Ervin Santana

Well, THAT was quick.

A day after announcing that Kris Medlen’s MRI revealed elbow ligament damage and conceding that Medlen, Beachy, and Minor might all open the season on the Disabled List, Frank Wren managed to sign the best pitcher still available on the market to a one-year, $14.1 million pillow deal.

(David O’Brien notes that this required Liberty Media to approve the team to expand payroll beyond $100 million, which was nice of them.)

Also importantly, the Braves will be giving their first-round draft pick to the Royals. That appears to be the 26th overall pick. Since the Braves are receiving a compensatory pick from Brian McCann’s departure, this means that their draft position won’t change much but they now pick only once before the second round instead of twice.

Ervin Santana was still available for two major reasons: he and his agents drastically misplayed the market, and he has been hugely inconsistent throughout his career. As a result of his struggles to sign this winter, he fired one of his agents, Bean Stringfellow. The biggest problem with Santana and his agents’ strategy was that they announced they were seeking a deal for $112 million and then were slow to pivot when that market simply never materialized. As Buster Olney writes, “The fact is that nobody who takes a paycheck from a team saw Santana as a $100 million-plus pitcher. Nobody.”

But perhaps an even bigger problem with Santana is the back of his baseball card. Since becoming a full-time starter in 2005 at the age of 22, he has posted the following ERAs (I’ve also included FIP-, a normalized measure of FIP where 100 is average and lower numbers are good, to show how his components have gone up and down):


As you can see, the thing about Santana is not so much that his 2013 was excellent — by the components, it was good but not superb — it is that his 2012 was catastrophically bad. One of the biggest issues with Santana is his knack for giving up homers in bunches. In fact, his home run rate is a pretty good predictor of whether his season is going to be good or terrible.

In 2007, 2009, and 2012, when his ERA was over 5.00, he gave up at least 1.5 homers per 9 innings. In 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2013, it was 1.1 or less. It’s not clear just how much his park has to do with that. Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium decreases homers, but so does Angel Stadium, and Santana managed to set a career high in homers given up in 2012, the same year that Mike Trout came to prominence for saving home runs.

Unfortunately, though it still yields fewer homers than average, Turner Field does not have quite the same homer-dampening effect as either Angel Stadium or Kauffman Stadium. So Santana will not necessarily get help from home if he wants to cut down on his homers. However, moving to the league without the DH will definitely help. In 2013, AL hitters hit 2504 homers while NL hitters hit 2157. (In all, AL games averaged 4.33 runs a game, while NL games averaged 4.0 runs a game.) He’s moving to a much pitcher-friendlier league.

But the Royals were the top defensive team in baseball last year, and while the Braves were again among the league leaders, they weren’t as good as the Royals. Just for comparison, the Braves as a team had 42 Defensive Runs Saved last year, almost all of that from Andrelton Simmons’s golden glove; the Royals had 95 DRS. That’s a one-year fluke that’s bound to regress, of course, but it helped Santana a whole lot. Having Simmons on his side will almost certainly help, but Simmons can’t pull back homers.

One of Santana’s greatest attributes is his ability to stay healthy. He hasn’t missed a game in the regular season since 2009, which is the only year that he has visited the Disabled List. This is perhaps the greatest hidden talent he possesses, and it’s the biggest reason that the Braves need him now.

It’s easy to suggest that Santana won’t repeat what he did in 2013, because blah blah blah regression to the mean. It is true that Santana has been a legitimately very good pitcher at times. He has been at least a 3-win pitcher in five different seasons: 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2013. But he’s been near replacement-level in the other four. His stats grade out to average, but he never actually gives an average performance. He’s more of a dice roll, like Javier Vazquez with a worse K/BB ratio.

Or, if you like, here’s a pitcher A-pitcher B comparison:

Pitcher A200520062007200820092010201120122013Overall
Pitcher B          

Pitcher A is Santana. Pitcher B is A.J. Burnett, who signed with the Phillies for $15 million — about the same money as Santana. Burnett’s been better than Santana in his career, and despite A.J.’s reputation for being up and down, he hasn’t had nearly the volatility of Santana. On the other hand, Burnett is 37 and Santana is 31, which means that Burnett is a lot closer to the end.

