Where Do We Go From Here? — Third Base (by Rusty S.)

Ed. note: Every year we publish a series of articles entitled “Where Do We Go From Here?” in which we analyze what the Braves need to do in order to get better the following year. Here’s the intro to the series. The first is by Rusty S.

The Incumbent
Adonis Garcia: Garcia will be 32 in 2017, and is coming off of a 2016 season of 0.2 WAR, posting a .273/.311/.406 slash line, including 14 Home Runs in 532 at-bats. Garcia’s 1.1 oWar was mostly offset by a -0.8 dWar, and he was actually sent back to AAA Gwinnett in May to learn how to play left field. I don’t know what happened at Gwinnett, and baseball is not supposed to be that easy, but somehow when Garcia returned from Gwinnett he seemed to be a significantly less bad defensive 3rd baseman.

For his Major League career, Garcia has a .274/.307/.430 slash line and 0.9 WAR in 723 AB’s. In 1014 AB’s at the AAA level he had a .296/.336/.423 slash line, and 19 HR. Garcia spent his early years playing in Cuba, and his US career did not start until age 27. While he may have some time left on the good side of the development curve he is undeniably on the wrong side of the age curve. With over 1700 Major League and AAA AB’s, we have a good idea what kind of offensive player Garcia is. We have most likely already seen his best major league season.

Garcia’s career oWar is a passable 2.0, and if his later season defensive improvement is somehow real, he could be a tolerable option for the next year or two. Garcia seems like a good guy, who I like to pull for. The Braves options for 3B in 2017 are limited, and it appears that they are satisfied to bring Adonis Garcia back.

Free Agents
Justin Turner: With the exception of Turner, there does not appear to be a free agent 3rd baseman who would be a significant upgrade over Garcia. Turner hit 27 home runs for the Dodgers in 2016 as a 31-year-old. He would make sense at the right price and years, but given the market at the hot corner, I suppose that he will be priced far above what the Braves would pay.

Rio Ruiz: Lefty-hitting Ruiz will be 23 in May, and is coming off a .271/.355/.400 slash line at AAA Gwinnett, with 10 HR in 465 AB’s. Ruiz is currently ranked as the Braves’ #15 prospect according to MLB.com.

Ruiz had a disappointing season at AA Mississippi in 2015; however, he has been quite young for his league at every level. I can imagine Ruiz earning a platoon with the right handed hitting Garcia in the near future, or taking the job totally when the Braves decide to go younger there. In 2017 I do not project Ruiz to be an upgrade from Garcia, although Ruiz’s higher minor league on base percentages suggest one measure that could separate the two. MLB.com lists Ruiz as an adequate prospect defensively.

I expect eventually that Ruiz’s best Major League season will be better than Garcia’s proves to be, but I don’t see anything in his Minor League numbers that indicate that it will be significantly better. Because he has been young for his leagues though, that assessment could change if Ruiz repeats AAA in 2017 and demonstrates more power.

Austin Riley: Riley had an interesting season at Rome, hitting 20 HR in 495 AB. Still only 19, it will be some years before the Braves’ #13 prospect has any impact on the Major League team. Neither Ruiz nor Riley are listed in the top 10 MLB prospects at 3B, or in the top 100 of MLB prospects. This does not provide confidence that either will ever provide the Braves a competitive advantage at the position.

I have no idea what 3rd basemen might be available in trade (is Longoria available? do we care?) — but the Braves do not appear to be inclined to check. They have stated that they are not ready to start trading pitching prospects, and the only real trade chips on the roster seem to be outfielders (Markakis, Smith, Kemp, Inciarte). In any case, the Braves have indicated that they are more interested in starting pitching than upgrading at 3rd base.

Oh, and Don’t Forget
Kevin Maitan: Maitan was born in 2000. (People my age may insert their favorite expletive here.)

192 thoughts on “Where Do We Go From Here? — Third Base (by Rusty S.)”

