Atlanta Braves are Still Trying to Improve

Don’t miss the forest for the trees:  Atlanta Braves’ news and rumors were flying around this morning, but when we read between the lines, there’s a big message for fans here.

Just when you thought it might be safe to check the stove without a hot pad… the Atlanta Braves show us that it’s always good to be vigilant.

John Coppolella is definitely making sure that no one on his club ever gets satisfied with what they are doing professionally.  If you haven’t figured that out over his brief tenure as Braves General Manager, then you just aren’t paying attention.

Just look at the actions and transactions thus far this Fall and Winter:

  • He has put virtually the entire pitching staff – at all levels – on notice:  put up or sit down
  • He hired 4 replacements from the outside (Colon, Dickey, Collmentor [a re-sign], Danks, and Garcia) to effectively replace all of the young pitchers who didn’t fare well in the majors
  • He brought in Sean Rodriguez
  • He extended Ender Inciarte – a nice reward for excellent play
  • He’s been known to be searching for catching upgrades
  • He even famously mentioned (there was a later apology) that Matt Kemp needed to be in better playing shape

So in that context, why would Coppy go after Brandon Phillips?  Answer he felt like there was an upgrade opportunity at second base.

Rodriguez was likely the Plan B – and perhaps so since Phillips has one year left on his contract; Rodriguez required a two year deal.

But What About Dozier?

The news about Brian Dozier was thus a bit more complex.

We had heard about this in late December, but at the time Jon Heyman couldn’t get the tweet deleted fast enough.

But as Jeff detailed for us this morning, news surfaced out of Minnesota that perhaps that wasn’t a piece of mid-directed information after all.  And it comes after Rodriguez was acquired.

That said, I still stand by thoughts expressed over the last weekend about why getting Dozier would not make sense for the Braves.  In short, he would be too expensive in terms of prospects since a trade would be required and too short a term (2 years) of control.

Of course, it is very likely that these reasons have contributed directly to the fact that Dozier isn’t a Brave.  At least not yet.  And not for lack of checking.

Motivation

But then there’s these other messages being sent as well – whether Coppy is serious about this particular rumor or not:

It doesn’t really matter what your name is or what position you play.  If Coppolella thinks he can improve the club by replacing you, he will be looking to do so.

That’s the message to be learned here.  Don’t sleep on Coppy.  Don’t think he’s ‘done’ making moves.

Also:  don’t think that he isn’t checking the pulse on a whole lot more than just Phillips or Dozier.

He’s actively after anybody who he thinks can help to upgrade his Atlanta Braves over the long term… while also rewarding those he thinks will be good for the long haul.

So no – it wasn’t just the young members of last year’s pitching staff that saw a shot across the bow…

It was the entire organization.

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