However, beyond the money, it’s worth remembering that Burnett’s career collapse came when he moved to the AL East, the toughest division in baseball, and his renaissance came when he moved to the NL Central, one of the easiest. Santana’s collapse came in the AL West, perhaps the second-toughest division in baseball, and his renaissance came in the AL Central, maybe the single easiest, and now he’s moving to a league without a DH and a team with Andrelton Simmons. It’s fine to be a front-runner if there are enough weaklings to beat up on, and if he can make a third of his starts against the Phillies, Mets, and Marlins, three teams without much of an offense, then he has a chance of doing just that.

Santana is a band-aid, not a bionic arm. But he is exactly, precisely the band-aid that this team needs, particularly while they wait for Gavin Floyd (who likely will be league-average). This isn’t the rotation that we hoped it would be, but Wren just bought us 200 innings and 33 starts. Nothing could be more important.

154 thoughts on “Ervin Santana”

  1. Poor Blue Jays.

    Blue Jays skipper John Gibbons “seemed more subdued than usual” during his media session Wednesday and “hinted” that the Blue Jays “had made plans based on signing Ervin [Santana].”

  2. You sacrifice a #26 pick in order to tie up the gaping wound in your rotation. It’s not 5 years, like Lowe. It’s a one year deal for $14 mil and punting the #26 pick this year. You do that.

  3. This is so un-Braves. This season is getting so interesting even before it starts. I am all for it. Just never thought we would do something so dramatic. This organization has turned the corner I think.

  4. The prospect of the new stadium is seemingly having an effect, either because the Braves are willing to spend now in anticipation of the increased revenue or because they want to convince the public that the deal will bring some positives.

  5. It’s a great pick up. I think he will do well in the NL.

    Plus, he is trying to turn this into a big pay day. I imagine he will be locked in.

    Now here’s hoping he doesn’t get hurt!

  6. Stringfellow was also Billy Wagner’s agent.

    BBQ dude says Medlen has accepted that he’s probably going to need TJS.

  7. I wonder if Liberty realizes they have to win in order to get the stadium deal finalized. After all, why would the local government finance a deal for a crappy team? It’s like it’s finally becoming a good business decision to… win.

  8. In Wren I trust. The message is as clear as it can get: we want to win. As a fan, that’s all we can ask for. This is the first time we see Liberty steps up!

  9. 10, I interpret a move this quickly as the FO thinking that it’s a certainty that Medlen’s going to need TJ surgery. Medlen now seems like he thinks it’s a given as well. Which really sucks obviously.

    We had heard earlier in the offseason that the Braves had some payroll that they were allocating to an in season move, which the Santana move almost assures that the Braves won’t take on any salary if they need to in a trade deadline deal. Insurance should cover Medlen’s $5.8MM, that combined with the money they will save not paying the 1st round draft pick makes the Santana signing possible.

    This late in the game, I don’t see a lot of better options. Santana can be a nice #3 with an ERA around 3.50 and should pitch close to 200 innings, not sure who else is available that could do that at this point.

  10. Anyone who complains about this move doesn’t care about the Braves this season. They are probably the same individuals who complain about liberty media and the braves not ever spending money.

  11. AAR – I’m astounded at the quality of this write up and the ability to give a detailed analysis in such a short time. Thanks for keeping this site as an awesome source for getting a better understanding of what’s really going on with the Braves!

  12. I’m as happy about this deal as one can be about a deal that you’re forced to make because of sudden horrific injury issues. Santana was the best pitcher available and we got him. Now our rotation isn’t a complete disaster. Assuming Minor but not assuming Beachy (which I think is fair at this point), you’re looking at Minor/Teheran/Santana/Wood/5th Starter Grab Bag. As long as the 5th Starter Grab Bag is confined to the fifth starter position, we’ll be OK. And there should be some period midway through the season where Floyd and Wood overlap and knock the 5th Starter Grab Bag out entirely. That’s not as good a rotation as we thought we’d have, but it’s a rotation that’s capable of going to the playoffs.

  13. @18 Nobody should complain about this move. It was the only play the Braves had, they were lucky it was still out there to make but to their credit they went out and got him. I’ve been critical of management all year but they at least showed you what their philosophy is here… Spend enough to win. Just enough, but enough. They weren’t gonna win with that many innings unaccounted for so they got a guy who can give you 200+ competent innings and kept the ship upright.

