David Carpenter (by Rusty S.)

Goldilocks went looking for a relief pitcher. (Don’t panic, this isn’t about Anna Benson.) She looked at the 2011 season, and she said, “This season is too mediocre.” Then she looked at the 2012 season, and she said, “This season is too sucky” (because that’s how I think girls talk.) Then she looked at the 2013 season, and she said, “This season is just right.”

Coming off of a disastrous 2012 season with Houston and Toronto, David Carpenter’s third Major League season was definitely just right. In 2013, the 28 year old Carpenter allowed just 45 hits in 66 innings while recording 74 strikeouts. He ended with a 1.78 ERA and a 0.990 WHIP.

The big question going forward: Which David Carpenter can we expect in 2014? Coming into 2013, he had a career ERA of 5.70 in 60 innings, but that’s misleading, because it was composed of a perfectly decent 2011 season in Houston (27 2/3 IP, 28 H, 29 K, 2.93 ERA) and an utter implosion in 2012, when Carpenter allowed 51 hits in 32 1/3 innings, recording an 8.07 ERA with a 2.072 WHIP. (David, that ERA… woof.)

There are two clues that 2012 and not 2013 is the outlier, which is great news for the Braves. As much as one can comfortably discern about someone averaging 40 IP per season, one constant in each of Carpenter’s three Major League seasons has been a favorable strikeout rate. Even in 2012, he had 31 strikeouts in 32 innings, and his career rate is 10.1 K/9IP. The second clue is that in 2012 his batting average on balls in play was .430. In 2013 the BABIP was a more reasonable .263, and sits at .337 for the career.

I believe that the circumstances of 2012 are not significantly likely to be repeated, and that 2014 for David Carpenter will be another fairy tale with a happy ending. (Still not about Anna Benson.)

154 thoughts on “David Carpenter (by Rusty S.)”

  1. Gavin Floyd is a good signing by Wren. Unless Wood struggles there won’t be any need to rush him and when healthy the guy is a 4 WAR pitcher. If Floyd’s agent is smart he insisted on a no-qualifying-offer clause. If he didn’t this could be an even better move by Wren.

  2. U kiddin me …. 4.5 mil for a guy that wont be ready till July ..crazy .. just throw the money away Wren .. moron

  3. 1: I could be wrong, but I believe MLB bans such clauses.

    On Floyd generally: people seem to be getting awfully hung up on who Floyd pushes out of the rotation when he’s healthy. I know we all know this, so not to condescend, but: he probably isn’t “pushing out” anyone we’re thinking of right now. 2013 was an extreme outlier year in terms of the health of the Braves’ starting staff. We should expect one or more starters to suffer a serious injury—maybe not season-ending, but at least knocking them out for several weeks—by May. Wren’s job is to ensure that when that happens, the Braves’ options aren’t limited to Sean Gilmartin or Double Comeback Ben Sheets.

  4. Gosh who wants to take Sean Gilmartin from us? I want to trade him just so that he isn’t an option if the time comes.

  5. @3, exactly. Floyd is a long man in the bullpen when our top 5 starters are healthy, but it stands to reason that we’ll have injuries in the rotation over the course of the year, and the most developed starters on the farm, J.R. Graham and Sean Gilmartin, both had shoulder injuries last year. Floyd isn’t a long-term commitment, he’s a bridge until we have determined how many major league starting pitchers we’ll be able to get from the group of Wood, Hale, Graham, and Gilmartin.

  6. That’s a good point about Floyd being the long man. It’s just an expensive adventure. I’d be happier about if if I knew he was already healthy and would be good to go by Sprig Training. I think we could get the same production from Freddy Garcia for half the cost, but Wren/Roger know what they are doing.

    I’m on board for Uggla/Terdo for Weeks.

  7. Floyd is from Baltimore but lives in Clearwater, FL, and I would like to think that we were able to get someone with this much potential for $4M because location played a role. I’d imagine his incentives are him pitching very well from May to the end of the season, and if that’s the case, $8.5M is a steal.

    Wren’s been shopping at Free Agent Big Lots. I love it.

  8. JC’d from last thread…

    Ricky Weeks for Dan Uggla and Joey Terdoslavich? Weeks has an option that vests with 600 PA. If he gets 600 PA, I’d guess we’d want that option to vest.

  9. 4 million looks like a lot, then you realize that Charlie Morton gets paid 7 million per year, and Boone Logan just got 4 million and change from Colorado.

  10. I’d potentially be interested in Weeks. The problem is that his trendlines look awful, and I think there’s a real chance that all of the injuries — five different surgeries — have fundamentally reduced his effectiveness as a ballplayer. He didn’t really steal bases last year, he only had one triple, his defense is rated as atrocious, and his batting average went from low to nonexistent.

    While Dan Uggla has almost certainly lost bat speed, I think Weeks has lost a lot of leg speed, which would explain the decline in his speed and power. He’s a worse player than Brandon Phillips, but he’s only a one-year commitment, because I agree with ryan that I don’t think there’s any way he gets to 600 PA, which has only happened twice in his career.

    I’d be willing to consider him as a salary dump — but I don’t think we’d want to hand him the second base job. I wouldn’t mind trying him in a lefty-righty platoon with Tommy La Stella, but there’s a good chance he never breaks the Mendoza line next year.

  11. anna benson we remember
    never played beyond september
    the word around the park
    said all her skills tho’ dark
    still enthralled the average member.

  12. I’d do a challenge trade of Weeks for Uggla no questions asked. If nothing else, it flips the clubhouse and gets the “you left me off the playoff roster” pouting out of the air.

    I’d also trade Uggla straight up for Jimmy Rollins and stick him at 2B on the assumption that he would not get 600 PAs and vest his final year.

