My 2017 Series to Remember. Yours? Some gold in the dross. (by blazon)

If you’re retired and live deep in the country where beauty abounds and distractions are few, you saw almost every game the Braves played this year. A month after it all ended we became spectators of the same game played at a significantly higher level by others. What remains of the Braves year has become a fading blur. Ninety losses doesn’t help.

Strangely though, without trying, there was one series that came to mind and stayed there. It reminded me of the pleasure, the surprise I got from it at the time so it has hung around to the point I wanted to see how much/little detail of what happened could be recalled. What follows is all from memory and all too brief. There will be howlers but so what? This is what pleases, as I write this on a 25 dark degree Sunday morning.

We went out west for a road trip somewhere in the second half of the season and stopped by at the Coliseum. Ho hum I thought, neither team was going anywhere and wasn’t this all being played at a dump, a much reviled setting?

It was a 4 game series as I remember; we — most surprisingly — won 3 of them. The game we lost, the second I think, we faced Sonny Gray and even then we were ahead late. Individually and collectively we played some of our best baseball of the year. I tried to rack my memory of the highlights that must have prompted me to this conclusion: here’s a few.

I remember Dansby, had to be his best game maybe. Good D but some sensational hitting in the clutch in the game we were behind late and his two back to back doubles in the 8th and 9th tied and then won the day. Each was an elevated line drive to the left field corner, something he spent most of the year trying to duplicate and failing. What was moving was his infectious delight after the second. He was transformed.

Then Danny Santana. Brought on to pinch run he ran them ragged, then and later, he stayed in the game. The A’s were flustered, he must have been so happy to be achieving something positive. Kurt Suzuki. This might have been the series when we had to start taking him seriously as a power hitter. He had two I believe, maybe in the same game. There is nothing more fun to watch than somebody who doesn’t hit homers hitting homers. There were other homers we hit in this series but danged if I can remember by who.

So that, absurdly, is all I can be reasonably sure about over 4 games of individual efforts. Trying to recall this you come to realize what makes it so difficult is not just who did this or that but was it really in this series or another. Lines get blurred, names transposed. But in this instance there was one other thing, never to be forgotten, the stadium itself. Wow.

Dirty, worn, totally devoid of people the huge shell far away beyond left field was awesome, I loved it. Those giant names, magical, better here than at Cooperstown. All the seats quite empty of course, what a lunatic idea. And more coming with a new, bloated mixed user somewhere, yuk. Looking at the reduced arena where we actually played you couldn’t but help and admire the spectators too. Blue collar, raucous, knowledgeable, generous. The antithesis of Cardinal garbage.

So that’s my favorite Braves series of 2017. We won this one but there’s nothing to say yours could not be a tie or a loss even. We had plenty of those and many of them still contained individual good memories. Please, I would love if you would share yours.

376 thoughts on “My 2017 Series to Remember. Yours? Some gold in the dross. (by blazon)”

  1. And we started that one 2 up and with Kershaw out. Played pretty well in Colorado too. Who beat us on that trip, had to be the best one of the season.

  2. Regarding @105, @108 in the previous discussion.

    I think the Kawakami “debacle” really only had relevance within the context of [those Braves] under [Frank Wren]. Regardless of whether they’re in or out on Ohtani, these Braves need to be considered on their own merit and not for something in a previous decade, yeah?

    As for Kawakami, I’m not up on what his feelings were on how he was handled. It’s too long ago. I can only hope that they over-communicated to him what their intentions were.

  3. JC’d:

    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.

  4. @4 To me, none of those including Dale are HOF worthy except for maybe Jack Morris and even that is very borderline. All these HOFs are becoming the Hall of Very Good and too many marginal guys are being considered solid candidates, IMO.

    Garvey has 272 career HR.

    Morris’ career ERA is 3.90. Nope.

  5. Whitaker and Trammell should be in and John has an argument, so does Murphy but I’m probably just being sentimental as he was my favorite player as a kid. Miller should have been in long ago according to most (though not the one who could’ve voted him in obviously).

    Morris is a hard pass for me.

  6. @116, Guys in the NFL earning degs on the side arent subject to progress towards degree and GPA requirements.

  7. Dale was my favorite player too. He has 398 career HR and his career BA of .265 is not good.

    His peak good years were just too short, IMO. It didn’t help that he played on craptastic teams for the most part but… FWIW, I’m not bagging on him or you. Frankly, I’d like to see him get in but its… thin.

  8. @ 3

    That should be the case but I doubt that it is. I lived over there in the late ’80’s. I played on the company baseball team. People pay attention to what goes on with how their countrymen are doing in MLB. Way more than you think. Honor is a big deal. When Kawakami was sent to MS, I had a number of my old teammates/students emailing me. They all knew I was a Braves fan. The word that kept coming up was “honor”.

    Regardless of what KK deserved, the Braves didn’t make a good impression. People over there don’t care whether there is new management. I wish it wasn’t the case.

  9. @10, If Wren and Coppy and Hart were to commit hari-kiri do you think that would make things even?

  10. @10 – Someone call Braves marketing. I’m sure this could be held at the Battery and would move some tickets.

  11. @9 That’s very true. I am grasping at the possibility that the Braves would attempt to restore their honor in the same way that Squaresoft repaired their relationship with Nintendo.

  12. So we are to the Angels what the Dbacks are to us. They pick up Maitan and Soto (not to mention Simmons) from ATL.

  13. Ender, Dansby, Blair and JJ for Simmons, Maitan, Soto and cash. Who hangs up first?

    PS: Mike Minor is Texas Ranger.

  14. At what point will you boys stop wetting your pants over this and move on to next steps? This becomes exceedingly boring.

  15. I’m still upset about the Brett Butler trade, so if that’s any indication, I’d say about 2050.

    In truth Sam is correct that what’s done is done, but it’s still newsworthy.

  16. @23, I’m well past this, thank you very much, and have moved onto sardonic black humor. Lest you think I’m serious about @22 or @18.

    But to the larger issue, only a relentless busybody would police the comments of others on the day Maitan signs with another team. It’s not like it’s not news. Pantswetter, clean thy own soiled undergarments.

  17. At least Maitan didn’t go to an NL East team or the Yanks or Cards. And BTW the report of Soto to the Angels was retracted.

  18. King Kelly defecting to the Player’s League after we made him a star still pisses me off. Slide Kelly Slide!!!

  19. @29 I’m still pissed off that Heyward turned into a limp bat slap hitter.

    Zero remorse about losing him.

  20. Of those 11 or ever how many prospects we lost, 2 will make the major leagues and 1 will be a positive WAR player. History since 1871 says so.

    It’s over and unlike the NCAA or other things, we’re still eligible for the playoffs etc. I was pissed about it and still am but have moved on.

  21. In The Italian League, trouble also…

    Silvio Busconi
    most of his deals were shown to be underage and phony
    conversions into lira
    inevitably ended up being dearer.

  22. @32

    The “these guys weren’t going to play major league baseball” thing is completely irrelevant. They weren’t meant to. The Braves could have traded all of these players, never missed them on the major league roster, but made the playoffs in 2018 or a year earlier than they otherwise will. The point is that we lost currency. Currency is extremely valuable. Your irrational devaluing of prospects shows your basic ignorance about the economics of baseball and how a mid-market team wins. And the fact that you brandish your weapon of ignorance about prospects so freely, loudly and repeatedly further shows you’re probably never going to get it. The last thing I want to hear on a day where Maitan, Soto, and Gutierrez sign with other clubs is the rambling that they may not be productive major leaguers.

  23. And for the most part, neither did Matt Harrison, Dan Meyers, Andy Marte, Merkin Valdez, Ricardo Rodriguez, Beau Jones, etc. who were used in deals for Tex, Omar Infante, Matt Diaz, Tim Hudson, Edgar Renteria, Russ Ortiz, etc. It is absolutely irrelevant what their career WARs will be. You could have traded for Josh Donaldson and Zach Britton with these guys. And if you couldn’t, then you could have traded guys farther up the system because these guys were coming around the corner. It’s a sucky day for Braves fans when these players sign elsewhere, same at was when they were removed, and the last thing I want to hear is Chief Nocahoma’s ignorant racket about prospects.

  24. @34 and @36 LMAO.

    It’s not an irrational devaluing of prospects. It’s called real life. I don’t disagree with you that as trade chips we won’t miss them, nor do I think what happened was by any means a good thing. But I’m just stating my opinion and the weight of about 150 years of history that it won’t matter much, either way.

    NOW, if FAs don’t want to come play for the Braves because of the taint, that’s a different story. Time will tell on that. I doubt it. Pay them and they will come.

  25. Look, here’s what you’re missing. There’s going to be time when it’s October, and you’re going to turn on your television, and your Braves won’t be playing. And if this all didn’t happen, they would be. It matters. It really matters. And salivating (and maybe more) at the opportunity to come on Braves Journal and say “eh, prospects suck. NBD” every time something happens with prospects really gets old when the Braves, believe it or not, have considered prospects to be a valuable tool in returning to competitiveness. You should just take a vacation until the Braves go back to the point where a significant portion of their attention isn’t on drafting, developing, and trading prospects.

  26. @37

    I remember your teepee
    at Fulton County, sad to see
    surrounded then by empty seats
    now here a fevered following, your less than bullish tweets.

  27. The International Pool
    it’s not real money you fool
    think of it a bit like Monopoly
    Go to Jail if you’re not playing plopoly.

    John Coppolella
    Apologia tua, fella
    we thought you were great till you got caught
    we liked it both ways, see, we’re soooo distraught.

    Angels and Ministers of Grace defend us
    enjoy our boy, there’s nowt you have to send us
    let him play with our other
    collectively our angst we’ll then have learned to smother.

  28. @ 41-1

    the forced rhyme
    a thing of beauty at the appropriate time
    but first it must be preceded
    by something difficult, that’s when you need it.

  29. Look, here’s what you’re missing. There’s going to be time when it’s October, and you’re going to turn on your television, and your Braves won’t be playing. And if this all didn’t happen, they would be.

    Assertion without evidence.

  30. Someone already said on here: think of them as never having been our players because the best of these international signings shouldn’t have been Braves to begin with. We’re still playing in whatever future October we would’ve been in playing in anyway.

  31. @44

    Mostly the case except for the future international signings the Braves might have made without the signing restrictions placed on them.

    It requires some special rose-tinted glasses to believe that the Braves aren’t being set back by this ordeal.

    On another subject, I wonder how many cars the Angels promised Maitan to get him to sign.

  32. @43 Yeah that’s some of the more faultier logic that he’s deployed. Look, I like Rob but that’s a definite take…

    Whether the Braves make the playoffs in at least the short term has almost nothing to do with the Forsaken 11. I’d also proffer that because the track record of international signings seems at least to me on the whole to be worse than MLB FAs, traded MLB established players, and common draft players, that pouring those monies into THOSE buckets for a couple years could actually be a GOOD thing.

    Now. That would assume that the organization won’t pocket that money and would actually spend it in those other buckets, etc.

  33. We lost $20M. Pretty much the entire 2016 and 2019-2020 IFA classes. The opportunity cost on 2016 players appreciating.