  14. The Braves better score some more runs, though. I don’t think they can afford to scrape by with two guys hitting less than their weights, although hopefully Heyward will stay healthy and Gattis will hit (the latter which I’m a bit skeptical about). If the rotation is as Nick projects, it’s probably still decent but, unless Teheran really breaks out (which is possible), it’s not going to be one of the best.

  15. I wonder if part of the Santana deal is we don’t offer a qualifying offer at the end of the season.

    This is the second best roatation in the NL East. We have the best bullpen, SS, 1B, two of three OF spots. I’ll take my chances now.

  16. These starters do need to get deep into games though. Fredi really needs to manage his bullpen well this year. Here’s to hoping Minor/ Beachy can find a way to get healthy.

    Minor, Teheran, Santana, Wood, Beachy/Floyd/Hale can work I guess.

  17. Teheran, Santana, Garcia, Wood will be our first week rotaion. Minor and Beachy will be worked in when ready.

  18. I would agree with both of you and honestly forgot about Garcia. Looks like we have 2 #2’s and 3 #3’s then unknowns with Beachy hale and Garcia.

  19. This is an excellent, excellent move. It might work, it might not (I roll the dice on Santana in the late rounds of most fantasy baseball drafts, and it works some of the years), but the fact that they went out and got it done this quickly under the circumstances to patch what would have been a gaping wound… I’m highly impressed.

  20. How many seasons have been derailed by injuries and we couldn’t do anything about it? We may have been okay with Minor/Teheran/Wood/Floyd/Garcia(Beachy), but this definitely puts us in a great situation. Count me also impressed that they moved so quickly. They probably needed to, though, because once Baltimore and Toronto figured out that we badly needed a starter, Santana would have been off the table.

  21. Alex, that was a hell of a writeup. I love Braves Journal.

    Well, I can see why the Braves didn’t lock Minor and Medlen up for 5 years. Kudos to Frank Wren and yes, to Liberty Media for acquiring Santana.

  22. I’m pleasantly surprised that we signed Santana. It’s making the best of a bad situation. May or may not work out, but we had to do it. Good job front office.

  23. Liberty being willing to open their wallets has helped the Braves immensely this offseason. Nobody should ever complain about Liberty again. They’re not exactly Jeffrey Loria.

  24. Why is Liberty Media still the owner though? Seemed they were going to hold the Braves for a few years for tax purposes, and then promptly sell them?

  25. @27 you mean to tell me the guy was jonesing for a $100 Mill contract (that he was never going to get) and he hasn’t been readying himself to start the season. That better not be true.

  26. I’m not ready to say I’ll never complain about Liberty again, and not being Jeffrey Loria seems like a bit of a low bar. But today has been a welcome and much appreciated surprise.

  27. Dan @36: Why is Liberty Media still the owner though? Seemed they were going to hold the Braves for a few years for tax purposes, and then promptly sell them?

    Liberty obviously found the Braves to be an asset worth keeping in the portfolio for the long term, past the straight tax write-off years (first five years of ownership.)

    That might have something to do with the fact that Liberty’s primary portfolio interests seems to be…real estate investment. And what did the Braves just do in Cobb County?

  28. @37 – It would have been bad for him if he had Medlened himself before signing with someone.

  29. @41, OK that makes sense, it just gets my chilli cooking a bit when a guy gets thrown $14Mill and isn’t ready to earn it. I assume he’ll be up to speed very quickly.

  30. He’s not fat or out of shape. He is probably as close to ML ready as Mike Minor is.

  31. The thing is, baseball teams aren’t a great way to make money in a given year. But they are a fantastic investment in terms of paper value. If you buy a team, and you hold onto it, and then you sell it, you’re almost guaranteed to make a major gain, because there are only 30 teams, and there is a long line of billionaires who want one.

  32. Wow. Great job, Wren! While it would’ve been nice to have two first round picks, I don’t lament the loss. If ‘ol Erv puts together a good one, this could actually be a really good rotation.

  33. Great to see Wren & Liberty Media step up. I was readying myself for a lost season due to injuries. IF we get Beachy back, & Floyd can produce, we have the makings of a competitive rotation. Now, if BJ & Uggla can just produce….