  13. @10

    Bingo. $4 million is this offseason’s $1-2 million, so we should probably just pretend that we signed him for $2 million with escalators that could get him up to $4 million total and move on.

  14. I’ll say this, I think I’ve underestimated Floyd in comparison to what Samardzija would’ve provided. Probably good to sign Floyd and not make the trade and lose our prospects.

    @dupu: @CapitolAvenue @ajcbraves @JericoATL Not that objectivity should ever impede a man’s rationale, but more: http://t.co/ewXX1YOxHw

  15. @ajcbraves: RT @ChrisCotillo: MLBTR projected Brandon Beachy to receive $900K, source says he gets $1.45 million on his one-year deal with #Braves

  16. Rusty S. thank you for the thread. It appears you covered the topic of David Carpenter thoroughly.

  17. People always say “low risk/high reward”, but when you think about, the Braves have spent $4,500,000 on Gavin Floyd, Venters for $1,625,000 and whatever they gave to Gamel.

    For a team on a budget, that’s real money, given to a lot of iffy-if-they’ll-do-anything players for 2014.

  18. @20

    If you add up all the money, of course it doesn’t make sense. If you itemize them, that risk brings the potential of a reward of a top-of-the-rotation starter, a bullpen ace, and a bench bat. If one of Venters/Floyd works out, it more than balances out the other potential failure. After what Morton and Logan have forgotten, you can clearly see the market inefficiency (if there even is one) is injury risk. The Braves have been smart to identify it and capaitalize.

  19. As for Gamel, what Alex said. And if Gamel is a major leaguer, then we just got a major leaguer for nothing. How often does that happen?

  20. @mlbbowman: #Braves interest in Samardzija died more than a week ago because of the asking price. They then looked at Capuano, Chen, Volquez and Floyd

  21. That last playoff inning notwithstanding, David Carpenter was a terrific find for the Braves. But going forward (and keeping it somewhat topical), I’d say that Carpenter’s career arc so far makes about as much sense as the Billy Jack movies.

  22. Assuming Gamel makes the team and the league minimum, the Braves would have filled three spots on the major league roster font what Pittsburg is paying for one year of Charlie Morton.

    Let me repeat that for clarity. Charlie Morton is making 7 million dollars per year. You have to shift your thinking about what “replacement players” cost. Boone Logan. 4.5 million per.

    Boone. Fucking. Logan.

  23. With the prices of FA’s getting this high, it makes it extremely difficult to lock up our young guys long term. We might be able to save a few dollars in their arb years but we have almost zero chance of buying out some FA years. We’ve got to find some more revenue streams and increase our salary budget eventually.

  24. So, the thing is.. inflation happened. We absolutely positively cannot afford the free agent market, because free agency is where Jacoby Ellsbury costs $153 million. Extending Jason Heyward could cost more than $100 million. It’s just not clear how much more. The team cannot get away from paying $100 million. We got lucky when Brian McCann agreed to let the team extend him for peanuts, but that won’t be happening again.

    Good players are really expensive, and there’s just no way to get around paying the piper.

  25. Yanks to sign Brian Roberts. They are now eyeing Mark Reynolds and Michael Younh.

    Alex, I understand that and agree with you. At some point this baseball market will bust.

    The Orioles offered Floyd a lucrative 2 year deal. He chose less to sign with Atlanta in hopes of rebuilding his market value.

  26. Why will the market bust? Teams all got $26M more revenue based on the national TV deal. They’ll potentially get more from local TV deals. Just because the Braves aren’t expanding payroll doesn’t mean the rest of MLB isn’t.

    The disappointing this about this off-season is that the Braves don’t seem to have been given the money to play in the same pool as other teams. We were in the bottom half of the league in payroll last year, and I expect we’ll be in the bottom third this year.

  27. @30
    Jason Heyward, on an average, has been a 4 WAR player. 1 WAR is roughly equal 5 million on the FA market (and that’ll likely go up after the ’14 FA market comes to a close). That makes Jason Heyward a 20m/year player on the current scale.

    He most definitely is a 100 million dollar player whether we like it or not. I most definitely hate it. Merry frickin’ Christmas, indeed!

  28. Well, we did avoid a reunion with Bruce Chen. How demoralizing would that have been?

    I’d rather lock up Simmons than Heyward.

    Continuing the discussion from last offseason, people probably saw, but…Nirvana and a bunch of people who’ve been waiting: KISS, Hall and Oates, Peter Gabriel, Linda Ronstadt, Cat Stevens.

    In a sense, it’s good that Cobain isn’t around to see this.

  29. Outside of Nirvana & Kiss, it’s The Lite-FM Hall of Fame.

    Narcissist Program Alert: I’m guessing that Gene Simmons’ HoF speech will outshine anything that Kanye West could ever muster.

  30. The market was way more reasonable as recently as last offseason. God knows what it would’ve cost to sign B.J. Upton this offseason, but I’m pretty sure it would be way more than five years, $75.25 million. The expanded TV money is something that points in the direction of the market going up, but there are several things that could drive it back the other way, the biggest of which is the fact that the vast majority of these deals are likely to be horrific cash sinkholes.

    As far as we’re concerned, it’s not 100 percent necessary that we get involved in it this offseason, so that’s probably why we’re sitting out and hoping it calms down a little bit next offseason.

  31. Note also that the Braves are loading up on guys who may be ready to contribute later in the year, with full tanks. That, to me, bespeaks a team that’s very confident of being a playoff entrant (justified confidence, in my opinion), and is looking to improve its roster down the stretch through the timing of injury recovery.

  32. Yeah, but will we be gearing up for the NLDS or the play-in game?

    I think Wren is fully expecting to pay less near the trade deadline in order to upgrade. It bodes well, if you ask me, that the Braves were in now on Samardzija, and perhaps it will work out that they didn’t opt to buy now. Even if Samardzija pitches more to his peripherals, less team control remaining has got to mean his price comes down, no?

