over 90 games, you have to figure the Braves are out of the NL Wild Card.
I know it’s hard to come to terms with because of the high hopes we had coming into 2021, but the writing on the wall is pretty clear to me — time to sell and start looking to 2022.
Could the Braves do both — sell and look towards 2022 while still competing for the NL East? I think they could.
If you trade Charlie Morton and Drew Smyly could you get similar performances from Bryse Wilson, Touki Toussaint, and Kyle Wright — possibly.
And you can’t get much worse in the bullpen if you give some of the young guys a chance there after trading Chris Martin, Will Smith, and Luke Jackson.
The Braves haven’t had the opportunity to let some of these young pitchers figure it out at the big league level because they’ve been competing for championships — now could be that time.
Let’s see what we have with Wright, Wilson, Toussaint, Sean Newcomb, and Jasseel De La Cruz.
Many of you are probably thinking about calling up Drew Waters and Cristian Pache as well, but I would hold off on that for a while. Both of them still have some development with the bat that needs to be figured out at the Minor League level.
But perhaps later in the year, I could see both of them getting some action in the Atlanta outfield.
Maybe I’m wrong, and maybe Alex Anthopoulos goes out and makes a couple of small moves to give this team a chance in the second half.
For me, I’d much rather see them trade all the impending free agents on this team with any real value and start working towards putting together a World Series team in 2022 — something they didn’t do a good enough job of for 2021.