Where Do We Go From Here? Position Summary

Since the series began, we’ve hired a new GM and lived through the Acoppolypse.  For your shopping convenience, here’s an overview of the position players in one shot.  First, a brief look at where we (think) we know we’re going, followed by a summary of my earlier thoughts on the question marks.

Freddie Freeman turned 28 in September, and as he continues through his prime years, it is logical to pencil him in for another .300/.400/.570 slash line, such as he turned in at ages 26 and 27.

Ozzie Albies posted a .286/.354/.456 in 244 plate appearances in his major league season.  We’ve been burned before on small sample sizes, but a couple of things separate Albies.  At age 20, Albies is years ahead of most prospects.  However, despite his youth, Albies also has a decently sized minor league record to parse, including significant AAA time.  Albies has 695 career AAA plate appearances, batting .272.  I see Ozzie batting around .265 in his first full MLB season, and increasing from there.

Tyler Flowers and Kurt Suzuki will be 32 and 34 respectively in 2018, and combined for 31 home runs in 2017 (12 for Flowers, 19 for Suzuki.)  At least one internet rando could not have been more wrong in assessing the Braves catching for 2017.  There are enough other problems to address that it makes sense to continue with these 2 for 2018, but at the ages involved, the catching position will have to be addressed before too many more seasons.

One possibility for addressing that is Alex Jackson.  Jackson will play the 2018 season as a 22 year old, and in 2017 hit 19 home runs in 402 at bats, mostly at the A+ level.  Let’s watch what kind of on base rate he can produce in this first full season above A+, and if he can continue to develop defensively.  He looked good in the Arizona Fall League, which is better than looking bad in the Arizona Fall League, and that’s all I’ve got to say about the Arizona Fall League.

Previously on “Where Do We Go From Here?”:

  • The Braves finished 11th in the National League in runs scored, and need to get better offensively in right and left field, and at 3rd base.
  • If you think a Johan Camargo / Rio Ruiz platoon looks good, it is only because you have been watching the Braves for too long.  For comparison, these are the 3rd basemen on the National League playoff teams:  Justin Turner. Kris Bryant. Anthony Rendon. Jake Lamb. Nolan Arenado.
  • I think the Braves should be prepared for the possibility that Austin Riley is not ready for 2019 and should make a 2 year plan accordingly.  I would like the Braves to gamble on a 3rd baseman with upside, even if it means through a trade.  I like Wilmer Flores and Maikel Franco, among others.
  • I do believe that Ronald Acuna will be ready to solve one corner outfield spot in 2018.  See Alex’s thoughts here.
  • I would love to see the Braves bring in more players in Freddie and Ender Inciarte‘s cohort, and rumors are that Christian Yelich or Marcell Ozuna are available.
  • Dansby Swanson now has 696 career Major League plate appearances with a .246/.322/.348 career line, which I feel represents the 24 year old’s floor.
  • Johan Camargo’s offensive career to date mimics Swanson’s, with their initial MLB seasons exceeding their minor league records.  Camargo took the shortstop job temporarily before injury, and it will be interesting to see how much leash Swanson has with Coppolella gone.
  • The Braves top shortstop prospect is Kevin Maitan.  Hopefully, he is also the Braves top shortstop prospect in 2019.  (Narrator voice:)  He wasn’t.

Make a move, make it soon, it’s too quiet in this room.

Author: Rusty S.

Rusty S. is a Braves Journal reader since 2005 and an occasional innings-eater. It was my understanding that there would be no expectations.

120 thoughts on “Where Do We Go From Here? Position Summary”

  1. ‘too quiet in this room’…see Rusty’s comment.

    Seeking escape from all the recent negativity, i have found myself in early morning search mode kicking through my mind for what is warm and fuzzy and, for me at least, i found something. In a stumbling often losing year what was the 2017 Braves series i remember most fondly, is there a stand out and why?

