Braves 11, Mets 3 (Saturday); Braves 3, Mets 2 (Sunday)

Sorry for the lack of a recap of yesterday’s game. By scoring 11 runs, the Braves equalled their run total for the previous five games combined, and had their greatest offensive outburst since August 8. Today, their offense was much more like what we’ve been used to, as the Braves scored just two runs in regulation and finally scored a third to win it in the 10th inning. But the pitching held firm and the Braves secured the sweep with their sixth win in their past seven games. Sure, IWOTM, but it’s awfully nice to send Chipper home from Queens with one last sweep.

Aside from the outburst yesterday, the Braves scored 3 runs in games 1 and 3, and that’s about what we’ve come to expect from this sputtering lineup. (The heroes — Uggla and McCann — were not what you’d expect, nor would you expect Chipper to sign off from New York by going 0-7 with two walks, but more on that later.)

Here’s the Braves’ team ERA by month and OPS by month (won-loss record by month):
April: 3.94 ERA, .733 OPS (14-9)
May: 4.48 ERA, .728 OPS (14-15)
June: 3.53 ERA, .728 OPS (13-12)
July: 3.37 ERA, .741 OPS (18-8)
August: 2.94 ERA, .699 OPS (15-14)
September: 2.20 ERA, .683 OPS (7-2)

The Braves’ pitching staff is simply devastating right now. Since July 1, the Braves’ team ERA is 3.01 and runs allowed average is 3.34, which means that if the offense averages 3 runs a game from here on out, then the Braves will basically break even, and if the offense can manage four a game then we’ve got a chance to do some serious damage.

The team is well-positioned because many of the team’s best players were not on the squad in the early months. Of the top four starting pitchers, only Tim Hudson and Mike Minor were in the rotation to start the year, and Minor sucked for most of the first half before turning it around. Paul Maholm has pitched about as well as he possibly could have, and Kris Medlen has been better than anyone could possibly have imagined.

Meanwhile, Andrelton Simmons is scheduled to rejoin the team tomorrow. And while Paul Janish had played truly sparkling defense, his offense has been so brutal that he has been literally worth 0 fWAR and -0.1 rWAR. With Simmons in the middle of the infield, the Braves’ pitching staff is likely to be stingier than ever, but the offense won’t give up quite as many outs.

The most important offensive development of the Mets series, though, was this:

Uggla and McCann927.550.583.950
Rest of the Braves8310.211.280.356

I don’t know if the Braves pitchers can continue to allow fewer than 3 runs a game, and I don’t know if Dan Uggla and Brian McCann can keep hitting.

But I do know that if those things happen, then we’re going to win. Not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven…

86 thoughts on “Braves 11, Mets 3 (Saturday); Braves 3, Mets 2 (Sunday)”

  1. If the braves pitch, Uggla and McCann hit and Fredi keeps using his head while managing the pen, this year may get very interesting.

  2. JC’d:

    Braves Postgame Report Report:

    When asked about his favorite Chipper in New York moment, Brian Jordan said (paraphrasing), “the 9/11 game… 9/11 was such a great day for everyone.”

    Yeah, I know what he meant. He probably should have thrown a “first game after” somewhere in his answer, though.

    In Fredi’s interview, he was probably asked about five different times about Kimbrel in the ninth. I’m pretty sure the media/Chip and Joe would have been less dumbfounded if Fredi had telepathically summoned a Martian (even if it were a right-handed Martian to face the two lefties). To his credit, Fredi cited the heart of the Mets lineup, etc. as reasons to go with Kimbrel. Hopefully the intense withering scorn (relative to their usual yes-man status) of the media won’t scare Fredi off making optimal game decisions.

  3. I hope Prado gets some MVP love for how he’s been deployed this season, and how consistent he’s been.

  4. This series with the Brewers is going to be tough but man it’d be nice to go into the weekend series with the Nats and be 5 games out or better. If you let yourself imagine two more sweeps then maybe the division is actually within reach.

  5. I definitely think the roster has worked out to peak at the right time. A rotation of Hudson, Maholm, Minor, and Medlen in the playoffs would be competitive, and if McCann and Uggla could even be league average, we could be viable in the playoffs.

