Paul Janish (by Shawn)

Sometimes you make a move that’s supposed to help, and you get Adam LaRoche hitting lights out for two months, or two good years of John Burkett. And sometimes you make a move that’s supposed to help, and it doesn’t and its name is Shane Reynolds or Casey Kotchman, and you want to quit sports forever. And sometimes you make a move that you don’t expect much of, and you get pleasantly surprised.

That’s how I felt about Paul Janish. Pleasantly surprised. I remember watching him with the Reds and wondering how he had a job, then hearing the Braves had traded for him and were inserting him at short until Andrelton Simmons came back from his thumb injury. I wondered why they didn’t try Pastornicky again, or Prado, or anybody else. And then being continuously, pleasantly surprised with him every step of the way.

Janish was drafted by the Reds in the fifth round in 2004 as a 21 year old out of Rice. At one point he was rated as the 10th prospect in the system by Baseball America, and I guess he lived up to it, as they got a few good years out of him and may have turned him into a decent acquisition in Todd Redmond. Would that all 10th rated prospects could be as useful.

In the minors he got his reputation for slick fielding with no hitting, as he’s never hit much above A ball and his walk rate seems to dip with every step up he takes. He’ll still take one occasionally, but not enough to really matter. On the plus side he didn’t seem to strikeout too much.

Janish can’t hit. He’s not Tommy Hanson bad, but he’s a worse hitter than even the prototype good-field, no-hit shortstops of the past like Mark Belanger. In his career he’s hit .216/.286/.291, which is a fine line for a pitcher, or a slightly drunk backup catcher. As an everyday shortstop, I don’t know that you can hold that kind of line across a season, especially in the National League, which would basically limit a club to seven hitters a game. Just like in the minors he walks a bit, and his strikeout totals aren’t terrible, but there’s no power and not enough contact.

His best year was in 2010, when he hit .260/.338/.385 with 5 homeruns over 228 plate appearances. If he could hit like that over a full season he’d be a top 15 shortstop, but that appears to be an anomaly, as he’s never hit close to those numbers again; his second highest OPS is more than 120 points worse then 2010, and the five homers is only two less than his career total. He did hit 21 doubles in 2009, but I’d be willing to bet large sums of money he never hits that many again.

Janish hit .186/.269/.234 for Atlanta last year, though I seem to recall him having a few big time hits and walks. Maybe he’s just really good at picking his spots. He also isn’t a good base runner, with seven steals to five caught-stealing in his career.

I think given the same playing time he’d probably actually hit a bit better, and some of the singles might turn into doubles to raise that slugging percentage, but not enough to really make him a viable option as a starting candidate anywhere.

But defensively is where Janish really shines, and why I have no problem with his having a roster spot set in stone going into 2013. He had only two errors last year, and by any defensive metric he appears to be one of the better shortstops in baseball. BRef gives him nearly 1 WAR for defense last year in only 55 games; if he could hit at even replacement level he could probably start for a few teams and be a 2 win player on defense alone, and if he ever hit close to his 2010 numbers might even be a 3 or 3.5 win player.

Played only short for Atlanta last year, but played some at second and third in Cincinnati. If he can handle three positions he gives Fredi some options as far as days off for Prado, Uggla and whoever else (Francisco or FA Signing X) at third base. I don’t really see why he can’t; he seems a pretty smart ballplayer and the scouting report on his arm and defense don’t show any reason why he shouldn’t be a viable option at second and third. As a defensive replacement he also gives Gonzalez options at late innings, removing Uggla, moving Prado back to left.

Hopefully, Andrelton plays about 155 games next year. If Simmons can stay healthy, giving Janish seven to ten starts at short won’t be the worst thing in the world. If Andrelton suddenly can’t hit and has to go back down, or gets hurt for an extended period again, the Braves may be in a bit of trouble, especially with Chipper gone, because I’m not sure his bat makes up for his defense as a full time starter.

He really should be the last bat off the bench as a pinch hitter; if there’s somebody behind him in the pinch-hitting rotation we’re in trouble. I might even take a long look at Hudson before I sent him Janish out to hit, if Huddy’s available.

You can win with Paul Janish as a defensive replacement and the 24th man on the team. Just hope he doesn’t have to do more then that.

209 thoughts on “Paul Janish (by Shawn)”

  1. Good job, Shawn!
    It might interest you to hear that on the Reds Hot Stove radio program, several callers wanted Janish back.

  2. Thanks, Shawn.

    I like Janish on the team, as well. But what do we do with Pastornicky? Kid is fast, can hit some and isn’t a horrible infielder (just looks bad next to Simmons and Janish). Left field?

  3. Ah, the Mark Stoops Era at Kentucky.

    As eagerly awaited as the Flo From Progressive centerfold issue.


  4. @4 I have to disagree with you on all counts except his speed. Poor hitter, and what he showed last year on the infield was certainly below average. he was the worst positional player in baseball by many metrics, wasn’t he?

  5. Just can’t bring myself to like a player who did put up a line of .186/.269/.234. When Janish was batting eighth, that bottom of the order was just a gigantic black hole. When the eighth spot was due up first, you knew there were going to be two outs before anyone useful came up to the plate.

  6. I agree with Bethany. Pastornicky cant hit, has no power, and is a brutally awful defensive SS. He doesnt have the bat to play anywhere other than maybe 2nd or CF. I dont know if his overall production at either position would make him a successful addition to our team.

  7. I’d just like to say that I’ve been reading the site for years, and it is truly an honor to be posted here with so many intelligent writers, readers and commenters. As much as I miss Mac, I’m so glad this community is built so well that the site continues to grow and the conversation continues to be great, smart baseball.

