Natspos 4 Braves 1


BJ Upton continues to get ABs in the two hole and has the fourth most ABs on the team (.205 BA .276 OBP .332 SLUG)

Chris Johnson continues to have a terrible attitude.

Fredi Gonzalez doesn’t protect his players and must have BJ confused with Justin Upton.

That’s all you need to know.


302 thoughts on “Natspos 4 Braves 1”

  1. We can’t hit RHP to save our lives.

    I imagine Wren is looking for a LH CF as we speak. Cheap and, you would think, available improvement: Chris Coghlan, Michael Saunders, when healthy…I don’t know what has happened with Gerardo Parra, but we know the Diamondbacks love to sell low.

    It’s amazing that we’ve lost 3/5 of our starting rotation, and it’s not our biggest issue.

  2. Perhaps it would help to get Gary Sheffield to come give a hitting tutorial/intervention to BJ.

    First order of business: “BJ, you are no Gary Sheffield.”

    (Yes, I know I have Sheffield talking in the third person but maybe that’ll help, too.)

  3. The talk in the paper here in DC is that, since Bobby Cox’s departure (i.e., Fredi’s arrival), the Braves have adopted a tactic of throwing purpose pitches at the other team’s best hitter. (What the players actually said was that a lot of pitches seem to “slip.”)Yesterday, Santana threw up and in at Anthony Rendon in his first at bat. Now, maybe this is simply sour grapes, but, given the attitude you see the Braves display (CJ throwing another temper tantrum and getting thrown out in the middle of the game, BJ thinking no pitch is a strike), the Braves seem to be developing a bad boys’ reputation. That’s fine if you have the talent to back it up, but they don’t seem to.

    With all the talk about Fredi’s in-game management, I think the biggest problem is that he seems to be losing control of the team. That’s much more problematic than some bad tactical moves.

  4. The Braves don’t play a .500 or above team again until July 29. Now is the time to turn up.

  5. I thought that Santana actually looked a lot better yesterday. Even though it does not necessarily show in the results.

  6. The Diamondbacks are sellers and have a lot to offer. I’ll be posting an article later today about Shopping for Snakes! Eric Chavez, Joe Thatcher, Oliver Perez, Prado, Brandon McCarthy (really needs to get out of Arizona) all seem like good fits for this club.

    Really and truly, I think the Braves need to find a way to pull off a CJ for Prado trade. Whatever they need to do to get some positive energy back in that clubhouse. If it takes more than CJ, so be it.

  7. Santana walked Rendon in that at-bat. He was all over the place. I think it’s tinfoil hat kind of stuff to suggest it’s Fredi’s initiative to throw at guys who hit the ball. Every team has its whiners, complainers, and bad tempers. To suggest this is somehow unique to the Braves reveals an underlying agenda.

  8. We’ve thrown at or near Harper relentlessly. If we treated every team’s star hitter the way we’ve treated him, they’d be onto something. But they’re just generalizing their own experience. Not to say I’m not tired of the Harper treatment — I am, and I hope we’re done with it.

  9. Fredi couldn’t possibly be “losing control of the clubhouse” just now…if that was the case (and it might just be the case) it would have happened in prior years.

  10. I don’t know how to find this stuff easily, but I bet some of you can do this.

    How does the preseason ZIPS (and other systems) prediction and actual compare for the Braves in 2014? My memory is that offense was projected SLIGHTLY down overall, but that assumed a bad Uggla and a not nearly this good Gattis. Everybody else was close except Johnson who wasn’t down a lot (near career norms). In fact, JUP and J-Hey are around where they were projected overall, Gattis is above. Freeman is on. CJ, Simmons, and Uggla are down, and 2nd base overall is about “on.” BJ is around where he was projected (maybe a little under).

    My feeling is that the offensive flaws on this team aren’t supposed to be this bad and that somehow somebody has got to get control of the aggressiveness. Both swinging too much and swinging too hard.

  11. What levers does the coaching staff really have with players who are too stubborn to change their approaches? The whole damn everyday lineup has guaranteed multi-year contracts. You can’t bench everyone. What can you really do?

  12. All the talk about trading for certain positions is nice, but what do we have to offer? I have seen someone say Johnson for Prado. Why would the Diamondbacks give us Prado for a guy they threw into the J. Upton trade that brought them Prado in the first place? They obviously did not want Johnson the first time around. Also, CF help would be nice, but again, what do we have to trade for it?

    I hate to say it, but we might as well get used to seeing the same 8 everyday players we have been seeing. We have no trade value outside of some young arms in our farm system, but we may need them sooner rather than later considering Santana and Harang are just here for the year, and we have no idea the exact timeline on Medlen and Beachy for next year.

    Oh, there is, also, that little fact that the Braves are tapped out on their budget. If we get anything, it will be cheap which means, at best, it will be a solid bat and fielder off the bench. It will not be an everyday player. We all just better start hoping for a turnaround.

  13. I’m not sure Fredi has “lost control” per se, I just think there’s a lot of douches on the team. Chris Johnson can be hard to root for at times, and BJ is just a lost cause of fandom. Some of our pitchers also like to throw at hitters, and depending on where you sit on the subject, that’s going to shape your opinion. Personally, I don’t like throwing at hitters, so that stuff wears on me.

    The reality is that we’ve lost 2/5 of our rotation (one of the TJs doesn’t really count since we expanded the budget to afford his replacement), our offense is under-performing, and some of our automatics from last year are no longer automatic. If a ball was hit to short, it was an automatic out. Not the case this year. If we got the 9th with the lead, it was automatic. Really, for the last couple years, if we got to the 7th, it was almost a done deal, and that is FAR from reality this year.

    The last issue is really what drains on this team. In years past, O’Ventbrel had 1/3 of the game on lockdown. Let’s take Saturday night’s game. Top of the 7th, Teheran is due up and he’s at 91 pitches. Instead of grabbing a Brooks Conrad or an Eric Hinske and giving the ball to O’Ventbrel, you have to burn an out by letting Teheran hit (with no good options on the bench anyway), and then you’ve got to run him back out there. When the options were Simmons or Varvaro in the pen, I couldn’t fault Fredi for the move. Next inning, Teheran gives up another run, and it puts us further behind.

  14. anyone think it is possible to trade Santana to a contender and they take BJ as well for a PTBNL in return?
    Even Uggla and Santana may be worth the dump.

    You would never think we were in first place 2 days ago with this sorry bunch of hitters.

  15. We need another arm or two in the pen and a bat off the bench. I would really like to find a platoon partner for BJ.

  16. I was at the game yesterday. If Santana tried throwing at Rendon, it certainly didn’t seem that way to me — nor to the rest of the fans, as far as I could tell. He was not at all sharp in the early going.

    I happen to like the newspaper in DC, for obvious reasons, but I certainly didn’t see what that writer appears to imply.

  17. Doumit should have been in the lineup against Fister. Of all the players in our lineup, he had the most experience against him and hit him pretty well. But Doumit sat so we could run Justin out there in the six hole.

    My speculation is that putting Justin in the six hole is Fredi’s way of “easing him back into the lineup”, which is all kinds of dumb. Justin looks like he’s completely lost out there, so if he’s still feeling ill effects from his vertigo, he should be sitting. Especially in light of BJ perpetually stinking up the joint.

  18. Doumit has a career .761 OPS as a catcher. You could assume that his production would increase if he wasn’t catching on a consistent basis. He also has close to an .800 OPS when he played in the NL. He has the range of a statue, which is not nothing, but I’m having a hard time believing that his bad defense offsets a potential 100 point increase in OPS over Kim Jong-Un (yes, that is his new nickname). I mean, has anyone thrown a OPS conversion ratio for defense? That’s got to be a thing, right?

  19. What would it take to get Prado, Chavez, and Joe Thatcher from the Diamondbacks…aside from a miracle? Chris Johnson and Shae Simmons?

  20. He’s 33, not 43. We need offense for about 6 months and then he’s free to decline. I think, in a limited role, he could provide the level of offense he’s provided for the last several years. Anything’s better than Kim Jong-Un (not to be insensitive, but I really want this to catch on).

