This is Not a Profile of Tommy La Stella

If Tommy La Stella gets named to the 25-man roster, then I’ll write him up, as per site convention. So today I won’t write him up as such. I’ll just note a few unconnected facts.

First, he’s a 24-year old New Jersey boy who went to college at Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina — he’s one of 68 players who have been drafted from there, but only four have made it to the big leagues, the most prominent of whom is former Giants catcher Kirt Manwaring.

Second, the Braves got him in the eighth round in 2011. That was the same draft in which they took Sean Gilmartin with their first pick, Nick Ahmed with their second, and then grabbed J.R. Graham in the fourth round. None of the Braves’ players from that draft have made the majors yet. The best player in the draft — at least for now — is looking like the 14th overall pick, Jose Fernandez, though first-overall Gerrit Cole looks pretty good too, as does third-rounder Tony Cingrani.

Third, it’s worth noting that the Braves have a pretty good track record with second basemen. Since 1980, the Braves have had six different players post at least 5 WAR with the team while playing at least 30% of their games at second base. And they drafted or signed five of them, often in low rounds: Mark Lemke (27th round), Glenn Hubbard (20th round), Marcus Giles (53rd round), Kelly Johnson (1st round), and Martin Prado (international free agent). The sixth is Omar Infante, who came over in one of Frank Wren’s best trades: Jose Ascanio for Infante and Will Ohman.

Since 1980, the Braves have had six different players post at least 4 WAR with the team while playing at least 30% of their games at second base. And they drafted or signed five of them, often in low rounds: Mark Lemke (27th round), Glenn Hubbard (20th round), Marcus Giles (53rd round), Kelly Johnson (1st round), and Martin Prado (international free agent). The sixth is Omar Infante, who came over in one of Frank Wren’s best trades: Jose Ascanio for Infante and Will Ohman.

Meanwhile, since 1980, four other second basemen have been worth 3 to 5 WAR: Dan Uggla, Quilvio Veras, Keith Lockhart, and finally Jeff Treadway. None were drafted by the Braves.

So the Braves have generally been pretty good at finding people within their organization whom they could insert at second base. And pretty miserable when they’ve looked outside the organization. Does that mean that La Stella is likely to be a better bet than, say, Brandon Phillips? I couldn’t say for sure, but I do know this: he’ll be a whole lot cheaper.

149 thoughts on “This is Not a Profile of Tommy La Stella”

  1. right call. not really any debate unless craig gets by middlebrooks without any contact. Now the infield fly rule application on the other hand….

  2. Yeah, unfortunately I don’t see any way to complain about that call (and I wanted to). It’s just terribly frustrating that St. Louis keeps getting breaks handed to them in the postseason.

    Hindsight’s 20/20, but Salty can’t make that throw with 2 outs for exactly that reason. I thought there was one fewer out, which would have made more sense.

  3. Disagree. That was all natural action of the game. No need to end a WS game on an obstruction call.

  4. The only reason Craig didn’t score was the obstruction. If he’d stayed at third, maybe you find a way to let it go, but you have to call it if he gets thrown out at home. The travesty would’ve been not calling it.

    The obstruction rule makes no mention of intent. It’s obstruction whether it’s intentional or not. And I wouldn’t be so sure it was unintentional, anyway. Middlebrooks’s legs came up at a pretty opportune time for it not to have been.

  5. Craig made the decision to continue to home. He put himself in position to be thrown out by the left fielder. He was out. I mean, I hate both of these teams. A meteor could strike Busch Stadium and I’d cheer. But there’s no reason for the umps to insert themselves into the game there. Let the teams decide the outcome. Play on.

  6. Saltalamacchia made a terrible throw, Middlebrooks made a lousy attempt to catch it. I don’t know if it was the right call, but they earned it.

  7. It wasn’t such a bad decision until he tripped over the guy lying in the baseline while the ball was rolling around in left field.

  8. Not sure if it was Craig’s decision to run as much as it was Jose Oquendo’s.

    Regardless, the Cardinals can go the way of Shane Victorino.

