Where Do We Go From Here? 2012.6 Free Agency and Trades (by W.C.G.)

In The Signal and the Noise, Nate Silver looked at several different fields of prediction to illustrate both the power and the limits of trying to peer into the future. Some fields, like meteorology, have progressed to the point where you can know with reasonable accuracy what the weather in your town will be like in three days. Others, like seismology, can give you a rough sense of where an earthquake is more likely to happen at some point, but don’t offer much in the way of guidance in terms of exactly when and with what force that earthquake will strike.

We know the Braves have some money left to play with — as much as $14 million in the 2013 budget if DOB’s recent chat with Terry McGuirk is to be believed — but trying to figure out what they’re going to do with it is more a matter of seismology than meteorology.

“The U.S. Geological Service’s official position is that earthquakes cannot be predicted [a definitive and specific statement about when and where an earthquake will strike]. They can, however, be forecasted [a probabilistic statement, usually over a longer time scale].” — Silver, p. 149

Even if we can’t necessarily predict exactly who the Braves will acquire and when, we can forecast, based on what we know about how the Braves’ organization operates, some general ideas about what the team will seek to do with the remaining budget. In the era of limited budgets over the last decade, the Braves have seemed to abide by the following principles:

  • They’re OK going into a season with a question mark at a key position (think closer in 2006, 1B in 2007, CF in 2009 and 2011, or SS in 2012).
  • They’re also willing to admit a mistake and acquire a reinforcement via midseason trade if the question mark doesn’t pan out (think Wickman in 2006, Teixeira in 2007, McLouth in 2009, or Bourn in 2011).
  • They budget for question marks that weren’t necessarily apparent when the season started and acquire help as necessary (think LaRoche in 2009, or Maholm in 2012).
  • If a big-ticket player who fills a need becomes available via trade, they’re willing to pull the trigger (think Teixeira again, Hudson back in 2005, or Uggla in 2011).

So what will the Braves do? The first three principles seem to suggest that they’ll be happy to go into the season with the roster as-is, evaluate who is and is not working through the first half of the season, and acquire players as teams fall out of contention and become sellers. The last principle suggests that if a “home run” trade is available at the right price, the Braves will be in on it. There’s one on the board.

Justin Upton is exactly the sort of player a mid-market team like Atlanta would love to get in a trade: 25 years old, under team control at a reasonable salary (three more seasons at an average annual rate of $12.8MM), talent and tools that suggest MVP upside, and a situation with his current team that could lead to a trade for less than market value. The Diamondbacks have four starting outfielders and only three places to put them, Upton had a down year last year by his standards, they’ve already traded him to Seattle (and had the deal vetoed), and they’ve dismantled his fan section at their home park.

With spring training still a month away and the season still more than two months away, the Diamondbacks haven’t entertained any 60-cents-on-the-dollar offers yet. The Seattle trade was for premium talent, they’ve told the Cubs that Starlin Castro would have to be the centerpiece of a trade there, and they apparently want Andrelton Simmons from Atlanta. It’s safe to say that the Braves will not be trading six cost-controlled years of a potential Gold Glove shortstop for an expensive outfielder, even one of Upton’s considerable talent.

But ultimately, the Diamondbacks need to trade Upton more than the Braves need to trade for him, which is a nice position to be in. If Kevin Towers’ price for Upton drops — say, to Randall Delgado or Julio Teheran, a major-league relief pitcher, a minor-league infielder, and a low-minors lottery ticket — then the Braves should, and probably will, sign off on the deal.

The other name that keeps popping up as the offseason winds down is Michael Bourn. Perhaps because of his .225/.325/.311 second half last year, no one has given Bourn all of the money in free agency yet, and the list of potential suitors is dwindling to where a one-year, make-good contract is at least a possibility in play. If that happens, and if the price of Upton remains too high, another year of Bourn might be in order. They probably shouldn’t pay for too much more than that.

Unless a figurative earthquake hits out of the blue, if the Braves pass on both of those players they’re probably going into the season with the roster they have. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; the only known question mark on the roster is whichever position between 3B and LF that Prado isn’t playing on a given day, there’s an in-house plan to cover that which might work, and the financial flexibility to address an injury or prolonged slump in mid-season is a major asset. The lists of remaining free agents at those positions don’t inspire spending money on anyone but bench bats. (I wouldn’t mind having Andruw back for cheap, though.)