  21. Once again with feeling. This team CANNOT carry Johnson, Simmons AND BUpton’s weak ass bats.

    Ad Nauseum – there is no in house solution for 3B. There is a chance that OF offense can be improved.

    @22 – been there done that. EVERYONE gave me hell about how the drop off in RF CF and LF defense wasn’t worth trying a potentially better hitter in LF. I disagree, but I am too lazy to try and figure out how to prove otherwise.

    @24 – But ya gotta give him a chance to be better than BUpton, right?

  22. @25 – Apparently the OFG agrees with the masses. Ryan Doumit is no longer an everyday field player. Last year BUpton got, what? A 100 games before he was benched. Well I got news for ya Fredi, If you wait for 100 games this season we’ll be in 4th place.

  23. If you have Facebook and haven’t seen this new promo featuring Gattis and “facts” from the GattisFacts twitter account, you should take a minute and watch it. I think it’s great Gattis will do stuff like this.

  24. Where were you sitting, AAR? I was out near the foul poll in RF. Pretty good view! Well, except for all the baseball, which was awful.

  25. @Ryan C

    Why do you keep proposing trades with the Diamondbacks? They are not going to give us any of what they have for any of what we have for anything other than one or two or our young arms. There is nothing on our MLB roster that they would want. This is especially true of Johnson. They gave him to us for nothing in the Prado trade, so why would they want him back?

  26. Any player on the mlb team that we’d want to trade is someone that nobody else would want. We’ll have to give up minor league talent in order to get any kind of impact player this year, and we don’t have tons of minor league talent to offer either. Our low-minors pitching prospects are mostly getting lit up this year.

    This is pretty much the team we will see for the next couple of years. We have to hope they figure things out.

  27. @30 and 31. You guys are right. No one will take any players we have and we are definitely DOOMED!

  28. What’s a weird contrast with all the doom and gloom about our team’s future is that we have one of the youngest teams in MLB. No starter over 30, right?

  29. Ryan C,

    You’re going to spend the next three months crying without Heyward on the Dingos. Glad to do business with you.

    (Verlander-for-Heyward swap, straight up, for those interested.)

  30. Which of our extended players has no-trade clauses?

    If I were the Braves right now I would talk on Chris Johnson and listen on Kimbrel.

  31. @34
    I think it’s a good buy-low for me at this time. I have Corey Dickerson, Yasiel Puig, Carlos Gomez, George Springer and Evan Gattis that I can play in the OF. Heyward has been competing for a bench spot lately with that group. The pleasure was mutual.

  32. @29, that’s really weird — I was too. Section 136. Meant that I had a perfect view on just what a crappy call the umpire made to ring up Chris Johnson on a checked swing. (I was the guy who yelled at the top of his lungs, “HEY UMP, YOUR OPINION ON THAT PLAY IS BENEATH CONTEMPT!”)

  33. Of our everyday players, B.J. Upton is the only true problem if you look at the numbers and play overall. B.J. is a lost cause, but there can still be an argument to keep patient with Simmons and Johnson.

    Offensively, Simmons is right where we should have expected him to be. His AVG/OBP/OPS is basically right where it was last year. Also, he is 4th in the league in fielding for shortstops with a better fielding percentage so far than he had last year. He is on pace for less errors, too. Although that might be due to us having a pitching staff that gives up more fly balls this year. In the end, he has a great glove and a less than desirable bat that would start on any team in baseball because of his glove.

    Offensively, Johnson is not where he was last year at this point, but we should look at something. Last year, Johnson started off hot and tapered late in the year. This year Johnson has improved every month. He has hit safely every game but 4 for the month of June. His AVG/OBP/OPS line is as follows for June: .341/.365/.792. In May it was .277/.287/.626. In April it was .230/.261/.583. He has a temper, but I can deal with that if he continues to rise like that. In other words, he is still viable for us because his bat does appear to be coming around.

    B.J. is our downfall. Simmons is okay because he would be the down bat in any lineup on any team in baseball just because his glove is so great. Johnson is turning it around at the plate according to his numbers, and we cannot afford going out and getting 3rd baseman. Simmons and Johnson at 7 and 8 is not horrible for our lineup. We need something done in center so that we have a viable 2-hole or 6-hole hitter. One hitter could turn out team around, but can we get one?

  34. Third comment in a row, so I’ve got to make it count:

    How much would it take to pry J.D. Martinez from Detroit?

  35. @38
    BJ Upton is not the only one true problem. That type of thinking is reliant too much on the current offensive production of Chris Johnson (which is aided by a ridiculous .432 BABIP in June)and not factoring in below average defense at 3rd. Add BJ and CJ together, and you don’t even get 1 full WAR. That’s 2 glaringly obvious problems, seeing eye singles in June be damned.

  36. There’s lots of problems offensively (Heyward and Simmons among them). I still don’t see how a trade is even possible with this team. Are we going to trade BJ? CJ? Uggla? Lol. Harang or Santana?

    You’ll have to trade Heyward or Simmons or Gattis to get a good player in return. We aren’t doing that.

    All Wren is going to do is add another Doumit or another Avilan. He’s got zero flexibility.

  37. @35

    None of our players have no trade clauses, but we would not get rid of Freeman, Simmons, or Heyward as far as everyday players go. We still have Johnson fairly cheap even though we did give him an extension. J. Upton could go, but we won’t get rid of him because he is talented. Plus, we have him fairly cheap for the next 2 years after this one. We would be crazy to trade Kimbrel unless we got offered a sultan’s sum of goods. Tehran is one of the best in the game as far as I am concerned. Of the last two big contracts, no one will touch B.J. or Uggla.

    Our one value that nobody really talks about is Gattis. We all have to realize that any contending American League team is licking there chops at the idea of having him fill their DH and occasional catcher role. He could net us some good worth if we shopped him. I know we would lose his bat, but it might provide us more good in the short and long run.

  38. @42
    Heyward has an .805 OPS since 4/30, krussel. It’s absurd to think he’s been a problem.

  39. @44, his 2014 OPS is still below average for his position, but I will agree with you that he’s been better if you throw out his horrible April. He’s not the hitting star this lineup needs him to be though.

  40. @41

    We cannot fill two positions, but we can hope to take care of one problem. It has to be the biggest one. B.J. is just that.

    Johnson is 5th in the league amongst 3rd basemen in defense. His range stinks, but this is offset by having a short stop with tremendous range. Basically, Johnson catches it if it is hit at him. I can live with that.

    Also, it is not just June for Johnson. He has showed improvement throughout the season. He had a slow start but has started producing. Yes, they are singles up the middle, but at least, they are singles. It is something.

    B.J. provides us nothing at this point. I am being realistic and positive in saying Johnson is not our problem because he is something that is salvageable.

  41. @37-

    Heh. I was in 235. It was a pretty bad call. I was amused when everyone started cheering and then started booing over the course of Johnson getting kicked. Why would they start booing? I dun get it.

  42. @46
    Chris Johnson’s overall defensive rankings according to Fangraphs: 8th in NL, 16th in Majors
    BJ Upton’s overall defensive rankings according to Fangraphs: 3rd in NL, 5th in Majors.

    UZR/150- CJ, 10th in NL out of 11 qualified. BJ, 2nd.
    DRS- CJ, 10 in NL out of 11 qualified. BJ, 3rd.

    What “defense” are you using?

  43. @mlbbowman: Schlosser allowed a run in 7 IP for Gwinnett today. His next start could come during Saturday’s doubleheader in Philly

  44. @48

    I use straight up stats when it comes to defense due to sabermetric stats being to reliant on player comparisons. One shouldn’t be able to assume defense. One can assume offense because they can compare the production in the at bats given. You cannot say if this player got just as many grounders or fly balls this would happen. I go based on fielding percentage and number of errors. Johnson is 5th in the league amongst 3rd basemen in fielding percentage and only has 5 errors. That tells me he fields the balls he can get to. This is all I am worried about. Everything else is just subjective. Just like with Simmons, he fields the balls he can get to. He just so happens to have the best range in the game with an amazing arm. I think that Simmons offsets Johnson’s range deficiency somewhat, and he is a viable bat at the moment. B.J. might have range, but he is not a viable bat. He could be easily replaced with Heyward in center and us find a cheap outfielder to possibly give us a little more than B.J. at the plate.

