From a major league standpoint, the Braves offseason features a more prominent list of departures than additions. This is to be expected when a team trades away its shortstop, center fielder and number one starter in the same offseason. In Andrelton Simmons the Braves dealt a known quantity who might one day be considered the greatest defensive player in baseball history, but in dealing him commodity they also relieved themselves of the $53 million remaining on his contract. Some may argue that 5 years, $53 million is a bargain for a premium shortstop, but the Braves felt differently, and instead of building around him they shipped him off to Los Angeles in exchange for youth and contractual control. This trade likely hurts the Braves in the short-term, but if Newcomb and/or Ellis reach their potential this could be a very nice trade for the future.
The Braves position player contingent also took a hit when the team dealt center fielder Cameron Maybin to the Detroit Tigers for two minor league arms. Maybin hit .267/.327/.370 with 23 stolen bases in Atlanta last season, and with his departure the Braves are likely to turn to veteran Michael Bourn as their everyday center fielder. Part of the reason for dealing Maybin (and maybe all of it) is the $9 million he is owed this season. Maybin spent much of the season batting second, and though he faded in the second half, it could be tough for the Braves to fill his shoes internally until some of their prospects arrive.
In addition to moving their shortstop, the Braves dealt their number one starter, Shelby Miller to Arizona for a massive haul. We can debate about the degree to which each side benefited from this move, but the fact remains that the Braves lost a very valuable asset, and will likely feel the effects of it this season. While Shelby Miller’s win-loss record may not indicate that he was an effective pitcher last season, his 3.02 ERA and 171 strikeouts tell a different story. Miller’s 2015 season included a 24-start losing streak that skewed his record considerably, but as his ERA would indicate, Miller was the victim of poor run support more than anything else. One of Miller’s greatest assets is the fact that he still has three years of team control before free agency, giving Arizona a window to compete with Zack Greinke and Miller anchoring the rotation. While he may not be a true ace in the vein of Greinke, Miller is a very solid starter and will undoubtedly be missed by the Braves this season.
In addition to trades, the Braves lost two major league contributors via waiver claims in first baseman Joey Terdoslavich and outfielder Todd Cunningham. Both players had seemingly fallen out of favor in Atlanta, and with the influx of talent making its way to Atlanta, neither Terdoslavich nor Cunningham were likely to make the opening day roster in 2016. In addition, the Braves lost several players who elected for free agency, such as pitchers Mike Minor, Peter Moylan, Edwin Jackson and Ross Detwiler. The Braves also lost catcher John Buck, infielder Pedro Ciriaco, and outfielder Eury Perez. Each of these players spent time in Atlanta, with Minor being the most prominent contributor of the group. Minor was drafted by Atlanta in 2009, and spent parts of five seasons with the major league club before undergoing shoulder surgery last May.