Keltner List: Billy Wagner

Once a year, Mac used to write up a Keltner List for a retired Brave, as a way of debating whether he deserved to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Two years ago, I wrote one for Kenny Lofton; last year, Sansho wrote one for Deacon White, who played for the Boston Red Stockings in the National Association and the National League, the team that is the forerunner to the modern Braves.

Here’s Mac’s standard preamble to Keltner lists: The Keltner List was developed by Bill James as a device to evaluate a player’s Hall of Fame candidacy. In The Politics of Glory James says that it is probably his favorite tool to do that. (You can read about the background in that book, or do a Google search, for further information.)

So let’s run it for Billy Wagner, whose last year in the big leagues was 2010, which means that he’ll be eligible soon.

  1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

    Absolutely not.

  2. Was he the best player on his team?

    No, but he played with two should-be Hall of Famers in their prime, Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell. He had the highest pitching WAR on the 2003 Houston Astros, ahead of Roy Oswalt, but it’s hard to ask a closer to be the best player on his team.

  3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position?

    If you’re willing to consider the closer as a unique position — as opposed to just a subset of pitchers — then Wagner was one of the best players at his position for about a decade and a half. But he was never the best in baseball, because his career had the misfortune of entirely overlapping with the greatest closer ever, Mariano Rivera. He was either the best or the second-best closer in the National League, behind Trevor Hoffman.

    Wagner was fourth in the Cy Young voting in 1999, and sixth in 2006. Hoffman was second in the Cy Young voting in 1998 and 2006, fifth in 1996, and sixth in 1999. They both made seven All-Star teams. Wagner’s career ERA+ is 187, far better than Hoffman’s 141, but Hoffman pitched 186 more innings and racked up 179 more saves, which is something that modern Hall Voters may find compelling.

    Career-wise, Wagner leads Hoffman 23.6 to 23.0 in fWAR, and trails him 27.7 to 28.0 in rWAR. Hoffman leads him in career Win Probability Added, 32.98 to 28.78. In all, neither was significantly better than the other.

  4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

    Unclear. Billy Wagner went to the playoffs seven times, with four different teams: with the Astros in 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2001; with the Mets in 2006; with the Red Sox in 2009 (though he only threw 13 2/3 innings for them all year); and with the Braves in his final season, 2010. He had near misses with the 2003 Astros, the 2005 Phillies, and the 2007 Mets, each of whom finished their season either a game back in the division race or the Wild Card. So he clearly played on a lot of successful teams.

    That said, it’s hard to definitively demonstrate that he was the main reason that his successful teams reached the playoffs. On the six playoff teams for which he played a full season, there was a combined record in one-run games of 154-122, a .558 won-loss record; that’s the equivalent of a 90-win season over 162 games. Not bad, but not enough to show that he had an outsize effect on their success in close games.

    On the other hand, over the course of his career, he was terrific in high-leverage and in Late & Close situations. His career triple slash allowed was .187/.262/.296, a .558 OPS against; in Late & Close situations, batters hit him to the tune of .194/.270/.310 (.581 OPS), and in high-leverage situations, it was .202/.280/.318 (.598). So when the chips were down during the regular season, he was awfully good.

    But for some reason, he was absolutely terrible in the playoffs. He pitched in 14 games for his seven playoff teams, and he gave up 13 earned runs and three homers in 11 2/3 innings — his entire playoff career was basically what Hunter Strickland did this year.

    In all, it’s hard to give Wagner much credit for his performance down the stretch, but it’s also hard to ding him too severely for his poor playoff performance in a relatively small sample size.

  5. Was he a good enough player that he could continue to play regularly after passing his prime?

    One of the most remarkable things about Wagner is that, unlike Hoffman, he basically had no decline. His final year in Atlanta was one of his strongest seasons. Despite his occasional injuries — he only pitched a total of 62 2/3 innings in 2008-2009 — he was basically always effective when he was on the mound.

  6. Is he the very best player in baseball history who is not in the Hall of Fame?

    No. That’s probably Tim Raines, but in any event, there’s a long list ahead of him.

  7. Are most players who have comparable career statistics in the Hall of Fame?

    No, though the ranks of baseball closers in the Hall have been swelling over the years. He has roughly the same number of career WAR as Lee Smith, who almost certainly will not get in. Wagner did it in nearly 400 fewer innings, which is impressive, but then again, it’s hard to see the Hall of Fame inducting someone with only 903 career innings pitched. Old Hoss Radbourn threw 678 innings in 1884 alone.