Who becomes available is mostly a function of which teams fall out of contention at the time the Braves are looking to deal. This is a situation in which a forecast is more useful than a prediction; while Corey Hart, Alex Gordon, and Josh Willingham would all look good standing under the 755 Club, there’s no indication any of them are currently available. (And Hart will be out for a chunk of the first half, anyway.)

Alfonso Soriano probably is available on a Derek Lowe-style salary dump, but he’s signed for two years through his age-38 season, and you can expect the age cliff to hit any day now. Dexter Fowler is out there, but he’s a career .248/.331/.367 hitter away from Coors Field. I’d stay away. It’s unlikely, but if the Yankees want to rent out Curtis Granderson in the second half of the season, I’d listen. I’m sure someone in the comments will want to float Giancarlo Stanton’s name, but let’s be real: he’d cost the entire Braves’ farm system, the Falcons’ next three first-round draft picks, and the Sweetwater Brewery.

On that farm system: It seems clear that if and when the Braves do trade this year, they’ll do so out of pitching depth. The major league bullpen is stacked to the point that Cory Gearrin probably doesn’t have a spot right now, so everyone short of Craig Kimbrel is probably on the block. Between Delgado, Teheran, Sean Gilmartin, and Zeke Spruill, there’s enough top-flight pitching talent in the minors that they can probably swap one of them for a bat and not take too much of a hit in terms of organizational depth.

Overall, the Braves are in a pretty strong position going into the season for a mid-market team: in on trades but not necessarily desperate for one, with financial flexibility and organizational depth in the area teams covet most. They’ll make a move at some point, but at the moment they can wait for the deal to come to them.

225 thoughts on “Where Do We Go From Here? 2012.6 Free Agency and Trades (by W.C.G.)”

  1. I actually wrote pretty much all of this on Monday, so yeah. To extend the earthquake metaphor, there are tremors in Upton’s area now. Kind of patting myself on the back for mostly guessing what the Braves’ take-it-or-leave-it offer for Upton would be (if today’s rumors have any validity). I will note that if Gattis is included, I didn’t see that coming, and I’m not as sure how I feel about trading the only potential impact bat on the forseeable horizon in the system. But then part of me thinks that’s first world problems in an Upton-Upton-Heyward world.

  2. IMO Jupton is sufficiently impactful to lose Gattis. To be honest, it’s Teheran I’d be more concerned about. Gattis doesn’t really have star upside. I think more like really good platoon player most of the time with maybe a year or two as a legit every-day starter in LF. Teheran’s still got top-of-the-rotation possibilities. That said, I don’t mind giving him up for Jupton.

  3. OK, people. I have removed my ceremonial 1995 World Champions tomahawk out from its resting place deep within my sock drawer, and I have commenced chopping. But I fear we are insufficiently mobilized. We need more good vibes. Maybe even a youtube video. Bethany, are you on the treadmill?

  4. Re: Andruw Jones. I love the guy, but he’s a fat, drunk, wife-beater. Actually, then, I don’t really love the guy. I do honor his past history with the team, but don’t really see him having a place on our team, even if really cheap.

    Let’s get Justin, although I would hate to see the promise of the White Bear pack off to AZ.

  5. Isn’t Andruw going to Japan?

    I would prefer letting go Delgado + another lower level arm instead of Teheran. But I am fine either way.

  6. Am I the only one who would rather give them Delgado + Graham + Ahmed than Teheran + Ahmed + Gattis?

  7. Gattis was this year’s Tyler Flowers. Suddenly hyped like crazy in the offseason; traded that same offseason. Like the Braves were pumping up the value.

  8. As a point of order, the D’backs currently have FIVE, not four ML OF’s – Eaton, Upton, Kubel, Parra and Ross.

  9. I think that Gattis has more value to the Braves than the DBacks because of his ability to catch (hopefully at the MLB level), and that his unique situation makes him less desirable to others teams. I don’t think he’s a guy you trade for.

  10. In my cynical, black heart I imagine Wren greasing the palms of a few Venezuelan league lifers and saying “all you gotta do is groove him some fastballs, and maybe give him a cool sounding animal nickname, okay”?

