The Jadeite Jewel: Caution, Wet Floor

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: The Slip ‘N Slide vs. Lost Your Feet

The Slip ‘N Slide

Editor’s Pitch: Simmons not only kept up with the path of the ball when his feet slipped out from under him, he caught it and threw it from his knee without any hesitation, as if he had planned to do it that way all along. His arm is strong enough that he got the out. From his knees. On the outfield grass. With a throw that was chest high when Freddie Freeman reached out to catch it. Chip Caray’s “Are you kidding me?” was spot on.

Lost Your Feet

Editor’s Pitch: The best thing about this play (after the fact it upset a Gnats player) is that it started as the most routine play possible for a shortstop, and ended up not routine at all. Simmons did not hesitate when his feet slipped and he ended up in a position that makes it nearly impossible to get anything on a throw at all. He merely threw the ball across the diamond from the seat of his pants, proving that his arm is completely his arm and has nothing to do with his body momentum at all. I mean, if you just watched this play unfold from his waste up, you would never know anything had gone wrong. Clearly, Simmons has to wonder who needs legs to play baseball?

126 thoughts on “The Jadeite Jewel: Caution, Wet Floor”

  1. Slip ‘n slide. Longer throw.

    Also, somebody alluded to it at the end of the last thread, but what are the Padres doing?

  2. It is going to suck finishing ten games back of the Marlins. As loathsome as Loria is, he knows exactly what he is doing. Even if his plan is unadulterated evil, it’s a plan. If they win a world series just in time for him to blow up the team and force Stanton to opt out of his contract, I might have to quit following the sport.

  3. The slip ‘n slide is amazing, because it was not going to be an easy play (for an average shortstop) even if he kept his footing.

  4. Google says Winkler was going to get TJ halfway through last season. How can he stay on the 25-man roster? Can you stash him on the DL for most of the season?

  5. Lost JR Graham to the Twins, drafted Daniel Winkler, who’s apparently recovering from TJ surgery, from the Rockies.

    The Mets drafted our old pal Sean Gilmartin from the Twins.

  6. If you can have him on the DL, this pick makes a ton of sense. Wouldn’t take up room for very long. Still hoping Cody Martin makes it.

  7. @DOBrienAJC: In minor league phase of Rule 5, #Braves take catcher Steve Rodriguez from Dbacks Double-A roster

  8. How, precisely, does trading for Dee Gordon and Dan Haren’s retirement ceremony make the Marlins super smart?

  9. You can stash him on the DL as long as he is on the ML roster for a couple of weeks, I think.

  10. @mlbbowman The #Braves think Winkler will spend all or most of 2015 on the DL. If so, he’ll need to be on the active roster for at least 90 days in ’16

    I don’t understand the minor league phase, but I should look into that after Finals

  11. I’m really hoping that the Rule 5 Draft is not the only roster moves we make to day. Thus far, this has been a very disappointing week.

  12. @16-Dan Haren is a better than league average fifth starter. If he retires the Marlins pocket the ten million and buy his equivalent. Matt Latos is a legitimate #2 starter with a career 113 ERA+ entering his age 27 season. He will be at least a 3 WAR pitcher next year. Dee Gordon posted a 101 OPS+ last season and 2.5 WAR as a 26 year old. And in trading for Aaron Crow they picked up a reliever who had a down year but was only 27 and has a career 120 ERA+. The Marlins are a manifestly better team than they were at season’s end.

  13. The value of JUpton and EOB is higher today than yesterday, but I’ve never mastered deferred gratification.

  14. @DOBrienAJC: #Braves were pleased not to lose RH Cody Martin in Rule 5, hope to get RH J.R. Graham back if Twins don’t keep him on their ML roster all yr

  15. The value of JUpton and EOB is higher today than yesterday, but I’ve never mastered deferred gratification.

    Who’s left to trade with anyway? I guess we may wait until the trade deadline on JUpton. It must hurt his value that he’s given no indication of wanting to sign an extension.

