The Jadeite Jewel: Getting Fancy

Andrelton Simmons standing on a baseball field with a glove on his hand is a web gem waiting to happen, and this winter Braves Journal is going to determine which of his gems is the best of his best—his Jadeite. For the full rules, check out the introduction.

Round 1: Shortstop…or Left Fielder? vs. Hot Potato

Shortstop…or Left Fielder?

Editor’s Pitch: No one saw this coming. All eyes were on Justin Upton, wondering if he would get to the ball in time, since the left fielder is really the only person who has a chance at that ball. The only problem is, Simmons does not think like the rest of the world, and he seems to be out to prove he could man the entire left side of a baseball field without any assistance if he needed to. He not only ran at full speed with his back to the infield toward a fence, he dove toward that same fence to make the catch without thought to personal safety. As if the effort itself wasn’t incredible enough, he actually made the catch and hung on for the out. That just doesn’t happen.
(Bonus points: Kris Medlen was pitching and was the beneficiary of Simmons acting absurd, which is really apropos of nothing except he’s my favorite Brave and authoring this post allows me to point that out.)

Hot Potato

Editor’s Pitch: David Carpenter nearly caught this ball, but after he was only able to tip it, it seemed destined to find its way to center field. Simmons, however, stumbled onto the scene and put an end to that nonsense, converting what looked to be a hit into an out. Simmons was sliding/falling when he actually caught the ball, and he was moving fast enough he could not stop himself to get the throw off. A small thing like skidding over the ground never deters him, though, so he reached into his glove and underhanded the ball to Dan Uggla with an overhand grip while he was in mid-air. Seriously, hit pause at the 20 second mark and you will see—there was no part of him touching the ground when he released the ball. Despite that, his throw was right on the money. CRAZY.

148 thoughts on “The Jadeite Jewel: Getting Fancy”

  1. The catch in the foul area of left field was in the same game as the behind the back play from last poll. (A 3-2 loss to the Bucs, where the winning run scored on the behind the back play, btw.)

    Anyway, I’ve got to go with the left field catch.

  2. ‘Rissa, I wonder if you could have tipped the scales in the Medlen negotiations yesterday if you were on hand to show Medlen what he’d miss out on pitching anywhere else.

  3. So basically Fangraphs is saying that Markakis is Gregor Blanco and we are interested in him at a 4/40 cost?

    The Braves should be open to trading Kimbrel. However, this team is slowly causing my interest level to drop. In the past 3 seasons we’ve lost Chipper, Prado, Hudson, McCann, Heyward, and Bobby Cox. Who are we going to the field to watch now? Outside of watching Simmons play defense there isn’t much there.

  4. I think I like the plays where he has to improvise on the infield more or something. This is much closer than the over-the-shoulder catch vs. the crazy off balance grab-and-tag-the-base play, but I still think I have to go with hot potato.

  5. @4 I think interest is a real part of the Kimbrel issue. If someone blows them away, sure, but the fans need someone to root for and they just lost Hey. The Markakis talk makes me think they are going for it anyway, in an underwhelming way. His value is likely to fall by ’17.

  6. May I vote for both?

    Left field, I guess. No, hot potato definitely. No, wait. Oh, heck.

    Thanks, ‘rissa.

  7. He had an option that was declined by the O’s. He got a 2 million buyout.

    Dang, last season he made 15M.

    Give him 2/24 or 3/30 maybe?

  8. Braves signed Jim Johnson to a Major League contract, because anytime one can sign a reliever that had a near 7 ERA this previous year, one should do so.

  9. @12 – On it’s face that sounds stupid, but I have to give the Braves organization credit for finding guys like this and turning them into useful pieces. O’Flaherty and Carpenter come to mind recently, but it has been a fairly common occurrence. The concerning relievers are the ones we pay big bucks for who come from another organization with some success.

  10. Jim Johnson was one of the best relievers in baseball from 2010-2013. For whatever reason he sucked last year due to a lack of control. Roger can work wonders there I think. It’s worth the gamble IMO

  11. The list is almost endless for how many scrapheap relievers the Braves have turned into excellent setup men. I’m confident Jim Johnson will have a good season. Outside of that, consider me very underwhelmed at this point at how the offseason has gone. This offense will simply be unwatchable in its current condition.