  1. I really like Luis Valbuena as a LHH side of a platoon with Adonis. Strengthens bench 1/3 of the time and regular lineup 2/3 of the time. Ended season hurt therefore could be had for fairly cheap (3 years/33 million?). Braves seem to have a heart for players from Venezuela and from reports I’ve seen, he’s well liked in clubhouses. An .841 career OPS against RHP. That’ll do.

  2. This is a good piece. Third base will not be one of our strong points next season, and it could end up being the weakest point, but the cost of upgrading it significantly seems prohibitive (I would say the exact same about catcher). Adonis Garcia with improved defense and more experience could be average-ish option, the third base equivalent of Nick Markakis except for the league min. And if he is subpar by his lonesome, a platoon with Ruiz may help the output from the position.

    @1, I like Valbuena and have hoped the Braves would pursue him for a while. I’d be shocked to see them commit $11 million per season to one side of a platoon, but that would be a value signing for his prior production. Having Rio Ruiz as a lefty platoon option makes the signing even less likely.

  3. I am for a Ruiz/Garcia platoon until Riley or Maitan is ready.

    We could also see Travis Demeritte slide over there as well.

  4. It is likely Danny Valencia will be available as well. While not a good defensive player at all and 32 years old, he seems to have figured out hitting. Seeing as what Oakland has received in trades recently – and the fact that the team just seems done with him – it’s possible he could be acquired without giving up too much.

    Then again, as Rusty stated, it doesn’t seem likely the Braves will trade for any 3B as the continue to hoard all of their pitching prospects.

  5. Valencia may be the worst teammate in baseball, but judging team chemistry is something I’ve come to trust the Braves FO about. They will probably agree with a lot of others on him and have no interest, but if they pursue him that will be fine with me. Grilli and AJ turned out okay as teammates, even though I was convinced it would be otherwise.

  6. So what was the gap on Dian Toscano? Based on the contract he signed, it seemed they thought that he was major league ready, at least by this past year. How did they end up so wrong that the guy couldn’t even snuff it at AA after 2 seasons? What’s the process for signing these guys? I mean, is some dude in Cuba sending a 90 second YouTube video to teams and teams are like, “Yeah, that guy’s got big bi’s. Let’s sign him.” It just seems like between Olivera and Toscano, they were not even close.

  7. It is until you realize that a legitimate big league backup with a 96 OPS+ the year before, Jeff Francoeur, was signed for $1M last year. The year previous, Kelly Johnson, who could also play the infield and had a 114 OPS+, was signed for $1.5M. And these were 1-year obligations. Did they really think Toscano was going to be anything more than a backup OF and still felt compelled to give him a 4-year commitment at $1.5M per? Was the upside on him so high that it was worth that price of lottery ticket?

  8. And yeah, Smoltzy has done really well in the booth. He’s much more polished nowadays, and I think he’s much more confident. He’s been really good.

  9. This offseason is going to seem a lot longer than usual. It’s a shame they had to cancel the 2016 college football season. The Dawgs were definitely ready to step it up.

  10. Lots of reports out there that Toscanso was signed in a “package deal” to get Cristian Pache and Derian Cruz.

  11. @1, 2 – I see Valbuena as a marginal upgrade over Garcia, as a left handed hitter and with a somewhat better OBP. However at 31, I think his best days are behind him, and I don’t blame the Braves for not wanting to spend to bring in someone his age for a marginal upgrade. If the Braves had a different frame of mind for 2017, it might make sense to make a marginal short term upgrade.

    Of course, I thought acquiring Terry Pendleton was a bad idea for many of the same reasons.

  12. @24 is correct. You don’t sign a guy to a 4 year deal when his ceiling is 4th OF. He is handsome though, and I don’t complain when the Braves roster gets more handsome.

  13. The sudden arrogance of this Cubs franchise and fanbase deserves a heavy handed beat down on Tuesday night.

  14. I really don’t get the sturm and drang over petty cash on a flier from Cuba during an obvious rebuilding phase. Beat them up over the Olivera debacle all you want, but missing on a wildcard like Toscano (while hitting on a that same scratch off ticket process with Adonis Garcia) isn’t something to worry about. The team did not get better or worse due to that deal.