    Not good on the one hand that we shouldn’t expect as big a return for dealing him later. And it would’ve been fun to compare the return to Heyward’s. But I can’t say I don’t enjoy cheering for JUpton, so there’s that.

    Someone must really love Arodys because Callaspo could very well be worse than TLS would’ve been.

  16. @29

    No. I think we should. We may get a discount based on his brother being on the team.

    He is just about to enter his prime and while he is up and down, he is the best player in the league when he is hot.

  17. Upton will cost us 20-25% of our payroll and will expect a 6-7 year deal. I don’t want him extended. It won’t work out for us in the long run.

  18. @31, That’s the kind of thinking that would result in never signing any topline free agents ever. Which I guess is fine if you’re a Braves fan. But in the other thread, you snarked at the Cubs signing Lester, as though actually having a window to win a World Series or two or three isn’t worth the risk of a lull in subsequent years. It’s going to be infinitely more enjoyable over the next two or three years to be a Cubs fan than it will be to be a Braves fan — think about how sad that is — and there’s no guarantee that the Braves are going to pull out of it in 2017. Barring utter catastrophe, the Cubs will be good real soon.

    You have to figure that we already would’ve extended JUpton if there was a possibility of an agreement. Just have to hope whatever we get from an in-season trade is better than whatever the draft pick would end up as.

  19. @32, Preach it. At some point we have to pay up for at least one or two more great players. This team freaking sucks as is, don’t even get me started on how bad we’ll be once JUpton and Gattis are gone.

    If the plan is total tear-down and rebuild for 2018, then fine. That’s a valid plan. That was the Cub’s plan too. I just don’t want to hear the complete fantasy-land stuff about us being competitive in 2015 while jettisoning all of our good hitters.

    Not signing anyone in this offseason, and not extending JUpton, would signal to me that we’re doing the total tear-down. Prepare to lose 90+ games for three years.

  20. Why are we trading Justin Upton at the deadline now? Did they institute a trade deadline at the end of the Winter Meetings this year?

  21. If we had a loaded farm system I would love to extend Justin, but we don’t. We basically would be 2-3 years away from paying Freeman and Justin 50% of our payroll.

  22. I’m trying to figure out what makes Justin Upton great player. The guy is good but far from great. I will say he can carry a team when he is hot, but he is to streaky to rely on long term. His defense leaves much to be desired, too. I saw him crush rallies last year with strikeouts just as often as he kept them going. If he were going to be around for say 15 to 18 million a year for 4 to 5 years as a resign, it would be a yes. The guy is not worth the 20 to 25 million he will be wanting though.

  23. It’s ok to not keep JUpton. But at some point we have to actually make the team better. We aren’t going to get better by trading him or letting him walk. The return for one-year of Justin will at-best make us better a few years from now. There’s no way we’re getting current MLB players as good as Justin back in a trade.

    How are we going to get better? I think the only conclusion you can come to (so far) is that we’re going to get better through the draft and through international FA signings.

  24. I’m disappointed like many of you that we’ve been quiet during the winter meetings, but if holding out means a better deal, so be it. I just think we may not be able to draw too many conclusions about this team until opening day.

  25. @34, Well, who else is out there for us to trade with? If there is a buyer, then fine.

    I did say “we may wait until the trade deadline,” meaning some team may emerge with a need before then, and perhaps better to wait until Trout goes down with some horrible injury in April or something like that.

    There are two premises that I see in @31:
    1) Extending JUpton is the wrong move given our current roster/financial situation
    2) We should never be the top bidder for any topline FAs (i.e. the Cubs messed up by signing Lester) just because the end of the deal will be ugly

    I agree with 1 and disagree with 2. A great many players are woefully, woefully underpaid before they reach free agency or that last arb year. If a team can’t then overpay for a single superstar that reaches FA, then something is really wrong.