    And by the time the deadline approaches, we may be pleased to find we’ve got resources to spend on bigger, more glaring needs (2B, CF, or if different position player goes down).

    @37 is right. I would’ve loved to improve now, but it wasn’t necessary.

  33. With all the positions essentially manned for the upcoming season this is the type of activity that I expected this off season. Where the Braves and I are surprised is the cost of average talent. I would have bet that Huddy would be a Brave this year before the silly season started. Its kind of a bummer that we couldn’t get an uninjured vet as insurance for Beachy and Wood but I am glad that they didn’t give up a high upside pitching prospect for a journeyman arm. I am betting that the Cubs were asking for MLB ready for Samardzija and for us that flat out doesn’t make sense.

  34. It’s hard to know how much the price would come down. I think that will depend more on the Cubs’ perception of the market for him than anything else. If he has a couple hot months in April and May, they’ll try to sell him to a desperate team on the bubble — the Royals, say. If he doesn’t, then they may be forced to take what they can get for a guy who has always underperformed his stuff.

  35. Prices will come down when the regional tv deals lead to mass bankruptcies. Until then we’re in the not-awesome position of being at the poker table with a limited set of chips.

    It’s good for the Braves-as-a-business for us to stay out of the bubbly FA market, but my rooting interest isn’t for the Braves-as-a-business.

  36. Linda Ronstadt deserves to be in the RRHOF simply for her album covers.
    BTW Blazon great article on Shoeless Joe, Thanks, He had to be a helluva hitter to get a 48 oz. bat thru the zone.

  37. @34

    I’d like to think that if Cobain was still around he would find a creative way to shit on the Rock n’ Roll HOF.

    Unfortunately, we’ll probably just get another jam session with the Foo Fighters and Sir Paul.

  38. @19 – Thanks ;)

    @44 – I remember a poster of Linda Ronstadt in my Junior High Shop class that made me glad to be alive.

  39. @45, If previous work gives any indication, I’m sure anything he’d do would be so cryptic and drenched in irony that he’d just be preaching to the choir at the end of the day.

    I like Nirvana because they rock. I wish they were half the catalysts of change, cultural or otherwise, that the David Frickes of the world pretend they are (since it serves to perpetuate the sensitive-white-hillbillies-save-the-world myth that has made so many so rich off the dreams of naive kids).

    Let’s see how long it takes Nirvana’s brethen, let alone the Black Flags that inspired them, to make it in.

  40. Talking Chop…

    The Braves were genuinely interested in finding out what it would take to bring Samardzija to Atlanta. That interest quickly died when the Cubs indicated they would be looking for a return package that included either Jason Heyward or Justin Upton.

  41. Yeah, Link Wray needs to get in there.

    Agreed, @49. But I think there’s a larger problem with cultural criticism, sports criticism, and so on. Too often, claims are made about how one thing or another has changed the world. It’s almost always incorrect, and I think that the assertions are probably driven by an inferiority complex, worrying that sports and culture won’t matter if they’re not actually changing the world.

    Nirvana didn’t ultimately make our culture more feminist, even if Kurt Cobain himself was a feminist. The one thing that they definitely did is to inspire a bunch of record companies to sign a bunch of bands like Bush.

    In the end, the art is what matters. Nirvana is awesome because their records are awesome. That’s enough for me.

  42. @43, it’s not the teams that will go bankrupt, it’s the regional tv networks and those that lend money to them. The revenues won’t be coming close to projections in a lot of the markets. Houston is a good example of a tv deal that’s already headed for the shitter. This won’t happen in all markets, but if it happens enough then prices will come down.

  43. I’m sorry, I must have stroked out there for a second. I thought I read somebody say that the Cubs asked for either Jason Heyward or Justin Upton in exchange for Jeff Samardzija.

  44. Wow. Crazy. But if your’e the Cubs why not? I mean we just signed an INJURED pitcher for 4 million.

    So is Bethancourt, Wood, Graham, and Sims too much for Price in this market? Assuming the two top prosprects are our two top prospects. Glad Wren walked away but window and all that stuff.

  45. It’s not Nirvana’s fault that we got Bush or Silverchair in its wake, anymore than it’s Zeppelin’s fault that we got hair metal.

    Nirvana & its success did change things. For a couple years there, it very much felt like punk rock & some very authentic far-out music had finally gained its measure of reward, while the formulaic Sunset Strip stuff finally went away. It truly felt like some weird victory. It was genuinely seismic.

    I can tell you this because I was, in various endeavors, working in the trenches of that world & in the ’80s it just seemed impossible that great bands like Nirvana or Screaming Trees or Meat Puppets or Butthole Surfers could ever escape their insular roots & find a larger audience.

    I mean, go listen to Bleach again & try to imagine this band at #1. Go back & listen to the first Meat Puppets album (just try to get thru it, in fact) and try to imagine them even signing to a major label, much less ever having an MTV hit. It was the farthest thing. Nirvana’s moonshot changed all of that. General tastes evolved almost overnight.

    Sure, it saw all kinds of lame imitation bands follow, but that always happens. More importantly, the band was genuinely great & it helped expose a lotta worthy acts that never would’ve been found otherwise.

    BTW, I still have the original Nevermind press kit in my office & in it Cobain describes his band as a cross between The Beatles & Black Sabbath. Who knew that would ever be such a recipe for success?

  46. @58

    Weirdly, that’s a more workable deal for a better pitcher. I probably wouldn’t do that deal you just mentioned (though I’d probably come a lot closer than a lot of people on here), but there’s room for negotiation there. Not too far off from that is a deal that I would take.

