Brewers 10, Braves 3

Welcome to the first edition of  “The Nationals Enquirer,” the most accurate Washington Nationals information on the internet, probably.

On Thursday, the Nationals piled up 14 runs, resulting in a dominant 2 run victory over a formidable Marlins team.  It is widely agreed this has turned the season around, as the Nationals continued to pound the 2-time World Champion Marlins throughout the weekend, except for today.

Meanwhile, the Braves limped through their latest road trip against the Cardinals, Yankees, and Brewers with a meager 5 – 5 record, prompting cries of doooooom from their faithful.  Sean Newcomb allowed 5 runs in the 3rd, the big blow a 3 run homer by Hernan Perez, and any hope was extinguished in the 8th, when Evan Phillips allowed 4 more, highlighted by a home run by Eric Thames, and by Jesus Aguilar‘s 2nd home run of the game.

After the game, Nick Markakis, Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, and Mike Foltynewicz were named to this year’s National League All-Star team, meaning that over 93% of this year’s MLB All-Stars come from other teams.  It is a miracle that this Braves team continues to cling to a virtual tie for the division lead.

Toronto comes to Atlanta on Tuesday.

Author: Rusty S.

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

79 thoughts on “Brewers 10, Braves 3”

  1. It’s crazy how 2 games can change your trajectory. Freeman has gone 6 for his last 8 and has raised his average from. 304 to .315. Let’s hope he gets his homerun swing going and his slugging percentage starts rising even more rapidly. Of course we need our pitchers to start pitching a lot better or it will be for naught.

  2. Ender…

    I have been blindsided by what seems to me this sudden opprobrium. The guy who pulled off those marvelous catches off back to back Folty meatballs the other day? 201 hits last year, gold glove? Beware the baby going out with the bathwater.

    So it’s about his base running, right? I must pay more attention.

  3. If there is one thing i am most envious of about the Brewers it’s not their ringing bats or a tight Pen it’s their ownership and all that goes with a passionate, wealthy owner who is himself a baseball addict and who does not insist on every decision being the one that carries the least risk.

    Likewise, Arsenal O my Arsenal…we have the wealthy individual but his name is Stan Kroenke, Senior AND Junior. In perpetuity, doubtless.

    And Liberty, that name could not be more ironic. They must be driven to distraction by some kind of civil unrest to the point where they can’t wait to sell out to someone of our choice. Tell me who that might be.

  4. @5

    Finally understand the base running thing with Ender, did not watch the tail end of that game, had enough. Pretty awful, good for Snit.

  5. Without denying that Snitker’s action re Inciarte was appropriate, I would mention that what would be *really* interesting would be to pull a player who failed to run out of the box on a ball that was *caught,* not dropped.

  6. @8…Yes!

    And, separately, find I have evolved in my thinking re the Swanson conundrum, would like your opinions.

    Second half of last season I was among those calling for him to be traded and took care to distinguish between his batting where I still felt there was hope and his defense where i saw none. Thought his athleticism was limited – poor hands, lateral movement, plays at the bag etc.

    Time to acknowledge the need for change now. He’s been great defensively, joy to watch. The bat will come I believe, to what level we must be patient. I hear enough hard contact from time to time to be encouraged. Wish he’d stop pawing at the plate like a racehorse though!

  7. • No matter who has the dominant voice in the Mets’ front office, sources say the Mets are indicating they would have to be overwhelmed by an offer to trade either deGrom or Syndergaard, and a deal is highly unlikely. Theoretically, the Mets have three internal candidates for general manager — former general manager Omar Minaya and current assistants John Ricco and J.P. Ricciardi. But the expectation is that ownership will look outside the organization for the next GM hire, and Minaya — an advisor trusted deeply by owner Fred Wilpon — will have a major say in who is the long-term successor to Sandy Alderson.

    http://insider.espn.com/blog/buster-olney/insider/post/_/id/18694/olney-contenders-considering-buying-low-buying-late

    Bless their hearts.

  8. What a mess. I can’t help but wonder if other teams looked at our org structure and thought the same thing, though. What’s JS doing? Which one is the GM? Why do they need all 3? Etc.

    Even at our worst, though, we’re not as bad as their squirrel’s nest. Just rebuild already, Mets.