  34. Big move if not an obvious move. I would not be surprised to see another veteran added on a minor league deal.
    You can never have have enough starting pitching.

  35. His concern that the Braves might be losing the opportunity to draft Dan Plesac doesn’t overwhelm me. He would need to do a much more comprehensive analysis of all No. 26 draft picks to make this even remotely compelling argument; just saying that, well, Alan Trammell was a no. 26 pick doesn’t cut it.

  36. Reads to me like Dan just drew the Have An Offbeat Take & Be Stubborn About It straw when the SABR bloggers gathered to discuss the trade in Neyer’s mom’s basement.

  37. I think that it’s worth explaining that draft picks have a measurable value and it is in the millions, so the Braves wound up spending appreciably more than $14.1 million on Santana. But I think his math on the value of the 26th pick in the draft is way north of the mark, as I told him on Twitter.

    First of all, even if you accept that the 26th pick in the draft generates an average of 3.5 wins to the team that selects that pick, that 3.5 win average occurs over time, rather than in a single year — broadly speaking, it occurs in something like the first eight years of team control of the player’s rights. (I picked that out of a hat, but that assumes two full years in the minor leagues plus six full years in the major leagues before becoming arbitration-eligible.) So that means that it’s an average of about .44 wins a year, and every year out diminishes the net present value of a win. The value of half a win on the free agent market may be somewhere between $2-$3 million a year, but those aren’t real dollars, they’re nominal dollars, and you have to discount them heavily.

    A first-round pick is still worth a lot of money. This guy estimates that the picks between 16 and 30 have an average value of about $13.7 million to their team.

    THAT SAID, here is everyone who has ever been taken with the 26th overall pick, since the modern amateur draft began in 1965. There are 59 of them, of whom 22 made the majors — but 12 of them had 0.0 or negative WAR. Just three of them had more than six WAR: Alan Trammell (70.3 rWAR), followed by Dave Henderson (27.5 rWAR) and Dan Plesac (17.6 rWAR).

    Other than them, essentially everyone who has ever been selected with the 26th overall pick was replacement-level or worse.

  38. Dan is playing the same game as a lot of the stats uber alles guys. He’s actually pretending like the #26 pick in this year’s draft is worth “4 WAR” and that those “4 WAR” multiplied by “Cost Per Win” make this a 30million dollar signing. I’ve been nut punching them at BTF all morning.

  39. …stats uber alles guys. He’s actually pretending like the #26 pick in this year’s draft is worth “4 WAR” and that those “4 WAR” multiplied by “Cost Per Win” make this a 30million dollar signing.

    It’s enough to make you appreciate the casual fan who simply thinks batting average is very important.

  40. But when you accuse a GM of “panicking” and state that publically, you really ought to have better reasoning than he showed in the article. I wouldn’t think of arguing stats with him and maybe his arguments on Twitter make sense (I don’t do Twitter), but the article itself is very unimpressive to me. And it seems disingenous to use Alan Trammell as an example of a no. 26 draft pick when he is obviously the exception rather than the rule.

  41. I think it’s totally ok to “panic” when your #1 starter goes down for the season during spring training. If you don’t panic over that then you’re pretty much never going to panic…

    The problem with the prospect/draft gurus is that with them the future of the team is always more important than winning now. We need to win now. Like right f’ing *now*.

  42. Pretty often the Brave first round picks end up guys like
    Cody Johnson, Chase Fontaine, and…Jeff Francoeur.

  43. But it’s not “panicking” to take an action you need to take. It’s not panicking to rush someone to a hospital when they are having chest pains. Panicking, to me, implies taking an unnecessary and ill-conceived action for no good reason. I seriously doubt that’s what Wren did.

    Syzmborski said they should have waited and see if Beachy is ok, but if Wren waited, it might be too late to do anything. And the point about going “all in” for David Price, as he suggested, is besides the point. First, they would have had to give up a lot more than they did for Santana (although, obviously, Price is a much better pitcher). Second,at the time they didn’t think they needed to do that because they didn’t expect three pitchers to get hurt.

    I think krussel is right; at some point, you have to try to actually win, not collect prospects for some future fantasy league.

  44. @50 I wish there was a like button for that post.

    I don’t know what’s more impressive, Wren’s quick move or Alex’s quick post. Draw.

