Multi-Year Deals? Braves Have Plenty to Give Out

(Earlier version of this had each player missing one year of pre-arb control. It’s been updated with extensions reflecting that extra year. Math is hard.)

With many fans frustrated the team hasn’t gone big into the gross dollars in free agency this year, and Aaron Nola and Luis Severino both signing extensions buying out arbitration years, I thought we’d look at some deals the Braves could do to satisfy the bloodthirst for a big contract signing. Remember, regardless of what the Braves do in free agency either now or within the next couple years, there will be some players that we will certainly want to lock up that are already wearing a Tomahawk on their chest.

Nola’s deal will see him make $4M in 2019 at the age of 26. Then through ages 27 through 30, he’ll make $8M, $11.75M, $15M, then $16M club option with a $4.25M buyout. So it buys out 3 arb years that you’d think would have already costed $5M, $10M, $15M. Somewhere in there. I think those are fair but aggressive projections. This new deal gets them a team-friendly first year in free agency, and a right of refusal for a second year at a near-equally team-friendly number. And they can get out for $4.25M if Nola turns into a pumpkin by age 30. So while they were probably already on the hook for around $30M, they get an extra year of control for a max of $13M. But if they pick up the second year, the option is not paid out so they’re paying $8.75M for that first year of free agency then $16M for the second year. It’s definitely a good deal for Philly, but there is still some risk in doing so.

Severino had filed for $5.25M in his first year of arbitration. In avoiding arbitration, his deal ended up being $4M for 2019, then he’ll earn $10M, $10.25M, $11M, and then a club option of $15M with a $2.75M buyout. So it’s similar to Nola’s deal in some ways. They get one year of FA guaranteed to be bought out, then first dibs on the second year with an even smaller out if he’s not the pitcher they hope he will be. So a similar amount of money already owed for the 3 years of arbitration as Nola, then a similar amount of money committed to form a similar risk/reward equation.

Who might the Braves try to create a mutually beneficial long-term deal with?

Mike Foltynewicz

Mike’s got three years left. He’ll make $5.475M this year, then have another year somewhere between $8-10M, then another year $10-12M. And if Folty keeps his trajectory, he’s not far from cashing in big in free agency. The Braves would get some serious surplus value if they could get him to sign a 5YR/$58M deal. That would buy out his three remaining arb years, but then give the team two of his first free agent years at around $16M per.

He’s so close to free agency that he probably wouldn’t want to do this. He’s already locked in his 2019 salary, and he’s three years away from probably locking down a multi-year deal. This deal would also take him to his age-32 season, and he would probably want to enter the free agent market at age 30. So him not getting an extension like Severino or Nola has probably more to do with that than any potential feelings of slight at the arbitration hearing last year.

Sean Newcomb

Newcomb’s got two more years of pre-arb, then his 3 years of arbitration. And there’s not much to go off of in his career trajectory. He could indeed live up to the Jon Lester comp, or he could be the middle-to-back-of-the-rotation starter he was last year. And it wouldn’t make sense to buy out the next 4 years; the arrangement is so favorable to the team with the lack of escalation in their salaries and the ability to get out at the end of every year until free agency. And being able to buy out one year of free agency is probably not going to be enough to make the Braves commit to the next four, unless there was some probable savings along the way.

They could both potentially agree to this format: $2M in 2019, $4M in 2020, $6M in 2021, $10M, in 2022, $13M in 2023, and a $17M club option with a $2M buyout. A total of a 7YR/$52M deal. Newcomb will make a little more money than he otherwise would in 2019, then he makes in 2020 and 2021 about what he would make if he turns the corner this year. But then the Braves start seeing some significant savings with those $10M, $11M, and $13M years since the last two will be after Newcomb would have become a free agent. Pitchers are hard to project, of course, but the Braves would be rewarded big if he gets close to being a top-of-the-rotation starter, and Newcomb still gets lots of guaranteed money.

Ozzie Albies

Ozzie has 5 years left as well, two pre-arb and three arb. Hitters are so much easier to project, and that’s why you saw Brian McCann, Andrelton Simmons, and Freddie Freeman get the deals they got in their pre-free agency careers. I’d give Ozzie 7 years at $88M: $4M in 2019, $4M in 2020, $10M in 2021, $12M in 2022, $18M in 2023, and $20M in both 2024 and 2025. He makes some really good money relatively in 2019, a little extra than he otherwise would in his first two arb years, then the Braves start enjoying the savings in his last year of arb and then his first two years of free agency.

You can see why these deals are hard to get done. Why would Ozzie take that deal if he thinks he’ll develop a stay healthy? Would the Braves be willing to commit to 6 more years of Ozzie, even at these prices, based on what they’ve seen so far?

Johan Camargo

Same as Ozzie; two pre-arb, 3 arb. But I’d go the same length as Ozzie but really try to get the overall number much lower. 7 YR/$54M : $2M in 2019, $2M in 2020, $6M in 2021, $8M in 2022, $12M in 2022, and $12M in both 2023 and 2024. Starts out the same as Ozzie’s: early money in 2019 and 2020. But then $8M in his second arb year, very team-friendly, then $12M in his final arb year. $12M each in his first two years of free agency would be an absolute steal.

