Julio Teheran (by bledsoe)

Once upon a time… there was a pitcher. He was a very young pitcher. So young that he could barely buy beer. All the people said he was going to be a great pitcher someday. So he went out and he tried to be a great pitcher.

He wasn’t. This is what the batters did to him: 2-4 record. 5.54 ERA. 1.76 WHIP. ERA+ of 79.

He was not discouraged. He came back the next year and tried to be a great pitcher. But he wasn’t. The batters were still mean to him. He went 7-17 with an ERA of 4.56, a 1.35 WHIP, and an ERA+ of 80.

But the next year he went out and he tried to be a great pitcher, and all of a sudden he was! He went 14-8 with an ERA of 3.68! And from then on the little pitcher, whose name was Little Tommy Glavine, was a great pitcher!

I coulda done the same thing with John Smoltz. At age 21 he started 12 games for the Braves and got shellacked. 2-7, ERA 5.48. The next year he won 12, then 14, 14, 15, 15, etc. etc. Greg Maddux at age 21 went 6-14 with an ERA of 5.61.

The point is: Give the guy a break. He’s 21 years old.

Teheran was considered not only the Braves’ top prospect, but the fifth best prospect (out of all prospects period, not just pitching prospects) in all of baseball in 2011. I don’t think the scouts were wrong – I think he’s 21. After a meteoric rise through the farm system (yeah, Tim McCarver, meteors don’t rise, they fall, blah blah blah, go listen to your George Carlin records again), he’s just hitting a natural bump in the road, I feel.

In 2010 at the age of 19, he pitched at Rome, Myrtle Beach and Mississippi, with a composite 2.59 ERA and 1.09 WHIP while striking out more than a man per inning. In 2011 he went 15-3, 2.55 at AAA. In spring training the fifth spot was considered his to lose, and lose it he did, yielding the honor to his fellow babyface, Randall Delgado. Of course, Delgado also struggled in his rookie campaign, eventually getting sent back down in midseason.

The jump to the bigs is usually tougher mentally for young pitchers than young hitters, which is why few teams try to rush pitchers. My crystal ball says J-Teh is gonna do just fine when he gets a second chance at the promotion. The Braves’ pitching scouts have proven, at least to me, that they know what they’re doing. If they say he’s a stud, I tend to believe them. And his minor league stats back them up.

Right now Teheran still looms large in the Braves’ plans. He was supposedly the piece that the Cubs wanted for Ryan Dempster, but they settled for Delgado. Luckily, Dempster pitched a hissy fit and went to Texas, and we got Paul Maholm and kept them both.

I am sure that Julio’s name will come up in trade talks a lot as the Braves try to fill center and left field; dealing from their perennial strength, young pitching, is likely. I can’t envision both Delgado and Teheran being here after the July trade deadline, and would be mildly surprised if the Braves entered spring training with both in camp. The Braves have decent payroll room and could go the free agency route to fill their needs rather than a trade. But they are the two bluest chips in the Braves’s trading locker. I hope they use them wisely.

148 thoughts on “Julio Teheran (by bledsoe)”

  1. I’m still high on him, too — I don’t like thinking he may never pitch for us again, but we gotta do what we gotta do.

    JC’ed:

    Forget about Kimbrel’s role and focus on how many extra wins he buys. There were 33 pitchers last season who recorded at least 15 saves. The midpoint (#17) in BBRef WAR was Glen Perkins of the Twins, with 1.2. Kimbrel had a 3.2 WAR, making for a 2.0 WAMCl (Wins Above Midpoint Closer). Here are the corresponding players at other positions with a 2.0 WAMs:

    WAMC – Carlos Santana
    WAM1B – Paul Goldschmidt
    WAM2B – Aaron Hill
    WAMSS – none
    WAM3B – Brett Lawrie
    WAMOF – Alex Rios, Angel Pagan, Matt Holliday

    These are not the best players in baseball, but they’re all slam-dunk multi-year contract players — especially the infielders, who are more or less around Kimbrel’s age and experience level.

  2. Has Teheran filled out physically? My concern with skinny power pitchers is that they can throw themselves out. On the other hand, some muscle up and lose flexibility in the process so it can go both ways. I’m old and patient and curious to see how he does going forward. Teheran has been good enough that he merits continued support.