    I’m really interested to see who emerges as the back of the bullpen and the bench. September roster expansion has turned bench at-bats into Spring Training with players vying for playoff spots. Who will be on the bench between Overbay/Hinske/Baker/Janish/Pastornicky/Francisco/Johnson? I’m assuming Francisco and Johnson are locks, so who becomes a good fit based on where everyone else can play?

    Also, who is “The Third Catcher”?

  6. I think they’d probably go for Janish over Pastornicky, considering that Prado’s defensive flexibility basically makes the Rev redundant. It’s been interesting to see how few chances they’ve given Baker: I could see them trying to carry him in the traditional Folk Hero role, but he’d have to slug his way onto the roster first.

    Overbay vs. Hinske, ugh. Even though Eric hit a mammo yicketty on Saturday, I still don’t want him on the playoff roster. Great guy and he was great for us the past two years. But I could not possibly trust him in a playoff at-bat.

  7. God. That was so brutal, because I was SURE the Braves were going to win the game after that HR.

    On recent events, go Braves pitching! Go Fredi’s bullpen management! Go Uggla and McCann being the hitting heros for the weekend!

    I’m glad Chipper got (most of) the day off today, and I hope he takes a few extra the rest of the way. He’s been struggling a bit, and when he does that, I tend to think an extra day off here and there is the right way to fix it. With Simmons coming back and Reed Johnson giving us a pretty good option against a LHP, the lineup doesn’t look quite so baron without Chipper as it once did.

  8. Nothing about the way the Braves have played against the Nationals in the recent past, especially this year, inspires any confidence that they will sweep them after this Brewers series.

  9. With 21 games left, the Braves must play them one game at a time (from Cliche Central).

    Nice write up, AAR (let’s recap two!).

    I am uncertain of the playoff roster rules; but the last I remember or misremember, for a player to be eligible for the postseason, he must have been in the Braves’ system before September 1.

    Does this mean that Mejia, Gattis and other non-40 man roster players are eligible? If so, perhaps the possibilities are not limited to Hinske, Overbay and Baker.

    Knowing nothing and unwilling to “LOOK IT UP,” what are the Braves’ playoff roster options?

  10. Unless the rules have changed recently, I’m pretty sure that to be eligible for the playoff roster you have to be on the 25 man roster or on the DL as of Aug 31. That means none of the Sept call-ups are eligible. The exception is that you can replace someone that is injured with someone from the 40-man roster that plays the same position.

  11. Stu, were you able to watch the Vandy game? After the opening drive I thought NU was going to take a good old fashioned ass kicking, especially given that Syracuse put up 28 points on them passing the ball and Jordan to Jordan looked unstoppable.

  12. Didn’t Hudson start the season on the DL? So, officially, the only pitcher of the top 4 that was in the rotation on Opening Day was MiMi. (Although, I’m sure that he meant Hudson was PLANNED to be in the rotation, so I am probably picking nits here.)

    And McCann really scorched that ball in the 10th. The RF’er was lucky not to have it go straight through his hand leaving a Bugs Bunny-like baseball-sized circle in his palm.

  13. Maybe this team is going to get hot at the right time. Really enjoyed watching Uggla and Bmac swinging the bats in this past series.

  14. Looking forward to a stellar offensive and defensive team on the field tonight behind Minor. Hadn’t done this in a while…

    WAR Leaders (NL)
    Bourn- 3rd (jumped McCutchen)
    Heyward- 6th (jumped by Headley)
    Prado- 14th
    Freeman- 65th
    McCann- 67th
    Simmons- 76th (Man, where would he have been if not for the injury)

    Pitching (top 100)
    Medlen- 19th
    Kimbrel- 22nd
    Hudson- 38th
    Beachy- 58th (tear…)
    Delgado- 82nd
    Lisp- 93rd

  15. 6yr/90 million? The Braves have the flexibility to sign Bourn to this kind of deal but that’d be close to maxing out the budget before addressing LF (assuming Prado moves to 3b). I’d love for the Braves to trade Hanson for someone like Todd Frazier who can add to the roster’s flexibility and RH presence in the lineup. Therefore, Francisco can get some starts at 3b in good matchups. I’d be down for some weird platoon that gives Heyward, Freeman, Uggla, and Prado needed rest, and acquiring Frazier would provide that flexibility. However, I’m sure the Reds know that as well.