    One rule, no looking up, memory only. That way the series will be as you remember it now, lying in bed on a cold winter morning, looking back.There will be some mistakes, lots of omissions but that will only add to the fun. Heck, it could even be a losing series that comes to mind for some reason, there’s a few to pick from!

    I’ve settled on mine and some time this weekend will post it and ask Alex to make it a thread. Please add yours then. Plenty of time to choose. How good a memory do you have?

  2. Off topic, and apparently he’s been doing it for 2.5 years, but it’s interesting to see Ron Gant on the Fox 5 Atlanta morning team reporting on non-baseball stories. I rarely watch local TV, so I’m really late on this.

  3. Christopher Marlowe on Helen of Troy:

    ‘Is this the face that launch’d a thousand ships
    and burned the topless towers of Ilium.’

    blazon on Kris Medlen.

    ‘Is this the arm that staunch’d a thousand chips
    and learned the winding way to Birminghum.’

  4. Johan Camargo’s offensive career to date mimics Swanson’s, with their initial MLB seasons exceeding their minor league records.

    Braves Journal brings misery upon itself.

  5. Generally, yes it has been a bummer hanging around here, but you just endure and go on.

    Specifically to the bulleted items with numbers included.

    1. Agreed, but moving Markakis from right to left doesn’t help the offense much. Platoon him with Lane Adams and get a little better D from Markakis than Kemp and maybe that is a decent upgrade.

    2. A Rio / Camargo platoon would at minimum slightly upgrade 3B. I don’t see making a move with Riley not far down the road. NO, it won’t be “good,” but it will avoid terrible.

    3. Maikel Franco is crap. Wilmer Flores can’t exceed the Rio / Camargo platoon. Wait on Riley.

    4. Acuna can handle RF as a better than ML average bat, significantly better than ML baserunner, and a significantly better than ML average fielder and thrower. 3 to maybe even 4 WAR.

    5. One of Yellich or Ozuna would be great. Depends on what you have to give up.

    6. Yes, Swanson is at least that good, but probably a good bit better than that.

    7. I don’t see a move to release Swanson. AA could push Snit to move Albies over to SS and try Swanson at 3B.

    8. I will stay mad at MLB. If Coppollella and Blakely both came from the Yankees then what does that suggest about the Yankees international operation?

  6. Is Riley a sure thing? I wouldn’t keep from signing a big FA with the hopes that Riley continues to develop.

  7. This notion of non-tendering Matt Adams is insane to me. $4.5 mil for a good bench bat (which is his floor) seems very reasonable. Useful as an insurance policy if Freddie gets hurt again, or as a trade chip if someone else’s 1B gets hurt. How are we possibly in a position to be giving away useful players?

  8. 8-Completely agree and there’s no way AA is that stupid right?

    7-Klaw is not a believer in Riley and says his bat is too slow, I agree we shouldn’t determine whether to upgrade based on just him.

  9. It would seem foolish to consider anyone other than Acuna, Inciarte, Albies, Freeman, and maybe Swanson locks to man a position in the next couple years. Camargo, Riley, DPeterson, Ruiz, and pretty much every single pitcher other than AJ Minter shouldn’t be impeding us from making a move, short- or long-term, to improve the roster. What happened to “we’re building up prospects to trade them”? Now it’s “we’re biding our time for Austin Riley, a B prospect, to come to Atlanta”? No way.

  10. Smitty, what’s going on in Knoxville? Sheesh, dude, this is crazy. I would have said in the beginning, and this all kinda relates to the overall situation, that Tennessee was just not the top, I dunno, 5 program some of its fans seem to think it is (but, like, still a top 15 or so program), but now it’s just unfortunate how bad it’s gotten. With that said, it’s part of the overvaluing of the program that led people to lose their noggins on the Schiano situation, and now it’s created this deluge where no one wants to touch this fanbase with a ten foot pole.

    With Florida having to pay Muschamp, McElwain, and Mullen close to $11M in 2018, it doesn’t seem crazy for Tennessee to overpay Tee Martin just to shut this lunacy down. Stabilize the program, and reboot in 3 years when everyone has forgotten Schianogate.