  45. I am 1) new to Twitter and 2) not an ESPN insider. Can someone explain this Szymborski fella’s viewpoint?

  46. @61 I read through some of the twitter war with AAR and it’s pretty inane. His basic argument is that just reacted to a crisis by panicking and signing the most expensive player available. While true, his alternative is “ride it out and see if you can get someone better during the year”… Which… yeah. Thank god the Braves didn’t choose that strategy.

  47. I see no panic here at all. Atlanta happened to also be in the right place at the right time. Santana needed an NL team that needed a front-line starter, and Atlanta happened to have their front-line starter get injured days, if not hours, before he would have probably accepted an offer from Baltimore or Toronto. Had this happened to Atlanta during the season, there likely would not have been a player of Santana’s value available with such minimal commitment. There doesn’t seem to be a position player or reliever nearing Santana’s attractiveness.

  48. @60 I agree. The timing of the move and the post are both equally impressive. Great job, Alex!

    I’m still really sad about Medlen. The clips from when he spoke to the media earlier today are really tough to listen to. What a terrible thing to happen to a guy who even opposing GMs and players are saying is one of the nicest in the game. I’m really hoping he can make a successful comeback from this.

  49. could we see some movement on someboday getting traded to make up some this 14 Mil ?? Supposedly we were at our payroll max … does someboday take Uggla for half his salary or ????

  50. The basic point of Szymborski’s piece and comments in our Twitter conversation is: first-round draft picks are worth a lot. In fact, they’re worth a lot more than you think they’re worth, especially in this new collective bargaining agreement, in part because of the limited draft pool of money to sign prospects — and in trading away the pick, we lose the money associated with the slot, so we won’t be able to use it to sign anyone else. I think he’s overly optimistic about the other options the Braves had available — but he is correct that this is atypical for Wren, who normally contents himself with the kind of moves he already made this offseason, the kind of Freddy Garcia/Gavin Floyd types.

    I think he makes an interesting point about the value of the pick. After all, first-round draft picks are virtually all upside: there’s a tiny chance that the 26th pick will turn into Alan Trammell, but it’s basically all positive value, because if he turns out to be incredibly good then the team gets all those positive WAR, whereas if he turns out to be terrible then the team just doesn’t have to play him. The dollar value of that kind of upside is high.

    I just don’t believe that the Braves had much of a choice in the matter of paying it.

  51. @66 There wasn’t another option that would keep things going in terms of trying to win a World Series this year. Yeah maybe having an extra 1st rounder is really good but there’s a 0% chance that pick helps the team this year and the team needs to win this year. It’s just some guy trying to act smarter than everyone else by pointing out something that while it might be true is completely irrelevant to the current situation.

  52. I do wish we could have signed a guy who is able to put a major league bend into his cap brim. Yes…I am old.

  53. If Santana pitches well, we could get a similar pick back next year. What Stu said, @50.

  54. Okay, so 26th picks aren’t so great, but Mike Trout was a 25th pick … and the Braves essentially gave them that one.

  55. Draft picks are important but so is trying to show fans you actually want to win. If I’m living in the area and planning to go to watch the Braves, I have to pay for the ticket in 2014 dollars; hoping that the no. 26 pick turns into someone good at the expense of blowing this season does me no good. Maybe it will in 2017 but we might be taken over by zombies by then.

    It would be one thing if the Braves were like the Phillies, an aging team trying stopgaps to win a few more games. But they aren’t. Now it’s quite possible that Santana sucks and the draft pick turns out to be another Adam Wainwright and we are saying in a couple of years, why did he do that? But it’s all speculative at this point anyway.

  56. Great write-up and even better signing. I love Bean Stringfellow. Here’s hoping that our coaches can coax a 2-3 win year out of Santana. And I’ll love the highlight of the year when Simmons does, in fact, pull back a homerun.

  57. Does anyone else dislike the wider comment area?

    It seems a little too wide for the natural size of a paragraph, and I feel like it causes extra strain on the eyes while reading. Although, I’ve had a few beers tonight… So maybe it’s just me?

  58. The cost of the draft pick is one thing, but I don’t buy the concept of analyzing this on a single transaction basis. The team invested almost $100m in payroll to win this year. What’s the value of not giving a chance for the team to win because we do not have someone like Santana to fill up the innings left unfilled by Medlen?