    We also are currently one of two teams that have been punished for something that the entire league is doing. Even to scale, don’t you think those teams will be a smidge better keeping their players while we lost ours? So the argument “we otherwise wouldn’t have had these players” isn’t true. Other cheating teams keep their players, so that’s not true, and even if it were, we lost TONS other than just the 11 not being employed by the Braves anymore. If you fail to understand that, then you have to cool your jets when you complain about the next BJ Upton or Dan Uggla failed contract. Money is money, no matter where and how you lose it.

    You’re seriously looney if you think this won’t result in either a) missing one or more playoff appearances or at the VERY least b) going into October with an inferior roster. And if you’re going to hitch your wagon to Captain I Don’t Know Anything About Prospects Other Than To Say They All Pretty Much Suck, then that’s on you.

    As an example:

    Whether the Braves make the playoffs in at least the short term has almost nothing to do with the Forsaken 11.

    This is just flat out wrong, like he is almost 99% of the time when it comes to anything regarding young baseball players. If you had those assets I just mentioned, you could absolutely push for a 2018 playoff appearance, but inevitably, you will hold on to some collection of prospects because you’ve not currently lost the other 11. That doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It affects the moves you could otherwise make.

  34. @31

    Yes Sir. A thought that can still haunt as the night ends, the dawn peeps through and the rambles of a sleep dulled mind turn to baseball. He is often there.

  35. Losing 11 prospects of varying degrees of “prospectness” is bad. Losing the ability to compete for new prospects in the coming years is bad. Crying about it doesn’t help in either case. Alex Anthopoulos is the new GM. I see little reason to concern myself with things the guys that have been fired did wrong.

  36. Rob, Most if not all of those players wouldn’t be on an October roster if not ever, certainly in the short term.

    I don’t disagree with you at all about the money part of it. That’s IMO the worst part and especially given OUR ownership. If we were the Yankees or Red Sox or Angels etc., I’d honestly not even really worry about that part.

  37. @50 Are you not seeing the potential trade value of those 11 players? We have less to work with in regard to acquiring proven talent that would help us compete in 2018.

  38. The international prospects signed in 2016 that are no longer with the franchise would’ve likely had little trade value this offseason (especially compared to their cost in int’l money) as many haven’t had stateside experience that screamed “Sell high”.

    With that being said, there’s a lot of ways losing them has hurt the franchise but I think it’s less about now and more in terms of 3-4 years down the road when those guys would’ve been ready for the bigs or had built value to be real trade chips. More to the point, losing those guys likely shrunk the Braves window unless AA goes straight Tampa Bay Rays leaving no franchise player untouchable during down years.

  39. We also are currently one of two teams that have been punished for something that the entire league is doing.

    Ehhh, we still don’t know if this is true, or maybe more accurately put, how true this is. We may never know the full extent of what Coppy et al did.

  40. We know full well that everyone bundles and tweaks the edges of the rules in South America. It’s an open secret.

  41. @54

    Right. Keats wrote about it. Cortez was first to plunder, we second.

    ‘then felt i like some watcher of the skies
    when a new planet swims into his ken
    or like stout Coppy when, with eagle eyes
    he stared at the Pacific and all his men
    looked at each other with a wild surmise
    silent, upon a peak, in Darien.’

  42. @47, our playoff “window” (which is kind of a laughable in the first place given our roster) is 100% dependent on the development of our nearly-ready pitching. If it’s to open at all, it will be because Coppy was spot-on with some of these guys. If it does open, then we’ll have more revenue to play with – The Battery will be hoppin if they give us a 90-win team. We’ll be able to spend our way around the Forsaken 11.

    If the pitching doesn’t work, the window never opens, and none of this shit matters one bit. We’re gonna keep sucking, and Maitan wouldn’t change a thing.

  43. We know full well that everyone bundles and tweaks the edges of the rules in South America. It’s an open secret.

    I know, but we don’t know much about Coppy’s attempted cover-up. Or how or why it may have mattered that the Braves were apparently so cavalier about what they were doing.

  44. Merciful news. Champion League TV games start in 30 minutes – the poet will thus be silenced, deo gratia.

    Thanks to all for your forbearance.I had a lovely time.

  45. And that is why being in the HOF has to be about more than the sum of one’s stats over a career. We have these super phenomenal players whose careers are not especially long but are memorable, and then when we discuss the all-time greats they get overshadowed by some combination of very long careers and very stat-favorable eras.

    For consideration, I don’t believe Andruw Jones really deserves to be mentioned in the same sentence as Dale Murphy, but looking at offensive stats and career length one would conclude that Jones was just a bit better, right? Well, no, not if you were watching those teams. Andruw was probably never the best player in baseball and possibly never was the best on his team even. Dale Murphy, OTOH, was. Multiple times.

    I have no problem with Dale Murphy going into the HOF. It would be a crime if the likes of Barry Bonds went in and Murphy did not.

  46. Like, I get why MLB would throw the book at the Braves and not other teams if MLB was like, “We’re cracking down so *wink* don’t let us catch you doing anything wrong *wink*”, and then the Braves were practically flaunting their wrongdoing somehow, so that any inquiring reporter could notice.

  47. @60 I think there were at least a few years where Andruw was the best position player on the team. Maybe not just on offense because he overlapped with Chipper, but considering the total package. Also he is the best defensive CF I have ever seen.

    Murph was undoubtedly the best player on the team for several years regardless of position, but part of that was because our “ace” was Rick Mahler.

  48. @61 I think it’s on record that Coppy lied multiple times when confronted about it. I assume the severity is linked to the lying and magnitude of violations.

  49. @62 I agree with you about Jones in CF, but the conversation quickly becomes one of debate over defensive value. No one doubts Andruw Jones is a unique case defensively, as much as Ozzie Smith was. As far as his bat is concerned, though, he was not considered to be among the best in baseball. Murphy was. I focus on the hitting aspect here because I feel that’s where the comparisons are strongest, but I think they aren’t very comparable for the reasons stated.

    As far as Andruw Jones is concerned, he can go into the HOF on glove alone.

  50. Andruw was not a zero on offense (in fact he was all star level until he wasn’t) and may be considered the best defensive CF. I’m surprised he isn’t getting more votes (3 of 24 so far) while Vizquel (essentially the same dWAR but compiled in many more seasons) is getting 13 of 24 votes so far.

  51. I think it speaks to the general sense around baseball that defense is fungible. I think there is a healthy (IMO founded) skepticism about defensive statistics, and I think that many devalue it. Having said that, the current/modern day defensive metrics and laser evaluated % caught stats are MUCH better than even what existed when Andruw played and damn sure better than FLD % when Paul Blair and Willie Mays roamed CF.

    I saw someone above say that Dale should get in over Bonds and well… nope. Even without steroids you could argue that Bonds was a much better player. Do we really believe that Barry would have only hit 398 HR without nandrolone or hit .265 with 5-6 peak ‘good’ years? Or wouldn’t have had an OBP approaching .500?

  52. @66 Wasn’t saying he was a zero on offense. What I meant is his glove by itself separates Andruw from the rest. As a hitter, he was a good slugger. Only problem for him is that the 2000s were full of good sluggers. His bat doesn’t stand out much.

  53. @67 I have a hard stance against guys like Bonds such that your counterpoint is moot to me. Bonds broke the rules. There is no room in the HOF for cheaters.

    That is the reason why it would be a crime.

  54. If Dale Murphy is a HOFer, Andruw Jones is a HOFer. The fact that Murphy never had a golden goose pitching staff, or that Bob Horner never became Chipper Jones, doesn’t enter into the equation. I’d vote for Andruw, as a league historical defender in CF, over Murphy, who doesn’t have the argument of being the very best at something for the game’s entire history.

  55. Looks like the Braves haven’t given up on productivity from Colon yet. They signed him to a minor league deal. Thank goodness it’s Christian and not Bartolo. Given Christian’s recent history, Bartolo may play more innings next year.

  56. A HOF without Barry Bonds is a joke, your primadonna virtue signalling notwithstanding.

  57. Let’s not forget that Murphy started out as a catcher. For him to develop into the Gold Glove center fielder he became has always impressed me. Andruw also belongs in the HOF.

  58. I would vote for Andruw over Dale. And if you saw my room growing up, that’s saying something. It was a Dale shrine.

    It reminds me of the Tony Boselli and Terrell Davis arguments in the NFL. Seems that there has to be a consistent-greatness-longevity angle to me. Dale’s peak seasons were GREAT but his valleys were not close to most other HOFs lows.

    Personally, I’d vote for Boselli if Terrell Davis and Gayle Sayers got in.

  59. I’m not here to undermine Murphy. I just don’t like how underrated Andruw tends to be.

  60. Andruw went to major markets on the West Coast and East Coast and in the middle after Atlanta. He bombed in Los Angeles, but wasn’t horrible in New York. Unfortunately his knees and weight made him a shell of his former self defensively in New York. I think if he sustained a little bit of his fielding abilities even with similar batting stats, he would be in.

  61. @72, 73 Wanna know who else I would never let into the HOF? Roger Clemens.

    What are your thoughts on that? :)

  62. Al Kaline admits to taking steroids when he returned from WW II. Willy Mays played his entire career strung out on amps.

  63. @81 No, there’s a big difference between amps and peds. One does not simply pass their prime and THEN turn into the greatest hitter or pitcher to ever live for another 5 years when nearly everyone else would be naturally breaking down and heading for retirement.

    Barry Bonds supposed prime? From age 36-39 with an average WAR of 10.8/yr which is far better than his natural prime was.

    Roger Clemens continue to pitch until the age of 44. During his natural peak, he won 3 Cy Young awards, but from the age of 36 to 44 he went on to add FOUR more Cy Young awards.

    These guys didn’t simply have the greatest careers ever, they pounded MLB until it had nothing left to give and then continued to pound it while slapping its ass.

    Maybe you see GOATs, but all I will ever see in those two are friggin’ carnival freaks. They turned baseball into a circus just the same as Big Mac and Sosa and A. Rod.

  64. I would remove any proven cheater from the HOF, but I want to be clear about why I would specifically never allow Bonds or Clemens into the HOF. As everyone is keen to point out on this topic, Bonds and Clemens were already clear HOF’ers before they ever used PEDs. They weren’t satisfied simply being among MLB’s best ever. These two took legendary careers to a whole new level totally unprecedented.

    My opinion is that baseball’s history now looks ridiculous all thanks to a couple of attention whoring cheaters.

    I hope y’all will attend my next lecture where I talk about how dumb the Patriots and the NFL look.

  65. I might be the only baseball fan that doesn’t give a shit about the HOF. Threads like this only reinforce my apathy.

  66. @ 85. I’m with you. When Niekro took four tries to get in to the Hall is when I stopped caring. I mean, Jim Rice and Phil Rizzuto are in there.

    As far as Clemens and Bonds go, one of the criteria for selection is sportsmanship. That’s a subjective concept if there ever was one. It can mean different things at different times. Maybe someday they get in. But right now, none of the current members want them in their club. So cry me a river for those two and their fans.