  9. Can anyone think of a bigger gap between AAA and ML performance than Lucas Sims’?

    12 G, 11 GS, 9.63 K/9, 3.94 BB/9, 0.44 HR/9, 2.04 ERA, 3.26 FIP at AAA.

    8.71 K/9, 6.97 BB/9, 1.74 HR/9, 7.84 ERA, 6.32 FIP in his 10 IP at ML.

    Keeps his K rate strong, but nearly doubles his walks and triples his HR. It is never going to happen for him in Atlanta. Same for Wisler.

  10. The Mets situation should, but will not, give pause to everyone who assumes “detached, emotionless, corporate leadership” is the worst of all possible worlds.

  11. Is there a posting of payroll percentage to either revenue or overall franchise value? There’s this hand-WRINGING that owners are cheap, disengaged, don’t care about winning, etc., but wouldn’t it just be best to look at whether the team is spending in proportion to other teams as it relates to revenue or value?

    Does Liberty uniquely spend a smaller percentage of revenue than other teams? If you don’t know, how can you find fault?

  12. The Liberty Braves have generally landed mid-point on the lists since acquiring the team. The Ted Turner Braves were high percentage players. The depth of the rebuild dropped Atlanta down a couple of slots from their regular listings between 9-15, historically.

    rel=”nofollow”>Here’s the numbers from 2017.

  13. When your team is middle of the pack or lower in total revenue, you probably need to spend a greater percentage of that revenue on the team payroll. There’s such a thing as investing with a hope of a greater ROI that winning will produce.

  14. Well, that depends on the amount of fixed costs the team has, which would act as a higher percentage of a lower revenue total. And we don’t really know anything about that. For instance, it doesn’t surprise me to see a team actively trying to compete like the Rays (not actively tanking like the Phillies and Padres) having a low percentage since they have far and away the lowest revenue of any team in the league.

    Looking at those numbers, I don’t have a huge issue with where the Braves fall, especially in 2017. And no one would accuse the teams just above and below them of being miserly franchises, except for maybe the Twins.

  15. Also, how about 1 in the first 10 teams on that list actually won a playoff series last year, and that was because the Dodgers have the highest revenue of any team in the league. So even if you found yourself in the top 10 of the highest spenders proportionate to your revenue, you still probably wouldn’t advance in the postseason!

  16. I agree about the running out balls. I don’t think it’s too much to ask players making millions of dollars to run at least pretty hard 4 or so times a game.

  17. He didn’t run hard on a routine grounder the game before either, so much so that my wife even called it out (and she’s much nicer than me while watching games).

    I think Snit’s response was from a culmination of several recent events, the biggest being getting thrown out at 2nd tagging up on a routine fly ball, and causing us to not score in an inning where we had a walk and 2 hits.

    I think he needs to watch Acuna play CF for a few games, and feel some job pressure. Culberson/Santana in the lineup is cringeworthy, but Ender isn’t exactly lighting things up with the bat either, so might do him some good.

  18. Wisler (lack of arsenal and just average velocity) and Sims (lack of command, just average velocity) have decent enough stuff and deception to get guys out in the International League but it doesn’t work in the majors.

  19. I would expect to see more wobble in the range of mid-market teams with regard to percentage of revenue allocated to payroll, than I would for large market/big money teams. I would expect the Yankees and Dodgers, etc, to allocate their 50ish percent year over year, and go to war with what that gives them. I would expect mid-market teams like Atlanta to allocate less percentages in “building years,” and then up that allocation to above average in the tail end of “competitive windows.”

  20. Also, large market clubs like the Yankees are constrained as to how much of their revenue percentage they can allocate to payroll by the luxury tax penalties.

  21. Right. Would it have been a significant issue for the Dodgers to stay in luxury penalty by not jettisoning Gonzalez, Kazmir, and McCarthy minus Kemp? Probably not. But hey, they wanted to. And how much cheaper will Machado be now?

  22. If Freddie Freeman were a True Team Leader, he’d have pulled Ender aside and knocked a lung loose.

  23. The Braves are “constrained” by way-above-normal debt service requirements. I think I remember reading somewhere (TC probably?) an article that went into the hideous details of why we can’t spend money by pulling future revenues backward into this season. It’s all about MLB governance rules with respect to how much it allows a team’s debt to revenue ratio to get out of hand. My take from that article (assuming it’s accurate) is that we’re already above the “legal limits”, but MLB doesn’t strictly enforce them, so…yeah I dunno.