  11. Don’t forget contacting the Information Ministry, id est O’Brien and Bowman, to write fluff pieces.

  12. Just saw a re-tweet suggesting. That Jupton will be good insurance if Constanza gets injured.

  13. Just saw a re-tweet suggesting. That Jupton will be good insurance if Constanza gets injured.

    Fredi Gonzalez is on Twitter?

  14. I agree that Gattis as a prospect isn’t exactly Heyward ’09. But let’s not act like he’s a total winter league phenom either. He’s destroyed every level of pitching he’s gone up against since he came back to baseball. There’s no one else in the system who can say that right now. Whatever his ceiling is, it’s higher than anything else we’ve got.

    This team depends on a steady stream of cost-controlled prospects taking spots in the MLB lineup to compete at its budget level. Acquiring Upton probably means McCann’s gone after this year. That leaves a hole at catcher, and Bethancourt’s just not developed enough as a hitter to plausibly be able to step in to a contending major league lineup in 14 months.

    Thus, Gattis has more value to the Braves than he would to the D-Backs, who are flush at both OF and C. Whatever Wren can do to get this deal done as all pitchers and mid-minors infielders, he should do.

  15. Whatever his ceiling is, it’s higher than anything else we’ve got.

    I’m a big, big Gattis fan, but I think that’s going a bit too far. Gattis is dreamy because of his apparent near-readiness for the majors — there are plenty of far-away guys in the system who have high ceilings.

  16. Peanut lists the Braves’ untouchables as Simmons, Graham, and Bethancourt.

    Two things:

    1) Passan reported that Graham could be the key to a deal. Hmm.

    2) If the Braves still believe in Bethancourt, so should we, IMO.

  17. I believe DON listed Graham as untouchable also. At least I remember seeing it posted somewhere. Still think the deal looks like this.

    Delgado/Teheran
    EOF/Venters
    Ahmed
    Spruill/Gilmartin

  18. Obviously I’m somewhat joking. But the evidence that Gattis is ML ready is thin to me. Age and competition. Sorry, I know that’s a dull point to make, but there’s nothing he’s done that necessarily says anything other than he can feast on unpolished pitchers.

    Also, I’d say that young defensive whizzes at important defensive positions have served the Braves well in the past, to the point where seeing him in Atlanta next year is quite forecastable indeed. Filling out the lineup with Justin Upton, and provided Andrelton can maintain some offensive contribution, would leave me gladly sacrificing offense at catcher.

  19. Totally agree. But you agree that, all else equal, you’d rather the Braves get to hang onto the White Bear story for a while longer, right?

  20. Rosenthal just tweeted:

    “Sources: #Braves close to acquiring Justin Upton from #Diamondbacks. Still working through final details”

  21. 40—Yes, I think that I’ve established that to be my position. I’m just saying, if it’s Gattis vs. some value-comparable other prospect/reliever/whatever in the deal for Upton, I’d prefer to hang onto the man-myth-legend.

  22. @39

    I guess so. He could be Kevin Reimer, which is a limited skill set, but at least it’s a particular one.

  23. ALL YOUR UPTON ARE BELONG TO US. ARIZONA SET UP US THE BOMB. NL: YOU HAVE NO CHANCE TO SURVIVE MAKE YOUR TIME.

  24. Sorry if this has been gone over before here, but has anything like two brothers in their prime playing in the same outfield happened before, except for the Waner brothers I guess? And, this is a huge hope obviously, but I wonder if the happiness of playing together will push them both to better heights…?

  25. Rosenthal’s own Twitter says it’s not Teheran, but that Delgado’s not the biggest piece either.

  26. Just looked up the Alous — Matty didn’t really get going until after he and Felipe played together.

  27. Stu, Alou Brothers are a pretty good example… I’ll have to look up when they played together and if it made any difference on their stats.

  28. Towers insisted on Graham so Wren swapped Delgado in for Teheran and also took out Ahmed?

  29. “Delgado is not the biggest piece going to Arizona in the trade, but Julio Teheran is staying with the Braves, Rosenthal adds”

  30. Shanks is saying it’s Prado/Delgado/Ahmed/Spruill for Upton/Johnson. So, we’ll have a poorly-fielding Sluggo Platoon at third…not sure what to think about that.

  31. Wren thinks three years of Upton is better than one year of Prado, I guess.

    Hoping Shanks is wrong again.

