MLB Offseason Analysis Series: Atlanta Braves

During the 2018 MLB Offseason, we will be doing an in depth look at each team’s situations for the offseason and offer some insights to what we believe would make sense.

We start off with the NL East, which looks to have one of the more fascinating winters upcoming.  With the Phillies, Braves, and Mets all possibly having large spending budgets, the Nationals facing a franchise-altering decision, and the Marlins being… well… the Marlins, it has all the makings of absolute chaos that hasn’t been seen since OJ decided to fire up the ol’ Bronco.

Comment below, hit us up with questions/thoughts on Twitter (@TheCombineBlog), or post your best NL East memes on our Facebook post and keep the discussion going.

Atlanta Braves

Departing Free Agents

Nick Markakis OF
Kurt Suzuki C
Anibal Sanchez SP
Brad Brach RP
Brandon McCarthy SP
Ryan Flaherty INF
Peter Moylan RP
Lucas Duda 1B
Rene Rivera C


  • ~$50M

Biggest Needs:

  1. RP
  2. RF
  3. C

Top FA Targets:

  • Bryce Harper, RF

I have been predicting for 2+ years now that the Braves sign Bryce Harper and I can’t go back on it now.  They have money to spend, a window to compete, and need a RF that can boost their offense… Harper checks all those boxes.  His bro-mance with Freddie Freeman could prove beneficial as Freeman nears the end of his respective contract, his bat would instantly make Atlanta fans forget about hating him, and his youth would make him about as good of any long-term, big money deal in MLB history.  The cherry on top is it will make the Nationals cringe every day as he resumes his potential Hall of Fame career on their divisional rival’s team. Braves GM Anthopoulos loves to make big splashes and it doesn’t get much bigger than this cannon-ball.


  • Craig Kimbrel, RP

The Braves need a closer and their old friend is available, fresh off winning a ring.  


  • Martin Maldonado, C

A defensive-minded catcher (postseason notwithstanding) would be great for a team developing young pitching.  If he can steal some strikes and gun down some baserunners, it could help those walk-happy kids avoid some damage.


  • David Robertson, RP

A reliable RP that avoids putting runners on base and has some closing experience would fit the Braves needs perfectly.  With his age, a 2-3 year deal wouldn’t handcuff the Braves financially if he begins to regress.


  • Asdrubal Cabrera, 2B/SS

The Braves got excellent production from Charlie Culberson in 2018, but they can’t expect that to repeat next year.  The bench would benefit from an experienced, versatile INF that can actually hit… no offense to Ryan Flaherty, but they need an upgrade.  Teams never know what can happen in a long season but depth never hurts.


Top 3 Trade Possibilities:

  • OF Cristian Pache, LHP Kolby Allard, and LHP Ricardo Sanchez to San Francisco for LHP Madison Bumgarner

The Giants have to trade MadBum and won’t find much better offers than the ace-needy Braves can offer.  MadBum is a country boy and could find himself with an extension in Atlanta. The Giants would be doing well to grab an excellent defensive player (Pache) to cover their enormous outfield, a LHP prospect (Allard) born in California, and a LHP prospect (Sanchez) that could be a solid bullpen piece if starting doesn’t pan out for him.


  • LHP Luis Gohara, LHP Kyle Muller, and C William Contreras to the Marlins for C JT Realmuto and INF Martin Prado

It’s no secret the Braves want Realmuto and it’s no secret Jeter is trying to trim payroll to maximize his bonus.  The Braves can take advantage of that and give up lower quality prospects in return for taking on Prado’s $15M 2019 salary.  Prado is a clubhouse leader that would mesh well with the youth movement and he is still a fan favorite in Atlanta.


  • Julio Teheran to San Diego for Hunter Renfroe, Austin Hedges, and Kirby Yates

With Julio Teheran clearly not having a role in the postseason and so many young arms on hand, it’s time to take advantage of a pitching needy team with surplus players you can buy low on.  In come the Padres with Hunter Renfroe in a logjam to fill Markakis position, Austin Hedges hits arbitration for the 1st time, and RP Kirby Yates with 2 years of team control left.  If you pair Renfroe with a LH bat in RF, say Carlos Gonzalez for example, you have a solid platoon to help an inconsistent offense.  Additionally, they add a reliable RP, a good defensive catcher, and boost the bench in the process. For the Padres, they receive a reliable arm that should fit in well in Petco Park at a very reasonable price.


