Aybar Delenda Erat

The Braves and Twins matched up last night in a battle between the bottom dwellers. The Braves tried to make a game of it at the end, but ultimately three runs were too much to overcome, even against the lowly Twins. The Twins then scored an insurance run in the 9th for a 4-2 lead, and an uneventful bottom of the 9th led to that being the final score.

Our old friend Ervin Santana shut the Braves down for seven innings and looked to be in control the whole time. The Braves put two on the board in the 8th inning once they got into the Twins bullpen, but could do no more.

Joel De La Cruz, meanwhile, was decent, pitching into the 6th inning and only allowing one run. The Braves had to use three relievers to get through the 8th inning, though, and their inability to hold the Twins scoreless made De La Cruz’s record fall to 0-6 on the year.

The Braves are now 4 games behind the Twins for the worst record in baseball, and do not seem to be interested in allowing anyone to challenge them for the title of the worst team. With the Braves sitting on 44 wins in the middle of August and having a history of poor September play, I can’t help but wonder—is this team going to get to 50 wins this season?

In a more exciting realm of Braves news, the future has arrived. Dansby Swanson will be making his major league debut tonight! His arrival was made possible by the departure of the one and only Erick Aybar (probably my least favorite Brave since Melky graced the team with his presence), who was traded to the Tigers for catcher Kade Scivicque and infielder Mike Aviles. I was at the game on Sunday, and the irony that he was the one who drove in the Braves lone run in the only game I’ll see in person this season was not lost on me. I wish him well in Detroit, but had I known that my seeing him in person would be the impetus that would get him out of a Braves uniform, I would have hitchhiked my way to Atlanta in May, gathering change I found on the ground along the way to buy a ticket. Lesson learned.

Since Ayber delenda erat, I need a new sign off. Any suggestions?

80 thoughts on “Aybar Delenda Erat”

  1. Excited to see one of the kids up!

    I did see a Luis Castillo/Ozzie Albies comparison that I wanted to address. Their Minors numbers are pretty different.

    Luis Castillo: 1548 AB 45 2B 14 3B 1 HR ISO .049
    Ozzie Albies: 1066 AB 54 2B 19 3B 5 HR ISO .101

    Castillo did have a long and productive career, so that’s nothing to sneeze at. Still, Albies isn’t just a slap hitter. From what I’ve read he has a great ability to barrel the ball. He isn’t a major power threat, but he’s a real hitter.

  2. RE: Sign off

    In keeping with the theme of delanda est’ing the worst player, then you just have to find the worst player. AJP is definitely our new worst player, but do we want to go there? Poor fella is just older than dirt. Probably doesn’t even want to play anymore, and he won’t be playing much in September. The options get tough past AJP. Markakis? One of the random bullpen arms? They’ll probably be gone tomorrow anyway.

    Tough one.

  3. Of note – Ozzie has also hit 4 HRs this season in AA/AAA and increased his ISO (the portion of slugging % attributed to XBHs) compared to his 2014-15 seasons in Rookie / A ball. That bodes well for his future success, especially considering how young he is.

    EDIT – Fangraphs has a prospect review of Dan-Dan up!

  4. At least it’s now clear who the worst player is. (I agree random bullpen guys don’t count.) Before you could make an argument for Aybad, AJP, or Olivera. Progress!

  5. @4, I think Scotts Linebrink and Proctor counted back in the day. But your larger point is correct. Those were two very special random bullpen guys.

  6. So Dansby wasnt ready for AAA so they demote Ozzie to play with him at AA, Ozzie does nothing but hit while Dansby struggles, and then Dansby gets promoted over Ozzie to the big league club…makes perfect sense.

  7. For better or worse, Dansby is the anointed shortstop of the future. Calling Ozzie up to play shortstop would make even less sense than hopscotching Dansby over a guy who superficially seems to deserve it more.