    But the Cubs asking for Heyward or Upton for Samardzija? Freaking insane. There’s no where to go with that, other than as far away as possible as quickly as possible.

    And Price is a way better pitcher, too. I think it’s time to fetch the men in white coats for the Cubs front office.

  47. A cross between the Beatles and Sabbath… I’m astonished by how apt a description that was.

    One thing that’s always struck me about Cobain was how open he was about the bands he liked, particularly his contemporaries. His just mentioning them almost certainly had a major effect on their careers, in terms of who went on to listen to them. And they were really great bands. (Though I prefer The Melvins to the Vaselines.) I’ve always liked that about him.

  48. THe market for starting pitching is crazy, mainly because there isn’t a lot of options out there.

  49. 1990.



    Nirvana was transformative of *rock* radio, in that they took college rock and pushed it into the large audience air play that had been reserved for classic rock; and they pushed some of those sounds into the pop canon. But they did not immediately modify the pop world, per se.

  50. When I heard that Mark Mulder was attempting a comeback I thought he was nuts. Not so much now. Hell, Mark Prior might un retire in this market.

  51. What’s nuts is that Mulder wants a major league contract offer. He’ll probably find a team desperate enough.

    Nick, I completely agree. Yesterday, I just posted that piece about the Samardzija offer and was just lost for words. Not only would we not include either in that deal, but they mentioned “package.” Which means they want us to also include a prospect or two in addition to Heyward or Upton.

    The Price offer at least sets us up for negotiations and that isn’t a ridiculous request depending on who those other top prospects would be. I still think we should look at a deal with the Brewers. Uggla, Beachy, and Terdo for Lohse and Weeks. Maybe?

  52. I don’t disagree with any of @59. In fact, I think people who complained about the newer imitation bands who made it onto the radio and the charts got what they deserved when Bush and Silverchair radioplay slowly turned into Korn and Limp Bizkit radioplay. If people had had better attitudes about radio being marginally better than it had been in years, I doubt that it would’ve improved things further. But a good reminder to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good…

    The two things I take some issue with are:
    1) People take what should be a perfectly admirable legacy of Nirvana’s and blow it way out of proportion. The “voice of a generation” stuff is not only so tired and manufactured, it’s bad for music and it’s bad for politics. It’s sad because I think there’s some evidence that Cobain would’ve like to have had a more political impact — as much as he would sabotage that impulse with jokes or vagueness — like Alex says in @52. But all they ended up doing was entrenching a messiah story that’s ultimately apolitical, at least in ways that would be helpful to causes Cobain cared about. I guess Nirvana showcased both the possibilities and the limits of change within rock music at the time.

    2) More of a side note, but giving so much credit, industry-wide, to Nirvana takes away from the impact that Alice in Chains and, particularly, Metallica had in the months preceding Nevermind. It doesn’t fit the grunge narrative, and I personally don’t like Metallica nearly as much as Nirvana, but in my middle school, everyone who bought “Smells Like Teen Spirit” had already purchased “Enter Sandman.” Again, history has been rewritten to peddle to people with messiah fixations.

    …Go Braves.

  53. Nobody wants Terdo. He’s just a replaceable piece. And everybody actively does not want Uggla. I don’t see how it’s realistic to think Terdo — or Beachy, at this point — could be thrown in as deal-sweeteners, enough to offset Uggla.

  54. Terdoslavich isn’t offsetting anything in that deal, but merely giving the Brewers a potential piece to try out at their weakest position: first base. Rickie Weeks was just as horrible as Uggla last year and I’d be willing to bet that they’d at least think about the swap, especially if it could provide them a potential 1b for a few years.

  55. @65

    Unfortunately, letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, thereby allowing an opening for the truly awful to make its way onto the scene, is kind of what we do as a society. That’s a pretty solid example of it.

  56. I love this site. Where else can you get intelligent baseball discussions mixed with an intelligent discussion on the legacy of Nirvana? We all owe a debt to Mac and to his successors who make this site happen every day. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

  57. Both Maddux and Glavine are listed on 100% of the public ballots to date. Real early of course.

  58. I’m not going to link to it or talk about it, but there is an article up on Deadspin that might be of interest to the group.

  59. The suit itself is not baseless. Apparently the deal was not sent through any real tax law review before being announced. We’ll see how it plays. It has the makings of a giant clusterf*ck regardless.

  60. According to SI Choo turned down 7@140 from the Yankees. Hubris is spelled B O R A S. Crazy.

    There has to be a correction at some point, right? Is the fear of another collusion lawsuit driving some of this insanity?

  61. Ellsbury got 7/153 and Choo has been as good or better overall, and by far the better hitter so maybe he’s got a point?

  62. @78 – Sure and more durable too. I get it, new market. The only thing Ellsbury has over Choo is he plays a premium defensive position, but I just can’t get my brain wrapped around Choo as a 20 million dollar a year player.

    edit: Freeman, Simmons, Heyward all crazy to sign a team friendly contract.

  63. @80, specifically the edit at the end.

    This is the thing the choir of “Frank Wren is stupid for not extending the kids” don’t seem to readily grasp. Those guys are all three thinking “no way I’m going to get Longoria’d out of my cash out.” Each one of them is in line to make AT LEAST $20 mil per year for 7-10 years when they hit the free agent market, and none of them are going to worry overly much about the “I might get injured before then” risk and sign a team friendly deal in interim.

  64. well by definition, any player is crazy to sign a team friendly contract, but there certainly is no incentive not to wait it out and test the market.

  65. Thanks for clarifying for me. Should have said ‘would be crazy’.

    In the current labor market conditions, Wren should be thinking two things. Trade Kimbrell for position prospects and lets try to deal with the Rays for Price. Because, 3 year window.