  12. Markakis looked like a stud in his first few years, but has not quite lived up to expectations over the past 3 or 4 years. His batting average has stayed fairly consistent over the last few years, but his power is on the decline. I’m not opposed to signing him, he’s just not the piece that we can build the team around. I think the Orioles were hoping he’d be that guy several years ago, but they seem ready to move on.

  13. I’ll get worried about our offense if we still look the same after the winter meetings. There is a good chance that Jim will be our best Johnson on the team next year.

  14. I agree that we have to be patient.

    I’m ok with Markakis as long as we don’t commit more than 2 max 3 years to him. As for those of us hoping that we get a good enough bat to offset having Simmons, Bethancourt, BJ and Johnson in the lineup, I think we shouldn’t hold our breath. In fact apparently we are trying our ass off to trade Justin Upton.

    Simmons, Bethancourt, BJ and Johnson, we are doomed.

  15. For what it’s worth, I imagine Jim Johnson will prove to be a good pickup. If not? Try again.

  16. Although I’ll bet he pitches well, I think the Jim Johnson signing is pretty weird.

    Unless it’s the prelude to a Kimbrel deal.

    Edit: Actually, I take that back. If the Braves can’t turn him back around, nothing much lost. If they can turn him around and they’re as abysmal as I suspect they’ll be in 2015, he’s moved at the deadline for something shinier. Still think (as I’ve been saying since…August?) that we should move Kimbrel the minute someone shows us a good hand.

  17. Jim Johnson is an extreme ground ball pitcher that lost his sinker last year and has been incredibly average as a reliever, no matter how many saves he had from ’11-’13. He’s the newest Dan Kolb on the roster, yet Dan was 30 and Jim is 31.

  18. God I hope we don’t sign Markakis to a 50+ million contract. His homers were wall-scrapers at Camden Yards, imagine it at Turner. I’d rather them play Almonte or Terdoslavich then get locked in to a declining player who already isn’t that good.

  19. Yeah, it makes zero sense to pay Markakis when J.Terd. is available for free and has a non-zero chance of turning into something. Markakis has no upside and the team is going to do nothing but lose for the maximum amount of time for which they’d sign him anyway. Please, please no.

  20. I can’t summon an opinion about Jim Johnson. Even his name argues against doing so. There’s a reason we’re doing without an official GM this offseason — we’re dismantling, and if nobody is being made to put his name to it, then nobody will. But 25 players must suit up, regardless of intent. And so Jim Johnson, 31-year-old, $1.6 million middle reliever, is the avatar of the 2015 Braves.

  21. @25 C’mon now, Jim Johnson is clearly superior to Dan Kolb. They’re both sinkerballers, but “Dank Lob” had a career K/BB rate of 1.32 and career ERA of 4.36, while Jimmy John’s K/BB (career) is 2.05 and his career ERA is 3.57.

  22. @Buster_ESPN: The negotiations between the Braves and outfielder Nick Markakis have intensified. Hearing the deal could wind up in range of 4/$45m.

  23. The Braves ain’t going to contend in 2015. The sooner one accepts this, the better. I suggest picking a player or two to focus your rooting energies onto. I’m going with tuning in for Teheran & Wood starts and Gattis at-bats.

  24. By 2017, we’ll be paying Markakis $12 mil per year to play subpar defense in RF and to post a sub-.700 OPS. Wonderful.

  25. Kind of meh. That’s very reasonable for a FA with a good bat. Wouldn’t be shocked if he’s worth it for most of the contract. Very lukewarm way of going for it this year, though.

  26. @JeffPassan: Source: OF Nick Markakis agrees to four-year deal with Atlanta Braves. Dollars unclear, but sides discussed a deal in neighborhood of $44M.

  27. Markakis should add 1.5 wins over Terdo. So we’ll go from winning 70 games to winning 71.5. Cool.

  28. Many years ago I had a friend who was in procurement for the UGA University Union. One day towards the end of the school year he tells me they’d just finished painting the floor of the elevator shaft. When I asked why in the world they would bother doing such a thing, he said they needed to use up their allocation of paint for the year so that they wouldn’t have their paint budget reduced for the following year, so they were painting any surface they could think of. The Nick Markakis signing is elevator shaft paint.