Ronald Acuna Jr.

Oh, baby. So the Braves avoided Super Two by not calling him up, so they’ve got 5 more years of this man: 2 pre-arb, and 3 arb. So they’ve got him for the league minimum the next two years, and by that time, he will undoubtedly be right up there with the highest arb earners in our game’s history. If Nolan Arenado got $26M in his last arb year, just wait until you see what Ronald Acuna Jr. will get in 2023.

My modest proposal is 8 years, $118M: $2M in 2019, $5M in 2020, $5M in 2021 for pre-arb, $12M in 2022, $18M in 2023, $20M in 2024 for arb. $28M for both 2025 and 2026. He gets early money in his next two pre-arb years where he’d otherwise be making the league minimum. Then through his arb years, the Braves get a fairly steep discount at $5M, $12M, and $20M in his last arb year. But then they get the first 3 years of his free agency at a discounted rate of $28M per year. By that time, you’d have to think someone of Acuna’s stature could be headed for a $35M+ per year AAV, so that’s another steep discount. And in return, Acuna will have to figure out a way to be spend $131,000,000 minus, of course, a fairly precipitous 37% tax rate.

174 thoughts on “Multi-Year Deals? Braves Have Plenty to Give Out”

  1. ^^Not sarcasm.

    Let’s hope one or two of these guys are amenable. Someone want to try asking a beat writer if anything’s up on the extension front?

  2. Thanks braves14! Accordingly, I was short one year of control on just about everybody, and it’s been updating. I think I’ve got the years of control and where each player is in the timeline correct now. I’ve since learned Cot’s is a good resource for that.

  3. Moral of the story here: if AA is smart, he should be looking to pay some of these guys now before he has to pay all of them later.

  4. Braves State Media is now pumping out “Our Bad TV Deal” and “We Have Debt” stories.
    The excuse machine is incredible

  5. If the Phillies sign Harper, that would put them where somewhere in the 8-10 range in payroll ranking, according to Spotrac. Washington, Philly, and NY would all be in that 7-10 range.

    The Braves are 19th, though the figure they have seems a little low. Best case, though, they’re around 16-17.

    I don’t know how they’re going to justify to pissed off fans that this is remotely acceptable. It’s not. And I don’t know how you add enough players during the season to be able to close the gap.

  6. @9: But…but…will anyone think of the prospects? And there’s so much flexibility! We’re all being played for suckers to pay down debt for Liberty Media’s real estate deal.

  7. Thanks, Rob. Ronnie and Ozzie would be nice to lock up for the next decade. I think Johan would be a good bet. The arms? Not with my money. Caveat emptor.

  8. I saw a GoFundMe article to solve the Braves financial woes. Braves country should organize a fundraiser for this team as a way to shame Liberty Media for leeching money from a baseball team. Imagine if every Braves fan contributed between $10 and $100. That ought to afford something.

  9. Yesterday marked the very first time I visited another Braves blog, and it was to enjoy that GoFundMe piece.

    In the previous thread, Alex asserted that ownership can make decreasing fan interest in/expenditure on the team consistent with their overall money-making strategy. It’s a dark thought, I’m not sure if that’s how things will play out, but I suppose we’re going in a direction where we’ll see that put to the test.

  10. Rob Manfred would like to quell your concerns:

  11. So, one way out: like with the Jeffrey Loria situation, MLB forces Liberty to spend after Braves fans create a sufficient level of public embarrassment for the franchise. Liberty is the public facing target, but they aren’t the real pressure point. Indirectly, Manfred and other owners who are spending and acting in good faith but whose good names are being tarnished by association are the leverage.

  12. At this point in the offseason, the money game is either sign Kimbrel for 3 years or less, or start frontloading money for guys that you just know you’re going to paying big in a few years. Plus, if you came out tomorrow and say that you signed Johan Camargo to 7 years, $54M, that’s certainly going to extinguish some of the fan frustration, and you’re really not doing anything other than putting a number on something you were 90%+ likely you were going to pay out anyway.

  13. Perhaps AA had his ear too low to the ground when he was in Toronto, and maybe he feels like if he doesn’t insulate himself from fan unrest that he might be influenced too heavily. I can certainly hear and appreciate that.

    There just doesn’t seem to be a correlation between giving a flying eff what your fans think and profits. If you win, no one cares what you spent. If you lose, no one cares what you spent. Both of those things are absolutely true with varying degrees from market to market. It’s like Parcells said: just win, baby. And they’re pretty confident they’re going to.

  14. Since MLB changed the way we do the wild card, how many of the teams in the top third of MLB payroll would you guess have made the playoffs?

    By my counting:

    2018 – 5 out of 10 (both WS teams)
    2017 – 5 out of 10 (1 WS team)
    2016 – 7 out of 10 (both WS teams)
    2015 – 4 out of 10
    2014 – 5 out of 10 (WS winner)
    2013 – 4 out of 10 (both WS teams)
    2012 – 5 out of 10 (both WS teams)

  15. @16 I think they’re a year away from doing some of these things. Waiting for a little more track record to make decisions on. I honestly think this is where we are all around – explains every action. They are not ready to believe all the good performances from anyone until they’re repeated one more time. The vast majority of the better players last year (esp in the bullpen) were rookies or second year players.