  16. Are we OK with magic numbers after last year’s unpleasantness? If so, ours to clinch a playoff spot is 15, and to clinch home-field in the wild card game is 17. I’ll lay off on our odds to make the playoffs for now. I don’t wanna push it, after all.

  17. Before we talk magic numbers, let’s see if we can take 2/3 from the Brewers. I’m going to punt on the Gallardo game.

  18. @23: So you’s dtill give him 90 million, but only ask for 5 years of his service. I bet he’d go for that! Ryan: what does your “max out” calculation assume about catcher?

  19. @2 – “It was one of those situations in the ninth, Roger and I talked it over, they’ve got Davis and Duda coming up, and really you feel comfortable – it’s first time I’ve done it, bringing closer in a tie game on the road – but you feel with the way our pitching matched up later in the game, that that was the game right there.” – Fredi on using Kimbrell in the 9th yesterday.

    Big props to him for making what appears to have been a well-reasoned decision. I’m far from liking Fredi, but I think that I might not actively hate him anymore. He seems almost adaptable sometimes.

  20. 5/65 is the most I’d go for Bourn and that won’t get it done.

    Also, read a lot of harping on Fredi for the sac bunt in the first (which I also hate), but isn’t it possible if not likely that Prado did that on his own. I know Prado’s done that on his own in the past.

  21. Can’t screw around with the brew crew. Gotta win them all to set up the most important series at the ted since I don’t know when.

    I think the Nats are due for a slide at some point. They were but a Health Bell melt down from getting swept this weekend and will have to face Dickey in the Mets series.

  22. 4/60 would be the most I would go for Bourn. Gives him the average salary he might like, but cushions the braves as far as number of years.

  23. Could it happen again?

    Let’s say Bama’s only loss is to LSU at Red Stick in a very close game.

    Assume also that the University of Spoiled Children beats Oregon twice but stumbles once along the way.

    Assume also that Oklahoma and Texas have at least one loss.

    Assume no one in the Big Ten not named Ohio State is worth a damn (well, that’s a given) and assume Notre Dame has two or more losses.

    Assume LSU beats UGA in the SEC Title Game.

    Bama v. LSU in the BCS Championship? Again?

    The screaming and whining would be unbearable, but damn if I don’t think the two best teams in the country are LSU and Bama. Again.

  24. @33 – I’d say there’s not a chance in hell of that happening, but I also thought that the Nats wouldn’t actually shut down their ace before the playoffs, so clearly anything is possible.

    The best way to avoid the screaming and whining is for UGA to win the SEC…just sayin ;-)

  25. That McCann’s option will be picked up at 12.5 million.

    Bourn value by year since ’09:

    Paying Bourn to play defense, get on base, and steal bases through age 36 is much less of a gamble than signing McCann to an extension. I’d pay the man.

  26. 33,

    Definitely could happen again, but I’m thinking an undefeated Michigan State from the Big 10 is going to earn the right to be ceremoniously slaughtered by an SEC team in January.

    As much as I like the Bulldogs, I think, sadly, Georgia is going to drop at least 1 game to a no-name before all is said and done.

  27. 35,

    100% agree. Bourn is a better Center Fielder than McCann is a catcher. I don’t understand the unwillingness to give Bourn at least $100, which is what he deserves.

  28. USC will stumble along the way, they always do. Its too early to start picking the best two or three teams. If Bama doesnt keep McCarron healthy they dont have a shot.

  29. Furthermore, if we’re going to continue to be a franchise that’s pitching first, keeping this defensive trio (or at least Heyward and Bourn)together should be top priority. A team of Freeman, Uggla, Simmons, Prado, Swisher,Bourn, Heyward, and McCann would be the balls!

  30. @37

    Yeah, I’m kind of baffled by the lame numbers some people are throwing around. Anyone who’s not willing to offer 5/$90 needs to get serious about the situation. That still might not get him BTW, but it’s at least a serious offer.


    I find it difficult to see how anyone knows where LSU really stands until they play a team with a pulse. Washington may be in the Pac-12, but they do not have a pulse.

  31. How do folks here reach the conclusion that Bourn is worth $100M+ for his next contract? He’s an older and less accomplished (at similar age) Andrew McCutchen who was signed for something like 5/$50M. Bourn will certainly get substantially more than that, but nearly $20M/year seems way high end to me. I’d be stunned if the Braves committed $100M to anyone at this stage.

