It’s hard to figure out when the Braves are going to be excellent again, in other words. Could be next year. Could be three years from now. A wholly in-house rebuild is a tricky thing to pull off, even if they already have Freddie Freeman and a couple of other major parts already in place. It’s hard to push everything off until 2021 because the prospects could arrive next year. It’s hard to go all in for next season because the prospects might not arrive until 2021.
The solution is a middle ground, like Gray. He’s under team control for the next two seasons, and he would help the Braves bridge the gap between the R.A. Dickey present and the Ian Anderson future. If the roster solidifies in the meantime, that’s great. They’d have a young all-star. If the roster takes its sweet time, they get to exchange Gray for some of the prospects they lost to get him.
And the Braves most certainly do have the prospects to get him. More than any other team, they have the prospects, the need, and the desire.
Just a week ago, it didn’t feel like the Rangers were going to trade Yu Darvish. Now, though, it seems almost assured, as they’ve decided that they’re not only out of the postseason race in 2017, but that the return for Darvish in a trade is worth more to them than the exclusive negotiating window keeping him would give them. That much comes from Ken Rosenthal’s latest on Darvish, while more explicit mention of trading then re-signing Darvish comes from the Star-Telegram’s Jeff Wilson.
The Dodgers are the primary suitor for Darvish, but per Rosenthal, Darvish also isn’t their top target, as they’re looking at Orioles closer Zach Britton and are considered the backup plan for Sonny Gray should the Yankees fail to make a deal for the A’s starter. The Yankees are in the opposite scenario, where they’re looking at Gray and see Darvish as a secondary option.