Atlanta Braves General Manager Alex Anthopoulos has stated that right field and catcher are the two greatest needs for his team this off-season. So… a closer now?
While the rotation and bullpen are more ‘wants’ than ‘needs’, it is being reported that the Atlanta Braves are interested in what would be the best bullpen piece available this off-season.
While you were on your third plate of Thanksgiving goodies yesterday and yearning for pants that have elastic, Jon Paul Morosi of mlb.com dropped an interesting – and on some levels predictable – nugget in his seven things to watch heading into Thanksgiving piece.
1. The Mariners aren’t done dealing
Perhaps most intriguingly, the Mariners haven’t ruled out the possibility of trading Edwin Diaz. The Phillies and Braves are among the teams interested in Diaz coming off his 57-save season.
Who is this guy?
In this particular piece, Morosi wrote that the Braves and Phillies are both interested in Mariners closer, Edwin Diaz, who had a remarkable 1.96 ERA/57-save season, where he established himself as one of the games best late-inning arms.
Atlanta and Philadelphia are just two of probably every team who would love to acquire Diaz, a Puerto Rican native who won’t turn 25 until late in the upcoming Spring Training. More importantly, the first time all-star closer won’t hit arbitration until next off-season, so he comes with four years of team control.
Benjamin Chase wrote a few weeks back about how the Braves and Mariners match up in potential trades and Diaz was one of the Mariners who were thought to be untouchable.
At the time of that piece, I completely agreed: why trade a dominant guy like Diaz, when he will still be under club control when you expect to be good again?
But Seattle is probably seeing just how much it can get for Diaz.
Precedent backs this up
There is a relevant history here:
- Aroldis Chapman, who was headed towards free agency, fetched one of the top prospects in baseball in Gleyber Torres.
- Ken Giles, who was nowhere near the talent of Diaz, brought back a haul to the Phillies from the Astros that included two top 100 prospects in Mark Appel and Vince Velasquez.
- When the Padres traded Craig Kimbrel to the Red Sox three years ago, they were able to get Boston’s third-rated prospect (Manual Margot) and sixth- rated prospect (Javier Guerra).
The Mariners have to think long and hard about this. But then Jerry DiPoto doesn’t exactly shy away from trade deals of any kind.
I wrote a piece about the top five bullpen pieces the Braves could acquire via trade and Diaz was the clear-cut number one choice for me. But I also wrote it would cost a significant haul to get him.
So let me ask you all this and please give your thoughts in the comments:
- What if the Braves could get Diaz for Ian Anderson and Drew Waters (both top 100 prospects) and something else?
- What if it becomes a bidding war and the return for Diaz eclipses what the return was for the other closers traded recently and the Braves have to add more?
Teams will be calling many times over for Diaz and the Mariners would be foolish to not entertain trading arguably the best closer in baseball… but at least it appears that the Braves are checking in with them.