  8. Do the player’s numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

    No by most measures. Though he’s well above the standard for Bill James’s Hall of Fame Monitor, he falls short on Gray Ink, Hall of Fame Standards, and JAWS.

  9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

    No. He didn’t introduce any new innovations to the game, nor was he especially noteworthy for anything he did off the field. He was a very good closer for a very long time, but that’s well reflected in his numbers.

  10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame but not in?

    It’s hard to separate him from Hoffman and Smith, closers who racked up a lot more saves and threw a lot more innings but whose ERA+ doesn’t look as impressive. He and Hoffman retired in the same year, and because Hoffman has a lot more saves, he will probably receive a few more votes. But the BBWAA will have trouble giving them more than a few perfunctory votes, knowing full well that Mariano Rivera will be eligible in a few years. Mo is the Mike Schmidt of closers; Wagner and Hoffman are Ken Boyer and Darrell Evans.

  11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?

    No MVP-type seasons. He received 4% of the vote share in 1999 and 1% in 2003, which doesn’t really count. His fourth-place Cy Young finish in 1999 is more impressive. By Win Probability Added, he looks a lot better: his 5.32 WPA in 1999 was not just the highest in baseball that year, it’s one of the highest marks in the last decade and a half: in many seasons, no reliever reaches a mark that high. (The last reliever in the major leagues to do so was Jim Johnson in 2012.)

  12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the other players who played in this many go into the Hall of Fame?

    Wagner went to seven All-Star Games, which is none too shabby. Twelve pitchers have played in seven All-Star games, and five have been elected to the Hall; of those, one is a reliever, Rollie Fingers. Fingers played in seven All-Star Games and got elected, though he benefited from the halo effect of the early ’70s Oakland A’s, just like Catfish Hunter: both were pretty good players who probably would never have made it into the Hall if they had played for a different team.

    The other two relievers to reach seven All-Star Games? Lee Smith and Trevor Hoffman.

  13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

    Absolutely not. That’s not his fault, it’s just a fact. On the 2010 Braves, Wagner threw 69 1/3 terrific innings. But the team’s Wild Card slot owed far more to Jason Heyward, who played 1196 1/3 defensive innings, literally 17 times more. Heyward was worth 6.4 rWAR that year, while Wagner was worth 2.4 rWAR. Very good numbers for a closer, but only with that caveat.

  14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?


  15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

    As far as we know, yes. He was a generally well-liked teammate, albeit outspoken.

Wagner is a member of the Hall of Very Good. It’s hard to build a Hall of Fame career from the back of the bullpen, and he didn’t. Worse players are in the Hall of Fame, like Rollie Fingers and Bruce Sutter, but the odds are very high that he will not join their ranks. Nor should he.

101 thoughts on “Keltner List: Billy Wagner”

  1. It’s hard to make a case for closer that were not starters for a large chunk of their careers.

    Really Rivera is the only pure closer out there. He meets quite a bit of Bill James criteria.

  2. From last thread, 118:

    People have probably seen already, apparently what we’re being offered for Upton and Gattis isn’t enough, we’re probably not going to extend Upton, and we’re not going after Lester or any other FAs who got a qualifying offer.

    You can’t just take this stuff at face value. Obviously he’s going to say they’re not happy with the offers they’ve been getting on Upton and Gattis, but the former at least will absolutely be moved, whether Hart is blown away or not.

  3. @2, The best FA bats have signed, unless you stretch to include Melky/Nelson Cruz. There may be some teams in the Upton market that could instead decide to improve via FA pitching or a trade for someone like Samardzija. And I get that the fewer options there are, the better for us, so it makes some sense to wait that out. Everything seems to be hinging on Lester right now.

    I’m sort of worried Hart may think he can get more for Upton than he did for Heyward, and we’re going to wait too long.

  4. We haven’t even made it to the winter meetings. Upton will be moved. Just a week ago we were trying to sign Tomas. It was noted that Hart was comfortable signing Tomas because he knew the value he could get for Upton. Nelson Cruz, Melky Cabrera, Mike Morse, and Alex Rios are all still unsigned aren’t they?

  5. Scratch that, Nelson Cruz just signed 4/57 with the Mariners. I wonder how that impacts our potential trade offers with them.

  6. They have Ackley penciled in LF and Jones in RF. One more bat seriously makes them a contender. Brad Miller doesn’t have a spot.