  45. Who are potential left handed hitting bona fide centerfielders?

    I think you can move Heyward to center against righthanders. But, that still needs you getting an outfielder.

    You COULD do a Uggla for Beltran, maybe?

    What is David DeJesus up to?

  46. i wouldnt mind giving Success ABs against RHPs and start platooning him with BUpton. I like his defense a little better and he can’t be any worse at the plate.

  47. Just a reminder that trying to include Uggla or BJ in a potential trade package lessens the value of said package. You have to not include them to get something you’d like to have. They cannot be traded, only released.

  48. I think we should trade Uggla, BJ, Floyd, Avilan, and Chris Johnson to Anaheim for Mike Trout. That’s like 5 for 1, how could they say no?

  49. @54

    B.J. cannot be released due to the amount owed over the next 4 years. We only have Uggla this season and next. We could easily bite the bullet designate him for assignment. We have to have at least one of those two off our 25-man roster and clear a spot. The only real option to do this with is Uggla. He is basically cutting us to a 24-man roster at this point.

  50. Uggla, Schafer and BJ are terrible. We need to up grade at least two of those roles.

  51. @52 and @56

    I am just trying to be as positive as possible. We can, at most, take care of one spot in the lineup this season. Of Johnson and B.J. Upton., Johnson is the lesser evil of the two. If you two actually think B.J. gives us a better chance to win than Johnson out of the two, you two have not been watching the same games I have. B.J. is an automatic out at the plate whereas Johnson is coming along. Yes, B.J. is better via sabermetrics on defense, but who cares? We have two other plus outfielders out there to take care of one subpar outfielder if we find another bat. We need a bat, and at the moment, B.J. is the one that has to go.

  52. @58

    I agree,

    We designate Uggla for assigment and hope someone bites on him. If not, we give him his outright release. We bite the bullet on the remaining 11+ million for a different bat on the bench. We send Schafer to the minors or a team wanting his speed. We send B.J. to the bench to take Schafer’s role as 4th outfield and pinch runner because he is owed just to much money over to long of a time to do anything else with. Now, we have two spots open up for other players to get a chance.

  53. Uggla’s presence is an utter mystery at this point. This bench isn’t deep enough to waste on a guy who can’t play OF, corner IF, or SS… ONLY 2B.

    Any considerable upgrade to the starting lineup is going to cost Lucas Sims, Christian Bethancourt, or both. I don’t think the team is willing to do that.

  54. @61

    I agree with that.

    Another option is there, too. This has been mentioned and might open up some different situations for us. We could always move Gattis to LF and bring Bethancourt up to catch. This would allow us to see if Bethancourt truly is big league ready like so many people have been talking. If he is and Gattis does okay in LF, we have a quick fix there. If he is and Gattis does horrible in LF while still hitting, it makes Gattis a viable trade option to a bat hungry American League team and could get us a hefty sum. If Bethancourt isn’t ready, we move Gattis back to catcher, and we trade Sim and Bethancourt for a nice return on an everyday outfielder.

  55. Bethancourt can’t hit in AAA. He will make the team worse than running BJ Upton out there.

    If there is anything at all to the “so many people talking,” it’s probably the team whispering it, because they might finally be ready to cut the cord with him, not because they are actually considering bringing him up.

  56. @63

    I have to wonder that, too. His minor league numbers have always been horrible at the plate, and we should not see some miraculous turn around at the pros. I am not saying it has never happened, but I have never seen a bat get drastically better once a person hits the pros. It seems at though you can always expect a drop in average and stolen bases compared to people’s minor league numbers.

    There is a lot of talk about this Peraza kid we have in double AA. We can assume that he won’t keep that production up either. Plus, he is still only 4 games into double AA. At best he is a September call up. I cannot believe people are saying bring him to the pros already. It is not like he is on the same talent level as Trout or Harper.

  57. If you’re willing to run Heyward out there in CF, two guys on losing teams that you might get for lesser prospects are Marlon Byrd (FA after next season) and Alex Rios (FA after this season.) Both moves may be problematic, as Byrd is in the division, and Rios is a Ranger, and that club might still expect to compete.

    Wait a few weeks and hope the Twins fall out, and there’s Josh Willingham. Pirates and Reds are hovering around .500, but are 9 games out, so you might get a Travis Snider or Ryan Ludwick.

    These are all imperfect players, but they can stand in LF, hit better than BJ Upton, and let you keep Sims and Bethancourt.

  58. Uggla’s presence is an utter mystery at this point.

    Looks like somebody has found The Pictures.

  59. Also, we have to see what teams want for the players, and who these players are. I can hope that we would compete for the World Series, but I think this season will be a success if we make the playoffs. There is no need to trade any player with a high upside for a player that will be a half season rental. The only reason ever to go after a half or one season return guy is if you think that piece will make you a true contender. The Braves are far from any one player turning them into a contender at this point.

  60. I’d like to see the Braves inquire about Ben Zobrist. He’s 33 so the Rays couldn’t reasonably expect a huge haul. He’s having a down year (which cuts both ways, might make it easier to steal him but maybe he’s seeing true decline) but he can play just about anywhere, so he could spot start at 2nd, 3rd, or LF as needed.

  61. Salty, Man I wish you were our GM. Uggla should be gone, BJ on the bench. Can’t see ANYONE and I mean ANYONE taking BJ in a trade.

  62. @69

    I love the idea of Ben Zobrist becoming our platoon player for a number of positions. He can play most of the infield and the two corner outfield positions. His line this season is .250/.333/.708. With those numbers, he would almost get to play full time between subbing at second, short, 3rd, and the outfield. He would probably play 3 out of every 5 games by subbing between Johnson and B.J. against right handed pitchers. We just move Heyward to CF when he subs for B.J. He is a viable 2-hole hitter with his OBP and walk to strikeout ratio.

    The problem is that I think he would still cost us a good young arm. Most any team that is going to trade with us knows that we are in dire need and will be able to bleed us for all it is worth. The only other people looking to sell are trying to unload high salary players in which we cannot afford.

  63. With the extra wild card spot, multiple teams would be in on Zobrist if he came available. We would be outbid.

  64. I’ll say this…when trade ideas are passed around and discussed, the Debbie Downers come out in flocks. No one thought we’d get Justin and we got him for much cheaper than what we imagined. Same went for Michael Bourn and Paul Maholm/R.Johnson. There’s reverse homer-ism that’s present ’round this place.

  65. We can’t trade our decent pitching prospects because it seems like we’ll be needing them pretty soon. We can’t trade anyone on the MLB roster, either because we truly need them as cornerstone pieces, or because they just suck. I just don’t see how we can fix the offense when everyone is signed long-term. Benching BJ would be a circus. That will only happen after we’re buried in the standings.

    So what would Bethancourt plus a mid-range pitching prospect get you in return? I would guess not much. I hope I’m wrong. I would like to be wrong on this.

  66. I think that once we finally rid ourselves of the man that put these pieces together, we’ll wonder why in the hell we put up with this so long.

  67. How many “Uggla for Beltran?”‘s get posted for every trade actually that gets pulled off? Reverse homerism is so not our problem on here, even if I share your optimism that Wren can swing a deal for an undervalued, helpful piece or two that can get us to the play-in/playoffs.

    I wouldn’t be surprised at all if we dealt Bethancourt, Peraza, Sims, Graham…I also agree that the Diamondbacks would make a good, realistic trading partner. But if workable trades were that easy to come up with, they’d probably happen more often in real life.

  68. If there is one thing that Wren is good at it’s finding useful bullpen pieces for nothing.

  69. SEC teams have been represented in all three major championships – football, basketball and now baseball.

    So far, they’ve come up short. It’s up to the Fightin’ Stus to represent.

