Mark Bradley talks about the rebuild

According to Mark Bradley, the Braves think that they got a lot closer to being done with their rebuild than they’d previously hoped, basically entirely because of how badly they swindled the Diamondbacks.

57 thoughts on “Mark Bradley talks about the rebuild”

  1. If our FO can pull off a few more trades for young offensive talent then sign or trade for a SP anchor, I think we’re there.

  2. Pulling off a few more trades for young offensive talent may be necessary, but I think that is more like plan B for the FO. I think their major strategy is to get a high impact talent from the international market. We have several 3rd base prospects but they don’t seem to be panning out yet. One more outfielder and a catcher will put us pretty close to where we want to be in the long run for offense, unless we get rid of Inciarte or Olivera is a bust. Here is what I see for 2017. I only think they’ll sign one FA and my guess is this will be a catcher.

    C- International signing or free agent
    1B – Freeman
    2B – Swanson
    SS – Albies
    3B – D. Peterson, Intl or FA
    RF – Intl or FA
    CF – Inciarte or trade
    LF – Olivera or Toscano for 1 year waiting on a prospect ready for 2018

  3. My guess is the Braves’ pitching looks pretty fierce by 2017, but the position players as a group are going to be raw and young – not sure if the offense will be playoff-caliber until 2018 at earliest.

    @4 So how is Markakis out of the 2017 lineup – a trade?

  4. I think Markakis will either be traded at the deadline this year for a little bit of nothing (we will likely have to eat some of his salary) or he will transition to a veteran backup role in 2017. Most likely the former.

    I agree on the 2017 offense – lots of potential with the lineup above, but I don’t see it striking a lot of fear into opposing teams. Austin Riley could also be an interesting option at 3rd, but I don’t see him being ready in 2017.

  5. @4
    1. Swanson and Albies are flip-flopped as Swanson gets better ratings on his arm.
    2. Toscano doesn’t factor into the situation. His ceiling has always been 4th OFer according to scouts.
    3. D-Pete doesn’t play 3b anymore as he’s been moved to LF.
    4. Holes at 3b, C, and SP will have to be filled via trades or free agency unless one of the plethora of SP prospects prove capable of leading the staff and Rio Ruiz has a massive offensive turnaround.

    IMO, Markakis is cheap and likely worth his contract. The Braves could trade him and not eat any of his salary as his skillset is still attractive. He’ll even net a prospect or 2. Markakis isn’t very valuable with the Braves because they’re in desperate need of power from a corner bat.

    My free agent picks or trade targets:
    1. If we’re filling 3b, I’d love to see Martin Prado there in ’17. His work ethic would be infectious to our young players and he’s still a 2 WAR player at 3b.
    2. If we’re filling catcher via free agency, Braves should push to trade for Lucroy next offseason if he agrees to an extension.
    3. If we’re filling pitcher via free agency, I’ve got nothing. Hopefully there’s where we trade.

  6. I wasn’t too impressed with Lucroy’s “I’m not requesting a trade, but please trade me” act from a few weeks ago.

    The major obstacle in the path of trying to compete in 2017 is the absolutely atrocious free agent market next year. They’ll need to comb the trade market in order to fill any major league holes.

  7. @8

    The FA market in 2017 is what concerns me. We’re going to have this glut of cheap players, supposedly have money to spend, and no one to spend it on.

    If we thought the free agent market was bad this offseason with actual inventory, just imagine how bad it will be next year without inventory. I seriously doubt the Braves sign a FA SP in next year’s offseason. I like the idea of players like Prado and Lucroy.

    The big part of the rebuild is whether or not Teheran can establish himself as an ace because we won’t be able to trade for one or sign one. I’m confident we’ll produce 4 more good starting pitchers, but it’s a matter of when. Can Teheran/Wisler/Newcomb/Blair/Jenkins be a strong enough rotation by 2017? If so, that’s an incredibly cheap rotation.

  8. @ 7 – I don’t see Toscano for much more than a 4th OFer either, but if Olivera doesn’t work out I could see him as a stopgap for a short time – especially if Olivera begins 2017 as a starter. I didn’t realize that about Peterson.

    I basically agree on Markakis, but if he doesn’t regain some power or regresses from last year it will be a little harder to trade him without salary relief or at least taking on another contract that is decent but not great.

  9. Almost every OF on our roster is a 4th OF at best, so that’s not really a strike against Toscano

  10. Seriously, think about how cheap the pitching staff will be. Teheran’s at $6.3M, then you have a rotation of league minimum and pre-arb guys. Then Vizcaino, Withrow, Simmons, Marksberry, $1M guys like Jim Johnson, and then a Proven Closer ™ Jason Grilli-type guy (or maybe not if Vizcaino’s ready for it). You’re literally talking about $25M for your pitching staff. If we have that $140M figure that I’ve seen, then you’re spending some serious money on your lineup. If the John’s have that pitching staff, it develops, and you have another $115M to spend on the lineup and bench, you really ought to be able to put a decent team on the field.