  29. So Shaft Paint is our plan for the rebuild that’s magically going to take only two years AND opening the new shopping mall? Who needs above-replacement level right fielders when you have an artificial lake and hundreds of shopping options, I guess.

  30. @Ken_Rosenthal: #Braves believe they traded one Gold Glove RFer (Heyward) for two controllable SPs and replaced him with another (Markakis).

  31. Replacement level was Shaft Paint in 2013. He scraped up to average last year and is projected for half that next year on the wrong side of the age curve. What don’t I understand exactly?

  32. If the Braves truly believe Markakis is a Gold Glover, and this is not just spin, I have no faith in their ability to evaluate position players. Well, I had no faith to begin with. Let’s say this confirms my suspicion.

  33. You know, I actually had no idea Markakis won the Gold Glove this year. I think this proves the Gold Glove award is sometimes a mockery, but the Braves brass is technically correct.

  34. By the dWAR from b-ref, he’s been league average defensively since his rookie campaign. I have no idea what his actual defensive value is. He was an Oriole, thus in the AL, thus not a player I watched.

    But hey, if my audience wants a defense, I’m not one to leave them lacking.

    The Braves just converted:

    SP4 – Aaron Harang (1.0 mil)
    RP – Jordan Walden (2.5 mil (est))
    RF – Jason Heyward (7.8 mil)
    ————
    TOT – 11.3 mil

    Into:

    SP4 – Shelby Lewis (0.5 mil)
    RP – Jim Johnson (1.6 mil)
    RF – Nick Markakis (11 mil)
    Live-arm prospect – Tyrell Jenkins (minor league contract)
    ————————–
    TOT: 13.1 mil

    They did that by losing defensive WAR and baserunning WAR in RF, while adding a big armed lottery ticket to their farm system.

    And that’s just for 2015, obviously. They also get Miller, Markakis and Jenkins for 2016-19 as well.

    But hey, bitch and moan like children if you must. It’s only cool, this swinging parts and flipping players to come in under a tight budget if Billy Beane does it.

  35. And of course, that pretends that Aaron Harang was something we had to “convert” in our kitty, rather than free agent looking for a last pay day on the coattails of his WTF 2014.

  36. I don’t really get this move. Seems like they will be paying market price for an 30-ish outfielder with little upside. I really don’t think his bat plays well at with Turner Field.

    The one positive might be that they should be able to trade that contract any time they want. Playoff bound teams are always looking for outfield sticks and his contract won’t break anyone’s bank.

    But yeesh, most people think they could have had Nori Aoki at half the price and years.

    EDIT: After reflecting on this for two more minutes, I really don’t like this move. Chances of him busting out the Uggla stick of decline are higher in my opinion than chances that he maintains above average RF productivity for four years.

  37. Concern about marginal LH power coming into the Ted are very real. We do not know the RF power alley dimensions of White Flight Field.

  38. By the dWAR from b-ref, he’s been league average defensively since his rookie campaign.

    Can I ask you a direct question, Sam? Did you even look that up, or are you counting on others not doing it? Because it’s wrong.

  39. @53

    Add Ervin Santana (14 mil) too.

    I think the problem is the strategy of trading away Heyward (who for whatever his problems are is one of the highest upside guys in the league and still 24 with no effort to resign him) for pitching prospects in this environment. Pitching can be had most anywhere, we just saw a world series game 7 started by Jeremy Guthrie and the Ghost of Tim Hudson and we also watched 180 innings from Aaron Harang last year. Bats on the other hand are getting very hard to find, especially on this team. If we’d signed Markakis to play right and moved Heyward to center I think everyone would be pretty happy with this, but given the context it’s hard to understand what the strategy here is.

  40. I don’t know how his power will translate to Turner Field. It’s an open concern. That said, they could have signed Mike Trout and you kids would still be pouting about Jason Heyward.

  41. I don’t disagree with you gaz. But reality is what it is, and they weren’t going to shift Heyward to CF unless they managed to move the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Upton.

  42. I looked it up. He’s been +/- something like 4 WAR since his 12 WAR rookie year, unless I misread it on my phone.

  43. I’ll continue not caring. Maybe you can make a spreadsheet of Fucks I Give Above Replacement.

  44. @61

    Do you honestly think BJ is going to play center for us all year again next year? I’m pretty sure we’re done with him one way or another, whether he’s sitting on the bench or we just straight cut him like Uggla.

