The Shady Acres Boys (by sansho1)

Some notes on a few 2012 Braves facing life after baseball:

Eric Hinske — There were signs coming into the 2012 season that Hinske might be nearing the end of his tenure as an effective bench player. His age (34) and body type (ample) did not suggest a great longterm prognosis, especially considering that the barrel previously located around his chest seemed in spring training to have begun its inexorable southward migration. He’d also lost 20 OPS+ points between 2010 and 2011, and was well into the phase of his career where his managers openly fretted about “playing him too much.”

Nevertheless, Hinske got off to a hot start — a 4-6 day at Coors Field on May 4 lifted his slash line to a robust .412/.444/.559….whereupon he promptly fell off a cliff. Unbelievable as it sounds, Hinske made a significant contribution to a Braves win only twice over the final five months (a two-run double on July 14 vs. the Mets and a double and run scored vs. the Nats six days later), despite being on the active roster throughout. Welcome to Shady Acres, Eric, where you’ll surely be a fixture on the front porch, entertaining residents and staff alike with your hearty bonhomie.

Matt Diaz — Diaz was (inexplicably) reacquired for the 2011 stretch run, and entered 2012 with a leg up on a roster spot thanks to his (also inexplicable) two-year contract. Diaz had served largely honorably in his previous Braves tenure, but in recent years had become increasingly buffeted about by the fickle breezes of BABIP, as his power waned. So desperate were the Braves Journal cognoscenti for the Braves to recognize sunk cost as it stared them in the face that such lesser lights as Jordan Parraz and Drew Sutton were seriously proposed as better alternatives.

Much like Hinske, though, Diaz began the year with his hitting shoes on, posting a .298/.382/.468 slash line through May 25. Unfortunately, this dead cat bounce was followed by a .164/.190/.230 fizzle from then until mid-July, whereupon Diaz was stowed away on the DL with a thumb injury circa 2010. Matt, it’s hard to see a way forward for you as a major league ballplayer, but your calming demeanor and Bible study group leadership will be greatly appreciated at Shady Acres.

Ben Sheets — The Braves have long specialized in aging reclamation projects, and while some don’t pan out (Jim Bouton, Ken Caminiti), a surprising number have made unexpected but genuine contributions (Julio Franco, Chris Hammond, John Burkett). Count Sheets firmly in the latter group, as he returned from multiple surgeries to provide a temporary but crucial bridge from Beachy to Medlen, ensuring the Braves had at least one ace starter in the rotation all season long. And his one-inning career coda in Game 162 rivaled all but a couple of moments from Chipper’s final chapter as the most heartwarming of the season. Ben, it’s an honor to have a multiple Purple Heart recipient in our midst — our veterans meet daily at the McDonald’s down the street, and you’ll never have to pay for a cup of coffee.

Jack Wilson — Wilson arrived in 2011 as one after another backup SS proved unable to contribute even a little bit. Watching him come in to spell Pastornicky early in the season was an exercise in futility, and Wilson whiled away his final days as a major leaguer perched quietly at the dugout railing, watching the games pass by without him. Jack, here are a few pamphlets for some bus tours we sponsor here at Shady Acres. Be sure to board early if you want a window seat.

Livan — how many times do we have to tell you you can’t just shuffle around in your bathrobe and shower shoes all day?!

(Also receiving vouchers: Lyle Overbay, Miguel Batista)

284 thoughts on “The Shady Acres Boys (by sansho1)”

  1. Braves could look internally for left fielder

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

  2. Rumor is that Kirby may have already accepted the job. Id be really surprised if he accepts that job. Id be even more surprised if he got the job over Gus or Petrino.

    I can guarantee you that if Kirby is hired by Auburn, he will not be coaching in the NC game. I dont think the University of Alabama wants the Auburn head coach on its staff, and vice versa.

    Auburn is a complete mess for a first time head coach to come into, which is really surprising that Auburn would take the chance on another unproven candidate at this point.

  3. I wouldn’t be sad if Auburn hired Smart, but I agree, csg, I don’t think now is a good time to hire a first time head coach. Gene Chizik used to be a hell of a defensive coordinator too.

  4. “Braves could look internally for left fielder”

    Maybe that spin, puts us in the market for Greinke. If true, Id rather give Gattis a shot and sign Greinke than give Victorino a 4 year deal and stay with our current rotation.

    Its probably more of a PR move to lower some trade prices.

  5. Well done, sir. Love the humor. And thanks to the above mentioned gentlemen for their contribution to the Braves. I wish them the best in their future endevours.

    From the last thread. Internal options? Dang. Thats a bad sign. We may have to wait a while boys and girls for the rest of the marke to shake out before we get our LF.

  6. Im really surprised that you havent seen Charlie Strong linked to the Auburn job more. Kirby is a risky hire, plus he’s somewhat of an Alabama guy. If you thought the show at the airport was bad when Gene arrived, just wait until Kirby shows up.

  7. MLBTR…According to Jon Heyman of, the buzz at the Winter Meetings suggests that Zack Greinke could be in line for a bigger payday than initially expected — one competing agent thinks the right-hander could land a seven, $185MM deal.

    Ok, scratch that.

  8. Excellent piece! ** applause **

    I’ll definitely miss Matty and Hinske — not for their recent play (or lack thereof), but they were both fun to watch in prior years and clearly really nice guys.

  9. The three finalist for the Tennessee job:


    Strong really wants the job. They interviewed Gundy on Sunday and Fedora today.

    There have been some rumors that Gundy has an offer in hand. I don’t think that is true.

    I hear Strong’s interview was amazing.

  10. @12 – Strong would do well. He’s an excellent recruiter and has thrived at a school with little homegrown talent.

  11. The Auburn base that I know doesnt want an “Alabama guy” as their head coach. Most of that base wants Petrino, but now Pres Gouge has stepped in. Auburn is a complete mess with the President, Boosters, AD, Dye, and search committee all wanting to go in different directions. Auburn needs a proven hire at this point.