Bold Prediction:

  • Braves trade SP Julio Teheran, SP Kevin Gausman, and a Low-A player to the Diamondbacks for SP Zack Greinke and $20M ($10M/yr for 2020 and 2021)  

With Teheran and Gausman projected to make about $20.5M in 2019, the Braves could clear 2 spaces in their rotation and add Greinke at a net cost of about $14M in 2019.  The Diamondbacks are losing SP Patrick Corbin and may be entering a make-or-break year before Goldschmidt hits free agency himself. Teheran is controlled thru 2020 season and could prove useful trade bait if they are unable to compete in 2019.


More MLB Offseason Predictions


Week 9 NFL DFS Picks

RowdyRotoJB gives his top NFL DFS picks for Week 9


Cam Newton, CAR vs TB (FD – $8,600, DK – $6,600)

The top play here is obvious and covered in chalk: Cam Newton at home vs the Bucs secondary that has allowed the most Passing TD to opposing QBs in 2018. In addition, the Bucs have switched back to Ryan FitzMagic under center, which should keep them in contention and has propelled the over/under up to 55, the 2nd highest on the main slate. Newton has scored over 24 FP in three straight contests, two against top ten secondaries. He costs less than Mahomes on both sites, and has the same monstrous ceiling in this match-up.

Russell Wilson, SEA vs LAC (FD – $7,700, DK – $5,900)

If you are looking for some variance from the pack, and to save some dough, Wilson has a very enticing match-up against the Bolts this week. The Chargers might not look like a secondary to exploit at first glance, but that is solely due to their recent opponents. In five of their first seven contests they faced BUF, SF, OAK, CLE, and TEN. If you wanted to inflate your team passing defense stats, that’s the path right there. In the other two games, Patrick Mahomes threw 4 TD and Jared Goff hung 354 yards on them. They have also given up the third most 20+ Yard receptions this season, which means Tyler Lockett and maybe even Doug Baldwin finally should be getting behind the safeties often. If you watched the Seahawks in Week 8, you saw Wilson tossing dimes down the field against the Lions secondary. The volume isn’t there still, but in what should be a shootout with Philip Rivers – Pete Carroll is going to have to rely on Wilsons arm like the good ol’ times when he was a top 3 fantasy QB.

Running Back

Kareem Hunt, KC @ CLE (FD – $8,500, DK – $7,700)

I am expecting things to be pretty out of hand in this game by the second half. There is a reason the Browns allow 138.9 Rushing Yards per Game and the most Rushing TD in the league. With that being said, Hunt should see plenty of volume this week, and he will feast. He is already up to 10 TD on the season, just 1 shy of his 2017 total. He should tie and pass that number against CLE.

Isaiah Crowell, NYJ @ MIA (FD – $5,700, DK – $4,200)

I hate relying on Crowell for anything as much as you, especially with money on the line. But give me the ball against this Dolphins defense and I’m going to return value at this price. The Phins are allowed 143.1 Rushing Yards per game in 2018. They let Lamar Miller run for 133 and a score last week. LAMAR MILLER. Kerryon Johnson ran for 158 the week before that. A LIONS RUNNING BACK. I know Crowell shat the bed in Week 2 against this team, but that was back when Sam Darnold had a plethora of healthy WR to throw to, even Bilal Powell. He threw 41 passes for 334 yards. He hasn’t sniffed that since. If the Jets want to win this Divisional match-up, they are going to have to run Crowell into the ground. Here’s to hoping Todd Bowles recognizes that.

Wide Receiver

Cooper Kupp, LAR @ NO (FD – $6,800, DK – $6,000)

I’m not paying up for a WR this week, and Kupp is going to be my anchor of value studs. Coming off his knee injury, his price is as low as it will be for the rest of the year. The Saints have been lit up through the air this season, giving up 300 yards per game, a 15:3 TD:INT ratio, and a 70.1 Cmp%. Adam Thielen enjoyed success from the slot last week, and Kupp will have a big welcome back party against PJ Williams.  Goff gets his go-to WR back, and Kupp looks to continue his 15.2 FP/G season.

D.J. Moore, CAR vs TB (FD – $5,300, DK – $4,300)

You like stacking your QB with his weapons? Well, it doesn’t get much better than finding one for this cheap. Torrey Smith has already been ruled out for Week 9, and Moore is coming off a 5 Rec, 90 Yds performance against the toughest defense in football. We already discussed the Bucs woes in defending the pass. This is an easy choice.