  3. I never heard a decent explanation of why he failed in ST. Nerves is as good as any. I don’t know if learning a new pitch would have alone been enough to derail him. He’s got good out pitches already.

    Glavine and Smoltz pitched as babes because there was nobody else worth running out there. It was Rick Mahler and a whole bunch of horseflesh (the moribund Zane Smith, Kevin Coffman, Doyle Alexander, something called German Jimenez….) There was no point in not giving these guys major league starts. Since we had the luxury of plenty of live arms in the rotation, no need to rush him. The right call I think.

  4. Sansho – Kimbrel was amazing last year, but his 2012 WAR value is approaching the theoretical maximum for a modern-day closer (given a realistic innings limit) of around 4 WAR. On one hand, you could argue that this means even a historically great closer season is not as valuable as a good position player – Aaron Hill, for instance, is credited with 4.6 WAR (BRef) or 6.2 WAR (Fangraphs) for 2012. On the other hand, Kimbrel’s WAR per IP is off the charts – if he had a vintage Halladay workload (250 IP) in 2012 he would have been worth 14.4 WAR.

    When it comes down to it, good relievers (and particularly good closers) demand a salary premium over what WAR alone would suggest, likely due to the fact that they are utilized in high-leverage situations, giving them a disproportionately high Win Probability Added (WPA). (See: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/can-wpa-explain-how-teams-buy-relievers/) Given that fact, Kimbrel is going to be very expensive on the open market – if he were a free agent now, I could see him getting something in excess of Papelbon’s contract.

    Perhaps it’s just the fan in me, but Kimbrel looks to be about as safe a signing as any reliever could be – there isn’t much mileage on his arm and he’s actually increased his fastball velocity since his 2010 debut. Yes, I understand that relievers are a volatile commodity, and humans aren’t meant to throw 100 MPH, but c’mon, this is Craig Kimbrel. I would happily sign a deal buying out Kimbrel’s next four seasons (through all arb years) with some team option years at the end.

  5. Just remember that basically every single shutdown closer winds up missing a year here and there. If the Braves give him a five-year contract, I’d expect about 250 appearances: 60-70 each in the years he’s healthy but one season where he’s out with Tommy John. Relievers are far more likely to miss a year due to injury than position players. So, I’d want to pay him accordingly.

  6. @7 Yes, you’d have to build in a risk discount into a long-term contract for Kimbrel… and frankly, it’s not typical to lock up pre-arb relievers to long term deals because of the risk involved. Then again, Kimbrel has to know that, and could benefit greatly from guaranteed future salaries. Could be a win-win scenario.

  7. Do the Braves have to either trade Hanson or Teheran this offseason? We cant keep throwing him in AAA. We could trade blocked prospects, Teheran for Olt, but Id rather see Hanson moved and Teheran given an opportunity in the rotation.

  8. Nick, that all makes sense, especially the theoretical WAR limit for closers. And I agree that relievers are probably best gauged by WPA, as leverage dictates their usage. My invented stat is a clumsy attempt to show the added value of a particular closer over likely closing alternatives, and then relating it back to our understanding of how value translates to wins. Using just plain WAR doesn’t seem to get at that question — a closer would not be replaced by a replacement player, but (in most cases) by the reliever who has gone through the crucible of the team bullpen and emerged as the next-best candidate.

    The risk discount would surely enter into the thinking, and so the number you’d come up with might not jibe with the current market for closers. But you gotta try — it’s freaking Kimbrel.

  9. I might be talked into a deal for Mike Olt, but even there, I expect the Braves to remain patient with Teheran. As for Hanson, the only way you “trade” his is by eating a ton of his salary. And frankly, given an off-season of rest, there’s a chance he comes back next year and is useful. Possibly as a relief pitcher or something, I dunno.

    I do agree with the premise that he’s getting paid too much, and it’d be nice if the Braves didn’t have to do it, but I don’t think you’ll find many people out there willing to give you even much salary relief for Tommy Hanson.

  10. Not sure that Alex’s analogy between Teheran and Glavine and Smoltz holds. Even Keith Law-who I have some respect for as an analyst even if I think he is a dick in many ways-thinks Teheran doesn’t seem to have the same stuff. Plus, age isn’t as much of an issue with pitchers as with hitters. I’m not advocating giving up on Teheran but I don’t think simple analogies are necessarily accurate, especially since i’m sure you could find similar analogies on the other side.

