Jordan Walden (by Rusty S.)

Jordan Walden is a 25-year old right-handed relief pitcher. He throws in the upper 90’s, has a career K/9 inning rate of 10.8, and a 2013 salary of $495,000. In 2011, he was an American League All-Star, on his way to a 32 save season.

Now that I have your attention, let’s talk about 2012.

Walden tied for the major league lead in blown saves in 2011 with 10, and he quickly lost the Angels’ confidence during a terrible April of 2012, when he was removed from the closer role. In July he went on the disabled list for 6 weeks, with a bicep strain and a nerve issue in his neck, according to Rotoworld. (The ESPN trade report said he had shoulder problems.) He managed only 39 IP in 2012, after having 60.1 in 2011.

Keeping in mind that it was just 39 innings, his strikeout per nine inning rate actually increased, from 10.0 to 11.1. But his average fastball velocity declined from 97.5 to 96.3, his ERA rose from 2.98 to 3.46, and his WHIP rose from 1.24 to 1.36. The increase in WHIP was driven by an increase in Hits/9 inning from 7.3 to 8.1. His walks per nine has been fairly consistent in each of his 3 major league seasons. It’s exactly 4.0, and that’s high, though not necessarily fatal for a guy who strikes out more than a man per inning.

If you’re hoping he pitched better after returning from the DL, he did. He went on the DL with a 3.86 ERA and 35 strikeouts against 18 walks in 28 innings. When he came back, he had a 2.45 ERA with 13 strikeouts and 0 walks in 11 innings. Maybe it was a real improvement — but it’s still just 11 innings.

The Angels figured that Walden was expendable as soon as they picked up Ryan Madson, and they were willing to ditch him as soon as Frank Wren called and offered Tommy Hanson. Interpret that as you will.

From a December point of view, logically, Walden would take Chad Durbin’s role, and likely prove to be an upgrade of the right-handed part of an already stacked bullpen. He seems capable of playing a larger role, if the Braves make more moves in the off season. And if he does nothing other than keep the Braves from paying another million dollars for another fungible reliever, that is already a victory.

It’s a shame Tommy won’t be a part of the next winning Braves team. The former top pitching prospect in all of baseball will end his Braves career 45-32, with a 3.61 ERA, a 1.25 WHIP, and an ERA+ of 110. Here’s hoping the other former top pitching prospect in all of baseball winds up doing that well.

158 thoughts on “Jordan Walden (by Rusty S.)”

  1. Really enjoyable reading. Thanks, rusty.

    Let’s face it, both clubs lost confidence in their respective players. Will be interesting to see which side “wins” this trade.

    Seems to me that we’re built to win (or lose) a lot of 3-2 games. As such, do we stress defense in our acquisitions?

    How solid a defensive lineup would this be:

    LF – Constanza
    3B – Prado
    RF – Heyward
    1B – Freeman
    CF – Upton
    2B – Uggla
    C – Laird
    SS – Simmons

    Pretty good defensively, I think. (Simmons and Freeman are outstanding.)

    Uggla? Meh. Not as bad as his detractors, not as good as I’d like. Prado has looked solid at 3B.

    Outfield? Heyward, Upton and Constanza should be able to track down nearly everything.

    I know nothing about Laird (other than he was Nixon’s Secretary of Defense, so he ought to be sound defensively – or was that State which would make him awful defensively).

  2. Thanks, rusty. I couldn’t agree more about the freeing up of time, effort and money which has been devoted to finding serviceable cheap middle relief. When the Mets non-tendered Atrosta, I could see the Braves trying him out again but for this trade. The other thing this trade will do is make it really tough for Moylan, who was facing an uphill battle anyway, although I suppose Gearrin is more in his way at the moment.

  3. Thanks for the perspective on Walden, Rusty — context-free, his numbers look pretty good. But evidently he does not arrive without some baggage. Funny how those K/9 numbers hardly raise an eyebrow anymore. Mike Gonzalez arrived sporting similar numbers just six years ago, and even that recently he seemed a much rarer commodity.

    One hell of a game yesterday. Tremendous effort by UGA, but the better team won. I can’t find fault with any mistakes borne of effort or desire, as it was those qualities that kept them in the game in the first place.

  4. Laird was SecDef.

    Great writeup Rusty. Love the perspective. So, its a salary dump on our part. Ok, now lets go out there and get us a slugging LF.

  5. @3: I agree. Everyone loves Moylan, me included. The path of a minor league Atlanta contract looks a lot less likely today, though, unless we’re the only team who likes him. As you say, that doesn’t seem very likely.