  7. Offseason moves always go slower than fans want. Seattle may be out of the JUpton sweeps (or they may still want him as well.) That doesn’t mean he won’t be moved, or that Hart won’t get good return for him.

  8. Excellent job on the Keltner List, Alex!

    It gives me a chance to think about the value of the reliever portion of John Smoltz’ career. I think he goes in this year.

  9. Allow Sam to gloat a bit this week after what happened between the hedges Saturday. Enjoy it now, friend. It may be another six years before you get the chance again.

    That said, the Jackassets deserved to win. Rather, my Dawgs didn’t.

  10. @mlbbowman: The #Braves haven’t ruled out the possibility of trading both Gattis and J. Upton. But it seems more likely that J-Up goes and Gattis stays

  11. One of the penalties we pay on this board, if you are an originator of content, is you can be smothered by what has gone before.

    so someone puts a good deal of time and effort into a hitherto neglected area – in this instance Billy Wagner, his place in our hearts – and the first response is to the point – the first, none yet more.

    well, yes, you would say, it’s a blog, we are passionate, we argue about things, we mustn’t be denied access to the promotion of our ideas just because a new thread appears.

    no we must not but we should also not ignore what someone has put before us as though it had never been written…you had some reaction to it? bet you did, then say so…it’s a somewhat regular occurrence, check back…this is social interaction we practice here int. al. -conversationally, in a group, i doubt this would happen, we’d think it to some extent ill mannered.

    Mirabile dictu! the number has risen to 2 during this writing! Alex, great job, now please trot down those few miles that separate you from him and get us some Johnny V stories! we promise to comment!

  12. It won’t make a Hall of Fame case for him, but Wagner’s most important non-performace contribution to baseball could be his mentoring of Craig Kimbrel.

    And blazon let me be the first to invite you to play pot to my kettle–the acknowledged lack of a thing is not the thing itself.

  13. Yeah, Alex, this was a really good post. It’s hard to say smart things about it when you said it all. I’m sad that Rock Keltner hasn’t become a thing — it’s just waiting for you to run with it in a big way.

  14. It’s not going to happen, but I would like to trade for Yasmani Grandal and then fine to move Gattis to the outfield. Look at Grandal’s batted ball distance. Let’s get him out of that park.

  15. I don’t have a lot to add to the Wagner/MVP question. I think Alex nails it. He was a superb closer for a long time. He was not game changing, and closers are generally not HOF caliber players in my world. (I have my questions about John Smoltz’ credentials as well.)

    As for Saturday’s game, I’ll simply point out that it required skullduggery by the refs to get you a single TD, boys. (If the Justin Thomas “fumble” had been a UGA player with the ball, the whistle would have been blown long before the “fumble” and subsequent return. The only true outcome of that play would have been TD (I don’t think he got in) or 4th down (I think PJ goes for it on 4th down.))

    And we’ll take our year of braggadacio, being the only team even remotely relevant in the playoff conversation any more, a few twigs of holy hedges for the trophy cases, and employment outside of the agriculture sector and live with it I guess.

  16. When you’re on the football field, you play to the whistle & you hang onto the ball. That was Thomas’ fault & nobody else’s.

    And oddly, the only UGA grad I ever knew with an ag degree was actually a relatively successful musician. Funny how that happens in Athens.

  17. Trek was a better team than UGA all Saturday long, despite Georgia’s goalline fumbles, both of which were caused by Trek anyway. Only reason why Georgia “should’ve” won is that, before Richt chugged some Bad-Coachin’ Beer, Paul Johnson had already had a couple bottles himself. I have no idea why, upon recovering the free-ball kickoff when Quayvon Hicks momentarily forgot how to play football, Johnson didn’t just call the fullback dive every single play. Rolling out the QB on that 3rd down fumble was some Reggie Ball-level Trek keystone koppery.

    Richt’s blunder is likely leading to Johnson getting a nice extension, so that’s good going forward for the Dawgs. Make it Paul Hewitt level, please. Jeff Schultz says Paul Johnson is the best coach EVAR, and you know Lil’ Jeffy knows what he’s talking about.

  18. Sam, I knew there was some reason I liked you… didn’t realize you were a Tech fan. It will be nice to have bragging rights for the next year. Go Jackets.