  12. @13,

    I think so too. I would also like Fedora. I am not sure how well Fedora can recurit. If he can, he is the guy I want.

    I’m not really sold on Gundy.

  13. I like Strong, but I don’t really understand his recruiting reputation.

    Agree that Fedora is the biggest potential HR, Smitty.

    I’m hoping for Gundy! High floor, so the disaster potential wouldn’t be there, unfortunately, but no chance of making UT elite, IMO.

  14. Apparently the Yanks are willing to move Granderson for some reason.

    He’d look pretty nice in LF.

    They could use Francisco…

  15. I think I’m so nervous about the Braves for next year that it’s putting added anxiety on me during this offseason. A solid LF relieves a lot of my worries, but the team as constructed now is weaker than last year’s, in my eyes.

  16. Oh come on! Give us Tar Heels a chance to see if Fedora really is a decent coach or if he caught lightning in a bottle with Gio Bernard before you yank him away from us!

    Because if he is a legit coach you’ll hire him. If he’s a Gio Mirage, you won’t, and he’ll stay in Chapel Hill for a long string of 5-7 to 7-6 seasons.

  17. @19- I don’t think he’d cost a “ton,” but yeah. Apparently they only want to move him to dump salary. So that raises a different problem. Frank would probably prefer to offer a better prospect to get more salary eaten, and that doesn’t look like it’d work here.

  18. sansho1

    Well done, sir!
    Shady Acres is part of Braves Journal now. I hope it makes the Glossary.

  19. Bowman…Wren will continue to explore trade options. At the same time, he seems to be willing to keep Martin Prado in left field and utilize Juan Francisco as his starting third baseman. Francisco has adhered to the Braves’ demands to lose some weight. He has hit .318 with a .523 slugging percentage in 23 games during the Dominican Winter League.

    There is also a chance the Braves could stick with their plan to move Prado to third base while using either Jose Constanza or Evan Gattis as their starting left fielder. While Gattis might still be a long shot to begin the season at the big league level, he has certainly aided his cause while hitting nine homers and compiling a .503 slugging percentage in the Venezuelan Winter League.

  20. @17 – UofL signed three 4 stars in 2012 and four 4 stars in 2011. All seven came from out of state and all four in 2011 came from Florida. To get four Miami kids to sign with Louisville (including Teddy Bridgewater) is no small feat.

  21. I think he’s just pandering. I think he’s communicating he’s got options internally so that he’s forced into a bad deal.

  22. 28—Yeah, I know he’s got the FL connection, and that’s not insignificant, but that’s really about it, as far as I can tell. He doesn’t win a lot of battles against the big boys, and his overall class rankings have been pretty unimpressive.

    I dunno. I’m just not sold that he’s some recruiting beast on the level of, say, James Franklin. ;) But he’s a good coach.

  23. Full year of Medlen and the post-all-star-break Mike Minor. Full year of Andrelton Simmons. Modest improvement from Heyward and Freeman. Good chance that the bench (even accounting for drop-off at catcher) will be much more productive (see three of the four players above). Bullpen can’t reasonably be expected to improve but is likely to remain absolutely dominant. Plus the possibility that B. J. Upton improves in a better hitter’s park and a slight chance, however slim, that Uggla has a better year. We could even see the real McCann.

    Right now I think it is reasonable to expect that we will be just as good as last year. Add a Choo or a Justin Upton and it is hard to see how we aren’t a good bit better.

  24. Damn. That is a good gamble by Rizzo. Hopefully it at least means the Nats won’t be in on Greinke.

  25. “Well, (Granderson) would cost a ton in prospects and its his last contract year at $14M”

    I doubt that. I suspect it would cost a mid-level prospect and taking on the contract. The Yankees are actually quite desperate to get in under the new luxury tax threshold. It’s weird to see them in salary-dumping mode, but they apparently are. And ain’t nobody going to be taking ARod or The Captain’s Contract any time soon.

    Not sure how well Granderson’s LH swing translates to the Ted.

  26. What the hell? We went from J. Upton and Choo to Constanza in one day?

    A word on “how to watch the Winter Meetings from afar” from a grizzled old veteran who has not quite been relegated to Shady Acres, even though he really does still think of Tim Hudson as a up and coming kid out in Oakland:

    The Winter Meetings are a battle of press releases and expectations management. Half of the statements released to the Twitterati classes are simply back-handed diplomacy and outreach to other teams and players. If the Braves are really in on Choo (and I think they probably are) they really want to pretend in public that they aren’t, because they don’t want other teams getting up in that business and driving up the price at the last minute. So at least half of this “we might go with internal options” talk is attempting to undermine Cleveland (or other trade partner’s) resolve and signal that they’re willing to walk away. That drives the asking price down.

    The other half is setting the PR stage with the fan base in case the real possibility that they don’t find a deal that works happens, and they come out of the meetings without any new player to speak of. In that case, they want to be able to say “we chose to go with internal options because the other teams were unreasonable” rather than “we wanted that guy, but we totally failed to get him because we suck at trades.”

  27. Which is why we’re already getting previews of Juan Francisco being in the best shape of his life. Thank you for restoring a little sanity, @38.

  28. 1) I’ll be shocked if the Braves get either Upton or Greinke.
    2) I wouldn’t be surprised if the Braves don’t make any moves during the meetings.
    3) The Braves will certainly make a move or two between now and April. A LF is most likely, but don’t expect them to break the bank. They like Gattis, even tough he might not start this season in the big leagues. Frankly, a RH platoon guy is almost what I expect, since he could be used with Constanz (somehow, I think this would be seen as a reasonable “second best” solution by management) and either continue in a platoon role or be useful off the bench when/if Gattis is called up.

  29. I totally agree with Sam. It’s important to remember that you can never take anything at face value that any front office person ever says. There is always a motive.

    1) Sometimes that motive is simple unwillingness to show one’s hand. When reporters asked Ruben Amaro if he had talked to Josh Hamilton, he said, “No. But I wouldn’t tell you if I did.”