    Just look at FG projections. Braves are projected to be a top ten offense and around 20th rated pitching staff. But the pitching staff is where all the “potential” is. All of that points to a strategy of “let’s see if the offense can do what it should and the pitching can break out”.

    Assuming this FO is really data driven then they know what they have and could have done and have chosen a cheap route which may or may not be successful. The irony of this is that, if all the teams continue to eschew long term contracts, more and more quality FAs will be available every offseason making it easier and easier to wait for next season to make a big move.

    I hope this strategy works, not because I think it’s right, but because I think it’s all we have. Maybe all of Folty, Newk, Gaus, and Soroka will pitch like aces and we’ll have moved Teheran to the bullpen because Touki is pitching like an ace. And Kimbrel becomes irrelevant because Minter becomes the next lock down reliever with masterful setup from Viz, Winkler, Venters, and O’Day. Acuna, Freeman, and Donaldson all contribute 6 WAR and 2-3 GGs. Dansby avoids injury and breaks out. Albies proves his first half was his true value. Even Duvall hits 10 PH or late inning HRs. This team will easily be best in the NL. Sure would make the FO look good, huh? This team, as it currently stands, easily has a 50-52 WAR ceiling. But it also has a 30 WAR floor. The only thing we do by making any of the signings or trades we’ve all discussed or wanted is increase the certainty of attaining the ceiling.

  16. Minter tells Peanut he wants to be Hader and win. Admirable ambition, he stands up to be counted.

    But did he watch the elimination game against LA when Hader was thrown in somewhere as early as the second and thereon pitched 4 or 5 innings of impeccable baseball, no loss of control or velocity.

    No win of course, there are in exceptional cases other criteria.

  17. Continued from #19…

    And of the teams missing the playoffs but still spending in the top third, it’s split between long-lived contenders (Giants, Yankees) that were paying out their winner’s curses versus… well, versus teams like the Phillies, Angels, or the A-Gon/Panda-era Red Sox.

  18. Waiting for a little more track record to make decisions on.

    It’s an inverse relationship though. If you wait too long, the player won’t sign an extension. Would you sign one if you were Folty, for instance?

    It’s like lease option purchases in real estate. They’re so hard to get done because the buyer (the team in this case) has to predict what the value of the commodity (the player, the seller in this case) will be worth at a future point to then pay a sum. It’s so difficult for both parties to decide on that value. They both ended up saying, “Let’s just wait and see.” That’s why the Andrelton, McCann, Freddie, Ender deals are so rare, and why so many times the player opts for free agency (JUpton, Heyward, etc.).

  19. We can’t even sign a useful guy on a minor league contract??? This is really depressing. Dietrich is a valid ML player being forced to sign a minor league contract. I thought for sure Dietrich would get a ML deal and that’s why the Braves hadn’t signed him.

    Based upon this and their other offseason deals (Puig, Wood, Gray, etc…), I’d rather have the Reds FO than our own.

    Of course, now that I look at it, Dietrich is from Ohio…..

  20. @24 I agree, Rob, but I just think that’s where we are with this FO.

    They are not even doing little things with zero cost or zero risk. The Dietrich signing is a real sign of the FO doing absolutely nothing. Why not sign a bunch of relievers on minor league contracts? They could even sign Martin Maldonado to a minor league contract. Could he be better than Raffy Lopez? Is there no one out there that might be able to compete for a roster spot that the Braves could have signed? I really didn’t know we were that good of a team where it makes sense to do nothing. Not signing a $300M FA is one thing but not making potential upgrades at the bottom of the roster is really just negligent.

  21. If I’m Derek Dietrich, and I’ve spent the last three seasons as a starter in MIA, I’m more interested in the Reds organization right now than the Braves. The odds of me breaking into their OF by displacing Scott Schebler or Jesse Winker (or getting at bats when Matt Kemp or Yasiel Puig get hurt) are better than my odds of getting real MLB playing time in ATL.

  22. @27, @28, @29 Derek Dietrich: I’m arguably more valuable in the NL than Nick Castellanos and I should cost about a tenth as much. Keep me out of the OF and I’ll be worth more than 1.5 WAR. Not Duvall from the left but Culberson from the left.

  23. They keep plugging out the stories “We Signed these Vets Who Want to Be Here” stories.

    I think we downgraded at catcher and probably right field with “veterans”

    I also understand Roger’s point @20, but they should bring in a few vets for the pen and at least one for the rotation. Someone who can take the pressure off.

    Right now our season is banking on all of the following to happen:

    – Donaldson to play 135-145 games and be productive
    – Folty, Newk Gausman and one-two of the young guys to take another step
    – McCann, Flowers and Kakes to combine for 5-6 WAR
    – Minter and Vizy to stay healthy and own the end of the game. Also O’Day to be in 50-60 games.
    – Ozzie, Swanson, Inciarte and Acuna to match or surpass last season.
    -Freeman to stay healthy.

    All of that is not impossible by any stretch, in fact, I bet on most of it happening. However, getting two quality relievers, another starter and a corner outfield bat would have made this team one of the favorites in the NL.