  32. Chipper is just obliterating Mets fans on Twitter.

    Kat25Farrell: “@RealCJ10 Larry u are the Anti-Christ of the Mets, u are a STD that will Never go away.I hate u!!!#hardcoremetsfan”

    RealCJ10: “@Kat25Farrell Ha! Funny that a jilted mets fan would point the camera at its best feature. Not much above the shoulders,huh?”

  33. #33
    A lotta maybes at this point. Just gotta survive week by week & see where everyone ends up.

    By “no-name,” do you simply mean “unranked”?

    If not, which no-name? Florida Atlantic? Georgia Southern? Ole Miss? Is Vandy a no-name?

    If & when they lose to a school on its current schedule, barring catastrophic injury (like Aaron Murray), it won’t be to a no-name. It’ll be to Tennessee or South Carolina or Florida or Auburn or Tech, etc.

    They had a great 2nd half Saturday night, but I still can’t say how confident I feel about them playing a full 60 minutes vs. a good team. I still think Carolina is the SEC East team to beat & I wouldn’t sleep on Tennessee either.

  34. 40

    Well Juan Pierre is the main reason I wouldn’t come close to 5/90. Not a perfect comparison since Bourn’s defense is better but through their first 7 seasons, Pierre’s oWAR was 12.2 compared to 11.5 for Bourn (Bourn 8.5 dWAR to 2.0 for Pierre). Then Pierre got 5/44 from the Dodgers and most called it a horrible contract as his oWAR for the next 5 years was 4.5 and his dWAR was -4.5. While I wouldn’t expect Bourn to fall off as much especially defensively, I’d expect about 2-2.5 WAR/yr which just isn’t worth 20% of the team’s payroll.

  35. I think it just depends on the opportunity cost (if one even exists) and what else we might be able to spend that money on. I also think WAR over-values speedy CFs, but that’s a different conversation completely. Bourn is definitely an awesome player and I’d love to keep him, but not at the expense of hampering our ability to improve the team elsewhere.

    It’s not my money so I’d be happy to pay everyone…but we do have limited resources.

  36. Bourn’s high K numbers make it difficult to find many adequate comps, and also form the basis of my worry in signing him to too long a contract. Bill North seems like the best comp to me — and we would be somewhat disappointed in that outcome. But that’s not enough data to draw a conclusion.

  37. @41,

    Okay, here are three basic rules of salaries in baseball (there are many more, but this should clear things up):

    Rule 1: Players under the initial 6-year team contractual obligation do not get paid market value.

    McCutchen was about to enter his first season of arbitration, meaning that the Pirates still had 3 years of control over him. In arbitration, players will never, ever make as much as they would in free agency. This is a historical fact, and a modern rule. If McCutchen was going to free agency at the time (which Bourn is going into now), he would make at least $200 million over 9 years.

    Rule 2: Players that sign an extension with their original team usually follow contract extensions of similarly aged and similarly performing players that play similar positions.

    In this case, McCutchen signed a contract that was the exact same as Justin Upton’s contract extension (6 years/51.25 million) and Jay Bruce’s contract extension (6 years/51 million). With pre-arb and arb players, the market for similar players determines your contract framework, and it’s pretty much a given now days that you earn something similar to that.

    Rule 3: In Free Agency, injury-free players are usually payed 5.5 million per year per win on average, with the length of the contract varying based on the player’s past performance.

    Again, McCutchen would stand to make something around $200 million in free agency. He is not a free agent. Michael Bourn is a free agent. Bourn has averaged somewhere around 5.3 wins in these last four years. Assuming that he has 5 win talent for next year (a completely reasonable assumption, and it’s a tremendous step back from this year). Also, the value of a win in the market has been shown to increase around 10% a year (and this is not projecting the huge cash influx with the next TV contracts that are going to hit the league, at which point you may see salary inflation of up to 20%). Also, players that enter their thirties usually regress at about .5 wins/year.


    2013: 5 wins, $27.5 million
    2014: 4.5 wins, $27.23 million
    2015: 4 wins, $26.62 million
    2016: 3.5 wins, $25.6 million
    2017: 3 wins, $24.15 million
    TOTAL: 20 wins, $131.1 million

    And again, that’s assuming he takes a step back of around 2 WAR from this year. If he doesn’t, then you can assume he’s a 6 WAR player, and he stands to provide around 170 million in value in the next five years.