    But then I think they should just be running Beckham and D’Arnaud out there for the next two weeks, so what do I know…

  8. If Aybar would have been DFA’d about 6 weeks ago he would have gone down as one of my least favorite Braves ever. However, he had a great month and a half and provided some value so the Braves could at least get a decent catching prospect. I’m glad he redeemed himself somewhat and hope he does well in Detroit. He does not even make my top 20 list of least favorite Braves.

  9. 6 — You make it sound as if he was hitting like a pitcher at AA. He did have a respectable line.

  10. @6

    I never understood why they didn’t promote Swanson to Triple-A when they did that. It virtually screamed that he wasn’t ready yet and that he’d be staying down in the minors for the rest of the year. After all, if you’re gonna call him up to the big leagues, why not give him at least a taste of big-league style pitching by putting him in Triple-A? In fact, they’re admitting that he’s not ready still. And now they’re gonna place him in a Major League starting lineup, having never even come close to seeing Major League pitching. It’s almost like they were waiting for him to have a decent stretch somewhere so they could justify calling him up. John Hart basically saying, He’s not ready, but whatever, is just mind-boggling to me.

    I hate to be so downcast over our No. 1 prospect making his Major League debut, but I can’t help it. I’m excited to see him, but I fear this won’t go well. In fact, if this year doesn’t go well but he recovers going into next year and continues his development, that would be OK. I fear this will go spectacularly badly. Like, Jeff Francoeur badly.

  11. Perhaps someone can look at the numbers to verify (I can’t right now) but Ozzie had hit a bit of a wall in Gwinnett himself. Around the same time, Dansby had been promoted to AA where he, too, began to struggle. As I’ve sort of prognosticated earlier in the year, I think the plan was to eventually get these two playing on the same infield. And at the time they decided to make that happen, AA was where they both would fit best.

  12. As evidence it’s not important whether or not he’s being rushed, I’d point to the thousands of players throughout history who have debuted in the majors and gone on to improve as hitters. The countervailing evidence being the number of recent Atlanta Braves hitters for whom that has not occurred. Starting his service clock — meh. The only service clock I believe matters is Super 2. Everything beyond that is unknowable to to the point that it’s folly to prioritize.



  14. Perhaps Coppy’s master plan goes as follows:
    1) Call up Swanson now in order to sell tickets. Presume he won’t succeed much this season, as he’s not ready.
    2) Negotiate an Evan Longoria-esque contract with Swanson before the 2017 season starts, using Dansby’s desire to be with the Braves long-term and his poor 2016 stats as leverage.
    3) ???
    4) Profit!

  15. @17

    All joking aside, I do think they’ve called up Swanson earlier to get to free agency quicker. When you call them up early, that means they have one less year of body of work to negotiate with. That’s probably going to be your best year, and that year can carry you to tens of millions more over the life of your deal. The Brian McCann deal is a pretty good template. He only had one Brian McCann-esque season before he got to free agency because the Braves called him up in June of his age-21 season. As a result, it definitely seems like the Braves got that team friendly deal. They could be trying to do the same with Swanson (and Albies).

  16. Judging by how much Swanson crap is being spouted out by the official marketing, this is a pure PR move to push tickets in the dog days of summer. They’ve posted an interview with him, re-posted his Player’s Tribune article, and a picture of his jersey. And it’s only 3:30.

  17. @18 I see your point, they did that with Simmons, Teheran and to some extent Freeman. But then there is Heyward. The other guys were definitely ready. I sure hope Swanson is.

  18. Heyward had an incredible rookie season. Without relitigating the past overmuch, the Braves did very well from their decision to call him up as a 20-year old, and all of his subsequent seasons before they traded him for Miller.

  19. The player has to be really really good before you even start worrying about controllable years and free agency. If Swanson is really really good…then…yay!!! Not being able to pay your budding super-stars when they hit free agency is the definition of first-world-problems.

    We could’ve paid Heyward, we chose not to. If Swanson is one of the best SS in the league 5 years from now, then we will have that same decision to make. I’m really rooting for all our young players to break Liberty’s bank.