    People are unduly concerned about streakiness. But I also wouldn’t want to give JUpton $25 for six or seven years. I’d do $20, though, if the team was in a different place.

  26. How are we going to get better? I think the only conclusion you can come to (so far) is that we’re going to get better through the draft and through international FA signings.

    That seems to be the plan. But for us to win, I bet they’re going to have to forget the Lowe/Uggla/BJ nightmare and take the risk of spending on a top flight FA.

  27. Who was the last FA that signed large deal where it actually paid off for the club? Seems like they all become flops

    Werth, Crawford, Pujols, Hamilton, Soriano, BJ Upton, Arod, Teixeira, kemp, Mauer, Hampton, cliff lee, Halladay, Santana, fielder, wells, Howard

    Seems like the list above is the norm and then you get a few that might pay off. Tulo would be but he can’t stay healthy, Felix Hernandez is a beast. I’m sure I’m missing some.

  28. Hey,

    Does anybody have a clue how much Jed Lowrie would probably demand. The guy isn’t a high average guy, but he gets on base. The big thing is he switch hits and can play all the infield positions? Between him, Calaspo, and Johnson, we could probably put out an okay day to day infield based on pitching matchups to decide who starts.

    Also, Ichiro is on the market. If we are getting set for a rough two or three years, I bet we could get him at a discount as a 4th outfielder or possibly a replacement in CF. He is 41, but he did have decent numbers last year in almost 400 ABs. I’d love to see him get 3000 hits.

    Yes, I am grasping at straws now just wanting to see something. If we do not trade Gattis or Justin, its okay, but we still have to take care of our bench. Those are just two guys I came across in the free agent listing on ESPN.

    Here is the link ESPN has up for 2014 Free Agents: http://espn.go.com/mlb/freeagents

  29. The thing that scares me with Upton is the strikeouts. At 171 last year, there’s only so much higher they can go and have him be worth the kind of money someone is going to pay him. He had the 4th highest K% in baseball last year after Chris Davis, Chris Carter, and Adam Dunn. His comp list isn’t overly inspiring for their longevity either. I get that occasionally you have to roll the dice, but I’d rather not be paying Mark Reynolds 20+ MM per in his 30’s

  30. Who was the last FA that signed large deal where it actually paid off for the club? Seems like they all become flops

    Aside from lumping in a few extensions, you’re using the wrong criterion. The Yankees and Phillies won rings with A-Rod/Teixeira/Halladay being key players. Who cares about the back end?

    If you really can’t extricate yourself from the financial well-being of the team for some reason, I personally know far too much people who are casually acquainted with baseball but are Phillies fans for life, attend games, buy merchandise, etc, because of their WS win and trip the subsequent year.

    Does anybody have a clue how much Jed Lowrie would probably demand?

    I can’t wait for him to sign somewhere because if he’s among the only ones left out there, I won’t be able to avoid defending him from “always injured” fallacies.

  31. Halliday wasn’t on the Phillies championship team. Yankees for sure naught the WS with sabathia, teix, and Burnett.

    I’d point to Matt Holliday as the example of a free agent done good.

  32. @41 I’d say Werth has worked out just fine for Washington, and Pujols hasn’t exactly been a flop, perceptions have just been negative because of comparisons to his peak (though there’s a long way to go yet on that one). Cliff Lee’s been great other than his shortened ’14.

  33. Andruw’s contract with LA pleased me.

    (Though I do wish for Druw’s sake, he’d cemented his HOF resume.)

  34. So, at the culmination of Winter Meetings our everyday starters line up sort of like this:

    C Bethancourt
    1st Freeman
    2nd Callaspo/Gosselin
    SS Simmons
    3rd Johnson/Callaspo
    LF Gattis
    CF B.J. Upton
    RF Justin Upton

    Does that sound about right? Who are our bench players outside of either Callaspo or Gosselin depending on who wins out at 2nd base?