  32. From Bowman:

    Mark Bowman ‏@mlbbowman
    Source: Braves get Justin Upton and Chris Johnson from D-backs for Prado, Delgado, Ahmed and Spruill.

  33. I gotta say, I didn’t have much hope for the Braves keeping Prado after this year, once they agreed to go to arbitration…but I wasn’t prepared to wish him good-bye until after this season!

    Still…Uptons! I like the trade.

  34. Johnson doesn’t walk and doesn’t seem to be a great fielder, but I guess he isn’t the worst hitter in the world. I guess.

    What I’m saying is I’ll miss Martin.

  35. Chris Johnson isn’t a complete hack, and we kept Teheran, Graham and Gattis and got the other Upton…I like it

  36. Wait, so we refused to pay the guy a half million more than planned then sent him off? There might be something about prado we aren’t seeing. I’m very sad to see him go, but this was probably his last year here. I’m very glad we got Upton, but I’m seriously less stoked if they pencil in Roadrunner at third.

  37. Out of curiosity, who is going to start at 3B against lefties? Johnson has a reverse platoon split.

  38. While cautiously invoking the Furcal rule, does this improve the team? Yes. Is it the slamdunk Jupton for prospects only deal we all really really liked? No.

  39. I agree with Stu, they will platoon or one of them will just win the job.

    We can live with a so-so defensive third baseman. See Chipper Jones

  40. Kudos for Wren not trading Prado last season at his low point last offseason. Remember the Seth Smith rumors? The Braves thought they wouldn’t be able to resign Prado and got 3 years of a better player.

    And I have a hard time believing that Chris Johnson and Roadunner are worse defensively than 40 year old Chipper. I think that’s a push.

    Great trade.

  41. Chris Johnson is absolutely terrible in the field – and can’t hit lefties at all. I see no reason he should be on the roster if Francisco is already there.

  42. Simmons
    Heyward
    JUpton
    Freeman
    BJUpton
    BMac
    Uggla
    Roadrunner

    An incredible amount of power, and some surprising speed, in that lineup.

  43. Hate to see Prado go, but all things considered, the deal seems like a good one for the Braves. From a hitting standpoint Johnson doesn’t look too bad. It would be nice if he could field!

  44. The deal as reported is grand theft for the Braves. Nice work by my childhood/early adulthood team. Justin Upton is a premier talent and nothing close went the other way. I’m really shocked that neither J.R. Graham nor Teheran was included. Prado is a solid enough player, but don’t overrate him.

    Atlanta just might give my Nats a run for it, though the advantage in the rotation still favors Washington. But arms, they are temperamental.

  45. 162 game averages:

    Prado .295/.345/.435, 40 2b and 12 HR
    Johnson .276/.315/.430, 33 2b and 15 HR
    Francisco .258/.303/.440, 22 2B and 14 HR

    A step backward, but not as big as I thought. Only problem is that neither Johnson or Francisco hits lefties.

  46. The thing about Martin is that he was a FA after this year. It’s possible they tried to get a long-term deal done with him and it just didn’t happen. I’m bummed to see him go. I was really looking forward to seeing him at 3B next year. I don’t really have a problem with giving up Delgado and Ahmed, and Johnson looks like a legit bat at 3rd, even if his glove represents a steep downgrade from Prado.

    And we keep Teheran? I actually think I really like this deal. If the Uptons perform, this will be a STACKED lineup, albeit one lacking a real leadoff hitter unless Simmons just becomes otherworldly.

  47. Prado and overrated have never met.

    I believe if you took all 30 teams and divided their starting eight position players into a fast relay team and a slow relay team, the Braves might finish first and 60th.

  48. Simmons, A
    Heyward, J
    Upton, J
    Upton, B
    Freeman, F
    McCann, B
    Uggla, D
    Francisco, J

    Laird, G
    Johnson, R
    Johnson, C
    Janish, pretty
    Gattis/Constanza

    Hudson, T
    Medlen, K
    Minor, M
    Maholm, P
    Teheran, J

    Kimbrel, C
    O’Flaherty, E
    Venters, J
    Walden, J
    Avilan, L
    Martinez, C
    Durbin, C

    DL: Beachy, B

    ?