  6. @1: Freeman’s not outstanding. He’s probably about average, but may be below average.

    Constanza could hold down LF fine defensively, but I hope to God that’s not the actual plan, since the guy can’t hit a lick. (And I know you’re not saying that that is or should be the plan.)

    Chipper –> Prado is a big defensive upgrade. A full season of Simmons (knock on wood) should do wonders for our defensive efficiency. Laird has a good defensive reputation; Upton is probably about average, meaning we’ll lose quite a bit from Bourn’s outstanding 2012 defense.

    So unless they run out a completely terrible left fielder, this squad should be a solid defensive upgrade over last year’s incarnation. My concern is more about the offense, which again depends a lot on who plays LF.

  7. Would getting a RH hitting 3B make more sense than putting George in LF? Panda II can smash RH pitchers better than George.

  8. Well done, Rusty. Thank you.

    Let’s try Gattis before Constanza, please.

    As sansho1 said, the better team won. I appreciate (and agree with) Saban saying that Georgia should be in a BCS bowl. Helluva game.

  9. Does anyone have any opinions on football outsiders’ stat DVOA? I’m curious if there is any value at all in trying to look at advanced metrics in a football season consisting of 16 games and a one-and-done playoff format.

  10. Interesting, Adam M. Having just glanced at DVOA it seems to me to be a useful tool for explaining… what I suspect it isn’t is a useful tool for predicting, for just the reason you cite. The variances in such a short season are too high to mean much even if you have a really good tool for assessing performance. If I were a football GM, however, I think a tool like this could probably uncover some value (or conversely, show you where something that looked valuable based on traditional stats wasn’t all that valuable when it comes to winning games). As they themselves acknowledge, however, the metrics aren’t really individual metrics, so their real operation is at a fairly high aggregate level. Thanks for the pointer.

  11. The real pleasure at this time of year of being a Braves fan is that there is the distinct knowledge that the club has a plan for the off season and that they know what they’re doing

    The fact that BJ Upton is in the bag, and the Hanson/Walden swap – these are the sort of deals done by confident management who are not prepared to wait for the music to stop and either be without a chair or forced to overpay for a bean bag

  12. But just to join the realms of speculation, I’d rather they made a move for Choo over Upton Jr

    I just like the thought of Prado leading off, then Choo/Heyward/Freeman et al

    And I hope the Wren leadoff hitter talk is smoke screening for the benefit of a wider audience

  13. Id rather have kept Hanson than us search for a leadoff hitter to put in Lf. That wont solve our offensive problems. Get us a middle of the order hitter an let Prado leadoff.

  14. Yeah. Makes no sense why so many teams go after inferior hitters just because “they can bat leadoff for us.”

  15. It reminds me of the Teixeira situation when we had to get a 1B back in a trade. We ended up with Kotchman.

  16. Yeah he seems to get focused on getting a certain “type” of player. “Veteran reliever,” “defensive specialist,” etc.

  17. Well, Alex Gordon and Shin-Soo Choo would both be great leadoff hitters. And he’s interested still in Justin Upton. So I’m not sure Wren is determined simply to add a slap-happy speedster to make Fredi go VROOM.

    That said, why is Bowman saying the Braves have only $10 million to play with? I thought it was more like $14 million…

  18. @ 26: I saw that as well, but also saw on twitter that Heyman quoted John Shuerholz as saying to “not count the braves out in greinke”. so those signals are mixed, to say the least.

  19. Thanks to everyone for the kind words.

    I don’t worry too much about what the front office says in public. They seem to be pretty good at not letting on what they are really trying to do.

    If they aren’t going to spend the ~ 4 mil they saved on Hanson, that will be disappointing though.

  20. Idle but not entirely plausible scenario wherein Braves sign Greinke:

    Trade Maholm + Delgado + EOF (+ prospects?) to Kansas City for Mike Moustakas, freeing up 10.5 million. Sign Greinke for 5/125.

  21. 29–I’d rather Wren not spend the 4million, than spend it badly and likewise tie up future millions.

  22. I saw that as well, but also saw on twitter that Heyman quoted John Shuerholz as saying to “not count the braves out in greinke”.


  23. Call me crazy, but I think we pull off a monster trade where we acquire Asdrubel Cabrera then flip him for Upton.

  24. The idea of Greinke is more exciting than Upton. But as Heyman says, it’s hard to imagine with the current money situation, and the Dodgers seemingly becoming the Yankees of the NL.