  11. Tommy isn’t even useful as a reliever. He struggled his first inning as much as any other inning he pitched this year, at least to my eyes.

  12. #13 – I agree. I just think Hanson gets moved for spare parts and then Teheran gets plugged into the rotation.

  13. Sorry, Marc, but this one is all on me, not AAR. He’s just the messenger. Good to hear from you —

    Not sure what you mean by analogies on the other side. You’d be hard pressed to come up with someone in the past decade who tore up the minors like Teheran has. One of the key findings of sabermetrics was that minor league stats are a very accurate predictor of major league production. I value that analysis over Keith Law’s.

    I grant you that he did not pitch well at AAA this year. We will know if you’re right or I am pretty soon though.

  14. Even if we trade one of Teheran, Hanson, or Delgado there will still 6 pitchers for 5 spots: Hudson, Maholm, Minor, Medlen, Hanson/Delgado/Teheran. If only one trade goes down, someone will start at AAA. If none, both will start at AAA.

  15. Perhaps Hanson is already a lost cause, but unless he falls apart further, my guess is the Braves give Hanson a contract and start him in the rotation next season. He’ll still be extremely cheap by starting pitcher standards (guessing he’ll get something like $3.5M) and has three more years of team control left. Right now it seems like Hanson is toast/worthless, but if he can bounce back somewhat he’ll be a very valuable trade asset given his salary/team control. Consider that the A’s resigned Bartolo Colon for $3M + performance bonuses, and the Royals traded for Ervin Santana and his $12M salary – Hanson could potentially have substantial trade value in the near future.

  16. I don’t think Keith Law is a traditional analyst. It’s not like he ignores sabermetrics. He is saying that Teheran’s stuff seems not as good as it was. I think that means something. And I don’t think you can blindly say that because Teheran’s minor league numbers are good, he will necessarily produce those in the majors. They may be a predictor but I doubt they are absolute. Surely there have been players whose minor league numbers predicted success who did not succeed. Look at-I can’t even remember his first name now-Marte.

    I’m not saying I know Teheran won’t make it and obviously I hope he does. But I don’t think that simply because Glavine and Smoltz pitched poorly when they were young and then became good means that is the course that Teheran will necessarily take.

  17. According to sources, everyone on the Marlins are available. Know who’d look good in a Braves uni? Bonifacio. Seriously undervalued.

  18. Not saying that at all, but the opposite. I’m saying the fact that he pitched poorly at age 21 doesn’t mean anything at all. And Glavine, Smoltz and Maddux prove it. Doesn’t mean he will be Maddux — it means you can discount a bad 21 year old season as meaningless.

    >>>I don’t think you can blindly say that because Teheran’s minor league numbers are good, he will necessarily produce those in the majors.<<

    Another thing I didn't "blindly" say. "A very accurate predictor," not "unerringly 100% accurate predictor."

  19. Everybody, including the Braves, agrees: his curveball is below average and needs work. He still hasn’t fixed it after a year of focusing on it. That’s not to say he won’t, but it’s time to take off the rose-colored glasses. He needs a quality breaking pitch to go with the fastball and the change.

  20. Wait.. Ryan, why do you like Bonifacio?

    He has no power, doesn’t walk, hits for a low average, and isn’t a great defender. He was a backup player for the worst team in the division, and he’ll be 28 in April, so he’s already at or past his peak.

    I know he had a good year by Fangraphs WAR in 2011, and he can play pretty much every position other than pitcher or catcher, but he’s basically been replacement-level every other year of his career.

  21. The only place you could justify having Bonifacio’s bat is in CF, but then you sacrifice defensively. He really is a sub-par player with not a lot of upside. His one good statistical season was in 2011, but it was supported with a ridiculous .372BABIP and he still had 129K’s that season. Im not a fan.

  22. Bledsoe,

    I understand you didn’t say “blindly.” I was just trying to make a point.

    I agree that pitching poorly at 21 doesn’t mean much-unless there is some indication that his stuff has regressed or he is unable to develop a pitch that he needs to be successful. I’m just going by what Keith Law said and I understand he isn’t infallible but he does have some credibility in judging talent.

    I’m certainly not advocating trading him for a bag of nails. But I do think a pitcher is just a prospect (a la Rob Neyer) until he actually produces in the majors.