  15. @26, I feel like an idiot because I can’t recognize the guy standing behind Dansby. Who-dat?

  16. No idea who the other guy in the Dansby picture is, either.

    That was a very slow but great game last night. Heyward’s catch, Ross/Rizzo’s shenanigans, Chapman, Bryant’s HR were all entertaining. It’s still crazy to think that Fredi wouldn’t let Kimbrel come in to get one more out against LA, but Maddon brought Chapman in for 8 outs.

  17. Yeah, that’s the big point. But I do see Snitker making similar moves to Maddon’s, which has me feeling like we’re in good hands there. I also see Coppy being involved in enough to say, “We gave up 4 prospects to get Chapman. Ride him until his arm falls off so we can get our ring. His free agency is his problem.”

  18. @34

    This has been a very well-managed World Series from both sides. I can’t really think of a move off the top of my head that it wasn’t possible to come up with a logical explanation for.

    The dumbest managerial move I’ve seen this postseason (and I largely skipped the Division Series but watched the vast majority of the NLCS and World Series so far, and caught about half of the ALCS), was the Dodgers refusing to steal bases on Jon Lester despite already being halfway to second with their massive leads. Dave Roberts’s explanation about wanting them to stay on first so they could bother Lester or something was patently ridiculous. Clearly it’s more valuable for them to be a theoretical nuisance at first than to be actually in scoring position at second? Where they could still dance around and potentially bother Lester anyway? I don’t know.

    Runner-up silly managing move does belong to Francona in the ALCS, but it didn’t wind up really hurting them: Pitching Trevor Bauer like two days after he’d almost cut his finger off was pretty dumb, and it was never gonna work. Maybe he didn’t have a whole lot of great solutions, but I feel certain there was a better one than putting him out there and waiting for his stitches to pop open. Luckily for Francona, his bullpen bailed him out and the Indians won the series quickly, meaning that the Indians didn’t need Bauer for another 10 days.

  19. “Dave Roberts’s explanation about wanting them to stay on first so they could bother Lester or something was patently ridiculous. Clearly it’s more valuable for them to be a theoretical nuisance at first than to be actually in scoring position at second?”

    lulz–that’s the kind of reasoning that makes you cringe. I wonder, though…if it were true they could be more valuable at first, would you order them to stay put on a wild pitch?

  20. Interesting that of the seven players the Braves sent to the AFL, only one was drafted by Atlanta.

  21. @47 Why do you say that? Albies can play SS or 2B; Demeritte plays 2B and I understand he can hack it fine at 3B (and plays passably at SS). They’re not blocking each other right now, esp. since Demeritte could use more development time for his offensive game.

  22. @48

    We have Swanson at SS and they seem pretty fixed on Maitan, Riley and/or Ruiz at 3B. If they were going to move Demeritte to third, it would have happened. There isn’t really a place for Albies or Demeritte in the OF.

    One of them is getting moved. It may not be this winter, but I wouldn’t be shocked. Albies value is pretty high now and he doesn’t have a ton of pop.

  23. Albies is 19 and just put up an .858OPS at AA. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him grow and add more power. We aren’t trading him, plus he’s injured.

  24. I think we’ll give Albies a major audition at 2nd. He is the 2nd baseman of the future unless the organization sours on him. My guess is Jace Peterson is most likely to be traded in a package with a higher ceiling prospect. I don’t see Demeritte in our long term plans but he needs at least another year to see if he’ll have any value in the big leagues.

  25. to the original proposition:

    I vote

    1. Adonis / Rio platoon.
    2. Sign Turner if No QO and not more than 4 years.
    3. Cut a trade for a 3B.

    A shout out for our Brethren by the lake in Ohio. To get this far after your starting pitching blows up is remarkable.

  26. Demeritte is a nice piece, but he’s a long way from forcing the Braves to make a decision — especially because he strikes out so much that he’ll always be dogged by questions of whether he can hit enough to hold down a starting position in the big leagues. If he manages to answer those questions and hit the high minors as a slugging second-base prospect, he’ll be a good problem to have. But Albies is at least two years ahead of him. And Kevin Maitan is at least five years away.

