Melvin Emanuel “Bossman Junior” (“BJ”) Upton

Yes, I’m excited. Five years and $75.25 million is obviously a risk, but in my view, BJ Upton is clearly the best fit for the Braves among free-agent CF options, and he came a bit more cheaply than I thought possible. (I envisioned him signing with the Phillies for something like six years, $100 million. Speaking of which: Ryan Howard contract, LOL.)

A former top draft pick and top prospect out of Virginia — where he grew up with his brother Justin and good friend David Wright, either of whom would also make excellent additions to this Braves roster . . . — BJ bats right and throws right and has all the tools, but he’s been viewed as something of a disappointment because he’s never been the superstar it once looked like he might become.

He was drafted as a shortstop and played there (mixed with some second and third base) in his younger days, before being moved to the outfield for good in 2008. If you believe UZR, he’s a very good defensive CF; if you believe Runs Saved, he’s not. I’m torn, because I typically (strongly) prefer Runs Saved, but my own eyes think he’s pretty good out there.

He’s weird offensively, too. His career averages are pretty good — .255/.336/.436 — but that’s not really representative of any one season he’s had. He used to walk a lot more and hit a lot fewer homers. If you get five years of that slash-line in center, you’re easily getting your money’s worth, but it’s a bit less certain if he continues to be sub-.300-OBP/30-homer guy he was last year. My money’s on Greg Walker helping him to regain some plate discipline.

Anyway, he plays center field, and he hits lefties really, really well. He’s only 28 now and will be only 32 when this contract runs out — the Braves are buying what should be his best years. With the price of wins going up every year, it’s a very good bet that he’ll be worth his contract. Also, and perhaps most importantly, Bossman.

Author: Stu

Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. I've been married since July 17, 2004 to my beautiful wife, who also doubles as my best friend. We have an almost-three-years-old Boston Terrier named Lucy who's also pretty awesome. My wife and I both graduated from Vanderbilt University in May of 2004. I graduated from Law School at the University of Georgia in May of 2007 and am now practicing in Nashville, Tennessee. I really, really love the Atlanta Braves.

279 thoughts on “Melvin Emanuel “Bossman Junior” (“BJ”) Upton”

  1. OK, one hole filled. Now Wren – go out and surprise us by nabbing David Wright for Paul Janish and a Double A lottery ticket.

  2. Nice job Stu.

    Mark Bowman ‏@mlbbowman
    B.J. Upton said he and his brother Justin Upton have had a few conversations about possibility of playing together in Atlanta.

    Cmon Wren.

  3. Upton said in his press conference that he wants to increase his walks and cut down on strikeouts. Obviously no guarantee that it will happen, but an acknowledgment of the problem and stated desire to improve are good signs.

  4. At first blush I don’t like this signing but I’m willing to give him a season before I nominate him for whipping boy.

  5. Can’t wait. It’s not like he’s a can’t-miss superstar, but you don’t get can’t-miss superstars for that kind of cash anyway. Probably at or below market value, for as you say, potentially the prime years of a guy who’s always had huge promise.

    And the thought of his brother coming along behind him is probably just wishful thinking but would basically set us up for the coming years. Jason Heyward and Freeman are young and just getting better, yum yum!

  6. Prado
    B.J. Upton




    I think I could live with that roster.

  7. Durbin was assigned whipping boy status early and quickly, but righted the ship as the season went on.

  8. I have no problem bringing Durbin back for the right price. He was a useful piece of the bullpen last year.

  9. #9 – Ha, I guess you didnt believe me. Wren and Co. have mentioned it several times.

    I will say this, I hope Simmons convinces them that he’s capable of leadoff so we dont get stuck with going after Span/Victorino types for LF. Give me Justin Upton and we can worry about getting Prado in the leadoff spot later.

  10. @13 I did believe you, but hearing it again after we’ve gotten Upton concerns me. My worry is the same as yours: that we get a “leadoff” guy for LF.

  11. At first glance they would seem to be nothing alike, but BJ Upton’s career reminds me of David Ross when we acquired him. There was a great deal of skepticism regarding Ross, based largely on the fact that he was coming off a bad year, and it wasn’t the first time he’d had a bad year, either.

    But as Bill James once said, if you can display a particular talent through the course of a single season, you own that talent. The only question is whether it can be teased out of you once again. Ross had had years where he walked at twice the league average rate, hit home runs at twice the league average rate, and thrown out 40+% of basestealers…just never all at the same time. But if you could get him to do two of those things, he would be a very useful player. All three and he’d be tremendously valuable. Well, we all know how that turned out….

  12. Simmons for J Upton is just trading one black hole on the roster for another, so that would be a non-starter, I would think.

  13. @joecraig…from last thread…
    The first bench that had Gattis on the roster was assuming that McCann would be out and he would be the backup (or starter,depending on how the Braves viewed his catching abilities), then reevaluate the bench when McCann comes back. I’d love nothing more than to see Gattis crush the ball and force his way into the lineup on a regular basis.

  14. Do we have enough money left to make a run at Swisher? Do we want to make a run at Swisher? I’ve got a feeling that despite Braves Journal’s reservations on getting a slappy speedy ‘lead off hitter’ thats what we’ll end up with in Left.

    @18 and 19 – I agree. Simmons should be off limits this year.

  15. David O’Brien
    I asked B.J. Upton if he and his brother have talked about playing together, if that’s something they want to do. He said absolutely, that they talk about it a lot and hope that it happens when Justin is a free agent in three years, if not sooner.