  9. Maybe Craig is smart. If he returns to third odds are he is stranded. By attempting to advance…….

    Good point, Oquendo was windmilling that arm. Upon viewing the replay, I think the umps got it right.

    I would prefer the team give its 2b prospects a chance. But there are a lot of what ifs for the offense next year. I dont think that the team can carry a no offense 2b.

  10. It’s a discretion call by the umps. I would strongly prefer that umps let the players play, not award WS games to a team based on arcane rulebook interpretations (and how cold they are at 3B.)

  11. I wasn’t watching the game. It sounds like the rule was applied correctly, but it is beyond awful to end a game that way. I think that a “let ’em play” mentality is generally appropriate for the end of a playoff game, in all sports.

  12. That’s…. not how I’ve seen obstruction applied. People collide all the time. If the rule is, “Any time a fielder and a baserunner collide in the basepath, its obstruction”, then any time a runner slides into 2B and there’s a fielder near by, the runner can just take off, “trip” over the guy standing nearby, and it’s auto-obstruction. Shitty call, IMO. If it was “applied correctly”, then shitty rule.

  13. On the obstruction,

    I’m certain he tripped over the leg, not the feet; that may not matter.

    Does it matter that he wasn’t between third and home? Does a fielder have to be in the baseline to be called for obstruction? Middlebrooks wasn’t blocking the path from 2nd to 3rd or 3rd to home.

    I don’t think it would have been called in Boston; that would’ve have been a bloodbath.

  14. Greetings from Asheville, NC…

    IMO, Middlebrooks so obviously lifted both legs with intention to impede the runner that the ump had to call it. Tough call, gutsy call, correct call.

    Helluva break, sure, but nothing yet of the Jeffrey Maier/Phil Cuzzi variety.

  15. Very clearly the correct call:

    Obstruction is the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner.

    “Rule 2.00 (Obstruction) Comment: … After a fielder has made an attempt to field a ball and missed, he can no longer be in the act of fielding the ball. For example, an infielder dives at a ground ball and the ball passes him and he continues to lie on the ground and delays the progress of the runner, he very likely has obstructed the runner.”

    The judgment part of the call is whether Craig would have scored if not obstructed. Since it was a relatively close play, the umpire’s judgment was that he would have, and was therefore ruled safe.

  16. Also, find it very interesting that the Cardinals made baserunning mistakes that led directly to their wins in the last two games. If the baserunners had advanced from second to third as they normally should have, there would have been no attempted play at third in either case.

  17. I enjoyed Boston’s manager letting his reliever bat in the 9th inning of a tie game, then pulling said reliever in the bottom on the inning.

  18. @27

    I hate both of these teams and couldn’t give less of a crap who wins. All things being equal, I’d prefer see the rules applied correctly, and they were. The umpires would’ve been inserting themselves into the game by not calling it, thereby giving the Red Sox a free out that they didn’t deserve. The Cardinals won the game fair and square. You wanted the umps to take it away from them? Cuz that’s what they would’ve been doing had they not called the obstruction.

  19. In general, I’d rather the game be decided by the actions of players on the field rather than by umpires pointing to players who just fell down trying to make a play. If the choice is “have the game extended an inning by judging no obstruction” vs “award a game of the World Series to a team by judging obstruction” then they should err on the side of playing another inning. Games should never end with umpires explaining why they’ve awarded the game to one team and Joe Torre reading the rule book instead of postgame pressers.

    In this specific series, I am rooting for whatever action would bring the most pain and suffering to the most people in any given team/state/fan base. It would be best if they all suffered and died in unison, but as I understand it one of them will have to “win.”

  20. So should rules just not be enforced if it means the prescribed outcome would decide a game? No balking in winning runs, for instance? Wouldn’t players horribly abuse the idea that the rules don’t apply at the end of important games by, oh I don’t know, deliberately obstructing any runner about to score a winning run? They’d have no incentive not to try, that’s for sure.

    An infraction is an infraction regardless of when it occurs in the game. You want to change the rules, by all means have at it, but arbitrarily deciding some situations are just too important for enforcing the rules strikes me as seriously wrong.