  20. Lineup tonight:


    Trade Flowers for Recker, and that looks a heck of a lot better than in the beginning of the season.

  21. I second the notion that Swanson is good enough to make service time a consideration. He’s not Kris Bryant, which is really one of the few cases where it was obvious that it mattered at the time.

    EDIT: NOT* is NOT* good enough to make service time a consideration. You probably figured it out.

  22. Current Inciarte is so much better than early season Inciarte. I like how he’s improving.

  23. They may not be Chipper, Crime Dog, Justice, and Javy, but adding an improved Inciarte, improved Peterson, improved Markakis, Kemp, Swanson, and Flowers to the previous lineups makes a world of difference.

  24. Teheran’s coming back. Gant’s on the cusp. Vizcaino’s got his bags packed. We may win the rest of our games!

    Or not.

  25. Barring further injury, next week we might have the most talent on the roster in the last three years.

  26. @21 And the Braves tried to give Heyward some security in exchange for some salary relief but both parties, wisely as it turned out declined to compromise.

    I will admit that a lot of my reticence over promoting Swanson is that I’m afraid he’ll suck. That could create a partial vacume that would remove any hope I have left.

  27. @29, there was a fair amount of talent on that 96-win 2013 roster.

    For example, this was the lineup three years ago from a week from now, on August 24, 2013:

    C Brian McCann
    1B Freddie Freeman
    2B Elliot Johnson (I forgot all about him!)
    3B Chris Johnson
    SS Andrelton Simmons
    LF Jordan Schafer
    CF Melvin Upton, Jr.
    RF Justin Upton
    SP Julio Teheran

    During the game, the Braves used RPs David Carpenter, Luis Avilan, and Anthony Varvaro, and subbed in pinch hitter Gerald Laird and left fielder Joey Terdoslavich. Ironically, the winning pitcher was the Cards’ Shelby Miller.

    The day after that, the Braves trotted out a Sunday white flag lineup — Schafer (CF), E. Johnson (2B), Freeman (1B), J. Upton (RF), Laird (C), Terdoslavich (LF), Simmons (SS), Janish (3B) — and won 5-2 behind a strong effort by Mike Minor, after which Luis Avilan got into a little hot water, leading to a perfect four-out save by Craig Kimbrel.

    A week after those two games, Evan Gattis became the left fielder, and a little while after that, Heyward returned from a fractured jaw.

    We had a lot of talent three years ago.

  28. @31

    Forgive me, I was referring to 2014, 2015, and 2016. I jumped the gun a tick. Probably should have said 2 years and 10 months.

  29. I don’t think we surpassed the on-field talent of 2014 yet.

    Wood, Santana, Kimbrel, Walden, Teheran, Minor, Shae Simmons, Andrelton Simmons, Justin Upton, Heyward, Freeman and Gattis.

    That team didn’t put it together, but that’s some real big-league talent.

  30. Lemmer just told your story on the radio pre-game, Seat Painter. He attributed the quote to Gerald Perry. Good story.

  31. On big news days, like the last 24 hrs, I always catching myself scrolling through hoping for Mac’s insight. Happened again today.

    I’m excited for Dansby and agree with the promotion. Now get Ozzie up here!

  32. I thought we were having a little fun with “Dansby Swanson Day,” but they are really laying it on thick.

  33. I think the Braves are keeping O’Flaherty instead of DFA’ing him as a mea culpa for pitching him so much that his arm fell off a few years ago.

  34. O’Flaherty delenda est. There, I said it. You’re welcome, ‘Rissa.

    What kind of A-ball prospect are they really trying to get out of Eric O’Flaherty? Enough is enough. He has an ERA of almost 7. The guy is D-O-N-E. It isn’t 2011.

  35. Re: EOF, I think there’s a lot of merit to @49.

    Step 1. Let’s get this guy back on our team and get him back into playing shape. We owe him.
    Step 2. Okay, he’s sucking but he’ll eventually get it together. We owe him.
    Step 3. He’s not getting better. Who cares, we’re not trying to win anyway. We owe him.