  49. In the spirit of Joe Shanderson and Gary Tanderson, you’d have (Justi) Nupton and.. (Bossman Junio) Rupton

  50. If we could see not re-signing Prado coming down the pike, and if we could see a pain-in-the-neck arbitration fight this year coming down the pike, this is great deal, this is a great deal. Even if we could’ve had Prado this year and in a long-term deal for what he’s worth, I still say this is a great deal. Martin Prado is never going to carry a lineup. Justin Upton can. Yeah, third base isn’t great now, but I don’t think it’s any worse defensively than it was last year with Chipper there, and it’ll clearly be the eighth spot in the batting order. I’m not too terribly concerned about that. We just weren’t expecting to lose Prado in this, so people are acting negatively preliminarily. This trade definitely makes us better, though.

  51. Ack! I really need to start taking the lack of an edit function into account and read my posts more carefully.

  52. I just need Norman Dale to slap the shit out of me and say “this is your team” and I’ll be okay.

  53. If Uggla can rebound just to 2011 levels, let alone career averages, that’s a pretty potent group of hitters.

  54. I get it, but my overwhelming feeling at the moment is one of loss.

    I’ve gone from giddiness to gut punch to realization that Martin probably wasn’t going to be here much longer anyway. (Especially after reading Medlen’s comments on Prado in his AMA, this loss is not cool.) You have to give to get and I’m very excited for the new outfield. Need to focus on that aspect.

  55. According to Rosenthal, we also threw Brandon Drury in on top. So the trade as it currently stands:

    We get: Justin Upton and Chris Johnson
    They get: Martin Prado, Randall Delgado, Nick Ahmed, Zeke Spruill and Brandon Drury

  56. Love the trade and am really liking all of this rosterbation going on.
    Upton, Upton, and JHey in the OF is amazing!

  57. I am still awaiting the final confirmation–hate to see us lose Prado and Ahmed, but there is so much to love about this deal.

    We were going to lose Prado anyway, but we get to keep Teheran, Gilmartin and Graham–all who have upsides at least as high as Delgado.

    Not a bad deal for the Diamondbacks either….

  58. Honestly, I think this is a good deal. Prado was going to leave after this year, so at least we got something for him. Ahmed was blocked. Delado was blocked. Spruill was trade bait anyways.

  59. The Prado thing came as a shock, and I’m still getting over that. I do understand that if you have a choice between paying two left fielders the same money over 3-4 years, and one is Justin Upton and the other is Martin Prado, you choose Upton. Just wish we could have held on to Prado for one more year, since his flexibility was such an asset in covering for injuries or just giving someone a day off.

    These two third basemen are completely redundant now, though. Maybe one of them can be flipped for someone with more of a utilityman/can hit LHP skill set?

    I vote Uggla for leadoff. No lie.

  60. Upton only makes 2 mil more than Prado, and averaged over the three years we get him, costs roughly what we’d have had to pay to keep Prado. I’m on board with that.

    DOB points out that by including Prado and his salary, we STILL have money to spend.

  61. Losing Prado is a gut punch. I have no idea what he was seeking as far as a LT deal goes, but I loved that guy. Never complained, always thought of team first, great teammate (Medlen called him the funniest guy on the team in English and Spanish)……man.

    When can say “As long as the Uptons hit this is a good deal” until we’re blue in the face. Martin was a known commodity.

  62. I’ll be damned. AZ didn’t do to bad in this deal but I like our haul. We dealt from organizational strength but I am surprised but upon reflection not so surprised about the inclusion of Prado. I’m sure the contract situation of the key players was a big factor in this deal. We are officially a better team than last year with this trade.

    I love Prado. I love what he did for the organization. But he is one of those batting average dependent players that can crash and burn with some bad luck. I’m not sure he would have been worth a long term deal for 35 or 40 million bucks. JUpton has way more upside. Well done Mr. Wren.

  63. Justin Upton wears number 10 and has a pretty sweet Twiter handle that depends on it. Guessing he changes it now, but that’s a mildly interesting tangential storyline to keep up with!

  64. @150: I think that’s exactly right. Taking on Upton without some salary relief was going to leave us defenseless for future deals. This is a deal that never would have been available, say, midseason, when you’re only dealing with a Prado rental. For some reason, a full season’s rental is regarded as more than twice as valuable as a half-season. I’m still on board… or at least I will be until the fifth consecutive Roadrunner whiff at a ball in the dirt two feet off the plate.