    And I don’t mean this as a knock uniquely to Tennessee fans. There are Florida fans with all of their fingers and toes that don’t think Dan Mullen is an absolute home run hire. They thought Urban Meyer was going to come back or something. Some people just live in a different world.

  11. @11

    Swanson is no lock…AA will package him after 4 months…the hair won’t be a factor.


    Yes indeed…there is more tripe talked about Adams M. here than almost any other. And we still don’t really know why the quick 180 on the Freeman/Adams swap..it was done in an unseemly rush and had nothing to do with Matt’s numbers..heck, how long was he there, a month? Something fishy went down.

    3d base…fear not, my friend Adonis will be fighting fit, playing good defense and hammering the LHP brigade for a couple of league minimums. Rio will handle the righties.And would you believe my other friend Matt Kemp will have an April like before when we were begging him back. Plus defense well above the MA level.Both these guys have to avoid injury, that is all. Meanwhile Acuna will rule in right. Lovely.

    William Contreras may be the next Acuna, who knows, move him up quickly, see if he can handle the upgrades. Ajax too. Keep the best, trade the rest.

    Please don’t hesitate to ask if you need to know more. Anything.

  12. If we can’t tender Matt Adams a contract because of the unlikely possibility that we won’t be able to trade him for anything…Liberty will be dead to me.

  13. @15

    This. If you can’t lock in a, at most, $5M figure because there’s an infinitesimal likelihood that you can’t, at worst, have someone simply eat it, then what the heck are we even doing here?

  14. @13

    Why do you say that? College football coaches are an extremely hot commodity. They matter more than any player on the roster. College football continues to climb in popularity, the money is pouring it, and it’s funding our schools. Considering the impact the head coach plays on the entire university, you’d have to think the climb in salaries will increase.

    I continue to soften on the buyout system for coaches. Look at Greg Schiano, as a very extreme example. Some moron college kids could have effectively ruined his ability to get a head coaching job. Why would highly talented people agree to work in a system where some dork freshman with a keyboard and a Twitter account can light your career on fire, reducing everything you’ve worked for to rubble? As long as we let the nuts run the nuthouse, you’ll see those buyout numbers continue to go crazy as coaches look to protect themselves.

  15. @17, 13 – Because the amount of money spent and earned by schools on athletics is already grotesque (and I say that as someone who mainlines about 8 hours of football most fall Saturdays) even before you start talking about paying out millions for the schmuck you just hired 2 years ago NOT to work.

  16. I guess the simple answer is to, ya know, not do it, right? What do you think would happen if a school decided they wouldn’t pay the buyouts or spend as much on athletics?

  17. Well stated.

    I may have another question or two later, but right now please explain to me why Dansby is still ceded a starting job.

    Thank you.

  18. @21 – I agree with your conclusion, but I have some differences with how you get there; I don’t think it’s so clear cut. I don’t put any weight on anything below AA, and from that angle Swanson and Camargo look a lot more similar than opposite. I also look for the largest relevant samples sizes, even if it means combining seasons or levels.

    I could find 100 AB’s Dansby would not be very proud of just by starting from opening day last year. I feel pretty good that looking at Dansby’s career MLB numbers is the least imperfect picture we have of him. Agreed that Camargo’s minor league record is sizable enough to take seriously.

    Two things we’ve got going for us is that they are both young men who are likely to improve, and I’m just some rando on the internet.

  19. My comp for Camargo is Wilson Betemit. He played 11 years and had a 267 career BA and a 774 career OPS. Does anyone else see that? I think he’ll be good but he won’t put up every day 3rd baseman numbers.

  20. @6 – Now wait a minute, I never said that Franco wasn’t crap, just that he had upside lol. Flores, though, has hit 34 home runs in his last 643 AB over his age 24 and 25 seasons. To elaborate, I think that one way the Braves can compete is to gamble on some guys who could be on the verge of breaking out. I pick these 2 as examples of guys we might be able to get for less than a fully formed guy like Evan Longoria.