  8. Pastornicky’s also just turning 23 in a couple weeks. He still has some upside. There’s no problem letting him rebuild his value in AAA and figure out how to be a utility player, which is what practically every scout expected him to be anyway.

  9. Shawn that was a hell of a writup. In my opinion you stuff Janish in AAA and call him up only if you need a fielder. That slash line is horrifying.

  10. Seems like Janish got a lot of slack for simply not being Pastornicky. A guy who hits like that needs a good fastball and maybe a decent changeup to justify a roster spot – otherwise he struggles to make it to replacement level. He’s basically a less obnoxious Diory Hernandez though, so I’ll at least consider him an upgrade over recent seasons in that one department.

  11. The problem with Janish on the current roster is that he’s not as good defensively as the guy he’s backing up. So you can’t really use him as a defensive replacement late in games unless you want to do it at 2B or 3B. Plus, he can’t hit or steal a base. That means he’s not going to be used as a pinch hitter or pinch runner. This basically means the only way he’s ever useful to the Braves on the big league roster is when he’s giving someone a game off, and while that’s useful, it’s not nearly as useful as someone who can actually swing the bat a little.

    I thought the trade for him was fine, since it gave the Braves someone to play a credible SS while Simmons was out, but with Simmons back, there’s no clear role for Janish on the big club. To be honest, I think I’d rather have Pastornicky taking up that roster spot rather than Janish; at least Pasty Nickers might hit a little.

  12. Yes, Janish is the guy that you need stashed in AAA for a injury call up, not a bench bat/defensive replacement.

  13. #13, 17, 18. Concur. Loved watching Janish pick it when Andrelton went down, but with Simmons healthy Janish has no useful role. Prado plays an excellent 2B and can spell Uggla against the occasional righty with Francisco playing 3B. If Prado needs a break, sit him against a righty and give a start to both Francisco and Uggla, or give a start to whoever we keep instead of Janish. If that is Pastornicky, so be it.

    But I believe both Janish and Francisco are out of options. Keeping Janish while letting Francisco go would be dang near criminal in my view.

  14. As long as Prado is healthy, he can back up Simmons for a short stint. Id rather find ways of getting Fransisco some AB’s over Pastor or Janish.

  15. Help!

    Just got a new Blackberry and my view of Bravesjournal is all screwed up. Posts and comments have almost no width relative to the overall page, making readin very difficult.

    Is there a way to fix this? Encoding? The way I open the page? Tried messing with font size.

    If important, I am using a BB Bold / Touch 9900.

  16. AAR, if we can figure out a way to get bravesjournal onto a better host, I could easily add a responsive theme to the site so it would run on tablets and phones better.

  17. Thing is, this looked fine on my other Blackberry.

    Now, comments are approximately one to two words wide with a ton of blank space either side. Calls for a lot of scrolling.

    Is it the way a 4G device views versus a 3G device?

  18. Chone Figgins has been released. There I said it so no one else has to repeat it. He sucks, he’s 35, he cant hit, cant get on base, and cant run anymore. He’s been worse than Francoeur the last two years.

    I feel better.

  19. @28 I’m an admin currently, but the BJ has an odd hosting situation and I don’t have permissions to all of the guts of the site. If we can get it moved to a new server with FTP access, yes, we could restore the edit function.

  20. @29

    Bethany, if you could do that, and if I wasn’t a married lecherous old fart who would be no good for you, I’d propose in a heartbeat!

  21. #26 – Egad. Talk about a bad signing. I do remember all the folks around here that wanted that dude. Mariners released him still owing him 8 million bucks.

    Am I the only one NOT all that excited about BJ Upton except that he may be our ONLY real option?
    Are we interested in Swisher or not? I’ve read conflicting things.

  22. @31 – Very not excited about Upton myself. I guess he must still smell like potential from when he actually seemed to have a fair amount a few years ago. Seems like he is what he is now, which is pretty middle-of-the-road. He’d be a mild step back from Bourn for the first couple of years, which would be fine, but I’d hate for him to go all Uggla on us after the first few seasons.

  23. I like Upton, insofar as I liked Bourn. They should both produce around the same rate for the next few years. If anything, I’d give the edge to Upton, who is a few years younger. But hey, I’ve been wrong before.

  24. @32 – I don’t get it.
    On the plus side:
    Upton had a .300/.386/.508 age 22 season. The career slash line .255/.336/.422 is good for a CF? (too lazy to look it up)
    He is only 28 in his prime.
    Tall lean and athletic.
    Plays a premium defensive position.

    On the minus side:
    Pretty Andruw like story. Annointed a super star after his first couple of years, turns out to be only pretty good.
    Last years .298 OBP causes me a lot of pause with all those strike outs. Is he on the fast track decline?
    60 mil for a team with no TV revenue for the next quarter century for a just a pretty good player that may be on the verge of a nose dive decline is a lot.

    Oh well. Like I said he may be the best(only) option the Braves have.

  25. I believe it was mid-season of 2010 when Chipper complained that there were too many outs in the line-up. My worry with Upton is he will bring a lot of outs with him to add to those already provided by Uggla.

  26. I think I’m as not excited about BJ Upton as they come. Fine player for a team that can afford him as their 7th or 8th place hitter. The Braves don’t have the cash to overcome another bad long contract and he’d be asked to be the 4th or 5th best hitter in this lineup. That ain’t good.