  66. @80

    Given the craziness, there is precisely zero chance that any of these guys are signing an extension this offseason unless we pay market rate. And why would we do that when we can always pay market rate when the time comes and will have them for less than market rate in the interim? There’s always the chance that the market will go down somewhat in subsequent offseasons.

    And this doesn’t even take into account whether or not it’s wise to throw money at people who you already have under contract for the next several years instead of improving next year’s team. Here’s a hint: Unless they take a serious discount (see above), I’m gonna say not.

  67. I think that you need to extend some of these guys. There are really only two ways to get good players even at market rate: you have to develop them yourself, or trade for them, because most of them never hit free agency. So, we either need to pay a premium for a guy like Price, or we need to pay the damn money.

  68. RNR HOFchat:

    It’s somewhat unfortunate for KISS that they got into the HOF, seeing how “hurr durr we aren’t in the HOF conspiracy hurr durr” has been a calling card for KISS fan mullet-addled butthurt for years. Now Gene Simmons gets to share the stage with Hall and Oates. Congrats, guys! You showed ’em.

    My music fandom is usually on a different planet from the one on which the HOF resides, so ultimately I really don’t care, but why exactly is KISS a worthy HOF entrant? They have one crud-rock standard (“Rock and Roll All Night”), a secondary crud-rock standard (“Detroit Rock City”), a power ballad (“Beth”), and a heaping helping of junk besides. Longevity doesn’t mean quality, nor does a cultish fanbase, and once you take away those two, you have a proto-hair rock outfit with a ridiculous gimmick that just lasted a long time. Nail that plaque to the wall!

    “What would Kurt say? WHAT WOULD KURT SAY?” At this point, we’re imagining 1994 Kurt Cobain as a 2013 stand-in, and the existence of Dave Grohl’s career post-Nirvana kinda invalidates that. My guess is that, had Kurt not done the deed, he’d be more Grohl (chunky riffs, huge piles of money) than Novoselic (lower profile, political activism). Kurt would be 46 at this point. Holding on to the Street Cred(TM) would be a ridiculous stand for a rich middle-aged man to make, and Kurt seems to me to be the type to get that.

    WHAT WOULD KURT SAY? “Thanks.”

  69. @mlbbowman: The #Braves are close to acquiring Ryan Doumit from the Twins in exchange for a Minor Leaguer. Confirms @JeffPassan’s tweet

  70. @87 The minor leaguer is Sean Gilmartin. Does this mean Wren and company are not completely confident in Gattis?

  71. For 5th OF/3rd C/2nd 1B? I suppose I can’t get mad at whoever they pick for that gig, and he is a switch hitter.

    //Gilmartin? Kinda painful to move a #1 pick for Doumit.

  72. I like Doumit and Ive never cared for Gilmartin. I think it’s a good move and it gives us flexibility. I wonder if we have enough cash to sign EOF at this point.

  73. There’s a thing on BP suggesting trades for Trout.

    Would you guys do Simmons + Heyward? I’d be… pretty damn tempted. Maybe we make ’em take BJ while we’re at it.

  74. Guess “the crowd” was more right on Gilmartin than they were on Mike Minor. Regression to the mean for 1st round-drafted lefties with #4 SP draft day profiles?

  75. The deal is Gattis insurance/platoon-partnership as well. Nicely done, Wren.

    I bet we already missed our chance to sell high on Gilmartin. He is such a Twins pitcher, it’s not even funny.

    @86, I can’t say I know what would happen today, but you can understand why your scenario is tough to imagine. Given that the last thing we know he did was to shoot himself in the face after writing a note apologizing to his fans for faking it and adding in the “It’s better to burn out than to fade away” line for good measure.

    You’re basically saying, “If he hadn’t committed the ultimate (if extremely drug-influenced/ill-conceived) act of musical integrity, he’d have completely sold out by now.” Well, yeah. Tautology accomplished.

    I do wish that Grohl had stayed behind the kit.

  76. @97, heh. Bringing up trading for Mike Trout on a baseball blog should be treated like yelling “FIRE!” in a crowded room. WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO CAUSE PANDEMONIUM IN MY BRAIN? MUST. HAVE. TROUT.

  77. Re: Doumit. We could have gotten Kottaras for 1/3 the price, same platoon insurance, don’t have to give up a prospect. He’s younger and his recent track record is roughly the same, though Doumit likely has more power. I trust in Wren but if he wanted this sort of insurance policy I’m hard pressed to see why going this route was the better choice.

  78. I’ve been calling to get Doumit for years. We now have a seriously flexible bench: Doumit, Laird, Gamel, Pena, Schafer… at least that’s what I’m hoping for (with Uggla traded and La Stella as starting 2-bagger).

  79. @89 – Or that Wren and company aren’t confident in BJ Upton and think Gattis may be playing more LF than catcher.

  80. @98- I’m not implying that Kurt would’ve sold out (what is “selling out,” anyway? the dude was already famous as hell and had tons of money, even if he was displeased by it), just that the Kurt holding a gun to his head wouldn’t be the same Kurt in 2013 had he theoretically put the gun down. Elliott Smith is an imperfect parallel here, in that he alternated in his last years between “I want to remake the White Album” and “I want to eat ice cream and stab myself”….although Door #2 ended up being the one opened, I don’t think Alternate Universe Alive Elliott Smith would’ve maintained that commitment to hating himself and effin’ the MAN into his late 40s. From A Basement On A Hill validates this viewpoint; there’s a lot of “bout to kill myself, later” material on there, but there’s also tracks with just that definitive saccharine-and-snark that was becoming Smith’s POV into his second decade of indie rockdom. Alive Elliott maybe lets that win out.

    Alive 2013 Kurt can’t carry the pain and shame of 1994 Kurt indefinitely; if he does, he’s a laughable brand-name hermit, and I don’t think Kurt would’ve accepted himself as that either.