    All of those things were (are) available this winter and the team shoes not to spend on them. It is very frustrating, especially how last winter we were told by McLiar we would spend and “we can spend on any isle.”

  24. Mike Soroka
    his Adams Apple shines in yellow ochre
    ostrich like he’ll faze the hitters
    that dopey grin, we’ll all have the jitters.

  25. @17 I’d like to hear more about how you think decreasing fan interest in the team would work toward their money-making strategy.

    See, I actually think it’s [actually] possible they could be preparing to sell the team.

    But I’d like to hear your thoughts about what’s taking place here. If not here in the comments, then Rob could give you my phone #.

  26. I’m beginning to think that Coppy wanted to win so badly that when faced with what we’re now seeing from ownership, he went the extra miles and broke the rules because it was the only way it was going to happen…

  27. People in this thread advocating for paying players like Camargo 7/54 are literally insane.

    Acuna is the only player even mentioned that is worth signing to a long term huge contract. Folty, may be after this season if he is close to last year. Albies, probably but he may not be either.

  28. It always felt like retro-revivalism was coming back around in smaller and smaller increments, but really? We’re to Pining for Coppy already? That’s like, what, dub-step revivalism or something?

  29. @15 Somehow or another, I do think we’ve got to make Liberty Media infamous. I do think that’s best accomplished by making MLB (and by extension other owners and the commissioner) look bad. Tarnish the league and you will get a league response, I think…

    Like maybe if Braves fans banded together to do car wash fundraisers in Braves jerseys, it might go viral and hit the national news. Imagine these car washes happening across like 11-12 states. Ship all funds directly to Liberty Media with a “For: Braves team payroll” written on the check. Post picture to social media and make the whole league look bad.

  30. The most endearing thing about Donny is that he seems to truly believe that “making Liberty infamous” would have any effect whatsoever. Have you ever been in a true C-level gathering before? One where those guys (they’re almost universally guys, still) really talk shop about how they actually think?

  31. Apparently Soroka’s shoulder drew little attention when he showed up in camp, they were more concerned that his AA had moved sideways off center. Too many late nights on the pampas he told them, you need to check every rustle, quickly.

  32. @41 Yeah, I have. It’s why I think finding a way to drag their public image into the mud is the best way to attack their bottom line, which is the only way we will get the C-levels to hear us. It’s going to have to expand beyond the Braves to be meaningful.

    Don’t confuse not understanding me with me not having the right idea. I sometimes struggle with finding the right way to say it.

  33. The success rates on position players remaining good enough from age 23 to 30 to justify buying out their arb years and two years of free agency is pretty high. Camargo was a 3.3 fWAR player who had a 800 OPS, hit 19 home runs, and can play all over the diamond. If I could lock him for the next 7 years for 70 cents on the dollars I would otherwise have to pay if I let it play out, then I’m doing that all day whether I’m the Yankees or the Marlins.

  34. I’m ready to see an organizational talent rankings again. Those are taking into consideration both prospects and major league talent, and I think we’re right up there. I think that would cool a lot of people off to see that the mixture of farm and table is so good.

  35. Also @40 Have you ever engaged in any sort representative agreement with companies beyond an employee agreement? They all care greatly about their brand image. Unless you have a better idea of how to give this faceless corporate entity a black eye, what’s wrong with my thinking?

  36. @40, It’s not about making Liberty Media feel shame. It’s about making Manfred et al feel shame so they exert pressure on Liberty to spend. Loria is the precedent — and it’s not even like the Marlins had enough fans to really get up in arms, so Braves fans just might be able to pull it off if they get put their minds to it.

    @42, An actual GoFundMe would suffice. Braves fans who aren’t in Atlanta could participate, and it would generate media attention without the effort of getting people to turn up at a physical location. The car wash stuff is good escalation if it doesn’t work, but it’s more resource-intensive.

  37. Booo this man!

  38. Yeah, not buying it. I’m starting to believe we’re headed toward something more than a mere player’s strike.

  39. Our situation is frustrating but c’mon, we’re not analogous to the Marlins. They were at the bottom of MLB in payroll and were essentially trading everyone as soon as they became arb-eligible. MLB isn’t going to intervene because we’re 19th or whatever, particularly given that we actually signed a FA to a 20+mil deal this winter.

  40. @49, That all seems right to me. The Braves’ behavior isn’t as extreme or straightforwardly anti-competitive.

    A joke GoFundMe works somewhat better for Ricketts anyway. The Braves are not saying they don’t have money to spend, but rather they prefer not to spend now. But the Cubs do already have one of the highest payrolls.

    The best option then may simply be to tune the team out.

  41. That’s basically what I intend to do. I’ll follow them in the standings and hope for the best. Maybe, if they start actively trying to win and not just make maximized profits, I’ll tune in.

  42. Serious question: what if AA realizes the relative hamstrung financial situation he’s in and between paying Harper or Machado now or taking a real run at Arenado next year, he opts for the latter? I know this doesn’t excuse the lack of action, besides Donaldson this year, but he’s got some guys to lock down in the near term and committing $30M+ AAV to Harper would limit him. Maybe I’m just hoping…

  43. @53, I thought about that too.