  27. @34
    See… This is the viewpoint that I really don’t get when it comes to any Andruw Jones’ “annointed superstar, but pretty good” argument. Andruw Jones had 9 years where he averaged 6.8 WAR each year. During that span, Andruw ranked 3rd in overall WAR only behind Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez, both who juiced. Assuming Andruw did not juice, he was the best overall non-steroid enhanced player in the Major Leagues for a decade. That IS a superstar.

    Furthermore, the man has 434 HR, 10 straight gold gloves (9 of which he no doubt deserved),he’s a 5-time All Star (deserved much more than 5), and is still putting up solid numbers at the plate and in the field (albeit, part time). If he plays until 40, he might hit the 500 career HR mark.

    Tell me how Andruw Jones is not a superstar.

  28. I’d love an OF that featured BJ, Span, and Heyward for the next 3 years. Lineup would be solid, balanced, with both speed and power. God, I pray McCann comes back strong!

  29. David O’Brien ‏@ajcbraves
    #Braves and B.J. Upton have agreed to deal, pending physical. Last holdup was 6th guaranteed season he asked for.

    Still excited?

  30. 6 years. Through his age 33 season. I’d rather seen 5 but I’m cool with it as long as the money isnt outrageous.

  31. @ajcbraves
    Upton deal with #Braves is either five years or five plus 6th option, but not 6 yrs guarantee. They wouldn’t go 6.


  32. Yeah all the rumor mongers are saying it’s exactly what he was expected to get 5 at 70-75.

    I’m fine with it. He might hit. I think over 5 years he could provide more value than Bourn.

  33. Upton has changed his Twitter avatar to be a Braves logo. I guess that satisfies the Furcal Rule. Is that equivalent to putting the jersey on at a press conference?

  34. We lose our first round pick next year for the pleasure of paying market rate for an averageish player into his mid-30s. So gross.

  35. Look at the bright side. We do get a bumper pick for Bourn. And we wouldn’t have drafted the best player available anyway.

  36. 5 years, 15 mil, with an option for 6th (not guaranteed.) That’s a good deal for Atlanta. People who dislike Upton (as a CF) are maybe expecting too much.

  37. 64- Wasn’t John Johnson actually Cody Johnson and he struck out an absurd number of times in the minors?

  38. BJ Upton in his early 30s and, say, Dan Uggla in his early 30s are not the same thing.

    In a vacuum this is an overpay. But nearly every MLB roster is composed of guys who haven’t gotten paid yet along with overpaid guys who fill glaring needs. The salary structure demands it.

  39. One of the good things about this is that ther Braves can still trade for either an LF, CF, or a 3B, depending on the best deal out there.

  40. I’m not quite sure how I feel about bossmania yet, but I’m glad to see a signing. I think it’ll help Wren figure out the rest of the pieces by having this one taken care of.

  41. My only concern is I don’t want to see a Denard Span type trade for LF. If you want a middle of the order bat, they come cheaper in LF than in CF. Why pay more for a slugger to play CF and waste a slugging position on a slappy leadoffy guy?

    Kinda the way I’ve felt about the Braves relying on a C who hits like a 1B so they could run out inadequate offensive 1B’s until Freeman showed up.

  42. I’m on board with JJ @72. Upton in LF and Span in CF is less useful than Upton in CF and Nick Swisher in left.

  43. We perhaps overpaid (did the Phillies really want Upton? Who knows, either way they did a good job of making sure we didn’t get a bargain), but there is way less risk here than with Hamilton or Bourn. I have a feeling that if we could see what the Twins and the Rockies demanded for Span and Fowler, we would have even fewer reservations. If getting Span meant giving up Minor + Delgado, we are way better off overpaying Upton.

    The perfect move now is for Wren to slow play the trade market. Some of these names that are being tossed around are guys that will actually get dealt but there are not many teams prepared to part with real prospects. Eventually some of these teams are going to start listening to reasonable offers. For the lineup we have now, the absolute perfect guy to get is Choo. No doubt. Forget targeting a leadoff guy. That is silly. Simmons or Prado will do just fine.

  44. I actually don’t think this is even an overpay. I mean, it might be an overpay in terms of length–I’d rather it have been 4/60–but the per annum salary is fine in a vacuum. Teams are probably going to be paying $7 million per win in the near future, and certainly more than $5 million now.

  45. For the record, the disinterested parties (i.e. fans of teams that are not in the NL East) over at BTF all seem to be in agreement that this is a reasonable deal and certainly not an overpay. The first round of reaction was “really, they got him that cheap?”

  46. I’d love to make a run a Choo for one year, if the price is something small. Say, Tommy Hanson.

  47. Baseball is flush with cash, and it’s a thin year for OFs. The money is fine, and this will be even more clear when the dust settles and some of these FAs go for a bit more than you think.

  48. sansho1–You are right, that didn’t occur to me but Choo could definitely lead off. But he also hits tons of doubles–nearly 50 of them last season–and he’d be a valuable guy in the middle of the lineup, especially against righthanders.

  49. We would have drafted a soft tossing lefty with that pick anyways. I am sure we can use our comp pick for Bourn to get the same player.

  50. Having a high OBP, high doubles guy in the leadoff spot would be really nice. Because, it’s easier to score from 2nd than 1st.

  51. I look at Choo only being here for a year as a bonus. He should cost less in prospects (and he is certainly good enough that we could still make a qualifying offer and recoup a sandwich round pick), and we have additional payroll flexibility down the road. If Gattis proves he is ready (or Cunningham, but I’m skeptical) or Francisco takes a big leap forward (or one of our corner prospects, which is less likely) then we have guys we can plug in for the league minimum. That is huge. Because if we pay 4/60 for Swisher we simply will not be able to keep our young core. Say goodbye to at least a couple of Heyward, Freeman, Medlen, Minor etc.