  70. Not much on tonight other than the CWS. Vandy in an early 1-0 hole. That UVA lefty looks like he’s going to be really tough.

  71. Not Debbie downers, most of us realize that other teams aren’t dumb. Any trade proposed involving Uggla or BUpton is a non starter. Our top prospects aren’t all that top and our good players are just good, not difference maker types that used to get you a haul of prospects. Speculation is fun. I get it. I guess I am too much of a realist to engage in it.

    The team is hamstrung. No internal options on offense no trade chips and a lot of guys not improving or even taking backward steps.

  72. Does anybody think a team would bite for us to unload both Uptons for a little something in return? I know we would lose J. Upton in the deal but we would, also, clear 23 million in salary by dropping both Uptons. We could get a little something in return, too, due to Justin being involved. I do not think we would get a lot due to the team having to take on B.J.’s salary.

    I think it would get us an okay return as in maybe a outfield starter and would free us up some money to pursue another outfielder that we could get via another trade possibly involving Bethancourt and Sims.

    Ah, wishful thinking.

  73. BJ Upton has 3.5 years left of a 5 year deal. That’s a lot to ask anyone to take on. If BJ had the rest of Uggla’s contract (1.5 years), maybe. But he doesn’t.

  74. Wow the Virginia starter has suddenly lost all command in the 3rd. Four walks in the inning and counting. Vandy doing what they do best on offense…work into deep counts and running the bases.

  75. Okay,

    I think I have a trade proposal that the Tampa Bay Rays might bite on. We give them Justin Upton, B.J. Upton, and Bethancourt. They need outfield and a young catcher. B.J. had okay numbers for them, and they might think his return would turn him around. Justin Upton would be a big upgrade for them. Their catchers are old as dirt, so the addition of Bethancourt might make this all go. This allows them to have 2 if not 3 possible starters out of the deal.

    In return, we get Zobrist to play LF, Matt Joyce for RF, and Mikie Mahtook who plays outfield in their minor league system. Zobrist has a ’14 and ’15 year option on his current contract, so if he does good, he is not a one year rental. Matt Joyce is only signed through the year but allows us to have a left handed bat with decent OBP in the lineup. He should resign cheap if he worked out. Mahtook’s numbers looks like he may be MLB ready at least by next year if not this year to take over in left or right.

    This allows us to move Heyward to Center and have Zobrist and Joyce play the corners. Defensively we take a little hit, but our lineup gets better as a whole. It gives the rays 2 to 3 starter by only giving up one starter, a backup, and a minor league player. Also, it saves us a good bit of money and we possibly get a decent OF for the future in Mahtook.

    Also, if Mahtook is ready to move up soon, we have Mahtook and Joyce at the corners with Heyward in CF. Zobrist gets freed up to play 3rd, SS, and 2nd base on a regular basis. He becomes our premier platoon player due to switch hitting. He would get full time at bats while allowing us to rest people and not have Johnson face right handed pitching.

  76. Vandy with the 9-spot in the 3rd and still batting. Whoah.

    BTW, if your trade proposal involves BJ Upton then you are not operating in the realm of the possible.

  77. @86

    I know B.J. is the deal breaker. We could possibly agree to take on 5 million of his contract for each year remaining on it to sweeten the deal. It still puts us ahead of where we are now. I mean, we are basically paying him 15 million for nothing at this point. Might as well pay him 5 million a year to do nothing for someone else and allow us to get something else in the process.

    Also, Tampa might think he might rekindle some old magic with them. They cannot be in any worse shape than they are now. Plus, the get Justin and Bethacourt in the deal. That is not to shabby. They would have Justin Upton for two more seasons after this year for less than 10 million a year.

  78. As problems go, even homerism is a distant second to myopia. This is not a team to be blown up. At what is likely our worst, we just salvaged a split against a pretty good team, and we did it by beating their two best pitchers. We’re just 2.5 games back in the wildcard. It’d be a travesty to sell. We can still make the playoffs this year and next year.

  79. @RyanC

    I hope you enjoy getting dominated this week by the Proven Closer. Those Dingos are getting slaughtered.

  80. Bring the pain, Rob Cope! I have 5 starting pitchers going tomorrow! My team is frickin’ strong now!

  81. I’ve really enjoyed the discourse on the site today, but it’s pretty splintered and lacks cohesion. Alex, would you be interested in writing a “State of the Union” for our Braves so that dimwits like me can understand definitively why we suck so bad? Including what you would do to improve the club would just provide icing on the proverbial analysis cake. It is my birthday next month, if that helps.

  82. Actually I think there are dumb teams (or more properly dumb front offices). The Braves filled that role quite well for most of the ’70s and ’80s. Trading Joe Torre who goes on to lead the NL in hitting; acquiring Len Barker; signing Andy Messersmith as a FA.
    Let’s hope we’re not dealing with the Frank Wren of Baltimore!

  83. @85 – I don’t really know where to start, so I’ll just point out that the Rays are in last place, 11.5 games back, and their current $76m payroll is the highest in their history, and $15m more than it was last year. They’re going to cut payroll, not add it. In fact, they’re probably going to trade David Price.

    The Rays do not want BJ Upton and they can not really use Justin Upton. They definitely can’t afford to pay either of them.

  84. I guess anything is possible (I mean, the Berlin Wall fell and someone took Joe Johnson’s and Josh Smith’s contracts, so …).

    I’d say losing Justin (whom I like as a player) is a price I’m willing to pay to get rid of his brother’s whiny ass.

  85. Both Will Venable and Chase Headley could be buy-low candidates, especially Venable. He signed an extension this past offseason through next year and isn’t even starting for the Padres with Quentin back. Both are having horrendous years, but have the track records for success.

  86. Ryan, I’d be happy with both

    Hetman says Price is now available and the Braves are interested and it makes sense. What’s the cost? Hale, Graham, Bethancourt, etc? Can we get Zobrist too?

  87. Rob, Joe Lucia does a decent job here:

    But here’s basically what I think: the Braves are basically an 85-win team. They have good defense, pretty good pitching, and bad offense, and they’re in the bottom half in baseball in payroll. They’ve been badly hurt by losing three starting pitchers for the year, and by the offensive stagnation of Jason Heyward and Andrelton Simmons, and collapse of Dan Uggla and BJ Upton. They’re going to finish the year a few games under .500 and they’ll probably either lose the Wild Card Game or lose the Division Series.

  88. Price will cost multiple blue-chip prospects, and I’m certain other teams can top Bethancourt and Sims – Price is literally the top player known to be available on the trade market. Zobrist’s price would be scarcely less than that for Price: he’s been one of the best players in baseball over the last five years, he’s on a really cheap contract, and the Rays are well known for asking for the moon in trades.

    Just look at what they got from the Cubs for Garza.

  89. We can’t hit RHP for shit, is a bunch of the problem.

    What would David Price cost? He’s not a free agent until 2016, and as usual at the deadline, there are many more buyers than sellers for ace-caliber pitching. Even if he is not exactly content being on the Rays at the moment, they’re not the kind of team that would just dump him. You do the math.

  90. It’s weird how for the longest time we couldn’t hit LHP for shit, now we can’t hit RHP. Or maybe, not having looked at the stats breakdown, we can’t hit either for shit.

  91. Is Bethancourt a blue-chip prospect to anyone other than Braves fans? Our best position-player prospect might be Peraza at this point. If we were to make a trade it would have to involve minor-league pitching – Sims, Graham, Cabrera, etc – or maybe a hard-throwing reliever like Simmons or Jaime.

  92. @101 – Good analysis from Lucia. I think you meant that we’ll finish a few games over .500, right? Then lose in the post season.

    Alex, I concur. A lot of things have gone wrong this season. Unfortunately, being the pessimist that i am, I cannot see anything getting better. Where I am really worried is beyond this season.

  93. Ian Kennedy would be a good pickup. He’s pitching well when away from Petco, and Sims/Graham would be more valuable to the Padres than to other teams because of that park. They have no need of Bethancourt. But that’s the kind of slightly-under-the-radar move that Wren should make.

