When Will the Atlanta Braves Get Back on Track? – MLB BaseballSaturday, September 12, 2015 13:00
The Atlanta Braves dominated mid-90s. When will they return?
When Will the Atlanta Braves Get Back on Track?
For Atlanta Braves fans, the mid-90s were a time unlike any other. Although the Braves only won a single world championship during the prestigious run, they made it to the World Series five times in eight years.
Now, though, we’re 20 years removed from Atlanta’s first ever World Series triumph over the New York Yankees in 1995 and 16 years removed from the team’s last trip to the Fall Classic. That’s a long time, and Braves have long wondered when this franchise will make its next run at a world title.
Unfortunately, the answer to that question probably isn’t one that Atlanta fans want to hear. The Braves haven’t won a playoff series since 2001, so a World Series crown seems to be many years off for this struggling franchise.
And it’s obvious at this point that the return to greatness won’t happen this season. Atlanta finds itself miles away from the top of the NL East (and mathematically out of the postseason), and with a losing streak down the stretch, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Braves could finish at the bottom of the division. They’re an astonishing 23.5 games behind, and only Philadelphia is further back at 25.
Considering that Atlanta just recently racked up eight losses in 10 games, things don’t look to be getting any better. This is a team with no direction and no immediate sign of change on the horizon. Sure, this is the same franchise that won 90+ games in 2012 and 2013, but the makeup of the team is so fundamentally different at this point that it’s hardly worth comparing them.
You can’t blame Atlanta fans for not knowing how to react. This team hasn’t been this bad in a long time. Usually when September rolls around, the Braves are looking to make their run at a Wild Card berth or division title. Not this year. Atlanta’s only goal right now seems to be avoiding a dreadful last place finish. Or is it?
Right now, the only move the Braves have left on the table is to rebuild, and they seem to be going about it in an unorthodox way. The Braves traded off several moderate to disappointing players at the deadline, including their former top prospect Jose Peraza. In return, they received a pair of decent pitchers, but more importantly, a Competitive Balance draft pick. It’s likely that they’re not interested in cobbling together a decent team with players already in the league, but building a team of green players into a cohesive team a few years from now.
Could Atlanta even be going as far as sabotaging this year’s record to beef up 2016’s roster? The team was playing solid .500 baseball through the beginning of the season, and if they Braves tank, they stand to win the number one draft pick next year. Assistant general manager John Coppolella denies any intentional foul play, but who wouldn’t?
Conspiracy theories aside, it’s clear that the Braves are pushing hard for a near complete overhaul of the team, and they’re investing heavily in the promise of talent that may not be there. If the Braves do get a fresh injection of high-quality talent next year, it still may take another season to refine those young players into a winning team. And if they wind up with a handful of duds on their hands, Atlanta could be out of the game for years to come.
There’s also the fact that if you’re building for the future, you aren’t doing anything right now. That never sits well with fans of the team, but if the Braves’ gambit for future talent pays off down the line, fans might have reason to look back at the 2015 season with something vaguely resembling fondness.
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