    The Rockies are in extension talks with Arenado now, and if he makes it to free agency, then whoever of the White Sox or Padres that loses out on Machado will bid against the Rockies and us.

    To sit out on Harper and Machado only to put all the eggs in the Arenado basket would be foolish. More likely we just won’t ever make years-long commitments to free agents no matter who they are, right or wrong.

  44. Interesting read here, Rob.

    I think what you laid out for both Acuna and Folty is pretty spot on. If I were Anthopolous, I’d offer those deals in a blink of an eye, and come away clicking my heels if they took them. Acuna might? Folty, as you said, probably wouldn’t, for the reasons you said.

    I believe you’re too high on Newcomb and Camargo. With Newcomb, the Braves have enough pitching, with enough “what if” attached in the pipeline, that they really don’t need to pay big money for a “what if” in Newcomb. In Camargo’s case, he’s basically Marwin Gonzalez 2.0- and no one has stepped out big on Gonzalez that way.

    Albies is a tough call. That’s a ton of money. It’s a great deal if he’s closer to first half Ozzie; and a franchise crusher on the back half, if he’s more like second half Ozzie. I know waiting to see a little more track record from him is a two way street, and it could drive the price up. I think it’s a safer bet, however- even if it costs more later.

  45. @21 I admire Minter’s desire to be “the guy”, but he has some real “break out the Tums” type outings some times. I just don’t see him as a closer.

    That’s why they need to go get Kimbrel.

  46. @55 See, but the reason why you agree so easily on Acuna and Folty is what will make this so hard to do as a franchise (and of course, why it’s so rare). Of course you’d sign that deal with Folty! He wouldn’t. He’s too close to a $100M deal. Same thing with Acuna. His actual market value will probably be about $40M higher for his arb years and the first two years of free agency. I wrote this deal with the understanding that there’s an another side of the transaction; an agent is going to take that offer over to Newcomb and say, “Hey, that’s a solid offer, but you know you’ll make more if you let it play out, right?”

    That’s why the Ender deal is a great deal. Why did he sign that? He could have made a similar amount in his last couple years of arb, then he could have signed a multi-year deal for a lot more.

    I don’t have a WSJ account, so I can’t read JonathanF’s article, but I wonder if more teams will just proactively go to a system we’re probably headed to where there’s less pre-arb, less service time manipulation, and higher and faster escalation of arb raises. Simply put, paying guys more early on and less in the back end. It’s been rightly noted that the owners are getting a great deal in this pocket of the CBA; they’re not paying youngsters and they’re not paying geezers. And accordingly, there’s an increasing gap in revenue to expenses because they’re pulling a Costanza and double-dipping the chip.

  47. The idea that some kind of fan campaign is going to force MLB into doing something against Liberty is one of the sillier things I’ve ever read on this often silly website. We need some baseball, cause this is getting out of hand.

  48. You know who was really, really, good at getting these sorts of young-player buy-outs/extensions done?

    John Hart.

  49. The players have significantly more power in this than fans — especially fans of just one team — do. But fans voting their disinterest by choosing not to follow a team is a sort of campaign, even if there isn’t collective intent there. That mass disinterest, across teams, can have an impact. It already has.

    But I’m perfectly happy to cede the floor back to Derek Dietrich. Have at it.

  50. The Braves offered McCann and Francoeur similar deals when they were young players. I’m sure Frenchy regrets to this day that he didn’t sign that deal.

  51. @59 often silly website

    Now we have a new tagline. Mr. Grst, we will certainly work on meeting your expectations.

  52. Maybe they can deploy Frenchy as the voice of reason to players that think that they’re going to hit 120+% of what the Braves will offer them to buy out these years.

  53. No thanks on a Newcomb extension but I’d do the others.

    I don’t think it’s possible to shame Liberty Media or MLB. We just have to suffer these pigs. It sucks. I wish we could eliminate corporate ownership of sports franchises.

  54. It depends greatly on the level of expectation that fans want to set.

    Loria’s modus operandi was to maximize profitability given also minimizing expenses. The result, predictably, is gonna be a lot of 67-win teams until a wave of high draft picks create a little window for you. (How many rings do the Marlins have, after all?)

    Whereas Liberty’s approach seems to be to maximize profit while spending just enough to field a competitive team and hoping that team catches every single possible break in the regular and postseasons — the Nats underperforming, only major pitching injury being Soroka, Culberson out of nowhere…then you hope the Dodgers suffer catastrophe in a short series, etc. The result is going to be 87-win teams and early playoff exits more often than not.

    For some, there’s going to be a meaningful difference between being stuck with a 67-win Marlins team vs your regularly scheduled 87-win Braves team. Totally fair and a matter of taste when it comes down to it.

    But a lot, perhaps, depends on where any dissatisfied fans want to draw the line — and how many of them there really are, and whether or not they’re motivated enough to make common cause with fans of similarly oriented franchises.

    That level of motivation, given a fringe-y playoff team, would be extraordinary, as we’re seeing in this very thread, where the people who are most relentlessly critical of ownership are also the bigger downers when it comes to doing something about it.

    This is partly why campaigns do a way of appearing silly, until suddenly they’re not.

  55. In 2015, this website was awash in commenters aghast that ownership and management would tear apart a team that could have reasonably won 87 games and competed for the wild card.