    Ok, now Ive set myself up for disappointment.

  16. If the Braves got Justin and B.J. I might explode from joy. I was in high school in Newport News, VA when Justin was a senior at Great Bridge in Virginia Beach. He hit the longest home rum I’ve ever seen off a buddy of mine during the State Tournament. He was astonishingly good, he beat my high school team almost by himself, and I think my school went on to win state championship the next year or two. They were a good team, and he just demolished them.
    I can’t say that having two local boys prowling the Atlanta outfield (with Heyward!!!!) would hurt my fandom any, that’s for sure.

  17. With Span going to the Nats, Harper will likely move to RF which frees up either Werth or Morse (and most likely Morse) for a trade. Clearly, if we have a shot at the junior Upton then we should go after that first. But I could live with Morse or Werth in left. Werth has more pop, but that awful contract. Morse is cost controlled for another year, so the Nats should be looking to trade him now rather than just lose him to FA.

  18. Whoa! The Nats gave up a lot less to get Span than I had assumed the Twins wanted from us. Alex Meyer had an excellent year and put up great stats for a 22 year old pitcher in A+ ball. But damn, that is still only high A. The Braves have a whole bunch of equally good pitching prospects.

  19. Something tells me that the Braves believe BJ is going to improve markedly in Atl, otherwise I don’t see why they wouldn’t beat the Nats offer for Span and save tens of million of dollars.

  20. Boras can’t be happy with the Nats trade. If Pagan resigns with the Giants who does he have for leverage against the Phillies? He is going to have work overtime coming up with mystery teams.

  21. There’s this team in Japan that is secretly owned by a Russian billionaire that desperately needs a left-handed centerfielder.

    Suck it, Boras.

    Too bad Bourn chose unwisely. Really liked him in a Braves uni.

  22. I really think getting Choo is doable. The Indians have to be starting pitching hungry. Their starting staff was atrocious last year, their Minor League talent is almost non-existent, and they’d be kidding themselves if they think they have a chance at doing anything this year other than mirroring last year. They’re a 75 win team, at best. I’d offer Hanson for Choo straight up and see if they bite.

  23. Cruz is 32, he is poor defensively, and he doesn’t walk much. He basically has the offensive upside of BJ Upton, but he’s four years older and worse defensively. I’d take him if we could get him for cheap, but he’s a pretty one dimensional slugger and I don’t want to overpay for the homers.

  24. I’ve wanted Choo for years now. I’d trade anyone but my Big Three of Heyward, Freeman, and Medlen for him.

    Also, I just got a Samsung Galaxy Note II and could not be happier with it. Just an aside for any of the more tech inclined readers.

  25. My main concern is the JA factor here. Clubhouse cancers are for real, and they lead to losing seasons. This guy has acted like a complete jerk for most of his career.

  26. 50,

    This is the same organization that dumped one of the five most valuable shortstops in baseball (at the time) for Alex Gonzalez. I doubt they didn’t do their homework on Upton.

  27. DOB actually made reference to that earlier. Said Wren called as many former coaches and players as he possibly could and didnt receive a single bad response. Ill see if I can find that quote later.

  28. Does anybody follow Prep baseball? What are the thoughts on Heyward’s younger brother? I guess he graduates this year.

  29. @38 Exactly. Either the Braves like Upton a lot better than Span or Alex Meyer is a lot better than we think.

  30. Upton said in his press conference that he wants to increase his walks and cut down on strikeouts.

    Jeff Francouer said this every year.

  31. No, Francoeur said: “if on-base percentage is so important, then why don’t they put it up on the scoreboard?”

  32. This year may be the last that we see of McCann and Hudson in Braves’ uniforms. That’s a sad thought.

    Alex Meyer apparently has number-one starter potential. A lottery ticket, but one with perhaps better odds than most.

  33. DOB:

    And after doing a lot of background checks on Upton, talking to everyone from former teammates and coaches to clubhouse attendants, the Braves were convinced that Upton was the thoughtful, respectful and passionate player they talked to Nov. 15, not the petulant or lackluster sort some perceived after a couple of incidents in Tampa Bay.

    “They all came back with roaring reviews of B.J., and that goes back to Mr. and Mrs. Upton and the upbringing they gave him,” Gonzalez said, nodding toward the two parents in the front row. “Because nobody ever said anything bad about him. And the clubhouse guys, in our business they know everything. And it was rave reviews. Not only can he perform on the field, he adds another dynamic to our clubhouse and to our club. It’s going to make us better.”

  34. 57– I’d say given that Alex Meyer only has two pitches right now and will be 23 in a few weeks, the odds that he turns into a frontline starter are actually pretty low. Certainly lower than for a handful of guys in our organization. On the other hand, with high 90s gas and a nasty slider the odds pretty good that he has value as a major league reliever.

  35. JHey showed up to the Upton presser. Said he loved the signing and loved the direction the team was heading.

  36. Did the Pirates also get one of these magic new TV deals? What a clown show. 17/2 for Russell Martin.

  37. @58, I am at a bit of a loss to understand the outsized focus on character in a results driven industry – it seems like the sort of thing that keeps the Brad Ausmus’ of the world employed past their sell by date. Having said that, I still like the signing.

  38. I refuse to believe David Wright would resign with IWOTM.

    (Puts fingers in ears)

    Lalalalalalala…I can’t hear you…lalala.