    @1 – Thank you.

  21. For Adams’ non-tender deadline, I think it really hurts that you have two big boppers holding up the market. While Otani and Stanton don’t play first, you’d have to think teams want to see what happens there before they settle for an Adams. And if Jose Abreu becomes available, then that further complicates things. I can’t see why they would let a non-tender deadline become their deadline.

  22. If we keep Danny Santana and non tender Matt Adams I won’t be a happy camper. I’d rather have Lane Adams and Duston Peterson as bench options over Santana

  23. Wilson Betemit was a rising star/superstar in the Braves system so that’s a little different from the non-hyped Camargo’s non-hyped progress to the big leagues. Despite Betemit’s overall career being a disappointment compared to what his potential was thought to be, if Camargo’s ceiling winds up being Betemit’s floor, I’d be very, very happy with that..

  24. Danny Santana can play all infield and outfield positions. That triggers swollen organs in certain GMs and is a reason you might see him stick while superior players get left off. (Plus, pictures.)

  25. There is just not an easy solution at 3B. Camargo is much more valuable in a utility role vs. full-time 3B, Rio Ruiz sucks, Austin Riley is extremely far from a sure thing, and the FA options are very underwhelming. I wish they could just take on salary from a team and trade spare pieces to get a cost-controlled 2-3 WAR 3B. Is Matt Adams’ value really that low that you couldn’t package him and a filler prospect to get a 3B on a fair salary?

  26. How is Camargo a comp to Prado… Prado has 12 years of career .291 BA. I like Johan and want him on the 25 man roster, but whoa. IF Camargo IS Prado, he should be penciled in at 3B, not in a platoon and we shouldn’t sign anyone at that position.

  27. I took Alex’s remark to mean the ceiling of Camargo is Prado and with similar minor league track records and versatility they are somewhat comparable. But Alex pointed out that players with that minor league track record also turn into Diory Hernandez a good bit of the time. (Unless they come through the Cardinals farm system, then they all become Tommy Pham, or Matt Carpenter or various other random no name prospects that turn to gold in St. Louis.)

  28. A live arm that started last year in Rookie level at age 24. So we traded international pool money for payroll space. I like it!

  29. We could be sending $ along to pay JJ’s salary as well, but no one has mentioned that yet. Good job moving that whole contract if we didn’t. I assume this is just clearing out space for Stanton.

  30. As terms of the trade, the Braves will owe LAA $50,000 for each blown save JJ is responsible for this season.

  31. Yeah, interested to see if they shed the entire contract. But it is nice to see them using this unnecessary asset (international pool money) to remove liabilities.

  32. Sounds like we are sending $1.21 of our intl pool. That’s pretty big chunk, not sure how much we had or had spent to begin with. I doubt we are also paying any salary for JJ.

  33. FYI Mayo says that is all of our intl pool. I think you can still spend either $100,000 or $10,000 on players without it going towards your pool not sure which, but I’d say that pretty much takes us out of the Ohtani pool (not that we were every in but we could’ve offered $300,000 before trading our pool).

  34. We are severely limited on what we can SPEND on any given international free agent. Something like $100k max per player. But we had more than a million and a half in our international player “pool,” to spend on ALL players we might sign. So basically, we could have bought 15 or so very low ceiling “prospects” and hoped to hit the lottery. Or we could package that full international pool with a bad contract and flip some payroll loose.

    Using what amounts to useless millions to get rid of a contract that hinders you going forward, at best, is a really smart move.

  35. I wouldn’t even know what to think or do if we ever get to the point where we *aren’t* trading around bad contracts. Bad contracts are our jam. Really good chance of us picking up a new one this offseason.

  36. 44 — If that’s the case, agreed. Definitely a good sweetener for trades since it is next to useless to us.

  37. Justin Kelly
    is moving here for more time on the telly
    Chip has promised a daily minimum
    Joe will retell personal stuff in a never ending continuum.