    Bottom line is, we owe him. If only we could get Jonny Venters suited back up. We owe him.

  36. We need starters that can go more than 5 IP, or swingmen who can successfully cover multiple innings, and we don’t have either. And after losing Vizcaino, Withrow, and Marksberry to injury and trading Alvarez and Chevanka, we are back to having a sucky bullpen. We need a second lefty, one of Gant or Perez back, and Vizcaino, Simmons, and Withrow back or we’re watching something called a Chaz Roe on the regular. Yippee.

  37. So DS2 had two hits in his debut. Not bad, kid. I envision he’ll be in the 2-hole before too long.

  38. He’s fine, not his fault the rest of the roster is straight garbage. That said, a singles hitting ss won’t ever move the needle much. We need real corner players.

  39. I was not a fan of Folty when we traded for him. A month or two ago I was thinking I was wrong. I’m concerned again.

  40. The starting pitching is the biggest reason I think it stupid to invest (either in trade or FA dollars) in a bat for next year. This whole rebuild was predicated on building a good-to-great rotation internally. Nothing suggests that will be in place next season, and so (outside the normal 1 year fliers) I’d just let the kids play until the nucleus of a contender emerges.

  41. I think Foltynewicz will figure it out. Just have a feeling. His stuff is so damned good. I hope experience and a bunch of counseling sessions with Smoltz is all it takes. And by counseling I mean the mental/emotional kind.

  42. @64 I’d like to see us trade Inciarte and a pitching prospect or two (maybe Sims) for a middle rotation starter. Maybe a team that values OF defense would do that. Then we’d have Kemp, Mallex, and Markakis with Dustin Peterson waiting in the wings. Some have speculated Kemp could get dealt to an AL team which would make room for Peterson if he’s ready.

    I’d be fine if we made Ramos a Godfather offer, but I’d rather use the cash to address the rotation, but it’s a horrible FA year.

  43. I think you’d be better taking a flyer on one of CJ Wilson, Kris Medlen, Jorge de la Rosa etc on a one year deal on top of who we have now with the thought that one or more of Sims, Newcomb, Ellis, Povse will be ready by mid season.

    it just doesn’t make sense to me to start cashing in the farm system when there’s nothing to suggest we’re only a Jake Odorizzi from legitimately contending.

    The one exception may be catcher as there’s no one even on the horizon in the farm, but Ramos is terrifying on a 5-6 year deal. Even if one concedes the bat is now legit after Lasik, his injury history in his 20’s makes me question his availability in his 30’s.

  44. If the ambition is to field a “competitive” team next year, a proven starter is needed. The odds of a Sims/Newcomb/Ellis/Povse providing solid MLB performance is slim based on what we’ve seen from the scouting and player development of Folty/Wisler and to a lesser extent Norris/Chacin.

    I don’t think we’re an Odorizzi away from legitimately contending, but a decent starter would improve our record from ’16 to ’17. Or at least provide some rotation stability.

    I think Sims would love an Odorrizi carrer path. I’m okay trading that hard to obtain upside and and a defensively minded OF for a proven SP, if I’m trying to be respectable in ’17. But Though everyone here knows the risks of trading for a seemingly proven SP. Just ask Dave Stewart.

    The entire “rebuild” seems geared toward being respectable once we move to the new stadium but the real reward will come once the the 15 and 16 draft class and international kids come of age.

  45. It has been conclusively proven that “Samardzija” is Serbian for “ten-cent head”. Might “Foltynewicz” be Polish for same?

  46. Looking at those two hits from Prince Chicken-Broth last night, I really like the way he keeps his head down on the ball while he swings. The first hit was better than the second, but he squared them both up well. All we need is about 14 more years of that.

    @coop/seat painter: Never a good sign when that story gets told at the game…what was the attendance?

  47. With the adult playground they built, 2017 should be an exciting time to be a young Braves fan with a car or a cop looking for DUI’s.

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