  23. Bailing on a young pitcher with Teheran’s talent is foolish–and luckily not something organizations as smart and stable as the Braves usually do. He is 21 years-old. Think about that for a moment. 21. The point above was not that he’ll turn into Maddux, Glavine, or Smoltz. It’s that the likelihood he reaches his ceiling is not much less today than it was a year ago, when he was a top-5 prospect. Give him time.

    As for Hanson, he definitely has value on the market, even if he is who he was last season. The Braves traded an elite young arm in Arodys Vizcaino for Paul freaking Maholm, a guy who will never be more than a #4 or #5 starter on most teams’ rosters (including the woeful Cubs). A league average starter under team control for 3-4 years has value in this league. Whether it’s in the best interest of the Braves to trade Hanson now is another story, but, with his past success, his age, and his current level of production, he most certainly has value.

  24. Bonifacio provides speed and an average OBP with positional flexibility and adequate defense. He has played 6 positions at a little below average defensively and provides much needed flexibility to finish the bench out with bruisers instead of backup CFs and SSs that cannot hit their way out of a paper bag. I don’t envision Bonifacio being a starter on this team, merely an Infante-light. The Braves really have no need for a defensive first SS with Simmons slotted in as the starter, therefore, someone like Bonifacio fulfills that need without a serious sacrifice in offense or defense. I’d envision Bonifacio stepping in and filling the role that Prado filled last year and Infante filled years previous. That has serious value. Otherwise, we’ll probably be looking at Schafer and Janish/Pastornicky filling 2 bench spots that Bonifacio could fill on his own.

  25. BTW, thanks so much to Alex and everyone else involved in keeping Braves Journal going strong. This really is the best forum on the interwebs for discussion of Braves baseball.

    By contrast, I read an article on Capitol Avenue Club the other day and the comment section is basically overrun with idiots – there are plenty of intelligent commenters, but they’re drowned out by the trolls. Even worse, when I posted a comment suggesting that readers frustrated by trolls try Braves Journal, the moderator deleted my post (but of course the stupid posts which occasioned the frustration in the first place remain untouched). In summary – shame on you, CAC. Focus on improving the quality of your own forum instead of suppressing thoughtful comments which alert Braves fans to other good sources of Braves information.

  26. Thing is, Ross is pretty mediocre against righties. He is going to want to be paid like a regular, and he will probably be played as a regular, but he is probably most valuable in baseball terms as the short side of a platoon.

  27. It would have to be for LF. I dont see Cody being able to play CF everyday and I dont think he’ll get 3 years, but if he does it should top out around $16-18

    Boston – .298/.356/.565/.921
    Elsewhere – .232/.294/.390/.684

  28. What would a lineup that featured C. Ross, BJ Upton, Heyward, Prado, Simmons, Freeman, Uggla, and McCann look like? I’m not sure, but I think I’d be cool with it. Lots of dingers.

  29. I’d pass on Ross. Wrong side of 30 and his numbers this year were kinda meh, and that’s before I remembered they came at Fenway Park.

  30. #38 – Borderline playoff team that would require a great bench. Ross cant replace Chipper’s numbers and Upton might be able to replace Bourn’s.

  31. @41 I would agree with you if I thought that 2012’s numbers are as good as its going to get for McCann, Uggla, Freeman, and Heyward, but I don’t. I think all 4 will have better seasons come 2013.

  32. There is an unreal trade unfolding: everyone that makes money on the Marlins is going to the Bluejays and the Marlins are receiving Escobar and others.

  33. This is ridiculous…Buck, Josh Johnson, Reyes, Bonifacio, and Buehrle just went to the Blue Jays for Escobar, Hechavarris, H. Alvarez,Marisnick, and Nicolina.

  34. The Marlins have shown us their top two priorities for the 2013 season: low payroll and frosted tips.

  35. Guess they figured they couldn’t get much worse.

    I remember at one point (in ’06, IIRC), there were 20+ guys on the Marlins roster making MLB minimum. I think Dontrelle & one other pitcher were the only ones making over $1M.

    Welcome to South Beach, Yunel.

  36. Giancarlo Stanton is currently very, very angry at the Marlins.

    Call them. Offer Teheran, Delgado, Spruill – hell, off them a pick six of the system not named Heyward or Freeman.