  67. I will never visit the HOF. Nonetheless virtue signaling about players from 90s is dumb.

  68. @89

    tittle tattle

    Negotiations will break down in ugly fashion at the last minute. He hits the phone, begging. AA says, lucky you, we’re still here.

  69. I am very undecided on the HOF. On one hand I don’t want proven cheaters in the hall. On the other hand, I blame most of the garbage on Bud Selig and the player’s union. Half decent leadership would have stopped the steroid craze quickly and it would have just been a blip. The guys I have sympathy for are the ones who never made it to the majors because they refused to cheat. I think the number of borderline players who took PEDs to got into the majors is mind boggling.

  70. This isn’t hard. MLB created and condoned a system that incentivized and, on a real level, demanded that every player cheated. Even calling it cheating makes a mockery of the concept; think of the number of players who didn’t want to take PEDs but did in order to stay afloat, echoing @91. Just acknowledge the era for what it was, and induct Bonds, Clemens, et al.

  71. We live and learn.

    Someone on TC has just patiently explained an apparently routine clause in a commercial line of credit negotiation such as Liberty/Braves might currently be involved with. Whatever the agreed interest rate is kicks in when you start drawing down. Fine, obvious. What is not is you must pay, at a lower rate, from Day 1, before there have been any withdrawals.

    Is this common practice and how is it justified?

  72. @88 And yet you’re the only buddy I have here still engaging in this conversation. :)

    Believe me, I never meant to go down this avenue, but I can never seem to resist bagging on those guys. It’s less to do with the virtues of sportsmanship and more to do with how much I dislike those clowns.

    Wake me when something positive happens with the Braves.

  73. I say elect those players from the 90s/00s steroid era to the HOF but give them their own special wing, a unique experience emblematic of the era. To gain entry you must first chug three cans of Red Bull and pop a tab of X; no headphones allowed to cancel out the dubstep maxed out to ear-melting, bone-crushing volume; DayGlo wall treatments with strobe lights; tour guides are retired porn stars in full regalia (or lack thereof). The people will love it.

  74. @94 I think if he stuck to pitching he’d end up good to maybe great. The added hitting he is insisting on is what I think will drag him down. It would seem his logical landing spot would be in the NL. You’d hit every 5th day, and be a massive upgrade in that spot than any other pitcher in the league. You’d also be able to pinch hit on non pitching days, and you could spot start in the OF in a pinch.

  75. Al Kaline was 11 years old when WWII ended. Unless he was on Ted Williams’ Secret Youth All-Star Hitler Assassination Squad, he didn’t come back from the war and start hitting the Nazi muscle juice.

    (And no, I’m pretty sure he missed Korea as well. Maybe his broken hand in ’67 from “punching the bat rack” was a cover story for injuries sustained in yet another CIA attempt to knock off Castro. That *might* be plausible.)

  76. @96 just moshes up four or five different era entirely. Day glo. X. Dub step. 80s. 90s. 00s. Gah.

  77. Could be worse. I don’t understand the name change. Makes me think they belong to the Marlins. And… Big Mouths aren’t Striped bass. The logo doesn’t look like a Striper… How about Gwinnet Lunkers? Or Gwinnet Hawgs?

  78. Gwinnet Stripers
    yuk, as though they’re barely out of diapers
    we all thought they would be the Buttons
    a suggestion of Jim Powell and Sutton’s.

  79. Stanton to Yankees is looking real.

    Judge and Stanton in the outfield. Jesus.

    ESPN will be truly unwatchable.

  80. Good for Giancarlo. And great for the NL East. I’d love for the Braves to get one of their outfielders (Ozuna makes a lot of sense), but I don’t see how that could work.

    Ozuna/Ender/Acuna though….

  81. How long until Jeter goes back to NY to manage the Yankees? The Marlins deserve no one’s sympathy, but this new ownership group feels like Gordon Gekko style vulture capitalism.

    Seconded on Ozuna, since it does seem the Marlins are selling anything not nailed down. Bring Ozuna over, then unload as much of Kemp’s salary as you can on some AL team and eat the rest. Get it done, AA.

  82. The Braves are interested in Clint Frazier now that he has no place to play in the Yankee OF.

  83. Stanton has apparently netted the Marlins the Yankees #9 prospect and an 18-year-old rookie baller. Oh, and Starlin Castro, who I’m sure will lead the Marlins to playoff glory.

  84. Per Rosenthal:

    #Braves hiring Alex Tamin as director of major-league operations, sources tell The Athletic. Tamin had been #Dodgers’ director of baseball operations. Handled rules and transactions and also was heavily involved in advance scouting process. Will fill similar role with Braves.

  85. Frazier didn’t have a very good year last year after the initial hype. If some of you on this site who know a lot more about prospects than me think it’s a good move, that’s good enough for me. I just don’t want to give up too much for him.

  86. Beating a HOF dead horse. Alan Trammell never lead the league in ONE statistical category. His BRef most similar player is Edgar Renteria. What a joke.

    Ironically, Dale’s BRef most similar player is Andruw Jones! Dale’s Black and Gray Ink are both higher than HOF average. His HOF Monitor score is over HOF average.

    Keep in mind, I said no on Dale for the HOF. His JAWS and career WAR is shockingly low for someone that won multiple MVPs.

  87. I saw a tweet that read: “Every year we’re reminded how toxic the HOF is. The writers vote, veterans committee, pigheaded older players who don’t understand the steroid era. Something that should exist to bring us all joy doesn’t so often. It makes me sadder than most sports things.”

    Seems right.

    We’re not going to get Frazier without give out something(s) of value. He’s not post-hype enough.

  88. I know it’s fun to talk about getting rid of players we don’t like like Teheran and Kemp, but once substantive trade proposals come in with these two guys, I doubt anyone, including the Braves, will want to trade them. Both of their values are at an all-time low, and trade offers will reflect that. I think we are stuck with both of them in hopes they have a strong 1st half (something Kemp did last year), and we’ll go from there. The more I think of it, the less I see this blockbluster offseason and more of something like the following:

    -Trading Kakes for nothing to clear a spot in RF and payroll space. I still think they can get almost all of his salary covered.
    -Trade for/sign 1-2 setup men relievers. No closers, no middle relievers. But with Brandon Morrow getting 2YR/$21M, that’s your market.
    -Trade for/sign 2-3 WAR 3B.
    -Maybe sign a caddy for SS.
    -Sign veteran 5th starter.

    That’s a significant, if not splashy and flashy, offseason. Most of the moves won’t even make ESPN, but the team will be much, much better.

  89. I guess I’m a little jaded on Frazier. A career .806 ops over 5 minor league seasons and a .769 ops along with a .248 ba in aaa is not the stuff of legends. Being in the Yankees system often makes people think he’s much better than reality. Again, if you guys think he has potential that he hasn’t shown, I’m all in.

  90. Rio Ruiz, age 23, 853 AAA at bats. .260/ .341/ .421, OPS .761

    Clint Frazier, age 22, 395 AAA at bats. .248/ .323/ .446, OPS .769.

    It may be harder to convince me than originally thought, although Frazier has great hair.

  91. I like Teheran too, and I think selling him now would be a mistake. He may be inconsistent but he’s worth his $8M salary next year.

    All of our moves this offseason should be about accelerating the timeline for contending, not pushing it back further.

  92. @126 – There may be more to Frazier than shows in his numbers, but my first reaction at looking at them was that we might as well put Rio out there. We could get lucky, which I’ve been pushing for. But, I wish we’d aim higher.

  93. How much stock do you put in grades, Adam? Usually our retorts are full of snark and sarcasm, but legit question this time.

  94. Consider that that list had him ranked higher than Aaron Judge and you can draw your own conclusions about the merit of said ranking. Frazier may not hit 50 HR in his career and Judge hit (or almost, I’m not looking at it) that many in a year.

  95. Or you could read what the writer actually had to say. Judge’s performance fit the range of possibilities conveyed in his write-up and grades. Judge did strike out 30 percent of the time last year. That bodes ill. And it certainly seemed like pitchers figured him out by midseason, so he may never repeat his performance. And yet, Longenhagen notes his ability to make adjustments.

    I love how, like clockwork, we’re talking about relative rankings for players with the same overall grade. You say you read Fangraphs, Chief, but you’re not all that literate.

  96. @140. Some among us on BJ are so enamored with sabermetrics/scouts grades/prospect rankings that they have lost the ability to be impartial even when shown actual MLB results. Not projections, but actual on the field results.

    Frazier will be a career 4th outfielder playing for 3-4 teams and Judge might make the HOF. But in BJlandia, they’re close to equal.

    Having said ALL OF THAT, for the BRAVES, I’m all for Frazier. But I won’t pretend that I think he’s going to be .305/30/100 either. He’ll just be better than Kemp and Markakis. But we lose sight of how low a bar that is.

  97. Judge > Frazier and it’s not close

    Obviously that’s true right now. No one is arguing otherwise. It may even remain true, since time has a way of continuing on after the write-up gets published and some players improve and make adjustments and some don’t. But “Judge is better than Frazier” wasn’t obvious on March 9, 2017, and I don’t recall anyone on here or anywhere else offering that prediction then either.

    Other Braves blogs may be a 35, but I’d only put a 40 on Braves Journal. Hey, still the #1 ranked Braves blog on the list!!!

  98. I’m going to enjoy it on here when AA signs or trades for a player whose value is tied up mostly in defensive skill.

    For all the complaining many people did about Coppy’s approach to the rebuild, his ideas about defensive value were right up Braves Journal’s alley. When your platonic ideal of an outfielder is Ryan Klesko, Matt Kemp is your just deserts.

  99. @136 @140 Chief, please for the love of all that is holy, stop being intentionally dense. That Fangraphs list ranked Frazier and Judge as essentially equivalent value prospects (55 FV) going into the 2017 season, which certainly seems defensible based upon the information available at the time. Obviously, with hindsight it’s easy to say they undersold Judge, but *nobody* except maybe Judge’s parents projected Judge for an MVP level output before the season began. He was a super high-variance prospect (huge dude, oodles of power, way too many strikeouts), and 2017 represented the far right end of the bell curve as far as his potential outcomes.

    When I look at Frazier, I see a guy with good physical tools (strength, foot speed, arm) who maintained respectable plate discipline stats as he climbed the minors without losing any power output. He wasn’t impressive in his first MLB exposure, but then again neither was Judge. The fact that Frazier is blocked and didn’t do great at the MLB level last year means his asking price might actually be reasonable, which is great news for the Braves. I’d be happy to see them take a run at acquiring Frazier (assuming the Braves’ scouts like him), he fits exactly with the Braves’ current needs (young, power bat, corner OF). I see Frazier’s upside as .250/.350/.500 with good base running and decent-to-good corner OF defense.

    PS – The deck is stacked against Judge ever having another season as good as his 2017 – basically everything went right for him. Also, he turns 26 in the first month of the 2018 baseball season. I’d say there’s very little chance he has a HOF-worthy career, and much more chance his career ends up looking like Ryan Howard’s (except with more defensive value).

  100. @143
    I’m still mourning the loss of Andrelton Simmons. The game is still pitching, 3-run homers, and Defense up the middle.