  19. Alex that was a great Keltner list and I appreciate the effort you put into it. I did get to thinking about #14 and the “game changing” query, and I was wondering- is it possible that Wagner to some extent legitimized the “you don’t have to be a giant to throw hard/be a successful closer” school of thought?

    This is really subjective and my memory is not what it used to be, but I seem to recall some years back that announcers at least had really latched onto this idea as something new, and talked about it with some frequency while calling games. Maybe they were prompted in this by comments from GMs or scouts so the idea has some merit, maybe not, but IF this is actually a relatively new trend and IF it could be said to have originated with Wagner, then you could at least argue he had an outsized (ha) impact on the game.

    Just a thought. Thanks for keeping this tradition alive.

  20. And oddly, the only UGA grad I ever knew with an ag degree was actually a relatively successful musician.

    No need to talk about Spike like that, man.

    Granted, assuming you boys get ag degrees does assume you make it through four years at all.

  21. I give it as much consideration as the breathless-for-a-week Richt-to-A&M rumors from 2011.

  22. (arched eyebrow) Auburn grads have enough woe this Monday that further insult is not really possible, even if of the lowest sort. And for the record I went to grad school at Tech.

  23. #25
    Hard to imagine.

    Just four years? Why hurry? Make it five, especially at a school that has girls.

    Spike’s an Auburn man, but I couldn’t tell you what he studied, or for how long.

    Incidentally, my musician friend did once take the stage directly from a horse he rode into the club. Not sure that the ag school had this in mind, but…

  24. BTW, nice work, AAR. Hard to argue with Billy Wags’ enshrinement in The Hall of Very Good.

    Yes, Wagner was terrific as a brief Brave, and I try not to think about it too much, but we could’ve really used him in Game 3 of the ’10 NLDS. A certain 2B might’ve avoided lasting ignominy.

    Nonetheless, here’s my Fave Wagner Moment: Game 1, 2001 NLDS. Top 8 in Houston, Braves tied with Astros 3-3, Braves runners on 1st & 2nd. Astros change pitchers, bring in Wagner The Closer in the high-leverage situation to face a righty-hitting Chipper Jones, who was 0 for 8 vs. Wagner (with 6 Ks).

    First pitch, Chipper takes him deep for a game-winning 3-run dinger. Braves go on to sweep the series, the last one they’ve ever won.

  25. We did not and will not place a bid on Lester. We should look at Liriano and or McCarthy. We should also gamble on both Medlen and Beachy.

  26. is it possible that Wagner to some extent legitimized the “you don’t have to be a giant to throw hard/be a successful closer” school of thought?

    @23, I don’t buy it. Take, for example, Tom Gordon, who was a decent starter from 1988-1996 before the Red Sox converted him to a closer, and he excelled in the bullpen for more than a decade after that. He threw hard — his nickname was “Flash,” after all — and he was only listed at 5’9″, an inch shorter than Wagner’s listed height.

    Roy Oswalt and Pedro Martinez were also frequently mentioned as proofs that you didn’t need to be a giant to throw gas (Roy’s listed at 6’0, Pedro’s listed at 5’11). I’d love to be able to give Wagner credit for that, but I think it’s mostly just announcers trying to fill dead air, rather than anything we can actually give him credit for as a pioneer.

  27. #34
    The ’50s/’60s minor-leaguer Steve Dalkowski (aka the real Nuke LaLoosh) was unmeasured by the JUGS Gun, but he was known as the “fastest pitcher ever” (according to Earl Weaver, who managed him, and Ted Williams, who faced him), and he was about 5-11, 175 pounds.

  28. Alex, thanks for the Keltner list. Thanks for continuing the traditions that Mac started.

    Has anyone done one on Smoltz?

  29. Rudy Seanez was 5’10” and could bring it 100 when he was young. Like Dalkowski, he didn’t have much of an idea where it was going. Then he got hurt a lot and lost a few MPH, and became a better pitcher. His first year in Atlanta was like watching every bullpen now.

  30. A’s trade Addison Russell for Samardzija; the move is praised as bold, brilliant because of their position on the win curve. Mariners overpay Nelson Cruz, effectively the same thing given how much they overpaid and given their virtually identical position on the win curve, and they get all kinds of flak.

  31. @40

    Anything Billy Bean does gets overblown. He is a great GM and I would love to see what he would do here, but he isn’t’ perfect.

    Trading for Lester may have killed their season.

  32. @mlbbowman: Because of the uncertainty surrounding his 2015 season, the #Braves have discussed a two-year deal with Kris Medlen.