  25. Unless Liberty is opening up the wallet, I dont see it. However, this would please me.


    Greinke, Medlen, Hudson, Minor, Maholm

  26. 34,

    I was just thinking that yesterday. The only issue would be that there’s only two years left on Cabrera’s contract (and the Diamondbacks want youth at SS); it might have to be a three-team trade with plus prospect from Atlanta to the Indians for Cabrera and money, Simmons to the Diamondbacks for Upton, and a prospect from Arizona to Cleveland.

    I don’t know how I’d feel about that.

  27. I’ve never seen Alex Gordon play; but looking at his stats, I think he’d serve well. I really don’t want Burn in Hell, and I don’t want Ichiro either.

    On the other hand, I’d forego any leftfield acquisition if we get Zack.

  28. Trading for Chase Headley would be cool too, as long as we didn’t give up too much. An Uggla + lesser pitching pieces would work for me. Padres might not be too excited though.

  29. Greinke would be taking a huge paycut to come to Atlanta. Dont see him giving a huge discount to a team he’s never played with. That one is not happening. Check out Bill James Projections for this group if we were to trade for Upton.

    Prado – .291/.347/.425 10SB 11HR 78RBI
    Heyward – .272/.360/.483 20SB 26HR 82RBI
    J Upton – .289/.372/.492 19SB 25HR 86RBI
    Freeman – .282/.358/.481 24HR 95RBI
    B Upton – .248/.329/.436 23HR 35SB 75RBI
    BMac – .266/.347/.467 23HR 84RBI
    Uggla – .238/.341/.439 28HR 87RBI
    Simmons – .289/.351/.416 10HR 18SB

    For those who may like Victorino just for leadoff and LF, his projected OBP is .338. Not exactly worth paying FA money towards.

  30. Wait, Uggla and lesser pitching prospects for a 28-year old MVP candidate? Um… yeah, the Padres are not going to be too excited. I know we’re homers here, but people have to realize that landing guys like C Headley, J Upton, and A Gordon will necessitate giving up either three or four major assets, or a guy like Simmons. Them’s the breaks. You gotta give stuff to get stuff.

  31. Teheran, Ahmed, Gilmartin, Delgado, Bethancourt, Graham, Salcedo, Sims, Wood, Venters, EOF would be the pieces I could see getting moved in a deal. Simmons is untouchable. So is Avilan :)

  32. @44 Teheran, Ahmed, Gilmartin, Delgado, Bethancourt, Graham, Salcedo, Sims, Wood, Venters, EOF are too much.
    I want to see Braves win all this decade.

  33. Notes,

    Comment From SpencerSpencer:
    What is the asking price for Choo? Could the Braves get something done with a deal centered around Delgado and O’Flahrety?

    9:41 Jim Bowden: I’ve heard a rumor of Teheran for Choo….but neither side would confirm that there is any truth to it

    BillShanks ‏@BillShanks
    If the payroll is going to be around $95 mil again in 2013, will it go up near $115 mil next year when new TV money is in play? It better.

    BillShanks ‏@BillShanks
    This is why the Greinke rumors are not ridiculous – as long as Liberty is going to allow ATL to use that extra money that is on the way.

    Mark Bowman ‏@mlbbowman
    If Braves do something this week, it will most likely will be via trade. They do not currently seem too interested in the FA outfield crop

    Buster Olney‏@Buster_ESPN
    The Diamondbacks are said to be one of the most aggressive teams here so far… Execs with other teams have thought they will trade J.Upton.

  34. #45 – Paul, I didnt say all would be moved. I was just listing who we might have available for potential deals. If we are looking to make a trade for LF instead of signing a FA like Ross, Ludwick, or Victorino then some of those names will have to be included.

  35. DOB’s claim that Wren is not particularly interested in any of the FA outfielders is the most comforting thing I’ve see in a while.

    If by some miracle it were true that the Braves will jump their payroll to 115 million in 2014, then Greinke is absolutely in play and we could in theory afford both Greinke and the younger Upton if only there were some way to fund the 2013 gap. But I really can’t see MLB allowing Greinke to defer 25 million in salary.

    Let’s say we traded for J. Upton. Even with his salary tying up 14 million in 2014, assuming we don’t bring back McCann, Hudson, EOF or Maholm we would be looking at an additional 50 million to play with in 2014! Even if we extend Prado, and give long-term deals to Heyward and Medlen we would have serious cash left to play with. And that is before taking into account the possibility of a deep playoff run this year–teams’ shares of playoffs revenue has been soaring.

  36. The Greinke stuff is way over blown. Product of Heyman being inflammatory and Shanks irresponsible.

    Jim Bowden asked if its safe to eliminate the Braves from the Greinke sweepstakes.