  45. Depends on if Kevin Seitzer is magic or not. Though even then, probably not. If KS can salvage some form of offensive contribution from BJ that makes him easier to unload at the deadline to a desperate WC2 contender.

    I do think he’ll start in CF out of spring, and I don’t see anyone on the farm (as of today, future trades may change this) who’s going to scream “ERMAHGAH PLAY ME INSTEAD!!!”

  46. Braves brass can’t like hearing that kind of language from their official bravesjournal mouthpiece. It’s just not the Braves Way.

    I cannot fathom someone not on payroll defending this dog of an off season with any fervor at all, much less the extreme fervor demonstrated here by Sam.

  47. Markakis had 177 hits last year, down slightly from his prime years. Love JHey, but he never had that many hits in a season. Markasis played 155 games last year, and has played at least that many in 7of 9 MLB seasons. Heyward has played in that many games only one year. He doesn’t have the potential Heyward does offensively, or the special defense. But he should be a solid 2 hitter, and I think it’s a pretty reasonable signing. But he’s not JHey, so people will bash the signing.

  48. I still think we trade Upton for Walker/Miller and I wouldn’t be surprised if we revisit the BJ/Gattis for Fowler deal.

  49. He sucks by any measure other than number of hits, and thus people will bash the signing. 4 effing years.

  50. @64, leave him alone, he hasn’t seen him play!!!

    Ok, we have the loyally-clinging-like-a-dingleberry-to-the-asshair-that-is-the-Braves-hierarchy type kind of on record. Let’s get an eternal optimist…where’s ryan c?

  51. Pete, you confuse not pissing myself because my totes fave was traded away with “fervent support.”

  52. Markakis is Heyward, offensively. Minus the baserunning, as I understand it. But dude has a .342 career OBP. The demi-god we lost had a career .351.

  53. Cumulative 4 year ZIPS projection for Shaft Paint: 2.5 WAR. We’re poor because that awful Frank Wren overpaid the dastardly BJ Upton, so let’s fire Wren and go pay 17mill/win on the open market long-term for a guy who there can be no reasonable optimism about. But Sam’s office mates have a great work environment now, so let’s rejoice.

  54. We could have signed Aoki or someone at similar production at half the years/money so that part of this doesn’t make sense either.

  55. wRC+ has Markakis slightly worse than Heyward offensively last year. Steamer projects a 103 wRC+ next season for our newfound friend. Woof.

    We weren’t going to pay Heyward anyway, so it doesn’t matter. But let’s not pretend Heyward’s peak may not be in front of him, while the career stats already include Markakis’ best years at the plate.

  56. Markakis is hitting both HRs and doubles barely more than half the rate he did in his prime. The Fangraphs article linked to earlier shows his average batted ball distance has plummeted year after year. He doesn’t steal bases anymore, either. He is durable, which isn’t nothing, but it’s the Garret Anderson kind of durability — a durability marked by (and possibly attributable to) an increasing lack of dynamism in his play.

  57. Nobody is saying Markakis is better than Heyward. Heyward is gone. Someone has to play right field.

  58. Okay, alright. Here’s the thing.

    The Markakis thing is whatever. Someone has to stand in RF and we already knew it wasn’t going to be Jason Heyward, and it probably wouldn’t be Justin Upton either.

    But the guy has a 117 career OPS+, higher than Heyward’s career 114. The only year Markakis has been below average offensively was 2013, and he was coming back from a broken hand that ended his previous season.

    Can we not start with the “He sucks,” stuff? He’s not Heyward and he’s not Upton but he’s a useful major league baseball player. He’s 31, sure. I’m not crazy about it being 4 years. But the price is reasonable and the guy can play baseball, bat leadoff or second and get on base in front of Freddie Freeman (and hopefully Evan Gattis.) He’s the kind of guy you need in 5 or 6 spots in the order, instead of running out 2 superstars and 6 guys who couldn’t hit their ass with both hands.

    But what I really want to say is: I liked sansho1’s metaphor about painting an elevator shaft. But “Shaft Paint” is not a nickname. Reading someone being called “Shaft Paint” as a nickname gives me second hand embarrassment. And this is coming from the guy who gave you Joe Shanderson and Gary Tanderson, Pickles, and Gumby.