  39. I think that character is basically just something where you need to clear a bar. Someone with amazing character is probably not going to help your team that much more than someone with adequate character. But someone below the bar is capable of actively poisoning a clubhouse. As long as pretty much everyone is at or above the bar, you should be fine on that front.

  40. I’ve lived in St. Pete for a few years, and in all honesty a lot of the “petulance” and bad attitude associated with BJ around here is/was more frustration with himself than anything else. You could tell from interviews and body language that he was just as upset as Rays fans that he hadn’t put it all together for a complete season yet. Not that that excuses occasionally childish behavior, but this isn’t a Yunel situation – the guy really recognizes the flaws in his game and wants to get better. Late twenties is the perfect time to get a guy like that – the natural talent is still there and he’s mature enough to put in the work.

  41. Yep, apparently Wright/Mets agreed to a 7/$122M extension for his age 31-38 playing years. Wright probably would have gotten that elsewhere, but the Mets need to improve pretty much everywhere except 3B. So one wonders why they are dumping $138M into one position. IWOTM.

  42. @58, I am at a bit of a loss to understand the outsized focus on character in a results driven industry

    See Bobby Petrino. Sometimes character issues outweigh production.

  43. My take is that Upton has holes, and pitchers have figured them out. That early Upton is not coming back, although switching leagues could be a temporary benefit. (as is getting out of the pitcher friendly Trop, as AAR commented the other day.)

    As Peggy Hill said, “I am not a professional psychologist. However, I am am an amateur psychologist.”

    I’ve been to a couple of Rays games each year over the last 4 years, and there just seemed to be a low level of negative vibe in the crowd toward Upton I didn’t notice for other guys. I think the fans and Upton were frustated it’s not as easy as he made it look at first. People want to jump to the simple answer that it’s lack of effort, but I don’t believe that.

    I think he’s trying, frustrated, and the fans frustration with him had a compounding effect on his demeanor.

  44. I think that character is important to the organization given the size of the contract. For role players or bench guys, its less important. For 75MM, BJ is a huge part of the organization. They executives of this team wouldn’t hire a guy for that much money if they didn’t like his attitude. Like any other business, they are recognizing that the culture of the team definitely makes a difference.

  45. Any sports industry is an entertainment industry. If a guy helps you win games, but fewer people watch games because of him, then he hurts revenue. Character matters. If you can’t put a $15 mil guy in your commercials and on promotional material, he probably needs to have the kind of marginal impact that adds playoff games.

    I had honestly never heard of character issues with Upton until this thread, and I have a lot of Rays fan friends. I don’t know where this stuff originates.

  46. If a guy helps you win games, but fewer people watch games because of him, then he hurts revenue. Character matters.

    Don’t those types usually attract more viewers? Going to guess Rocker’s games in New York after the 1999 season attracted more viewers than usual.

  47. Any sports industry is an entertainment industry. If a guy helps you win games, but fewer people watch games because of him, then he hurts revenue.

    Granted, but what would that guy even look like? Just to take the extreme example, Barry Bonds’ combination of ridiculous production and ridiculous jerkiness hurt the Giants to the tune of . . . increased attendance, increased merch sales, plus a road attendance effect that clearly told the story that fans wanted to see him play.

    Upton obviously doesn’t have nearly Bonds’ talent nor nearly his reputation for being a bad guy. But honestly, I’m a little skeptical about the idea that a “clubhouse cancer” could hurt a team’s attendance or ratings so long as he’s producing. Right or not, sports fans forgive a lot (*cough* Roethlisberger *cough*) for players that do good things on the field. Dave Chappelle had a good bit about this when Kobe was charged with rape.

  48. Wasn’t Upton’s “issue” more a matter of hustle? As in, occasional lack of?

    They did. I went to those games & it was the biggest dumbass-fest this side of Tuesday night wrestling at the National Guard Armory. The whole thing made one lose a little faith in humanity.

  49. @81: JonathanF’s rule: Every story which relates to events in Shea Stadium must include the word “dumbass-fest.” My astonishment is how quickly the move to Citifield (though I’ve only made two visits) has raised the tone. That said, IWOTM.

  50. Ah, losing faith in humanity… makes me grateful for this little neck of the internet where those commenting don’t make me feel that way. Rare.

    I’ve heard that some attribute the issue of hustle as a perception problem. As in, those perceiving it may have other issues (latent, or not so latent, racism). I have no idea whether that’s the case. I believe Keith Law has written about it. For whatever it’s worth.

  51. My favorite Rocker moment: At the Trop for an interleague game between the Devil Rays and Braves. This jack-in-the-box in the stands, in the second inning, keeps yelling, “BRING IN ROCKER! BRING IN ROCKER!”


  52. Speaking of losing your faith in humanity, have you guys read those comment threads after articles on Man, those cretins have issues. I read these articles on my phone, I scroll down to read a couple comments, my IQ drops 15 points.

  53. Side note, I believe the lack of hustle is a racist perception is typically applied to fans / media types making accusations in specific cases, while not mentioning it whenever Scrapper McGrit doesn’t run out a 6-3 put out.

    I think Bossman had been benched a couple of times for a lack of hustle. I don’t know if those situations were discussed in terms of racism.

  54. I have been unable to post since last night, so let me just say this to the New Orleans Saints: Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye!