    It keeps getting repeated that we are tapped out, budget-wise, but are we really? Like, that’s what Peanut/DOB are saying? Didn’t we just free up a little more revenue?

  94. To me, we’ve spent enough effort this year obtaining #4 starters with little upside. This season seems to be a problem that can’t be solved, so (unsatisfying though it may be) I think the best course of action is to stand pat and hope the offense comes around somewhat. If we get to September and it’s not working out, CJ and Walden seem the most likely trade candidates.

  95. We’re basically tapped out until a billionaire decides he’ll make more money by spending money on the team than by standing pat.

    Bethancourt isn’t a blue-chip prospect, but he’s a real prospect. Basically, his floor is as a 10-year major league backup, and if he ever develops a bat he’ll be a starter.

  96. @109, Unsure if you’re responding to me, but Ian Kennedy is a bit better than a #4 starter. He’s striking out more than a batter an inning, walking 2.5 batters per 9, and keeping the ball in the park even when away from Petco. He’s a solid bet to improve upon Harang heading forward.

    Sure, the offense is the most obvious place to improve the team. But any marginal improvement is quite valuable to this team, and as people keep repeating, it’s less likely that BJ/CJ are going anywhere anytime soon than for someone like Harang to be released/stashed in the ‘pen.

  97. Didn’t Bill Parcells say that eventually you are who your record says you are? And this team, at the 75 game mark, sure looks like a club that’s lucky to be at .500 with their run differential.

    I don’t know what the answer is – or even if there *IS* an answer, but we aren’t going to be doing a lot in the postseason with what we have now. And I’m not sure we have the bullets to improve via the trade market.

  98. I would think with Floyd begin done for the year, insurance will pick up part of his contract. The FO said in the spring they had some room if they needed to make adjustments to the roster.

  99. Ian Kennedy has gone three years between effective seasons — and he’s been so bad at PETCO that he’s enjoying his fourth poor year in a row. I’m always intrigued in a possible buy-low candidate, but I don’t trust him.

  100. We’re going to finish well below .500 if we don’t add a good starting pitcher. The offense is totally unfixable so you just have to wish and hope for a turnaround there. Pitching can maybe be addressed. I don’t think getting another 4th or 5th starter type is going to help much, but it at least keeps our Gwinnett guys from having to eat a bunch of innings.

  101. Alex, his peripherals look good this year; k/9 up, bb/9 down WHIP down, HR/9 down, FIP at 3.04. The one thing that is up is hits and that can be contributed to a high BABIP against. The Padres defense looks exceptionally ordinary with their starting SS, 1b, LF, and RF all in the red according to Fangraphs, and the rest neither good or bad, with the exceptions being Maybin and Headley who rate well.

  102. I think that we have shot all of our bullets. The FO did an admirable job on quickly pulling the trigger on the Santana acquisition when 2/5 of our rotation busted their elbows. But a lack of prospects and a couple of bad contracts can sure restrict a team’s flexibility.

    We aren’t out of contention but I don’t think there are any trades out there that fix the many things wrong with the team. There may be one more hot streak left for us this year and as someone pointed out the schedule says it should come now. So we’ll see

  103. What bothered me, in a way, was the Braves’ comments after the Nats’ series to the effect of we are happy with the split. Granted, the Nats have a good pitching staff and the Braves beat their two best pitchers, but that seems like a pretty low standard-after winning the first two games, be happy with the split. I wonder if the team is beginning to accept its mediocrity.

  104. I don’t know why anybody takes any player or manager’s comments to the media at face value. I also don’t see anything poor about Ian Kennedy’s performance this season.

  105. @119
    Alex is looking at his adjusted ERA, I’m sure, which does show he’s been below average for 2.5 straight years and average the year prior.

  106. @121

    I don’t know if Rick Behenna, Brett Butler and Brook Jacoby for 10-20 over 2 seasons and a month is the worst trade the Braves ever made but it has to be in the Top 5.

    While we’re wallowing in our cups over the current team, those with long memories have seen worse, much worse!

  107. Darrell Evans for Willie Montanez doesn’t get enough credit as a crappy deal IMO.

  108. Yeah, I’ve seen far worse Braves teams.

    This season I had taken a big gulp of the Kool Aid and really believed that BJ would be league average offensively, Heyward would hit like a super star, CJ wouldn’t regress to far and that our combination of good starting pitching and shutdown relief would get us to the playoffs. I realize that this season isn’t lost but a lot of guys are going to have to turn it up a notch.

    edit: Darrel Evans was one of my favorite Braves.

  109. @124, some of that stuff can still happen (except for BJ being league average). It’s not exactly “early” anymore, but there’s plenty of time for these guys to catch fire.

  110. @125 I agree. I guess I got spoiled by our fast start because if you think about it we shouldn’t be in contention. 3/5 of our starting staff started on the DL. We were depending on a scrap heap reclamation and a free agent that no one wanted to carry us through April. And they did.

    I think we’ll still contend but it won’t be pretty.

  111. #109
    Yep. The guys underperforming offensively simply gotta pick it up because, relative to the NL, the pitching is good.

    Our HRs are OK (though it would be nice to see CJ crack a few more), but we’re last in the NL in 2Bs & near the bottom in runs (268), OBP (.303) & OPS (.680). For 3 months, this has been a pretty feeble bunch.

    And I’m not sure I have anything more to add about BJ. I realize that getting one hot month out of him seems pretty impossible, but it could be enormous if it ever happened.

  112. We don’t need Ian Kennedy. We need a LH platoon partner for Johnson and a CF. I haven’t seen Eric Chavez’s numbers, maybe he could be an answer.

    Traditionally, Jason Heyward has been a 2nd half player, so that should help.

  113. Eric Chavez this year: .246/.346/.449 (.795) for a 119 OPS+.

    Chris Johnson this year: .281/.301/.361 (.662) for an 83 OPS+.

    Chavez has a .819 OPS vs RHP, and a .542 OPS vs LHP.

    Johnson has a 1.036 vs LHP, and a .587 OPS vs RHP.

    So all of that adds up.

    Unfortunately, Chavez just hit the DL two days ago with a sprained knee.

  114. We definitely need a better CF, but I will be absolutely shocked if Wren cuts bait with BJ. Trades involving a CF (or just a better fourth OF) are nice to think about but you have to weigh that against the likeliness of Wren admitting defeat and basically eating the last 3 years of the biggest FA contract we’ve ever handed out. Not going to happen.

    How about we just bat BJ 8th and tell him to STFU and play?

  115. For the offense to get better two of Heyward, Simmons, BUpton, or Johnson has to start hitting better than they are now. Now I’m depressed.

    In addition La Stella and Gattis can’t start sucking. Wow, this team’s offense is a high wire act.

  116. For chrissakes, Johnny, someone has to say this in every thread: Jason Heyward has not been the problem for two months now.

    April: .206/.296/.314 (.609)
    May: .284/.373/.404 (.777)
    June: .280/.359/.451 (.810)

    I know his season numbers have him at exactly league average. But he’s been raking for 57 games now. He isn’t the problem.

    Even looking at his season numbers… OPS+ of 102. Andrelton is at 81, Johnson at 83, and BJ at 65. He can’t, by any stretch of the imagination, be lumped in with those guys.

  117. I think we’re just saying that if Heyward raked even more then he’d make up for the dead weight in the lineup. If he’s just average or a bit above average then we’re gonna need to count on Simmons and BJ to do a whole lot better.

    We need him to go on a tear like the second half of last year before he got hit.

  118. @130,

    Forget about Wren admitting defeat; who the hell is going to take BJ unless the Braves eat the whole deal? I do think getting rid of BJ could be a sensitive issue because of Justin, but it’s just out of the question anyway. I doubt Wren’s ego is so big that that would keep him from making a deal but, short of trading him to Japan (or the Fiji Islands), I don’t know who would want BJ at this point. And Liberty Media definitely isn’t going to eat three years. Face it, BJ is ours. I agree with you, just bat him 8th so he hits less.