    Schuerholz replied: “I don’t think you can eliminate us from everybody, but it’s unlikely. I’ll say that. What our focus is now, what Frank and his guys are working on…Zack is a tremendously talented guy and we’ve had interest in him, as everybody has for a long time. I don’t know that he’s on Frank’s list at the top of the list right now, but, I wouldn’t say no to anything.”

  37. DOB’s claim that Wren is not particularly interested in any of the FA outfielders is the most comforting thing I’ve see in a while.

    Amen. I like Swisher, but after getting Upton, none of the other options look very appealing at all.

  38. Something that’s been lost in a lot of these conversations about increased payroll is that it’s going to come with increased player salaries. All of a sudden, a Heyward extension through free agency that would take $12-15 million/year is going to take $16-19 million a year. As much as I’d love Frank to spend that money on Greinke today, I’d prefer it if it’s used up to lock Heyward, Simmons, et al. through their Arb and FA years tomorrow.

    As sacrilegious as this will probably sound, it’s time to trade Kimbrel. He’s going to earn starter level money through arbitration, and Mariano-level money in Free Agency. He could fetch some really good players today.


    I can see that they’ve learned nothing from the Phillies. Paying market value for players over the age of 30 is a great way to win in this league.


    It’s overblown, but keep in mind that in years past, that questions would have a) never been asked, and b) if it were asked, would have been answered with a definitive ‘no’. That’s really what’s changed, and it is exciting.

    As much as I was for trading for Greinke a few years ago, I’m completely against signing him. He’s -really- good, but I think that the team that does sign him overpays by quite a margin.

  39. The Diamondbacks are said to be one of the most aggressive teams here so far… Execs with other teams have thought they will trade J.Upton.

    It’ll be one heck of a marketing gimmick too.

  40. David O’Brien

    December 3rd, 2012
    11:35 am
    I’m getting sense there is something to Choo-to-Braves trade rumor. Asked a person I trust, who declined to talk about it.

    It would make a lot of sense. Choo was a strong leadoff guy last year in first time in that role. He’s been better against lefties in past than he was last year. Destroys righties.

  41. Choo’s a good player and he certainly fits our needs, but he’s a one-year rental. And I really don’t like trading Teheran at a relative low in his value. Of course, if the team really believes that he’ll never rebuild his value, then this may be the most that Teheran will ever be worth — but still.

  42. @62 – I agree.

    Jon Heyman ‏@JonHeymanCBS
    Giancarlo’s agent Joel Wolfe declined comment about whether @Giancarlo818 had requested a trade. Not happy tho.

  43. Nope, just one. He’ll probably be making around $7 millionish next year, and only providing a surplus value of $10 million or so, at best.

    For Teheran? Pass, without thinking twice about it. Really, for any young prospect that’s got a high ceiling or for any player that’s not in his arb years, pass.

  44. I wouldn’t do it, but it’d require Heyward.

    I’d be willing to give up Teheran, Simmons, Kimbrel, and Delgado.

  45. 68—Crazy-talk on both fronts.

    I love Stanton, but he’s no more valuable to the Braves than Simmons is, IMO.

  46. 71,

    We’re free to disagree. I believe that Stanton is not only going to have a better career than Heyward, but is going to the Hall of Fame. I think that after Harper and Trout, he’s the most valuable player in the game today (given his combination of talent, age, and years left). To realistically acquire that in a trade is going to require a talented, young player and a bunch of other pieces.

    Simmons is going to an awesome player, but I see him as another Rafael Furcal for the Braves (excellent player, but certainly not one of the top 20 players in the game at any point and definitely not ‘untouchable’ in the right circumstances). Teheran’s a lottery ticket at this point, Delgado is going to be a mid-rotation starter, and Kimbrel is going to be an overpaid relief pitcher. Not crazy talk.

  47. Injury-prone RF who wouldn’t play RF in Atlanta and gets real-real expensive pretty soon. He mashes, but…yeah, crazy-talk.

    But we’re free to disagree.

  48. So do you put Stanton in left, or Heyward in center, and then what do you do with no shortstop, closer, and no starting pitching prospects?

    If you have Jason Heyward, you don’t trade some of the most valuable pieces of the organization to find a slightly better version to add to him.

  49. I love Stanton too, and I think that the scenario desert mentions is one possible outcome for the guy, but…

    Basically, the best case scenario is he’s the best power hitter in baseball for the next 15 years. Worst case scenario is that he never solves his persistent contact problems and they eat him up.

    He literally swings and misses at one quarter of the pitches that he sees; he has a 25% swinging strike rate, about two-thirds higher than the MLB average 15% swinging strike rate. He makes contact 66% of the time, about one-sixth lower than the MLB average 79% contact rate.