  101. Ben – the Angels now have Trout, Andrelton, and Ohtani… and if that wasn’t enough, they’ve got Maitan in the minors. I may have to watch some Angels games next season!

  102. I spend a lot of time in Orange County…I’d already adopted the Angels as my AL team. Now they’ve got Ohtani, which will be fun to watch. And selflessly offering a refuge for exploited Dominican teenagers? Why, that’s just something you can feel good about as a person.

  103. @148 Now if only the Angels would see fit to employ some decent pitchers, they might be a competitive team again…

  104. Other teams getting better while Braves sit with finger up their butt .. thought this new GM was a wheeler and a dealer

  105. @146 The Braves have little MLB pitching, not many 3 run homers, and Swanson makes too many errors on easy plays.

    @153 It’s early. Give em time.

    @145 I’m not being intentionally dense. But someone said ITT they trusted those scouting numbers/opinions MORE than slash lines? REALLY? I mean THAT’s being intentionally dense. Actual numbers are INCREDIBLY more predictive than some stat geek (I am one or at least enjoy it as well) can ever be.

    I get, I’m the black hat of the board…but come the heck on. If a guy hit .297/.380/.578 in AA as a 20 year old but a guy (FanGraphs/BRef) said his contact tool is a 35/80 his Eye is a 30/80 and his power tools are a 25/80 which would YOU think is more LIKELY to be true?

  106. @154 I’m certainly no prospect expert but I tend to put more stock in scouts’ evaluations over slash lines as well, because they’re less subject to random variations.

    We all know how random even big league baseball can be, so when you have 19 and 20 year olds in new environments their in-game performance/ slash line is going to fluctuate as they develop and work on new skills. Scouts evaluations describe underlying talent, not highly random baseball outcomes.

    Of course the numbers you gave there don’t work because you picked an extreme case! And obviously you want to take both into account. But I’m willing to trust the trained eye of scouts who see elite level hand-speed or whatever when all I can see is a muscly young dude with a low OBP.

  107. What would the limitations be on essentially creating a career WAR threshold of, say, 75 for the Hall? Excluding steroid users, of course.

  108. @155 – I would happily take either one at the right price. Ozuna is coming off a career year and is 2 years older than Yellich. He has also demonstrated a lot more power. Since power is our biggest need, I would say Ozuna, but it’s close.

  109. Kemp and Markakis are immovable objects. We’ll be able to infer quite a bit about our new regime this winter when we see if they are willing to eat all of that money or not. That’s really the only thing I’m looking at this offseason.

  110. Christian Yelich would be a real step towards a World Series berth. They can have Soroka for sure. I don’t want Prado back.

  111. I think getting Prado back would be fine for a 1 to 2 year stopgap. If we think Riley is the future at 3rd, I would say go for it. I don’t think that’s the case.

  112. Inciarte

    That’s quite a lineup, but not perfect considering Yelich is 1) not a clean-up hitter and 2) not a RHH.

    With that said, Yelich makes $ 7M, $9.7M, $12.5M, $14M, and $15M through his age-31 season. I’d give up Newcomb, Soroka, Pache and Anderson for Yelich and Prado.

  113. Jeff Passan…..

    News: Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani has a damaged ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow, according to a physical obtained by Yahoo Sports. Details:

  114. Prado is 36 and coming off knee surgery. Not sure what value he adds at this point. Yelich is a difference maker and let’s start that conversation with Newcomb +

  115. As someone said earlier, the number of untouchable Braves prospects should be 1, Ronald Acuna. Any other trade discussion is fine with me.

  116. @169 While I wouldn’t mind the Braves re-acquiring Prado, he’s worth very little in trade considering his current contract pays him $28.5M through 2019 (and the fact that the Marlins are trying desperately to shed salary).

    Beyond that, I don’t feel like the Braves would have to throw in some many good/great trade chips to acquire Yelich (or should offer so many, I suppose). Now might be a good time to shop Newcomb, though. If some team is high on Newk’s potential and wants to take a flier on him, go for it. I’d be happy to send him to get back Yelich or Ozuna. IMO, It’d be a mistake to trade Soroka unless it’s as part of a package to get back a real impact talent – Soroka has more than succeeded at every minor league level thus far and looks like a controllable, mid-rotation arm (with potential for a bit more) who should be ready for MLB exposure in 2018.

  117. I actually think something along the lines of Prado and Yelich for Markakis, Soroka, Pache and Touissant makes some sense. Helps offset Prado’s cost by moving Markakis (and Mia has to put somebody in the OF, right)?

  118. We’re doomed.

    (Sorry for not embedding.)

  119. @175, That’s a better package for Yelich and Prado than the Marlins got for Stanton. If we’re acquiring Prado I see no need to lard the deal with quality players so they take Markakis. In fact it should be the other way around.

  120. I’d argue Yelich is more valuable, based on contracts, than Stanton is. Yelich is team-friendly for the next 5 years. There’s a ton of surplus value there that Soroka, Pache, and Touissant minus Kakes’ negative value will probably never produce.

  121. You aren’t trading players you are trading contracts and Yelich the contract is immensely more valuable than Stanton the contract (or what Rob said).

  122. Reports are the Marlins expect to ask for and receive more value for Yelich than Ozuna or Stanton. Ozuna trade package hasn’t been announced yet. Yelich would cost us 3-4 of our top 10 prospects and maybe a couple more.

  123. Let’s say you trade for Yelich and even Prado, and you add $22M in payroll to 2018, and even more if you assume the corresponding move to make room for Kemp is to shed some of his payroll. And you’ve shed Kakes’ salary. That leaves you with almost nowhere to spend money to improve the roster, and you have $20M + whatever you clear of Kemp’s salary ($10M?) to put towards the team. So if you trade a current starter like Newcomb or Folty, you then open a spot to spend that money in the rotation to hedge your risk there. With relievers like Neshek, Shaw, and Morrow getting $8-9M per right now, you’re out of the setup man and up reliever club, so you’re probably adding a couple middle relievers in the $2-3M per range. But you’re still going to have $10-15M to put towards a starting pitcher, room for a bench member, and you’ve vacated a spot in the rotation but still have room for someone like Max Fried to crack the rotation out of ST. And I know we’ve been here before, but you could then trade that SP when/if Allard or Soroka force their hand.

  124. @183, yeah that is what winning franchises do. They are aggressive to make their teams better. We sign middle relievers coming of Tommy John surgery. These are just facts.

  125. @186,
    Out of all the Braves critiques you’ve bestowed upon the board, that has got to be the weirdest. “Great job not acquiring the guy that or may not have been available.”

  126. The problem with trading for a LF, though, is you’ve sealed your fate on yet another bad contract. There’s about a 200 OPS point gap between 2H ’16/1H ’17 and 2H ’17 that you’re going to get crucified for on the trade market. What if he rebounds in 1H ’18 and you can trade him for an additional $5-6M in salary savings? That would buy a big piece at the deadline that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to trade for.

  127. @188

    If the offers for Ozuna are any indication, I wouldn’t trade Yelich either. I imagine there’s a shelf life to firesale-ing a lot like when a NBA player demands a trade. The longer it goes on, the less you probably get for these players. I wonder if Realmuto and Yelich are the ones they hold onto. They could be like what Teheran has been the last couple seasons where you dangle them at the trade deadline and offseasons to see if you get someone to go nuts.

  128. @187. In order to be taken off the block, that means by definition you were ON the block. The Braves have been mentioned with Yelich for 2-3 years, seemingly. That’s all I am saying.

  129. Ozuna to Cards for Sandy Alcantara, Magneuris Sierra, Zac Gallen and Daniel Castano according to reports.

  130. Interesting that the Marlins are even willing to deal with the Braves. Traditionally aren’t very few trades made inside the same division unless they involve more than 2 teams?

  131. @194 – I think that is generally true, but in this case that would involve the Marlins having to give a damn.

  132. 194 – that may be true but I really don’t see why it would be. If the Braves are offering the best return it would be foolish not to accept it

  133. LOL, yes… He’s a strange combination of a player that plays hard and aggressively but is a turd(rubs people the wrong way, etc.), I suspect… I played with guys like this and if you just have 1 of them, it makes your team better. You get too many of them, though it will fail.

  134. Bowman thinks we are interested in Wade Miley. Maybe it’s just me, but for some reason, a 31 year old starter with a 10 and 20 record and an ERA close to 6 over the last 2 years doesn’t seem like the guy who will make us a playoff contender. I’m sure it’s just me.

  135. According to Sickel’s ratings, the Cardinals gave up a B OF, B/B- RHP, a C+ RHP, and a low minors live arm. A similar deal would be, for us, Christian Pache, Kyle Muller, Wes Parsons, and someone in Rookie level that projects well but wouldn’t really show up on the lists. So for Yelich, do you take out Muller and add in Soroka or Ian Anderson? In some ways, Ozuna fits a little better for our team, but with Yelich’s better contract, I think you go from Muller to Soroka in a heartbeat.

  136. Braves took a young Yankees reliever in the Rule 5 who had really good success at AA/AAA last year. He’s as good as anybody to hang out in the back of the bullpen this year. If someone like Luke Jackson was on the bubble this year, I’d say they’d be out with acquiring this guy.

  137. I’m starting to think the Braves don’t care about putting a competitive team on the field for the next three years

  138. @210 – I feel your pain. Have to confess I’m starting to lose patience as well. It seems like every year we hear the “this isn’t the year to spend $ – we’ll be more active next year” refrain. No one wants to see us blow the farm on stopgap vets but if we’re no longer actively tanking, shouldn’t we be players in the market for top guys who can make the team better? And if we’re not, are we ever going to be?

  139. While I appreciate and sympathize with the impatience, I am willing to give AA the benefit of the doubt at least until we see what the opening day roster looks like. It’s frustrating to see the Marlins get a player like Ozuna for, frankly something we could’ve topped and it not even hurt, but he just got here and if he wants to make his own evaluation of the system before gutting it, I’m okay with that.

  140. Again I say .. BRAVES sit with finger up butt while other teams get better … they are so afraid of a screwup … all these other teams deal and have dealt with bad contracts .. it happens … if ya think a player fits .. offer him more than the previous team and get him … so you over pay .. oh well .. at least your trying to get better than 70-92 record …

  141. The problem — if there can be said to be one, other than that some feel impatient — is that we’re in a stage where we don’t know everything we need. It makes some sense to see what becomes of Swanson, Wright and Allard, Acuna, Albies, and I guess Riley before trading other pieces.

    Figuring that out isn’t going to take that much time at this point.

  142. @202 … lol .. thats us …. get a guy who’s 10-20 record .. high ERA .. let him eat innings .. save the young guns for 2025 … pitiful .. thats why Boston, NY , St Louis and these other teams always compete .. they aint afraid of making a mistake .. BRAVES are terrified of it … they have made some doosies .. little Upton was terrible and they had to envision Kemp slowing down ….. but these other teams eat their losses and move on ….

  143. Yesterday someone said I was being too hasty when Ozuna signed somewhere else. Now other Journaliens are getting apprehensive.