  55. 85 – Anything related to politics or religion is even worse. If you can believe it. I just can’t read ’em. I always feel like I’ve let myself down on the rare times that I do read a comment or two.

  56. @86: From The League

    Andre: I met this doctor, Dr. Maxwell. Real class act.
    Pete: Is he…black?
    Andre: How’d you know?
    Pete: Nine times out of ten, when a sportscaster is referring to someone as a “class act”, they’re talking about a head coach who’s black. “Tony Dungy, what a class act.”
    Kevin: “Total. Lovie Smith—class act.”
    Andre: I never noticed that. I mean, it happens all the time?
    Kevin: It’s not just football. Sportscasters use these code words in all sports. If they’re talking about a Latino player in baseball, like, “Ozzie Guillen is a…”
    Ruxin: Firecracker. Latin guys are always firecrackers.
    Kevin: “…firecracker.”
    Pete: Spark plug.
    Kevin: Spark plug in the clubhouse.
    Ruxin: Wes Welker is like a gym rat, a real scrappy player.
    Kevin: Which is code word for “white.”
    Ruxin: Always a white guy.
    Kevin: Ichiro Suzuki is…
    Taco: Inscrutable.

  57. Anything related to politics or religion is even worse.

    Yeah, and you realize why Mac banned discussion of those subjects from this website. Wikipedia is such a good source, until you get to anything political or religious, then it’s an untrustworthy flame-war of edits.

  58. OK. It’s been brought up. Does anyone other than me believe the Upton signing also helps keep the diversity we had with Bourne? I apologize if it shouldn’t be mentioned, but it has been a thought of mine for some time. I, even at my advanced age, am open to being enlightened on the subject by the fine folk here.

  59. I can understand the dislike of BJ Upton from Rays fans. He was the highest-rated player in that 2002 draft, and was supposed to be a major superstar for a decade to come (I have no clue why Bullington was drafted first).

    If Heyward has Upton’s career through age 28, I would certainly be disappointed; even more so if there were perceived (if not actual) flaws of character and work ethic that lead to his stagnant performance.

    Scratch that. I’d be really ticked off if that occurred. Can’t blame Rays fans.

  60. 92,

    I would think that topic wouldn’t matter anymore in the game today, but I’m young and foolish. I don’t think it’s a concern unless outside forces make it to be one, and that hasn’t been a problem with the Braves in my memory. They would have taken Upton if he were white, purple, orange, or green.

  61. @90
    On more than one occasion, I heard Billy Packer bandying about the word”articulate” when describing a college hoopsters. Never once was the individual being described a caucasion.

  62. I remember the 2005 World Series, how some sports writers were saying that the Astros were “too white” and that the White Sox should win because they “represent America’s diversity” or some such.

    Either way, the Braves would still have had Heyward.

  63. Like Walden a lot. Honestly, that’s a better return for Tommy than I’d have expected.

    He’d look great in the DBacks’ bullpen…

  64. Wow. Walden’s good, but as Stu implies, I wonder if there’s a next step. Hopefully he’s not replacing… I won’t finish it.

    91 — 100% support Mac’s ban. Not the purpose here.

  65. Yeah, if it was a matter of luck, or an abnormally low strand rate, or really anything non-mechanical, he’d be a good bet to bounce back.

    However, all of Hanson’s troubles can really be traced back to one source: his shoulder. And medicine hasn’t figured out shoulders just yet.

  66. Or we could keep Walden and, as I saw suggested on Twitter, deal O’Failurety, thereby freeing up more budget room…

  67. Gotta like another flamethrowing righty. This pen’s looking even more like the Nasty Boys.

    FWIW, I’m sure Hanson doesn’t mind returning home, to SoCal. Good luck to him.

    Off to the ATL. Go Dogs…

  68. 1. Getting anything of value for Hanson’s bum shoulder is amazing.
    2. Walden has value.
    3. Clearing $4 mil for LF is even better.
    4. Chad Durbin was one of our best relievers for the majority of 2012.
    5. I wouldn’t bank on Durbin repeating that performance in 2013.

  69. Didn’t Bowman recently write about needing to trade Hanson to free up money, if the Braves were to go after Upton?

  70. @116 Hahahahahahahahahaha!

    I’m super stoked at the deal, but I remain terrified that we’re going after “leadoff” types for LF.

  71. I am disappointed in what Hanson was able to do for us, but I think the move will prove to be pretty good.

    I do hope it is an intermediate step to helping our offense. EOF to be traded now, or clearing salary for a FA.

  72. Im surprised the Braves moved Hanson, Im also surprised they got good value for him. Ironic. Im guessing Wren didnt want to take the chance on another Jurrjens situation and come next year regret on not trading Hanson now.

  73. Am I the only one that looks forward to occasionally watch Hanson pitch for the Angels?

    I mean, I remember a couple of Hanson’s starts last year as some of the more entertaining games I’ve ever seen, especially that absurd spectacle down in Florida. But the hilarity was always tinged with dread and too often ended with regret.

  74. Hanson still led the staff in K’s and K/9 – I’m not surprised someone was willing to give something good for a chance to “fix” him. Good deal for Atlanta, LAA has a metric ton of money so it’s no skin off their nose really. If we really have 13.5M, I’d start thinking about Swish.

  75. 127—Me too (since about ’07…), but I dunno if the Braves would really try to sign another low-AVG/high-K type.

