Baseball game mercifully obscured by complex trade details – did we lose?

Yes we did…Phils 9 Bravos 5. Very few of our current membership actually saw any of this game – they were all far too busy in deep, protracted discussions of the financial minutiae of a certain player swap. Preoccupied thus what was going on afield escaped them so herewith a synopsis.

Julio could not do it to the Phils this time and left after 5 having just given up the lead on a 2 run 2 0ut double to his opposite number Hellickson, his first XBH ever. Julio started well with a 1,2,3 first but his velocity was straining to reach 90 and you just got the impression all was not yet quite right from 8 days ago. Hellickson pitched a tidy 5 2/3 and looked at ease. With both these starters the subjects of much trade speculation themselves it it is now not difficult to predict what will happen after tonight’s performances. Julio will stay, no one will want to risk a rich offer now. Hellickson will be moved, certain. He’s handy and low risk.

Who should also all be traded after this evening’s fiasco is the Braves bullpen. Dear me.  4IP, 6 runs,7 walks(4 by Hunter), 2 hit batsmen. A mess compounded by two bad errors in the eighth by Garcia and Aybar which made it easy for the Phils thereafter, took the pressure off them and gave the home boo boys a real excuse to wail away.

Offensively there were some pluses. Jace had 3 hits including a lead off double in the 1st, which was wasted. Freddy had three singles, the last achieved with masterful hustle effort in the bottom of the ninth with 2 out when it meant nothing. Nick got the important early 2 out Rbi which gave us the lead till it slipped away in the 5th. Adonis went 2 for 4 including a double and a walk. Ender also 2 for 4 but you still get the impression he’s plopping the ball not smacking it. And then, living up to his name, there was Anthony ‘Double’ Drecker hitting one to the off field wall to add to an earlier single. I have to admit that the looming prospect of an 18 million Bmac makes me quite happy to keep this guy, back up to Flowers if you insist, but otherwise everyday. I cannot remember a passed ball, his agility behind the plate is warmly reassuring after what we have gone through, and the guy can throw. So he has a big ass. Get over it. He’s at .333.

A  mixed bag then but an unnecessary loss. We totaled 9 hits three of which were for extra bases. Normally when we do that with Teheran on the mound you would chalk up a win. And he was not that bad – 5IP/5H/3R/3ER/1W/4K. Looking at that line and having noted a certain air of fragility about him it’s pretty damn good in the circumstances. What let him and our offense down was some shoddy defense late but mainly an overall stink job by the bullpen. Hunter Cervenka may never be seen again, he was dreadful, the Phils booth who hardly believed their luck opined he looked gassed – from what?

But we bye-byed Olivera and we got Kemp.

64 thoughts on “Baseball game mercifully obscured by complex trade details – did we lose?”

  1. Smitty…

    have no idea how that happened, it is Saturday isn’t it??

    anyway, bargain basement, a twofer.

  2. Has anyone checked Aaron Blair’s timeline on Twitter from last night? I won’t break the barrier of discussing politics here, nor should you, but Blair…well, go see for yourself.

    And I’m on board with this trade. Get Kemp out of Petco and see what he can do. Heck, even in Petco he’s on pace to hit 35 HRs this year. I could see him being an August waiver claim from an AL team that needs a power push for the playoffs. Or, Braves could keep him, stick him in LF, have him occupy 25% of the OF and let him know that Ender and Mallex have the rest. I’m fine with either, but at least we as Braves fans never have to think of Olivera wearing a Braves uniform and that’s the real victory.

    Also, I think Braves will use this latest hot streak to sell Markakis, as they should. He’s doubly not needed now and could get a decent prospect in this thin market.

  3. Olivera-for-Kemp (considering the Braves will only owe 3/$25.5M net) makes a lot of sense for the Braves, IMO. In the short term, Kemp meets a dire need for RH power in the Braves lineup – basically, Kemp is a better version of Frenchie. In the slightly longer run, the Braves will almost certainly place Kemp on waivers and see if they can trade him on to another team (along with some $$) in exchange for some kind of return. I wouldn’t expect the Braves to get much for Kemp, but stranger things have happened. Plus, it’s not like Olivera was going to directly net us any kind of prospect trade return.