    (By comparison: for his career, Jason Heyward has an 18% swinging strike rate and a 75% contact rate. Slightly below average but not beyond the pale.)

    Stanton can get away with that because he has awesome bat speed and so when he hits the ball it goes very very hard and very very far. But that does not age well.

    He’s going to be an awesome player in his 20s. But his contact issues will determine what kind of player he is in his 30s.

  50. 73,

    I won’t argue the injury-prone point, but I have to say that loose bodies in bone are minor chronic injuries that don’t cause major knee failures that would have him out for a year. He doesn’t get real-real expensive, relative to his value, anytime soon. Best case, you’re looking at 25 WAR for 25 Million over the next four years, worst case you’re looking at 20 WAR for 35 million over the next four years; either way you’re looking at nearly 100 million in excess value. More here:

    PS: Simply asserting that somebody else’s opinion is ‘crazy-talk’ without giving any reason to contraindicate, or responding to a reasonable explanation via one sentence and complete dismissal of the idea seems pompous at worst and maliciously ignorant at best. It’s why political opinions don’t work online (or in person). You’re free to say that you don’t like or agree with my opinion, but offhanded dismissals come across pretty rude.


    Put Stanton in left. I’d still think we’d have a above-average bullpen even without Kimbrel, and I’m worried about his costs starting in 2014. The SS position would be a viable concern, and with the continued emergence of Wood and Sims, I don’t think we’d have to worry too much about starting pitching prospects.

  51. 76—In my line of work, I’ve learned that the best arguments don’t take multiple paragraphs to make. It’s not rude, and it’s certainly not personal. If you feel that your proposal is deserving of more responsive words than I gave it, consider the possibility that you’ve overestimated the strength of your argument.

    But I’ve noticed over the years that you really don’t respond well when I disagree with you. It’s why I leave your essays alone, for the most part.

  52. @76 – I think “petulant” is the word you’re looking for.

    But, we’re free to disagree.

  53. 77,

    In your line of work, you’ve discovered that the best arguments don’t require actual reasoning and explanation of logic behind them? Well, in my line of work (and I assume most others), that’s not the case.

    And yeah, I’ve probably not taken your responses too well. It’s because they have, for the most part, provided no explanation or reasoning past a simple statement. Look above. AAR gives a good explanation as to why I’m probably wrong, in that I’m projecting Stanton to be injury-free and figure out his contact issues. He’s right, and it’s probably something I should consider a little more before throwing out four above-average to great players for. There’s actual argumentative points to it.

    I’m sorry that I don’t take criticism without reasoning well, but I’m not just going to shut up because some person told me I should. If that’s gonna continue, then yes please, leave my comments alone.

  54. 78,

    Okay, I probably am coming across as childish. Sorry for the outburst, and I’ll stop now.

  55. Simmons + Kimbrel + Teheran + Delgado is ridiculous. No sane GM would pay that for Giancarlo Stanton.

    Stanton’s 25 WAR for 35 million (the more WAR the higher the cost in arbitration, no way to avoid that in this day and age) is only half of the equation. Using the same optimistic projections Kimbrel alone will be worth 14 WAR over the same four years. Simmons has 6 cost-controlled years remaining: how are you going to calculate his WAR over that period? Simply multiplying his 2.5 WAR over fewer than fifty games and he is a 45 WAR player. Sure, that is ridiculously optimistic, but even if he is worth half that, we are still talking 20+ WAR. Plus Delgado AND Teheran? Twelve cost-controlled years of what (optimistically) is well above average major league production? By my calculations you might as well take a hundred million dollars or more and light it on fire.

    What would I realistically give up for Stanton? Heyward + Delgado, or Mike Minor + Kimbrel, or Kimbrel + Teheran + 2 prospects. Etc.

  56. In my line of work, people typically don’t whine when I skip past pointing out the obvious to them.

    I gave my reason (twice), just very succinctly. On a forum populated with intelligent, informed people, I give the reader credit that he doesn’t need his hand held through the details. I take for granted that we’re all familiar with or can quickly become familiar with the numbers you linked to, for example — so I assume that when I make the point that, based on cost and position, Simmons by himself is at least as valuable to this organization as Stanton would be, you’ll understand where I’m coming from, even if you disagree.

    Similarly, your original statement was that you’d give up those four players in exchange for Stanton. That’s enough to tell me (an informed reader) what your argument is. I just don’t think it’s a good argument.

  57. 83,85

    Fair enough. I’m sorry about trying to make a mountain out of a molehill. Worst comes to worst, I can always join that Coach guy from Minnesota and, along with IloveEmmaStone, start a new blog or something.

