All-Unsigned Team

It’s the end of January, and there is still an entire roster full of players unsigned. Perhaps they can go ahead and create an expansion team in Las Vegas and fill the roster with the following players:

SP – Yu Darvish
SP – Jake Arrieta
SP – Lance Lynn
SP – Alex Cobb
SP – Jaime Garcia

RP – Greg Holland
RP – Tony Watson
RP – Tyler Clippard
RP – Matt Belisle
RP – Blaine Boyer
RP – Jason Motte
RP – Shae Simmons

C – Alex Avila
1B – Logan Morrison
2B – Neil Walker
3B – Todd Frazier
SS – Erick Aybar
LF – J.D. Martinez
CF – Carlos Gomez
RF – Jose Bautista

C – Miguel Montero
INF –J.J. Hardy
INF – Gordon Beckham
OF – Rajai Davis
OF-Ichiro Suzuki

I figured this team would have around a top half payroll, so I tried to keep it around $160M. But I spent close to $120M on 7 players, so money got scarce as you filled out the roster. Interestingly, with all of the FAs left available, there really aren’t many pitchers left one you clear Darvish and Arrieta. In fact, Garcia is the best LHP left. It goes to show you that teams are locking up pitching, and the Braves are smart to do so. I also find it interesting that I can fill a team on a top half budget considering I don’t have the privilege of having many cost-controlled players. Perhaps that’s why there are so many teams who simply never seek to have a top farm.

The Braves could certainly use some of these players…

39 thoughts on “All-Unsigned Team”

  1. I still prefer converting Neil Walker back to 3rd base over signing Frazier. It will also be nice to have versatility with Walker.

  2. It blows my mind how deep we are into the offseason with this many players unsigned. I listened to a loooong Scott Boras inteview on MLB Network Radio yesterday, and while I was interrupted a few times while listening to it, he made a couple points that apply to the Braves. He’s just doing his job as an agent, but he was definitely making some points that punched a hole in what teams like the Braves are trying to do:

    -He ran through numbers about how pitchers 25 and younger are making less starts on average than veterans. So trying to bank on our young rotation to survive the season may be wishful thinking.
    -Veteran decline is overstated. He gave what are probably cherry-picked stats that veteran players are basically going from 3 WAR to 2.8 WAR over a several year period. It’s not steep, according to him.
    -What the Astros and Cubs did were fine back when only a couple-few teams were doing it, but he says there are 11 teams essentially tanking right now, so the race to the bottom for draft picks and IFAs is much more crowded than it was even when the Braves decided to rebuild. I count 10-11 teams not trying to compete right now, so I think that’s about right.
    -This is bad for baseball that so few teams are trying to win.

    So, if you’re the Braves, and you’ve already done your rebuild, and you have some money to spend, why not go ahead and use these things to your advantage to get a couple decent veterans in before the start of the year?

  3. AA’s idea of Eduardo Nunez isn’t a bad one. Dave Cameron had him at $2/20.

    What we’re seeing isn’t normal, but normally the market gets held up to a great extent by the best player available. Looking at Yu…

  4. What overall record would you say that exact roster above would compile?

    I agree with Boras, too many teams are not trying to win and as such, it makes not trying to win much less effective. The Braves going all in on young (very) pitching IMO will either succeed spectacularly, or will fail miserably. I would doubt that it will be in between.

  5. What overall record would you say that exact roster above would compile?

    It would be ugly if it were that exact roster if only because there is no depth at all. The Dodgers, Cubs, Astros, etc, have demonstrated how important depth is, which is yet another reason why your farm system matters. Somebody you’re relying on is going to get hurt, and underperformance elsewhere on your roster could outweigh overperformance in a relatively small sample of one season.

  6. Right. That’s 25 guys, nothing more. There’s no AAA filler or prospects to pull from. You’re doing PTBNLs for Danny Santana if Rajai Davis pulls a hammy.

    Eduardo Nunez would give us tremendous versatility. $2/20M is about an easy of a commitment as we could probably make to a 3B who could help.

  7. I hate to say it, but I kind of agree with Boras. This whole situation is kind of ridiculous. Get out there and sign some guys, and let’s try to actually win!

  8. He also said too that instead of incentivizing losing by giving more draft pool dollars the worse you are, incentivize teams to win by doing the opposite. You get more bonus pool by winning into the 80+ win totals was what he advocated. He said you basically have a system where you want to win 90+ or lose 90+ and nothing in between, and he’s pretty much right on.

  9. @2

    most helpful, thanks.

    Scott Boras
    is known more as
    the very top of the greed tree
    incredibly all here seem only too prepared to agree.

  10. Overshadowed perhaps by the Horror Show That Is Blooper, but Thoppy actually spoke at Chop Fest last Saturday.

    Selected quotes:

    “Ultimately, we may have to make the decision to move some of these guys because I don’t think you’re coming to the ballpark for us to tell you how good Gwinnett is and Rome is,” he told the crowd. “We love the affiliates. But that’s not what this is about. I learned early on that the 25 guys on the field drive the whole organization. They drive the bus.”