  76. Nice move by Wren, if true. Good luck to Tommy — I really enjoyed having him as a Brave and hope he can right whatever ails his shoulder and mechanics.

  77. They may have freed payroll, but the two moves I am still thinking about either take almost none of that or doesn’t take much.

    1. Wil Myers

    2. Shin Soo Choo. With a partial platoon with Gattis, you let Choo lead off and play left against righthanders and let Prado lead off and Gattis play left against lefthanders. Whatever you give up, you still get a pick back in the sandwich round (if you tender). And, between Gattis, Constanza, and Cunningham, you may be able to make left field work in another year.

    Walden SHOULD have eliminated the need for Durbin. Maybe take that money and get the best FA catcher willing to sign a “split deal.”

    I DO NOT WANT a pure “lead off type”. That would be STUPID.

  78. 1 I’m a little more excited about the extra 4 mil + not-Durbin than I am about Walden. But he’s more than adequate as a player, and it’s a good deal for both teams.
    2 I’m still a big Tommy fan. The lulz from reading the game thread from his 7 SB masterpiece… I wish him well.
    3 Swisher. Swisher. Swisher.

  79. Diamondbacks take EOF and Delgado for Bauer. Wren uses the 4million saved to sign Josh Hamilton to a slightly backloaded deal for 3/75. Future years are paid for with money saved from McCann, Hudson and Maholm. That deal and Uggla’s expire in time to still pay for latter years of extensions for Medlen, Heyward, Simmons, and a couple of Freeman, Kimbrel, Minor and Beachy.

    Just daydreaming.

  80. nats are said to be shopping Morse – doubt they’d move him to ATL, but it would be a pretty good fit.

  81. I’m not thrilled with BJ on his own merits, but I want Justin like whoa. Swisher, like Stu said, we’re five years late on. Not worth the investment. I put anything not named Simmons, Heyward, or Medlen on the table in a J. Upton package.

  82. I don’t see how Morse fits. He is a terrible outfielder (probably as bad as Gattis) and no longer very cheap (6.8 million). He’s going to make a living as a DH in a low rent district.

  83. A huge upside for Hanson in the AL is that he’ll only have to bat when he starts in interleague road games. Hopefully for him that will mean only 4 to 5 bunt attempts per year.

  84. Rival executives are apparently pissed at the Twins for trading Span too cheaply. Sounds like a reality check for GMs asking for the moon for Dexter freaking Fowler.

    With that said, please trade us Choo.

  85. spike, Morse is a 5.1 WAR player for his career and was only worth .6 WAR last year. He’s probably not worth 6.8 million dollars even if he didn’t cost prospects.

  86. Should have specified that that .6 was Bref WAR. Fangraphs liked him even less at .3 WAR. And entering his age 31 year there is zero chance he duplicates his 2011 season. Morse is a platoon DH for a poor team and nothing more.

  87. Morse only has 5.1 WAR because he’s only been a starter for two years. But it’s academic in any event.

  88. Just saw the trade news – and like most, I wish Tommy the best in SoCal and hope his shoulder holds out.

    I love the return, and the flexibility we now have to make another move. So, Delgado, Ahmed, and Gilmartin for J. Upton, and I will be extra stoked for pitchers and catchers reporting, even if we have to open the season with Laird and Gattis behind the plate.

  89. Kimbrel

    Wow. Gotta think one of those guys is headed out, don’t you?

  90. @141, forgot about good ol’ Aroldis Avilan back there. My B.

    Unless we flip him, we’ll have fun watching Walden do the hop:

  91. 147 and 148- Anyone think EOF, Ahmed and Gilmartin would get it done? If not, what else will it take?

    J. Upton
    B. J. Upton

    I am getting zero work done today.

  92. I expect more trades, but I dont know what to expect! The bullpen looks nasty. The hybrid last name: Ventwal-Flahermbrel

  93. Morse has a career 162 game slash line of .295/.347/.492/.839 with OPS+ of 126. He nearly matched these numbers last year despite being injured. No reason to believe he would come close to his stellar 2011 performance. His defense in LF isn’t good, but he won’t kill you. I live in DC and have seen him live dozens of games. His defense will benefit from playing just one OF position, instead of being shuffled around several INF and OF positions. He’s also significantly cheaper than any of the other big bopper LFers out there.

    But spike’s probably right — Rizzo probably isn’t looking to trade him in the division. But as I said earlier, we’ve got the bullpen that the Nats desperately need.

  94. You know, if we get a real LF and Uggla continues to suck, we could always do a Francisco-Uggla platoon, with Prado shifting between third and second instead of third and left.

    I know Uggla’s better against righties than against lefties, but he’s not the team’s best option against righties and is against lefties.

  95. Nice deal. Would’ve gotten more a year or two ago, but I didn’t think Tommy was going to fall off a cliff like this. Walden used to be highly regarded, and I view him as a guy with a fair bit of potential upside. I’d be stunned if the Braves got Justin Upton, but I’d also be ecstatic. So far I’ve really liked Wren’s off-season, although I go back and forth on picking up McCann’s option.

  96. Bowman: “Jurrjens and Hanson owned two of the NL’s top 3 ERAs entering the 2011 All-Star break. The Braves will end up getting rid of both today.”

  97. I liked that Wren picked up McCann’s option. Not a lot of starting catchers available right now, and Wren already had holes to fill at CF and LF/3B. It was also the right thing to do for a player like McCann.