    Eh, shrug. I *could* talk about Ryan Doumit but that’s even more a shrug.

  81. @102

    A whole year of Gattis in LF is not a great scenario…

    Basically the entire strategy for the offseason is “hope everyone plays better next year”. I’m not inspired so far. Especially when we KNOW the owners have money they just refuse to spend it.

  82. with acquisition of Doumit,

    1. Likelihood that they are counting on Terdo as a bench player is lower.
    2. Chance of Bethancourt to ATL in an emergency dropped from 30% to 3%.
    3. Weird thing on Doumit is the last three years he has almost no split differential. About 760 ops, similarly constituted, right and left.
    4. A break with the Bobby Cox / John Scheuerholz Braves in that we have 3 major league catchers and none of them is noted as a “good defender.”
    5. I think the Braves have so much confidence in Graham, Cody Martin, Sims, Cabrera, that they may not figure that even if Gilmartin is a good 5 or a decent 4, that they have a place for him. Whereas, that might be something great for the Twins.

  83. Yup, we learned last year that Gattis is way better behind the plate than in the outfield. Doumit in the super sub role is better than Gattis in the role.

    This trade is uninspiring but not bad, really. If it were on the heels of an actual inspiring move (acquiring an ace or locking up a cornerstone) we’d probably be kind of enthused about it. As it is it just fits the narrative of a team not good enough to win it all spending its offseason treading water, so that sucks.

  84. The one position that really needs fixing can’t be fixed. Other than a big-name pitching move there’s really not much Wren could be expected to do. I’ve said before that he’s got the best job ever. He can basically do nothing and still look smart.

  85. Does the Doumit signing mean that Bethancourt is not in our plans for 2014? That’s kind of my takeaway.

  86. Another great move by Wren. Doumit is only a career .719 OPS guy against LHP but career .785 against RHP. He’s a power bat from the left side to spot start at OF and C, and to pinch-hit.

    Gamel, Pena, Doumit, Laird, Schafer. That’s a better bench at this point than I would have thought possible.

  87. Ryan Doumit = a little more flexibility. Always nice to have guys who can hit HRs coming off the bench.

    My Half-Hearted Defense of Kiss: It’s not keeping me up nights or anything, but if they’re running out of actual rock bands to put into the Rock Hall, at this point, why not Kiss?

    Full Disclosure: I enlisted in the Kiss Army at age 12 & saw them twice in 1976. I was the bulls-eye on their target market.

    So I can say (without too much shame) that Kiss actually had some pretty-good glammy material through album #5: “Strutter,” “Black Diamond,” “Rock Bottom,” “Do Ya Love Me,” “Detroit Rock City,” “C’mon & Love Me,” “Shout It Out Loud,” etc.

    Still, if anyone must, you can get all the Kiss you need with Alive and Destroyer. Never really cared for much after that.

    I kinda got off the train with Rock & Roll Over. Even at 13, I knew that Love Gun mostly sucked & I got Kiss Alive II for Xmas, but I think I played it twice. After all the Kiss lunchboxes & pinball machines, it just got to be a bit much. And those solo albums… (Ace’s was the best, IMO.)

    Nonetheless, my greatest vindication for ever liking Kiss was the appearance of “Black Diamond” on The Replacements’ Let It Be album. And they played it straight, which helped.

    (FWIW, like a lotta folks their age, the guys in Nirvana grew up listening to Kiss as well.)

  88. I think it’s hard for me to contextualize rock and roll suicides. Self-destruction, emotional anguish, and artistic talent go hand in hand, but I don’t think that means that suicide should be viewed as an artistic act. I think Layne Staley’s death was just as tragic as Kurt Cobain’s. He more or less committed suicide, too — it just took a hell of a lot longer.

    But I’m a power-pop sap more than a true punk rocker. I really wish Jim Ellison was still with us.

  89. @100

    First of all, given what the Cubs just asked us to trade them for Samardzija, I’d be hesitatnt to forecast what we “likely” could have anybody for, at this point.

    Secondly, I’m really not sure why we’d be hanging onto Gilmartin. If we could get a Major League player for him in return, the choice was clear. Gilmartin wasn’t going to pass anybody currently ahead of him on the pecking order without them going away for whatever reason, and he’s about to be passed by several prospects himself. Hell, Alex Wood already passed him. The fact that Gilmartin used to be a first-round pick is entirely irrelevant. If you aren’t willing to trade him, then you’re pretty much not willing to trade anyone of any value ever.

  90. @113 Yeah, I really gaffowed at the idea of suicide as musical expression. But then again, I really don’t get the obsession with what seems like just another mentally-ill gifted entertainer. It strikes me as the same sort of unwarranted hagiography that surrounds JFK.

  91. 108: Obligatory: the Braves were absolutely good enough to win it all last year, and no four games is going to convince me otherwise.

  92. It is kind of funny that a lot of sentiment around here in 2012 lamented that the Braves organization was not built as well as the Nationals going forward. I’ll definitely take the 2013 Braves over Washington and I think the organization in general is in much better shape for the future.

  93. I take nothing for granted. I think we have a better core of players under 26, and I think it’s likelier that our whole offense will take an aggregate step forward than the Nationals offense is to do the same. But they have more money, and a good team, and they’re well-run. They’ll be tough for a good long while.

  94. @113 @115 If you think talking about his suicide as expression* is weird, don’t take it from me, ” rel=”nofollow”>take it from him.

    Most people just write him off as a drugs/depression casualty. I’m trying to strike a balance between recognizing how huge that must’ve been and also giving some credence to what he actually had to say for himself. Somewhere in there, he felt he had seriously compromised his integrity. I don’t pretend to know how much of the “why suicide?” pie chart that deserves, but I feel weird ignoring it because it feels like I’m treating him as less of a person if I do that.