    “We’re the Atlanta Braves,” he said. “The major league team is what runs this whole place. Let’s be real. We’re not here to be ranked No. 1 in Baseball America.”

  11. @11 What do you interpret that he means by those statements? That he will be more willing to trade assets than people might think, given his background, etc.?

    That prospects are really only as good as you can convert them into either BEING MLB players, or pieces to use to OBTAIN them?

  12. The tank
    the normal reaction is rank
    but delving much deeper
    there’s eleven who think it’s essentially a keeper.

    A team quite determined to tank
    denies it has aught in the bank
    the skilled are discarded
    the Press then bombarded
    with names they insist we should thank.

  13. @11

    Good to hear, but let’s start seeing action. I get that he’s not fully familiar with our system yet, but again, that’s not stopping him from signing a couple of these free agents that he probably can now get for much cheaper than he originally thought he could.

  14. I think he means more or less what he says. The gist of the article is that he is hamstrung on how *quickly* he can make moves to improve the Major League product, because he does not have evaluations he can rely on 100% to make the calls on who to move for what, or who not to move, etc. It comes down to the fact that he was hired into a mess of a front office, he doesn’t have the luxury of trusting the player evals of the previous management (because they seemed to over value their own prospects regularly,) and he hasn’t even had the opportunity for himself and his own team to even see the majority of these kids play. So he has no real feel for how good Christian Pache is, internally. He has not *gut* on it. So if he’s contemplating an offer for Major League piece X in return for Pache, all he has is Team Coppy’s notes on the guy, plus publicly available information from BA and MLB Pipeline, etc. That’s an 8-ball to be behind as a GM trying to make trades and deals.

    The quotes themselves are simply signs that he is intent on fixing the ML squad rather than hording prospects and calling high praise from Keith Law a win. I don’t think it means he’s going to trade Acuna for a bag of magic beans any time soon, but it does indicate that he and the front office in general are finally refocused on the Atlanta Braves, the Major League baseball team, rather than the extended farm system of the Atlanta Braves that might one day produce the next great Atlanta Braves Major League team.

    That’s a plus in my book.

  15. @14 – the free agents he should be looking at aren’t going to sign until the free agents he’s not looking at clear the bottleneck at the top of the market. Todd Frazier nor Moose are going to take a place holder deal with Atlanta until one of Boras or the Red Sox blink and set the market for this season’s actual contract numbers.

  16. Saw a report the Dodgers were looking to clear payroll to resign Darvish. Logan Forsythe on a one year deal is intriguing if they’re looking to give him away.

  17. FYI the Fangraphs link for J.D. Martinez goes to the page for J.D. Martin. In case anyone else was wondering why his stats were somewhat older and much more pitchery than expected.

  18. These lines about “He doesn’t know our system yet,” are silly.

    AA knew our system from top to bottom before gen interviewed for the job

  19. @19, I’m good with not signing/trading for a third baseman; but I’d like to get a leftfielder with a decent glove, average OBP and more thump than we currently have. I’d rather he hit righthanded too.

  20. Whether AA deeply knows our system or not yet, he’s not in a wheeling-and-dealing spot this season. If you are going to trade 19 and 20 year old prospects, you aren’t getting anything good back unless is 2 for 1, 3 for 1, etc. A couple of those go south and you are right back to where we were in 2014.

    For this to work out, *a lot* of these prospects have to graduate to become competent players for the Braves. We will trade some of them surely, but the major league team isn’t just 1 or 2 players away from being good.

    If I’m the Braves I’m riding this season out as best I can, and praying that the pitching makes good progress. Next year I’m adding $80M to the payroll and trying to win the division.

  21. krussell speaks wisdom, and maybe Swanson and Ruiz are more than I suspect. Maybe Lance Adams is a real big leaguer. Maybe.

  22. Basically right. We have a number of holes, also some chances for young players to step up, and relatively few resources with which to plug the gaps that remain if and when any of them do step up. Whether AA knows* the system or not, now’s not** the time. Coppy had been saying this offseason wouldn’t be the one before he got canned.

    Many here have noted that, in order to contend, adequate isn’t going to work for the remainder of the holes on our roster. We’re going to need a couple more superstars. So @25 is right in that we’re talking packages of good prospects and not much room for error, if we’re talking trades.

    *I mean, he probably does know, right?

    **I guess there’s some argument to be made re: the FA market this offseason…this is all assuming that this waiting game we’re seeing doesn’t break the owners’ way in a big way.

    If we can get Eduardo Nunez at 2/$20, then:
    – it gives us roster flexibility this year and next year
    – he’d be easily tradeable if we don’t want to keep him and instead sign Josh Donaldson, or Austin Riley proves himself worthy, etc.
    – even if Riley flops and Donaldson injures himself more/declines/goes elsewhere, we keep a perfectly good and proven 2 WAR player at 3B, and hey, I can think of a certain superstar FA outfielder we could be in on to round things out on the position player side in 2019.