  98. 153–That 162 game average for Morse is misleading. It vastly overweights his 2011 season, which was obviously a great year offensively. In the previous six seasons he was below average as a part time platoon player. Furthermore 2011 was his age 29 season and if anyone expects his future performance will be closer to 2011 than last year, when he turned in a .321 OBP and .791 OPS, then they are probably kidding themselves.

    His OF defense is wretched according to both bRef and Fangraphs, and it is chiefly attributable to a lack of range. That is only going to deteriorate. Given that Harper is a league average CF, the Span trade seems to acknowledge that the Nats feel the same way.

    As a DH he has some value, in part because he’s not hurting you defensively.

  99. Stu, your idea of a ham fingers/ham forearms platoon got me thinking so I dug around trying to find any previous examples where a player shifted frequently between SS and 2B as part of a platoon, like Prado would be asked to do. I couldn’t find anything, and it seems like shifting a lot to opposites of the bag would hurt Prado’s defense and the double-play combination.

  100. @159 – No, it only “overweights” 2011 in the sense that 2011 was his first year as a regular starter and he missed several games last year due to injury. What it shows me is that Morse — like most good players — benefits from regular playing time.

  101. @159 – Also, no one here is suggesting that Morse should get a lengthy contract. He’s cost-controlled for another year. Use it.

  102. 162–Half of his career ABs came in what will certainly be his career year in his age 29 season. Calculating a career 162 game slash line and suggesting that this is somehow indicative of his value either past, present or future, is silly.

    There may be another GM that believes that Morse is likely to replicate his age 29 season in his age 31 season, after putting up a less than 1 WAR season in his age 30 season, but I doubt it. I suspect he gets traded to the AL for marginal prospect(s).

  103. Wren got rid of the most frustrating pitcher on the roster and the $4 mil owed to him and got back a reliever who throws 95 mph. Nice move.

  104. Typical half-full/half-empty problem of interpreting statistics. You look at the first full season of his career and see an anamoly. I look at it and see his first full season. I don’t know where he’ll be traded, but I strongly suspect it won’t be for the reasons you suspect.

  105. Again, it doesn’t matter because it ain’t happening, but Morse has an OPS+ of 133 over his last 1200 or so AB’s since becoming a regular. To say that only the last 450 have meaning is what is silly. Geez, he may be stone handed with the glove – not that I trust any defensive metrics all that much, but to say he can’t hit anymore is just a bald faced assertion.

  106. @165 – Either Tyler Moore or Morse (if he’s not traded) will play 1B if they don’t re-sign LaRoche. But I’d guess that Moore is top of that depth chart after LaRoche.

  107. 165-I think the Nats are hoping that the possibility of moving Morse to 1B gives them leverage with LaRoche. But they definitely don’t want his as their full time first baseman.

    I remember the Nats announcers discussing Morse’s defense at 1B during the Cardinals series late in the regular season and I was surprised that Santangelo was so frank in describing it as awful. Part of the problem that he touched on is that none of the Nats other infielders have accurate arms (Zimmerman does when he is healthy). Laroche is fantastic at dig throws out of the dirt, but Morse not so much.

  108. spike- nowhere did I say he couldn’t hit anymore. I did say, and will say again, that he is never again likely to hit as well as he did in his age 29 season, and that his defense is so bad and takes away so much of his offensive value that given his increasing salary in the future he is likely to only have value as a DH.

  109. Yeah, I’m sure you’re right. But having a Sluggo Platoon just seems fun.

    If you’re going to do this you might as well just have Francisco play 2B and leave Prado be. I mean, it would be *awful,* but Prado’s sort of awful at 2B too, and Uggla’s no Darwin Barney out there.

  110. I’ll miss Tommy a little just because he was the first player I ever really got excited about as a prospect. His last year at AAA was when I dove headfirst into baseball fandom, so I’m struck with a pang of nostalgia at the news of the trade.

    But I love to watch hard tossing relievers more than anything else, so I’m over it already. Walden and Kimbrel should be fun to watch together.

  111. Javy Lopez was the first player I ever got really excited about as a prospect.

    Where’s my walker?

  112. Frenchy was the first prospect I cared about because I saw him hit 4 mammoth home runs in two games during the state championship.

  113. Where is anyone seeing that Choo is even available? Very intriguing, but I have not seen this anywhere.

  114. Moylan’s one of my favorites, but I don’t think he’s likely to be valuable at this point.

  115. @178, Because Choo is in the last year of his contract and a Boras client, if Cleveland doesn’t think they will contend they almost have to trade him preseason to maximize the potential return.

  116. That’s a high bar, PaulV. Not sure Houdini could pull that off. But relative to his pitching last year, if they got a half dozen softballs and a six pack of Coors Light, that might be value for JJ.

  117. @174 – Exact same situation for me Downeaster. I will definitely miss Hanson. I was definitely in denial about his decline and probably defended him a little too ardently for it. Beachy/Medlen/Simmons/Heyward is a good crop of kids in whom I feel personally invested though, and none of them can approach the hair-pulling frustration that Hanson brought to the table. I suppose I’ll be better for saying goodbye to him.

  118. Just saw a report on Wright. Interestingly, his contract is front-loaded, not back-loaded. Given aging effects in long contracts, that clearly makes a lot of sense. But wait… it’s the Mets! What am I missing?

  119. Smitty’s barber has been in South Beach.

    Braves get Upton.

    Marlins get Gattis,Avilan the Untouchable.