  11. Mark Bradley
    we want to believe so badly
    but hide those Walmart greeters
    our confidence is sapped and teeters.

  12. Bryce Harper
    In 2015, never sharper
    Finished just shy of the triple crown
    Ripped his bro’ for asking questions like a clown

  13. @14
    Projections for Mallex aren’t so shiny as fangraphs sees him as a 4th OFer.

    Personally, I think they’re wrong and wrote about it once.

  14. If 60% of the talent currently in the organization can reach 90% of its collective perceived potential, then our re-build will be better than had we just let Heyward and Upton walk. If we can supplement that with smart FA moves, then our re-build will be successful. If the Braves are uniquely able to develop pitching the way their reputation seems to indicate, then our re-build will be successful and short.

  15. Sure hope I’m wrong, but I wouldn’t pencil in Olivera in any 2017 roster. He may not have the glove to play anywhere and his bat is still a huge question mark.

    Our 2017 needs could be a SP, C, 3B, LF

  16. His bat is not a “huge question mark”. He had a .714 OPS last year in 3 weeks of duty. He’s not BJ Upton.

  17. I think we are going to be pleasantly surprised with Olivera after the lackluster winter that’s surrounded him. There’s just too many scouts that believe in his potential.

  18. Let’s think about how reactive we can be. Let’s say Hector Olivera “tore the cover off the ball” by hitting two more singles and one more home run. Three whole hits out of 79 ABs. He’d have a .291/.333/.481/.814. Man, we’d feel a heck of a lot better about the rebuild if we had traded our now-twice-traded prospect and lefty starter not-starter for a guy stroking a .814 2015 OPS making $6M per.

    Along that vein, did we trade Wood/Peraza/Arroyo’s Cash for Olivera/Cash/1st Round Pick and Johnson/Avilan for Rodriguez/Bird, or was there some sort of commingling of value? If you parse the trade into those two pieces, I’d say Paco and Bird were a more than fair return for Avilan and Johnson. Then, depending on how you value the first round pick, the cash we got back for Olivera, and the future of Wood/Peraza, you really have to wonder if we didn’t win that side too. It’s such a complicated trade that you really can’t make it about Olivera for Wood/Peraza, unless you concede that we paid Arroyo’s cash ($7.45M) for a first round pick (which you’d have to declare us the winner of that if you declare us a winner in the Touki trade) and get the right Olivera back. Remember, it’s $6M AAV Olivera, not $10M AAV Olivera. But by doing that, you basically say Bird/Rodriguez for Johnson/Avilan is a wash too.

    My head hurts.

  19. @23 — While I agree that Olivera is largely an unknown and it’s premature to write him off as a sunk cost, he did get cut from his winter team after playing not particularly well there, so there’s a little more data to go on than just 80 ML ABs.

    Olivera could do almost anything next year and it wouldn’t really surprise me. He has to have one of the widest potential variances as anyone in the league — anything from cornerstone hitter to waiver bait seems possible.

  20. The concept of acquiring LuCroy doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. He’ll be a burdensome contract by the time we’re true contenders and we’d have to pry him away from a team that is in a similar point in the rebuild cycle. I’d like to see Francisco Cervelli brought in. He’s about the same age, but with less wear and tear seemingly. He hits for average and walks alot, kinda like a right handed Markakis. I’d imagine he’d be much less expensive and fit into our timeline better than LuCroy, Weiters and others. I’m also in agreement that we should target Prado in next year’s FA market. He seems to be undervalued by the league in general and is getting older. I feel like he’d be a solid bet to be worth the 3 year deal he gets, especially with his defensive versatility.

  21. @24

    I think it’s unfair to combine the two facts of being released from his winter ball team and he wasn’t playing well and saying they’re related.

    This article suggests that there may be going on with these Cuban defectors than just what’s going on between the lines. You read articles about Yasiel Puig and the things these Cuban players have endured (especially the hot prospects), and it’s easy to see that there’s more of a mental transition that’s necessary than Dansby Swanson’s. These guys don’t exactly come from Buckhead.

    As a result, there’s a certain level of compassion that I have for Olivera’s situation that maybe I’m too quick to run to his defense. I get a feeling that guys like Olivera and Puig have a tougher time than most transitioning to this way of life, and it impacts their performance. Rarely do I care more about the player than the performance, but with Olivera, it seems like he needs more than a hitting coach. I hope he can get it together so he makes the laundry proud, but I wouldn’t mind just him getting it together.

    But I do agree that he could be anywhere from a cornerstone hitter to waiver bait. Well said.

