Atlanta Braves Trade Rumors: How Not To Fix Left Field

Atlanta Braves left fielder Eddie Rosario has struggled on both sides of the ball this year.
Atlanta Braves left fielder Eddie Rosario has struggled on both sides of the ball this year. / Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
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Defense And Other Minutia

Blackmon has 93 career games in left field. He played his last 14 games in left field during the 2015 season. Changing sides of the field isn’t as easy as fans think. We’ve seen better defenders have a difficult time making the transition,

As a right fielder, Fangraphs shows –25 OAA, –15 DRS, and a –0.4 UZR for Blackmon and ranks his arm strength a –24. Changing sides might well make those numbers worse. Rosario isn’t great, but he’s better than Blackmon.

The he’s-from-Georgia thing makes no sense for a 37-year-old Major League veteran like Blackmon. The idea that going to college in Georgia is a factor is specious. Blackmon had the opportunity to leave Colorado by turning down a new contract in the past, but Colorado is his home now. As a 10/5 player, he might refuse to move in what could - based on declining performance - be his last season.

That’s a Wrap

I agree with Sarris that upgrading left field and DH would improve our postseason chances, but I trust Sam Hilliard a lot more than Charlie Blackmon. I might even write about another potential player soon – a little foreshadowing there. But as much as we value statistics, there’s something to be said for understanding the clubhouse.

The Atlanta Braves are a close-knit group who love each other; we’ve seen that often on the field. They understand changes happen, but timing is everything; ask Milwaukee. 

I’m not in the clubhouse, so I can’t say for sure, but yanking Eddie out of that group as they approach the final stretch might be counterproductive. Alex Anthopoulos said there are a couple of places he’d like to improve; I trust him to consider every angle when he does it.