  21. Just interpret a given rule in whatever manner the Cardinals need it to be interpreted on a given day.

    That’s the standard, no?

  22. @32

    Well put. Was about to say something similar. I could see not calling borderline things that you aren’t 100 percent sure about in late-and-close situations, but that was not borderline. That gets called 99.5 percent of the time, and the 0.5 percent is somebody being stupid. You can’t not call that just because it fails to end the game with a nice, pretty bow on it.

  23. If that’s the rules for obstruction, why are catchers allowed to camp out in front of home plate with defensive gear on, clearly to block runners from touching that plate? And why are infielders allowed to put their legs in front of second base to block a base stealer from getting to the base? There are major inconsistencies in the application of this principle.

    Managers over-manage in the postseason, while umpires over-umpire in the postseason. Probably because there are more of them trying to justify their existence on the field.

  24. Sam…

    confusion reigns…

    I had only recently been able to adjust to your shocking news that you choose not to watch post season games and here you are disassembling one…

    the rest of us watch, you critique…is this some new definition of objectivity?

  25. Aggressive baserunning is what wins World Series rings, right?
    Braves might still be playing if those dreaded 3-run homers had kept coming.

  26. @42 …by leaning the wrong way when the pitcher starts his pickoff move?

    On a separate note, while I am not particularly happy that the Cards and Red Sox are playing in this WS, I have to admit that it’s been far more entertaining than last year’s, which was a sweep essentially devoid of drama.

  27. Heard Matheny on radio this morning. They had gone over the scouting report. Apparently that kid Wong, ignored it. Holy shit.

  28. Games ending on obstruction calls and pickoffs…all that’s left is a walk-off balk or catcher’s interference with the bases loaded or something. Some weird/sloppy games so far. Definitely hard to watch when I can’t pick a team to root for. The bright side is that one of them will lose.

  29. I personally think that a pickoff is a weird and aesthetically displeasing way to end a World Series game. I would much rather have seen Beltran bat as the tying run. I therefore decry the umpires for not calling Wong safe (even though he wasn’t) so that I could personally feel better about the way this game ended.

  30. Home plate is unique because it is the only base that a player is allowed to block.

    The interesting thing is that both teams have screwed up a bunch. The last couple of times that the Detroit Tigers have made it, they’ve kicked the ball all over the field while the Giants and Cardinals just let it happen. The screwups have been so evenly spaced that the series has been incredibly close.

    Kolten Wong isn’t in terrible company. Babe Ruth famously ended the 1926 World Series by getting caught stealing.

  31. @49 – Also the fielder at any base has the right to the baseline if he has the ball, or is making a play on the ball.

    @37 – catchers do not wear protective gear for the purpose of blocking the plate. It’s just a bonus. :)

  32. This World Series is destined to end with a player batting out of order. That, or a fielder throwing his glove inadvertantly at a ball and touching it for three bases, just to pick two rules out of the rulebook I’ve never seen called.
    The fitting ending, of course, would be the Cardinals losing on an infield fly to the warning track.

  33. @52, or the Cardinals losing on a triple-play caused by a borderline infield-fly that’s not called.

    I’ve heard several baseball execs interviewed recently and there’s talk of getting the bowling-over-the-catcher play removed from the game, as early as next season. It’s incongruous with the rest of the rulebook anyway. Actually you can’t block the plate without the ball anyways, but that rule is never ever enforced.

  34. @49 + @50 I don’t think homeplate is unique in that way. Any fielder in possession of a ball may block a baserunner. If homeplate were unique, the strategy of camping a player out at home plate (let’s call him Gattis for the sake of argument) and not letting a baserunner pass until he gets possession of the ball and is ultimately tagged out, would be brilliant. It would certainly help the Braves ERA, but alas, not in keeping with the rules.

  35. @57
    At this rate, it’s going to cost 23 million over the next 3 years to keep Kimbrel. Maybe we could dangle Kimbrel+ C Johnson for Profar.