    2) Sometimes that motive is active misdirection. When Frank Wren got Michael Bourn, he effectively ran a false-flag operation to make it seem like he wanted Pence more than Bourn.

    3) Sometimes that motive is sheer force of habit, the equivalent of Worf telling Bashir and O’Brien, “We do not discuss it with outsiders.”

    At any given time, the front office has to 1) reassure the fan base that all is well, and 2) maintain the strategic upper hand in future negotiations by not revealing its true preferences. There is literally no reason for the front office to tell its fan base the truth about what it is trying to do to improve the team.

    I don’t pay any attention to the press reports until they announce that we got somebody.

  30. @Bethany
    I understand your frustration, but let me ask this…

    Out of Heyward, Freeman, McCann, and Uggla, who’s not likely to outperform numbers from last year? Add a full year of Simmons in that group, Upton in CF, and a platoon of some sorts at 3b/LF and there’s plenty there to pick up Chipper’s and Bourn’s combined 10 WAR. I could easily see Freeman put up a 4 WAR season, Heyward an 8 WAR season, Uggla a 4 WAR season, and McCann rebounding to a 4 WAR season. Add Simmons and his likelihood of putting up a 4+ WAR and this team is equally as good as last year’s team, if not better. If all stated above happens and Upton puts up 3 WAR, the team is as good as last year at it’s current construction and that’s getting nothing out of LF or 3b (depending on where Prado lands). A 4-5 WAR LF could make us significantly better than last year.

  31. response to Adam in the previous thread. I have followed Football Outsiders and DVOA for 6 or 7 years now and found their stats to be greatly helpful. You are correct that a 16 game season provides for a small sample size when comparing games. But they actually base results on the 130 or so plays per game which does provide a much larger base. Read the FO Basics link on their website and you will never be able to listen to Phil Simms again.

    As far as predictability, their premium picks have hit on a 54% clip, better if you filter out the ‘stay away’ games. I run a simple prediction method using their DVOA stats and have consistently won or been near the top of all the pools I’m in, what’s more, my knowledge of the game has advanced beyond the fantasy football level.

  32. After calculations, the Braves are losing 11.5 WAR from Chipper, Bourn, and Ross. Factor Pastornicky’s -1.1 WAR and there’s somewhere between 10&11 WAR that needs to be made up.

    Now…factor in 8.4 improved WAR from the following group: Uggla (from 3.5 to 4.5), McCann (from 2 to 4), Freeman (from 2 to 4), and Heyward (from 6.6 to 8.0), Simmons (from 2 to 4) and that leaves 3.0 WAR from Upton and whoever will be manning LF. Furthermore, considering our bench was well below average last year, there’s hope that we might receive 1-2 WAR there instead of negative value (like we had this year).

  33. My point…I want to believe McCann and Uggla are better than last year, that Freeman and Heyward will continue to get better, and that a full year of Simmons will be worth more than the 0.7 WAR that our SS put up last year.

  34. Dont we need to keep in mind the first half from Beachy and the same with Medlen’s second half? Those arent probably going to be repeated. Either way with all of the potential “better” seasons, I dont see how we could say that we are better at this point than where we were at the end of last season…watching the playoffs.

    This team desperately needs another good bat. Maybe its from Gattis, but Id rather try with the other Upton.

  35. @45 AAR

    Point 3 produced a classic “spit take” onto my monitor.
    You owe me a Coke.

    Go Braves!

  36. @53 – go figure. Hell, I’m old enough to have seen Star Trek TOS when it debuted.

    @38 – You’re right of course but its still disconcerting.

  37. Going to the UGA / Tech basketball game tonight in the new Tech Arena.

    Anyone know a good place to park? Thanks.

  38. @49 Do you think McCann is going to improve to 4 WAR even with the time he’s missing? I’m not sold that he’s going to bounce back in the first place. We’re without Beachy for most of the year, Hudson will likely regress due to age, and Medlen probably will too. Maybe Minor has it figured out, maybe he doesn’t. We lost Ross, who was our only good piece off the bench.

    The way I see it, we’ve got a struggling Uggla at second, a guy in center who can hopefully be as valuable as Bourn was last year (and Bourn was very valuable last year), a question mark in left, Prado at third who will be better defensively but a loss at the plate compared to Chipper, a terrible offensive catcher for several months and Simmons, who probably isn’t going to give much with the bat.

    I’m not at all comfortable with where we sit right now.

  39. JJ = -.3 WAR, Hanson = 1 WAR. Paul Maholm was worth 2.5 WAR so presumably having him for an additional 2/3 season will result in an additional 1 WAR.

  40. I’m not at all comfortable with where we sit right now.


    I really dont like the fact that the Mets may end up with Myers for RA Dickey either.

  41. Its going to be interesting to see who takes over the leadership role on this team now that Chipper is gone. Bmac looks to be coming into his last season in Atl. Guess its Heywards time.

  42. Looks like Arkansas is going to get Gundy (I don’t think UT offered)

    So Strong or Fedora.


    I think it will be a lot easier for Strong to recruit to UT than Louisville. BUt he may be overrated. I still would like Fedora, but I’m betting on Strong. I think it goes down in the next 48 hours.

  43. Now…factor in 8.4 improved WAR from the following group: Uggla (from 3.5 to 4.5), McCann (from 2 to 4), Freeman (from 2 to 4), and Heyward (from 6.6 to 8.0), Simmons (from 2 to 4) and that leaves 3.0 WAR from Upton and whoever will be manning LF. Furthermore, considering our bench was well below average last year, there’s hope that we might receive 1-2 WAR there instead of negative value (like we had this year).

    Well, yes, if we assume everything goes perfect and every player hits their best case scenario next year, then eureka, we’re done.

    I propose that assuming everything breaks roses for the Braves is not a particularly realistic assumption. Specifically, I’m highly doubtful you get +4 from Uggla. He’s a +3 in every season except his career year and last year (+5, +2.) If he rebounds, he’s still only a +3.