  59. @58 – sansho, what is league average dWar for right field? Markakis’s dWar looks about average to me (for whatever it’s worth).

  60. Markakis was a decent player in his prime. For at least two of the next four years he will be fucking terrible.

  61. I don’t know, but by definition it can’t be a full win under replacement level for the position, which is what Markakis’ has averaged over the last five years, by bb-ref’s calculations.

  62. between #57 and “shaft paint” I’ve gone from a very negative initial reaction to loving this signing. I’m cracking up here.

    Markakis himself elicits a “that’s fine, I guess.” But 4 years? That’s not going to end well.

  63. Averaged 1.7 WAR over his ‘prime’ years (25-30). And we just signed him to his 31-34 year seasons.

    Our payroll is what, $93 million now? Projected to be $110? We couldn’t have offered Heyward part of this money?

  64. Only one regular right fielder even had a positive dWar in 2014. “Average” and “replacement” aren’t the same and are too easily confused. The numbers from last year show him as an average defensive right fielder. If they’re wrong maybe that’s just a problem with War. When almost all of the leagues starters are below “replacement,” the concept starts losing credibility.

  65. It’s not a great deal, but it’s not horrible. We have no internal options, we don’t have the money to resign Upton, and someone has to play OF. Of course he’s not Heyward, but we weren’t able to resign him with our stupid fucking payroll from our stupid fucking corporate owners.

  66. Worth noting that “we had no other options” was the prevailing defense of the CJ extension too.

    We’re cornering the market on blah players, for too many years, at the wrong time for the team.

  67. WTF y’all? Someone has to play RF. I don’t get where folks say he sucks. He doesn’t.
    He ain’t a super star but neither is Heyward. He has been a pretty decent player for almost all of his career. I wish the length of the contract was 3 years but in this market his offense is coming at a pretty reasonable price.

    If the Braves stand pat they have acquired a high upside starter under team control for 4 years, 2 candidates for the 8th inning ,replaced Heywards hitting for a couple of years and a obtained high upside prospect.

    They gave up 1 year of a good RF who wasn’t going to be a Brave after 2015, a fragile setup man, and a low ceiling 2b. Essentially they have spent Santana’s salary for Markakis and pitcher Johnson.

    There is still work to be done. 5th starter, bench, some relief arms. All doable.

    i’m not saying that we won’t trade Justin or Gattis but if they don’t then the team might be able to compete.

    Ok maybe I’m being over optimistic since competing hinges on BJ CJ or Simmons not sucking the life out of the offense, but what the hell, it sure beats being so godammed negative.

  68. It’s a fine pickup for a reasonable cost. Some of you severely underestimate the value of average to slightly above (and constantly confuse it for replacement level), and perhaps don’t realize how much the market has moved in just a few years. It’s damn expensive out there.

  69. Hometown guy who plays hard and will be good in the club house. Gets on base and does the little things not every thing shows up in numbers. 4 years is probably a year too, long. We have to forget the 90s and early 2000’s. Baseball looks more like the 80’s post steroids. Prototype 2 hitter. Is he that much worse than prado?

  70. Okay guys, after reading the last 50+ posts, I think everyone should take the next 90 seconds of their lives to review the About page of this site for two reasons:

    1. Mac wrote it, and Mac was hilarious and reading his stuff is always worth 90 seconds of your life. (“I make no particular effort to be neutral, unless I feel like it. I do generally attempt to be fair to individual Braves players, unless I don’t like them.” I seriously miss him.)

    2. Even though Mac is no longer around, his (very few) rules still apply to the site, including not using extreme profanity and treating this space like a civilized conversation. I get posting something like that in the moment when David Carpenter coughs up a lead in the division series while Craig Kimbrel watches with disgust from the bullpen, but, seriously, the Braves signed Nick Markakis. I think we can discuss, disagree, be sarcastic, and even react to news like this in a composed and articulate manner.

    Braves Journal became my favorite website because I knew I could always find thoughtful (if not always completely rational, we are fans, after all!) ideas of all things Braves-related from all sides of the issue. Let’s please try to keep that overall tenor in place. Something else to consider: I first began reading this blog as a young teenager. I don’t know if we have anyone around that young now, but in case we do, please be considerate of your language.