  36. I think that there’s a very good chance that Wren will get some inquiries about Kimbrel, and Wren would be smart to listen to them. He’s the best closer in baseball, and there are a lot of teams who could use a closer — like, say, the Detroit Tigers.

  37. I just can’t see how you can give 10% of yearly payroll to your closer that pitches 67 innings. You probably could if you hadn’t set tens of millions on fire with Uggla/BJ, but those two albatrosses alone have turned us into a small market team.

  38. Hmm Scherzer and Castellanos for Sims, Kimbrel and Uggla with Det picking up most of the salary. Sound crazy?

  39. @61, why would Detroit do that? Isn’t Castellanos still one of the best young hitting prospects in baseball?

  40. @66 I read “I’m sure someone will blow Wren with an offer for Kimbrel.”

    and I was thinking, “You keep forgetting to say ‘away'”

  41. I’m imagining Jim Leyland thinking, ‘If all I had to do to get a Kimbrel was THAT, I’d never have retired…’

  42. Okay, so it’s a matter of record that I don’t watch the playoffs, so I’m a little late to this, but apparently John Farrell has never played or managed a game of baseball where he had to understand “I can pinch hit for my pitcher, and then replace him in the next half with another pitcher?”

    I think complaints about Fredi just got a lot less reasonable.

  43. @69, yeah he pulled a Fredi … in the 9th inning of a WS game no less. Letting a middle reliever hit in game 47 of the regular season is beyond head-scratching to me, but doing it in a tied WS game is crazy. He caught all kinds of shit for it from Boston media and fans. What separates him from Fredi is that he actually admitted he screwed up and that it was a terrible decision. Fredi would’ve certainly said that if he had it to do over again he’d do it the same way.

  44. The thing is, we can all basically write Fredi’s quote for him.

    “Worky’d been swinging the bat real good, and he was throwing real good, and we wanted to get another inning out of him. You gotta tip your cap to Rosenthal, he’s a pretty good pitcher. We just got beat.”

  45. @69,70

    The issue is that he didn’t double switch, which is something that he never has to do (he’s managed in Toronto and Boston, so he’s never had to do it, really). That would’ve pretty much fixed everything. If he switches Ross in for Salty (and I believe Salty had just hit to end the previous half inning), Ross bats and he can leave his guy in to pitch. Once he doesn’t do that, he’s left to decide which is more important: the extra inning from his pitcher or the at-bat. He probably made the wrong choice, but it’s different from the Fredi situation, which involves the starting pither. The real issue is that Farrell forgot to double switch in the first place, which would’ve allowed him to choose both things.

  46. It’s true that he should’ve double-switched, but once that went by the wayside he still could’ve made things less worse by just pinch-hitting. His best reliever was unused at the time (and brought in during the bottom of the inning anyways), and his best bat was left on the bench. They probably wouldn’t have scored off Rosenthal anyways, but Farrell sure didn’t help there.

    Managing for extra innings that are never played drives me crazy. Naturally that’s one of Fredi’s favorite things to do.

  47. La Stella had another good game at the plate. Did have his first K though on what was said to be outside and ball 4.

  48. That was some boring shite tonight. Boston’s pitching has been pretty amazing. They better win Game 6 though, because they are looking at Peavy starting Game 7.

  49. @76 I believe the Sox are also considering starting Dubront in Game 7 (with all remaining starters on hand to relieve him if he falters early). The Cardinals hit very poorly off LH starters this year, and Dubront specifically has been very effective vs. the Cards so far in this series. If I were managing, I’d start Dubront and go from there.

  50. 71-I mentioned Scherzer because word was they would be looking to move him in the offseason he’s only got a year of team control left.

  51. You know Uggla looked done for in 2011 also, then he went on a 30 something game hitting streak.

    He’s probably really done for this time, but I guess there is some chance above zero he might come back. His balance is terrible; I don’t see how anyone can see the ball if their head is moving so much they end up in the left hand batters box after their swing.

    I guess I’m just hoping it’s fixable again, and not just his eyes.