    I’d like the Braves to also move Markakis, but seems to me the Kemp trade is independently a win for the home team.

  4. I really like that we were able to acquire a somewhat legitimate left fielder without giving up a single prospect.

    And these remaining two months are a long time for a lot of players to establish some serious value. For instance, if you see anything in what Jed Bradley is doing, all five pitchers in Mississippi’s rotation have the potential to be in Atlanta at some point in 2017 (Povse, Newcomb, Bradley, Banuelos, and Sims). Similar deal in Gwinnett (Blair, Ellis, and Whalen). Lost in all of the moving around of players is Jason Hursh got promoted to AAA and threw 2 scoreless innings. AA’s bullpen was starting to get crowded with quality pitchers with Akeel Morris, AJ Minter, Phil Pfiefer (who just got moved up from Carolina), and Caleb Dirks. Carolina… pretty much sucks, but Rome has a similar amount of prospects. Pretty encouraging how just about every pitcher other than Newcomb has taken at least one step forward this year. That’s a lot to go right at one time.

    RE: Blair. Homeboy needs to stay off Twitter and pitch. His girlfriend was getting in on the action on her feed too.

  5. @12, kemp is exactly what you have been clamoring for; i.e., a “statuesque slugger”

  6. @12

    I said “somewhat”!

    And you’re right. We’re running out of positions that we don’t have a player married to to really improve the roster. I do think this solidifies that you can’t keep Inciarte and Mallex in the same outfield, and you really have to dump Markakis. Then, that leaves catcher and third if you’re setting sail with Swanson and Albies in ’17.

    You could always trade Freeman…

  7. @14, Kemp isn’t my idea of a slugger. I don’t care that he can’t play defense, but he is likely to have trouble playing period given how his body is breaking down.

  8. We just essentially gave Kemp 77% of Markakis’s yearly salary with an extra year commitment. I think someone would be interested in giving something for Markakis without eating any money. I’d prefer they eat some and get something more valuable.

    Of course, the Braves could be unique in their player evaluation.

  9. You can still trace a lot of this back to BUpton’s contract. We keep searching for what he was always supposed to be. Just imagine how the team would look if we traded Craig Kimbrel for Hunter Renfroe and BUpton was still playing center. I’m obviously over-simplifying a complicated situation, but you could argue BUpton was the fatal wound that necessitated the rebuild.

    And how long do you give Coppy to get out from under the bad deals of Uggla, BUpton, and CJ? How many times and for how many years is he going to be able to trade bad money for bad money? At this point, we could have Kemp’s bad money for another 3 years, which means 5 years of Coppy still trying to get out from those contracts.

  10. I guess the reality is that “sluggers” aren’t going to be easy to come by. I’m tired of this team always carrying tens of millions in dead money though.

  11. @19

    It would seem that their strategy will allow them to avoid multi-year deals to aging sluggers going forward.

    I could see Coppy improving the team to a point where he would be “justified” for trading Freeman. That’s an another contract that could turn sour before the end.

    Sheesh, could you imagine what could happen to Andrelton if he loses a step defensively?

  12. Is having Kemp an improvement over Olivera? That’s a yes. It’s just those aren’t the binary options. The issue is could we use the 8 million we are “paying” Kemp in this new math, add more $ and get a much better player? I think that’s a yes too.

  13. I have enough confidence in Coppy that if he can flip Kemp for something better, he will.

  14. There’s no flipping without us paying a big chunk. Why we continue to do stuff like this is one of the universe’s great mysteries.

  15. Thankfully I missed last night’s game, but it looks like the Phillies batted around in the 8th inning without getting a hit.

  16. I’m not so sure that Coppy will try to flip Kemp. Their goal right now seems to be getting more power in the organization.

  17. @24 IRC, there was a screamer at Adonis that got ruled an error. I thought it was gonna get changed, but it didn’t

  18. This Kemp thing is a self inflicted wound, they can’t blame it on Upton anymore. They could either have had Kemp, jogging around not giving a fuck for $10 mil or whatever the difference is or still had Wood and Peraza.

