“How do you call among you the little mouse, the mouse that jumps?”
“We call that one muad’dib.”
“I am Kelly Johnson. It is not right that I give up entirely the name my father gave me. Could I be known among you as Kelly-Muad’Dib?”
“You are Kelly-Muad’Dib”
Look. All I’m saying is Kelly Johnson’s name is a killing word, alright?
A thought I’m trying to wrap my head around: Is paying BJ Upton $8-10 million a year to play out his contract for a different team preferable to paying him $16 million a year to play for the Braves?
If you’re trying to compete in 2015, it’s worth paying someone else to take the guy and get 4 mil back to spend on a league average replacement player. If you’re not trying to compete in 2015, there’s no point in throwing that money to someone else, just because. The Braves in their current three-year plan have zero reason to trade BJ barring something useful in return.
Any scenarios where we’re trying to compete and moving BJ Upton like that is still a bad idea?
Other than the scenario that BJ Upton returns to being a league-average player or better.
Edit: Final year of his contract, for instance, by which point we’ll be aiming to congeal all of these new pieces into a Good Major League Team.
To me, it’s the same as Derek Lowe. If we can get anyone to pay even a fraction of his contract, then it’s worth it to us to get a little bit of that money back, which we can then invest in more players â€”Â like Yoan Moncada, for instance.
The trouble is that the Braves have been looking for a bad contract swap for literally the last 12 months and haven’t come up with anything. Which means that there is no team that is willing to provide enough salary relief for it to be worth it to the Braves. We don’t know how much salary relief the Braves would be willing to accept, but it’s pretty clear that if it were doable, they would have done it.
Did I miss the assumption that he gets less awful enough for someone to take him? If I did, there in lies the rub. In his current state, we’d have to pay 16 million for him to sit at home or 16 million less the cost of a minor league contract for him to finish elsewhere.
edit : What Alex said.
Been a long time since I have read Dune. I had to Wiki the reference. I get it now.
If someone just breaks out – that kid we got from the Yankees, or Mallex Smith I guess, maybe you move him to create space on the roster. But Smith is in the low minors, and I don’t really know why you’d eat millions to move the guy when you could just platoon him or bench him. The only reason I can think to move him in the rebuild scenario is if 1) he rebounds and you get an offer that isn’t “nothing or less” or 2) he’s just killing the clubhouse.
I mean, we have to eat the dough anyway. There are really only two considerations:
1) If you keep him, there is a small but nonzero chance that he improves enough to be worth more than the cash you could hope to get as salary relief. OR, to put it another way, a chance that he improves enough to be able to bring back more salary relief.
2) If you get rid of him, there is a small but nonzero chance that he improves enough to make you look bad.
I agree with you, there isn’t a lot of roster crowding on the 25-man any more, so there’s no time pressure to DFA him like we did with Uggla. The Braves have nothing but time. But unless you believe that there’s a reasonable chance for him to actually rediscover his stroke, there’s really no reason to retain him.
When the goal for the FO is to pretend to compete when everyone’s grandma knows you’re really not trying to compete, you keep BJ Upton, hope he rebounds, and sell him AQAP to any team willing to pay the majority of his salary.
@8, the only way you can find out if number one is true or not is to give him enough significant at-bats to find out. I agree that if you’re not competing for 2015 that doesn’t matter too much in the larger sense of things but there is an additional opportunity cost
Braves will be playing to win in 2015. Trying to compete is not the same as being competitive.
@9 I initially read your last sentence as “sell him to AQAP” (al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) and thought that sounded justifiable.
I have never seen someone use AQAP instead of ASAP.
@10, yep. And we’ve given him plenty of at-bats already, so we have a good sense of the likely magnitude of that cost.
It’s a useful exercise to imagine what it would take for you to want the Braves to acquire BJ Upton from another team, given he had these same last 2 seasons.
I cannot imagine trading anything for him or agreeing to pay even a nominal amount of his contract. He’s barely useful as a 5th outfielder with upside right now, but even then, you’d have to factor the cost of his possible pouting on the bench.
So, I agree with the posters who say that our only hope with this contract is for BJ to rebound a bit and post a 2 WAR season or so, and even in that case, we’d have to send quite a bit of money along with him.
What we could do is ask for a government bailout. The military could draft BJ and he could go fight in two wars. Thus putting up a 2 WAR.
I’ll be here all week.
It is unbelievably difficult to field a competitive group of 25 players when 24.5% of the payroll is committed to 2 below-average players.
This, nevertheless, is John Coppolella’s task after the 2015 Bizarro Braves finished with 88 wins and lost the wild card play-in game against a surprising Phillies team fueled by several pacts GM Ruben Amaro made with the devil.
Sit-Rep, Armistice Day, 2015:
-Wonder-outfielders Justin Upton and Jason Heyward have turned down qualifying offers and are free agents
-The team has about $69.5 million in contracts committed to 19 players
-Liberty Media has given our Johns a $95,000,000 budget.
-The team has holes at both corner outfield positions and one spot in the rotation. We need a lefty in the bullpen and another reliever on top of that, and we’ve lost one of our bench infielders/Chris Johnson safety nets.
-The upper minors are still a mess. One of our call-ups from the 2015 season sticks as a 5th starter, we’ve got several options for the last spot in the bullpen, and we’ve got a couple guys who could be trusted to get called up for a month-long stay on the bench. But that’s it. We do not have a regular contributor on hand.
-Looking for some good news? Philse Gossaza was an average major league player in 2015, and 2nd base is not a real worry for us for the first time in two-and-a-half years.