    The fact is Liberty Media is NEVER going to spend a dime more than below league average payroll. They aren’t going to sign any marquee free agents, and the FO are being directed to pray the farm produces. If its not been obvious to you, it should be. None of that Battery money will ever be put into the hands of a 6.0 WAR player. Not by Liberty Media. Atlanta is a HUGE market with a NEW damn stadium. This is ridiculous penny pinching.

  144. @215
    But we do know what we need. Starting pitching, stop gap third base, bull pen pitchers.

    I think you are right.

    I think it is time for us to have a Tennessee fan level revolt and force Liberty to sell.

  145. I see the usual suspects are still soiling themselves. Some things are timeless, I suppose.

  146. @215
    But we do know what we need. Starting pitching, stop gap third base, bullpen pitchers.

    1) We may get a stopgap 3B anyway. That doesn’t help us contend, which I thought was what people were complaining about.

    2) We may have the SP and RP we need in our farm system. Or maybe we don’t. Pretty much everything hinges on Kyle Wright and Kolby Allard — Gohara is obviously a sure thing :) It makes sense to wait and see what happens with them because we only have so many resources to trade, and you’d want to allocate them as efficiently as possible. Why spend prospects now when you may need them for a piece that’s more scarce/costly in trade?

    3) You’d have a better argument if you said we know we need 3B and LF because unless you really believe in Austin Riley, we actually don’t have an in-house answer there.

    Also, when you’re 70-92 you pretty much need everything, even the stuff you might not think you need, you need.

    This is an argument to make sure you know what little you’ve got before you trade away any of it. Maybe some path will appear where AA can do a series of moves, kind of like what the Angels are doing now, to put it all together. If the opportunity is there, this is the GM out of virtually all GMs who would recognize it and pull the trigger.

  147. @221 I thought one of the purposes OF stockpiling SP was to use SOME of them as trade chips?

    I REALLY hope that AA’s long term strategy isn’t to pull all the eggs in the farm basket because unless we really DO have a generational farm like some of the late 80s Braves farms actually *were*, then he and us are going to be sorely disappointed.

    I also agree though that given AA’s TRACK RECORD, he must be chomping to make moves.

  148. I think I’m kind of right in the middle. I believe those that say that Austin Riley is no sure thing. He isn’t a 5-tool athlete who’s been moved off of SS because his bat plays at 3B. He isn’t Manny Machado or Alex Bregman or whomever. There are questions with his contact tool, and he’s average defensively at best. While I stop short of saying we need to sign Moustakas for 4 years, I think we ought to be looking for a 2-3 WAR 3B on a 2 year deal or 2 years left on their deal.

    With that said, I think Matt Kemp has absolutely hand-cuffed us, so making the big deal for a LF may not make sense. Riley provides enough incentive to not make a big deal for a 3B. But you could absolutely make a trade for a frontline SP, and trading prospects to do that doesn’t tie you into anything that you wouldn’t want to do a year from now anyway. But we could be throwing $10M at the bullpen and not blink an eye, and I would hope that’s coming or else that would be very frustrating.

  149. But you could absolutely make a trade for a frontline SP, and trading prospects to do that doesn’t tie you into anything that you wouldn’t want to do a year from now anyway.

    What if you use your best trade chips to get a frontline SP — assuming one is available…Greinke and his age/contract? — and then it turns out you need a 3B and a LF who both generate 3+ WAR in order to get over the hump?

    Maybe it all works out, and the Braves can just go and spend their money to get both a 3B and a LF.

    But if you think Kyle Wright can be that guy and he goes out and proves it, use your assets to trade for a 3B and a LF and take the money you would’ve spent on FAs and extend Albies, etc.

    The bottom line is: no matter how much some want it to be different, the Braves have been trying to chart a course to contending year-in and year-out, not to get back to contention as fast as possible. Those are two very different things.

  150. This is pretty much what I said at the very beginning of the tank job. You can stockpile all you want, but you are going to have to establish some criteria for who to keep and who to package in a trade. The trade value of unproven minor leaguers is low, so you have to give up a lot of them to get something good back. If you wait until you see which of the pitchers is good and which isn’t, then you basically can’t make any trades at all.

    The only way this works is if a large percentage of the pitching turns out to be good. If that happens, then odds are that we keep some good ones. The odds are quite low for that. But I think that’s all we got.

  151. If you wait until you see which of the pitchers is good and which isn’t, then you basically can’t make any trades at all.

    I’m not sure this is true. Since, say, Allard is our prospect, we get the benefit of information asymmetry. We look at his side sessions, we see how easily he makes adjustments, we see him tinkering with his pitches, we get a sense of how coachable he is, etc. We’d be the first, hopefully, to pick up on whatever subtle signs that maybe he won’t be that good. And other teams look at their scouting reports on Allard and go back to what they thought of him when they scouted him more extensively, say, before he was drafted, and of course they’re inclined to think they can make the most of his talents. This all was at least part of Schuerholz’s success in trades.

    So, AA goes and calls the Tigers and asks about Michael Fulmer. Al Avila says he’s available and they want young pitching back. AA says, “Perfect, I can build you a package around Kyle Muller.” Avila says, “Eh, what about Kolby Allard?” AA says, “…you know what, you twisted my arm, OK, let’s do Allard.”

  152. @226, you make a fair point, but Michael Fulmer would require multiple good prospects. We used quality to get quantity, and now we’re going to have to think about using quantity to get quality. That’s why I feel like the trade stuff is a zero-sum game in the long run.

    I don’t know which of our pitchers is going to be great. AA doesn’t know. Nobody could possibly know that yet. What do you think we could get for Kyle Wright at this very moment? What about after 18 months and he has a few big league starts under his belt? There’s a high variance in potential outcomes. We have to make this judgement call on every single one of our guys…not an easy task at all.

    I’m pretty convinced that our best bet (given our self-inflicted circumstances) is to keep all our guys in the system and pray that most of them are really good, so that it’ll be difficult to make a bad choice in the who-to-keep / who-to-trade phase.

    If we spend tons more money then my outlook improves, but there’s no indication that that’s ever gonna happen.

  153. Glavine nearly got traded for Jim Rice. Trading for or away prime pitching prospects is a big gamble.

    I see 2018 as the 1989 season. At this point, it’s too early to be trading away pitching prospects, I think.

  154. I can’t understand why anyone is antsy. The Braves MLB site says that the FO used the winter meeting to develop camaraderie. Isn’t it a universally accepted truth that winter meetings must be considered a rip roaring success when camaraderie is developed? Sorry for the sarcasm, but that is one amazing puff piece. In other words, they had nothing to report.

  155. There are ways to improve the MLB team in the short-term that don’t involve trading away our prospects or mortgaging the future. However, those methods involve spending money. We were told that once the new stadium opened, we would have a top-10ish payroll. That hasn’t happened, at least as of yet.

    We have holes at SS, 3B, LF, RF, the bench, and all up and down the pitching staff. Even if you believe Dansby will bounce back (which I actually do), that Acuna solves one corner OF spot, and that some of our young pitchers will figure it out, there are still multiple holes to be filled.

    I’m cool with letting young guys develop and being patient with them, but if we’re sitting here a year from now, having gone 74-88, still with holes at 3B and LF, with *maybe* 2-3 semi-reliable SPs, and likely some regression at C, and we’re still hearing “It’s not time yet – we’ll be aggressive next year – we can’t spend money because something something Kemp”, one starts to wonder if next year will ever arrive.

  156. I can’t understand why anyone is antsy. The Braves MLB site says that the FO used the winter meeting to develop camaraderie. Isn’t it a universally accepted truth that winter meetings must be considered a rip roaring success when camaraderie is developed? Sorry for the sarcasm, but that is one amazing puff piece. In other words, they had nothing to report.

    1. Yes, it’s a puff piece. EVERY article at is a puff piece. It’s a house PR organ for god’s sake.

    2. Under normal circumstances, one would not use the valuable face-to-face time of the Winter Meetings to simply “build camaraderie.” HOWEVER; if one’s franchise had recently gone off the rails, had to hire a brand new GM/President of Baseball Ops like, *days* prior to the meetings, and was dealing with the recently made public fact that their previous GM was apparently universally loathed and hated by his peers across the league, then at that point you probably WOULD want to spend some time relationship building and mending fences/bridges with folks the last guy alienated so badly. Because otherwise, no one will work with you when you really want to talk turkey and make trades.

  157. What if you use your best trade chips to get a frontline SP — assuming one is available…Greinke and his age/contract?

    I think you’re assuming two things there that may not be the case. First is that we’d have to use our best trade chips. I think you could trade, at best, one of your best trade chips that are pretty far up the system like Newcomb, Soroka, or Allard, and you could use those names this offseason or Anderson, Wentz, or Wright next offseason, and then trade lesser propsects (like Ruiz, Pache, Jackson, Wilson, Riley, Touki, etc.) and get a frontline starter. So I don’t think you’re having to package multiple blue chips to get said starter. So there’s that, agree or disagree. I also think you could trade for someone like Chris Archer who has a Julio-esque team-friendly contract for the next 3 seasons. After all, if you’re taking the huge contract, why not just sign Arrieta and save the players?

    And plus, if TB will eat some of Longoria’s deal, bring him on over. Right-handed bat, slides in nicely to the middle of the order, and wouldn’t you think he’d perform better on a contender than playing in the Cowbell Echo-y South St. Pete Ghetto Dome playing for 10K fans and not much else past June?

  158. I’m rosterbating. Sue me.




    Vizzy/Minter/Moylan/Morris/Ramirez/LH RP/Winkler

    Tell me that team doesn’t win in the 90’s and challenges for the division. Tell me!

  159. The Longoria thing is interesting. He was a 2.5 fWAR/3.6 bWAR 3B who won a Gold Glove last year. And his bat plays better at STP than at the Trop. But the big problem is that he’s 31, and he’s owed $13.5M/$14.5M/$15M/$18.5M/$19.5M through his age-36 season and then a $5M buyout at age 37. So his contract will probably start getting rough when he’s a 35 year old making $18.5M. So if they wanted to get out of that contract, they could frontload the negative value by taking Kemp. They have a Mallex/Kiermaier/Souza OF, so they probably don’t need him there, but they could get creative (as TB likes to do), and put him at 1B and DH him. And before that sounds crazy, you’d have to concede that if we were an AL team and we didn’t have Freddie Freeman, we’d be telling the Braves to do exactly that. And considering it’s as simple with Kemp as “if his hamstrings are healthy, he can put him a .850+ OPS”, then you’d have to think he fits in really well at 1B/DH. A lot going on there, and I doubt TB ownership would do it, but it makes a lot of sense with the vantage point fans have.

  160. As much as I want us to spend more money, there’s not a lot of good things to spend it on this year. Next offseason is better. I’d like to at least see a few fliers on one-year contracts for 2018 though, if that’s possible.

  161. Given likely inflation between now and then I dunno that Longoria’s contract is *that* bad at 35/36. Maybe an overpay but not catastrophic. Certainly not something that ought to be franchise-crippling.