    I’m also unconvinced that Simmons plays a full year at +4 value. I’m also not convinced Heyward explodes forward to a full +8.

    The Braves need another bat, and they need it in LF. Especially with McCann out to start the year.

  44. @Bethany
    I figure, more or less, the pitching, both starting and relieving, will break even with Maholm outperforming Hanson/Jurrjens, Delgado and Minor outperforming overall ’12 numbers, Hudson declining, Medlen putting up good numbers throughout the year, and the pen being about the same.

    Good point but obviously I will counter. Do you think any of the above mentioned players will be worse in ’13? For argument’s sake, let’s say they all clone their ’12 numbers. The Braves would be asking 11.2 WAR from their bench, LF, SS, and CF positions. That, in my mind, is very doable.

    Furthermore, I think Heyward is going to destroy baseballs come 2013.

  45. This is scary…
    Hinske, Pastornicky, Wilson, Diaz, Johnson, Baker, Janish, and Overbay all had negative WAR.

    The only non-starters that had positive WAR were Ross at 1.5, Francisco at 0.8, and Constanza at 0.3. Overall, our “bench” guys totaled…
    -2.1 WAR

    I’m done with WAR posts. Sorry for the rambling.

  46. •The Braves and Diamondbacks have concluded there’s not going to be a fit for an Upton trade, tweets ESPN’s Jayson Stark. The Braves do not intend to trade shortstop Andrelton Simmons.


  47. jaysonst Jayson Stark
    #Diamondbacks would want an Upton pkg from #Braves to start with Andrelton Simmons, but other teams say Atlanta not moving him in any deal.

    Not upset with Simmons being untouchable. Hoping the Diamondbacks would accept something starting with Teheran+Ahmed

  48. I think Uggla will be worse in 2013 than he was in 2012. I also doubt Heyward will be an 8-win player and Freeman a 4-win player. But hey, I’d take it.

    Final prediction: the new LF will prove to be something of a letdown to many on this board.

  49. Do you think any of the above mentioned players will be worse in ’13? For argument’s sake, let’s say they all clone their ’12 numbers. The Braves would be asking 11.2 WAR from their bench, LF, SS, and CF positions. That, in my mind, is very doable.

    I really don’t like using WAR in this manner, to be honest. It’s not a really strong prediction candidate across teams, across seasons.

    I think projecting anything above a +2 season for Dan Uggla is wishcasting.

    I think between Gerald Laird and post-surgery Brian McCann we’re likely to merely tread water at C in 2013.

    I think it’s even money that BJ Upton contributes fewer WAR in CF than did Michael Bourn last year. (I trust him more offensively, and I trust the offensive components far more than the dWAR components.)

    I think there were three players in all of MLB who came close to 8 WAR in 2012 – Trout, Posey and Ryan Braun. (I don’t really trust the defensive numbers that drive up the values of David Wright and Robinson Cano.) I think half of Jason Hewyard’s WAR value from 2011 was defensive, and thus equally suspect. As such, I think projecting Heyward into the superman class of performer in 2013 is also wishcasting.

    I expect Martin Prado to tread water at best.

  50. Well, if we’re wishcasting:
    (1) I expect Dan Uggla to hit 40 HR
    (2) I expect McCAnn to have the recuperative powers of Lazarus
    (3) BJ:Justin::Hank:Tommie
    (4) Heyward causes MLB to waive the Hall of Fame rules and induct active players
    (5) Martin Prado walks on water instead of treading it.

    Then we just have to worry about pitching.

  51. No Ryan, I agree. I don’t think any of it is outlandish. I will agree that in whole, it’s unlikely.

    There’s going to be an 2012 Uggla or 2012 McCann or 2011 Heyward. There is every year, on every team.

    And, even if we’re talking about in-his-prime Arod, counting on anybody for 8 wins is dangerous thinking. You’re one sprained ankle or HBP from falling 5 games out.

  52. Agreed we need good production out of LF, regardless of how little Uggla improves or regresses.

    As for WAR I suspect that based on good hands and a strong throwing arm Gattis would be a lot better liked by the defensive metrics than an all-hit no-field guy like Morse, but his dWAR is still going to be negative and I fear that a Constanza/Gattis combo is likely to produce less than half of Prado’s 5.4-5.9 WAR. In that scenario it almost certainly makes more sense to play Francisco at 3B against all RH and only shifting Prado there against lefties.

  53. @80
    I wouldn’t be terribly upset to see a Prado/Gattis/Francisco combo at 3b/LF if it meant the extra money was used to lock up our young talent.

  54. It’s Gus at AU. Well, if you wanted to get an up and comer, he’s the guy I’d want, but I still don’t think he was the best option.

  55. The problem with the Prado/Gattis/Francisco combo is that even if it works ideally there is still probably a considerable drop-off from Chipper/Prado/Francisco and with Upton more likely to fall well short of than to match Bourn’s 2012 WAR, Bethany’s fears are pretty well founded.

    On the other hand, call me a Homer if you will, but if Simmons stays healthy all year and puts up fewer than 3.5 WAR next year I’ll eat my shoe. We should have a competition to predict the average of Simmons’ 2013 fangraph and BRef WARs. I’ll start: 5.8.

  56. $11 Mil in buyouts to bring back your OC from a year ago is baffling. Really thought Auburn had a big name waiting to come in.

  57. Arkansas did a fantastic job keep that name under the radar. I never heard Bielema mentioned once.

  58. Arkansas managed to hire a bigger prick than Petrino. Didn’t think that was possible.

    That leaves only the University of the Particularly Ridiculous Hue. Strong or Fedora – both would do well.

  59. Well, you know what they say: Anytime you can get a 38-year old who posted negative value the year before, you gotta do it.

  60. Well in a week we went from a solid FA singing to giving 1 million to Janish, eyeing Derosa, and looking at internal options for LF.