  38. blown save
    50K we cannot waive
    pay the Angels, much chagrin
    morning papers, just hope they win.

    just realized, even then he could have blown a save.

  39. And now UT has fired AD Currie after he had an agreement with Mike Leach. You can’t make this stuff up people.

  40. Regarding int’l $:

    1. You can trade int’l $ (which is not actual $ but the ability to spend it) in increments of 250K, unless a team trades their entire amount left, of which the Braves did.

    2. I also agree that it was a hefty price to pay to get rid of JJ.

    3. Braves can only spend 10K now per person which doesn’t go against int’l pool. Their current penalty did not change and they could still spend up to 300K per player, but that’s obviously not happening now.

    4. This does not affect the ability to re-sign the 13 players Braves lost in the scandal as they couldn’t receive any additional $ from the Braves if they choose to come back to them in May (which I wouldn’t expect any of them to do so).

    5. Sam is incorrect. Braves had 4.75MM to spend this signing period, max 300K per player. This was the penalty.

  41. According to klaw Othani is not going to get anywhere close to the number of AB’s he wants, not a good enough hitter. But, rather more positively, he has genuine 80 speed. Yes, 80. This opens up one unique way the Braves could use him, in the 7th.

    The Freeze
    this will not be a breeze
    rumors already
    no staggered start, umpired by Freddie.

  42. @55

    Article headline: Braves Focus Shifts to Defense, Winning during Q&A

    “We’re actually trying to win now! For realsies!”

  43. Andrew Tinnish, AA’s colleague from Toronto, decided not to take a Braves FO job after all.

  44. Adams is/was a cheap power bench bat and Insurance for Freeman. I would’ve kept Jace around also, but glad Santana is gone

  45. Andrew Tinnish
    we had already questioned whether he would finish
    embarrassing for AA
    he didn’t even show up, just a stupid Canadian play.

    non tendered
    fondly remembered?
    by maybe a few
    Matt will get in the Chop House again, a majority view.

  46. Ty Cobb
    it’s just his regular daytime job
    spooky to hear
    then you wait for your image of him to appear.

  47. The Braves have been trying hard to trade Matt Adams for something like four months straight. They don’t have room for him on the roster, don’t want to pay his full salary for him to be a pinch hitter, and no one wants to give the Braves any talent to acquire him and his salary. There’s a reason the Braves were able to get him for almost nothing in the first place.

  48. @70, Thank you. Matt Adams’ belated nickname should be Fetch.

    Many of you could stand to venture off this website and over to comments sections baseball-wide where you’re being laughed at right now.

  49. @71

    we might say suborned
    we’re maybe a tad sentimental
    hard core? no, hilariously fragmental.

  50. @71: Um, no thank you. Other sites are cesspools compared to Braves Journal. Let them laugh. I’ve been here for almost 20 years, and this site has, by far, the most cordial and intelligent commenters.

  51. I suppose paying a replacement level player $4 million as if he’s some kind of insurance against losing 90 games just in case Freeman gets hurt could be categorized as a…genteel move.

  52. I think we’re doing Fetch a favor, as I’m sure his best chance at starting is somewhere else.

    And for my money, I wouldn’t want to pay millions to a 1B who hopefully never has to play full time.

  53. By the way, I’d be meaning to ask. How many Alabama folks are on here? I recently moved to North Alabama (Lake Guntersville).

  54. I concur with the people wondering what everyone was expecting on Matt Adams. We can’t keep him to be a $4 million bench bat. We can find somebody else who can play first base the three times that Freeman doesn’t start next year. You can’t assume that he’s gonna get injured and miss a significant chunk of the season again. He really doesn’t need a caddy who starts for him once a week…like, at all.

  55. Two GMs tried to trade him, so ultimately the proof is in the pudding, and it was probably best to have traded him right after Freddie returned before the market swelled and softened. But I had thought we may have been able to get a middle reliever in a similar contract situation. 3rd year of service, starting to get a little expensive, but clearly the market never developed. I didn’t see Atlanta keeping him on a roster (or any one-dimensional player), but I thought we’d have gotten something.