  33. Given injury uncertainty with all pitchers, I really see very little downside in offering an incentive laden contract to both Medlen and Beachy. In today’s market 3 to 5 million for a potential #2/3 type starter (or even a top tier set up man) is a huge bargain.

  34. @45
    Beachy has more baggage (but less expensive). He also has shoulder problems to go along with 2 TJ surgeries. Both are risks, Beachy’s cheaper yet more fragile and Medlen’s more expensive yet more reliable. Oh, the dilemma.

  35. Medlen. Beachy is meat puppet. He’s Tommy Hanson done.

    I think someone should do a Keltner for Jason Heyward.

  36. @42

    I’m not sure, UGA and MSU losing doesn’t help us. It seem like we were locked in for the Liberty Bowl. I could see us in the Belk or falling to Shreveport or Birmingham. I think Auburn, UGA or Florida ends up in the Music City.

    I think we end up in Memphis.

  37. Yeah, I really don’t know why the Braves wouldn’t tender Beachy, he’ll make $1.45 mill or so, not a high price to pay just to see if he can come back.

    I love Medlen so this one is really tough. You would hate to see him leave for nothing but $5.8 mill is a lot to eat if he can’t come back and if he does, at what level will he perform. I hope they keep him but I see why you might hesitate.

  38. Oh and I think you can take us off the Liriano list as he received a qualifying offer and we are said to be out on anyone where we will lose a pick.

    McCarthy did not though..

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  40. Markakis hits like Heyward, runs and fields like Markakis. Which, to some, makes him exactly as valuable.

  41. Dusty, I think that’s why the Braves want to look at a 2 yr deal. Does insurance on players only cover multiple year deals? Seems like it may reduce the risk there.

  42. Memphis is not a bad prize, Smitty.

    I still hope for an Uptonless team. Houston would be a nice park for The Bear to mash. Wrangle a nice return (Fowler plus pieces) and get it done, John John.

  43. Unsure what’s worse: how thoroughly unexciting Markakis is, or the likelihood that he’s just using us for leverage right now.

  44. Johnny, no one has written one for Smoltz, but that’s a good idea — I probably should have done him rather than Wagner.

    I think in the end, Smoltz’s excellence in the postseason will push him over the top. He’s a pretty good candidate on the basis of his regular seasons alone — 66.5 rWAR and 78.7 fWAR (!) — but he also pitched the equivalent of a Cy Young season: 15-4 record (with 4 saves), 209 innings, 2.67 ERA, 2.97 K/BB, at the height of the Steroid Era.

  45. Haha, those are equally bad Markakis options. Underrated in the Bad Options Related to Nick Markakis field is what a complete Chris Johnson he would be in RF were he to actually sign, and how he’d almost certainly require a contract running through 2017 at the least. Your opening day right fielder for the new Marietta Shopping Mall Braves would be a replacement level 33-year-old.

  46. Fowler would be nice but Braves would only get 2 years of control, and, in my opinion, the Astros farm system (and who they’d realistically part with) is less appealing than other clubs.

    I agree. He’s not a player to get excited about and if the OF is going to be Upton, Upton, Markakis, we’ll be as equally exciting as last year.

  47. But hey, as DOB points out today, Buster Olney ranked Markakis the 8th best RF in the game with Heyward at 5th, so it’s barely even a downgrade at all! The Braves will only lose 3 spots in the Buster Olney approval rankings next year. Buster Olney-approved baseball could be coming back to Atlanta sooner than we think!

  48. #60
    Yes, I agree that his post-season dominance will get Smoltz in. Might also happen for Schilling, who had a similar career.

  49. Actually, by the regular-season numbers, Schilling’s unambiguously better: 80.7 rWAR and 83.2 fWAR, compared to Smoltz’s 66.5 and 78.7. And, if anything, Schilling was even more dominant than Smoltz in the postseason: 11-2, 2.23 ERA, 4.8 K/BB in 133 1/3 innings.

    Smoltz got the 1996 Cy Young Award, which is one more than Schilling ever won, and he pitched 76 more postseason innings and notched 132 more career saves, while Schilling’s failure as a closer in 2009 is pretty much the closest he ever came to getting egg on his face.

    But all in all, Schilling was probably a better pitcher.