  61. You can’t really project any player in baseball for an 8 WAR season. Heyward is certainly a player who has the potential to put up an MVP-type year, whereas most players in the league at any given time have no realistic shot at doing so. But to just project an upward trajectory to 8 WAR is too much; that’s a level of performance no one but the all-time greats are able to reach with consistency.

  62. I think Gundy is now the front runner for the UT job. There are two other canidats, Strong and an unknown. It looked like Fedora was going to interview, but there is speculation that he didn’t and Tennessee interviewed another canidate.

  63. Time to adjust those WAR calculations, Braves signed Mike Pagnozzi to a minor league deal. He will be the backup until McCann’s ready per Bowman.

  64. Pedro Gomez ‏@pedrogomezESPN
    Phillies and Diamondbacks are discussing Justin Upton for Cliff Lee. Money coming to AZ would also be involved.

  65. Jeff Passan ‏@JeffPassan
    Arizona discussing all sorts of three- and four-way deals to get shortstop. Upton for Cliff Lee (per @pedrogomezESPN) could just be a start.

  66. Well, if nobody will give them a shortstop they want, then they’ll look at other ways to better their team.

  67. Thanks, ya’ll. Now let us never speak of Livan Hernandez again.

    Is Heyward being set up to get Andruw’ed? I have to wonder what sort of career will satisfy expectations.

  68. Cliff Lee is guaranteed 87M over the next 4 years. No way that goes down without almost all of that coming out of the Phillies hide

  69. Jim Salisbury ‏@JSalisburyCSN
    Ruben strongly shoots down Lee Arizona rumor. It is false, he says. Sports ‏@phillysport
    MT @HighCheese: Amaro strong denial of Lee-Upton report. “I don’t comment on rumors but that one is Absolutely and unequivocally false.”

  70. Victorino gets 3/$39 from the Sox. Speculation is Cody Ross will get 3/$30 now. How much will Swisher get?

  71. Talk about wasted $$

    Jeff Passan ‏@JeffPassan
    Total cost of Napoli, Victorino, Papi, Gomes and Ross: $120.2 million already spent by the Red Sox.

  72. Sox are flush with money and needed some players since they blew up the team. All those guys are on short deals

  73. The Sox’ biggest need is pitching, right? I love how the utter insanity of playing in Boston precludes their signing far and away the most talented pitcher on the market. It appeals to my sense of justice that there’s at least some competitive disadvantage for megamarket teams. It’s not like they didn’t have the money to go get Greinke. He could just never play there.

  74. Spending money on guys like Gomes and Victorino, they just might be working on reducing the number of fans.

    The effect it will have on the insane ones, proportionally, is yet to be seen.

  75. Stupid question. What if Bourne’s price goes way down? Do we consider bringing him back and have an outfield with 3 players who could play center? I don’t see it happening, but it would be interesting.

  76. Victorino gets $36M and the question is what if Bourn’s price goes down? Nope, so don’t worry about it.

  77. 138: In his worst-case scenario, his price falls maybe as far as the contract we gave Upton. We don’t have room in our budget for another of those. 100% impossible; he’s gone.

  78. Greinke isn’t insane. He has an anxiety disorder that is controlled with medication as I understand it. (NOw the Boston fans-that’s another issue.)

  79. Man, Yunel Escobar is the human embodiment of shooting yourself in the foot. Rays just picked him up for a single middling prospect, despite his perfectly affordable contract.

  80. That’s now 10 and 2/3 consecutive innings of one hit ball for Teheran. He might be putting it all together just in time.

    Francisco’s OPS is pushing .900 now. His K/BB ratio is improving in the past couple weeks, although still a bit scary at 30/9 over 98 ABs.

  81. Looking at it more carefully, it might be unfair to call Dietrich a middling prospect. Baseball America has him as the Rays #9 prospect for 2013 and calls his upside a “poor man’s Jeff Kent”. Decent power, could be above average defensively at 2B or 3B. But he’s already 23 and will probably start the year at AA.

  82. There are some twitter rumblings that we are in on Ellsbury. I hope its leverage to get Choo instead.

  83. I can’t wait for the Winter Meetings to end. I would say 80% of rumors actually never end up getting fulfilled. It’s like a gossip hour.

  84. @137, I don’t know what to think – it’s probably for the best in trying to hold on to the recruiting class, but the program is such a mess, there’s no magic bullet really, no matter who they hire. Good luck, Gus, I guess.

  85. @150 This may actually be the reality of being a GM. You would get into different conversations which involve so many players that only one or two conversations will actually lead to anything.

  86. According to Licey fans Julio Teheran was sent home to Columbia after last night’s start. They are bummed given that his 2 wins led the team but they seem to think he is going to be a superstar.

  87. More twitter chatter: we are interested in getting Emilio Bonifacio from Toronto to play left and lead off. Yuck. (Although I’d happily take him as a bench player, pinch runner and defensive replacement at 2B and LF).

  88. So DOB just published a story that Wren and assistants are going to watch Gattis and also Teheran after the meetings. But if the Twitter reports that Teheran is returning home are true that would indicate a change of plans. Curious.

  89. Im still concerned about this offense and Im sure Wren will address the LF situation soon. The bench currently consists of Pagnozzi, Constanza, and Janish to start the year. Thats a big issue as well.

    Good thing is the rotation should be fine with Beachy returning and the bullpen is going to be a beast.

  90. Braves have money and prospects. It would be nice to turn some of those into a real left fielder.

    Bonifacio as a starter does not excite me. Stanton, little Upton, Choo or Gordon would please me, however. Given my druthers, El Oso Blanco proves himself the really big bear in the Braves lineup going forward.

  91. David O’Brien

    December 5th, 2012
    9:17 am
    DOB, is the Braves interest in Bonifacio as a LF or super utility? Thanks — Joe

    Would be for LF, but can obviously move him around, which is one of the big appeals. When he stayed healthy and got to play on regular basis in 2011, he showed what he could do. Check his stats that year.