  27. Maitan at least 5 years away? I would think 2020 as a 20-year-old (or even late 2019 at age 19) would be feasible if the scouts are right about his Miggy level talent.

  28. @ 53: Adonis may not need a platoon partner if he improves as much next year as he did this. If not, Rio will do nicely. What Cliff proposes works for me.

  29. The more I consider it, the more I think that you could call the Braves’ off season a success with a good catcher and a 2/3 starter with 1 potential signed to a long term contract and minor deals after that. I’m okay with a Garcia / Ruiz platoon at 3rd and if we trade Markakis, Dustin Peterson will be adequate IMO. We seem to specialize in finding an Aarons Harang type for a 4th starter.

  30. We’ve done the “Well, if Adonis Garcia is for real…” song and dance once already. I’m not really sold on him as a long-term (or even medium-term) solution.

    It’s possible that one of Demeritte, Riley, or Maitan will make the question moot in a couple years, so I’m hesitant about hunting down a free agent, but the quicker the Braves get over their fascination with Adonis Garcia, Starting Third Baseman the happier I’ll be.

  31. @55, if he’s Miguel Cabrera, sure, he could be up by age 19 or 20. (When Cabrera was called up, he was 20.) But look: there are 16 hitters in the history of baseball who have had a 30-homer campaign on or before their age 21 season. Sixteen.

    There are a lot more hitters with Miguel Cabrera-level talent who take a lot longer than Miguel Cabrera took. It’s no knock on Maitan to say that I don’t expect him to be a serious part of the lineup until he’s 21.

  32. @55 + @59: Can’t we be responsible fans and wait until Maitan has a week or so of Rookie-ball games under his belt next spring before speculating wildly on his career projection?!?

    I’m kidding, of course. Pencil the kid into the 2020 lineup!

  33. @59- cool that the Braves have 3 of the top 13 on that list, including #1. Eddie Mathews was a monster

  34. To echo Smitty, John Smoltz has really been fantastic in this World Series.

    Going into tonight, Francona has used his 6 studs to pitch 36 1/3 of the 42 innings so far in this World Series. It’s crazy to think that we could only get 1 WS when we had Maddux/Glavine/Smoltz to go along with Wohlers/Rocker. 2001 had Maddux/Glavine/Burkett with Smoltz, Remlinger, and Ligtenberg in the pen, and we still couldn’t make it.

  35. Putting Chapman in here counts as Maddon’s first bad decision of the World Series IMO (assuming he’s planning on using him to finish the game). You have a 5-run lead and you’ll need him tomorrow, where you have to assume you won’t have a 5-run lead. I’m not saying to let the rest of the bullpen blow the game, but you’ve gotta take advantage of your 5-run lead a little better than this.

    UPDATE: …and now he’s tweaked his knee. This is getting more brilliant by the second.

  36. @59, 60: I don’t expect Maitan before 2021 either, but when you say he’s “at least 5 years away”, it suggests that 5 years away (I.e., late 2121) is the very most optimistic scenario imaginable. It just isn’t.

  37. If Andrew Miller doesn’t walk in tonight to “Wild Thing” then I have lost my faith in humanity.

  38. Without further subtractions/additions, come tomorrow the Braves will have 36 men on the 40-man roster. Reminder that there is no DL in the offseason so guys on 60-day DL (Biddle, Paco, Whalen, Winkler) have to be added.

    However, I expect that Cunniff and Casey Kelly are either in process of being traded, claimed, or outrighted as I type.

  39. If Weber had no trade value, Kelly or Cunniff don’t either. So 36 men, minus 2 (Cunniff and Kelly) plus 4 (the DL guys) = 38. Interesting.

  40. @72
    The 36 that I stated will be the total tomorrow and that includes Cunniff and Kelly. That doesn’t reflect at least 2 40-man roster additions that will have to happen before November 8th in Fried and Sims.

    So, my mind’s eye sees it as 36-2+2= 36.