  52. BJ looked more done than Uggla to me. So if you think there’s a half-decent chance that BJ can turn it around, then maybe the same can be true for Uggla.

  53. how nice to know Adam Wainwright is vulnerable and far from perfect…

    how sad it couldn’t have been us to show it.

  54. I’d be shocked if Uggla is a Brave next year. The options we have with him are all either bad or unlikely:
    1. Find a taker for his entire or large portion of his contract. We’d have to sweeten the deal something MLB ready. Kimbrel, Medlen etc.
    2. We find a taker for a small portion of his contract. We would have to sweeten the trade with a prospect. Sims, Graham, Wood?
    3. Trade bad contracts with another team. Brandon Phillips? However I think that because Phillips is still useful we would have to include a prospect.
    4. Release him. And eat 26 million bucks. Sunk costs blah blah but for a team with a restricted payroll that is a ton of money to eat.
    5. Keep him and let him try to win his job back in ST. I think he is done but heck as #80 said there is a minute chance he can return to useful. The Braves have to decide if its worth the distraction if he doesn’t get it back. Cutting him after ST would be a little heartless as it would hurt his chances of getting picked up. I dunno.

  55. I think there’s probably a happy medium in there. The Braves were able to find a taker for Lowe by eating all but $5 million of his contract. I imagine that there’s an AL team that’s willing to take a chance on him as a right-handed part of a DH platoon, and would be wiling to take a $5 million gamble. After all, as horrendous as he was last year he still hit 22 homers.

  56. He still hits HRs and draws BB’s. I think a team like Miami or Houston would take a gamble on him. They wouldn’t have to give up prospects and he’d be cheaper than any FA. We’d give him up if they picked up $5-7 per year

  57. I can’t see anyone paying that for the worst player in baseball. Those services should be damn-near free.

  58. @84 – Alex, that would be the best outcome for the Braves. I guess the Braves would have to hope that the team that takes Uggla looks at his over all year rather than his fall off the cliff decline the last month of the season. That’s why I think a sweetener would have to be included for someone to take even just 5 million. Maybe the prospect wouldn’t have to be a high upside one, who knows. At this point the Braves should listen to anyone willing to pay him more than the MLB minimum.

  59. @86: Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn both had worse years than Uggla, and both are paid more than Uggla. And that doesn’t count guys who made a lot of money without playing very much or very well, like Halladay.

  60. @91, but I don’t think it’s all that likely that those guys you mention will be involved in deals next year either.

  61. #91
    I know we’re comparing cow pies here, but just curious: How are you estimating that Dunn’s year (762 OPS/34 HRs/103 OPS+/–0.2 WAR) was worse than Uggla’s (671 OPS/22 HRs/83 OPS+/–1.3 WAR)?

  62. Most of our good prospects are in low-A ball. That doesn’t jibe all that well with our window.

  63. @93, it’s pretty much defense.

    Uggla: -1.2
    Dunn: -0.2
    Konerko: -1.5

    Uggla: 0.5
    Dunn: -0.2
    Konerko: -1.8

    @95, we just won 96 games and we have a bunch of good prospects in A-ball. If anything, I think that means that our window might be longer than we previously thought. It won’t exactly help us get past the first round — but that’s nothing new.

  64. The window basically the number of arb years left for our young core guys. If you think we have no trouble extending all of them then window does get a lot bigger. And so does the payroll.

  65. @97, I’m dumbfounded by this “trade the game’s best relief pitcher and a two-win third baseman for a prospect who hasn’t done anything in MLB” talk per @58. There’s a World Series 12 months from now in front of our face and you’re trying to set us up for 2018 when who knows how the league or the Braves will look.

    That’s what’s frustrating to us window-ists. The future is now. Get at it, or at least don’t actively sabotage our 2014 title odds for want of a perpetual 88-win machine.