    Now, I will admit that individuals that are much, much smarter than me and spend their days, nights, and weekends studying baseball came up with these numbers. These people know what they’re talking about. And if you’re Michael Bourn’s agent, you’re not accepting $50 million for your player if you can definitely show that he’s worth more than $100 million.

  38. 45,

    I used to root much harder for Georgia when I lived there before I attended BYU and now, Ohio State. I really followed the team from ’04 to ’08, and I couldn’t help that they always seemed to lose to teams that had no business beating them. I think, historically, ‘no-name’ wouldn’t be accurate, as the following teams are definitely historically relevant programs, but considering this year’s schedule, I wouldn’t be surprised if a ‘no-name’ team like Florida Atlantic or even Georgia Southern pulled out a miracle. I just kinda got used to watching them lose year-in, and year-out, so it’s just kind of my attitude about the program.

    2006 Georgia, ranked as high as #7 before losses to #14 Vanderbilt and unranked Kentucky and unranked Vanderbilt.

    2005 Georgia, ranked #4 before losses to #18 Auburn and #17 Florida.

    2004 Georgia, ranked #3 before a loss to #17 Tennessee.

    2007 Georgia, ranked #12 before losses to unranked South Carolina and unranked Tennessee.

    2008 Georgia, ranked #1 to start the season before losses to #22 Georgia Tech, #8 Florida, and #10 Alabama

  39. As a back-of-the-envelope calculation, desert, that’s pretty good, I think. there are three free agent center fielders worth having, I think. (I haven’t actually looked at the whole list, so somebody tell me if I’m wrong.) BJ Upton, Bourn, and Burn In Hell. I suspect the Phillies want Bourn back, which is part of why they felt fine losing Burn In Hell. The only way they know they could get Bourn back is to know they could outbid the Braves for him. Since the Braves can afford at most around $100 million, he has to be worth more than that. (I admit Upton is a bit of a wild card here, and there’s always a chance the Philles thought of Victorino as a lease.)

  40. #52
    That ought to tell you not to pay attention to national rankings & maybe try something the pollsters don’t do enough of–actually watching the games yourself.

    FWIW, the fact that Tennesse was unranked at gametime didn’t seem to prevent them from playing in (and damn-near winning)the SEC title game that year.

    BTW, I’m not sure those examples support any argument that UGA will lose to a school like Florida Atlantic. Each year is different, but those programs don’t match up at all. Fla-Atl is playing UGA a paycheck, that’s all.

    UGA has certainly had its relative disappointments, but it almost never loses games where they’re favored by, say, 3 TDs. They’re not going to lose to those schools either.

  41. 53,

    Thanks. I might add Josh Hamilton to that list, but it’s really debatable given his likely demands and history (injury and otherwise). I would expect the Phillies to balk at Bourn’s price, but then again, it’s Ruben Amaro, so he’ll probably sign Bourn, Hamilton, Chipper Jones, and trade for Vin Scully.

  42. gotta love twitter…

    •nope RT @BravesLarry: .@ajcbraves Any chance, with Prado’s stellar D at SS, that Simmons could be tried in LF or take Uggla’s spot at 2B? 2 hours ago

  43. 54,

    I’m definitely going to defer to the person that follows UGA football and watches every game. I’m not arguing that Florida Atlantic or Georgia Southern will, in a thousand seasons, beat Georgia. My original answer was to justhank at 33, who said that Georgia was going to get to the SEC title game. My intention was to say that Georgia wouldn’t make it because it’ll drop a game or two to a team that it should beat, and my reason behind it was the disappointment that I seemed to suffer at their performance during the years that I followed them.

    I said I wouldn’t be surprised at a loss because I’m used to it, not because I actually expect it.

  44. I think Tennessee is still too one-dimensional to compete for the East this year. No running game and a mediocre defense makes it tough to win week in and week out. Their passing game is fun to watch, though. I think the ole Meteor game this weekend should be pretty competitive for the first time in a while.

  45. @55, you say they’ll balk, but I don’t know that they can afford to with an aging team that’s going to miss the playoffs. (I admit I had no analysis here. I just like writing that Phillies aren’t going to make the playoffs.) Let me do it one more time: The Phillies aren’t going to make the playoffs. (OK… until they’re mathematically eliminated, let’s just whisper it.)