  24. As a labor leader and representative of his membership’s best interests, Tony Clark was a mediocre first baseman.

  25. @33

    I read that article as well as many were using that information as justification for the Braves’ seemingly being light spenders at the end of the offseason. The idea being pushed was, “The Braves want to spend, but they’re not allowed by MLB because of their debt situation.” And I just find that really hard to believe. We since learned, I think from Peanut, that the Braves had money to spend and were then holding onto it for a deadline acquisition.

    These external barriers seem to become boogiemen when it benefits the team. The luxury tax, debt service ratios, TV deal, stadium revenue, etc. are all just items influencing the top line or bottom line of the P&L, and the organizations will ultimately decide what is the best use of the top line revenue and therefore determine bottomline expenditures. I feel like they intentionally make the business of the franchise much more complicated than it probably actually is, and it keeps fans in check when they want the team to be competitive year-in, year-out. “Well we can’t do *that* because *this*” when it’s really “we don’t want to do this because it affects profits.”

    Like if I hear one more dadgum time that we’re “ahead of schedule” I’m going to scream. What do you mean “ahead of schedule”? You have a season, right? You got 162 to play? Uniforms and everything? What’s the schedule? Some years you’re doing it for realsies and some years you’re doing it fakesies?

    It’s all about perception and expectation, and the owners have convinced the fans that it’s completely within the goalposts to take some years off and go after it in other years because “that’s how it’s done”. Then, if you’re better than the prognosticators said you were going to be, then you’re “ahead of schedule”. Doesn’t that sound really good? Sounds like the Braves did something really good for their fans! It’s classic “under-promise, over-deliver” except it’s mental conditioning over years and years that you’re not due a competitive team year-in, year-out.

    Now, is it baked in the cake that if you’re a baseball fan of all but 3-4 teams that your team will operate like this? Sure, but I don’t have to like it, and I don’t have to believe that an external barrier is what keeps the Braves from doing what they need to do compete every year. And I will somehow miraculously find a way to soldier on and get over it.

  26. All the “ahead of schedule” formulation means is that our competitive profile has advanced faster than we thought it would, and thus faster than the assumptions our budgeting games are built around.

    Debt-service ratio is a real thing, and MLB in the post-Selig era tends to take it seriously. I have no idea what the Braves actual debt ratio looks like.

  27. Using a high DSR as the only reason why you can’t spend is, at best, intentionally misleading. Can they pay additional bonuses if players trigger them? Yes, then it’s not just DSR. They signed Peter Bourjos after they said their DSR was too high. Is it affecting their ability to get to a $140M ML payroll? Sure, but it’s probably not why you can’t spend a few extra million at the deadline to add some relievers, and since we’ve since learned that’s probably going to happen, then this carte blanche “DSR is too high; our bad” doesn’t work.

  28. @37, I agree with you, the original article reads like an instruction manual for Braves media relations to answer the “why aren’t we going after Player X at the deadline?!?” questions. I accept that MLB probably does have rules in place that, if violated, might be grounds for intervention or even a forced sale…but it sounds like in this case they almost never really enforce them, or are at the least quite flexible with working through it.

    https://www.talkingchop.com/2018/5/2/17313674/the-braves-debt

    I want to call BS on all this, but am willing to listen if there really is teeth to it. Until then, I guess it can’t hurt for all of you to get out to WFF, stay at the hotel, drink $10 beers, and frequent the restaurants. How else are we gonna sign Harper?

  29. I read that regarding the debt ratio thing somewhere as well. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of MLB stopping a team from spending on its payroll apart from some luxury taxes type of thing, which the Braves as we have known them over the past ~15 years will never ever be anywhere close to ever worrying about that. ever.

    EVER.

    Just prove me wrong, Liberty Media.