    All right, enough mother hen-ning from me. But, seriously, before you go back to arguing over the Braves right field situation, read the About page. Mac was an absolute genius with words.

  71. When you start a sentence with “I really don’t know if I’m going to want to see what the last couple years of this contract are like…” you need to be ending the sentence with “…but boy am I excited for the next few years!” That is not the case here.

    Since when is a little over a win above replacement worth $11 million?

  72. The “Markakis isn’t bad” stance requires one to completely ignore his age and recent performance. His performance in his prime is just about as relevant as BJ’s performance in his prime, at this point. In fact it’s less relevant, because he’s even older and more on the bad side of the aging curve than BJ. What a player was is not what he will be or what he should be paid to be. wRC+ last two years: 88, 106. Projection for 2015: 103. That’s the BEST year he’ll be projected for, and it’s the first of four. And his defense is maybe average if you look at the most charitable measure of it. Unless Gold Gloves Earned is your statistic of choice, in which case I encourage you to rejoin the 1990s where you last left them.

    And I personally haven’t said word one about Heyward in this , but since he keeps getting dragged into this let me point out that he is in no way Markakis’ offensive equal. As a 24/25 year old: wRC+ for Heyward: 120/110.

  73. I like the deal. I’d rather have it been 3 years instead of 4. Markakis isn’t a world beater but he’s not the trash that some people are portraying him to be. Yep, Heyward is gone. Hart’s been in charge for what 2 months? Why are we blaming him for Wren’s mess?

  74. @105 Deal…even though it is certainly no Pickles. Now that we are Pickleless we are desperately in need of someone to step up and take a random nickname for the team.

  75. @107-I can assure you that no one on earth likes this signing more than Frank Wren. Right now he’s buying shots for the whole house.

  76. My hope for Markakis in 2014 would be similar numbers to his 2011 season.284 /.351 ./406 .756 OPS. These are definitely not numbers to build a team around, but in today’s economy, they’re worth the $11 million. The batting average would be the 2nd best on last year’s team and the 4th best OPS. The only justification I have for this prediction is that he seems to be rebuilding his swing with some success from his 2013 hand injury.

    The years after 2015 are definitely concerning, but as I said, I can live with the gamble at this point. I don’t see him becoming Chris Johnson of 2014 (.653 OPS) or BJ Upton anytime soon.

  77. It’s not that Markakis is a bad ballplayer at this point in his career. It’s just that this team signing him to that contract is antithetical to any coherent plan that I can see. He’s passable, which is fine if you’re planning to have a good team right now and need competence at the position. But the other moves the Braves have made and seem to be planning to make are ones that don’t presage immediate contention. Even those who support shedding Heyward and Jupton don’t seem to think otherwise — contractual realities, not 2015 competitiveness, provide the bulk of the rationale for moving them. So if you believe Markakis is unlikely to be a contributor to the next winning Braves team, the only point to signing him appears to be ensuring some minimum level of mediocrity while they play out the string downtown.

  78. By the way, I voted for the left field play. I think of it often in spare moments, and am comforted.

  79. Good explanation of your concerns Sansho. My only thought on this is that I’m not giving up on the Braves 2015 season yet and I don’t think the Braves are. If we shed Justin and add another solid SP and a useful outfielder, we have a chance.

    I think our 14 year playoff streak proves that with great pitching, anything is possible. I’m not going to pretend that our pitching staff can be anything close to the big 3, but I think one more starter gives us a chance to have a top 5 pitching staff in the NL. Add consistent but not great hitting to that (we had inconsistent and not great hitting last year), and it’s possible. I’m definitely not willing to concede 2015 yet and I’m glad the Braves aren’t – especially with the mediocrity in the division.

  80. Dave Cameron:

    Braves sign RF, pushing out Justin Upton. Mariners trade RF for SP, pushing out Taijuan Walker. These two things seem related.

    — David Cameron (@DCameronFG) December 3, 2014

    I’ll happily forgive the Markakis contract if Hart pulls off Walker for Upton.

  81. If the Braves can turn Jason Heyward, Jordan Walden, BJ Upton, Mike Minor, Justin Upton, Evan Gattis, and Tommy La Stella into Arodys Vizcaino, Shelby Miller, Tyrell Jenkins, 3 extra international signings, Jim Johnson, Taijuan Walker, Brad Miller, Zoilo Almonte, Dexter Fowler, Nick Markakis, another pitching prospect, Alex Rios, Brandon McCarthy, Kyle Blanks, & David Ross, I’d be ok with that.