  37. Truthfully, the Marlins are getting a pretty good haul in return and are only sending 4 million. If all of the players that are whispered to be in the deal are actually in the deal, I’d have to say it’s a win for the Marlins. Buerhle and Johnson were mediocre, Buck and Bonifacio were injured, and Reyes is really expensive. It sucks to be a fan of the Marlins, but this isnt a loss for them. Well, just from a body perspective.

  38. Final trade looks to be Johnson, Buehrle, Reyes, Bonifacio and Buck for Escobar, Hechavarria, Alvarez, Nicolino, Marisnick, Mathis, DeSclafani.

  39. Loria seems to have forgotten Step Two in the Marlins’ management handbook this time around. I won’t tell him if you won’t.

  40. I don’t think you can really get Stanton (although yes, anyone not named Heyward is available in that deal.) But I think you start sending Stanton signals that say ‘hey, we really love you man, and we promise to put a team on the field around you buddy’ right now.

    Anyone else, you maybe worry about tampering and recruiting other teams players before official free agency. The Marlins? Fuck Jeff Loria.

  41. Bell was somehow traded to Arizona last month, though they did have to pay for about a third of his remaining contract to get rid of him.

  42. How a team that’s assured itself irrelevance can be seen as winning the trade that facilitated it, I don’t know. I always thought the goal was to win. One year isn’t nearly long enough to know for sure if that team would’ve worked.

  43. @66 I think the logic is that the roster the Marlins had would go nowhere anyway. May as well start all over again.

    It’s funny how Reyes signed a six-year contract thinking he would live in Miami for six years ending up playing in Toronto.

  44. An anonymous source says an unnamed member of management asked Cox if he was interested in the job and was told no, but “that was before Tuesday”. Pretty thin gruel.

  45. The last thing Jeff Loria is concerned with is winning. He cares only about fleecing the team to make money. He extorted a stadium out of the taxpayers and now he is gutting the team to potentially sell it. He is going to make out like a bandit like all of the robber barons running around today.

  46. I know it isn’t likely given the history, but is it not possible that the Marlins are unloading salary to go after Hamilton, Greinke, Upton, heck even A-Rod? Everyone they traded seemed overpriced and the only piece I’d worry about giving up is Johnson if he returns to form but he’s always been injury-prone. My knee-jerk reaction was the same as most of you, however I think we could at least wait to see if there is more to the plan.

    All that said, I think they won’t get another big free agent without a no-trade after this.

  47. Thats exactly my thought. Miami actually is receiving some good pieces, outside of Yunel. They could still flip him before Spring Training. If they go out and add a few pieces then the move wont be perceived with the way it is currently.

    However, last offseason the Marlins made commitments to Bell, Buerhle, Guillen, and Reyes but now every single one of them has been shipped off. Every FA will pay attention to what just took place with all of these guys.

  48. Examined in a vacuum, I think the Marlins won the trade – they should be happy to get out of the remaining contracts for Reyes (5/$96), Buerhle (3/$52), and Buck (2/$12). Johnson (1/$13.75) and Bonifacio ($2M arb. est.) have some positive value, but not a ton. In total, Fish Stripes calculates the Marlins traded away between $16 – $40M in negative value, and in return they got back a some actual major league players plus some decent prospects. Frankly, I think the Jays overpaid, though I am sure they’re happy to be rid of Yunel.

    Something else to consider: I would think this trade drops the Marlins’ MLB talent level enough that the Braves (and the other NL East teams) should expect to win 1-2 more games head to head vs. the Marlins next season than if the trade had not occurred. While this doesn’t help the Braves win the division, it certainly helps the non-Marlins in the division win the wild card spots.

    In honor of the Jeffrey Loria’s tradition of fire sales: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHs9Rf7L8_U

  49. On another note, according to Bill James Online, Uggla and Simmons were the 4th best double play combination in the major leagues last season.

  50. I know the AJC doesn’t let their writers vote on awards and HOF, but how come the people who are the designated Atlanta chapter guys are national guys or New York guys? Are there no members of the BBWAA who may at least cover the Braves in some capacity? I notice that the 2 ATL people who voted for Manager of the Year were Bill Madden of the New York Daily News and Stan McNeal of The Sporting News and the ATL voters for ROY were Guy Cutright (Honorary?) and Ken Davidoff of the New York Post.