    While the costs of Santana is indeed more than the $14m, the upside of Santana’s acquisition is also not limited to his 200 innings of work. The amount needs to be spent to protect the value of this year’s team.

  59. Has anyone else come across (or posted) this very encouraging write-up on Santana’s chances of repeating – or improving upon – his 2013 season?:

    The author, Jeffrey Long, makes the case that Santana’s 2013 season was the first chapter of a completely different Santana, featuring a mean new sinker, and that Santana has room to further increase his sinker usage, and maybe further improve. And while the infield D he pitched in front of last year was pretty darn good, I like the chances of a sinkerballer relocating to a mound in front of the very best shortstop in baseball improving evening further.

  60. @69

    I’m not sure we would get a pick. I don’t know if we would offer him a qualifiying offer or not. If he has a, ‘eh season, it would be a bad move, because he might not take it.

    We have another pick a few slots later. We will still draft a Georgia soft tossing lefty there that we could have 10 pick later.

    This team is in win now mode. It was a really good move.

  61. @77, I wouldn’t overthink it too much – the Braves signed him to be a 3-win pitcher, and if they hadn’t they would have needed to find 3 wins elsewhere. In the end, scarce talent can be measured in terms of marginal wins.

  62. I kind of agree that the longer read panel is distracting on big screens. Maybe split the difference?

  63. I’m with old timer. I have a couple of external monitors connected to my laptop but my browser window is always just on my laptop screen. The size looks good to me on the laptop but in the name of full disclosure I have to admit I am the one who made the change. I am certainly willing to tweak it until we have a majority of folks comfortable with it. The way it was before just bugged me that the comments were using less than 50% of the window width and resulted in a ton of scrolling in some of our longer threads. Maybe we need a poll?

  64. Honestly, I can give or take it. It works fine on an iPhone. My 17inch laptop screen feels stretched.

  65. If the Braves’ biggest problem is comment width, I’m booking my World Series tickets now. Oh, and I’m fine with it Hap.

  66. @90


    That should go on a wall somewhere.

    EDIT: Also, I think the wider comment section is fine. Maybe could be tweaked a little, but the idea is good. I think it’s just new and is freaking people out a little. After a week or so, people will get used to it.

  67. Alex, email me your address and I will send you some of the finest coffee on the planet straight from Portland. And don’t let anyone tell you that Portland isn’t just as much the center of coffee culture in the US as Seattle. My son manages the in house cafe and education center for Portland Roasters, one of the areas true flagship craft roasters.

  68. @94
    I’d go as far to say that Oregon has the best coffee, beer, and coffee-beer in the nation.

  69. FWIW, Buster Olney likes the Santana signing.

    Dan Szymborski writes that this is a panic move; I respectfully disagree. This is a team designed to win now, after all the money invested in the offseason in Freddie Freeman, Craig Kimbrel, Andrelton Simmons, etc. The Braves determined internally that with Medlen out for the year, in all likelihood, and with Brandon Beachy having some fits and starts in his rehab, the team’s rotation isn’t good enough. They can’t assume that Freddy Garcia is going to be effective, or Alex Wood, or that Gavin Floyd will rebound sometime this year, and so they reached out for Santana, the best available pitcher, on just a one-year deal — a stopgap — and went over budget to make it happen.

    Yes, they surrendered their first-round pick, but they are getting a pick in return for Brian McCann’s departure, and if Santana stays healthy and throws well for them this year, they can give him a qualifying offer in the fall and either retain him on a short-term, low-risk deal, or they will recoup the draft pick.

    This is their window to contend, and I think they were right in moving quickly to prop up their thin rotation.

  70. I read somewhere that poor Rick Astley has made a mere pittance off of his, uh, relatively newfound internet celebrity.

  71. @107
    I might have to come to terms with that, Sam. It’s just he doesn’t look like Quad-A to me, but then again I’m no scout.

  72. Scouting sidearmers and submariners is a black art. He might put it together, but the Pete Moylans are rare at the ML level because generally, that delivery is a gimmick to hide questionable stuff, and generally, the big boys wait you out and crush your weak frisbee cheese.