  52. True enough, Sam, which is why I’m not opposed to the idea. But if you have a high OBP alternative, you hit him lower, because that double will score a run and he still gets to stand on second.

  53. I’d give up Tommy Hanson, Nick Ahmed and Gilmartin for Choo. In a heartbeat. And I love Gilmartin.

  54. Yeah I have no problem with a 1 or 2 year rental in LF. We have Francisco, Gattis and Terdoslavich who may catch fire here, not to mention Salcedo who may figure it out. One or two years buys us time, and we can always sign a free agent THEN instead of now.

  55. I wouldnt give up that much for Choo, no chance.

    I didnt like the thought of aupton at 6/95 that was being reported earlier. Wren did an excellent job stopping at 5 years. Lets sign Pagan for Lf/leadoff now

  56. I’m not overjoyed, but I’m happy. This is a fair market rate for a free agent outfielder. He’s basically a 3- to 4-win player, and that’s what you have to pay if you want to get a 3- to 4-win player as a free agent. Now, hey, maybe he can remember to walk again like he used to, and maybe the fact that he’s a speedy guy with power and pretty good defense will enable him to age relatively gracefully. Andrew and Dale Murphy aside, most great center fielders wait until after they’re 33 to fall apart. I would want no part of his age-34 and age-35 seasons, but in my view this is an entirely reasonable deal. I just hope Frank is able to bring in someone else who’s good, rather than just spackle around the edges of the team he’s got now with cheap retreads.

  57. Yeah, on second thought that is probably too much to give up for Choo, but I see it like this: 1) I would happily give away Hanson for almost nothing. I would rather use those innings to develop Delgado until Beachy is ready. 2) Ahmed is a nice prospect but Simmons has SS locked down for the next five or six years, I don’t see his bat playing at 3B or LF so he is basically expendable. 3) Gilmartin is not sexy but he is a great prospect. And he is almost major league ready which makes him a perfect fit for pitching starved organizations like Cleveland. But it is hard to see where he fits in for us unless we plan to let Hudson go and neither Delgado nor Teheran pan out. For us, then, it makes sense to hold onto all of our higher risk/higher upside guys like Alex Wood, Mauricio Cabrera, and Luis Merejo.

    Choo gives us a potent LH bat, gold glove defense in LF, the chance to win a world series, and the possibility of getting another Ahmed or Gilmartin with the subsequent draft pick compensation.

  58. Having just been obliterated by a physics test, I feel like I should look for reasons to be optimistic wherever possible – for instance, Upton’s been better than I remembered and everyone who says we would’ve completely wasted our first draft pick anyway is almost certainly correct. I guess I’m on board with the Upton era. Choo, the brother Upton, or maybe Will Myers for LF would certainly erase any reservations I still have about the outfield though.

    Would Minor+Salcedo get Myers out of KC?

  59. If Beeej hits his career averages he is a fine CF. If that OBP stays around .300 then we over paid. Put me down for a slugger in left too. Like others not i’m not overjoyed but at least we got the hard part of the off season over with. I never said he was as good as Andruw, I said he had the same next Ken Griffey Jr. expectations put on him early.

  60. I’m in, and not just because I chose him in the Braves Journal poll. First, he has the same initials as Braves Journal. Second, I think there’s an intangible gains from having worn out his welcome in TB that a little Braves discipline will help with. (I’d be even happier if Bobby were still manager for this purpose, but that’s a separate issue.) I don’t think that’s a six year benefit, but I think there’s some more value to unlock. That’s surely some wishful thinking, but it’s almost Hanukkah, so I get to make some wishes.

  61. I think his plate discipline also improves when he comes to Atlanta. That .300 OBP is probably not going to fly for very long with the hitting coach, even if our manager is an oaf.

    As Bourn is not coming back, I would also like to take this moment to congratulate Frank Wren on his act of royally fleecing the Astros last year for Bourn, and especially for making the Phillies look like idiots in the dear for Hunter Pence (bless their poor, malnourished, dark crevasses of hearts).

  62. I am pleasantly surprised, both at the Braves willingness to go after Upton and at the price they got him for. I had said “4 years, 15M+ per”.

    Well, that simplifies things a fair bit.

  63. Teheran finally found his groove tonight in the Dominican. Pitched 5 and 2/3 (on a strict pitch count) only giving up a walk and a single, with 4Ks. Would love to see him put it all together in time for Spring Training. Goodbye Tommy Hanson.

  64. Wonder if Hanson for Myers (with potential filler on either side) would work. Dayton loves him some ex-braves…

  65. I think that Hanson and a buck fifty might get you coffee at Dunkin Donuts.

    It’s worth remembering that Tropicana Field is a serious pitchers’ park. BJ’s OPS+ last year was 109 despite the awful OBP; all of his nominal stats are almost certain to rise once he gets to Atlanta.

  66. Ehhh…I don’t know. Myers was otherworldly in the minors this year, but it was still the minors. Two years ago he was terrible. I think the pendulum on prospect value has swung too far the other way. I’d maybe go Hanson/Tehran, but it still seems steep for a guy who hasn’t proven anything in the Show.

  67. KC wants frontline starters at the major league level for Myers. That is not Tommy Hanson. Any deal for Myers where the primary return for him was Hanson would be lambasted by every outlet in the industry on par with the Miami fire sale (part 3.)