    Also, does anybody know the asking price of Stephen Drew? It can’t be that high after last season. We could go for him with a 1 year contract to hold down second and give Peraza a full year in Triple AAA until September call ups. It would free up Gosselin and Callaspo to take on our infield bench roles. Then we would just be left to find a back up catcher and 1 to 2 OF back ups or hopefully starter in CF.

    To be honest, it doesn’t look that horrible if we had somebody else in CF and a a good platoon situation happened at 2nd and 3rd. This resting on Gattis being able to at least catch the balls hit to him in say a 15 foot diameter of an area around him in LF. If we found a 5th starter, and the bullpen worked out, it might wouldn’t be the worst season ever.

    It would take a lot of work, but hopefully the next couple of months is more eventful than this week has been.

  35. Sorry, I completely forgot about Markakis.

    So, he is in RF, Justin in LF, and Gattis at Cstcher. Basically, we get Gattis 110 Games again.

  36. When did everyone strat caring about defense from corner outfielders? The corners are probably the easiest possitions to play in all of sports.

  37. It all matters — how much is a matter of frequent conjecture, but it all matters. If we watch Gattis play LF for an entire season, I can guarantee you it will certainly seem to matter.

  38. Anyone else think the Braves and Padres match up well?

    Jupton and CJ. For solarte,veneble and a small prospect.

    Then figure out a way to get Scott van slake from Dodgers.

    Take a flyer on peavy or Edison volquez from the fifth starter

  39. I’m not sure how much worse Gattis will be over Justin out there. I thought the Braves matched up well with the Padres until they got Kemp. I doubt they want to add much more payroll.

  40. Was Brett Anderson healthy last year? He could be worth a look.

    Scratch that, he hasn’t been healthy since 2009

  41. @53

    Well I get that aspect of it. But overall, there is a reason guys go out there. I mean, we won the World Series with Ryan Klesko playing left.

  42. Roy Halladay and the Phillies didn’t win a World Series. The Phillies won their World Series in 2008, then acquired Halladay by trade in December 2009. The contract with Halladay that didn’t totally work out was a contract extension.

    The Phillies won the World Series with these four starting pitchers: Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, Jamie Moyer, and Brett Myers. They never won it with Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay.

  43. @58, But that was then and this is now. The corner outfield starters on this year’s WS teams were: Alex Gordon, Angel Pagan, Aoki/Cain?, and Hunter Pence. At least I think that’s right.

    When Hunter Pence is your most prototypical anything, you know we’re in a little bit of a weird period.

    @62, Yup, stand corrected, but I think my larger point still stands. Spending $200 mil on a FA isn’t even a megadeal at this point anyhow.

  44. #59
    And what’s pretty ironic is that during the Phils’ WS-winning 1980 season, Dallas Green often replaced Luzinski in LF with another legendary outfield adventurer, Lonnie “Skates” Smith.

  45. Justin is a “what the hell did he just do?” bad outfielder. Gattis is a “where the hell is he?” bad outfielder, which is way worse.

  46. @52

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but when the primary value of their favorite player, who happened to play right field, became defense. That’s when a lot of people seemed to decide it was the most super-important thing ever.

  47. @59 – Luzinski “played everything timidly except the wall, which he seemed to be in denial about”. This is an awesome quote.

  48. As the community began to develop better stats to track defense, defense became “more important” to the community. This is ironic, of course, because back at the beginning, in the late 80s and 90s, any stat-head worth his salt would tell you that defense didn’t matter and you needed to put mashers at every position except *maybe* SS and CF.

    As the league morphs out of an offensive juggernaut league, into more of a pitching and defense league, this trend accelerates.

  49. That said, the value of defense on the corners (which is compared, for most statistical purposes, to *other corner defenders*,) vs defense up the middle (which is compared to better defenders up the middle) is an open and on-going question. We know that compared to typically poor-fielding RF’s Jason Heyward was a defensive god. This is true and factual. We do not know that his defensive value in RF was notably better than a slightly above average defender in CF. These are all open questions.