  46. I heard Sutton say on the radio that he believes Prado is currently better than about half of the NL shortstops defensively. I highly question the acuracy of this statement. I like Prado, but there’s a reason that the Braves have felt he’s best suited for 2B/3B and LF. As for the tweet at 57, it reminds me of why I don’t check the ajc site very often anymore.

  47. Please do.

    If the Vols win this weekend, they have a shot to win the east.

    I’m reasonably certain I have no impact on college football games, though the key word there is “reasonable.” Because you never know.

  48. Dave Cameron wrote about Angel Pagan the other day, and mentioned that he was almost as productive as a guy like Bourn despite having almost none of the name recognition. It’s an interesting point. If you could trade for a Denard Span or sign an Angel Pagan for much less, would you do it?

    The upside would be extra money for LF and SP. The downside would be you take a step down in CF.

  49. Fun Fact:

    Pagán was given the nickname “El Caballo Loco” or “Crazy Horse” by his Mets teammates

  50. Simmons back in there. Nice lineup:

    #Braves lineup: Bourn CF Prado LF Heyward RF Jones 3B Freeman 1B Uggla 2B McCann C Simmons SS Minor P

  51. If Uggla and McCann hit at 75% of their career norms and Simmons hits 60% as well as he did before he got injured, that’s the best lineup in the National League.

  52. desert, interesting stuff, but I have to admit that all of the analysis and benchmarking you offer is news to me. I’m no GM, of course, but still … how do you figure the length of contract based on past performance? That seems to be the major factor in this analysis.

    Even so, the yearly contract amounts seem overstated by these metrics. Here’s a link to ESPN’s list of all outfielder free agent contracts signed prior to the 2012 season.

    Just a quick eyeball review doesn’t seem to verify the $/WAR benchmarks you offer. Cuddyer with the biggest contract by total amount is in the ballpark. He was a 2.5 WAR player (ignoring the injury year where he didn’t play much) and signed a 3/$31M contract as a 32 year-old. If you take 2 years off his contract to account for age difference, that’s a projection of something like 3/$33M.

    But other examples don’t work. Josh Willingham was basically a 3 WAR player and signed a 3/$21M contract as a 32 year-old, well under these projections.

    Carlos Beltran was a 4.5 WAR player (even considering the injury year) and signed a 2/$26M contract that would have been something more like 2/$46 by these metrics.

    All that goes to say, I don’t think Bourn is a $130M man.

  53. It’ll be interesting to see how much Bourn gets as a FA, but I’d be quite surprised to see him pull in a 6 year / $100M deal or something like that. As good as he’s been defensively, we’re still talking about a guy who has limited offensive value – his career line (compiled in good hitters’ parks) is .274 / .339 / .367. Granted, he’s having a career year this season (due to a few more HRs than usual), but there’s no real reason to think his increase in power is sustainable. Going forward, it’s fair to suspect he’ll hit around his career average line – in a given season, maybe 90 R / 3 HR / 45 RBI / 45 SB / .700 OPS. Frankly, there aren’t any good historical FA contract comps for Bourn. Given that the market doesn’t pay for defensive WAR to the same extent they pay for power (or even OBP skills), I would guess Bourn ends up with something in the range of 5 years, $75M, basically right at the upper range of what the Braves might be able to afford.

    It’ll be interesting to see what Bourn gets relative to Upton, Victorino, and Pagan (and Hamilton, though he’s a different kind of player with different risks/benefits).

    Also @68 – Studies have shown that FA contracts pay, on average, roughly 5.5 WAR, but that’s with an enormous caveat relating to player age/health, with a definite premium for power hitters. Willingham and Beltran were definitely great deals; I think both were discounted relative to WAR due to injury concerns.

  54. Bourn scares me, frankly, not because he’s not a good player but his skills don’t seem to translate well in the long run. He’s a great outfielder but with little power (although he has shown more this year) and not really great on-base skills. If you could freeze him in place at his current age and skill level, he would be worth the money but I’m not so sure going forward. More to point, what someone is worth depends on what you can afford. I’m sure a Rolls-Royce is worth every penny to someone that can afford it but not to me. Even with the money coming off the books, I don’t think the Braves can afford a player like Bourn. It sucks, but that’s life.