  66. I’m not sure what’s so hard to understand. We have a lot of core talent coming off the book in a few years, we don’t have the farm to replace it, free agency offers no guarantees these days, our payroll will start to shrink relative to the leagueanyeay, and we can’t expect to deal players we can’t extend in order to tread water like the Rays do because the Rays would be trading Heyward, like, next offseason in order to get something of value. And they have to hope that the prospects they get back meet their potential. Or we could wait to deal Heyward et al and accept a return that’s likely inadequate for extrnding a playoff run. Therefore, window.

  67. No surprise, but Gold Glove for Simmons. Heyward was in the mix, but probably missed too much time with the appendectomy and broken jaw.

  68. @99
    He was the #1 prospect in all of baseball. It’s not very often that those guys don’t turn out to be stars…well above the 2 WAR that Chris Johnson’s lucky ’13 put out. And Craig Kimbrel is worth 2-3 WAR per season. Putting the money on a young stud like Profar to be worth 1-2 more WAR next year than CJ and a new closer to be worth 1 less WAR than Kimbrel still puts the team at, or ahead, in WAR for the year, reduces payroll, and solidifies another position for multiple year. I’d rather have Profar for 5 years and an extra 9 million than Kimbrel for 3 at 23 million and Chris Johnson for 3 at 15-18 million.

    Here’s the list for the last decade of top prospects: Profar, B. Harper, Mike Trout, Heyward, Wieters, Bruce, A. Gordon, D. Young, Mauer, Teixeira

    Now there’s some serious WAR in that list!

    @Adam R
    When the Braves traded for Tex, every single Braves fan (including myself) bitched and moaned liked the Braves apocalypse was in full swing and we’d be cellar dwellers very soon. That didn’t happen and until it does happen, I refuse to believe that there is a “window” for this franchise. I have faith in our low minor league guys and our pitching depth.

  69. I don’t view starting pitching as surplus talent, ever. But relief pitching is something else. McDowell has put together a lot of terrific bullpens lately, and if we can flip the best reliever in the game for some better talent elsewhere, I don’t believe that necessarily shrinks our “window,” whatever our window happens to be.

    I generally tend to believe in building a team that’s strong enough to get through the regular season and hope that the minor league has some org players capable of filling in on the bench. You can’t predict who will be the healthiest teams at the end of the year; generally speaking, that’s why I think pushing your chips to the center is an awfully risky play.

    (For example: the Angels and Brewers both did that, trading a significant portion of their farm systems for Zack Greinke. Both of them are in pretty rough shape right now. It’s a simplistic example, but you get what I mean.)

    Frankly, as much as you pooh-pooh it, I’d take a perpetual 88-win machine. That would have won the World Series in 1987 and 2006. With two wild cards and three division winners, that would be a team that would contend for the playoffs every single year and make it many if not most years. And anyone can catch fire in the playoffs.

    An 88-win team is frustrating to watch, but given all of the bellyaching around here for a 96-win team, I think that’s probably unavoidable. I just want a team that plays meaningful games in September and has a chance to win in October, and I’d rather the team do that year in and year out rather than go through a protracted period of misery.

  70. @103 – Yes Alex, I totally agree. I am guessing that a lot of you guys are too young to remember the Braves circa the 1980’s. With the exception of a couple of years you were hallucinating if you thought the Braves could win 88 games. Talk about frustrating to watch.

    I get why folks think we have a limited window of competitiveness but the one thing the front office has done well has maintained a healthy farm system. If trading away something fungible like a closer, even the best closer in the game helps the team maintain the talent pipeline then so be it.

  71. I think most who follow the Minors have heard of Caratini. He was our 2nd pick in this year’s draft.

    The real surprise on the list is David Hale.