  65. Considering the similarities between Francisco and Johnson, I’m not sure Wren is done dealing. 3B are a hot commodity.

  66. My brain says it is a great and creative deal by Wren. I don’t like losing Prado…but he is indeed a FA after this season and it’s very likely the Braves can not afford to keep. Now can we find ourselves a decent third baseman? I don’t believe in Francisco. Well done Frank.

  67. There aren’t a lot of 3B out there. I wonder what it would take to get Chase Headley?

    Tehran, Graham and _____?

    The SEC would be well reped on the team

    Headley-UT
    Hudson- Auburn
    Minor- Vandy
    Maholm- Miss St

  68. 103: Johnson has a reverse observed platoon, but with only 360 PAs against LHP as your sample, you have to regress his stats pretty far back towards the population mean.

    Very good point. Thanks for this.

  69. So nice. That’s some mashers in the lineup! I have loved Justin as a fantasy baseball “owner” of him for the past four years. I know i’m an optimist, but if these guys all have above-average years, we are gonna be tough to stop. What an outfield, oh man. It doesn’t get better than that.

  70. @154 – somehow I envision him as #12. His old number + his brother’s, reflecting how they’re hanging out together in the same outfield now. Best I can come up with at the moment. I can’t make a cool Twitter handle based on that, though.

    We’ll just string 3B along until Chipper Jones pulls a Roger Clemens from one of the Turner Field suites in mid-July, gets on the PA system, and announces his return for one last run, because he couldn’t let the wild-card game be his send-off. I REFUSE TO LET THIS DREAM DIE.

  71. Chris Johnson has a lot of team control left. He’s arb this year, but he’s super 2. This is a very forward-looking deal that sets our team up for years. Delgado’s good, and we lose his years, but we have other arms that can take a mid-rotation slot (after Beachy/Medlen) for the next few years. This keeps us competitive for a while. Giving up Prado is the kind of gut-check move that defines a GM. A hugely popular extremely versatile player in his prime sacrificed because he’s in the last year of team control. Unless Delgado turns into an ace, which could happen, this is a great deal.

  72. Outfield- A+ (possibly best in baseball)
    Starting Pitching- B (Lots of #2s)
    Bullpen- A+ (possible best in baseball)
    Infield- B- (better on D than at the start of last year)

    Bench- C (Johnson and Johnson are nice, but after than, blah)

    We might be the second best team in the league. Too bad we will still have to play in that bull shit WC play in game.

  73. I absolutely loved Prado, but job well done Wren. Now find us a capable 3b and get Gattis some more time at C

  74. One more on the ‘Hate to lose Prado, but worth it to grab Justin’ bandwagon.

    And if seeing the roadrunner whiff in the 7th or 8th spot in our line-up is our biggest issue, then I’m really loving this deal.

  75. If nothing else, this has finally extracted me from my debilitating case of PFD (post-Falcons depression).

  76. Very sad about losing Prado. I’m giving this 24 hours before I can start considering any happiness over the deal.

  77. Think of it this way: JUpton is under contract for the next 3 years at roughly $13M per. Prado would’ve gotten about the same over that time frame if you assume the Braves worked out a 3-year deal for him. JUpton’s a much better hitter and a potential MVP candidate. The Braves basically traded some prospects to upgrade from Prado to Upton for the next three years, and give themselves a shot at extending Jutpon beyond that. (Recall, BUpton is here for five years, which should give the Braves a shot at extending JUpton beyond these next three. That could be very good for the Braves.)

  78. How do we feel about the possibility that Upton + Upton is a classic “whole is greater than the sum of the parts” scenario?

    I’m not sure if there is any empirical evidence for something like this

  79. I’ll miss Prado. Warriors are hard to come by.

    I think you guys might be on to something with Uggla leading off. His biggest problem is trying to hit everything 500 feet down the left field line. If his role is redefined, it might very well accomplish the necessary swing changes. Worth a look.

    Can Gattis play 3B? A move from C to 3B is fairly common, isn’t it?

    And, yes, Headley please. Can you imagine …

  80. Also, thinking way in advance, if the Uptons enjoy playing together, we could have an edge in signing Justin for a couple more years of his prime. How much of a discount is playing with his brother worth?

  81. We could have an edge in re-signing Jupton, but we could also really piss of BuhJupton if we fail to do it.

    Still…the next three years are gonna be really fun.