  30. You asked me once, Rob, to write a piece on the economics of baseball. I haven’t done it, because I don’t like to mix my semi-retired day job with my real job: unpaid blogging. But suffice it to say that the structure of MLB would be flat-out illegal in most of the economy. In the rest of the economy, competitors are supposed to compete with one another: baseball is treated as a single enterprise which needs to be perceived as competing within itself.. but not really, since the individual enterprises are in fact different enterprises. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Baseball_Club_v._National_League

    And here is now-Justice Gorsuch on the anomaly when he was on the appeals court: “It may be rare for Supreme Court precedents to suffer as highly a “distinguished” fate as Bellas Hess – but it isn’t unprecedented. Take baseball. Years ago and speaking through Justice Holmes, the Supreme Court held baseball effectively immune from the federal antitrust laws and did so reasoning that the “exhibition[] of base ball” by professional teams crossing state lines didn’t involve “commerce among the States.” Federal Baseball Club of Balt., Inc. v. Nat’l League of Prof’l Baseball Clubs, 259 U.S. 200, 208-09 (1922). Since then the Supreme Court has recognized that other organizations offering “exhibitions” in various states do engage in interstate commerce and are subject to antitrust scrutiny. E.g., United States v. Shubert, 348 U.S. 222, 230-31 (1955). But though it has long since rejected the reasoning of Federal Baseball, the Supreme Court has still chosen to retain the holding itself – continuing to rule baseball effectively immune from the antitrust laws, if now only out of respect for the reliance interests the Federal Baseball decision engendered in that particular industry. Toolson v. N.Y. Yankees, Inc., 346 U.S. 356, 357 (1953) (per curiam). And, of course, Congress has since codified baseball’s special exemption. See 15 U.S.C. § 26b. So it is that the baseball rule now applies only to baseball itself, having lost every away game it has played.”

  31. The Talking Chop article missed a key element, IMO: consequences. What is the consequence of Atlanta and Los Angeles being out of ratio? Would Rob Manfred kick in the door and drag a player out of the clubhouse? Would they nullify a contract? They don’t do that with the luxury tax. There’s probably some of sort of penalty, which makes it eerily similar to the luxury tax and how some teams don’t mind the luxury tax and others do.

    At the end of the day, penalties and all, the franchise is going to make a decision on how they want to approach those thresholds. If the team determines they’re comfortable with both their amount of debt and penalties for operating there, then it’s no different than teams determining their comfort level with their payroll and the penalties for exceeding the luxury tax.

  32. That’s easy, Rob. If your ratio is off, you lose Kevin Maitan and your GM(s), but they say it’s for something else.

  33. So are we setting up for a game of chicken where nothing happens at all until the last day of the deadline?

  34. The Fire Frogs have been unhittable:

    It’s worth noting that the 2016 draft was Coppy’s second draft and the one where we’ve had the highest draft position. Our 4th rounder is in AA already, and our top 3 picks were HS pitchers all lighting it up in A+, as you can see.

  35. @46

    Sounds kind of like the last offseason. If FOs didn’t value veteran players and waited them out until both parties ran out of time, they’re just going to do the same to each other. And if GMs are going to be bludgeoning each other instead of the veteran players themselves this going around, how is next offseason going to go?

  36. @45

    Oklahoma, eh…who knew…

    masterly deception…sorry you’ve been outed

    ‘OOOOk-lahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain, And the wavin’ wheat can sure smell sweet, When the wind comes right behind the rain. OOOOk-lahoma, Ev’ry night my honey lamb and I, Sit alone and talk and watch a hawk makin’ lazy circles in the sky.’

    never mind the hawk…and the honey lamb

    you and he were talking ‘ball..as the curls drifted down.

  37. Keith Law loves Touki right now, too. From a few days ago:

    JC: Its very #scoutingthestatline but, Touki Toussaint’s BB/9 continues to trend downward (in the good way) & was recently promoted to AAA. What’s the outlook for him?
    Keith Law: Potential #2 starter, still improving. Was very raw when he was drafted but had athleticism and a golden arm. Now he’s showing feel for three pitches and his control has gradually improved over a long sample now.

    http://meadowparty.com/blog/2018/07/05/klawchat-7-5-18/

  38. @49 and also exciting to read about Drew Waters. A switch-hitting centerfielder with pop who is more polished than expected by the Braves at this point. Love it.

  39. @49 his view on the trade deadline for Atlanta:

    “Mike: If you were Alex Anthopoulos, how would you handle this deadline?
    Keith Law: If you can improve the team by trading guys on the margins who aren’t part of the future – the Lucas Sims types – then do it. Trading significant prospects for short-term help would be really stupid, though. I’m shocked whenever Atlanta fans suggest it. You really want to trade a potential stud like Pache for a two-month rental?”