    Should I hold my breath?

  82. I wonder if players entering/in contract years are a new undervalued commodity. Trade them for talent (Beltran for Wheeler, etc.), then turn around and instead of giving them an extension, spend the money on a free agent player. For example, I’d take

    a) Miller for 4, Jenkins for 7, and Lester for the next 6 years

    over

    b) Heyward for 8

    Markakis is kind of like Lester, I suppose. Both have hair.

  83. The Mariners trade of Saunders for Happ would open the possibility for the Upton – Walker move. What else can Hart extract from them?

  84. Not that the Braves or anyone else cares, but an Upton-for-Taijuan fleecing wouldn’t be enough for me. To earn my forgiveness, the team needs to then spend the money.

  85. @113 – Point well taken. Markakis is a peripheral piece you obtain to complete a team. Why get a guy like him if you are rebuilding?
    Maybe the Braves are trying to both rebuild and reload. I guess that they don’t have to be mutually exclusive events.

  86. Could be a useful piece

    Righty Michael Kohn has gone to the Braves on a minor league deal with a big league camp invite, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports on Twitter. Kohn originally signed with the Rays but was designated off the 40-man roster.

  87. I’d like to see Upton moved for Walker and Brad Miller

    What would you rather see?

    1. BJ/Minor moved for Edwin Jackson
    2. BJ/ Gattis moved for Fowler & prospects

    We could take a look at Wesley Wright.

  88. Seems to me that it would take significantly more than one year of Justin Upton to get Walker and Miller, each of whom have five remaining years of team control, but I would love to be wrong about that.

  89. He makes a good point about Markakis’s lack of a true platoon disadvantage, but I have a problem with the Gondeee piece:

    “Markakis is likely the first piece of an offensive rebuilding project that deemphasizes SABR attributes like WAR and advanced stats for the more scouting-centric qualities in players, like consistency and a grinder mentality.”

    That is just trash analysis–I’m not sure whether on Gandy’s part or on the Braves front office’s part. You know, because scouts hated our old right fielder.

    And as far as grinder mentality:

    -Heyward worked 103 full counts in ~650 plate appearances last year, hitting .254/.534/.429

    -Markakis worked 81 counts full last year in 710 plate appearances, hitting .232/.469/.321

  90. I’ve always thought that Markakis was destined to be a Brave at some point. I view the signing as replacing a high ceiling low floor player (Heyward), with a lower ceiling/higher floor player. Add in the Miller and Jenkins acquisition, and it looks like this in terms of a trade:

    Jason Heyward and 4 million dollars (app)

    for

    Nick Markakis
    Shelby Miller
    Tyrell Jenkins.

    Then when you add in the fact that we weren’t going to be able to sign Heyward after next year, and we get 14 seasons of control for those three, I have to think it’s a better deal for the team – if not for us fans.

    It certainly stinks that Heyward will be going first to home on long singles in St. Louis instead of Atlanta, but if Markakis can hit around .275/.350/.425 in the two hole, and Miller pitches like he did after the 2014 All-Star Break, then we should be a better team.

    And if they don’t – well, as Branch Rickey said once to Ralph Kiner (and I’m paraphrasing) “We finished out of the playoffs with you, we can certainly do that without you.

  91. @131

    Markakis’s ceiling for the next four years is Jason Heyward’s floor, actually.

    Markakis is a great signing. I’m thrilled to have him play for the Braves.

    But we didn’t need to trade Jason to make it happen.

  92. @132

    Well, he sets up a comparison between Markakis and Heyward, claiming that the only thing on Heyward’s side is something nebulous called “SABR attributes”

    That is trash analysis. It’s shallowly considered, vaguely expressed, and actually wrong–not arguably wrong.

    Arguably right/wrong is “Shelby Miller for 4 years is better than Jason Heyward for 1” or the vice-versa. You won’t hear me call his opinion trash.

  93. @132

    And anyway he wrote something stupid, which doesn’t make him stupid. Goodness knows he writes enough smart things to balance it out.