  92. Bonifacio is a replacement level player that had a great season in 2011 due to carrying a high BABIP. He’s got a sub .330OBP and may not SLG .350. Id rather fail giving Gattis a shot than add Bonifacio and think we’ve done something constructive.

  93. I usually give the front office a large leeway with my wrath, but if their idea of an “answer” is Emilio Bonifacio I’m going to be *pissed.* We have that guy. We call him George.

  94. Love Bonifacio as a super-sub. (Same reason I’d be interested in signing Chone Figgins. I know.)

    But not as our regular LF and definitely not at the top of the lineup. No, no, no.

  95. To elaborate:

    Over the last three days, the Braves have been linked to these guys for LF:

    – Upton the Younger
    – Choo
    – Ellsbury
    – Bonifacio

    Don’t believe anything you hear and only 10% of what you read during Winter Meetings.

    We have always been friends with Eastasia.

    -F. Wren

  96. Don’t believe anything you hear and only 10% of what you read during Winter Meetings.

    I usually try not to, but its hard to ignore when the talking head is responding to questions on his blog about “said player” and “Braves interest levels.”

  97. From Peanut:

    One of the game’s top catching prospects, Bethancourt is targeted to begin the 2014 season as Atlanta’s starting catcher.

    So long, Brian McCann.

  98. From the mouth of Peanut, it sounds as though Mejia and Gattis are going to get a serious shot to make OD roster from their extended success in the Winter Leagues. Both are showing serious power and would be great, cheap additions to our bench. Hopefully Gattis gets a bit of a shot to show he can still catch at the professional level.

    Also building on his good ’12 showing, Ryan Buchter has continued his successful track record with the Braves by putting up stellar numbers this Winter. He is one reason why I wouldn’t be hesitant to trade one of our 3 lefties in the right package.

    Avilan is doing what Avilan does…staying untouchable. Teheran has pitched lights out his past 2 outings including a 5IP no hit bid last night where Francisco added his own 2 HR to help his teammate secure the win. Ahmed and Cunningham have played well also.

    Now for the bad… Bethancourt and Salcedo still can’t hit Pastornicky got cut (which I didnt know was possible), Spruill has been ok, and Delgado has been mediocre at best.

    Here’s the link…

  99. @176 Because we probably can’t afford McCann even if he bounces back and there’s no one else in the organization unless you want Gattis to catch, which is probably a bad idea because his value is as a hitter and catching it going to wear down his body.

  100. There have been no twitter updates from the beatwriters for a half hour. I think something’s festering.

  101. What do the Braves do if Bethancourt struggles offensively again? We cant possible give him the job in 2014 if he puts up a sub .650OPS in AA this year right?

  102. Well, what happens to Josh Hamilton when Texas lands Greinke today?

    Jayson Stark ‏@jaysonst
    The big buzz this morning at the winter meetings is: Watch out for Texas on Zack Greinke.

  103. Ryan, well DOB posted something on his blog about less than 15 minutes ago about the Rule 5 draft. I wouldnt expect much to happen.

  104. @178, We could trade for or sign another catcher anytime between now and 2014. Anyway, we probably agree that Bethancourt is not untouchable.

  105. 1. I think McCann is out of Atlanta after this season. It sucks, but it is what it is.

    2. There’s no reason Bethancourt is untradeable, because really, it’s not terribly hard to find a journeyman catcher to replace Bethancourt’s potential production year to year. Hell, they gave Gerald Laird a two year contract, so he’s there if needed. The only downside is that journeymen cost you a million bucks or so, while Bethancourt will suck at the plate for essentially free.

  106. Also, while I don’t want to edge too close to the ‘no politics, no religion,’ rule, I do want to offer everyone here my warmest regards on this, the most Holy Day of the year.

    Happy Repeal Day!

  107. I’ll go out on a limb and argue that temperance and prohibition just aren’t the hot button issues they were three quarters of a century ago. It’s probably okay to celebrate the occasion, if you so desire.

  108. Also, let’s wait for Bethancourt to post an OPS over .600 at the AA level before we pencil him in for the 2014 starting catching job.

  109. @193: Me too, spike. His Two Generations of Brubeck album was my college-age introduction to jazz. My tastes moved around a lot since then, but when the Blue Rondo from that album popped up the other day I was 20 agai for a few minutes, and that’s never bad. RIP.

  110. I’ll go out on a limb and argue that temperance and prohibition just aren’t the hot button issues they were three quarters of a century ago.

    Well, at least not in Washington and Colorado.

  111. I tried to get into jazz. I mean, I was a philosophy major for god’s sake. I totally tried my best to wrap my head around jazz. But at the ene of the day, my visceral reaction to jazz is essentially “too long, didn’t read.”

    I’m history’s greatest monster.

  112. 11:11am: The Rangers are “working hard” trying to acquire Upton, according to Jon Heyman of (Twitter link).

    •The Rangers’ discussions with Hamilton are “on hold” at the moment, according to Jon Heyman of, who suggests the team’s involvement on Greinke may be the reason for the delay.

    •The “big buzz” in Nashville this morning is to watch out for the Rangers on Greinke, tweets Jayson Stark.


    The Braves are seeking a pair of bench players, one right-handed hitter and one lefty, says David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

    The Braves had interest in Emilio Bonifacio prior to his inclusion in the Marlins-Blue Jays blockbuster, and they’ve learned this week that he may still be available, according to Dave O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link).

    •When it comes to finding a left fielder, the Braves will continue to explore trade options, but the team doesn’t have much interest in the remaining free agent outfielders, and don’t mind moving forward with their internal options, according to’s Mark Bowman.

  113. Well, at least not in Washington and Colorado.

    Alcohol prohibition. And it’s not? The federal government still will enforce its ban on that in those states.

  114. I guess the ~10 to 14 million we think we have left ain’t enough to buy a good hitting LFer. damn. Emelio Bonifacio Frank? Really?

    #197 – funny.