  82. We already had 4 players on ESPN’s top 25 under 25. Jupton was #1 on the list last year, though has turned 25 since.

    The 2013 team’s improvement is tempered by Prado’s departure, no doubt. But, the next few years are looking much better.

  83. As smitty points out, that lineup is going to strike out A LOT.

    We’ll be majestic and then we’ll be futile. Hope we get the timing right.

  84. Let’s just teach Justin to play 3rd (how much worse could he be than the Roadrunner?) and re-sign Bourne. No I’m not really serious about this (sarcasm is hard to pick up on in a blog), but that would really be an incredible line up!

  85. http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/8874038/brian-mccann-atlanta-braves-hopes-ready-opening-day

    “With the surgery he had, he’ll be able to hit, he’ll be able to throw, he’ll be 100 percent in those areas in spring training,” Wren said. “It’s just the last risk factor is diving and sliding. That’s the area in the shoulder repair our doctors want to make sure is healed. The only way you can do that is with time. You can’t rehab it to make it heal faster. That’s going to be the last thing before they turn him loose.”

    How hard can it be to tell McCann not to dive or slide, and to get out of the way when guys are barreling towards home? I gladly cede those runs for his bat.

  86. I think this is actually a great trade. We got one of about 5 players in the league capable of really making an impact in a pennant race and got him for no one near his full value considering his age and affordability. Considering how good the Nats are going to be we needed something of this magnitude to realistically have a shot otherwise we were looking at the bullshit 1 game playoff again.

    The only question of course is third, but that’s basically the same question as yesterday only with another option and a dramatic improvement in LF.

  87. I will miss Prado. He’s an easy guy to root for: He wasn’t on any prospects list, worked his tail off to improve, and would play anywhere you put him. By all accounts a good teammate and a good guy.

    Losing him stings. But you know what makes me feel better? The following words: Justin Upton, Atlanta Brave.

    I wish Prado all the best. I hope AZ gives him a big fat extension. He’s earned it.

    Justin Upton, Atlanta Brave. I like the sound of that.

  88. Being real: The hardest part of losing Prado, to me, is that he was Mac’s favorite. So, that adds a sting on top of all the other good things everyone is saying about Martin.

    But then I look at the ages and abilities of our three starting OFs…

  89. The Janish signing suddenly makes a lot more sense. It’s almost like Wren was planning on dealing Prado all along.

  90. Really don’t think Wren was planning on dealing Prado until they failed to work out an extension with him. From what I gather, at that point, they returned to Towers with a willingness to include him in a deal, and things got serious.

  91. Prado might have a career year playing 1/2 his games in AZ. Good for him. I truly wish him and Delgado the best. I think we may have the best damn GM in the land. Oh and thanks Justin. I hear Seattle is a cool city but just having watched Bourdain in Atlanta it does NOT have the Claremont …… and Cheetah 3 etc. etc.

  92. I do agree that a lot of folks are too easily dismissing what Prado brought to the table these past few years. Basically, the Braves are betting that JUpton will be a great player in Atlanta. Prado was a very good player, what with his flexibility on defense and his solid bat. He will certainly be missed. One upside for Prado is he’s now got a TON of leverage with AZ when it comes to negotiating an extension. For one thing, they’ll want to get it done soon (similar to the Braves deal for Uggla), and for another, Arizona basically needs him to sign an extension for this trade to not be an unmitigated disaster. Towers made the trade under the assumption that he’d be able to keep Prado around for a while, and if Prado drives a hard bargain, it’ll be hard for Arizona to say “no.”

    As a Braves fan, I like the fact that our OF is locked in for the next three years. Another thing to note is that this trade didn’t really effect the Braves’ payroll situation for this year, since JUpton’s only making ~$3M more than Prado would’ve. So there’s still room to sign some bench folks or make a deal mid-season.

  93. I’m impressed by the degree to which Wren was able to control leaks from his end. We didn’t know who was in the deal until the deal was done. They seem to run a tight organizational ship. Obviously, there aren’t as many reporters around the team as there are in some cities, and Shanks and DOB are hardly a match for all of the insanely competitive tabloid and local ESPN reporters in other towns. But still, I think it gives him a real edge in dealmaking.

