The Atlanta Braves have been actively pursuing adding an ace to their 2017 rotation but have backed out of the idea at the 2016 Winter Meetings.
The Atlanta Braves went into this off-season with one goal in mind, improving their 2017 rotation. This off-season has seen them add plenty of arms to their roster bringing in R.A. Dickey, Jaime Garcia, and Bartolo Colon. Despite adding three veteran arms the Braves continued to pursue adding a true ace to their rotation.
While there is no arguing that Julio Teheran is a very talented pitcher there is also no arguing that he has struggled to stay consistent and is not able to put up the numbers of a true ace. Chris Sale, Sonny Gray, and Chris Archer are all names that the Braves have been linked to in recent weeks with rumors surrounding Chris Sale being the most prevalent.
As the winter meetings have gotten underway the Braves tune has changed as to how badly they truly want an ace. Braves general manager John Coppolella had the following to say yesterday about the Braves attempts to acquire an ace:
"“We love what we’ve been able to do, what we’ve been able to add. Could we use Chris Sale or Chris Archer or Sonny Gray? Sure, 30 teams in baseball could. They’re really good. But if the cost is prohibitive, then we’re happy where we are. The last thing I want to do is just blow it up so we can get one guy.”"
John Hart seemed even less sold on the idea of the Braves going after an ace. It is easy to tell what Braves fans who have been paying attention already knew, the Braves are not willing to blow up the farm for one arm, even if that arm is Chris Sale.
Adding a Chris Sale or Chris Archer to the Braves rotation would take it from mediocrity to one that could legitimately help the Braves compete much sooner than expected. It would take the Braves from a team fighting around .500 to a team that could be in the wildcard race and have relevance in September.
Without adding an ace to the rotation the Braves will be counting on an injury prone Garcia along with some combo of Mike Foltynewicz,Blair, or Matt Wisler holding down the final spot in the rotation. It may appear that the Braves are content with what they have headed into this season but it is important to remember that is often when they make the blockbuster deals they have over the past two seasons. The Winter Meetings will conclude Thursday morning with the Rule 5 Draft.