  56. “Authority-infatuated.” That’s a nice spin. Devoid of any factual, reality based reasoning, but a nice spin nonetheless. I’ll give you half points.

    My argument isn’t “take your fringe-y playoff team and be grateful” per se. It’s really more of the “you people just love to listen to yourselves bitch and moan” variety.

    An observant reader would know that I have been a proponent of signing at least one of the big named free agents this winter…since about 2015.

  57. That level of motivation, given a fringe-y playoff team, would be extraordinary, as we’re seeing in this very thread, where the people who are most relentlessly critical of ownership are also the bigger downers when it comes to doing something about it.

    One of the potential big obstacles to effectively communicating with a corporation is a mixed message from the consumers. Whenever there is a contingent of loyal consumers who are willing to accept almost anything from a brand, it gives the brand owner a valid excuse to move forward with undesirable decisions. There are clear examples of this in other entertainment media, like all those $60 video games that then encourage you to make in-game purchases for items. Some of those games started out with micro-transactions (mtx) only in the online modes, but now, of course, mtx has found its place in offline modes or in some extreme cases the single player mode has been cut out completely! Hey, that’s okay, though, because the numbers show that people bought the game anyway and just grumbled about the missing content.

    However, there are examples where social media backlash and boycotting has been very effective. Star Wars Battlefront II had a rough launch when consumers eagerly started the game and discovered most of the most iconic items were basically locked behind a paywall. It took only a couple of months for consumers to get EA to buckle, and the aftermath yielded big changes such as an in-game economy that allowed players to earn credits to buy items and the cost of items was reduced by 75% (basically no more paywall).

    So, in a way, I want to admit that I’ve learned the silliness of my thinking. I really appreciate Adam R.’s well-articulated thoughts, as I tend to agree with nearly everything he is saying on the topic. After reflecting on the discussion last night, I realized that the odds are overwhelmingly against organizing enough fans to send a clear message. Attempts at doing it would look silly. I mean, look–I see the messages on Twitter and on TalkingChop where there are people who are actually in full support of this front office. Those are the brand loyalists who prove the ownership really knows what it’s doing. We could attempt to shout and be heard by Liberty Media, and those guys could shout equally as loud telling us we’re being silly. It’s a losing cause.

    However, there is merit to another of Adam R.’s points. There has to be a line somewhere for most fans. Where that somewhere is going to be, I hope it’s a lot closer than where it has been for my old NFL team, the Miami Dolphins. They, too, have made only [2] playoff appearances since their heyday ended. I don’t know if current fans can unite behind a cause. I happen to think that this team’s value was far greater than it’s $1.6B valuation, but the greater extent of Braves fans are/were dispassionate about the changes in the 2000’s and have quietly left the wagon and fandom for better entertainment. What’s left are the brand loyalists, those who root for the laundry and are not likely to find enough agreement on the team’s doings to unite behind a cause. Where the line might be for a majority of us could be pretty far down the road. Will it be when Acuna heads to free agency and possibly signs elsewhere? I’ve come to doubt it.

    For now, I will just submit that I’ve indeed been silly. I get mad and frustrated and want to vent. I’m at least willing to act on a cause if it will somehow help my Braves. The best we can hope for is that they will eventually keep their word and follow through on their publicized intentions.

  58. An observant reader would know that I have been a proponent of signing at least one of the big named free agents this winter…since about 2015.

    LOL, “there was this one time I deviated from the party line!”

    Kidding. At the time, I did interpret Sam’s mockery of people rationalizing not signing Harper as a subtle sign of front office disapproval.

    It’s not a huge knock to accuse someone of siding with our front office most of the time. After all, the Braves aren’t not trying to win, and almost all the things they do are defensible. But as long as we’re not slandering people, let’s note that I’ve been on board with the whole entire thing too, rebuild and all, until it became clear that the front office was bailing on the plan this offseason. I’m not out here whining reflexively.

    I guess I’ll grab you a pitchfork, Sam.

  59. @73 Didn’t ownership get away with slashing the budget during the rebuild? Looks like they had some positive benefit behind doing it that way, doesn’t it?

  60. We could attempt to shout and be heard by Liberty Media, and those guys could shout equally as loud telling us we’re being silly. It’s a losing cause.

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Gandhi Michael Scott?

    I don’t know where the line is myself exactly, but there is a certain number of games out of first place that the 2019 Braves could be before the All-Star Break, where I know I could be having way more fun taking out my frustrations on ownership vs patiently, fruitlessly waiting for the season to turn around.

    And the internet is built to amplify bitterness and sarcasm.

    The fun factor of successful campaigns is always underrated in the post-mortem. People want to be where the party is.

    I suspect the Braves won’t perform quite that badly, though.

  61. The irony is that its better to be terrible for 2-3 years than to finish .500. IMO, the Braves actions are much more akin to trying to finish .500 than to either be terrible, OR to be great.

    Which of the three, IMO is the worst.

  62. @33, here’s the outline of my argument.

    Assume that the value of the Braves is X.

    Assume that the value of the team at a certain point in the future, say ten years from now, is X + Y.