  56. It doesn’t help that he’s considered to be the best player non-tendered. Every year, is the best player non-tendered the player a team should have been able to trade? Wouldn’t that kind of be a side of the bell curve you wouldn’t want to be on?

  57. After seeing the long list of available free agent first basemen I feel a little bit better about non-tendering him. But I still think Liberty is really being a cheapskate. He isn’t that expensive.

  58. I sure wish my company felt like 4 million per year wasn’t that expensive. Of course I’m probably not one of the top 500 hundred or so best in the world at what I do.

  59. Look at Benjamin Chase’s blueprint at CalltothePen. Trade Lucas Sims for Colin Moran or JD Davis. If not, sign the Toddfather for two-three years. Don’t forget that Ozzie can play short. And the uncertainty among Swanson and Riley and Camargo is why we should be keeping Demeritte around and not letting him loose in Rule 5. Insane. Dustin could keep LF warm until Pache or Waters is ready. I just don’t get it. I sure do like the idea of trading for Yelich but the cost will be very high.

  60. @84

    It’s all relative. If they paid you 4 you’d end up wanting 6. We can be a miserable lot.

    Man hands on misery to man
    it deepens like a coastal shelf
    get out as quickly as you can
    and don’t have any kids yourself.

    Philip Larkin, to children.

  61. Auburn beat the dog out of UGA at Jordan Hare with their full strength running backs. UGA got revenge for that beating last night. The first rat beating still happened.

  62. Georgia/Oklahoma for the first time *ever*. Pretty cool. I think the winner of this game takes it all. Clemson/Bama are going to beat each other up.

    Shutting out the Big10 champion two years in a row is…interesting. It’s almost like they are trying to create enough controversy to get the system changed yet again. Ratings will be down this year most likely.

  63. It’s pretty crazy how Giancarlo Stanton has a full no trade clause and yet the last thing he can do is not be traded. Yes, of course, he could stay behind with the sinking ship, but that’s no option at all.

  64. I think the committee got it right. Does anyone think Alabama would get blown out by Iowa? That being said, they need to go to an 8 team playoff. The 5 conference champions get an automatic berth with 3 at large teams.

  65. The Falcons aren’t worthy tenants of our billion dollar soccer stadium. They are dead to me until they draft a QB.

  66. Shohei Ohtani.

    How interesting that he has come out on the record today and said no thanks to the Yankees and Red Sox.

    He wants to play in a smaller market.

    All we need wait for now then is to hear his stated preference for a team caught with their hand in the cookie jar and punished. He will feel sorry for them.


  67. The committee got it right. They created this mess last year when Penn st beat OSU, won the conference, and OSU got picked over them. Clemson beat OSU 31-0 last year in the playoffs and I’m sure the committee didn’t want that to happen again.

    End of the day, don’t lose to an unranked team by 30+ if you want in

  68. Shohei Shohei
    give us your answer do
    we’re half crazy
    for both of the skills of you
    it won’t be a stylish marriage
    but please don’t us disparage
    you’ll look a treat
    the Phils we may beat
    and the wild card we’ll then pursue.

  69. With Otani saying no to the Yankees, writers are suggesting they’ll use their international money towards a former prospect of ours. My stomach is ill.


    Who ever forecast that?

    Maitan is a dead issue, this still has legs.

  71. The committee showed this year, like last year that they value who the 4 “best” teams are. Not whether you were in the correct division or conference even. If anyone should feel aggrieved it’s Auburn, not Ohio State who at no point during the year ever looked like a playoff team. I don’t feel too bad for Auburn though because, well I don’t care much for Auburn.

  72. If i was a bookie here’d be the first two on my current Othani slate…

    7/4 Seattle
    4/1 Braves

    the market has been transformed by yesterday’s news re small markets.