  68. They’d be insane to trade him for James Shields. Pretty sure Hanson won’t get it done. Pretty sure that isn’t being considered by either party because it’s absurd.

  69. Two years ago, Myers was 20 in AA, and he merely held his own. Three years ago, he destroyed High-A as a 19-year old, and last year, he annihilated Triple-A as a 21-year old. In context, Myers’s 2010 season looks like an aberration — and, honestly, if a 20-year old catcher has a .745 OPS in AA, that’s actually a pretty good year.

    But it’s still almost 200 points lower than his minor league career numbers. He’s a true stud.

  70. In our defense, according to KC, Tommy Hanson is probably a frontline starter.

    Yeah…. I’m not getting the underestimation of Myers’ abilities here. He’s probably, what, a top-15 prospect right now?

  71. The poster boy for “hasn’t done anything in the majors” was Andy Marte, but Marte didn’t hit nearly as well — he just performed well relative to his age. Marte has a career minor league OPS of .818. He never absolutely dominated the way Myers has.

  72. Upton’s contract is at least less risky than the one we handed to Lowe. Both contracts are one year longer than I want, but I guess that’s the price for acquiring free agent. Let’s trade for the other Upton now!!!

  73. I’d do Minor+Gilmartin for Myers. I think I’d want something in addition to just Myers for Minor+Teheran.

  74. I would absolutely love an Upton, Upton, Heyward outfield, but Simmons would just be such an overpay for Upton. If Upton is a 5 win player for the next three years, with $38.5 million left on his contract, he’d provide a surplus value of $44.5 million (assuming a 10% increase in dollars/win over the next 3 years). Those 5 wins are probably a 75th percentile projection, given what he’s done.

    If Simmons, on the other hand, hits 3.0 WAR for the next three years (a 20th percentile projection, given what he’s shown), he’ll be worth $48.15 million for just his Pre-Arb years. Throw in his arb years and (reasonable) improvement in performance, this deal is a no-brainer to me.

    And, realistically, Simmons is probably the second most valuable SS in the game for the next five years (measured by surplus value). I’d put Jurickson Profar over him, but given the contract situations of Andrus, Zobrist, and Castro, I’m not sure I’d rather have them than Simmons.

  75. I like the Upton signing. AAR made a good point about Upton’s market value as a 3-4 win player. It seems Upton had comparable offers on the table and chose ATL, which I take as a good sign. I’m not looking forward to the simultaneous Upton Uggla month long slump, however. A position of need was filled, I don’t think they overpaid, and Upton still has some upside. I like it.

  76. So he needs a Braves Journal nickname. I propose two: The Journal when he’s playing well and The Job when he (wait for it) sucks.

  77. Do folks really believe that BJ Upton + Denard Span > Chipper Jones + Michael Bourn?

    Last year’s offense would have been the weakest of the playoff teams. Braves need to go into 2013 with a better line-up than last year.

  78. It is probably not a better lineup but it is a better defensive team and you can argue we lost in the playoffs due to errors.
    Besides, we may never replace Chipper in our lifetimes, so Prado, Upton and a Span will do just fine for me.

    I would be happier if I we shocked everyone and signed Bourn to an Upton like deal but I dont see that happening.

  79. @118 But we got errors from guys who are normally pretty solid defensively (including our best defensive player, Simmons.)

    The offense is a huge concern for next year.

  80. I’m trying to talk myself in to the narrative that BJ was unhappy, felt misunderstood, and/or was trying to be the “producer” in a weak lineup, and that hitting in a longer lineup will allow him to play within himself and take his walks.

    Not there yet. But overnight it somehow became plausible to me.

    Boy, how beautiful it would be if he proved he deserved to bat 2 or 3, with Heyward?

  81. I really don’t like the idea of Denard Span any more. Before Upton, he was a reasonable replacement for Bourn in CF that allowed you to persue a masher in LF. Now he would push Upton off of CF into LF, which just torpedo’s Upton’s all around value and makes his contract much worse.

    The Braves don’t need a CF. They need a LF. They have Upton in CF. Span doesn’t hit enough to carry left.

  82. I agree with Sam.

    I would like to find someone that could lead off and get on base.

    This lineup could actually be pretty good. I just hope they aren’t as streaky as they were last year.

    Are there any LF out there that can get on base? They don’t need to have a ton of power, just an ability to take a walk.

  83. #126 – Thats what Ive been saying. However, Wren and company think Simmons could handle the job. I really dont think Simmons is ready or even close to being ready for that job.

    Alex Gordon or Nick Swisher in LF would be much more attractive than Denard Span at this point.

  84. Just like you can’t ride a hover board over water, this lineup can’t carry a lead off type in LF.

  85. I am trying to really like the Upton deal but it doesnt solve the problem. Getting another OF does solve it. Is 15 million too much for a left fielder? Probably. Would Span fit in LF or does that kill has value?

  86. I agree with Sam.

    I would like to find someone that could lead off and get on base.

    These are contradictory statements…

    Anyway, if McCann isn’t out for two months and Uggla isn’t as bad as he was last year, this is already a fine lineup and could certainly handle someone like Span in left. Now, I’d obviously rather get a masher, but I don’t think our lineup is as bad as the consensus here seems to think.

  87. @126 Prado had a .359 OBP last year (and has a .345 career mark) so yes, I definitely agree that he’s a fine leadoff hitter. He even had 17 SB last year (with only 4 CS) so you’ve got some steals too if you absolutely must have them. The only reason I could think of to shift Prado to, say, the #2 slot would be if Andrelton showed enough development next year to warrant hitting leadoff.