    Consistent with a strategy to maximize the value of their assets as efficiently as possible, the Braves will regard spending on the team in terms of how much a marginal dollar spent in 2019 increases the value of Y.

    However, there’s something else to remember: being a fan is relatively sticky. If they spent 0 dollars on the field in 2019, they would likely have more than 0 fans.

    Therefore, there are two ways of maximizing the marginal increase of Y, relative to spending:

    1) Spend money, if the expected value of that money over time is less than the expected value of Y. (If they were equal, you’d be indifferent.)

    2) Spend less money (in other words, save money), if the expected value of the money you keep in your pocket is GREATER than the amount by which Y will decrease.

    Managed decline is the explicit strategy by which a lot of private equity firms will buy companies, harvest cash flow, then liquidate. I’m not saying that Liberty is looking to sell. Just that baseball teams tend to be valuable assets even if you don’t spend a lot of money on them. We’re just a line item in a bean counter’s portfolio.

    (Tl;dr: Yes, it’s a short-term strategy, but in the long run, we’re all dead.)

  63. @81 That makes incredibly too much sense.

    See, I really don’t believe they want to sell the team. It’s just that their reluctance to sign any contracts beyond a few years out has that eerie feel of a team who wants to have a minimal payroll footprint a few years out [as though they could be preparing to make the property look more attractive for sale–see how there’s low financial obligation after year 3?? That would be yours if you bought it, and look at all this value you get!] However, we all know that the Braves and Braves-related properties are a growing evergreen investment for all the reasons you mentioned, Alex. They can get away with only incremental bumps to payroll for the foreseeable future with the real estate maturing around STP.

    Odds are they just don’t care if 10% of the fan base gets angry and quits.

  64. Gohara will render this discussion irrelevant when he puts the team on his back and picks up a WS MVP.

    This team is hard to support and yet incredibly easy to root for.

  65. I believe the front office has a plan; and for now, I trust them.

    Donaldson is a former league MVP, who wants to be here, so it’s not hard to envision them wanting to see if he’s healthy, and then extending him for 2-3 years.

    I do think they’ll lock up some of the young core long-term.

    Beyond that, I think (hope?) there’s a player they like more in next year’s FA class than what was in this one. There’s going to be a multitude of talented SP options, if one of the youngsters hasn’t taken a leap, plus OFs like Ozuna and Hicks.

  66. Looking on the bright side – Machado to the Padres is great for the 2019 Braves, insofar as it is very unlikely that the Braves will have to face Machado in the playoffs.

  67. @86 Manny got his money, for sure.

    That’s a nice fit for the Padres. I’m surprised he went there, though. I mean, I know San Diego has some beautiful weather. People seem to rave about the city, although I’ve never been myself. Honestly, I envisioned Manny wanting a larger market though. I felt like he wanted NY, but NY wasn’t has pressed for him; so it was going to be Chicago.

  68. I believe the front office has a plan; and for now, I trust them.

    Alex Anthopoulos and the front office are playing 4D chess. Trust the plan.

  69. Machado wanted the Yankees. The Yankees weren’t bidding. So he took the best offer (one assumes.) He’s played for the Orioles to date, so being an also ran in his division shouldn’t be a new experience.

  70. I believe the front office has a plan; and for now, I trust them.

    They certainly have a plan. It’s not necessarily my preferred plan, but I’m not part of their governing decision process, and I’ve moved past the point in my life where I’m going to live and die emotionally over the comings and goings of a bunch of other guys doing things I have no control over.

  71. Where’s my upvote feature. I actually want to upvote Sam.

    However, I’d like to add that while they may have a plan, I’m not entirely confident in Alex Anthopolous. He not only runs a tight ship, but he doesn’t appear to be as active as one might expect. There’s not as much churn in the minors or on the bottom of the roster as I’ve come to expect. It gives the appearance that nothing is actually happening (at all)–that’s where I actually accused AA of being asleep at the wheel. It’s one thing to not be in on any big long term contracts, but it’s even more alarming for the team to be passing on even the small deals.

    Hopefully now that Machado and Harper are bound for west coast teams (knock on wood regarding Harper), the Braves may actually go to work on improving the team.

  72. Good news on Machado. Not playing for the Phillies, not in the NL East and 30/10, glad the Braves did not go after this type of contract.

    Let Harper go to the Phillies. Machado scared me a lot more than Harper.

    Go Braves.

  73. I guess I just had my waking up moment. Someone said the Padres just got 5 wins better, and I thought to myself, “Wait, is that it? For 10/300??” I looked at his bWAR, which was a tick under 6 bWAR. He’s certainly the more valuable of the two compared to Harper. Then I looked at Harper and realized he wasn’t even worth 2 bWAR last year. He should definitely rebound, but his lack of consistency is worrisome.

    We’ve seemingly got plenty of players in that 3 bWAR range with plenty knocking at the door of 4 bWAR or greater. I wanted to upgrade over Swanson, but overrated or not he seems like an easy lock for 2.5-3 bWAR this year. If he stumbles, we’ve got someone even more valuable to fill in for him. Markakis is the bigger concern while I was hoping to upgrade over Inciarte. Combined, those two will be >5 bWAR and hopefully closer to 6 bWAR.