    FYI the HOF ballot for Davidoff last year was a good one: Bagwell, Larkin, Edgar, McGwire, Palmeiro, Raines, Trammell, Walker while McNeal went with the more exclusive Bagwell, Larkin and Raines. The other two weren’t listed far as I can tell.

  51. It’s just roid rumors keeping him out. He’s vastly overqualified, and I have to think he’ll be the first suspected roider to be inducted once the current crop of voters either retire or get over themselves a little bit.

  52. I would’ve offered that contract, I think. He’s held it together way better than I would’ve guessed 5 years ago, and I think he would have been an exceedingly popular Brave. Oh well.

  53. I wouldve liked Hunter as well. I dont think thats a huge overpay, the Tigers should get their $$’s worth.

  54. There’s basically no reason to suspect Bagwell of PED usage other than the fact that he was a power hitter. I’ve written about Bagwell before, so I might write up a new piece for a HOF post if you think it’s appropriate, Alex.

  55. Who are the players who haven’t been written up yet? We’ve basically done all the ones we feel good about, right? :) Do they just get posted as they’re received?

  56. Could Passan explain why Loria spent all the money last year on free agents if he did not want a winning team? He spent foolishly, but he was out millions of dollars.

  57. @92 Adam R-good question!

    The Keltner lists might be best used for two players becoming eligible: Biggio and Piazza.

    Above them on the list of new guys are Bonds and Clemens, and yes, they will be the story.

    Biggio made the All-Star team at both catcher and 2B and has over 3,000 hits, but had skeptics about his defense.
    Piazza almost retired the Slugger Award for a catcher. Was that all he could do?

    If you get a chance,consider them.

  58. Actually Ryan, while Torii may wind up being worth that and I wanted the Braves to be interested in him too, I think that was too much for us to pay. He would’ve been the highest paid on the team and while he’s a good piece, he’s doesn’t seem worth that to us. Would’ve been more than half our available resources this offseason. Of course, if we wind up with C. Ross and Span and nothing else I may revisit this opinion.

  59. Bethany and Kevin Lee, I’d definitely welcome posts like that about those players. Bagwell, Biggio, Piazza, Bonds, and Clemens are all fascinating players with terrific Hall of Fame cases, but they played in an era that is hard to handle historically. Leaving steroids aside, it’s hard to deal with inflated-offense eras like the 1930s and 1990s-2000s. There were a lot of players with superficially great stats (like Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro, Albert Belle, etc.) who made it harder for the truly great players — like Bagwell and Piazza, and also a fascinating case like Jim Thome — to distinguish themselves.

    After the 1990s and 2000s, we had to unlearn our deep-seated reliance on magic numbers like 500 homers and 3000 hits. It also makes it even harder on pre-1990s players, like Alan Trammell and Tim Raines and Fred McGriff and even Dale Murphy, whose stats were fantastic in the 1980s but just not as good when the decade turned.

    Adam, to answer your question, I generally edit and schedule the posts as they come in. It’s a long offseason, so I usually leave up a post for two days before putting up the next one. Last Tuesday, I think I literally had nothing in the queue beyond the Dale Murphy picture I put up for the election. Right now I have a few pieces in the hopper, so the site will be covered for content for the next week or so. But as soon as Turkey Day hits, the site will be starved for content once more. If you’re inspired, let me know!

  60. Also, as to players who haven’t been written up, to the best of my knowledge, people have volunteered to write up everyone but Ernesto Mejia and Juan Jaime. If anyone would like one of them, feel free to write me at alexbravesjournal at gmail dot com.

    Obviously, more players will need to be written up as the offseason wears on, and Wren starts making moves.

  61. Years ago, I remember around spring training seeing a facial closeup of a baseball player on TV. He looked very familiar but I couldn’t figure out who he was. It was really bugging me. Knew I had seen him before but couldn’t quite place him.

    Then I realized who it was: the post-steroid era version of Jeff Bagwell. He had lost 15-20 pounds of muscle, and his face was quite different.

  62. Bagwell is going to be the gateway drug for writers giving up on whitewashing the steroids era by keeping players out of the HOF.

  63. @106 A guy losing weight after he stops playing is not enough reason to accuse him of steroid use, and it’s definitely not enough to keep him out of the hall.