  162. As much as I want us to spend more money, there’s not a lot of good things to spend it on this year.

    Then take on someone like Longoria where the team doesn’t want him anymore (assuming the rumors are true that the Rays will sell off assets this offseason). We got Brandon Phillips for almost nothing just last year through trade.

    Given likely inflation between now and then I dunno that Longoria’s contract is *that* bad at 35/36.

    I’m inclined to agree, and had the same logic about Giancarlo’s deal.

  163. By the way, wouldn’t Sean Rodriguez be an ideal target for the versatile infielder DOB is speculating we’re after? :)

  164. @243

    Has there been any research on how many times a player plummeted to sub-replacement level status but was still owed $13M+ for several years? Between Struggla and Mudge, we seem to have been uniquely bitten by that bug.

  165. @244, Sean Rodriguez, god bless him, produced one of the worst half-seasons of baseball I can recall ever seeing. With lingering injuries a tremendous concern, no, “ideal” is not the word I’d use to describe him for 2018.

  166. I think you’re assuming two things there that may not be the case. First is that we’d have to use our best trade chips. I think you could trade, at best, one of your best trade chips that are pretty far up the system like Newcomb, Soroka, or Allard, and you could use those names this offseason or Anderson, Wentz, or Wright next offseason, and then trade lesser propsects

    What did Chris Sale go for last offseason?

    That’s the going rate for an ace with three years of control. Even was traded in December.

    If all the Rays could get for Archer was one top-tier prospect, he’d be gone already. They’re holding out for a reason. They’ll wait until Darvish signs. They know they can afford to wait.

  167. @248

    At the time, Moncada was an A prospect, and Kopech was B+/A-. Basabe was B-, and Diaz was C+. These are Sickels grades, which I’ve pretty much decided to use exclusively to try to have consistent access to all team’s grades, frequent updating, and an actual rating system. Plus, Sale was 2 years younger than Archer is now, and as he entered his peak, he had a 7.7 fWAR season in 2017. At the same age, Archer turned in his best season so far, which was a 5.2 fWAR season. With that said, Archer does have the more favorable contract in terms of years of control and AAV. But at the end of the day, Sale was a much more valuable player, so he commanded a higher premium. How much higher, obviously we have no idea.

    But if you adjust downward for Archer, I don’t think you’re giving up an A and B+/A-, and the Braves could send back a busload of B- and C+ prospects like the remainder of the Sale deal. The biggest question is whether or not Archer commands an A-level prospect. According to Sickels, only Acuna is A and Gohara is A-/A. But from there, it’s a field day. Wright is B+/A-, and that’s with very limited professional experience. Soroka is B+/A-. Allard and Anderson are B+. Fried, Riley, Wentz, and Wilson are B+/B. And, you could always include Newcomb and Folty in a package, and Newcomb is absolutely more valuable than these guys. You could put a slightly lighter package than what the Sox got for Sale, and it would be well worth it on our end.

  168. Does this deal get done: Soroka B+/A-, Riley B+/B, Touki B, Austin Jackson B-? It’s not top heavy, there’s no Moncada there, but it’s an adjusted equivalent package for Sale. If that doesn’t, does it harm the Braves to trade out Riley B+/B for Anderson B+? Is Anderson really an elite arm?

  169. We have Austin Jackson?? Kidding. Yeah, IMO that could get it done, and I would do that deal if I were either the Braves or the Rays.

  170. I’ll never understand where a guy like Sean Rodriguez, coming off a 1.8 fWAR season and plays multiple positions, would rush back from a Jan. 28th car crash where he had shoulder surgery so that he could make… 153 PAs.

    As someone who just had labral repair surgery 8 days ago and won’t even touch a bench press for 4 long months, I just don’t get how that all played out. Like, was he really needed those last 2 months?

  171. Carlos Santana to the Phils. 3/$60?!?!?

    Braves can’t afford any FA’s with that kind of money being thrown around.

  172. And there goes Cozart on a 3 year deal to the Angels, terms not disclosed yet.

    Edit: 3 years: $38 million

  173. @254

    What are you talking about? We’re paying a similar player the same money to play LF. Who averaged the same OPS in Atlanta as Santana’s career OPS. And we have a first baseman, so why would we sign Santana?

  174. Rob, I know you went to Florida but you can read. csg said, “Braves can’t afford any FAs with that kind of money thrown around.”

    So when I said, ‘oh they can, they just won’t. There is a difference.

    I meant, NOW. Or going forward in the near term.

    Also your description of Tropicana that you got called out for above is indicative of why people like me cast glance askance at Southern 45 voters.

  175. Have you been to the Trop? Plus, I’m referring to the Trop itself, not the surrounding area. Do you know something I don’t? I don’t see things like that, Noc, but clearly you do. :)

    Plus, you do know that Tampa Bay is around 50-60% ethnic minority and northern transplant, right? Rednecks don’t like saltwater, you know that. You have to go more inland for that.

  176. All I know is that if I get yelled at for calling Cobb County “White Flight Field” you need to be yelled at for calling the Trop part of a “ghetto.” Fair’s fair, man. NO POLITICS! MY SNOWFLAKE IS HURTING!

  177. Haha, I’m sorry. Interestingly, the immediate area outside the Trop has actually become not half bad. You have to go way farther south to get into the “ghetto” area. I mean, it’s not nice by any stretch of the imagination though.

    I actually didn’t hate the Trop until I went to STP. I had only been to Fulton County, Turner Field, the Trop, Marlins’ old deal, and Comerica Park. Then I went to Marlins Park and then STP. And then I saw what Tampa-St. Pete could realistically have and I changed my tune immediately. If the Trop is second worst, I can’t imagine what Oakland Coliseum is like.

  178. My drive-bys of the Trop make me think a more accurate slur would be “4 O’Clock Buffet Dome”, although it might be too far from the waterfront for the tennis-ball-capped walkers to actually make.

  179. “4 O’Clock Buffet Dome”

    So, that demographic who should have their licenses and voter ID cards taken away. K.

  180. The Phils’ signing of Carlos Santana is interesting – they presumably identified Santana as a good value at 3/$60 (plus a $17.5M team option at the end) but in order to fit him into the lineup they’ll have to displace the best incumbent hitter on the team from his natural position of 1B. The cascading effects of the deal push the former 1B Rhys Hoskins to LF, where he likely will be a subpar defender, and create a logjam in the OF (Phils have two relatively promising youngsters – Altherr and Williams – who were set to play every day at the corner OF spots). I’ve seen speculation that the logical next move would be for the Phils may turn around and trade from their OF surplus, likely to get more pitching. TBD.

    It strikes me that the Braves could have (theoretically) done the same thing – sign Santana to play 1B, make Freddie more or less the everyday 3B. I have to wonder if, contract dollars aside, the move would have been viable for the Braves. It certainly would have been a massive lineup upgrade.

    As dispirited as I am by the Braves’ last few years (mostly due to the move to Cobb and the insulting/irritating PR from the team and their ham-handed attempts to stay marginally competitive through the rebuild), I suspect that 2018 will bring some very exciting performances from young Braves players, and things will start to feel a bit brighter and more optimistic for me and everyone else in Braves country. Winning really does cure all ills, and it seems very likely that the path to contention will show itself next year in the form of Acuna/Albies/Gohara/Dansby et al.

  181. Yeah, I think the Braves decided that Freeman isn’t ever going to play third again. They would have done it more down the stretch last year if he was.

    The additions of Albies for a whole season and Acuna by themselves are going to give the Braves a lot more positive value next season.

  182. Luiz Gohara and AJ Minter will also have a huge impact. Julio keeping the ball down, another year for Folty, a full season for Newcomb. So many young players.

  183. The #Braves & Dodgers completed a five-player trade today in which the Braves have acquired pitchers Brandon McCarthy & Scott Kazmir, INF Charlie Culberson, 1B Adrian Gonzalez & cash considerations in exchange for OF Matt Kemp.

  184. So he said he didn’t know his own players well enough, so he traded a former Dodger for his own Dodgers. Smart.

  185. Depending on how much cash LA is sending back (if any), the Braves absorbed up to close to $33M even after Kemp’s salary removed.

    You were saying, Noc?

  186. It looks to me – and I am often wrong about these things so fair warning – like the braves took on 52m in total obligations and sent away 43.5m and the Dodgers will send money to cover the diff. It gets the braves some bodies in 2018 and salary relief in 2019,and the Dodgers get some luxury tax relief in 18.I seriously doubt Kemp ever plays for LA. Just a fancy way of parsing sunk costs for both, and Atl gets a couple of warm bodies to run out to pitch imo.

  187. The arms can compete for pen slots or back of rotation filler. Culberson becomes a super sub. The Braves have shifted Kemp’s 2019 salary commitment forward to 2018. Gonzalez and both pitcher contracts are up at the end of this season. They have cleared 20ish million dollars from next year’s payroll commitments.

  188. Can’t be mad about this trade. Looks like 2018 is another holding pattern and 2019 is the year. That”s ok by me.

  189. Rosenthal, Sherman, and now DOB have said it’s a cash neutral deal, so it looks like that’s right on.

  190. @282 Yep.

    Also – I understand AA’s motivations for the trade (accelerate the Kemp salary hit to 2018 only, clear LF for Acuna, acquire a couple of arms to help fill out the pen/rotation) but why acquire Charlie Culberson? He isn’t good at any phase of baseballing.

  191. Looks like we are out of money for this year … so 2018 we will not get a 3B .. but if Reilly is not ready in 2019 we will have freed up Kemp and the 2 pitchers from LA and also Markakis comes off .. so am i thinking right in saying we may have around 50 use in 2019 ???

  192. @285, yes.

    “Kazmir didn’t appear in a game for the Dodgers in 2017 while dealing with a recurring hip injury, though he ended up making a few rehab appearances with Triple-A Rancho Cucamonga towards the end of the season. Assuming he’s healthy heading into next season, he should compete for a rotation spot, though his recent injury issues could ultimately prompt the Braves to switch him to a long relief role. He posted a 4.56 ERA and 1.36 WHIP across 26 starts for the Dodgers in 2016.”

  193. Cautiously optimistic we’ll actually get something out of Kazmir. The others, meh. The best thing to say about Culberson is he’s not worse than Sean Rodriguez.

    The upshot of this trade is that we don’t have to agonize over Kemp anymore. I wish him and his weight and his health well for another team.

  194. Looks like 2018 is another holding pattern and 2019 is the year.

    Why do you say that? Brandon McCarthy was a 2.4 fWAR SP last year, and he’s making $10M. By comparison, not a single one of our ~$10M rentals last year produced even 2 fWAR (Dickey 1.6 fWAR). If we signed McCarthy to a one year, $10M deal (basically what we did), I think we’d be happy. With that said, yes, we did eat roughly $20M in payroll this year otherwise, but I don’t know if that necessarily means this trade doesn’t help us enough in 2018 to keep this season from being lost.

    Kazmir seems to be the wild card. He’s offsetting money, but if you can get anything out of him, great, but the deal isn’t centered around that. If he’s healthy, could we trade him for what we traded Jhoulys Chacin for? We got Adam McCreery, a LH RP who’s now on the 40-man. At least he can be used at a place of need vs. plugging up left field like Kemp.

    but why acquire Charlie Culberson?