    Arizona gets Escobar, Gilmartin, Morrison, O’Flaherty, Ahmed

  120. Just learned about the trade. Amazed with the return. The bullpen will be amazingly good. Please go for Justin. Leadoff spot is less of a concern for me if we can get both Uptons.

    In Wren I trust.

  121. 189–Mark, that is worthy of Smitty’s barber. Damn! I never thought about Yunel as the SS piece for AZ. The beauty of it is that FLA has no desire to get Upton themselves, and don’t even particularly want Frosted Tips. Can we keep Gattis, though? And just give them like Salcedo instead?

  122. I do not want to see Evan Gattis in any other uniform. That’s just fan talk, but by god, I just don’t want that.

  123. Gattis is a man without a position if we have Upton the younger. He may also be at the peak of his value.

  124. Stop talking about trading Gattis. That’s like killing a unicorn. Nothing good comes of it!

  125. 195,

    It is a monstrous thing, to slay a unicorn. Only one who has nothing to lose, and everything to gain, would commit such a crime. The blood of a unicorn will keep you alive, even if you are an inch from death, but at a terrible price. You have slain something pure and defenceless to save yourself, and you will have but a half-life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches your lips.

    Yeah, yeah. I like the books; they’re much more entertaining than the vast majority of classical literature they shoved down my throat in high school. I mean, Wuthering Heights? Really? What a dog**** book.

  126. Stop talking about trading Gattis. That’s like killing a unicorn. Nothing good comes of it!

    Even the other Upton?

  127. NEVER.NOT FOR NOONE EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER! Not even Ryan Braun. Leave me my White Bear, dammit.

  128. This trade is definitely a challenge trade. My underperformer for your underperformer. I like these kind of deals, because the Braves usually win.

  129. Descent from 3rd consins of the Bronte’ sisters are my claim to genetic fame. I have seen some movies, but read books. Charles II never made it to Cornwall. I claim to be related by marriage to Poldark, a fictional PBS character. But do not trade the White Bear

  130. 206,

    If that is indeed the case, I’m calling Medlen’s stat line as follows:

    5.1 IP, 9 Runs (1 ER), 17 Ks

    “And there’s another mishandled 3rd strike! Who knew you could have 5 of them in a game?!”

  131. My son struck out 5 batters in one inning in a 13 year old tournament. The sun was setting directly behind him, and neither the batter or the catcher could see anything. Even 2 of the outs had to be thrown out at first. There was a delay after that.

  132. The Mets non-tendered Andres Torres, whom they got in a stupid challenge trade for Angel Pagan. Still, he might be useful as a fourth/fifth outfielder.

    I used to like Flores, but man, it sure don’t look like the man remembers how to hit, does it?

  133. “#Dbacks want Andrelton Simmons from #Braves in Justin Upton talks. This is why Justin Upton has not joined BJ in Atlanta — yet.” –Jon Morosi

    Just hope the Braves avoid the trap of thinking the left fielder has to be some stereotypical leadoff type.

  134. I really like Simmons. He’s an exceptional defender with a bat that seems like it will at least play.

    I do think you guys might be overrating him a bit these days. He’s not Arod as a rookie.

  135. I recognize the dearth of talent behind him, Bethany, and that’s certainly at play. And honestly, I think the “fair price” for Justin Upton, given his contract, is closer to Teheran+Ahmed than Teheran+Simmons. So I have no issue with Wren refusing to part with Simmons in this deal. It’s just that there seems to be a bit of an undertone to some of the posts that assumes Simmons will be an All-Star or something.

    I hope as much as anyone that his bat last year was the “new normal” and not a freak occurrence. And he does seem to be a legitimate defensive superstar. But unless his 2012 bat is real, he’s basically just Darwin Barney at SS. Or maybe the new Rey Sanchez. Both of which are valuable, but not “walk away entirely at the mention of his name” valuable.

  136. Agreed. It’s not that Simmons is A-Rod; it’s that there’s a looooong step down to any alternatives right now (Ahmed/ Pastornicky/ random MLFA).

  137. I think most fans are ready to see a good defensive left side of the infield. Looking at Pastornickys performance and the FA market id rather hold on to Simmons. I dont expect him to hit much either.

    Morosi said the Dbacks need to fill 2 needs, #2 type starter,,3B, ss, lefty setup,, in a trade for Upton. Give them Teheran, ahmed, and Venters

  138. @223 Hahahahahahahahaaaaaa!

    All I’m expecting from Simmons is great D and he can be the 8 hole hitter, and I think that’s enough.

  139. Simmons already does one very, very important thing better than Justin Upton does anything, and at 1/20th the price. Pass.

  140. Sam @228,

    Even if he’s just a barely above-average player (which is his floor, given his defense and past hitting success; and, most importantly, his position), he’s worth more than Justin Upton and his contract.

    Upton’s really, really good, and certainly has one of the highest ceilings in baseball right now. But he’s also inconsistent and is guaranteed quite a bit of money. Simmons is also good at the hardest position to fill on the diamond, and also has an incredibly high ceiling. He, however, is under team control for much, much cheaper for 6 years. If the Braves did trade him, he wouldn’t need to be an all-star for them to regret the trade. I wrote about it in the last thread: Simmons totaling 9 WAR over the next three years is more valuable than Upton totaling 15 WAR over the same time period. And that’s excluding Simmons’ arbitration years.