    Hagiography is exactly what I’m trying to avoid; in dying, he redeemed nothing, other than whatever bankrupt Ziggy Stardust hack job the music industry foists on kids. If anything, people have taken rock less seriously since he died.

    *Non-musical, though, right? It’s not like he offed himself in the middle of a song.

  95. @119 Fair enough overall. And I used the wrong word, meant “integrity” since that’s what was used elsewhere, not “expression.” Suicide is not an act of musical integrity, it is an act of mental illness.

    Ultimately I just find it vexing to see what is a tragic, though all too common, loss to personal demons transformed into some spiritual moment for music. Even though it was about music in his particular case because that’s what he did, what he felt was not uncommon and is felt by a lot of people about a lot of different things. There’s really nothing profound there other than the fact that he apparently lacked the support system to deal with it.

  96. @114- My bad. I remembered seeing that the Royals DFA’d Kottaras, so I assumed that meant he simply signed with the Cubs- I think the deal was basically $1M for a year, hence my 1/3 the price thought. I didn’t know there was actually a trade involved and frankly now I am confused; if the Royals DFA’d him then why did the Cubs have to trade for him? At any rate you are right, no telling what the Royals would have asked for, but I doubt it would have been much.

  97. Looks like the Braves are preparing for worst-case scenarios much better than they did last year. We’ve said it before: if the Braves were just league average at center and second, the season would have gone much differently. While second base is still not solved, we just confirmed that there are two catchers who could play outfield if BJ still sucks. I think that’s a smart move.

    So what’s the thought process now? Gattis against lefties, Doumit against righties? If BJ struggles, then it’s Gattis in left against lefties, Laird at catcher against lefties. Schafer against righties and Doumit at catcher against righties? That was confusing…

  98. 123: Y’all, Gattis is going to start five or six games a week at catcher. Have you come to terms with everyday Gattis? It seems like some of you don’t believe it.

    Honestly I can’t wait to turn him loose. I think he’ll be a dream.

  99. @124 – I agree. The Doumit acquisition indicates that Gattis will be the starting catcher. Before I wrote my earlier post I didn’t realize that Doumit was a OF/C/1B in that order.

    This is good. Although he would never admit it, it had to be tough on Gattis to switch positions so much. Knowing he can concentrate on just catching will help him.

  100. The Doumit acquisition makes me think the front office wants Bethancourt to get more ABs across town.

  101. I saw that Wren’s quote, of Bethancourt, was, “When he’s ready to be our catcher, he’ll be our catcher.” Which is interesting.

  102. I’m not so sure you can guarantee Gattis is the full-time starter next year. There’s a lot of risk that he could regress from last year and Doumit’s purpose may be an insurance policy for Gattis as well.

    Gattis hit .241/.272/.406 in the second half, and it’s not unreasonable to think he’ll have points of struggle next year.

  103. @123

    My plan would be thus:

    Gattis is the catcher and never plays outfield, except in an emergency, and the only possible emergency that could force that would be all but two OFs getting hurt, forcing Gattis to LF and Laird to the everyday catcher slot for a time. (Notice that I didn’t say “unless BJ sucks,” I said “except in an emergency.”) Anyway, under my plan, Laird would spell Gattis once or twice a week or whatever, on which days Gattis either doesn’t play or plays DH (if we’re in an AL ballpark).

    The outfield starts off as Justin-BJ-Heyward, with Doumit and Schafer on the bench. Doumit never plays catcher, again except in an emergency. Give BJ a month or two. If he still sucks, start working Doumit and Schafer in there more often. If all goes well, Doumit’s a power bat off the bench and Schafer’s a speed guy off the bench. Doumit is also Freeman’s backup on the rare occasion that he needs a day off or if, God forbid, he gets hurt.

    I think it works better this way, keeping Gattis away from the outfield and Doumit away from catching. They’re both really bad defensively at those respective positions, and we don’t need three catchers (and we’ve still got Bethancourt, anyway), nor do we need more than five or six outfielders.

    EDIT: If Gattis gets hurt, I might be tempted to slide Doumit to catcher for a spell, but I might be just as tempted to call Bethancourt up, depending on how he’s doing in (assumedly) Gwinnett at the time. If Laird gets hurt, I’m calling Bethancourt up, no Doumit.

  104. Doumit had additional value because he could catch, and Atlanta wasn’t going to give up additional value if all they wanted was a 1B/OF.

    I think it’s clear that they envision the possibility of needing at least a platoon partner for Gattis. After Gattis was done tomahawking fastballs in May, he struggled for the rest of the season. The Braves are aware of that, and they got someone who could legitimately catch if need be. You don’t give up a top prospect for a guy who can hit and catch if you don’t want him to catch.

  105. Rob…

    he did not ‘struggle for the rest of the season’…

    and Frank called…

    ‘i’ve added Doumit just today
    were you to ask me why
    it’s really rather hard to say
    but still i tend to try.’

  106. Gattis will be fine…just hope he can stay healthy enough to play 120 games or so at catcher. I would actually be surprised if Bethancourt is ever our starting catcher. I think he’s trade bait.

    After listening to Wren on the radio yesterday I’d say that we’re basically done with the offseason moves. That’ll leave a lot more time for us to follow the trials and tribulations of the White-Flight-Field lawsuit.

  107. @134 I think Bethancourt is in the Braves’ 2015 plans moreso than 2014. He’s been in the Braves’ minor league system seemingly forever but he just turned 22. My understanding is he’s already MLB-quality defensively, and the Braves are just waiting for him to figure out how to hit advanced pitching well enough to be acceptable. If he can put up a .700+ OPS at AAA next year, I expect the Braves would consider him ready for the big club.