  73. Of course, another reason that Peter Moylans are rare at the ML level is that all pitchers break all the time. So Gearrin will likely keep getting chances because we’ll always have a need for more cannon fodder. But he’s several levels back of Anthony Varvaro on the depth chart, which is saying something, because I wouldn’t trust Varvaro with a four-run lead.

  74. I’m going to go ahead and thoroughly miss the point of that article and instead give the following free advice: do not get suckered into David Freese. The Angels have a terrible park for hitters, and Freese is on the wrong side of 30 and only really hits in the postseason.

  75. I am sure they did a proper physical on Santana before he signed. Shouldn’t be a big issue I hope…

  76. @119
    I’ve never heard of Godwin’s Law before now, but I LOVE it! Thanks Seat Painter! I will get on that right away!

  77. According to Bowman, Beachy is probably headed for his 2nd TommyJohn surgery in the last 17 months.

    Can JR Graham make the leap?

  78. I guess it’s good that Beachy and Medlen will be able to offer each other moral support by visiting Dr. Andrews together on Monday, but, dang, it’s painful to think of 2/5 of your projected starting rotation having to do that in Spring Training, with both more than likely needing 2nd Tommy Johns. Did Beachy’s first one just not take? I guess I’m just so used to players coming back successfully from their first one that Beachy not being able to is throwing me off.

  79. @gaz

    Don’t get me wrong, Beckett is a serious risk, but if La Stella is as ready as he sounds, this is about the only kind of trade involving Uggla that has a glimmer of possibility. Plus, if Beckett is right (of which he hasn’t been since 2011), he’s pretty darn good.

    The Dodgers have Dee Gordon projected as their 2nd base starter and 6-7 pitchers listed as starters. There could be a serious match here.

  80. I’m not the kind of person to express this sentiment, but I’d be nervous to have Beckett in our clubhouse.

    Also: last fantasy season, I looked at Beckett’s peripherals, traded for him, and before I knew it, he was promptly out for the year. I get that thoracic outlet syndrome isn’t a recurring problem, but if there is a player who truly is injury-prone, it’s him. He is currently nursing a sprained thumb, which he got caught in a clubhouse door…

    It is true, we won’t be able to do much better for Uggla.

  81. Depressed, I am just too depressed for this early in the baseball season.
    I know anything can happen but it just blows to see two young guns down for the season and maybe more already.
    BJ better earn his damned paycheck this season.

  82. I wonder if Syzmborski still thinks the Braves panicked. Keith Law thinks so too, FWIW.

    Doug Fister is also having his arm looked at. So it could be Braves 2 Nats 1 in TJs.

  83. Who does these surgeries for the Braves? Hampton, Medlen and Beachy all need(ed) a second UCL reconstruction surgery. Is it not usually a one-time ordeal?

  84. This USA today article suggests that second surgeries are rare, or at least were in 2007.

    According to statistics maintained by his office, Andrews performed 1,169 Tommy John surgeries over the 12-year span from 1994 until 2005. Of those, only 12 players were going for their second elbow reconstruction.

  85. @140 – I expected him to return to form as much as Tim Hudson did after his surgery.

  86. I think whether someone has a 2nd surgery would depend more on the mechanics of the pitcher and perhaps to a lesser extent their own physiology. I have had two ACL repairs to the same knee (which I know is not the same as TJ but it’s still ligament repair) and I am 99% sure the second one was a result of what I was doing to my knee and not how the knee was repaired. I have had only one ACL repair on the other knee and that one convinced me to change what I was doing and I haven’t had any issues since. It seems Medlen said something the other day about watching video to try to determine what he was doing that was causing the problem.

  87. @139 Andrews did both. In a depressing bit of related news, Andrews estimates a 20% chance that a pitcher will return to pre-surgery form after two TJs.

  88. Everyone should probably get comfortable with the idea of Kris Medlen, long reliever, and Brandon Beachy, that guy that had that one year.

  89. Will Medlen be that long reliever for the Braves? Not sure they’ll offer him arbitration and pay his 2015 salary.

  90. 147 – I’ve been thinking the same thing. I have to wonder how likely it will be to see either of them playing in a Braves uni again.

  91. It used to disturb me that it seemed like the Braves put drafting pitching ahead of position players. It used to disturb me that it seemed like every list of our top minor league players seemed to be heavy with pitching. Not any more.

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