  141. Whoops, meant that to say Sam @221. Completely agree with Sansho @228.

    I will say one thing though. Andrelton hit .289/.335/.416 last year with a .310 BABIP. If only his BABIP changed, and fell into more the .270ish range, Simmons line would have been more like .250/.295/.377, and we probably wouldn’t be having this discussion (but he would still be more valuable over the next 6 years than Upton).

  142. As I’ve said, if it were me, I would not include Simmons. Because it’s easier to find Nick Swisher or Josh Willingham than it is to find the equivalent of Nick Swisher at SS. So I’m all on board with not trading him for Upton (and Upton’s contract.)

    But I do think folks are overselling him a bit.

  143. 232,

    Nope. But considering the swing of BABIP in small sample sizes, it would have been just as likely that Andrelton would have come up and underperformed in our eyes, and we wouldn’t even flinch in sending him for Upton (without realizing his true value). That was the point.

  144. .300 BABIP is considered average. Simmonds will reduce Braves pithers’ BABIP to below average. With Pastorniky it was above average

  145. Even if defensive metrics are imperfect, a run saved is just as valuable as a run created, and the value of Simmons’ defense is vastly, vastly under-appreciated by the casual fan. The guy was worth between 2-3 WAR in fewer than 50 games last year. Most fans have no idea what that means, but you can be sure Kevin Towers does.

    Not saying Simmons is the second coming of ARod, but he is already a better fielding SS than Arod ever was. I would say his range is great fielder, below average hitter to great fielder, good hitter.

  146. I fell like I’m gonna puke. I haven’t this fired up & nervous for a sporting event since my mom let me stay up past my bedtime to watch game 7 of the ’92 NLCS when I was ten. GO DAWGS!

  147. Best of luck to both teams this afternoon! I’m sorry that regardless of the result we’re going to have some sad bravesjournalers.

  148. When you guys talk college football, I can fully understand how my girlfriend feels about my baseball fandom. “How can anybody actually CARE about this?”

  149. @241 I’m with you. To each his own, I suppose.

    Meanwhile, that Morosi tweet has me in a tizzy.

  150. I’m not saying Simmons should be untouchable. He should just be untouchable for Justin Upton, because I do not think that Justin Upton will generate more value above his $40 million contract as Simmons will generate above the major league minimum.

    As I just tweeted, I’d trade Simmons for Jurickson Profar or Manny Machado. But IMHO, as much as I’d love him on my team, Justin Upton isn’t worth Andrelton Simmons.

  151. Well, if Simmons is their asking price, too bad for us. Because they’re probably not interested in any more young pitching, even with Daniel Hudson out, and the Braves don’t have enough high ceiling position player talent to get a deal done.

  152. Out of curiosity Alex, why is Simmons worth less than Profar or Machado? Is it just due to him being older?

  153. 249,

    I love Simmons, and would be ecstatic if he lives up to Ozzie, but I see a slightly richer man’s Omar Vizquel.


    They’ve both got age and better bats. Machado’s got the power, and Profar’s got the plate discipline. Machado performed nearly as well as Simmons in the majors last year while being three years younger.

  154. 251- Omar was worth 5.8 WAR in 1999 and 3-4 WAR in several other seasons; a “slightly richer man’s” version wouldn’t have to be that much wealthier to go to Cooperstown. That ain’t half bad.

    And think about this- if he has Omar’s durability, he’ll play through at least 2034.

  155. I get what you guys are saying, and the age difference does obviously matter… but I’m just not sure its that cut and dried. Andrelton’s defensive WAR was 2.4 in 49 games. Even if that evens out and he doesn’t play at that pace over 162, he’s still probably a 3.5 win player on defense alone. Even if he doesn’t hit quite as well as last year, unless he totally tanks he’s probably a five win or so player, with the potential to hit six or even seven occasionally you’d have to think. I dunno, just seems like Profar and Machado would have to hit a whole heck of a lot more to be too much better than Simmons.

  156. That’s fair, and obviously there’s going to be a lot of fluctuation, I think it’s inherent in defensive stats. But still, it’s not impossible to imagine him playing at or close to 3 dWAR on a year to year basis and moving even higher than that on certain years.

  157. 253,

    I wouldn’t agree with the argument that a slightly better Omar Vizquel belongs in the HOF, and I certainly wouldn’t say Omar himself should sniff it. I’d agree that Simmons would be an incredible player even if he reached Omar’s level, but I still think there’s an astronomical difference between a slightly better Vizquel and the great Ozzie Smith (who, in being the best defensive player at the hardest defensive position in baseball, could be considered the best defensive player in the history of the game).

  158. Ingram…. Richardson… Lacy…

    Wow, who’s next? They seem to churn out one great one every year.

  159. 270; 271,

    With both of you there. It was hard to appreciate the obnoxious attitude of your average ND fan in Utah, but it’s pretty easy when you’re in the Midwest.

    Roll Tide.

  160. For most of my life, I’ve been an Auburn fan who hasn’t really cared how Bama does outside of the Iron Bowl. In the last few years, though, I’ve started rooting for any SEC team against an out of conference opponent, especially in bowl games. For some reason, college football’s reconfigured itself as an SEC vs Everyone Else sport. Every week seems to be about how the rest of the country can prevent the SEC from winning another championship.

    For decades, I had never been a conference homer, but that’s changed. I used to think things like chants of “S-E-C” during games were kind of dumb. Now I get it.

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