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November 14, 2013

One Move

National League East

by Craig Goldstein


This is the sixth and final installment in the One Move series. If you'd like to check out any of the previous editions in this series, you can find them here: AL East, NL West, AL Central, NL Central, AL West.

We wrap up the series with a look at each of the teams in the NL East. This was the most painful division for me, as I think most of the teams are where they are, with the Braves and Nationals at the top and the Mets and Marlins at the bottom, and the Phillies planted firmly in 2008. The only obvious move to me was the one suggested for the Nationals, so if you can come up with something better for any team involved, let us know in the comments. I thoroughly enjoyed the debate on the last article.

Atlanta Braves
The Move: Investigate Trading Craig Kimbrel
I have to admit that this is not an original notion to me, not that any of these have been, but I specifically pilfered this one from Mark Smith of Talking Chop, who wrote exactly why the Braves should trade Kimbrel this offseason. I’ll try not to rehash what he says, because you really should read the article. Long story short though, Kimbrel is about to get paid handsomely (upwards of $6.5M) and the Braves don’t have the largest budget in town. What they do have is an extremely competent bullpen that operated in spite of major injuries (Venters, O’Flaherty) and a GM who seems especially adept at assembling them. They have backups in place in the form of Jordan Walden and Jonny Venters (if healthy), not to mention David Carpenter as a viable option. Acknowledging that Kimbrel is the best closer out there, but also that closer is not necessarily the position to which a team wants to be allocating a ton of resources, the question of course becomes what the Braves could get for him.

Detroit is an oft-mentioned landing place as they are seemingly on the lookout for an answer at closer year in and year out. The issue of course is that Atlanta’s preferred return would include a second baseman, and that’s not something Detroit can offer. Drew Smyly and Nick Castellanos might intrigue, but then again, that might be too rich for Detroit’s blood. Another option that does include a second baseman is Anaheim who is reportedly looking to deal Howie Kendrick, though it’s hard to imagine why they’d be interested resolving closer while opening a hole of their own at second base. Perhaps the three years of control on Kimbrel could sway them (or others) though.

In the end there’s no obvious solution but there’s also not a wrong one. If they hold on to Kimbrel, the Braves will retain the services of the best closer in baseball and have the opportunity to trade him later on… oh no. That’s why “investigate” was included above. In the end the answer might be that there’s nothing to the Braves liking, and that’s ok. Still though, they should keep an open mind, as it well could make them a better team.

Miami Marlins
The Move: Don’t Trade Giancarlo Stanton
The frustrating part of this exercise is that Ben and I wanted to be reasonable with our suggestions. Perhaps they’d stretch reality a bit because the particular team wouldn’t spend that type of money at this juncture, but we wanted to at least keep it in the realm of possibility. And that’s why the Marlins are so vexing. They’re not a bad team. They’re young and exciting, with real talent. Spending on some free agents to fill in the gaps could make this team very viable in the near future, but I can’t in good conscience make that my “move” because they’ve shown zero interest in doing so outside of a one year frenzy that they backtracked on a year later. In the meantime, we’ll work with a suggestion that seems more feasible, as it’s one that Miami management has already embraced.

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