    It’s really a series of baffling moves. Everyone was baffled when they traded for Olivera, now I’m equally baffled with this one. Why invest in Kemp right now? Olivera was a sunk cost so then they traded him for another more expensive sunk cost? Are they really in love with the idea that Kemp can hit a few homers and nothing else? I really don’t get it.

  19. I guess even with his sub .300 OBP he’s still going to be the second best hitter on the team.

    @27, $70 million for Markakis and Kemp in the middle of a full rebuild. I’ve given up trying to understand what these guys are doing.

  20. Do I recall something about ownership telling them they could no longer do dead salary on the scale of Uggla any more?

  21. If we keep him for 3 years, and he produces at current levels, then…yes I think you can make that argument. I wouldn’t take that bet, but I guess there’s at least a chance.

    Once you no longer want him and try to move him, you have to factor in that he’s actually making $18.5M or whatever it is, not the Olivera-sunk-costs-discounted $8.5M. He’s going to be nearly impossible to trade. We have to hope his bat works out and he stays healthy.

  22. I think the Braves would transfer the Olivera-sunk-costs-discount accordingly. I think they’re linked together from a payroll standpoint for narrative- and conversational-purposes.

  23. Adding to the sunk costs, drawing out the timeline ad-infinitum…isn’t it just far simpler and better in the long run to DFA Olivera and move on?

  24. If today’s McCann rumors come to fruition then I think we’re a lock for the 2011 World Series.

  25. I would prepare yourself for the realization that the rebuilding Braves that are set to improve through their youth will have some has-been veterans on the 2017 squad. There’s just no other way they can put the tens of millions of available dollars to use without gutting the farm. You should be happy.

  26. There’s not much to spend those tens of millions on, so maybe this is as good as it gets.

  27. What could you extend Folty and Wisler for tomorrow? Cheap enough to make it worth the flame-out risk?

  28. My point is that I THINK I remember something about bot just cutting big dollar contracts any more. So they trade it for a less useless contract and San Diego dumps the salary outright

  29. Kemp smacked 23 HRs this year… He’s Barry Bonds compared to this Braves squad. Braves fans acting like they don’t need offense.

  30. It wouldn’t seem rational to have a policy that encourages turning bad big contracts into bad bigger contracts. But this team hasn’t made much sense for a while now.

    I think they actually like Kemp and see him as a piece to the puzzle? Is that explanation more or less scary? I’m not sure.

  31. Here’s another way of framing it:

    I think this move does signal a corresponding remove of Markakis. Based on that, you get a right-handed guy who hits for power, something this line up badly needs, and you remove a left-handed hitting guy who hits for no power, and they both have average range and average arm in right field. If the Braves send even $3.5M per year with Markakis (the difference between Markakis and Kemp’s salaries), then it’s a win.

    But to your point, it’s not something that turns us from being a bad team to a good team. You still need to upgrade 3B, catcher, and LF (assuming Swanson and Albies can break camp next year as average major leaguers), but you can use Garcia/d’Arnaud/Beckham/Peterson/one of Inciarte or Mallex/Prospects/Cash to upgrade those positions. The Braves will undoubtedly pick up a couple relievers and a starting pitching in free agent, and you’re moving in the right direction until more prospects develop. Not good, not bad.

  32. Corner OF is where I thought we’d be able to make the biggest improvements. If this is all there is then I’m feeling a bit let down. Stockpiling players that nobody else wants is a bizarre strategy.

    If Markakis’ contract can be shed in the next month then this will make more sense…kinda treading water but with more dingerz.

    These are the clowns that signed Markakis in the first place though…

  33. I think both Inciarte and Markakis get traded. Markakis for obvious reasons, but a 2017 outfield with Inciarte and Mallex is just redundant. It would be a waste of resources to have one of them patrolling left. Might as well convert that value to offense.

    And really, is there a marked difference (if any) between Jace and Inciarte if Inciarte is playing left?