  64. @109 It’s still painfully flimsy evidence. “I saw the guy after testing started and he looked smaller! Must be because he stopped using steroids!” Sorry, don’t buy it.

  65. bledsoe, thank you so much. I just spent a depressing hour searching Bagwell photos and links about the steroid era. In some ways, it seems like a hundred years ago. I would really like to see the original top secret list of the players who failed the first test. Seems like someone could have leaked it by now.

  66. It is disappointing that we can’t get Hunter. He would fit our needs pretty well. The demand for Hunter is surprisingly strong.

  67. Why would Hunter have been a good fit? He’s no longer a center fielder. The bat would’ve been fine, but that’s a signing you make if you intend to get someone else for center, and as a LF, it’s not clear to me that Hunter’s bat is worth anything close to $13M. His line from last year looks good largely due to a batting average about 40 points higher than his career average.

  68. If the Braves really had their sights set on adding Hunter and BJ Upton, who did they intend to bat leadoff?

    Simmons? That’d be.. foolish.

  69. Also, I live in Southwest Florida, so the Rays are my “regional sports network” team, and here is the one and only thing I can add to any discussion about BJ Upton:

    He likes to field the ball with his bare hand. Like, a two hop base hit right to him: fields it with his bare hand. Line drive in to the left-center gap: fields it with his bare hand. Home run 6 – 8 feet over the fence: scales the wall, holds on with his GLOVE HAND, holds BARE HAND IN THE AIR as ball sails over head.

    He did this randomly all this season. I’m not a Rays fan and it still drove me crazy. I don’t know if he thinks the game is too easy, or something.. he should maybe try to show off by drawing a walk or two.

  70. If the Braves had ended up with both Upton and Hunter, just bat Prado leadoff. I mean, if they just get Upton and random LF or do the Gattis/Francisco platoon thing, Prado’s your leadoff guy there. Not a problem as far as I’m concerned.

    And yea, I really think having to root for Upton would be frustrating (I think I compared it to watching Andruw Jones c. 2004 try to hit a slider), but if the Braves don’t resign Bourne, he’s almost definitely the best fit.

  71. If the Braves really had their sights set on adding Hunter and BJ Upton, who did they intend to bat leadoff? Simmons? That’d be.. foolish.

    Don’t underestimate Gonzalez’s ability to bat .298 OBP Upton leadoff.

  72. Why do the Braves have any interest in Upton? We need value, not flash.

    This year especially. Needing to replace Chipper’s production (and probably Bourne’s), we simply cannot have a Claudell or Komminsk reprise.

    Any news about catchers? Are we really looking at Boscan for two or three months?

  73. I don’t believe in Bowman. He basically works for the Braves. I think Wren is using Bowman to blow smoke around.

  74. Gattis crushed another HR tonight, and then added a single in his last at-bat. He seems to be breaking out of that slump.

    And if we really do end up with a Francisco/Gattis platoon, Juan is also starting to hit pretty well in the Dominican. After today his OPS is up around .875. The big red warning is light is still the strikeouts. He’s got thirteen of them against only three walks in 45 ABs. Nevertheless, he is out-hitting both of his highly touted Rangers teammates (Olt and Profar).

  75. Gattis’ numbers would be even better but a HR and a double he hit the other day were erased when the game was called in the 4th due to rain. Add tonight’s HR and single to the double and HR and his OPS shoots up to .950 again. Kid can take.

  76. Francoeur permanently damnaged the idea of wanting a younger sub-.300 OBP outfielder who everyone seems to think should eventually play better.

  77. What excites you, Stu? There are two positive things I can see. There would be a good, fast defender in center, which is fun. And he’d have a real good shot to lead the Braves in steals and homers, but even his numbers last year (28 yicketties; 31 SB) aren’t elite.

    But I see a guy who would absolutely drive me crazy at the plate. Tons of strikeouts, below average plate discipline, and trouble with breaking pitches. Just looks like a guy who would make way too many outs.

  78. Not very exciting, though maybe that signals that they really do believe McCann won’t be more than the 2-4 weeks we’re hearing. It’s probably way to early to tell that and it could just be that they wanted a cheap alternative. Laird can’t really hit (though he’s not atrocious) and seems about average defensively. Not sure if he’s a good game caller anyone know?

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