  58. To be honest, I don’t think Desert is really that far off if you accept Fangraph’s analysis. AAR’s right that there are still questions about Stanton’s ability to make contact, but he’s starting from a pretty elite spot. Simmons is just never going to be all that good of a hitter, which caps his value somewhat, and I for one don’t have a problem trading Kimbrel for a stud. Now, I don’t think I’d do that particular deal, but if you wanted him, that’s probably the ballpark you need to be playing in.

  59. I harbor no ill will, even in my petulance. Like I said, my disagreement is not at all personal. Neither is my brevity. And I assume you’re joking about leaving, but if you’re not, that’s ridiculous.

    Speaking of Coach, I was thinking about him recently. What an emotional roller coaster he must’ve been on over the past year, seeing the Braves sign Luis Durango and then later dump him.

  60. 89,

    Nah, this site’s too useful a tool for procrastination and imaginary GM fantasies for me to leave. However, if that other site ever comes to fruition, Sam, you’re always a welcome guest columnist from time to time.

    And yes, Stu, we’re gonna be badly FJM-ing your comments.

  61. Simmons won’t be a “good” hitter, in the sense that he’ll never have a ton of power or draw a ton of walks, but I think he could certainly be as good a hitter as 2007-2009 Yunel Escobar, capable of hitting line drives into the gap and mitigating the low walk rate with a low strikeout rate. He’s the kind of guy who’ll be an All-Star if he hits .300, and just adequate if he hits .260, and there will be a few years of each on his resume thanks to BABIP.

    Just by comparison, his swinging strike rate is 10% and contact rate is 86%.

    I think he could very well be a good hitter *for a shortstop*; even if he isn’t Tulowitzki, I think there’s a reasonable chance he could be Renteria (career triple slash: .286/.343/.398.) with a better glove.

  62. @89, Yeah. I was thinking about Mac telling Coach how major league pitchers would knock the bat out of Durango’s hands.

  63. “I harbor no ill will, even in my petulance.” I love that quote. I’m not sure I understand it, but I love it. I’m going to use it soon with my wife, but I suspect she won’t laugh like I did. I’m not going to let that stop me.

  64. #91

    Tulo has a black Ferrari…as does Cargo

    Simmonds has no insecurity issues and a ’08 Mini…

    he also has bat speed as defined by the human eye…you underestimate his power

    all you need to know…he is untouchable, Renteria he is not…

    cheers, love your stuff…

  65. Frank Wren on the radio just now – making the case that BJ’s defense is underrated by advanced metrics comparative to Bourn because of quality of OF teammates. Not sure I buy it, but it tells you that the man has looked at them in a more than cursory fashion. That alone makes me pretty happy with him as GM. He also mouthed some things about leadoff hitters, in response to obvious questions, but not to the same level of detail.

  66. Just heard Wren on 680 The Fan discussing fielding metrics. According to Frank the metrics that showed Bourn to be a superior CFer to BJ are skewed due to their teammates playing in RF and LF. In other words, Prado and Heyward got to balls that would have brought down Bourn’s numbers. I know he’s supposed to talk up his new guy, but I was curious to hear what you guys thought of this and whether anybody has looked into the effect of corner outfielders on centerfielders’ fielding statistics.

  67. By the way, on the general point, I’ve long suspected that most of OF defense is positioning. (IF defense as well, but I suspect to a somewhat lower extent.) Speedier allow a different CF placement, although a lot of CF is playing close enough to get bloopers while not letting too many doubles sail over your head. Thus, defensive metrics are always going to be somewhat subject to team effects. But I also suspect it’s a lot like coverage in the batting lineups — far more discussed than important.

    In addition it works both ways. Bad corner outfielders can make a the CF make a bunch of plays he wouldn’t have made otherwise — I’m thinking of Garry Maddox and Greg Luzinski, for example.

  68. I’ve long believed that advanced metrics fail to take into account the dynamics of team outfield play, and it warms my heart to hear FW make this exact point.

  69. @103
    Wait…so if that was so, wouldn’t someone’s defensive numbers in last years OF have suffered instead of all 3 excelling?

  70. It’s not surprising that Wren is familiar with the pros and cons of advanced metrics. But I’m going to remain skeptical on this particular claim until BJ proves it on the field.

  71. “In discussing Dexter Fowler with the Braves, the Rockies asked for Mike Minor, according to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution”

    How disappointing if the Braves end up with Fowler. His overall stats look good, but his OPS is .984 at Coors and .720 everywhere else.