  55. The thing to worry about with Bourne is that he’s over 30, and the best way to make a mistake in free agency is to give a long-term deal to a good-but-not-elite player entering their 30s. Bourne has had a good career and a really nice peak, but he’s not an elite guy, and this is almost certainly his career year. This is his age 29 season, so he’s right on the boarder.

    I’ll say this: I’d be much more comfortable with 3/51 than I would be with 5/75

  56. My guess is he’ll get a 5 or 6-year deal somewhere, and that it won’t be in Atlanta. That said, I’d think seriously about giving him that deal… if a guy like Pagan isn’t available for substantially less, and if it doesn’t jeopardize extending Heyward.

  57. @76

    I would like to believe that actually makes him the player having the third best season in the NL, I really would.

  58. I wouldn’t pay Bourn all the money. I’d park Heyward in center, and find a RF.

    I miss Mac, but the quality of recaps and posts on this site has been stellar since we lost him. I read desert, and found myself informed. Then I read JeffK, and appreciated the discourse. Mac would be proud.

    Sam, what do you think we should do with Bourn?

    I cannot wait to see Simmons back at short tonight.

  59. I would like to believe that actually makes him the player having the third best season in the NL, I really would.

    So… the people that get paid to figure out player values for a living, with their abundance of data, made a model that takes nothing but performance (no name, no legacy, no preconceived notions of value). That model puts him at 3rd in the NL in terms of value this year. And… you dismiss this evaluation offhand as if some middle-schooler posted this on an AJC blog? That’s an insult to the vast amount of work that has been put into these systems.

  60. 76,

    And to pile it on, leaders in fWAR (defensive evaluations are usually correct for time periods longer than three seasons) from 2009 to 2012:

    Albert Pujols
    Miguel Cabrera
    Ryan Braun
    Joey Votto
    Ben Zobrist
    Evan Longoria
    Matt Holliday
    Robinson Cano
    Ryan Zimmerman
    Adrian Gonzalez
    Adrian Beltre
    Jose Bautista
    Michael Bourn

    Bourn’s younger than 7 of the guys on the list ahead of him.

  61. 78,

    Yes, this really is the best site I’ve ever read. The back-and-forths and differences in opinion really are fun. I’m honestly really happy to be able to be part of a community with all of you, who are the smartest, most knowledgeable bunch of guys and gals I’ve met on the internet. Thanks for making my day a little more enjoyable.

  62. You say that like I just showed up here yesterday. I didn’t go into further detail because I feel like I’ve done so enough here already, but if you insist, it’s my belief that outfield defensive WAR stats are too wonky to be trusted, it’s not just me saying this, and defense makes up a tremendous amount of Bourn’s WAR. Defensive OF metrics are wildly variable, and it’s my belief that there’s a team dynamic component to defensive stats in general that isn’t adequately corrected for in the current attempt to individualize defensive effort. Case in point — third basemen on teams who overshift by putting the 3B to the second base side of the shortstop (to maximize overall range) are putting up historic defensive WAR numbers, but it’s not indicative of anything. Kelly Johnson posted tremendous defensive WAR numbers as an LF, but I watched him and he played two strides from the warning track. There’s too much noise, smarter people than me (or, as far as I know, you) say there’s a lot of work left to do.

    And anyway, I didn’t dismiss them. I specifically said I would like them to be true.

  63. Desert, who would you prefer to have on your team for this year, Bourn, or any of Wright, Braun, Molina, Posey, Headley, Votto, or Stanton? I would believe that Bourn has not offered more value than any of this players, not to mention a few others in the American League which would rank below him on the WAR leaderboard.

    Even those who created the model are the first to admit that the defensive part of the WAR equation, is at best, a work in progress. I mean if you look at Bourn’s dWAR for last year he was worth exactly 0.0 in between Houston and Atlanta while this year he went all the way up to 2.8. Has he really being that much better defensively this year?

  64. What makes Bourn worth lots of money isn’t this season, which seems like it could be a career-best that we shouldn’t expect again next year. It’s the consistent value he has provided. We’re just going to get outbid for him, is all, and there are players we could spend on or trade for that won’t embarrass themselves compared to him.

  65. So this is what happens when a good pitcher goes bad and a bad pitcher goes good. Both decide to suck in the same inning.

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