  108. @136, I don’t think there’s a huge need for an all-defense catcher anywhere in MLB these days. Agree that if he can hit at AAA next year he’ll get a look, but I don’t expect him to be able to out-hit Gattis. Either way it’s in our best interest to have him put up a good year in Gwinnett. I think he’s one of the few pieces in our system that could help us land a top-line pitcher near the trade deadline.

  109. I don’t believe Bethancourt could outhit Gattis in 2014 (or 2015) either but keep in mind, Bethancourt is two years younger now than Gattis was when he played his first minor league game, so we don’t really know what Bethancourt’s offensive ceiling is yet. The real question is whether Bethancourt’s overall value projects to be greater than Gattis’… that might be true by the 2015 season, but it’s hard to project either player that far in advance at this juncture.

  110. The Braves have always believed they have the next Yadier Molina in Bethancourt. They are obviously waiting on his offensive “break out” to justify the big league spot, but that’s always been their top end projection for the guy.

  111. @134

    So if that’s Wren’s last move then we essentially traded Hudson and McCann for Floyd and Doumit and ran everyone else back… Who feels good about this?

  112. @140, we’ve added depth so going into 2014 we seem a little better prepared to take on the long grind of a season. A very marginal improvement. Losing McCann and Hudson are marginal regressions (in my opinion – some would argue that losing McCann is a really big deal, but I don’t see it that way). So the bottom line is that we’re treading water and hoping for better seasons from all the young guys across the board, and for BJ to remember how to play.

  113. CF will not be as bad as it was last year. BJ Upton will either bounce back or he will not get nearly the number of at bats again.

    2B will not be as bad as it was last year. Uggla will either bounce back or La Stella will get the call very quickly.

  114. I mean, I understand what happened but I don’t see how you can feel good about it given what happened last season. By the end of the regular season did anyone actually think that was a 96 win team out there? It was more like an 85 win team IMO and really outside of those two hot stretches it was an 85 win team. You can’t figure the Nats will be that out of whack all year again and even the Marlins and Mets made moves to seem like passable major league teams so the ability to beat up on the East is maybe not going to be the same this year. All this while the Braves lose two key guys and replace them with inferior players all while raking in new tv money that won’t be invested in the team. Color me unimpressed.

  115. @133

    Blazon, he really struggled. His OPSes from June through September: .566, .609, .438, .780. You may be remembering the recovery in September, but he struggled.


    If we make a habit of concluding our top picks from drafts two years before are not “top prospects,” I think we’re going to be in trouble. Yes, he struggled last season, but I think we all agree we traded someone with some serious potential.

  116. At this point hoping Uggla will figure it out is a pipe dream. The guy got his contract and peaced out, we’re just gonna have to live with that. If the organization actually gave a shit about winning we would have flipped him for literally the lowest of the low anyone would give us and thrown $250 million at Robby Cano. You can’t tell me Liberty Media doesn’t have that money and the fact is in the current market Cano is underpaid even at that level. If you are thinking that’s out Liberty’s price range a quick glance at their financial statements reveals that they are currently sitting on about $1.4 BILLION in cash alone and the stock price has jumped 30% this year.

    Instead we get half measures and are reduced to hoping for about 12 things to go right because we don’t have a real owner. It’s really becoming apparent what the next few years are going to look like and it’s not good.

  117. @144 – the team won 96 games. They were a 96 win team. By definition. The idea that the “two hot streaks” and the wins they generated should be discounted is silly on the face. Were they hot and streaking like that come playoff time? No. Could they have hit that stride again? Yes. Because they had a team good enough to real off those sorts of winning streaks.

    If your point is to complain that Liberty is a shitty ownership group you’ll get little argument from anyone. If you want to complain that the moves management made given the ownership’s refusal to give them more money were not good, you’re wrong.

    This team, as is, will compete to win 90+ games and the division. Gavin Floyd is about the same pitcher, when healthy, as Tim Hudson. Mat Gamel’s a great pickup for power off the bench.

  118. @144

    I don’t really agree with that. Had (past tense)? Maybe. Has (present tense)? No. We did pretty well in getting what we did for Sean Gilmartin. He’s just not very good, and the fact that we wasted a 1st round pick on him is all but irrelevant now. Should the Raiders still have JaMarcus Russell on their roster?

    I don’t think the fact that Doumit can play catcher badly really factors into it at all.

  119. @145 – Sean Gilmartin was a first round draft pick in the very late section of that draft. He was a decent prospect who may put it together again, but whose career has been derailed by shoulder injury. He’s put ERAs of 5+ in AAA the last couple of years. He’s been passed in the system by multiple other starting pitching prospects, including Alex Wood and David Hale. He would struggle to break into the Braves’ top 10 starter options in 2013. His previous draft status is irrelevant to what he actually is at this point in his career.

  120. @146 – No one said Uggla was likely to rebound. I said he would either rebound or be replaced by La Stella. Either way, 2B will improve in 2014. Either Uggla will get better himself, or the guy that replaces him will be better than he was last year. Improvement.

    The rest of your post here is just complaining that Liberty isn’t interested in spending money on this team. Everyone here wishes Liberty would sell the team to an owner interested in baseball more than P&L statements for its divisions, but those aren’t the facts we are dealing with. The Braves were never, and will never, spend $250 million on Robbie Cano while eating Dan Uggla’s contract on top of it. That’s just pointless fan boy wishcasting.

  121. @146 If your point is to complain that Liberty is a shitty ownership group you’ll get little argument from anyone.

    You’d get an argument from me. I don’t think they’re bottom-tier ownership, just a bland average. But I can think of much worse.

  122. Laird is a FA after this year. Even if Bethancourt doesn’t hit, he likely is on the team in 2015 as the backup C at the least.

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