    He doesn’t cost any money, plays really good middle infield, and the Braves must think his SSS postseason success is an indication that he’s a late bloomer. We’d have probably signed someone similar in FA.

    Crazy trade.

  195. This trade isn’t nearly as exciting as you seem to think, Rob. All of these players are pretty much “meh,” and were only acquired for the purposes of evening out the salary on both sides. This is a straight salary dump of Kemp, and that’s really it’s only purpose. Yes, one or two of these players could provide some value, but it’s very unlikely to be nearly enough to make any difference, and I don’t think the players we acquired were selected based on that.

    Yes, we technically added salary in 2018, but it’s not at all what Chief had in mind, I’m sure. I’m sure of that because it’s not at all what I had in mind. The salary was added for the sole purpose of clearing Kemp off the books. This trade would seem to indicate that indeed, we’re not going to try and compete in 2018. It’s another wait and see year, and our only chance would seem to be that the youngsters play completely and utterly out of their minds. That completely sucks, as far as I’m concerned.

  196. @291, I was with you until:

    and the Braves must think his SSS postseason success is an indication that he’s a late bloomer

    Culberson is the Dodgers front office’s Jace Peterson. He’s that guy. That’s all. That doesn’t mean, as you noted, that this trade didn’t make the Braves better. We’re probably a little bit better team in 2018 and poised to do real team things in 2019.

  197. Culberson can play all OF positions and everything but 1b on the infield. He may have a little Omar Infante in him. Else he’s a quality role player who gives you lots of roster flexibility for other player call ups.

  198. Interesting deal. I suppose that helps fill out the bench with Culbertson being able to play all over the place. McCarthy will definitely be in the rotation and it will be interesting to see if the Braves want to make Kazmir a reliever or use him as a starter to give Gohara a little more time in the minors.

  199. Forgive me, I didn’t mean to sound that positive about the Dodger’s trash. It’s trash, completely agreed. What’s nice is that we moved our outfield junk for pitching junk, which is actually helpful, I’m sure you’d agree. But yes, it’s moving money around, though I think McCarthy will be helpful, if healthy.

    Agreed about Culberson being Jace Peterson, except Jace was more valuable when he had options, which Culberson has. Plus, Culberson can actually play SS. So mostly agreed, but those are two important points.

  200. Yes, we technically added salary in 2018, but it’s not at all what Chief had in mind, I’m sure.

    Agreed, but he specifically and concisely said the Braves won’t spend money, which was as freezing of a cold take 24 hours ago as it is now. Did he really think the Braves weren’t going to spend big money? The purpose is irrelevant. Whether it helps us now or later, his point was that the Braves wouldn’t do it. And whaddaya know, wrong again, and the man just won’t ever own his stuff.

  201. Yup. You would think moves like this would stop people from rending their garments over and over again over how we’re never going to spend. Masochism is a powerful thing, I guess.

  202. If no more outfielder-related deals are made, this almost certainly means Acuna starts Opening Day.

  203. Part of my frustration is this. Can the Braves now be major players in free agency during the 2018-19 offseason? Yes, in theory. But I’ll believe that when I see it. If I knew for sure that this was the final year of likely purgatory, then I can handle one more year thrown on top of the garbage heap, I’m sure. Especially with the new front office and the need to recover from losing a large chunk of our farm system because of our previous GM. Anybody who is sure that we’ll start spending money next offseason, though, hasn’t been paying attention IMO.

    Yes, some of these players (particularly McCarthy and Kazmir) might be useful. And no, it’s not a bad thing that we freed up a spot for Acuna in the everyday lineup. It’s just that we’ve heard this type of thing before and are still in this position. That’s all. That and I’m not too big on getting super-excited over salary maneuvering, because it’s just not that exciting.

  204. But I’ll believe that when I see it.

    Did we not spend on Uggla and BJ? What is so hard to understand about timing spending when a window opens?

  205. This team just never was in the position to realistically contend in 2018. It wasn’t either in 2017, no matter how much PR there was to the contrary.

  206. CF Inciarte
    2b Albies
    1b Freeman
    LF Acuna
    RF Markakis
    C Flowers/Suzuki
    3b Camargo
    SS Swanson

    Bench: C Flowers/Suzuki, UT Culbertson, OF Adams, IF Colon


    Bullpen: Vizcaino, Ramirez, Minter, Brothers, Whitley, Sims, that Rule 5 guy from the Yankees, and 1 other guy

  207. Are the Braves spending? I thought I read this the Dodgers were sending $4.5 million in this trade, essentially evening out the contracts?

  208. Even money on the trade and yes the dodgers are sending $4.5. Difference being the braves are clearing all of this salary in 2018 instead of 2018-2019 for kemps contract. Does a few things for the braves

    Clears spot for Acuna
    Clears payroll for next offseason (Markakis and flowers also come off the books)
    Gets a super utility player
    Gets two vets that provide depth to rotation

    Hopefully McCarthy and Kazmir can pitch well enough to provide some trade deadline value.

  209. Rob you’re lost. Quit while you’re only behind by a little.

    When they sign someone for 6/120M call me. This is nothing more than a money dump/accelerator.

    I LIKE the move, but don’t pretend that they started shelling out money for FAs.

  210. Seriously though, I think most of us would’ve been okay with just releasing Kemp if you asked yesterday. That they are able to clear his whole 2019 salary and potentially have usable (though not earth shattering pieces) for 2018 is amazing. I have always liked McCarthy and Kazmir they just can’t stay healthy. I doubt we are done for 2018. Great move.

  211. I was thinking we had 30 mil to spend this year and we just spent it so I guess it’s going to be carmargo Ruiz and possibly Riley at 3rd

  212. @307

    Moving them goalposts. You said that they won’t spend money in an emotional reaction to the signing of… Carlos Santana. “WHY?! WHY?! WHY CAN’T WE HAVE CARLOS SANTANA!! DARN YOU MULTIMEDIA CONGLOMERATE!!!” And then they take on $30M in payroll the next day to free up $20M in 2019. We’ll all forget by that time, and that’s fine, but I doubt you’ll concede you’re wrong when the Braves use the freed payroll they paid today to sign a big money player. You’ll find a new thing not rooted in fact to rail on.

  213. As much as I hate to admit it, I think this deal signifies that we’re hoping to catch lightning in a bottle with our new guys, but we don’t expect to be a whole lot better next year. Maybe Camargo /Ruiz will be a huge surprise, maybe our young pitchers will put up Cy Young worthy numbers. The chances are slim, but I guess there’s a little hope. 2019 is the year.

  214. I will say, defensively, I like the projected roster next year. Neck should be around average in left and outside Flowers arm, I don’t really see any major holes

    My biggest question is: outside Freeman, will anyone else even get to 15 HR? We were only 28th in HR last year and that was the one thing Kemp could semi-do. Combine that with an expected regression from Suzuki, and we appear to be pretty defunct in that area.

    In any case, it would seem we’re most likely to into 2019 with holes at LF, C, and 3rd base. You could make the argument to add SP to that list, but if we don’t see the makings of a top 5 internal rotation going into 2019, then I’d question what the hell we’ve been doing the last 3 years..

  215. @315 I wouldn’t project any single player on the Braves’ roster aside from Freeman for 15 HRs next year, but odds are that at least one guy will make it. Last year Kemp, Suzuki and Adams had 19 HRs each… who might make 15 in 2018? In rough order of probability: (1) Acuna for obvious reasons; (2) Swanson because he’s got moderate power and should play nearly everyday in an era where all kind of random guys are hitting 20+ HRs; (3) Ruiz, if he manages to take over 3B full-time (he hit 16 HRs in AAA in 103 games last season).

    @317 Co-sign that.

  216. This is the way I’m best compartmentalizing the deal:

    -Kemp had some value. Kazmir some, but less, and obviously Gonzalez had none. To offset the difference in value, LA kicks in offsetting cash and the Braves essentially trade Kemp for a backup middle INF. If you were concerned the Braves would just release Kemp, then that’s a positive thing. I’m a little disappointed about that since I felt like we were forced to run Kemp out there in LF in hopes he has a repeat of his productive spurts. Now you’ve sealed your fate, you’ve eaten the entire deal, and you only got a backup middle INF. But if they were content to release him, Culberson is better than that. And of course, pushing all of the money to 2018 was a goal of theirs, so whatever.

    -Sign Brandon McCarthy 1 year, $11.5M. If you woke up and that happened, you’d assume that’s a fair deal. He’s injury prone, but he literally would have had the highest fWAR of any starter last year. He’s a fantastic buy low candidate, and if he can give you 20 starts, then you got what you paid for.

    One question: why weren’t the Braves able to monetize off of LA getting out of luxury tax? Why couldn’t the Braves have forced LA to pay to the Braves some of what they’d have paid to MLB? With that said, LA probably could have handed Brandon McCarthy to anyone for his salary and eaten some of Kazmir’s salary and moved him, but obviously you don’t know other deals.

  217. Also, I joked that the offseason was done with this huge move, but with the money LA sent back, that still should leave them with $5-10M left to spend based on what we were told in the beginning of the offseason. Also, we still have not traded a single prospect. They could absolutely trade a prospect(s) for someone making little or no money, or sign a FA. So they could still improve 3B or the pen, or still do something like the Chris Archer trade if they wanted. AA said he wasn’t ready to trade prospects, and that’s great, and this buys him time to figure that part out. We still have 2 months left before pitchers and catchers report.

  218. I find it really annoying that DOB constantly engages with morons on Twitter and rarely intelligent conversation.

  219. @325 his responses are very very unprofessional. And frankly, he completely doeth protest too much. His ‘fans’ call him out for things that are mostly legitimate. He makes himself LOOK like a paid shill for the Braves by the way he responds. IMO.

  220. @323 – To your question, I think you answered it, and they view this as where McCarthy fits in. In a vacuum, were they simply to make him available, I think they could’ve gotten something in return. (especially given the drop off in the FA pitching market after the top 2-3 guys), The fact that they didn’t here leads me to believe it constituted consideration to the Braves for helping shift their payroll.

    The dodgers also aren’t stupid; given that they Braves expect to be active next offseason, they helped AA out in that (which also strengthed a potential competitor).

    My only quibble would be that it wouldn’t seem to be as hard to pry away a Joc Peterson at this point (even if you had to give something back) and given lack the Braves OF depth, I would’ve liked to see them try.

  221. Lane Adams hit .275 last year with an .807 ops over 109 at bats. Markakis hit .275 with a .738 ops. Does anyone think Adams could approach those numbers on a full time basis?

  222. @332 – That has kind have been my thought. I hope he at least gets a few more chances next year so we find out for sure.

  223. The point is to free up money for next winter. They’re paying Gonzales, McCarthy and Kazmir this year to avoid paying kemp next year. They now have 60 mil coming off the books for the 2018-19 free agent markets. (Gonzalez, McCarthy, Markakis and Kazmir)

  224. There’s an interesting conversation going on in the comments to this Fangraphs article on the Kemp trade. The gist of the conversation is whether the Braves’ return for helping the Dodgers out from under the MLB repeat offender payroll limit penalty was a bit light – basically, whether the Braves should have been able to extract a prospect of some kind instead of Charlie Culberson.