  72. MLBTR has us paying 77.75 million for the following players:

    Guaranteed Contracts
    •B.J. Upton- 15m
    •Justin Upton- 14m
    •Dan Uggla- 13m
    •Gerald Laird- 1.5

    Arbitration Eligible Players (service time in parentheses)
    •Craig Kimbrel, RP (3.066): $7.25MM projected salary
    •Kris Medlen, SP (4.137): $5.9MM
    •Freddie Freeman, 1B (3.033): $4.9MM
    •Jason Heyward, OF (4.000): $4.5MM
    •Chris Johnson, 3B (3.144): $4.2MM
    •Mike Minor, SP (2.138): $3.5MM
    •Jordan Walden, RP (3.043): $1.5MM
    •Jordan Schafer, OF (3.121): $1MM
    •Brandon Beachy, SP (3.014): $900k
    •Ramiro Pena, IF (3.089): $600k

    **I didn’t include Janish, E. Johnson, Lisp, or Venters because I can’t see the team offering any of them contracts**

    Other players that should get contracts offered pre-arb: Gattis, Simmons, Teheran, Avilan, Carpenter, Wood, Hale, Terdoslavich, La Stella

    23 players, roughly 84 million spent. If we could pull off a Kimbrel, Medlen, Uggla (salary paid), and Chris Johnson for Profar and Feliz trade we’d be in very good shape financially and roster-wise. That would give us an extra 17 million, our 3rd baseman for the next 5 years, open a slot for La Stella, and give us 30 million to go fill the rest of the roster out, which would then have 4 spots open: SP, 2 RP, 1 Bench player.

    Oh, how I love rosterbation! Infante? Josh Johnson? Halladay? Ubaldo? Burnett? Carpenter? Haren? Hudson? Morse? The possibilities! So much fun!

  73. My new dream 25-man roster:
    Lineup: Heyward, Profar, Jupton, Freeman, Gattis, La Stella, Simmons, Bupton

    Bench: Infante, Schafer, Laird, Pena, Terdoslavich

    Rotation: Ubaldo, Minor, Teheran, Beachy, Wood

    Bullpen: Feliz, Carpenter, Avilan, Walden, Hale, Buchter,

  74. So, if Liberty were to tell Wren that there is money available to lock up one, and only one, of the youngsters with an extension, which one should he choose?

  75. While I understand the need to occasionally trade pitching, I’m of the opinion that you never have to much of it.
    The Braves were unusual in this day and age for the starting rotation to make it into July before a starter hit the disabled list.

    @106 R. Mahler was a pretty durable pitcher but like Neikro, was on some atrocious teams. Other names of note: Bob Walk, Craig McMurty, Ken Dayley, Len Barker — part of the worst trade ever? and Pete Smith.

  76. Yeah, given the roster construction @109, Infante starts and La Stella is the backup. Of course there’s no way they pull that team together.

  77. Every offseason that we don’t win the World Series is a protracted period of misery. As much as six months’ worth, with no MLB at all.

    @102, I know from reading your posts for I-don’t-know-how-long that you’re almost always optimistic about prospects. You’ve had good reason to be. There’s no denying that our farm has been quite productive recently.

    But past performance doesn’t guarantee future results. I don’t think Sims, Peraza, et al are going to save us. I’d like to believe it, but I don’t see it and would need it spelled out for me.

    I can see some scenario where some combination of prospects rising to the challenge, a savvy trade or two of a player that won’t agree to an extension, and a good FA deal or two keeps us looking like contenders on paper past 2016. But a lot has to go right for that to happen, and like the Nats learned this year, we’d still have to play the games.

  78. The Nats had a rough year, and I think the team bears a lot of the blame for how it handled its players’ health. Bryce Harper had injuries all year, and that is partly due to the fact that he sustained a concussion after running into the wall and they continued playing him. Danny Espinosa was horrendous all year, but he played with a broken wrist for a month and a half. Dan Haren was terrible in the first half, then the team put him on the DL and he was great after coming off.

    That said: they’ve won 184 games the last two years. Don’t count them out.

  79. No one is counting the Nats out.

    That being said, I will be severely disappointed if a Braves player doesn’t insist that the team is more worried about the Phillies at some point going into ST.

  80. We have the exact same “cap”, in nominal dollars, going into 2014 that we had in 2004. This while the average league payroll has gone up 50%. If this is a persistent condition, then we are going to be in the absolute poorhouse for the last 8-ish years of that TV deal and dreaming of even a perpetual 88-win machine is probably futile. We might as well strike while we have a) a cost-controlled core we know is chock full o’ surplus value, and b) greater ability to buy players of impact with the back end of $90MM. That nominal amount loses its purchasing power over time.