    The Braves’ situation with BJ reminds me a bit of the old movie “Airplane” where they say “We ought to route him into Lake Michigan, at least we’ll avoid killing innocent people!”

  119. Yeah, about that.. He is raking. League average OPS is about .725. He’s at .810 for June. He’s at .788 for his last 57 games. He’s getting it done.

    Just for fun, here’s Justin Upton by month:

    April: .326/.400/.641 (1.041)
    May: .277/.362/.515 (.877)
    June: .180/.219/.246 (.465)

    How in the world “We need more from Jason Heyward,” has become the trope, I just can not fathom.

  120. We won in April on the back of a hot month from JUpton (and ridiculous pitching). Why is it so crazy to want Heyward to put up a .900+ OPS stretch? Surely he’s capable of that.

    Someone needs to carry us. I don’t care who. We’ve got 3 players in the every day lineup that are having terrible offensive seasons (Simmons, BJ, CJ). We absolutely need JUpton/Freeman/
    Heyward/Gattis to rake.

  121. That’s fine. One guy going off like Justin did in April can certainly carry us to a 17-9 kind of month, like April was. And yes, Jason is certainly capable of doing that; every season in Jason’s career but one, he has put up one month of 1.000 OPS or better.

    But that’s saying a different thing than “two of Heyward, Simmons, BUpton, or Johnson has to start hitting better than they are now.”

  122. Sansho @123. Not only was getting Montanez for Darrell Evans a terrible deal, we also had to get CRAIG ROBINSON BACK from the Giants. I remember reading about the deal, and thought, Crap, Montanez is bad enough, but Robinson too!

  123. There were a couple months between when the Barker deal was announced and Brett Butler was named as the PTBNL. Those were months of denial for me. When I finally got word Butler was announced as the piece in the deal, I ran to my bedroom, stuffed my head in my pillow, and cried cried cried.

    I was a very sensitive 12-year-old Braves fan.

  124. @133 jj – guilty as charged. I tend to lump Heyward in with the 3 stooges. I guess its my disappointment that he hasn’t become the offensive force that he is supposed to be.

  125. Gattis… OPS+ 147
    Heyward.. OPS+ 102

    How about “Heyward needs to hit more like Gattis”?

  126. Freddie not exactly trending upward since he got hit on the hand by I forget who:

    OPS by month – 965/854/802

    Not a bad month yet, but it’s been a while since he was the fearsome presence we were just getting used to taking for granted.

  127. @138 – Well, Heyward does need to start hitting better. BJ, CJ and Simmons are that bad.

  128. In case anyone needs to put solid numbers behind the Braves’ inability to hit RHPs, here are the 214 season stats –
    Vs. LHP: .263/.330/.438 (.768 OPS)
    Vs. RHP: .236/.296/.359 (.655 OPS)

    Last year, the Braves had a .701 OPS v. LHP and a .731 OPS v. RHP (.723 overall, 3rd in NL). This year they’re at .680 overall, 11th in the NL.

  129. We have 5 of what appear to be at the moment reasonably good hitters. 3 of them happen to be left handed. Johnson, Simmons, and BJ are perfectly serviceable 7, 8, and 9 hitters. Unfortunately one of them has to bat 6th.

    Maybe we could find 5 pitchers capable of batting 6th. Get it done, Wren!

  130. I think I can recap 149 comments and one posted article: the team right now is not very good, there are no realistic trade scenarios based on the lack of pieces to trade, none of our bad players are going anywhere, the current players on the roster have to play better, and we don’t know who to blame (as if it matters).

    There you go. Just saved all that reading.

  131. @154- Haha. I forgot that we could blame Hanley Ramirez for making this clown available in the first place.

    Hopefully the BJ at leadoff experiment is a brief prelude to BJ hitting (or not hitting) in the 8 hole.

  132. If the word hitting and BJ are put together in a sentence we should do it Mac style.
    BJ is “hitting” lead off tonight.

  133. Maybe Fredi just forgot what “hitting after the pitcher” is supposed to mean?

    Fredi to himself — “I know what I’ll do…bat him tenth!”

  134. @mlbbowman: #Braves lineup: B.J. 8 La Stella 4 Freeman 3 Gattis DH Heyward 9 J. Upton 7 Johnson 5 Simmons 6 Laird 2….Harang gets the start

    Oh my….I’m lost for words

  135. We don’t have the pieces to trade for one difference-making player, and that’s dampening people’s enthusiasm/creativity (ryan c excepted) to come up with trade options.

    But there are teams that would trade us a cost-controlled-ish platoon partner/relief arm for some mix of Bethancourt/Peraza/Sims/Graham. And given teams’ track record with splashier deadline deals (aka Teixeira), it’s entirely possible that we end up as the team that got a big lift from a small deal.

    People shouldn’t let Harang’s trickery stop them from embracing the fact that we will indeed need another starter to hang with the Nats/Dodgers/Cardinals. The offense may need the most fixing, it may be easiest for Wren to find some small part to plug into a platoon, but improvement is improvement. Let’s take it where we can acquire it most efficiently.

  136. Surprise us, BJ.

    Willie Montanez was not a bad player & he didn’t play that badly in his brief Braves tenure, especially his 1st year.

    It was just that Darrell Evans was better & was certainly the classic “undervalued player” for the first half of his career, (i.e. – a .250 hitter who walked a lot & hit a decent amount of homers.)

    I’m not one who believes Evans is a Hall of Famer, but… if he had gotten traded to Detroit earlier (instead of the deadzone of Candlestick) or to another pro-hitting environment in his prime (say Fenway, Wrigley, The Bronx), his career would’ve been evaluated very differently.

  137. MAYBE, just MAYBE, BJ will realize that his skillset can be best used by getting on base and using his speed instead of trying to hit home runs like his brother. As a result, he’ll shorten his swing and increase his OPS by 150 points. MAYBE.

  138. @162
    yeah, I’d be willing to bet Shae is on the chopping block should some team need a closer. The Angels are in the market though nothing they have on the farm is of real worth to us, and their stars aren’t going anywhere. Kole Calhoun or Collin Cowgill could be interesting.

    Also, I think there should be a bad contract swap day at the Winter Meetings where all the GMs get together and decide if they want to keep their own crap, or take from someone else’s toilet.

    And guys, miracles do happen…

  139. And now you have 2 LHBs in a row and 3 out of 4. I’m beginning to come around on #FireFredi.

  140. Montanez was a very good hitter for average, but there were reasons he played for multiple teams in all but two of his last eight seasons (BBRef doesn’t list a nickname for him, but I swear it was “Hot Dog”). I loved the trade at the time, because Willie was the epitome of flashy while Evans was…not. But it seems that acquiring him was the equivalent of buying a boat (or, in this case, swapping your trusty Volvo for it).

  141. At this point, I think B.J.’s problems will require a lot more than realizing what he’s doing wrong. His mechanics are garbage, his approach is nonexistent, his ability to distinguish balls and strikes is gone, and he clearly has lost a lot of the confidence that he had when he was a hotshot prospect a decade ago, destroying the minor leagues. I doubt that he’s fixable at the major league level.

  142. @168 – great analogy. I remembered that we had Montanez but I forgot we traded Evans for him. I was a fan of the trade at the time becuase, you know, Willie was a .300 hitter! and Darrel was a .254 hitter. Stats were so much simpler then. I think it was Hot Dog.

    @165 – And I just spotted a yeti taking its pet dodo bird for a walk.

    @169 – Broken beyond repair. I agree. Its hard to watch him at bat. It really is.

  143. Re-visiting the Bourn trade:
    Braves got 1.5 years of Bourn for Paul Clemens, Jordan Schafer, Brett Oberholtzer, and Juan Abreu. A total fleecing. Why? Because everyone was fixated on Pence that year and completely neglected speed and defense that Bourn provided.

    Re-visiting the Maholm/R. Johnson trade:

    Braves got Maholm/R.Johnson for Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman
    Once again, a serious fleecing. Why? Because we got lucky when Dempster pulled out the ol’ no trade clause to us and went elsewhere. However, Maholm was most definitely great for us that year and no one was in on him because everyone was fixated on Dempster.