  72. @103: I’m assuming that was directed at me, not yourself. All I’m saying is it can work both ways. If you have the speediest outfield in the history of the world, you will position them so nothing ever falls in. All three could then have outstanding numbers. But a CF who has to cheat over into left to make up for a maypole in LF may have even better stats than any of the three in the first scenario, just because he poaches so many balls that would have gone to LF.

  73. @101

    I agree. There aren’t really any great defensive metrics. I like runs saved and range factor, but it is hard to tell.

    The eye test isn’t the worst way.

  74. Its really depressing thinking about Wren being focused so much on just leadoff type hitters. Hope that trend stops.

  75. I also wonder about the attraction of trading someone for Fowler when the braves already have a CF.

  76. The Braves and Paul Janish reached an agreement on a one-year deal, avoiding arbitration, reports David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. According to O’Brien, the deal was completed earlier in the offseason, but wasn’t announced at the time.

    Janish, who is a career .216/.286/.291 hitter, posted a career-worst .502 OPS in 2012


  77. avoiding arbitration

    Too bad. It might have been the first time an arbitrator advised one party to walk away altogether.

  78. Can anyone calculate how much Paul Janish is making in constant dollars relative to what Hank Aaron made at his top salary? I suspect that would show why Marvin Miller was necessary.

  79. To get Stanton would probably require Simmons plus Tehrean or Delgado plus a few other lower level guys but not both and certainly not with Kimbrel. I don’t think people here truly appreciate how good that guy is if you’re talking about trading him at all. I know that closers are available to find but when you have an unhittable guy you have to keep him. I think Kimbrel is the best closer since Rivera in his prime. If he was just some guy getting 40 saves then that’s one thing but he’s not. Even the mention of moving him is absolutely ridiculous.

    My above trade is all I would give for Stanton. I like him too, but as has been pointed out he’s injury prone, will be making serious money very soon and destroying your team for one guy never works in baseball. Unless the Marlins get a Godfather offer for him they have no reason to move him right now and I wouldn’t be willing to match it so I have no idea why we’re even talking about this.

    Justin Upton seems much more realistic. We should be focusing on him right now and if that doesn’t work then it doesn’t work but that’s what I’m hoping for now.

  80. Ha! From the CPI Inflation calculator (and BREF) $240,000 in 1975 has the purchasing power of $1,031,897.40 in 2012.

  81. I did it myself and Aaron made $200,000 his last three years with the Braves (1972-74). His 1972 salary translates to $1,090,000 in 2012 dollars. So, he made more in constant dollars than Janish will-but barely. But, by his last year in 1974, he was making less ($976,000) than Janish in constant dollars. Gee, one might think that owners were being unfair under the reserve clause.

  82. Baseball has also gotten a lot more sophisticated in generating revenue since 1975, which should be worked into the equation. Is there a chart somewhere showing annual estimates of revenues?

  83. The $240,000 is from his first year in Milwaukee after he was traded for Lee Maye. To defend baseball slightly here, this was long before the very lucrative TV contracts had kicked in. Remeber, back then national baseball telecasts were on saturday afternoon and local contracts were very small. The right calculation to make is player aggregate share of MLB revenues. But it’s still fascinating to make the comparison.

  84. At least with the Reserve Clause, the Pirates, Royals, Rays, etc. wouldn’t be major league-level farm systems for the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, etc.

  85. Actually, throughout the 1950’s, the Kansas City Athletics were widely viewed as a feeder organization to the Yankees. Roger Maris was the most famous player they sold to the Yankees, but there were several others. The reserve clause by no means encouraged parity. All it did was keep salaries down.

  86. Anyone think it’d be worth it to inquire about Grady Sizemore? I know his knees are pretty much shot but maybe he’d be worth a $500,000 contract. I dunno.


  87. Ben Ingram ‏@IngramRadio

    #Braves Frank Wren on Andrelton Simmons being untouchable in trade. “Nobody is untouchable, but I think Simmons is unreachable.”

  88. Do I need to come in here and insult some people to get you kids to play well together again?

  89. PgDn Alert: SEC-Football Post

    Back from ATL/SEC title game:

    Yeah, it was a heartbreaker, but it was wild in there—-tremendous atmosphere. It really felt like we were watching a great heavyweight fight—one haymaker after another. Supremely thrilling.

    What was kind of amazing was the level of civility between the UGA & Bama people. We sat in an almost all-Bama section—303, upper corner with alums mostly. And, as I’d experienced at 2 other Bama/UGA games (in Birmingham in ’84 & Tuscaloosa in ’94), the Bama people were remarkably respectful to us & vice versa.