  34. Can’t argue with that, but I do like both Jace and Ender. Heck, I like Mallex too.

  35. @47 Jace, Ender, Mallex (and Markakis) are all decent enough hitters, but none are great, and the Braves desperately need some more productive bats. I feel like there’s a decent chance that Jace will put up a couple of starter-quality (.800+ OPS) seasons as a poor-man’s Martin Prado. My guess is the Braves keep Mallex for CF, trade Cakes and shop Inciarte but hold him until he’s built some more substantial trade value.

  36. I’m convinced that until the Braves get power at at least 3/8 of their lineup, we currently have it at 1/8th and even that position (1B) is < league average power for that position, that nothing else will matter.

    If Kemp can hit .255 with 30 HR and 85 RBI why would you even consider trading that? Who cares about defense in LF?

    Notice that the Royals are 6 games under .500 this season. Winning consistently with pitching, defense, and a bunch of punch and judy hitters requires optimal conditions, and IMO, too much luck.

    As I've said, power hitters and strikeout pitchers is my winning formula. I could give two craps about defense and baserunning. If you make it to the majors as a hitter you ought to have at least a modicum of an ability to field your position. You think my former neighbor Daniel Murphy would fit in well at 2B this year for the Braves? If anything per metrics, his fielding is even worse this year. Has anyone noticed? No. He's likely 2nd/3rd at worst in the MVP conversation to a Cub.

  37. Well I fully expect Johnson and Frenchy to be traded. Maybe even Beckham and Markakis before tomorrow’s deadline

  38. The FA market is awful next year. I’d just as soon roll with Kemp for 3 years than have to commit more years, a draft pick, and probably materially more $ for Bautista, Trumbo, Rasmus, etc

  39. All of those players will receive a QO, and I really don’t see the Braves giving up a pick for those guys. Of course, an offseason is a long time, and some smart trades and guys excelling at winter ball could change things, but I don’t see the Braves giving up a pick to get Mark Trumbo. We’re a mid-market team, and we need to keep our picks. Not drafting well got us in this mess, and losing picks is a great way to not draft well.

    I think we’ll see more Matt Kemp-type acquisitions: a downslope slugger on a bad contract acquired by minimal or no prospects and a heavy amount of cash. And then I could see the Braves acquiring a cornerstone player in the right deal by cashing in prospects and major leaguers. But I’m being convinced we don’t see anyone signed that costs us a pick, and I’m pretty sure everybody decent in this terrible FA market getting a QO.

  40. Kemp’s are comparable at 27 and 97, and while neither are exactly an asset defensively, I feel pretty comfortable in saying Trumbo (who is all of one year younger) will cost substantially more that what we’re paying Kemp.

    Ramos is interesting, but I’d give pause in paying market value for a career year that is a pretty big outlier (especially with his injury history). You could talk me into giving him the deal the Yanks gave McCann, but I bet someone offers him 9 figures and I wouldn’t go there.

  41. @58.

    It’s just one man’s opinion, and I’m not even disagreeing with you that the Braves wouldn’t view things that way, but this way of thinking is just so stupid to me. Picks are like lottery tickets. Players like Trumbo, etc. are KNOWN commodities. Both their pros and their cons.

    I think sometimes that baseball ‘people’ just overthink things. For example, I’d trade 3 of our prospects for a 3.5 WAR player TODAY and TOMORROW, every time. Because we KNOW what they CAN do and we have no idea if the prospects can do anything, but we know that MOST of them, cannot. Because there is 140 years of proof of that.

  42. Pretty sure our first pick will be protected. There’s different ways to field a winning team, but I know I’m getting pretty tired of having literally the worst player in baseball in our starting lineup year in year out. I hope we can break that trend next season.

  43. Former Brave Brian Matusz starts for the Chicago Cubs tonight.

    Speaking of former Braves, Andrelton Simmons ends the day with a .282 BA.

  44. Trumbo will be unplayable in the field by the time the Braves are any good. But since the point, I guess, is to tread water until then, he can help do that. As for being part of the solution, though, I can’t imagine he’d play any role other than trade fodder. But, as krussell said, you gotta spend the money on something to look like you’re trying.

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