    I like the hits Brubeck was known for but I am just too damned lazy to take the time to develop a taste for jazz.

  115. @199, if there is any group that would sympathize with, and validate your position, it’s people that really do get jazz.

  116. @177 – thanks for the link. Hard to dislike a guy like Dickey even if he is a Met, for the time being.

  117. Jon Sciambi ‏@BoogSciambi
    Bade move by Buster_ESPN leaving his computer alone…about to tweet Hamilton to the Marlins.


  118. Re prohibition:

    It was never a good idea but I have read about American alcohol consumption in the 19th and early 20th centuries and it was truly amazing how much people drank.

    If Bonifacio is actually Wren’s answer to left field, the question must have been “what mediocre player can we get to take up space at the top of the lineup.”

  119. The big difference between the Braves and the Rangers as far as Upton goes is Jurikson Profar. The Rangers can either trade an elite, proven ML talent or a ML-ready SS prospect who is debatably the best prospect in baseball. Either way, they still have a SS at the end of the day. Arizona wants a SS. The Rangers can provide that.

    The Braves could make a deal work with Andrelton, but then they’d be left with Janish, plus a wait-and-a-prayer with Ahmed.

    It’s really as simple as that.

  120. Also, I had no idea it was repeal day. This is of interest, because tonight I’m going to do some trivia at a bar called 18th Amendment.

  121. Funny, I can hear that the young guy in the next office just started clicking on Brubeck youtube clips. How quickly you can get “educated” these days (as long as you remain curious)…

    It took me awhile to realize that I liked jazz fine–it was actually the attitude of the snooty jazzheads that annoyed me, not so much the music.

    In subsequent years, my mind opened to jazz greatly, if only for some of the more obvious stuff (Bird, Trane, Miles, Mingus, Monk, etc). And, perhaps not so oddly, part of the introduction came from the Minutemen, a late, great trio that found inspiration from Mingus, The Clash & Blue Oyster Cult in near-equal measures.

    I don’t get precious about it, but when it comes to jazz, there’s still a deep well for discovery.

    BTW, judging from recent trips to Colorado, I’m not sure repeal day is going to make that much of a difference.

  122. One of the most incomprehensible bits of American history to me has been the transformation of the public perception of jazz from an art form that was too lowbrow for polite society to one that is reserved for the intelligentsia. Neither are or were particularly accurate, but I find the latter to be a greater bar to entry for most folks, and that’s a shame.

  123. DOB is still tweeting about Wren going to watch Teheran pitch for Licey, but Julio has confirmed that he’s said goodbye to the team and is headed back to Columbia.

  124. It was never a good idea but I have read about American alcohol consumption in the 19th and early 20th centuries and it was truly amazing how much people drank.

    The real drop-off in alcohol consumption actually came in the 1830s and 1840s, with the rise of the (first) temperance movement that itself was an outgrowth of the Second Great Awakening.

    Consider this: in 1825, the average American over 15 yrs-old consumed 7 gallons of alcohol a year, mostly in form of whiskey and hard cider. That number fell to 1.8 gallons per person over 15 by late 1840s.

  125. spike: I wrote a really long response bemoaning the overintellectualization of jazz. Once the irony hit, I deleted it.

  126. R.A. Dickey is one of the greatest baseball stories of all time, and I mean that without hyperbole. You will tell your grandchildren that you watched a 37-year old knuckleballer, who named his bat after a sword in The Hobbit and wrote in the New York Times about climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, win the Cy Young Award. He is one of the all-time greats.

  127. If all the Dbacks want in return for Upton is Asdrubal Cabrera, we should be all over that. That just means we have to match the prospect package that Texas was prepared to offer to the Indians. Shouldn’t be outrageous: Delgado/Teheran+ Ahmed.

  128. But the D’Backs want a MLB shortstop, right? That makes things a bit trickier for the Braves, and explains why it was Andrelton Simmons or bust.

  129. Hey all! There are really good deals on today!
    uNu charging case for iPhone 4- 19.99
    Converse Analog Watch- $15.99
    Cuisenart 9-cup food processor- $119.00
    Creative Labs Bluetooth speaker- $39.99

  130. Brewers have considered trading Hart as part of a salary dump (to sign a pitcher or two). With one year left on his contract, he shouldn’t be all that expensive. It will truly be disappointing if the Braves are playing some combination of Bonifacio/Johnson/Gattis/Constanza next season when there is so much ample opportunity to get a legitimate MLB corner OF in this year’s market. It will also tell us that they don’t have the resources we think they do.

  131. Consider this: in 1825, the average American over 15 yrs-old consumed 7 gallons of alcohol a year, mostly in form of whiskey and hard cider. That number fell to 1.8 gallons per person over 15 by late 1840s.

    When did we make the transition to indoor heating outside of fireplaces?

  132. If Corey Hart were a salary dump the Braves would be happy to take him off the Brewers’ hands, but he’s not.

  133. “Consider this: in 1825, the average American over 15 yrs-old consumed 7 gallons of alcohol a year, mostly in form of whiskey and hard cider.”

    Or about the average amount drunk at a Red Sox game today.

  134. Jazz and Spinoza are a heady combo. Not as discordant as you’d think. If you’re in Colorado or Washington.

    Ooh, Corey Hart. Yes, please. Any chance?

    Just heard an interview with Wren. Won’t be surprised if Kung Fu Panda II is our starting 3B.

  135. Amanda Comak ‏@acomak
    RT @braves: GM Frank Wren announced (club) has exercised its one-year option on the contract of manager Fredi Gonzalez (signed through 2014)

  136. DKnobler ‏@DKnobler
    If Braves get an outfielder, they may trade Juan Francisco (Prado would play third). Marlins, Rays interested.

    Not sure what one has to do with the other, unless Fransisco has raised his value.

  137. 3B is one of the most sparsely talented positions in MLB right now. Francisco provides real power from a position that, outside of the premiere tier is being manned by journeymen.

    The Marlins were going to play Yunel Escobar (and his 75 OPS) at 3B before trading him away.