Confession: I do not have a way to make this bunch a reliably competitive team in 2016. Maybe we hit the jackpot on a prospect or maybe a couple veterans just blow us out of the water, hitting home runs left and right and giving us a decent performance in the field: maybe, but those are situations that I can’t plan for with any real honesty.
And perhaps there’s some way to Billy-Beane-Carousel our way into another contending team, but again it’s more than I can plan for. Too far out, too many variables.
That said, here’s what I put together. (Look at the “2016 losers” tab.)
The time is come, now that competing for a playoff spot is truly a long shot, to bolster the farm.
To that end I’ve:
-Traded Mike Minor, with two years left of team control, for two prospects.
-Traded Evan Gattis, with three years left of team control, for two prospects.
Between those four prospects and the two we got for Craig Kimbrel after the 2014 season, I’m counting on one of them to play corner outfield for the Braves in 2016. Whether he ends up as an everyday player or another node in a thickening web of platoons remains to be seen–but he’s a major leaguer.
-I’m also moving BJ Upton, who wasn’t good in 2015, but wasn’t as bad as in 2013–although we’ll have to absorb $10,000,000 of his salary for each of the two years. There is a team out there who’s definitely going to trade a back-up-type prospect for the right to a centerfielder for $13 million over 2 years. Maybe they even fix him a little bit; vaya con Dios, BJ Upton.
-That brings payroll down to $52.5 million. We still have all the same holes to fill, plus another starting pitcher and a catcher to start in place of Christian Bethancourt twice a week.
In free agency we sign:
-a veteran starter (Mark Buerhle? Tim Hudson? Mike Pelfrey? Bud Norris?) to a two-year deal in the neighborhood of 11 million per.
-a back-up catcher for $4 million. (Yes, this is what we would have paid Gattis–but we needed help on the farm more at this point.)
-2 outfielders for a combined $14,000,000–one of them on a one-year deal, one of them on two- or three-year deal. One of these guys will be an everyday player in 2016; the other might be, or he might end up in some sort of convoluted platoon.
-a lefty for the bullpen
-a bench infielder in the Alberto Callaspo mold who can spell Chris Johnson against righties.
The last pieces of the puzzle are a fireballer off the farm to pitch for us in the final relief spot, and probably a spring training invite for a Wandy Rodriguez/Ben Sheets type.
You may think you recognize this team: it looks a lot like the real life 2015 Braves. They can pitch a little–perhaps even a little better than our real life crew can this year, as long as Providence preserves Julio’s and Alex’s arms. But the offense, absent three miracles or so, is a catastrophe. It’ll be a long row to hoe to get back into contention–maybe a trade or two gets us back in the driver’s seat in 2017, but I doubt it.
The Bizarro Braves, responsible tended and with a little luck–which is what building a contender always takes–will be relevant in the National League again in 2018, the second year of NCS@WFF.
Braves signed John Buck to a Minor League deal with a ST invite. On its face, this isn’t really news. However, it could be that the Braves plan on optioning Bethancourt back to the minors at some point and platooning Buck and Pierzynski, giving the Braves one more veteran trade chip at the deadline.
Hilarious – I read AQAP as al Qaeda as well. I was trying to get my head around whether BJ was being sold to be a bride, or what. I guess “quietly” makes more sense there.
Moreso, I think this is a flashing neon “Hey, Christian, we aren’t afraid to call you a bust and move on” sign inside the clubhouse.
I assume he meant “as quickly as possible.”
Damn, I’m having a hard time with the English language today. “Quickly” makes even more sense. [I thought about typing “since” there just to keep up the FAIL of it all.]
After AJP was signed, the Braves put it out there that if he looks like he did last year, his ass is getting cut in spring training. FWIW, I think they’re committed to seeing this Bethancourt thing through, and it’s Pierzynski that could be a goner.
With all the youth pitching I like veteran catchers around.
What’s up with Pierzynski’s random 27 homer season at the age of 35. Previous career high was 18 when he was 28. I’m not buying that one.
We all know about park factors, the platoon advantage, PEDs, etc… What we don’t talk about enough is how much ISO fluctuates. Power doesn’t stabilize in the course of a season.
So, we get John Buck super cheap. If Bethancourt is going to be the major catcher with a veteran as backup, why did we pay Pierzynski 4 million? We could have just had Bethancourt with John Buck as our backup with 3 million to go elsewhere.
Buck is insurance in case one (or both) of AJP or CB flame out.
I’d say there is a pretty good chance all three of those guys flame out.
Never seen NYC so empty. No people outside. Zero cars. No subways on the elevated tracks. Cars entombed by snow. Looks like some kind of apocalypse out there. It’s freaky.
Ububba, bergen county is that way too, and for 5 inches of super powdery snow.
There’s some pretty good discussion of defensive value going on over at Bill James Online right now. Bill is (in the midst of) making an argument that several current advanced defensive systems work reasonably well on their own terms, but become disproportionate when combined with offensive numbers expressed in the same “units” (WAR, Total Runs, etc.)–although it’s fair to say he’s only moving in that direction and he hasn’t officially drawn any conclusions yet. It seems as though he’s going to introduce a revised total value system in the next few days.
Tom Tango is politely responding to some of Bill’s arguments in the comments sections.
Good reading, all of it. I’m interested to see where it ends up.
That sounds awesome, Ububba. I love how the snow muffles the sound. A silent NYC is a surreal experience. I wish I still lived there.