  22. @25
    I stand strong on the opinion of needing a serious catcher to make our pitchers better and Lucroy has one of the best defensive reputations in the Majors. Not to mention he can swing it a bit.

  23. I don’t think the pessimism on Olivera is that strongly related to what his OPS was with us last year. It isn’t just whether a couple hits fell in or whether a wall scraper scraped the backside instead of the front side. He didn’t look good mechanically, he didn’t seem to have a good approach, and there wasn’t a lot to be positive about, aside from his clearly being a big, strong dude (who gets down the line remarkably well for his size, btw). He also didn’t do well at AAA, and whatever happened in the winter, however it can be explained away, it surely didn’t add any positives. And this is all aside from his scary injury/medical history and being an age that tends to be slightly past one’s prime.

    We’re all rooting for him, and I’m sure it is difficult to adjust for a Cuban defector. We all really, really hope that the uninspiring evidence we have can ultimately be chalked up to difficult adjustment and not intrinsically limited ability. We’re also just skeptical people because we’ve been following sports for years or decades and we tend to get our hopes dashed when they’re up.

  24. @26, I agree. My thoughts on the matter are strongly influenced by something Mac wrote about Yunel Escobar in 2010:

    I am not going to attempt to diagnose Yunel Escobar. Obviously, I am not trained for that, and I furthermore don’t have anything but distant and second-hand reports of his behavior to go on. I could go get the DSM-IV — there’s one about twenty feet away — and come up with something that meets the observed facts, but that’s really not necessary.

    What is necessary is to remember that if Escobar is mentally ill, that mental illness is very real — and that Major League Baseball has a very poor track record in dealing with players suffering from mental illness. If you can, pick up a copy of Marvin Miller’s A Whole Different Ball Game and read the section on Alex Johnson. Johnson, who was legitimately mentally ill — as anyone who spent any time around him and paid any attention could tell — got a reputation as a malcontent. “He was known for being surly and difficult to get along with. After his breakout season in 1970, he was involved in a number of incidents in 1971, leading to successive suspensions.” That was forty years ago now, but I see little evidence that baseball has changed its attitude towards mentally ill players much, and the Braves are perhaps the most traditional organization in baseball.

    One thing about Yunel Escobar that has not gotten much comment is that he is a refugee, that while other Latin ballplayers can go back to their homelands in the offseason that he and his fellow Cubans are effectively banned from their country until the situation changes. (This is not a place for discussion of Cuban-US relations. This means you.) They don’t fit in very well with the Cuban-American community centered in Miami. To a large degree, Yunel’s “people” are the other Cuban ballplayers in organized baseball, and the closest thing he has to family is his boyhood friend Brayan Pena.

    It’s not a life I’d want to live, even if it is more desirable than continuing in Cuba, and before you condemn, remember what he’s gone through. This guy got on a leaky boat manned by human traffickers he couldn’t afford to pay and got dropped off in Miami hoping he could make it in baseball — and pay off the smugglers. In the space of a year, he went from Havana to Miami to Danville, Virginia, to Rome, Georgia, while not knowing anyone around him. I expect that you’d wind up a little messed up too.

  25. @29..

    Alex, what a fine piece that is…somehow, at the time, i was quite unaware that this possibly existed.

  26. Is there a top 10 prospect college catcher available for the upcoming draft? Given the typical career path of catchers, it is very risky to sign any catcher over 25 to a contract over 2 years.

  27. It’s nice to remember these guys are human. At the same time, it’s nice to remember that criticism of them as baseball players or venting of frustrations over their poor play (when it impacts the team you love) usually isn’t personal.

    Most of us who ripped BJ Upton a new one on this forum wish him the best in his personal life and would be very cordial to him were we ever to meet him. He’s probably a great dad/son/uncle/brother–we just wish he hadn’t been so, so bad at baseball when he was a Brave.

  28. I ripped BJ Upton as much as any one else on this board, but I just think the Cuban defectors are a little different story.

  29. I’m sure they’re different cases, but I’m remembering my own experience of criticizing BJ which parallels the way this conversation has developed. Just to recount, this all started when csg said the reasonable and moderate:

    “Sure hope I’m wrong, but I wouldn’t pencil in Olivera in any 2017 roster. He may not have the glove to play anywhere and his bat is still a huge question mark.”

    I get what you guys are saying about the Cuban experience–it all sounds spot on, but sometimes people are just saying they’re not sure a guy is that good at baseball, and they *might* feel a tad bit lectured to about their insensitivity and lack of compassion for a particular individual’s struggles.

  30. Well, once again, past performance can be an indication of future performance, and there’s not a lot in Olivera’s past performance and interest to indicate he won’t be a solid big leaguer for us. At the end of the day, you have to come to the table that his level of interest from person that scouted the heck out of him was strong, and he played reasonably well in limited duty. He’s a question mark, sure, but I just felt like saying “huge” was too strong.