Honorable Mentions: Kenny Golladay & Marvin Jones Jr, DET @ MIN

Tight End

David Njoku, CLE vs KC (FD – $5,200, DK – $4,600)

Fool me once, shame on you. Njoku ain’t fooling anyone this week though. There is no way a new head coach and OC walk into their new office and think, “Let’s avoid Njoku again this week, that seemed to work out well last time.” The Chiefs have allowed the 3rd most FP to opposing TEs this week, and expecting to be playing from behind early – Mayfield is going to target Njoku heavily to keep the chains moving. Before the dud in Week 8, Njoku had 4 consecutive games with 50+ yards, and TDs in two straight.

Greg Olsen, CAR vs TB (FD – $6,200, DK – $4,700)

I’m not going to pay an extra thousand to play Olsen on FanDuel, but being only 100 bucks more than Njoku on DraftKings makes it an easy call to stack along with D.J. Moore. Olsen has scored in consecutive weeks, and facing the 2nd most generous defense to the TE position.


Chicago Bears @ BUF (FD – $5,400, DK – $4,100)

Nathan Peterman. That is all.


Week 9 NFL Picks ATS

The Rowdy Sports Guys JB and Ron at The Combine team up with Kingy, Wai, Joe, and Kev to bring you their Week 9 NFL picks ATS

Welcome to Week 9 of the NFL season, fellow degenerates. We knocked out some NCAAF picks against the spread yesterday, so we called on a few more buddies today to help us with Sunday’s madness. Today we have some more RotoBallers Kingy and Wai joining Joe and RotoSurgeon-Kev, along with RowdyRotoJB and CombineRon . Here is the final product:


The Majority Picks

  1. Bears (-10.0)
  2. Bears @ Bills – UNDER 37.5
  3. Chiefs (-8.5)
  4. Chiefs @ Browns – Over 52.5
  5. Jets @ Dolphins – OVER 43.5
  6. Vikings (-5.5)
  7. Lions @ Vikings – OVER 48.5
  8. Falcons (+2.0)
  9. Buccaneers @ Panthers – OVER 55.0
  10. Steelers (+3.0)
  11. Texans (+1.0)
  12. Texans @ Broncos – OVER 46
  13. Chargers @ Seahawks – OVER 47.5
  14. Saints (+2.5)
  15. Rams @ Saints – OVER 57.5
  16. Patriots (-5.5)
  17. Packers @ Patriots – UNDER 56.5
  18. Titans (+5.5)

The Unanimous Top Rowdy Pick

  1. Panthers (-6.5)


Agree or disagree with our picks? Which guy you see finishing with the highest percentage this week? Leave a comment or hit us up on Twitter!

Week 10 NCAAF Picks ATS

The Rowdy Sports Guys JB and El Presidente Josh are joined by RotoSurgeon Kev and Joe Nicely to share their Week 10 NCAAF Picks ATS

Happy Saturday folks. Us here at The Combine like to gamble, so we decided to share that passion with the readers. For Week 10, we brought some help over from our friends at RotoBaller – Kev (@RotoSurgeon), and Joe (@JoeNicely) to partner with RowdyRotoJB and ElPresidenteJosh. Here is the final product:


The Consensus Majority Picks

  1. Louisville (+39.5)
  2. Penn State (+12.5)
  3. Michigan v Penn State – UNDER 53.5
  4. Georgia (-9.0)
  5. Georgia @ Kentucky – OVER 44.5
  6. Ohio State v Nebraska – UNDER 73.5
  7. Florida (-6.0)
  8. West Virginia (+2.0)
  9. Iowa (+2.5)
  10. Iowa @ Purdue – UNDER 51.0
  11. Syracuse (-6.5)
  12. Texas A&M (+4.0)
  13. Boston College @ Virginia Tech – UNDER 57.5
  14. Fresno State @ UNLV – UNDER 61.0

Our Unanimous TOP ROWDY PICKS of Week 10

  1. Alabama @ LSU – UNDER 53.5
  2. Clemson v Louisville – OVER 61.5
  3. Oklahoma (-13.0)
  4. Washington State (-9.5)
  5. Ohio State (-19.0)
  6. Florida v Missouri – UNDER 57.0
  7. West Virginia @ Texas – OVER 57.5
  8. Mississippi State (-23.5)
  9. Syracuse @ Wake Forrest – UNDER 77.5
  10. NC State (-9.0)
  11. NC State v Florida State – OVER 53.5
  12. Iowa State (-15.0)
  13. Iowa State @ Kansas – OVER 46.5


Opinions are like butts, everyone’s got one. So what is your opinion on the picks? Who is going to finish Saturday with the highest percentage? Leave a comment below or hit us up on Twitter!