    Keeping the payroll static in light of both leaguewide inflation and new revenues is straight-up corporate malfeasance IMO, but that’s another discussion for another day.

  81. Jon Lester, cheating SOB. Red Sox Nation, waaaaah change the rules for us.

    Gag me with a spoon.

  82. I am glad the Red Sox won. Now we will have to deal with all of the normal Sox wagon jumpers.

    “I am a life long Sox fan. David Ortiz is the greatest Sox player ever. Who is Wade Boggs?”

  83. Happy for David Ross, but that’s about it. Also glad we won’t have to listen to Tim McCarver anymore.

    You know, Matheny’s managerial career has gotten off to a good start, but it hasn’t been without big failures either. Last year, the Cards blew a 3-1 lead over the Giants in the NLCS, and this year they were up on the Red Sox 2-1 in the World Series with two more games to play in St. Louis. Talk about bittersweet!

  84. To be fair McCann is as much to blame as anyone that they didn’t advance this year. 0 for the series and pretty dreadful game-calling. Happy for Ross that’s about it.

  85. @130

    Though the big managerial gaffe of note in this series was Farrell not double-switching and then letting his relief pitcher bat in the ninth inning of a World Series game, Matheny quietly managed his bullpen like a complete idiot in this series.

    He continually put Seth Maness (whoever the hell that is) in instead of other better relievers in important situations. It cost him the lead but not the game in Game 3 (Boston tied the game off of him), so you’d have thought he might’ve quit while he was ahead, but he then put Maness in the next night, too, and he gave up the home run to Gomes that was the turning point of the series.

    Then, he put Lance Lynn, a starter, into the game last night to try and put out the fire when he had his entire bullpen (you know, with actual relief pitchers in it?) available. Lynn promptly threw gasoline on the situation and blew up what remained of the Cardinals’ championship hopes.

  86. #136

    Why carry Shelby Miller on the roster if you don’t plan to use him? Matheny could have added another bat.

    Finding a better SS than Pete Kozma should be high on the Cardinals’ shopping list this winter.

  87. Left side of the Cards infield is hot garbage. I really kinda enjoyed watching them lose. Almost makes up for the fact that it was Boston that won.

  88. Hypothetical question: If the infield-fly play is called correctly last year and we go on to win the game, is Kozma even the Cards’ shortstop this year or do they throw him under the bus as the goat of that game? Because it’s not too absurd to think they could easily come up with somebody better if they tried.

  89. Bmac had an awful series. He didn’t even play in the Wild Card game last year, did he? He just breaks down by September it seems

  90. @136–If that is the worst criticism you can find for Matheny it tells me that he managed just about as well as humanly possible. Prior to game 3 Maness had only given up 3 hits in 3 postseason IPs, with zero ERs and zero BBs. When his sinker is working he is plenty effective. He came in in the sixth inning of game 3 with one out and a RISP (after Choate failed to record an out). He gave up a base hit but then got the double play. In game 4 he again came in in the sixth inning, had a nasty sinker working and just made one bad pitch. And he stayed in to get two outs in the seventh.

    I’m not sure what else Matheny should have done. Against a righthanded Gomes it would make no sense to use Choate, and you still have to get through three more innings when Rosenthal had already thrown two the night before.

    And criticizing him for using Lynn makes no sense to me. Lynn has worked as a reliever before, including in the postseason, and it was only the fourth inning. Trying to steal a couple innings with Lynn didn’t work out but I don’t see the argument that it was a bad move.

  91. I was easily rooting for Boston over the Cards. It had the added benefit of sticking a knife in the Yankees fan base.

    Also, I am happy for Salty. I still see him as one of our guys.

  92. So even with arb raises and Uggla’s full contract in tow, the 10m boost to payroll DOB is reporting should give the Braves at least 18m to work with.

  93. I hope the Braves don’t dump that $18,000,000 all on McCann. I like the guy but he’ll be permanently on the wrong side of 30 starting the 2014 season.

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