A 7-2 loss to the New York Mets last Thursday officially eliminated the Atlanta Braves from playoff contention in 2015. However, a set of moves in the offseason, including one a day before Opening Day, signaled that Atlanta was not looking to contend, but build for the future. Here are some of the key events that led to the Braves' 57-89 record this season:
Craig Kimbrel traded just prior to Opening Day
As the season-opening matchup between the Cardinals and Cubs got underway on ESPN, just one day before the rest of baseball started its season, the Braves announced they had traded closer Crarig Kimbrel, along with outfielder Melvin Upton Jr., to the Padres in exchange for a package that included outfielder Cameron Maybin, pitcher Matt Wisler and a competitive balance draft pick.
In Atlanta, Maybin had his best season since 2011, hitting .265/.329/.377 with 10 home runs in 127 games. Wisler, a 22-year-old, also saw time with the Braves, pitching 80⅓ innings with a 5.60 ERA and 1.62 WHIP.
Freddie Freeman injured
Atlanta's star first baseman has been limited to jut 103 games this year after suffering a wrist injury in mid-June and missing nearly six weeks of action. In the time he has played, Freeman has hit .277/.367/.466 with 16 home runs, his lowest output since 2012.
Shelby Miller's inexplicable winless streak
In his first season with the Braves after coming over from St. Louis in a trade for outfielder Jason Heyward, pitcher Shelby Miller is in the midst of an inexplicable winless streak. Miller has not won any of his last 22 starts, despite posting a 3.68 ERA in that span. It is the longest winless streak in history for any pitcher in the same season that he was an All-Star.
Despite a very solid 3.00 ERA and 1.24 WHIP, Miller leads the league with 15 losses thanks to the worst run support in baseball.
This season was a lost one for Atlanta, but they have begun to amass a set of young players that could have them in contention in the near future.