  50. The range of impact of corner OF defense is less than that of most other positions, but it’s still important at the margins. I haven’t said anything much about Justin’s defense, because while it’s not good it doesn’t strike me as so bad that it matters greatly. But Heyward was at one margin, and Gattis is at the other. Those dozen or so boneheaded Justin plays don’t have near the game impact that the 40 extra singles hit in front of Gattis will.

  51. The game Gattis, barreling headlong in from left on a blind trajectory of hopeless doom, shatters Andrelton Simmons’ spine into a million tiny shards, will be a day of great moaning and despair.

  52. Per Fredi yesterday, as of right now, Gattis is the opening day starter at C, with Bethancourt being his caddy. Obviously the roster is still in flux.

  53. @72, the fact that Gattis produced extra-base-hits at nearly twice the rate of Heyward has to also factor in to the equation. I would rather Gattis play LF where he has a chance to get 600+ plate appearances. All he has to do is catch the easy fly balls, which are the vast majority of defensive chances.

  54. I support trading Gattis over JUpton. I know Gattis has more team control, but a C/LF/DH who can absolutely mash has more value to most other teams than us. I would trade Gattis in this offseason for close-to-major-league ready prospects and deal JUpton at the deadline. If we’re in it, hold onto JUpton, but I think Gattis gives a great return now. I like that Hart is asking for the moon right now for him, especially since Hart doesn’t traditionally have that reputation. I think he knows he has a solid asset and he wants to hold onto it.

    Sam describing Gattis torpedoing himself towards Simmons resulting in immediate death is hilarious. I see several realistic scenarios where Gattis ends Simmons’ life prematurely. Poor guy.

  55. @77 I don’t think you are weighing his defense enough. Check out Kemp on fangraphs. Better hitter, worse WAR. That doesn’t weigh pitch-framing either.

    With pitch-framing (which he is above-average at), Gattis could have been pushing 3 wins last year. In left, I’d put him at maybe one and a half.

  56. @77, he won’t even catch the easy ones. They’ll harmlessly fall in front of him and to both sides of him. This is the core of why Jeter was a poor defensive shortstop: he looks fine on what he gets to, he just has no range whatsoever, and he won’t even have the common courtesy of booting the ball so to keep the pitcher’s ERA low.

  57. Fair enough. I beg to differ, but I know it’s pointless to rehash the corner OF debate here. If we had a better CF then my dream scenario would be to have Klesko in LF and RF. Anyone can play LF. Anyone.

  58. In Gattis’s defense, he has played like 30 games in left. I imagine he would get somewhat better at it.

  59. Who cares about left field defense? It’s arguably the least-important position defensively.

    Give me Ryan Klesko over Ryan Langerhans any day.

  60. @84 You’d be getting the glove of Gattis. 200 more at-bats from Gattis (hopefully), and 400 more at-bats from Bethancourt.

  61. People have seen, Peanut says the Padres are still in on Jupton. I couldn’t think of a better team to add to our treasure trove of blah.

  62. MLB Network just unanimously gave Justin a 0% chance of staying in Atlanta. They also played up the Padres as having a strong interest but let it be known that they will face stiff competition with the need for power guys at a premium. I feel good that we’ll get a strong return for him. The only problem with not making deals at the winter meeting is that it pushes back our ability to fill in the rest of our lineup. Hopefully something will break soon.

  63. We’re not buying the guys making the big contract splashes at the winter meetings anyway, barring someone taking a big pay cut to come here.

  64. We need to forget about the bad contract player included in the Justin/Gattis deals. Just get the best return possible and cut the dead weight. These bad contracts would surely diminish any return

  65. I just received the coolest christmas present form a co-owner of the company I am working for. He apparently is best friends with the Cubs owner, Tom Ricketts. So I will be at the Braves game at Wrigley on August 20 and will be allowed to be down on the field to meet players prior to the game. Awesome! I will probably make best use of my time to discuss a thing or two with Fredi, if he’s still around come next August.