    The Rays could use a DH/3B to spell Longoria and replace Carlos Pena.

    There are lots of teams who need a 3B as much or more than we need a LF.

  138. If I’m the Indians, asking for Francisco in a package for Choo makes way more sense than signing Youkilis. Maybe they really think they can compete this year.

  139. @JimBowdenESPNxm
    Frank Wren just told us on SiriusXM that they would not do Simmons for JUpton but might have a combo to get him and would like to


  140. By the way, the other Bowden tweet has me feeling better too:

    Frank Wren just told us on #SXM that the Braves have the resources to sign a significant FA for LF or farm system to trade for it no hurry

  141. Yeah, there is no rush to get a LF. However, there is a rush to get a football coach. Dave Hart is a dumpster fire.

  142. 246: I don’t understand how anyone has interest in Dee Gordon, save for maybe his immediate family. He’s an extremely uninteresting Major League Baseball player.

  143. Plus, Francisco is pretty much Carlos Pena without the 600 PAs and street cred. I’m pretty sure the Rays see Francisco as an upgrade to Pena.

  144. This on the other hand, is not great at all.

    David O’Brien ‏@ajcbraves
    #Braves have interest in FA OF Nate Schierholtz, had .321 OBP/ .728 OPS for PHI/SF; has .305 career PH avg in 128 AB. LH hitter

  145. And he hit .197 last year. OPS-wise, I contend that Francisco could provide Pena’s production, if given 600 PAs, for 1/12th of the price (Pena made $7.25M last year). In fact, Francisco’s OPS was 50 points higher last year.

  146. I’m not sure if I’m a bigger fan of Wren’s moves so far this offseason or his trolling of people on here.

  147. I am perfectly confident Wren has a good idea of constructing a ball club, and will reserve both judgement and pearl clutching for a good deal longer. The Schierholz thing is just funny – I don’t believe it for a second.

  148. I too hope the Schierholtz thing is Wren’s idea of a joke; that he’s sitting at his computer looking at our comments and Braves fans’ comments on twitter and giggling with girlish glee at our disdain.

  149. I like Schierholtz as a 4th outfielder–a lot. I just don’t like him as a starter. It’s not clear what role he’d be in, right?

  150. Good news…Dbacks GM has had multiple 3-4 team deals offered to him. Don’t count us out yet.

  151. DOB says Wren wants one more lefty and one more righty on the bench.. That could be Schierholtz and R. Johnson.

    That would make the bench (once McCann comes back) Schierholtz, Johnson, Francisco, Laird and Janish.

    I guess you can carry 5 outfielders when you’ve got a super-utility type like Prado who hits enough to play everyday.

  152. Blanton 2/15m? Seriously, Angels? Evidently Buddy Carlyle turned down the 3/30 million dollar minor league offer from them.

  153. Francisco is en fuego. He just hit a three run shot off of the immortal Bartolo Colon.

  154. Schierholtz would be a fine addition if the Braves aren’t going to get Upton. He’d be a 4th OF/platoon guy/bat off the bench, not someone you’d look to play every day. He’s a guy you sign cheap to fill a spot on a roster. No big deal. I mean, currently Janish is the #2 hitter on the bench, so you gotta get somebody….

  155. As a rival fan of both Auburn and Tennessee, this has been quite the enjoyable college football season. Even with the tough loss to the Tide on Saturday.

  156. Bethany, I’m an Alabama fan, but I’m one of the few (it seems) who doesn’t have much animosity towards Auburn and wants to see them do well (just not as well as Alabama). If true, I don’t see Ellis Johnson as a very good hire for Auburn. This is speaking from someone who observed him for a long time at Bama. To be honest he has a reputation as a good defensive mind, but I never knew him to have a great defense at Bama. I think he’s simply an average defensive coach. He’s 61 years old and had a serious bout with cancer several years ago, so I don’t see him in Auburn for a long time. He’s never had a reputation as a great recruiter to my knowledge. He was LB coach at Bama under Stallings and seemed to be a good guy. He came back as DC at Bama under DuBose and had very dubious results. I know he did okay at MSU and SC, but his defenses have never blown me away. Sorry for the long diatribe, but that’s my perspective on things.

  157. I know a good coordinator can make a poor head coach, but I would find this info from wikipedia pretty disheartening if I were and Auburn fan:

    “Dave Bartoo, owner/operator of the website (College Football Matrix), a site that analyzes college football statistics based upon a given mathematical formula, recently told Bo Bounds of 105.9 The Zone in Jackson that Johnson had done “probably the worst coaching job I’ve seen in the matrix this century in (Football Bowl Subdivision) football.””

  158. @246 – The only reason I can see to trade for Dee Gordon is if you’re conceding Simmons in a deal for Upton…

  159. So Teheran left the Dominican this morning and now the word from Zulia sources is that Gattis, after sitting out the past couple games, allegedly with some soreness, has now left the team to take care of some personal matters (but plans to return after next week’s all-star game).

    I have a feeling Wren has a deal or deals lined up and they involve both Teheran and Gattis.

  160. @272 Thanks for the perspective! I tried to find some info on him and he seems to be a ‘highly sought after” guy with not a lot of recent success. And yes, he’s apparently an awful head coach. If he’s good with fundamentals, I think that’d be good for Auburn. I don’t think we have a single kid who can tackle. They are saying that Gus is trying to woo Rocker back as D Line coach, which would be huge.

  161. According to MLBTR, for Fowler the Rockies demanded both Mike Minor and Teheran/Delgado. Talk about ridiculous.

    Mad props to Wren for getting the Upton deal done before the winter meetings.

  162. @270

    I hope we make a run at Fedora, I think he would be a better hire.

    If he isn’t interested in leaving after one season at UNC (an most think he won’t) I have no idea where we go.

    Fulmer’s name is starting to come up.


  163. 279 – Rockies need to come down to sea level. Obviously they are suffering from oxygen deprivation.

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