  23. Nunez or Frazier would be just fine with me.

    The rebuilding concept is interesting from the perspective that the team basically gets a “get out of jail free” card for almost half a decade. By sheer virtue of replacing its GM, the Braves essentially get to add onto the total once the fans get restless. For our case, we went 3 years, fans started getting antsy (cue the articles from Peanut and DOB about patience and how good the prospects are), replace the GM, and now you get a new baked-in excuse of “hey man, you gotta give me some time to learn on the job”. Voila, 2 more years. I don’t remember Coppy saying this would not be a year where they would make a big trade, and I’m almost certain that’s not true. But at this point, the Braves would be stupid to not capitalize on fan forgiveness and take even more time. After all, if it makes your job easier (2 more years of not having expectations to compete and then whatever lengthening of the “window” stockpiling can create), then why wouldn’t you? Attendance is fine, they got a new stadium largely on Cobb’s dime, your TV deal is locked in… what’s the problem? If you’re not going to be punished for being bad at your job, what would you do? Keep it goin’!

  24. Nunez won’t get 2/20MM on this market. He was predicted to go 2/14 by MLBTR and that was well before this market crash. IMO, 2/14 is the ceiling and I think he’ll end up signing a 2/10MM deal.

    Of note, AA discussed having players on the team that “want to be here”, and I’ve seen many pics of CarGo and Ender working out together. While I don’t think the Braves would sign a LFer at this time, I’d be willing to bet CarGo would like to play alongside his buddy. A 1-year bounceback deal would be pretty doggone cool.

  25. Still no takers on co-owning He Hate Me. Sad. I mean, you’d get to do all the work and research and I’d just take credit if we won. What’s not to love?!

  26. I don’t remember Coppy saying this would not be a year where they would make a big trade, and I’m almost certain that’s not true.

    I said: “Coppy had been saying this offseason wouldn’t be the one before he got canned.”

    On the biggest offseason need: “I think we need bullpen. For sure one viable piece, possibly two.”

  27. So that it doesn’t slip past anyone, Snitker said that Soroka will compete for a rotation spot this spring.

  28. @32

    I don’t think that article concludes that they wouldn’t be willing to deal from pitching prospects if Coppy was still here. His absence of saying he would do so isn’t confirmation that he wouldn’t.

    I tell ya what, though, the headline of that article proved to be accurate. Much did change.

  29. @33

    There continues to be a lot of chatter that the pitching will be used in an atypical way. This article is quite clear that our conceptions of a rotation (5 guys pitching 160+ IP each) is probably not how it plays out this year. I know they’re keeping things interested with saying guys like Soroka will compete, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the 970 rotation innings you expect to be filled (162 * ~6 IP) goes something like this:

    Teheran – 190
    Folty – 180
    McCarthy – 150
    Gohara – 120
    Newcomb – 120
    Soroka – 60
    Allard – 60
    Fried – 60
    Kazmir – 30

    With Sims getting a spot start or two should one of those 9 suffer an injury or be ineffective. But just like we immediately knew that they would attempt to trade Dickey, Colon, and Garcia mid-season, you have to think that McCarthy won’t pitch through July for us should he be healthy and effective. A prospect could easily take his spot in the rotation at some point. And if it doesn’t play out exactly like that, then these prospects could fill innings in relief that were pitched ineffectively for the most part by Wisler, Jackson, O’Flaherty, Collmenter, Hursh, and Blair last year. We had the 27th ranked bullpen last year, and this would be a really good way to fix that.

    I’m kind of done being confident, per se, about our pitching, but if the Braves could use these guys properly, the pitching could be a strong point. Big “if”, though.

  30. How does Erick Aybar make the starting lineup on the unsigned team when Stephen Drew and Eduardo Nunez don’t even appear on the roster, and Hardy’s riding the pine?

  31. I don’t have a crystal ball and obviously don’t know exactly what players would sign for, but I tried to estimate a $160M payroll (top half). Accordingly, 7-8 players were taking up about $120M, so I felt like I was getting lean. So I decided to skrimp on 1B, SS, RF, CF, and the back end of the bullpen (doubt it even makes it through Spring Training). Nunez would have been nice, but at best, you’re looking at $7M like you said.

    Hardy and Drew were very bad last year, even worse than Chicken Bone.

  32. I don’t think that article concludes that they wouldn’t be willing to deal from pitching prospects if Coppy was still here. His absence of saying he would do so isn’t confirmation that he wouldn’t.

    Again, Coppy said in no uncertain terms that the biggest offseason need is one, maybe two relievers. Doesn’t that say it all?

    Unless you think he planned to use pitching prospects to acquire said relievers, that is where he chose to set fan expectations for the offseason.

    The best you can do with this is say, “It’s a smoke screen” or like you did, “Maybe if the right deal came along, he’d be willing…”

    Bottom line: if your expectation was that we’d make all these moves trading prospects to vault into contention this offseason, that’s on you.

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