  41. RE: Maitan/Riley/Ruiz

    It’s really hard to get excited about Adonis Garcia because of those three guys. Ruiz has a pretty low ceiling, and is still very young. At best, Ruiz can be a league average hitter in the second half of 2017. At best.

    Riley is 20 years old, and has not played above low-A. He’s had one really good half-season as a professional, and even he shouldn’t factor into the Braves’ plans.

    Maitan. For every Miguel Cabrera, there’s a Wilson Betemit. For every Miguel Cabrera, there’s an Andy Marte. I’m excited about Maitan as much as the next guy, but he is so incredibly far from the majors that he’s not even a steak on the grill. He’s in the freezer. Not only could he be Marte or Betemit, but he could simply be Wes Helms, a guy who has a couple decent seasons but is largely a mediocre major leaguer. I mean, he’s 16. What the Braves do in 2017 (or 2018) should have nothing to do with Kevin Maitan.

    I could see Albies and Jace Peterson having an impact on 3B. If Jace continues to improve, he could factor into the left-handed portion of a platoon at 3B should Albies stick at 2B. But then you’re hoping for two young players to make significant strides forward. With how much money there is to spend, I wish there was a left-handed hitting 3B who could be part of a platoon in the first half of the year and then get dealt in the second half. KJ Vs. 4?

  42. Tomahawk Take was pushing their version of the guy you’re talking about a week or two ago. Don’t ask me who now. I can’t remember supper.

  43. Buster Olney retweet of Roch Kubatko post:

    #orioles now have 2 openings on coaching staff. Bullpen coach Dom Chiti going to #braves as director of pitching. Dave Wallace joining him.

  44. How about we give all the money to Shohei Otani if he posts this offseason? He’d be both our best pitcher and best hitter…would be a bargain.

  45. I’m enjoying the announcers and the camera work in the World Series. Smoltz starts talking about possibly pulling Hendricks early, even before he allows many or any more runs. Buck tells Smoltz that Bobby Cox has to be rolling on the floor laughing after hearing him say that. Smoltz did hate to get taken out.

  46. If Joe Maddon wanted Jon Lester to pitch in Game 7 so much, maybe he should’ve lined him up to start Game 7 at the start of the series. It seems unlikely to me that he’s gonna pitch better at this point than Hendricks was pitching.

  47. @90

    Well, they’re likely about to get 10 times more insufferable, so strap in. I fear it’ll make the transformation of Red Sox fans look like a picnic.

  48. Now does he stay with Lester or does he take out another pitcher who’s throwing well to stay with the pregame plan (Chapman, in this case)?

  49. …and the Chapman time bomb finally goes off.

    UPDATE: I’ll tell you what, if Maddon has decided he’s gonna live or die with Chapman, it’s gonna be the second. He’s gotta get him out of there.

  50. The bad part for Francona (and this is no fault of his, by the way), is that he’s pretty much already used all his best pitchers just to keep the Indians in the game. His situation isn’t much better than Maddon’s bullpen-wise.

    And now it’s raining, so who knows how that affects things. This just got extremely crazy, obviously.

  51. The Threat of Ross has Cody Allen nibbling, and giving away a base to start the ninth. That’s what a reputation can do for you!

  52. @104

    I’m genuinely unsure if you’re referring to the Ross/Heyward combo or to the overmanaged bullpen collapse.

  53. @106, Not if you’ve been watching him this season. He’s broken; lost–it’s something like the yips; he’s literally got nothing up there but to try to make contact and hope for a lucky break.

  54. @106

    I’ve watched almost all of the last two Cubs series and I’m genuinely unsure if he can even hit the ball hard in the air at this point. Everything in the air is a pop-up. Everything hard hit is either on the ground or a low line drive. His swing is badly screwed up.

    EDIT: Or what Edward said.

  55. I’m sorry, I must be hallucinating. I thought I heard Joe Buck say that Chapman is going back out there.

  56. He’s probably busy trying to find a rule loophole that will allow him to bring Jon Lester back into the game.

  57. The radar suggests this will be short. It also suggests that they won’t be able to play all night, but that they will have a couple of hours once they get back out there.

