The Braves are rebuilding and, no matter what they say publicly, likely do not have winning as their top priority for the next year or two. They have a closer who has been amazing for five seasons and who just about any team would love to have. The universe of elite closers who remain elite beyond, say, seven years of dominance, is pretty damn small. Rivera, Hoffman and . . . um.
Yet, the Braves are not willing to sell high on a commodity a rebuilding team really doesn’t need:
The #Braves do not have any desire to trade Kimbrel. They remain optimistic about the upcoming season.
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) January 15, 2015
Maybe like that 2015 optimism, the lack of a desire to trade Kimbrel is baloney too. I guess one does better if one acts like it would pain them greatly to part with a player. And, of course, maybe it’s more palatable for ticket sales — and possibly for the haul in return — to wait until the new-look Braves are slogging along in fourth place before shopping Kimbrel.
But really, if the Braves are in the business of stockpiling prospects and shooting for 2017 — as most of their moves, as opposed to their words, suggest — trading Kimbrel right now would make a lot of sense.