  94. The only question of course is third, but that’s basically the same question as yesterday only with another option and a dramatic improvement in LF.

    That really is the way to view this. And LF just got better for 3 years.

  95. Can someone do a write up on Prado’s braves career? He was a joy to watch and watching him play every position on the field was nostalgic. I hope he is in the braves clubhouse again one day.

  96. I know someone joked about it earlier and I certainly think it’s a total longshot, but Chipper’s got to be at least thinking about how fun one more year with this bunch would be right? 3rd base is the weakest position and if the $14 mill we had available before the trade is correct, we should have 10-11 left right?

    I love the trade but am I the only one worried about SP depth? Beachy coming back at the All-Star break will help, but who’s the guy when/if someone gets hurt early in the year or if Teheran is ineffective? Gilmartin, The Lisp, Graham? Could see ATL using some of that $ to add a little depth but you’d also hate to not give Teheran his shot.

    It does stink that one of ATL/WAS may be relegated to the play-in game.

  97. Stolen shamelessly from someone at HardBallTalk:

    Our super outfield is now “Up, Up, and a Hey.”

  98. Wow, amazing landing Upton. I will really miss Martin, wish you the best of luck in AZ and hope to see you back in Atlanta one day. All that and we still have Avilan.

  99. Remember when our opening day OF was Garrett Anderson, Jordan Schafer, and J*ff Fr*nc***r? Yeah, I think we have upgraded since then…

  100. Stu – that surprises me about Michael Young. From a distance, he always seemed like a valuable piece – not flashy, but consistent and willing and able to play just about anywhere.

    Did your Ranger friends say why they were pleased he moved on?

  101. @212 Wow I’ve done my best to forget that actually. Thanks for putting this in perspective though.

  102. 213—I think he’s generally regarded as a pretty good teammate whom everyone likes. But he’s really expensive and not nearly as productive as he once was. But because he’s a good guy, Ron Washington left him in the lineup, day after day.

    So, it’s not that my friends disliked Young — they have very soft spots in their heart for him — but he’s not much of a player anymore, and he was going to keep stealing PAs from better players in Texas.

  103. I am at a loss every time I hear how Michael Young was “willing to play anywhere” or that he’s a “team-first” guy.

    He demanded a trade when they moved him off short.

  104. I actually think Young is a very good comp for Prado. For one thing, they share a similar offensive profile as guys who didn’t walk a ton but didn’t strike out overly-much either. Both were great clubhouse guys, both provided excellent value from their ability and willingness to move around the field as their team required, and both looked for 8-digit salary extensions as they moved into their 30s. And that’s where Young became a liability. At one point, he was a SS and a decent one, but as he became unable to handle the position defensively, his use at other spots (2B, 3B) made his bat less useful. As that declined as well, he became very, very overpaid. This is what you might fear would happen with Prado if given, say, a 4- or 5-year deal. Young was a really good player for the Rangers for a long time, just as Prado was for the Braves. But eventually, Young became overpaid and not very good. I’m not saying that’ll happen with Prado, but its certainly a possibility. I hope the man gets paid, though. He’s definitely put in his years with Atlanta to where I’d say he’s “earned” it.

  105. Young was also the worst player in baseball last season. That generally makes fans happy to see you go.

  106. Remember when our opening day OF was Garrett Anderson, Jordan Schafer, and J*ff Fr*nc***r?

    Better or worse than Matt Diaz, Gregor Blanco and Jeff Fr*nc***r?

  107. The one downside to this team will be the number of K’s. It could lead to a few frustrating nights when they go through some dry spells and all, but this trade seems to have energized the fan base for the first time in a long time.

    An energized fan base buys hats and jerseys and tickets, which leads to more money to spend on players and the cycle trends upward.

  108. I also remember Raul Mondesi and Ryan Langerhans in the OF. This OF should be a lot of fun to watch – hopefully for a long time.

  109. @221 – So much worse. Anderson, Schafer, and Frenchy combined for -2.7 WAR for the Braves in 2009. I guess Anderson was sort of a big name, and Schafer was still exciting. So maybe one might’ve been less enthusiastic about 2008’s starting outfield of Diaz, Kotsay, and Frenchy going into it, but it wouldn’t have taken long to change your mind.

    How far we’ve come – Prado, Bourn, and Heyward combined for 18.9 WAR in the outfield last season.

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