  94. @JonHeymanCBS: calls on justin upton picking up after markakis deal. understandable considering lack of righty power around game. #braves

  95. Walker and Miller will most definitely cost more than JUpton. There’s a very small chance that the Braves could pull off a Walker for JUpton move, straight up. That’s if…
    1. Mariners think there’s no viable FA to fill the last power bat OF void.
    2. That Mariners have soured enough of Walker’s health issues that they’re ready to depart with him for a chance to go for it in 2015.

    More realistically, Walker would cost more than JUpton. I think a Miller/Walker/prospect deal for Minor/JUp is more feasible.

  96. @130

    This bears the markings of Kevin Towers, Shadow GM. Legend has it he lurks among the Cumberland philodendron, furtively whispering “grinders!” to the early-morning senior citizen mall-walkers. Whether he is espousing baseball management philosophy or is merely hungry (one particular nice old lady brings him the occasional sandwich) is unclear, but since a brightly lit and Muzak enhanced predawn constitutional has become the preferred method of exercise for the Braves brain trust, some subliminal messaging may have occurred.

  97. In my mind the Markakis deal is not about him vs. Heyward, instead it’s about him vs. every other option the Braves could have at RF. Because Heyward was already gone and will not be back (this year), he has to be replaced with *someone*. If not Markakis, then who? Instead of making comparisons between Markakis and Heyward I would like to see suggestions for other viable options instead of Markakis. The only thing I have seen mentioned so far is Joey Terds. Which would be better, Terds or Markakis or someone else? From where I’m sitting Markakis looks like a decent enough move.

  98. This seems like a decent deal in the abstract — certainly I can remember a few recent Braves teams who would have been enormously helped by a guy of Markakis’s current caliber, and the money isn’t outrageous in today’s financial climate. But I can’t help but wonder if this is the right signing at the right time for the Braves. Markakis is more of a complementary player, a good piece for a team that’s already knocking at the door, and it’s tough to envision the 2015 Braves being that team, especially if they trade Justin Upton for prospects or projects.

    You’re happy if Markakis is the fifth- or sixth-best position player on the team; less so if he’s the second- or third-best.

  99. @140

    Thank you! Somebody finally understands the fact that this has nothing whatsoever to do with Heyward. In this post-Heyward landscape, if you think we should’ve signed somebody else, that’s fine, but there are two things that are not options: 1) Heyward playing RF…like, he’s gone; 2) Giving the job to Joey Terdoslavich. If somebody thinks we could’ve signed somebody better, I’m all ears, but wailing about internal options and Heyward is pointless. Terdoslavich may not even be a Major League player, and he’s certainly not a Major League starter.

    And the degree to which everyone decides Markakis is totally useless the second a Fangraphs article comes out complaining about the fact that he’s dared to be better than their totally infallible projections is pretty instructive, I think. If he had the same numbers and Fangraphs put out an article saying, “You know what? He’s not great, but maybe he’s better than we thought he was. He could be a solid outfield solution for somebody, blah blah blah” (try to keep a straight face at the thought of Fangraphs putting something like this out), my theory is everybody would like this deal a whole lot more.

  100. Nick Markakis is a player the Braves might need, but it doesn’t negate the fact that he’s been barely above average for his career.

  101. In this age of racial equality (cough) aokii would be interesting. You do have to consider communication issues and team make up. The Braves are primarily Latin and Caucasian in make up. Cultural connections do matter for a aball club. I have personally seen clubhouses in college fall apart because They could not relate.

  102. @141

    I agree, the move was to sign Heyward last off season and by all accounts he wanted to resign. I guess the Braves as an organization decided he wasn’t worth a 9 figure deal which I suppose is their prerogative even if we all think they’re wrong. Since they didn’t sign him last year it was obvious now to trade him and getting Miller/Jenkins is better than the draft pick we’d have gotten when he walks after the year.

    The problem is signing Markakis for 4 years doesn’t make any sense in that context. If you think we’re gonna compete this year then just keep Heyward, if you don’t then don’t sign a 31 year old to a 4 year deal, sign someone like Aoki for half the price and get the same production. There’s nothing wrong with Markakis, it’s the strategy that doesn’t make sense. Are we competing this year? I guess they want to try but I really don’t see it so why take a gamble that Markakis is a $12 million albatross in 3 years?

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