Atlanta Braves Have a Plan This Winter

The Atlanta Braves signed another pitcher over the age of 40 yesterday afternoon in Bartolo Colon, signaling that they have a definite plan in place this offseason.

The Atlanta Braves are a young team, and their young rotation may need another season to accrue the innings they’ll need for future success. Enter R.A. Dickey, who the team signed Thursday, and Colon, who was signed yesterday.

Adding these two veterans may not vault the team into contention necessarily, with the value that they can provide to the rebuilding Braves not necessarily being on the mound. Don’t be mistaken, their performance could be a huge help to Atlanta, but the results may not matter quite as much.

With Julio Teheran atop the rotation the Braves have their ace. Behind him will likely be some combination of Colon and Dickey, with Mike Foltynewicz and Matt Wisler likely getting the first cracks at the final two spots. These two signings take some of the pressure off of Folty and Wisler, as they’ll now have to face the fourth and fifth starters in opponent’s rotations, opposed to the second and third options. One of the two will also likely be given the opportunity to start the first regular season game at the Braves’ new ballpark, which is a nice added bonus.

In the first series of the season, Teheran should be penciled in against Noah Syndergaard of the Mets. Behind him will likely be Harvey and deGrom. Instead of facing either of those two, the Braves will be sending out their young guns against the Pirates’ fourth and fifth starters, and Pittsburgh’s rotation is no sure thing at the moment.

Over the course of the season those match-ups won’t necessarily hold, but hopefully the early part of the season will provide a nice confidence boost and propel them to a strong 2017 campaign.

From 2011 to 2015, Dickey amassed over 200 innings each year and nearly totaled 170 in 2016. Colon has tossed at least 190 innings in each of the last four seasons. Simply by staying healthy and making their start every fifth day, the two new additions are providing a benefit, which is giving Atlanta innings. Those innings will be lifted from the bullpen and will provide the club with a better look at some of their options in the ‘pen without having to make constant roster moves due to usage. Keeping the bullpen fresh means that those that are relievers on the team will be there because of their performance.

The knowledge that Colon and Dickey will be able to provide will help make the young Braves squad better overall. How to be a professional and how to prepare for a season, for success and for failure, can go a long way in the makeup of building a winner. These moves may not be the big splash that propels the team to contention in 2017, but they could play a pivotal role in making that happen down the road. It’s also worth noting that the two pitchers combined for a 3.9 WAR this season, and according to our offseason power rankings (tallied by team WAR) from earlier this week, that would place them up a number of spots at 19th if both players repeated their 2016 performances.

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