    So, what names are GMs fixated on this go around that will bump up their asking price? Samardzija and Price, two power pitchers, and Hammel who’s pitching the best of his career. Let Wren do what he always does and put his feelers out for the hot names on the market, then when it looks like we’ve lost out on everyone, pull off a trade no one expected.

  144. I do believe Wren has it in him to pull something off that will surprise us.

    What I’m not sure I believe is that it will be worth doing. The team can’t hit.

  145. @163,

    I think that’s the point. No one thought Darrel Evans was that good until the sabermetric revolution kicked and people started re-evaluating his career. I don’t think that was considered a bad trade at the time because Evans hit for such a low average. I don’t remember any Braves fans crying over losing Evans, even though he had had the one big year, when Aaron, Johnson, and Evans all hit 40 home runs.

  146. I don’t see Simmons on the block with all of our bullpen issues and Walden not being able to stay healthy. Walden does have closer experience. I could see him moved before the deadline if we can keep him off the DL.

  147. @168 If it’s true that the second greatest day in your life is when you buy a boat, and the greatest day in your life is when you sell that said boat, we should have been extremely happy to get rid of Willie (don’t call me a Hot Dog—-make that a Super Dog) Montanez, however in a 4 way trade that saw Bert Blyleven, Al Oliver, John Milner, and John Matlack trade uniforms, we somehow received Tommy Boggs, Adrian Devine, and gulp—–Eddie Miller.

  148. I really hope we don’t throw in Shae Simmons to put us over the top on a deal for Edwin Jackson or something.

  149. Ed Miller’s horrible stats for the Braves in 1981 .231/.285/.269….B.J. Upton 2013 .184/.268/.289. I know Eddie didn’t make $15 million a year.

  150. Maybe he meant to bat Justin Upton first but didn’t have any more lineup cards after mistakingly putting B.J.’s name down. At least he is doing his part to save some trees by not wasting another lineup card. As a matter of fact, maybe the Braves in general are trying to save the trees by not hitting the ball. Thus, they do not break any bats, and a tree lives to see another day.

    Go Braves!!! #gogreen

  151. @180

    It probably wouldn’t. It is not like he is striking out on balls out of the zone. The guy has swung and missed at more strikes than any guy in the league. Also, he might forget he didn’t have a bat and swing his arms at the ball.

  152. How do you swing and miss at more strikes than anyone in the league when all you do is swing and miss at pitches outside of the zone? He takes good pitches (while complaining) and swings at crap.

  153. @184 – Not to dampen the active lack of BJ enthusiasm around here, but I would like to clarify the specific way in which he sucks. BJ’s 4th in the majors in percentage of strikes seen and 3rd lowest in contact percentage on strikes. He’s about 30th in strikes swung at, so it’s not like he doesn’t know they’re strikes, though he could be swinging at pitches on the edges more than usual – that would be tougher to check. He’s in the low hundreds at balls swung at, so pretty middle of the pack. He gets a ton of strikes to swing at and whiffs on about 30% of them. That’s a bad, bad combination.

  154. I guess this is what we get for bitching and moaning about him hitting 2nd.

    Wonder if Fredi wants to sit him but Wren won’t let him, and so all that’s left is passive-aggressive protests.

  155. Who cares about speed at the top of the lineup? I’ll take a guy that gets on over a guy who can run back to the dugout the fastest any day of the week.

    Although, it was nice to see Brian Jordan bite his lip and say this might work out. You know he doesn’t want B.J. Upton anywhere near the top of that lineup.

  156. Gattis at DH. It is an audition for some American League teams. If he rocks it, I bet we could get some nice return for him.

  157. Yeah, it’ll be important for the Athletics, Orioles, et al to see how Gattis handles 4 at-bats of DH duty.

  158. The problem with the Athletics and the Orioles being interesting is that we would not get anything but relief pitching in the trade at best. If we gave up Gattis, we would need it to be with a team that would provide at least an okay bat in return along with a few other things.

  159. If they trade Gattis I’ll stop watching. Unless it’s for Mike Trout and they also take BJ. I might approve of that.

  160. I don’t know what Wren can do. It would be hard justifying trading our best hitter right now when we have one of the worst offenses in baseball.

  161. @191

    We need to trade Gattis while he is hot. I look at Gattis the same way I look at Uggla. Gattis is great now just like Uggla was in his prime years for the Marlins. Gattis is already 28, so at best, we get a couple of good seasons before he bottoms out because everybody knows the body starts going for people above 30 who play catcher. We could get some very nice young talent for him at the moment. I do not want to see Gattis leave. He is one of the few players I get really excited about watching bat, but I could see doing it for a lump of talented players who are young.

  162. @194

    I agree it would be hard to explain trading our best hitter. But if the trade made our lineup stronger as a whole, it could be justified.

  163. Don’t know how you could trade Gattis and make our lineup stronger at the same time. It means Bethancourt or Laird replaces him.

  164. Wow, B.J. didn’t strike out. Maybe this game will go better than expected. On a sadder note, I lost $5 cause I bet that B.J. would strike out. Dang me for playing the percentages.

  165. If we traded Gattis for Trout, maybe we could talk BJ into becoming the catcher, and his noffense would be more tolerable.

    C’mon, Wren, what are you waiting for? Gattis for Trout!!

  166. Trade with the Tampa Bay Rays

    They get Gattis thus getting a bat and getting younger at catcher.

    We get Zobrist and Joyce. That is two bats for our lineup that covers a couple needs. Zobrist can play 2nd, SS, 3rd, and the corner OF positions and switch hits. Joyce can play the corner OF spots and has a better bat than BJ and some pop. We do a pure rotations at catcher between Doumit and Laird for the time being or bring Bethancourt up and see what he does at a major league level.

  167. Not sure I’ve ever seen a ball hit out there. That’s too bad. I wanted to see BJ make a play on that hill.

  168. @192- I wasn’t suggesting the Orioles or Athletics wanted Gattis or would be good partners.

    I was ridiculing a) the notion of trading our best hitter, who makes $500k a year and b) that 4 AB’s as a DH would tell anyone anything they didn’t already know about Evan Gattis.

  169. You would trade a power hitting catcher for a 33 year old backup infielder and a 29 year old slap hitting outfielder?
    If we trade Gattis i Want a HAUL of talent because he can hit 30 homers and costs nothing.

  170. Yep, package both Uptons. I’m willing to get rid of one if it allows us to get rid of the other.

    Justin really hates walking doesn’t he?

  171. Juggling this lineup is like rearranging deck chairs on the titanic. Or, making all the bed-wetters at camp switch beds. Or… something.

  172. @203 and @204

    Just suggestions guys. Also, I still wonder about Gattis in the long run. I love watching him play now because he can take it deep on any given swing, but I just do not know how long he can keep that up. We did see that he can go on bad runs with the second half of last year.

  173. You know what this team really needs? A JUp hot streak. That would cure a lot of ills, because he carries the team when he’s hot.

    That situation was a bad one to pick to channel his brother, though.

  174. CJ picked ’em up! Thought for sure we were about to barve that inning up.

    Maybe Simmons will keep his eyes open and hit a rope somewhere.

    Edit: too much to ask for. Baby steps.

  175. I would trade Jupton in a heartbeat though. If we could do a 2 Uptons for nothing deal I would do it.

    Justin could net us legit OF prospects which we really need.

  176. It’s times like this that I really wish MLB would allow the trading of draft picks. Would really open up the range of possibilities. Although a bad front office could more easily doom a team for years to come if they had that option.

  177. Oh dear.

    Who was supposed to be Justin’s cheerleader on here? I have all I can handle with Alex Wood. I do not get the Jupton hate at all.

    Someone on here pointed out that Regression (he’s now playing like he deserves his nickname back) reversed his career platoon split upon coming to Atlanta, and the suggestion was it’s because he was receptive to coaching. Perhaps he’s getting fixed once again.