  31. @38 I don’t think Maddux really identifies with the Braves the way Glavine and Chipper do. Even with a decade in Atlanta, he was always more of a hired gun.

  32. @37, ok that’s a dispassionate, rational point that I wouldn’t have argued with. The editorializing about the plight of the Cuban defector seemed like sanctimonious virtue signaling.

  33. I didn’t realize how much I miss Mac’a writing until I read 29. We should all go back to find a piece of Mac’s work that we love the most and share that among us.

  34. @40

    One man’s sanctimonious virtue signaling is another man’s compassion. Six of one, half a dozen of another, I guess.

  35. @42: I’m too lazy to see if one already exists, but it would make an interesting book to look at the various Cuban defectors’ life stories (the baseball players, I mean). Almost all of them have had a colorful life, to say the least.

  36. When are we going to be competitive again? Is it just us?

    The beautiful Ms Marissa Meyer was on record this week, again, recounting her struggles and plans to reinvent Yahoo for the umpteenth time, making it once more a force to be reckoned with.

    An authoritative piece of reportage on her tome ended thus:

    ‘In essence, she said that Yahoo was no longer deteriorating and was poised for better times — not in 2016, perhaps, but 2017.’

    Deja Vu bells were ringing somewhere for us on reading this – could it be we are not alone?

    for Marissa Meyer
    in an attempt to enthuse and inspire
    the calendar beckoned
    not sixteen but definitely seventeen, she hopefully reckoned.

  37. Nick Markaukus
    participated in the Iowa caucus
    but was placed in a pillory
    when some heard he had voted for Hillary.

  38. blazon’s not political. He’s the resident poet. I’m surprised the final couplet wasn’t “but was kicked in the rump when some discovered he’d voted for trump.” It ain’t politics, just humor.

  39. I know it’s just the “fluff piece” time of the year and I’m certainly over-estimating the role of coaching in MLB, but if the Braves have all of these coaches linked to managerial opportunities, why aren’t we seeing that with the product on the field? Bo Porter is a former manager, there was an article about Eddie Perez’s future as a manager, Terry Pendleton has been mentioned as a managerial candidate, Bobby is still in the organization, and Fredi is, of course, a manager.

    In college football, when you have a bunch of future head coaches on your team (like Bama with Saban/Smart/McElwain, Florida with Meyer/Strong/Mullen, OSU with Meyer/Herman/Ash, etc.), it almost immediately translates into greatness. I’m tired of hearing that the Braves have all of this talent in leadership. Why did we let Frank Wren run amok then?

  40. I think you ideally want the GM to have a free hand, and that appears to be what Schuerholz gave him. But, ultimately, to whatever degree the failures of the 2014 Braves were Frank Wren’s fault, that ultimately is something that Schuerholz has to own. He never has, to my satisfaction.

  41. Continuing with the accurate them of Alex,

    And also, the draft and the international free agent signings were both specifically stomped down by schuerholz.

    With the draft, it was the unwillingness to “go over recommended slot.” 2 mill extra a year in the drafts from roughly 07 to 13 (isn’t 14 the first one on the “new” rules?) would have helped a lot.

    As to International, they always tried to figure who was good that they could get for cheap. 2 mill extra a year here would have helped a lot as well.

    And that stuff is on Schuerholz.

  42. Tony DeMacio would have been a poor drafter if you gave him all the money in the world. There’s lots of evidence that he preferred floor to ceiling, and that’s what the Braves got out of his drafts. DeMacio never met a soft-tossing college pitcher who “knew how to pitch” that he didn’t like.

  43. @53 You called it – Denver’s offense scored exactly 17 points! The difference between your prediction (and my pre-game expectations) was the success of Denver’s D (or if you prefer, the failing of Carolina’s offense). I’m not a football expert or anything, but seems to me that Carolina could have tried challenging the Denver defense with more designed run/roll out plays for Newton – the Panthers needed something to force the Broncos to drop some defenders back into coverage and give Cam more room to work.

  44. I thought Newton would be able to escape the rush better, thought his legs would be a bigger factor overall & didn’t think Denver would so effectively rush 4 guys the way they did (which allowed better coverage downfield). But the Broncos put on one of the great defensive performances in SB history.

    Truth be told, the Broncos offense was really responsible for only 6 points. There was a defensive TD (7 points), a long punt return that set up a FG (3 points) and another turnover that gave them a 1st & goal (8 points). Also, a terrible Manning INT cost them at least another 3 points.

    You certainly wouldn’t want to put Peyton Manning in a category that includes Trent Dilfer & Brad Johnson, but this Broncos team (& this slop-armed version of Peyton Manning) turned to be very similar to those offensively challenged Ravens & Bucs teams. Defense almost entirely won them the Super Bowl.

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