  88. I know the Red Sox are after Cody Ross (among others) – anyone think the Braves should make more of a play for him? Or should they just let the Jr Evil Empire corner the market on MLB “Ross”es?

  89. From Peanut’s article last night

    Another interesting trade possibility could involve Tommy Hanson, who was regarded as the game’s top pitching prospect when he made his Major League debut in 2009. If the Braves move Hanson, they would free up approximately $4 million and increase their options in their search to land another outfielder.

    By moving Hanson, the Braves might put themselves in better position to afford either Shane Victorino or Angel Pagan on the free-agent market. With Pagan being a little more expensive and seemingly on track to return to the Giants, Victorino might be the more likely option.

    It will also be interesting to see if the D-backs arrive at this year’s Meetings ready to once again make Justin Upton (B.J.’s younger brother) available via trade. To get the younger Upton, the Braves would have to include either Teheran or Delgado and likely Nick Ahmed, a sure-handed shortstop who garnered some attention during the Arizona Fall League.

    Ill take the other Upton please.

  90. Yeah, if Teheran or Delgado + Ahmed would go most of the way toward getting Justin, you absolutely make that trade…

  91. Oh good lord. If AZ shows up at the meetings willing to flip the Better Upton for Teheran and Ahmed, pull the damned trigger.

  92. I have been saying this since the start of the offseason: let’s get the Upton brothers. As long as we don’t trade Simmons, I am fine with any package.

  93. For the record, the reference to Ahmed seems to have been removed from the article on Bowman’s blog. Which might mean he was making shit up, or might mean the Braves asked him to pull it so other teams wouldn’t know their hand.

  94. Dan (@143): I trust Randall Delgado 150% more than I trust Julio Teheran. Teheran has a lot of talent, and he could still go Adam Wainwright on us. But Delgado has actually produced at the major league level.

  95. Teheran+Ahmed for J. Upton? Hmmm, I’d hate giving up on Julio, but with TINSTAAPP in mind, I’d be OK with that. (I’d probably offer Gilmartin, Spruill, + Ahmed first, just to see if that would work.)

  96. An article on the MLB site give 5 names for potential outfielders. Here’s my ranking as to desirability.

    1. Dexter Fowler
    2. Justin Upton
    3. Denard Span
    4. Angel Pagan
    5. Shane Victorino

    An Upton/Upton outfield would be nice – especially since Justin is well ahead of BJ. Hopefully they could help each other.

  97. And by blog, I mean official site. I’m an idiot.

    So, his blog also had a reference? And that was removed?

  98. Regarding replacing last year’s offensive production…

    Out of Freeman, Heyward, Uggla, Simmons, and McCann,which of these do you think won’t outperform their numbers from last year? Simmons probably won’t be able to outperform his own numbers, but he will almost certainly outperform the .590 OPS put up by Braves SS last year. Looking at it that way, this offense should be greatly improved.

    1. I think Freeman has the ability to put up a mid-.800 OPS with 30 HR.
    2. I think Heyward has the ability to put up an upper .800 OPS with 30 HR
    3. I would hope McCann can improve from his sub-.700 OPS (but I’m not sure that Laird/McCann/Gattis/Bethancourt can collectively replace Ross/McCann’s .733 OPS from last year)
    4. I would hope that Uggla can improve from his .732 OPS
    5. Simmons can outhit a .590 OPS.

    If I were a betting man, I would bet that 4 of the 5 above happen with #3 being a long shot.

  99. Fowler is 26 and had a very good year last year .300/.389/.863 line. I know it’s Colorado, but I think he will improve. Maybe a .280 BA with a .780 OPS is what I would look for. Actually, on further examination I would rank Justin Upton first with Fowler and Span pretty close. Victorino is at 5 only because there were only 5 mentioned.

  100. Just realized how good Ruggiano was for the Marlins last year. Not saying I want to trade for him, but just pointing out his numbers are impressive.

  101. I probably ranked Fowler too high because I was impressed with his hitting last year even outside of Colorado. On re-examination, I agree that I was a little too entusiastic on him.

  102. Justin Upton is owed $38.5 million over the next three years (back-loaded; it’s just $9.75 million this year). He may well be worth more than that, but $13M a year is non-trivial; he was worth less than that, per Fangraphs, in both 2010 and 2012.

    From 2009 to 2012, he was worth about $74 million total, or about $18 million per year. He has had some growing pains and been handled poorly by the D-Backs amid injury. And he’s only 25. But still — it’s important to remember that we’re not just going to be paying prospects for Upton, we’re going to be paying nearly $40 million.

    So, while I’m almost certain that he will generate surplus over the length of the deal, it may not be quite as large as you think.

    I think Teheran is at the nadir of his value and I’d rather not trade him until he can rebuild some of that value in the minors. Unless, of course, we’re absolutely certain that he can’t.

  103. No, I looked at the blog and thought “Stu said it was there, but it’s not there, so he must have removed it for some reason.” Then you said “it’s still there” and I thought “it’s possible that the editing of his official piece is different from his blog post, I should ask Stu which one he’s looking at.”

  104. Fowler

    Home – .315/.395/.462
    Away – .262/.339/.381

    Home – .245/.360/.451
    Away – .286/.367/.415

    Home – .313/.401/.531
    Away – .211/.297/.298

    Home – .295/.395/.487
    Away – .248/.331/.367

    No thanks.