  178. Something seems messed up with JUpton the past few weeks though. Not sure if he’s got a nagging injury or if it’s just a random slump. I’m a bit concerned about the way he’s looked at the plate.

  179. @220 – Well he did miss 3 or 4 games with dizziness due to an inner-ear condition..

  180. Okay,

    If I am a pitcher, I am throwing the ball anywhere but low and inside. That is the one hot zone for B.J. Especially off speed pitches because it actually works in favor of B.J.’s hitch in his swing

    It, also, should be noted that that was only a 345 foot home run which would have been an out in Atlanta, LOL.

  181. @220—That’s Justin for you. He hits like his brother for a stretch, and then he plays out of his mind for a stretch, and then he’s just good for a stretch. At the end of the year it all equals out to a very good season, but his low points are always annoying.

  182. @229, Yes. And Justin’s productive enough in the aggregate to build around, with your TLSes to offset his weakness on offense.

    Here we are, reminiscing about Darrell Evans, and we’re ready to run another good player out of town.

  183. Forgive me, but you guys are freaking nuts with your trade recommendations. People on here are wanting to trade Shea Simmons and Evan Gattis? We’re not the Marlins. We don’t blow the team up and start over, and Mac has clearly debunked that strategy multiple times. Unless you’re of the opinion that this team is without hope (or are privy to some information that suggests we are massively over payroll, like the Marlins), there is simply no reason to sell off good, young, cheap players. Where is this crap coming from? Did I get re-directed to the AJC blog? Am I being punked?

  184. Wow, Harang worked some magic there. And without any strikeouts, too.

    When Jose Altuve played in single-A ball I worked for the ball club doing some camerawork and got to watch him all season (he and J.D. Martinez led an impressive offense that year and that team sent like six players to the all-star game). He really is as short as his bio says (the first time I walked past him I felt weird that I was taller than a ballplayer), but he was also really fun to root for. Such a scrappy player. I wished then that he was playing for the Braves, and that is a sentiment I still hold.

  185. GUYS GUYS GUYS let’s not run Justin Upton out of town.



    Let’s run BJFREDIAVILANSCHAFERWALK&FLETCHUGGLA out of town. And then trade Chris Johnson for something useful in the outfield.

  186. In league news, that chump Kershaw has already given up a hit tonight through three innings and he only has 2 strikeouts. Chump.

  187. I know they did it early last season back when the still-new Uptonmania was running wild through the fan base.

  188. B.J.’s homerun made me think about Chris Burke and a certain home run he hit. So even though B.J. did something good there, he did nothing to endear himself to me.

    Also, Chip talking about how great this ballpark is makes me want to scream. I kind of hate the place (and it all goes back to that game…)

  189. Why doesn’t it surprise me that Chip loves unnecessary manufactured “character.”

  190. So I’ve been out of the country for the last two weeks, who’s the guy in the broadcast booth with the lesser Caray?

  191. Are there more announcers than in years past? I’m counting 6 or 7 announcers on the team.

  192. @249

    I think Joe blew out his ankle.

    Probably slipped on a small puddle of Chip’s hair gel or something..

  193. Joe tore his Achilles or something and had to have surgery. He should be back next home stand.

    Edit: @249 Last year they started adding former players to the team during some home games (Glavine, Murphy), and I think they’ve expanded that a bit this year. More home games this year are scheduled to have an extra broadcaster, but Byrd’s only on the road trip (or really a color guy at all) because of Joe’s injury.

    I read somewhere he was playing basketball when he hurt it. I don’t know if that was a serious comment or not, but it looked like it.

  194. Someone mentioned Ed Miller earlier. So here’s some Ed Miller trivia: His only career home run came in the final at bat in his career. As a Padre, he hit a solo shot against Pascual Perez.

  195. Gattis is clearly sunk cost.

    That was a phenomenal at-bat by Gattis. Byrd did a good job taking us through it. I think I kinda like him too.

  196. Ya know, about this batting order… The BJ at the top thing is stupid. But at least we have some kind of grouping of Freeman, Gattis, Heyward and Justin Upton without any sure outs splitting them up.

    Crap up top, crap down below. But at least we aren’t spreading our outs around the lineup anymore.

    EDIT: I guess if I wanted to give Fredi some credit, I’d say he found a way to bat Andrelton, Pitcher, and Bupton 8, 9 and 10, without stepping on the toes of a high-paid veteran.

  197. #256
    Eddie Miller couldn’t hit at all, but he could fly.

    I once saw him tag up & score from third on a short foul ball to the 3B, maybe 35 feet behind the bag. Sounds impossible, but he was that fast.

  198. @263

    The way Johnson’s bat is coming around the past month and half, he deserves to be named in that nice grouping, too.

  199. Look, Simmons just showed the only way he knows how to not swing out of his shoes. Great bunt.

  200. Okay, what Byrd just said about catchers’ masks there was fascinating. I had never thought of that.

  201. Between Simmons, Walden, and Kimbrel, we gotta be able to squeek through two innings, right?

  202. @272 Well, it was more Laird’s theory, but, yeah, that was pretty funny. So much for that.

  203. I just liked how he sounded like he didn’t know he was contradicting him. He sounded like he thought he was supporting what Byrd had said.

  204. I apologize in advance for inflicting this on everyone, but if a team’s outfield consisted of Otis Nixon, Boots Day, Dexter Fowler and Junior Lake, we could call it Otis Day and the Dexter Lake Club.

  205. Ah yes, the old put two in scoring position, for their best hitter, and chuck a fastball right down the middle, and make him ground out softly to shortstop play. That one always works!

  206. Vandy down 4 with only 6 outs left. A deciding game 3 is looking likely. Go get’em Dores.

  207. When in the hell did the Astros get Chad Qualls back? And what on Earth did he do to deserve that?

  208. Trying to hit 98 at the letters is reserved only for true Hall of Famers. (And El Oso Blanco, of course.)

  209. On Paul Byrd…
    I have a friend who I got pretty close to back in ’03-’08 when I was living in New Orleans. We used to hang out quite a bit; poker, basketball, frequent bars, etc. My friend just so happened to be Paul Byrd’s brother-in-law. About halfway through the ’03-’04 season, I received a call from Mrs. Byrd with an interesting proposal. I was asked to be a travel teacher. They would pay me through the upcoming baseball season to travel with the team and teach her and Paul’s children. If I did the job well, I would likely receive more players’ children to teach/tutor. The gig sounded pretty sweet as I’d start off at a salary that was about 1.5 times what I was making at the time, with potential to go well over 100K just in one baseball season. The story has a happy ending, but not the one expected.

    I didn’t take the job, chose love instead, and ended up marrying the girl I was dating in ’06.

  210. ryan…

    fascinating insight and a personal decision for the ages!

    What i don’t understand is the travel part – travel with the team…literally or catch as catch can? are there a significant number of player’s families with children who are also on the road with the team by one means or the other with someone like you schooling their kids?

    or have i completely misunderstood the logistics involved?

  211. @295,

    Ryan, great story, you undoubtedly made the right choice.

    I wonder how many players have their kids tutored. A couple of years ago, Adam LaRoche had his son at Spring Training for the entire spring. People asked him about school and he said, “we aren’t that big on school.” Ok. I guess if your dad is going to make multi-millions of dollars, you can not care about school.

  212. From what I understand, many of the players have their children “homeschooled” so the family can have flexibility to travel with the team should they want. I would have done both, traveled with the team and stayed back in Baton Rouge with his family. However, that Spring, I would have been in Orlando the entire time.

    The other part of the job, the advancement, wasn’t completely clear, but it sounded as though multiple players on the team would pay to have a teacher/tutor present with the team at all times to keep up with their kid’s schooling. If I would have done my job well with Paul’s kids, there was the opportunity to be that guy. That’s where the real money would’ve likely came in.

  213. Paul Byrd is better in the booth than he is on Braves LIVE(!) He talks over Chip, that can’t be all bad.

  214. Astros still have a ways to go obviously, but they are vastly improved from recent years. They appear to be headed in the right direction and could be a force in a few years.

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