  73. After the Kawakami debacle, it’s hard to believe that Atlanta would be an attractive option for a Japanese player.

  74. @105

    Our hope there must be he has come to realize this was just another rather quaint mistake common to small market teams which in his new, worldly purview only makes them more attractive. Eh?

  75. @105

    With the benefit of a lot of hindsight, I did some research on the Kawakami situation, and I’m not completely sure I see the egregious injustice against the man. They signed him to a 3 year deal. And at the time, they needed starting pitching bad. Tim Hudson had gotten TJ, they didn’t know what they had with Tommy Hanson, and Jair Jurrjens was still unproven. And in the olden days, they were actually Trying to Win (TM). But Kawakami didn’t pitch exclusively in the rotation (he had 7 relief appearances as well), so there had to be a reason for that, and the next year his ERA ballooned up. Interestingly, his FIPs didn’t vary much from those two years, so you’d have to wonder if a more sabermetric lean would have changed things. So he’s 35, it’s not working out (in their eyes), so they stash him in AAA where he doesn’t pitch remarkably well, and then he starts the last year of his deal in AA where he implodes (8.41 ERA, 6.01 FIP). They move him to the AA bullpen hoping to get something out of him, and then that’s the end of his contract. And no other team gives him a contract, and he never pitches professionally again.

    So either the Braves had horrible emotional intelligence or soft skills or inability to develop a Japanese pitcher or whatever (was it their responsibility to develop a 34-year old pitcher with a language barrier?), or they made a bad call on an international signing and it didn’t work out. Maybe they feel an injustice against them that they felt like they were sold a bill of goods, and when he wasn’t who they thought he was, they said, “Screw it. We paid for him, he’s ours, and we’re going to throw him in the minors until he proves he can pitch in American baseball.”

  76. @107

    I hope he’s wrong, obviously, but likely not. But we’ll wait it out. The ‘small market’ thing got me going yet Crasnik is still including LAD to be in the running. Huh? This could be typical ESPN lazy journalism assumiming he’d be turned off by our IFA thing. Why? Some people would react the other way – add to the challenge, be remembered as one of the big reasons we got the wild card.

    I think i’ll stick to my one chance in four, fingers crossed, thanks.

  77. @103

    I wish they would just drop the “conference champion” talking point. In the 4 years, the Big 10, Big 12, and PAC 12 have all not seen their conference champion make it. Obviously with 5 teams and 4 spots, it has to happen, but if you can win your conference and not make it, then why can’t you not win your conference and still make it? You just get yourself into a sticky situation when two conference champions happen to be inferior to a non-conference champion, like this year. I think they got it right.

    Now, it is kinda cool that the conference championships this year were sort of play-in games. Had any of Clemson, Miami, Georgia, Auburn, or Wisconsin won, those teams would have been in, probably. It’s just that OSU was the one who did win, and you still couldn’t make a compelling case. The PAC 12 really didn’t have even one team with a compelling case for the playoff (and TCU on the Big 12 side really didn’t either(, so this really only works for the other 3 conferences. But it did create the perception of a third round of playoffs.

  78. @108

    Kawa Kami
    the sandwiches were always pastrami
    no sushi on the bus
    and he wasn’t one to make a fuss.

  79. @108

    I never understood the egregious injustice of the Kawakami situation. The guy was terrible, so got dropped from the rotation. Some fans then used advanced statistics that showed that he wasn’t like the worst pitcher in major league history or something to suggest that he was railroaded. Never made a whole lot sense to me, especially since he continued to suck every time he was thrown out there.


    Actually, since their Royal Majesties the Rose and Sugar Bowls are hosting the playoffs this year, ratings are going to be hugely up. The games will be on New Year’s Day, where they belong anyway, and everyone will know when and where to find them. So yeah…ratings won’t be down at all. And I think you vastly overrate the number of people in this country who feel sympathy for Ohio State, as well, but that’s another matter.

    They definitely do need to expand it to eight and let all the conference champions in with an automatic bid.