  105. Ruggiano is kind of a minor league slugger. He’s 30 years old, and has played 515 games in Triple-A over six seasons, where he’s got an .844 OPS. He’s already hit his offensive peak, which for most players occurs when they’re 27. By comparison, before 2012, he had a .621 OPS in 98 games in the majors.

    Then he had a very nice year last year when his BABIP was .401. Take that away, and all of a sudden he looks a lot less impressive.

  106. #165 – This was posted over at AJC earlier today

    Robby Spurlin ‏@RobbySpurlin
    @mlbbowman any chance of extending Mac to spread salary, gain room?

    Mark Bowman ‏@mlbbowman
    @RobbySpurlin No. It remains safe to assume 2013 will be McCann’s last in Atlanta.

  107. 162—I’m talking about Victorino. What was intended as a joke has now taken multiple comments to clarify and is clearly unfunny — my b!

    164—csg quoted from Bowman’s article, then you said an Ahmed reference had been removed from Bowman’s blog. Didn’t realize there were two different pieces. I went to the site to see csg’s quoted part and the removal of Ahmed’s name, because I was going to tweet Bowman to ask why it had been removed — but the article was exactly as csg quoted it. Not knowing that there was a second article (the blog to which you referred), I said it was still there.

  108. Well, I just asked him on the blog if he thinks Towers would actually accept that offer.

    Do we think Wren would be willing to move 2 of our potential starters, Hanson and Teheran/Delgado? How close is Gilmartin? Beachy should be back around the break, but we wont have any cash to go get another starter if we need to do so.

  109. Uh, Delgado was a league average starter as a baby. That’s useful, and better than anything we’ve seen from Teheran in 18 months.

  110. Do we think Wren would be willing to move 2 of our potential starters, Hanson and Teheran/Delgado?

    I can’t imagine a scenario where Hanson+Teheran is a deal breaker. The Braves have seven thousand #5 starters. They can deal a couple of them if needs be. Going to war in 2013 with

    Hudson/Medlen/Minor/Maholm/Delgado with Beachy in the recovery wings isn’t notably worse (and quite likely better) than going to war with Hudson/Medlen/Minor/Maholm/Hanson with Teheran/Delgado at AAA and Beachy in recovery.

  111. May not be worse, but it’s definitely thinner. Who’s the injury replacement before Beachy comes back? Gilmartin?

  112. If second-half Minor is the real Minor, we need to extend him NOW. He’s about to become that most treasured of pieces – a hard-throwing lefty that eats innings and makes you the favorite every time his turn comes around.

    Minor, Medlen, Avilan and Kimbrell – those are my untouchables.

    Beachy is not on that list because of injury but will be when he returns.

  113. @175
    I think the answer to your question might be J.R. Graham. Sickels liked him enough to move him atop Braves’ prospects list. He’ll be 23 this upcoming year and will probably start at AA with a quick callup to AAA if he finds success. Alex Wood, with good results, will probably follow right behind Graham, starting at high A and moving to AA early into the season. He’ll be 22. Other less than stellar guys that could be in line for a spot start: Northcraft, Cody Martin, Spruill.

    I think we’re fine.

  114. I get the objections to Fowler, but hitting better at home is pretty common, even for guys at Dodger Stadium. Certainly context and scale matters, but he’s not completely a “Coors Field Creation”.

  115. I’m really excited about this signing! I will watch more Braves games than ever this year! In high-def!

    What’s that? We didn’t sign Kate Upton? We signed the Upton that already plays baseball? Oh. Well, still that’s a pretty good move.

    What’s that? We didn’t sign Justin Upton? We signed his brother? No I don’t enjoy Jim Belushi.


  116. Minor, Medlen, Avilan and Kimbrell – those are my untouchables.

    Maybe the strangest list of untouchables I’ve ever seen.

    Our third-best lefty reliever is untouchable; our 23-year-old superstar right fielder is not.

  117. Our third-best lefty reliever is untouchable; our 23-year-old superstar right fielder is not.

    Ill admit, I laughed

  118. Who’s the injury replacement before Beachy comes back?

    In addition to Gilmartin and the others mentioned, there’s always folks like Kevin Millwood, or Jason Marquis, or Kevin Correia. (Though I’d probably avoid Livian Hernandez this year.)

    Picking up an emergency fifth starter if someone goes down isn’t that terribly hard. Fifth starters are generally fungible parts. Hell, pushed hard enough you could go a week or three with Christhian Martinez as your #5. You certainly don’t let your #6 starter depth prevent you from making a valid upgrade in LF.

  119. Oh, I don’t disagree — I’d make such a deal in a heartbeat. Just think we’re taking our incredible SP depth a bit for granted. There’s a real difference between seven credible MLB SPs and five.

  120. Very little reason to trade for Fowler or Span now. Actually almost zero reason. Also no reason to sign Pagan or Victorino. Neither of those guys have any chance of producing enough value in left to justify multi-year contracts at close to or exceeding 10million annually.

    Right now our list of targets should be:
    1. Choo
    2. Upton

    Against righthanders Choo would be a better leadoff hitter than any of the prototypical leadoff hitters that we have discussed. Against lefties Prado is more than adequate. Choo can play everyday but sitting him against the occasional lefthander allows us to break Gattis in as soon as he is ready.

    Obviously Simmons is a total wildcard but his best-case projection would work just fine in the leadoff spot. Very few strikeouts, lots of singles, with adequate speed to swipe the occasional base and more importantly to take the extra base and score on from first on extra base hits.