    Obviously, it’s really a result of the 2 schools not playing every year (or even that very often), so there’s not this annual hate thing going on like Bama/Auburn or Bama/Tennessee or UGA/Florida or UGA/Tech, etc. We got to our seats an hour early, and we were talking with Bama folks the whole game and they were as knowledgeable & concerned about our team as we were about theirs.

    We got on-site about 2-1/2 hours before game time, but there was no razzing, no in-your-face stuff, just people rooting for their school. I’m sure some of that dumb stuff happened, possibly after the game, but I didn’t see any of it.

    Was trying to put this one in historical perspective (from my experience, anyway), and I gotta say that the ending was as tough as any sporting event I’ve ever attended.

    The main reason why it seemed worse than the 1983 Sugar Bowl (#2 Penn State 27, #1 UGA 23) was because, stumbling out of the Superdome that night, everyone thought Herschel Walker was returning for his senior year. Softened the landing a tiny bit.

    Was at the Leyritz WS Game 4 in ’96, the Brooks Conrad game in ’10, Hawks/Celtics Game 6 in ’88—-awful losses, but the Braves & Hawks still had time to take those series. Only other one that came close was Falcons/Cowboys NFC playoff game in Jan ’81 (the Drew Pearson game). But that was just a gag-o-rama—-one team kinda quit playing with 4 minutes left.

    Stings, but it was still a helluva thing to experience and maybe one day I’ll look at it more as a great football game, instead of a just-missed opportunity. Of course, that might take awhile…

  90. By the way, count me in as someone who would trade pretty much anyone except Heyward for Stanton.

  91. @129 – A man’s reachability should exceed his touchability, or what’s a winter meeting for?

  92. Stu’s line of work is to manually manipulate male salmon (and sometimes other species of fish) to study mating behavior and ejaculate expenditure under sperm competition risk. The fish never complain, despite Stu’s monosyllabic grunting.

  93. @137, 139 – Truth. He does it for free.

    @118 – I’d actually be thinking about trading Kimbrel for the best bat I can get right now. He’ll never have more value, given his contract status and the fact that he’s pre-the inevitable Tommy John. And we’ve got surplus bullpen, in terms of relative resource allocation. We’d not be that many wins out if any with O’Waldters as the closer.

    I’d do anything I could to make him the shiny object in a trade for an impact (JUSTIN UPTON) LF bat (JUSTIN UPTON) instead of Simmons, I guess I’m saying.

  94. Not having ever really followed any NFL team (jumping on board Falcons bandwagon for the Chrystal Chandler playoff run doesn’t really count) means that it is okay if I become a Redskins fan, right? RGIII is so damn good.

  95. First day, the Braves have inquired on all of the guys we’d like for them to: Upton, Gordon, Choo, and Fowler. Verdict? Price too high for now.

  96. Fowler’s really a just okay player. He hit .300 because he had a .390 BABIP and plays in the best hitters’ park in the majors. Per Fangraphs and baseball-reference, he was worth in between 2 and 3 wins in both 2011 and 2012. He’s under team control for three more years. His defense isn’t great, and his offense is just above-average. He’s little better than a tweener: his bat isn’t good enough for a corner and his glove isn’t good enough for center.

    He’ll be 27 next year, so it could be his best year in the majors. And he is not a bad player. He’s just barely better than average.

  97. After looking at the numbers more deeply I fee dumb that I was strongly behind Fowler. With him being 27 next year I think he has a chance to be more than “just barely better than average”, but if he leaves Colorado he may come crashing down. Can you think of anyone who has left Colorado and put up strong numbers – as strong or stronger than in Colorado?

  98. @ 146,

    I would agree that Holliday and Galaragga both did very comparably after a Coors stint.

    I am not aware of any others, however.

    We know Vinny Castilla showed his real offensive level when he left.

    I think the statistical test would be to apply the long standing “all players home versus road” advantage to the Rockies player. From somewhere I seem to remember that is about a 5% increase in OPS (maybe in some discussions of Jim Rice?). So, the average player is say 800 ops on road and 840 at home. If he has 3 years of splits bigger than that, then your prospective Rockie is a “creature of Coors Field”.

  99. And by the way, what is a “Reinier Roll”. It sounds like it ought to be a French Pastry.

    The Braves signed one of those about a week ago and it had no stats. So, it must have come from an independent league.

    Maybe it is a 16 year old French cricket player with a cannon of an arm.

  100. Bowman: “Braves could look internally for left fielder

    It’s never a good sign when the ‘internal options’ spin starts.

  101. Hank Aaron is still with the organization. True, he was a right fielder, but I suspect some of his arm strength is gone.

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