  50. So you’ve got Prado in left most of the time, Gattis there part time when Bethancort is catching, moving Prado to third or second on those days depending on who is playing worse of the group consisting of Gosselin, Pastornicky and Chris Johnson. Cunningham will serve as the starting CF unless BEEJ magically turns things around (he won’t). Paraza will be called up in June as to avoid super 2 status after a brief stint in Gwinnett.
    stretch run lineup:

    R Paraza
    R Prado
    L Freeman
    R Gattis
    L Markakis
    R Johnson/Gosselin
    S Cunninghan
    R Simmons

    less powere than last year, but less K’s, more contact, probably better situational hitting.

  51. Yep, and for some HoF voters, there’s also the matter of the trophies & the jewelry.

    In addition to the ’96 CY Award, Smoltz has the ’92 NLCS MVP & one WS ring.

    Schilling has the ’93 NLCS MVP, the ’01 WS Co-MVP & 3 WS rings.

    It’s well documented how Schilling had a huge hand in helping his teams win its 4 pennants & 3 WS titles. But very oddly, as great as he was in the post-season overall, Smoltz didn’t win a single post-season game in ’95, the year the Braves won its title. He pitched well in the ’95 NLCS, but overall gave up 11 ER in 15 IP in that post-season.

    I think they’re both in.

  52. @68

    I think the Smoltz/Schilling arguments are very similar to the Glavine/Mike Mussina arguments. All four were great pitchers, who were very similar to their counterpart, and an argument could be made either way for who was better. (For me, I’ll take Schilling by JUUUUST a smidge over Smoltz, and Glavine by about the same hairsbreadth over Moose.)

  53. Well, between @73 informing me that Meds will most likely not be back next year and Sam posting my dream job in @54 when I can’t apply for it because I can’t move to Atlanta at the moment, I think I just need to get off the Internet and pretend like baseball doesn’t exist for the rest of the evening…

  54. The novelty of Smoltz successfully spending three years as arguably the top closer in baseball, combined with his well-documented postseason record and accomplishments as a starter, will get him in. The versatility of 200 wins and 100 saves is going to count for a lot.

    Plus, and this sort of goes against conventional logic which says he’d be overshadowed, I feel like he gets a boost by being lumped in with Maddux and Glavine. There seems to be this initiative/obligation to induct Atlanta’s “Big Three.”

  55. Yeah, I wouldn’t take the non-tender to mean they won’t bring Medlen or Beachy back. It just means that they don’t want to pay them arbitration prices. If Kris or Brandon can find a better contract on the open market, then they can certainly leave. But there’s a pretty good chance that one or both of them will re-sign with the Braves, albeit for a relatively cheap contract.

  56. Find it very interesting that Braves non-tendered Schlosser. I think they needed the spot…or 3, soon.

  57. I really don’t think that Medlen was well advised here. I wonder if he will get a better deal on the market given his attempt to come back after two TJ surgeries. Capuano is the only one, who was able to come back so far…

    “The Braves discussed with Medlen a one-year offer that guaranteed him $5.8 million with a club option for 2016, but the salary in 2016 – buying out his would-be first year of free agency – was deemed unsuitable by the pitcher.” (ajc)

  58. Wait, what? Wasn’t that what he would have received in arbitration without a negotiation for an extension?

    I think I’m lost. Help me, Timo.

  59. @87

    Interesting article, if a bit mealy-mouthed. There’s no doubt that the team trading the star player usually gets less than equal value in return — after all, negotiations begin with that team at a marked disadvantage. The Cardinals weren’t calling around saying “We’re looking to trade Shelby Miller and a prospect. How good a player can we get for that?”

  60. Apparently our 2nd year option was worth far less than the $5.8 he’d be receiving this year. It was probably a 2/8 deal or something close. Surprised they turned it down also.

  61. Tells me Medlen’s confident in his recovery–whether foolishly so remains to be seen.

    Edit: Maybe he’s looking at the Chris Capuano precedent and thinking he could make more money pitching *against* the Braves.

  62. History isn’t kind to players with 2+ Tommy John’s surgeries. I wouldn’t be so confident if I were Medlen.

  63. List of interesting offensive players that have been DFA’d: Kyle Blanks, Mayberry jr, Everth Cabrera.

    Kyle Blanks would be a real help.

  64. Good line from Mark Bradley:

    “If nothing else, the Braves are willing to spend on meals.”

    Bradley also says it’s time to trade Kimbrel.

  65. Kimbrel could net a bounty, especially since he is under contract now. He’s of no use to a “rebuilding” team.

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