  121. I’m actually with Bethany. I think we need to be in on Hamilton, even though we almost certainly can’t afford him at the price or years he’ll want, because for the next 3-5 years he’ll be able to hit a boatload of homers in an outfield corner. As the man once said, that’ll play.

  122. Seriously, the orbit of the earth would be altered by the explosion of happiness I would release upon the signing of Hamilton with the Braves.

  123. Not that anyone cares but I just finished putting together a Braves Top 20 prospects list. Biggest discrepancies with Sickels: I’ve got Bethancourt 5th, Sickels has him 16th [!] and I’ve got Merejo 11th and Sickels has him 18th. In the other direction he has La Stella 9th [!] whereas I have him 20th and he also ranks Sims, Ahmed and Northcraft a good bit higher than I do. He has three guys, Beckwith, Hale and Navery Moore that don’t make my list. Instead I have Juan Jaime, Terdoslavich and Abraham Espinosa.

    The somewhat off the radar guys to be most excited about have to be Jose Peraza and especially Luis Merejo. Merejo went 0-5 with a 4.61 ERA in the Gulf Coast League. Wretched, right? But he also struck out 53 batters in 41 innings while only walking nine guys. That gives 11.6 Ks per 9 and a truly ridiculous 5.9 K/BB ratio. Oh, he also allowed fewer hits than innings pitched, and only a single home run. He apparently has three plus pitches and his fastball already sits in the low nineties. I say ‘already’ because he was basically born yesterday (actually October 8, 1994).

  124. Zero, and I mean zero, chance that Wren gets Hamilton. I would say less than zero chance, if such thing were possible.

  125. What would the Mets take for a year of David Wright? I mean, I can’t seriously believe that they plan on giving him a big extension given their financial situation, his moderate decline since the concussion and the fact that he’ll be a FA at 31. I’d love to have Wright playing a contract year and Martin in left.

  126. Well, poop, I didn’t see that news. Any word about the length and $$ per? I find it a little hard to believe that the Mets would be offering him more than 4 years and why would Wright agree to less than 6-7 years at this point in his contract?

  127. They lowballed him at 6/100, and then bumped their offer to 8/140 48 hours later after realizing their own retardation

  128. Obviously a small sample, but I hope Prado has proved himself worthy of being the backup SS. I really am tired of seeing a non-hitting SS taking up a roster spot, never being used in the field, and receiving pinch hits. If I were given free reign on filling out the bench, it would have Constanza, Gattis, Mejia, Francisco, and Pastornicky.

  129. @183 – My list was only referring to pitchers. I noticed a disturbing trend of folks willing to trade Mike Minor for a “hot prospect”.

    Delgado or Teheran? Sure. But not Minor and not Medlen.

    And, yes, I think Avilan is that good.

  130. @199 – this makes a lot of sense.

    And I’d like to see Kung Fu Panda II get most of the 3B at-bats against righties.

    Unless, of course, we can land Headley.

  131. ryan c- that is not a terrible bench, except that we probably want another catcher. Otherwise Freddie is never going to use Gattis either as a pinch-hitter or as a spot starter in left against a lefthander. More likely I think is that we have another catcher plus Constanza with Gattis starting out in AAA and Mejia the go-to RH pinch hitter. Or Mejia staying in AAA with Constanza, Gattis, and another back-up catcher on the bench.

  132. After reading the mix of desires for outfielders, I think my response is to put trust in the decision-makers. Hopefully Wren can get the best return on our tradeable assets, and I agree with most that it’s probably not Fowler.

    Definitely need a power-hitting LF, in my opinion. Another centerfielder playing left is a waste of assets.

  133. 200 – I think something we can get a little tunnel vision on is the value of our own players. If we’re all willing to part with Hanson, Teheran, Delgado then, they are probably not as attractive to others as we hope they would be. On Hanson and Teheran particularly we may be trading them at their lowest possible value. Minor and Medlen on the other hand, of course we’d be reluctant to trade them, however they are the pieces other teams would value most and in both cases their value may never be higher. I’m sure we’d all like to rewind and unload Jurrjens a couple of years ago before he fell all the way from potential All-Star starter to non-tender fodder. Just saying if we’d easily part with them, they may not get you anything of value anyway. If you want a Myers, Gordon or J Upton, it would probably take getting rid of a piece you don’t want to get rid of.

  134. I could live with a Willingham or Morse (aka, Willingham semi-lite) in LF. As some have said … get it done, Wren.

  135. #204 – Thats a good point, but what piece do we not want to get rid of thats not already apart of our major league roster? Im assuming, Medlen/Simmons/Heyward/and Freeman arent going anywhere. These teams are wanting major league ready prospects right now.

    Oh yeah and Avilan also :)

  136. Lots of people on here were advocating trading JJ long before he collapsed. His underlying numbers always suggested that he was the perfect sell high candidate. This does not apply to Minor, who, if you simply go by his 2012 ERA, ERA+ or xFIP is in no way a sell-high candidate. In fact, the opposite. He is a guy that smart teams will target because they know he is actually a good bit better than his numbers might suggest, and has a good chance to be even better. Medlen will probably regress slightly (how could he not?), but his numbers show none of the same warning signs as JJ. The only potentially available guy that I would trade him for is Giancarlo Stanton.

  137. Very nice site. Well done all throughout. You can thank BR for referring me to this site; their mention of the site’s founder’s passing brought me here. And a touching tribute, indeed.

    Janish, I like. Good glove, cannon arm. The bat will always be an issue, I’m afraid, but definitely a good sub to have on the bench. I just wonder if the bat is so weak that it doesn’t justify having him take up a spot on their bench.

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