  80. @112

    An 8-team this year wouldn’t have removed any urgency to the regular season this year. Everyone would have needed to win every game they ended up winning to get into it, and the regular season was plenty exciting this year. One thing an 8-team needs that people aren’t talking about is one team, and one team only, from the group of 5. That team, obviously, would have been UCF this year. You’re telling me you wouldn’t have wanted to see Frost’s Fightin’ Knights as an 8-seed against Clemson? That would definitely settle a lot of the “the mid-majors do or don’t belong” stuff.

    Ultimately, the college football season just needs to get longer. Pro vs. “amateur”, sure, but compare it to baseball. They’re playing ball into November, and pitchers and catchers are right around the corner in February. College football ends in early January, and then we don’t see those rascals until end of August. Too long! Yeah, you get some signing day (and early signing period now), and you have the spring games, but that’s like the hot stove league for baseball, so you’re really only talking about an unexciting spring game. Start the season earlier or take it farther into January by having another playoff game.

  81. Interesting news on the Modern Era Hall of Fame Committee, some familiar names are on the 16 person voting panel: Bobby Cox, John Schuerholz and Don Sutton. Perhaps Murphy will do better than we think. 2 of the 3 writers on the committee were Murphy voters (Stark and Elliott) and the other writer (Hirdt) has no public BBWAA voting record on the HOF. Add the fact that there are several 80’s players on the committee (Carew, Brett, Eck, Yount and Winfield).

    I believe results are announced Sunday evening and Murphy, Jack Morris, Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell, Luis Tiant, Dave Parker, Tommy John, Mattingly, Garvey, Ted Simmons, and Marvin Miller are the names on the ballot.

  82. @113,considering that in theory the help is being paid in “education”, aren’t they entitled to some offseason to actually get it? Personally, I am way past willing to drop the fig leaf here and just let them operate as a licensed business of the universities, but as long as we are maintaining this fiction of amateurism, not sure how you can ask the amateurs to do even more free shit.

  83. I don’t think extending the season one or even two weeks inhibits them from earning an education. Guys even in the NFL are earning degrees on the side. There’s ample free time.

  84. I initially was in favor of an expanded playoff field, but in retrospect I think the current system is about right. The more teams that make it, the less important each regular season game becomes. I also like that there are no automatic invites. There is a considerable subjective element to who gets in, but given the small sample size and relative strengths of conferences (and divisions within conferences), having people who take the job seriously do the selections is not a bad system. I’m not a fan of any of the teams that made it (or had a real chance to make it), but I think the committee made the right choice.

  85. @ 108

    I don’t know if I’d call it an “egregious injustice”. My memory of the Kawakami Experience is ten years old, so it’s not perfect but your research fits in with my memory. He was a fourth/fifth starter. His first year was fine and was pretty much what everyone expected. He had a knack for beating the aces of other teams. In his second year, his W/L was terrible and his era sucked, but he wasn’t pitching all that much worse than the year before. The guys in the booth made that point regularly, so that was the company line.

    Then in a game in well into the season (early Aug?), Kawakami was getting knocked around and Bobby was seriously pissed. I can’t remember ever seeing Cox being that visibly angry with a player. Whatever the reason was, that was it for KK. I’m not sure if he ever pitched again in Atlanta.

    The next year, Wren sent him to Mississippi. It wasn’t like Gwinnett was stacked with prospects. Clearly, the Braves didn’t want the guy. That was ugly. Releasing him would have been the classier move. People in Japan noticed this.

  86. You don’t have to make the CFB season longer, just do away with the pay-for-win games against the smaller schools. Subsidize those schools some other way. It’s already 14 games for the teams that make the finals. You can keep it at 14 games quite easily and still have the extra playoff round.

    And ratings may not be down over last year just because they aren’t making the dumb mistake of holding them on NYE, but overall it’s not good for the sport when the midwest and west are shut out. You can’t grow the brand if the post season is always a southeastern thing. There’s huge passion for CFB in the Big10. A good system would play to that, rather than alienate it.

  87. Like I said earlier while other teams are getting better the Braves are sitting there with a finger up the butt

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