  66. Jet lagged an exhausted John Hart is hilarious. “It’s not like I’m breaking up the ’27 Yankees.” Preach it, Brother Hart. Preach it.

  67. Hart’s not wrong, but I hope he’s not expecting fans to tune in this year, unless it’s to ridicule Collapso.

    Though if Hart would remain quotable that would help a little.

  68. I would like to point out that my having been away from here for a few days has done nothing to stem discussions of Jason Heyward–who, I might add, is wonderful always and forever.

  69. I really liked all the comments from Hart. The ’27 Yankees line is funny, but he seems to be playing the market pretty well on a very valuable asset (JUpton). Read the rest of the article if you have time.

  70. I had really not noticed how elite JUpton is as a hitter. MLB Network ranked his stats and I was surprised how he compared. I really wish we had a DH. Gattis definitely should be playing left the way our roster is constructed.

    JUpton for a 2B/3B and some prospects, sign a 5th starter, and we can mail in the offseason.

    Unless that 5th starter and 2B/3B cost as much as JUpton does, then what do we do with JUpton’s salary?

  71. That remains to be seen. From what we know, the Padres and Mariners are still in. And while the Mariners probably could get Dayan Viciedo on the cheap, there’s a good reason for that.

    That leaves Jupton and…wouldn’t you know it, but Melky is once again standing in the way of our success. If it were two buyers for just the one quality OF bat, maybe we might have made off with Brad Miller by now.

    @103, Funny how it’s dawning on Braves fans that he’s quite a good hitter. It’s just for a year of his services, and I might’ve missed something, but I haven’t seen him say a word about the possibility of an extension. He strikes me as wanting to test the market. So we can’t get too greedy.

  72. Are people following the Bryce Harper grievance thing? Best thing about this entire offseason so far.

  73. @103 Lockbox

    Still think some team will pay too much once the races heat up. If you’re a team without the funds to sustain a playoff caliber roster, how much is a chance to win it all worth?

  74. Ok, that worked out well, re: Melky. If the Reds don’t actually want to trade Jay Bruce, the path should be clear, right?

  75. Melky to the White Sox. Only decent FA bat left is Morse. Price for Gattis and Upton just got higher.

  76. Give us your best prospects, your controllable players; and we will give you bats.

    I like the sound of that.

  77. @109 I’ve seen several comments on Braves Journal hoping the Braves can get Yangervis Solarte back for Justin Upton. Checking out Solarte’s stats I don’t see the appeal – he was a non-prospect who is really just minor league depth but ended up getting a shot with the Yankees last year because they had no viable infielders. Solarte basically profiles as an older version of Tommy LaStella. That sort of player is good to have around but isn’t an organizational cornerstone.

  78. 115—Have you really seen several? I thought I’d only seen a couple, and from the same guy/gal. Yeah, that’d be a waste.

  79. I’m not crazy about the thought of rebuilding but has there ever been a better year to be sellers instead of buyers? The market is ridiculous.

  80. @120 The market has been crazy for years. I still can’t understand why we got so little in return for Tex. Also imagine if we traded away Andruw or McCann the year before they reached free agency.

  81. @119 I guess it was only two posts wishing for the Braves to send JUp in exchange for Yangervis Solarte, and I didn’t review them closely enough to see that both posts were from the same guy. In any event, my point about Solarte being a poor trade target for the Braves stands.

  82. SSS alert: Solarte batted in the neighborhood of .289/.356/.380 away from Petco after the trade. That’s not world-beating, but it certainly plays. I’d rather have him than Al Collapse, but I guess that’s not the question.

  83. Solarte is hardly a prospect. If we are trading Justin, we better get something better in return than freaking Solarte. I am ok with Solarte only if we ship CJ to the opposite direction. Otherwise I don’t want him in any kind of package.

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