  225. @335, we owe the money no matter what. Shuffling shells around doesn’t change anything. This looks more like AA working for the Dodgers than for the Braves imho.

  226. @340, They MAY but we don’t know that they will. I suspect they will spend more than they have been but still not enough. It just depends on what you’re looking for. Are you looking to just not be terrible, to be .500 or to compete for a WS.

    Liberty Media’s track record isn’t exactly inspiring.

  227. @330 I wouldn’t at all be surprised if the Braves trade Markakis prior to/during the 2018 season, but more as a ‘clean slate for the new GM’ type move than anything. Acuna aside, it’s not like the Braves have anyone already in the system who projects as a MLB-quality starting OF for the 2018 season. Who slots into RF if Kakes goes… Lane Adams? Jace Peterson?

  228. If the Braves move Markakis they either have to get a replacement in that deal or make another deal to get a replacement. Like Blauser said, there is nobody other than Acuna ready to step in.

  229. @336

    That’s what I was asking earlier: why did the Braves bail out LA’s tax problem? But I think in these trades, each team has intrinsic value they place on the situation. You could reverse it: why did LA help Atlanta open a spot for Acuna? Why did LA give them two players (McCarthy and Kazmir) players they could actually use, and not a fat LF who can’t play LF? At the end of the day, the Braves got what they want, and so did LA. Plus, you get 2.4 fWAR in 2017 for Brandon McCarthy’s 2018 salary, so that’s positive value that I wasn’t considering.

    I read through McCarthy and Kazmir’s injury history, and it’s brutal. McCarthy gets a pass because he missed a lot of time after taking a line drive off the noggin, including 9 months later when he started having seizures. The only optimism is that he had elbow problems his entire career, finally had TJ, and now his throwing elbow has been healthy. He did get hurt lifting, most recently, on his non-throwing shoulder. But at the end of the day, these two pitchers really don’t want to end up mid-30’s NRI’s in 2019, so they are, Kazmir’s salary notwithstanding, as good of candidates as any to bounce back and put up decent seasons. And while LA certainly would want more sure things, we aren’t going anywhere, and these guys have value to us in a non-contending year to rebound to be flipped.

    My expectations aren’t astronomical, but if Spring Training started today, you’d have 8 looking for rotation spots: Teheran, Folty, Gohara, Newcomb, Fried, Sims, McCarthy, Kazmir. If one implodes and two pitch poorly, you still have 5 solid for the rotation and 2 losers in the pen. That rotation could produce 0 WAR or 20 WAR, and it wouldn’t surprise me one bit either way. Same with the bullpen. The unit could have negative WAR or 6-7 WAR, and I wouldn’t be shocked. There is a lot of upside with this squad.

  230. My guess is that Kazmir gets first crack in the rotation so that Gohara and Fried get a little more time in the minors. Sims goes to the bullpen. If Kazmir and McCarthy are decent, and the team sucks, they will be traded to contenders to make room for the kids (and hopefully get some mid level ‘spects).

  231. If the Marlins are still taking 50 cents on the dollar, maybe, but I don’t know if I gut the upper echelon of arms when, for as good he is, he doesn’t really help the power dearth on the team

  232. @340

    Cue the “Anyone who doesn’t implicitly trust our cheating, penny-pinching front office is a conspiracy theorist” banalities.

  233. @350

    No one has ever said or thought that the Braves are the Marlins. There’s a wide gap between that and actually doing what is necessary to compete for a World Series championship.

  234. @345 If the Braves’ 2018 rotation produced 20 WAR that would be *extremely* surprising. Five teams’ pitching staffs (ENTIRE staff, not just rotation) reached 20 fWAR in 2016 and six in 2017. During those two years, the Braves managed to compile 18.7 fWAR in total.

    I also checked the highest rotation-only fWARs 1997 – 2017; there are only 14 team seasons of 20+ fWAR. #1 is the 2011 Phils (26.0), followed by the 1997 Braves (25.4) and 1998 Braves (24.4). Oh, for the glory days…

  235. I do wonder how they will, indeed, be able to spend $90M in one offseason, which is why I’ve wondered why it was so important to frontload Kemp’s salary into 2018. I do think the Braves will end up a top-half payroll team (Jays at $143M was 15th last Opening Day), but I just don’t know how they’ll get there. There are 17 starting pitchers either on Atlanta’s roster or in their top 30 prospects, and I expect there to be a push to lock up 5 elite SPs once that time comes, so we won’t continue to have such a cheap rotation. But that 1) won’t happen within the next 2 years and 2) will probably mean arb year buyout deals like McCann, Freeman, Ender, Andrelton, Julio, etc., and I doubt we’ll have a rotation full of $20M+ guys. If they continue to develop, I’d imagine we’ll look for similar deals with Acuna, Albies, and Swanson. But that’s not all going to come by next offseason, so how are they going to avoid long-term commitments? Can’t see that happening.

  236. I do wonder how they will, indeed, be able to spend $90M in one offseason

    Bryce Harper and Clayton Kershaw.

  237. Also, you move the debts owed forward to 2018 because this year’s free agent market sucks while next year’s free agent market is stacked with franchise changing talent.

  238. To be fair, Baseball Reference has higher WARs for pitchers, and I was looking at how many 4 bWAR SPs there were last year as I was setting that number. But even for six total teams in 2017 according to Fangraphs, consider this: Teheran can’t keep the ball down, Newcomb can’t throw strikes, Gohara may not be able to handle a full season, Folty can’t avoid episodes, and Brandon McCarthy can’t stay healthy. Just like it wouldn’t surprise me if all of them had subpar years, it wouldn’t be surprising if they all fixed their issues. Teheran seemed to fall victim to the new stadium, Newcomb is 24, Gohara is 21, Folty is 26, and McCarthy would have been the best SP we had last year. They all have the potential to put in 4+ WAR seasons.

    But you’re right, it would be surprising for it all to happen. So I should take it back that the total performance wouldn’t be surprising.

  239. @351, The team just set itself up to do what’s necessary to compete for a championship, but you wouldn’t know it from all the weeping and gnashing of teeth — pre-emptively! You would think some of you would say, “Hey, this is good, it wasn’t even possible to spend big before now, but now at least it is.” But no. You’re out here rending your garments daily over something you surmise will never happen next offseason!

    The only type of transaction that would make some of you happy is the kind that smart GMs have learned to try hard to avoid until absolutely necessary. The Yankees, for example, didn’t put themselves in a position to contend for a championship by spending big this time. Some of their biggest pre-Stanton expenses were still valuable to the team in 2017, but were more or less role players. This is the Yankees. It was only when they reached a high-enough place on the win curve that they went all in on a mega-contract.

    Put it another way: going into 2014, before Medlen and Beachy went down, did you feel that the Braves hadn’t done enough to win? Or are the goalposts going to move again, and you’ll say, “They were legitimately trying then, but the problem was, they didn’t spend their money wisely enough?”

  240. Put it another way: going into 2014, before Medlen and Beachy went down, did you feel that the Braves hadn’t done enough to win?

    Bingo. I don’t think anyone was saying that. And with the help of a new stadium, they can do even more. To be fair, 3 years of trading away players can jade just about anyone, myself included.

  241. Honestly, the GM for some of you is Ruben Amaro. Some of you think the smart way to rebuild is to keep throwing good money after bad.

  242. Also also, you don’t squeeze every single uncle of blood out of the Dodgers for a B- prospect throw in this year because you may actually want to do more business with them later. THIS IS SOMETHING COPPY DID WRONG!

  243. How does it make any difference if you spend the money all at once in 2018 or spread it between 2018 and 2019? I genuinely don’t understand how this makes us better.

  244. @361 – My only response to that is the Dodgers didn’t seem to have any problem at all in “squeezing every single uncle of blood” in the Olivera deal. That was one of the greatest fleecings against any team in several years.

  245. We’ll see next offseason. The Kemp move is fine, provided they actually sink the eventual savings back into players that actually make the team significantly better, as opposed to just shuffling around bad contracts indefinitely. It’s not that long ago that we were told the CJohnson/ Bourn deal was front-loading salary into 2016 so we could spend in 2017.

    Different GM, same ownership. We’ll see. No way to know right now. The Kemp move unclogs an OF spot and gives us a few potentially solid SP options, so good move IMO.

  246. @352 Rob reminds me of that kid in middle school that uses a thesaurus to swap out every verb and adjective to win the Woodman Speech contest but doesn’t really know how to write.

    Our SP are closer to compiling 0 WAR than they are to 20 WAR, collectively.

    Rio Ruiz isn’t going to hit 15HR next year. Kazmir will probably pitch 40 IP or less and McCarthy will have an ERA around 4.65. Yay!

    The money part of the trade is good in a vacuum. It’s good/great IF the Braves become market competitive in 2019. If not, who cares. Liberty Media shouldn’t inspire one ounce of hope for this for you. None.

  247. @366, theres no savings here. But we got some replacement level players out of the deal, which is nice, I guess.

  248. Can we all just take a moment to appreciate Sam’s accidental genius? “Uncle of blood” is the best nonsense phrase, in terms of actually successfully communicating everything meant, since trying to fit a camel through the eye of the needle–some people claim that all along it was supposed to be “cable” and not “camel,” which makes much more sense–but how stupendous is that image of the camel walking through the eye of a needle, right?

    A google search ( for the phrase returns 3 results, all about a former president of Liberia, and in that context it isn’t complete without the word “diamonds” at the end. (Read an interesting book about that guy’s son, by the way. Grew up in Florida.)

    Anyway, I think squeezing every uncle of blood should be added to the bravesjournal glossary, or Sam should be given the title “uncle of blood,” or something to commemorate the literary event.

  249. “Up next on TBS, it’s another holiday classic! Uncle of Blood: the Sam Hutcheson Story, starring Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson…”

  250. @370 Out of curiosity, do you know what the Eye of the Needle is?

    Back to the topic now, unloading Matt Kemp was going to be near impossible without accepting money in return and lots of it. Unsurprisingly, the Braves have chosen to roll the dice on pitching with that money. I don’t blame them since any offensive piece was going to be Adrian Gonzalez no matter what team we traded with. Of course, now all eyes shift to next offseason. Question for those who are worried that Liberty Media will just pocket the money next year, has this team actually reduced payroll the past 2-3 years? I ask because publicly the message has been to prepare for increased spending.

  251. “I’ll believe the Braves will spend their budget when I see it!”

    [sees Braves spend highest team budget in history]

    “Jk, gonna keep grinding this same ax no matter what.”

  252. @365 – Sure they did. My point is that the Dodgers GM didn’t have any problems with squeezing every uncle of blood and he’s still around and doing pretty well. He even has the audacity to continue to do business with the Braves after fleecing them a few years ago. I think the burden of a good or bad deal is on both parties. If the other GM is desperate, it’s hard not to take advantage of it. If the Dodgers were interested in fairness, they would have thrown in Kershaw and not Culberson. I’m afraid that isn’t happening.

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