  58. @120

    Indeed. Poetic justice would definitely be served by this game still being tied in the 16th when the serious rain comes.

  59. I am very interested to see who in the hell is pitching the 10th inning for the Cubs. If he sends Chapman back out there after two innings, 100 pitches over three games and a 20-minute rain delay, I think it’s time to call the men in white coats.

  60. So if the Cubs win will the Indians call it the curse of the man-eating drone or the curse of the peanut butter glasses?

  61. I’m also trying to decide if the Cubs scoring a couple more here would make it more or less likely that Chapman goes back out there.

    UPDATE: Ay caramba! Heyward may have just delivered one of the 10 worst at-bats I’ve ever seen.

  62. Alright! It’s time for another round of America’s favorite game show…

    You know he’s Jack Bauer’s son because he was pitching without a pinky finger on his pitching hand BTW.

  63. Heyward’s last AB was….well, there are no words.

    My Facebook feed is inundated with Cubs fans. I mean, I had no idea there were that many die-hard Cubs fans.

    I was rooting for the Indians. Despite my antipathy to the Cubs it was nice to see the genuine joy on their faces as they put the game away.

  64. I think I know enough of hate
    to say that for destruction Cubs
    are also great
    and will suffice.

  65. Say what you want about the Cubs and Indians, but this is the biggest thing for baseball since the McGwire, Sosa, Bonds home run races. Of course I hope this turns out a lot better than that did.

  66. I went to bed, but happy to wake up and see that Jason Heyward got a ring. He was one of my favorite Braves.

  67. Alright the inevitable happened as Cunniff and C.Kelly were outrighted. 40-man down to 34 but likely back up to 36 in a few days adding Fried and Sims.

  68. Jason Heyward did literally nothing to earn his ring. He’s worse than Luis Polonia in this regard.

  69. It’s not a good look for Braves fans to be pointing out that the Cubs carried a diminished Heyward to a world championship. Our teams didn’t come especially close with Heyward in his prime.

  70. I’m from Chicago and pretty much despise the Cubs and their fans. But man…what a World Series. Top 5 of my lifetime for sure.

  71. The World Series had 4 games decided by 4 runs or more. I get it that it was a nostalgic World Series, but the majority of the games weren’t nail-biters. That last game was remarkable though.

  72. @147

    Was it as good from beginning to end as ’91 Braves-Twins or ’01 Yankees-Diamondbacks? Not even close. But when Game 7 is that good, it’ll largely be forgotten. The ’97 World Series between the Indians and Marlins was godawful, for the most part, and nobody remembers anything about that series other than Game 7, which was fantastic. The same will transpire here.

  73. Also, no major league team should have Casey Kelley or Brandon Cunniff on their 40-man. We’re not a minor league team anymore.

  74. @147, Remarkable is exactly the word for it. It wasn’t necessarily good, but it certainly was remarkable.

  75. There were three games that were decided by 1 run in this series including Game 7 which was one of the best games you can imagine. Plus you’re dealing with the nostalgic factor of two teams whose majority of fans were not alive when they last won one. I was entertained.

  76. I’m not sure why we kept Casey Kelly around so long with so many mediocre pitching prospects ahead of him. He’s not even a good AAA pitcher. Maybe it was the fact that he used to be a hot prospect for the Sox and got traded for AGon once.

  77. Just read up on the Heyward “I just want you guys to know I love you all” speech. I vomited in my mouth.

  78. Vomiting in your mouth at the treacle and reach arounds is a sincere way of expressing emotion.

  79. While I’m glad we let Heyward go, that’s entirely a baseball financial thing. I’m happy for him that his team won the World Series, and if he got them all together during the rain delay to make sure they weren’t feeling sorry for themselves and got refocused, good for him.

    As a matter of fact, I have a difficult time not feeling happy for the Cubs and their lifelong fans who’ve been waiting their entire lives for this. That 90-year-old lady they repeatedly showed during (and who Ken Rosenthal interviewed after) Game 6 of the NLCS, for instance? Genuinely happy for her.