  40. It would be nice if Drew Waters learned how to take a damned walk. He’s very Francoeur-esque so far.

  41. So then according to Keith Law, the gap between our future and our margins must be wide such that no one wants Lucas Sims and any deal for a Moustakas or Beltre begins and ends with Christian Pache? I find that hard to believe.

  42. There’s no reason to believe Beltre is actually on the market. Texas loves him, he loves Texas, and he’s a 10-5 guy. You’d have to overpay to get him as a very short term rental. (Even if he wins a WS with you, he’s going back to Texas next year.)

    There’s no reason to believe the Braves are looking for a 3B at this point. They’re looking for a starter or relievers, depending on who’s available for reasonable return.

  43. Moustakas: 251/308/464 (109 OPS+, 1.9 WAR)
    Beltre: 294/357/411 (104 OPS+, 1.3 WAR)
    Camargo: 252/353/439 (117 OPS+, 1.6 WAR)

    Moustakas’ advantage over Camargo in WAR is entirely due to the at bats advantage. Camargo lost time due to injury while Moose has played virtually every game.

    Moustakas is 29, five years older than Camargo. Beltre is, of course, undying and undead. (He’s 40 this year.)

    There is no reason to give up prospects to “improve” 3B from Camargo to older guys who have played worse than him this year.

  44. They could seek to replace Dansby. I’m not saying I think they will, but they could. There’s reason to believe they’ve kicked the tires on Machado. A trade for a 3B wouldn’t necessarily be to replace Camargo.

  45. Dansby is basically a league-average shortstop this year, making next to no money. He doesn’t have enough bat to be useful at any other position, so if you take away his starting role you basically destroy his value, and it’s going to be hard to meaningfully upgrade at shortstop for anything less than apocalyptic prices. I think Sam’s right — upgrading the infield probably is more trouble than it’s worth.

    Upgrading the bullpen is a categorical necessity, and it shouldn’t be impossible to do with a few Lucas Sims types here and there.

  46. Upgrading the bullpen is a categorical necessity, and it shouldn’t be impossible to do with a few Lucas Sims types here and there.

    Concur. Outside of something big like Machado, the need is clearly the pen and/or a starter who can stretch into the 7th with some regularity. You should be able to get relief help without parting with Pache or Ian Anderson.

  47. I think we need one more power bat, but that is very unlikely to be solved this year. Otherwise it’s pitching, pitching, pitching. My guess is that we shuffle around fungible relievers and pray that the current squad can finish strong.

    If we do make a bigger splash move I’m hoping it’s for a decent controllable starter (Fulmer or something similar).

  48. It’s worth mentioning that even in the nearly two decades of division winning Braves teams, we pretty much never made any summer deals of significance other than the McGriff trade – though the impact of that one trade by itself was so positive that it might be enough to ignore everything else.

    It often felt like the trade-deadline tinkering moves that we did in that era made us slightly worse.

  49. Count me in the group who thinks Dansby is going to be an all-star SS down the road, and solid until then. I don’t trust Camargo to develop to that level.

    Since I’m putting unpopular positions out there, I’d love to see Sims get four or five consecutive starts with the Braves. His numbers at Gwinnett recently deserve a shot before we package him for a rental. Even his detractors have to agree that he’s been jerked around.

  50. @70

    …or we could just go ahead and trade for something useful and not waste three weeks of everyone’s time.

  51. “Freddie Freeman wants to win now, but he also knows he’ll be around over the next few years when the Braves will be more legitimate contenders who could truly benefit from a big acquisition. Veterans like Nick Markakis, Tyler Flowers and Kurt Suzuki don’t know if they’ll ever be in this position again to be part of a team that will go through a season’s final months with legit playoff aspirations.” -Peanut

    We are half way through the season and tied for first. How can we be more legitimate?

    I wonder if the front office is trying to down play expectations. I hope not.

    While we shouldn’t sell the farm for Machado, we should make 2-3 moves to upgrade the rotation and bullpen. We know we are good this year. We don’t know what will happen next year.

    Prospects come and go, flags fly forever.

  52. If we throw all of the young talent for aging stop gaps in a desperate attempt to win once this year, we know what next year will be. It will be bad. Again. For another 5-6 years.

  53. I agree with you completely, Sam, but isn’t that why the Marlins have two championships? Is a (shot at a) championship worth six years of suck? I say no, but some may differ…

  54. Are we really going to suck for 5 years if we trade Pache? I think there’s some middle ground to stand on here.

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