    What I’m not happy for is the increased force with which the Cubs are about to be jammed down our throats during the offseason and the incoming tsunami of bandwagon-hopping frat boy types (and it’s not like there weren’t already a bunch of them to begin with, but it’s about to get way worse) who are gonna pretend they’ve been Cubs fans forever (see Red Sox, middle of last decade), but that’s gonna have to actually happen first before I get annoyed by it. I think it’s fair to give the Cubs and their true, lifelong fans the rest of the week to celebrate their first World Series title in 108 years before I start retching at the thought of them.

  80. I’m personally happy for Jason Heyward. He’s a good guy, and he’s living the dream. Good for him. No need for the nasty, homophobic slurs, Sam. Why not just ignore the guy if he makes you boil over with rage?

  81. @164: Any ten minutes of Cubs worship that displaces 10 minutes of Yankees/Red Sox worship on ESPN is OK by me.

  82. Collmenter elected free agency. Projected 40-man now down to 33, but will soon be 35 with Fried and Sims additions.

  83. Easily half of the patrons at my bar this afternoon have been sporting some sort of Cubs gear. Given that I am in Colorado I am already quite annoyed with bandwagoneers.

  84. @168 If there is still Major League Baseball happening in 3024 that will be a real victory for the human race, IMO.

  85. @168, I think you meant the year 2124. It’s amusing to speculate on how that typo occurred.

  86. I get the sentiment that the bandwagon Cubs fans will come out of the woodworks, but who cares? Every team has that phenomenon. If people need to do that to feel better about themselves, then that’s their problem. At the end of the day, the longsuffering Chicago Cubs fanbase now have a team they can be proud of for a very long time. This is a really, really good team that will only get better. Russell, Baez, Schwarber, Contreras, Bryant, and maybe even Rizzo have even better years ahead. They are so stacked on the position player side of the ball that they will be worth all of the coverage they get. Plus, I do think that it’s good for baseball when Chicago, New York, LA, and major markets (including baseball heartland cities like St. Louis and Cleveland) have good teams. I love the Braves, but I also love baseball, and the Cubs are good for baseball.

    An interesting question, though, is whether or not the Cleveland Indians are a markedly better baseball team than the Braves. Assuming the Braves make some key acquisitions, once you strip out all of the nuisance with each roster, it comes down to one player: Julio Teheran. Cleveland has some clunkers on the position player side, and they’ve got a fantastic bullpen, but the biggest difference is Corey Kluber vs. whatever Julio Teheran is. The Indians have some good starters, sure, but the difference is the dominant horse that Kluber is, and I’m not sure Teheran will ever become that valuable. But the rest of the roster is pretty similar to what Atlanta should be able to boast.

  87. Apparently there was a clerical error on the Braves transactions page with Collmenter and, for now, he’s still with the team.

  88. @176: Damn, I can’t do arithmetic. I’m a graduate student in mathematics. I rarely see numbers these days. It’s all abstraction and proof.

  89. @178 Teheran should have his best seasons ahead of him, though. He may not be as durable, but he is just 25. I’m pretty happy with Teheran as the ace of this staff.

  90. I went to game 7 and it was the most intense sporting game event I have ever been to. From beginning to end it’s like the fourth quarter of an SEC game and one team has thrown a bomb and the ball is in the air.

    Secondly, I don’t want to hear about Braves fans being apathetic or how Cleveland is this great sports town anymore. The whole lower section of the stadium was full of Cub fans. It was close to 50% Cub fans. Obviously the “loyal” Tribe fans were selling their tickets.

    It was the best game I ever saw in person.

  91. Just to be clear, when Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar aren’t hurt, the Indians have three starters who are better than Teheran. Even when those two had pitched through injuries, they’re still better than much of the rest of our rotation.

  92. @185, It’s been 36 hours since the final out of the Series so he can’t use that as an excuse!

  93. That the Indians got to (and arguably could’ve/shoud’ve won) the World Series with a pitching-first approach does give me some hope that maybe it won’t take 10 years here. We just need that pitching to materialize somehow. Gimme mah Kluber plz Coppy.

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