    We’re counting on Josh Donaldson to be worth as much as either Machado or Harper. I think he can be close to 6 bWAR. He’s coming back after not playing much of last season, so that saved some mileage on him. I think he’s got it in him to do it.

  74. Oh god. I want to drive over to Alabama and just hug Donny and give him treats, to reinforce the teaching moment!

  75. Machado’s move means even more that the Padres need to move an outfielder (because Myers is moved to OF already, but this means that Kinsler and Machado together cover 3rd). However, the remaining outfielders all seem to be OBP challenged.

  76. @101 I’d take Franmil in a heartbeat – OBP = .340 and massive power. He’s not a defensive genius but would make a good platoon partner with either Ender or Kakes. If Duvall has a rebound then Franmil might only be marginally better but has 8 years on Duvall and lots more control.

    Seems like we could trade a pitching prospect from the middle of our 30 for Franmil (Kolby?, Ynoa?, Weigel?).

    I’d love to get Yates, too, but that’s not likely now that they seem to be wanting to compete.

  77. The Padres will start the year paying 21m to Eric Hosmer and 30m(?)-ish to Machado. In 2020, Wil Meyers jumps from a 5m player to a 21m contract. 21m per is a lot to pay for a five years younger version of Nick Markakis.

  78. I’m here at the USF/UF game, and the best Braves 1B of my generation is 20 feet behind, and no one will sell me a pearl for him to sign. That’s a crime, dog.

  79. Again, the Braves should target Franmil (aka the Franimal). He’s no Harper but he is clearly a step up from Castellanos and the Padres don’t really have room for him – he currently sits fourth or fifth on their depth chart. If the Padres need anything, it’s starting pitching. There has got to be a deal there somewhere.

  80. Way to go Rob on getting McGriff’s autograph. Not only was he a spectacular ballplayer but he seems like one of the most genuinely decent guys to ever play the game. If anyone knows anything different, please never tell me. I’ll pay you to keep the image alive.

  81. The gift shop didn’t sell baseballs, which was silly. But the lady behind me in our seats that my friend knew worked for USF and she had a couple friends in the dugout. So she asked them if they could get me a clean baseball. After 5-10 minutes, I was really worried I would end up with nothing, so I went over to some kids playing catch and offered them $5 for their ball. It’s $5 to a kid, so of course he took it. But when I got back, she had gotten me a clean baseball from the dugout. So I got both balls autographed, and she let me have the clean one and I got her a beer. Win win.

    What is the best piece of sports memorabilia you guys own? I’ve just started building my collection, so I’d probably say this ball is at the top right now.

  82. @110 That guy could start for us. I can’t see any reason we wouldn’t at least call to inquire about him. He’s a sleeper for sure, but he was worth 1.6 bWAR in ~350 PA. Will Markakis be worth 1.6 bWAR all of next season?

    I sincerely hope we at least take a shot at getting a player like Franmil. He looks like a ballplayer.

  83. My Mom gave SP Jr. a college graduation trip to San Diego last season to see the Braves play the Pads. In the 14-1 laugher we won that series, Franmil Reyes struck what may have been the hardest hit ball I may have ever seen in person in the bottom of the 9th off Luke Jackson. I think the Pads announced it went 475 feet, but it seemed like an understatement to me.

  84. Two points (one from the article)

    1. MLBTR says the Padres payroll is still “just $110M” after Machado, so they could still afford Harper. Doesn’t that mean we could still afford Harper? Or Gio and Kimbrel or something like that.

    2. Quote from the above article….

    Baseball America editor J.J. Cooper speculates that the Padres could further accelerate their timetable by trading for veteran pitching:

    JJ Cooper Verified account

    Follow Follow @jjcoop36
    The Padres’ lineup is now so far ahead of the development curve of their pitching staff that I have to imagine we’ll see some trades from the No. 1 farm system in the game to help the starting rotation.

    9:34 AM – 19 Feb 2019

    We could do any number of trades. Trade pitching prospects close to the majors (up to or including Newcomb) for higher rated prospects farther away (e.g. Gore, Morejon, Patino, Weathers). Or trade pitching prospects for one of their excess OFs, specifically Franmil, and still maybe get a high rated teenage pitcher too (say Newcomb and Wright for Franmil and Gore….. or Newcomb and Wilson for Franmil and Morejon/Patino/Weathers). Heck, throw in Teheran for the cost savings. Teheran would have been the best starting pitcher on last year’s Padres

  85. The Padres are gonna be good for a really long time, but I’m glad Machado ended up with the Padres.

    The White Sox thought they had the highest offer for Machado. Harper says he’s still not sold on Philly. White Sox have the DH, which Harper may also want down the road. How great would it be for Philly to end up with nothing?

    Of course, if they end up with nothing, then Kimbrel could easily end up in Philly. Blech.

  86. I doubt there’s a scenario where Philly, or anyone, can bridge the gap between their defenses and ours. It’s not sexy, but we have chosen an offseason path of relying on our young pitchers and not hurting our defense at the expense of offense. It’s a lot more sexy when Philly signs Bryce Harper.

    But the offensive gap might not even be as severe. The graphic I posted yesterday had Dansby’s 88 OPS+ and not Camargo’s 110 OPS+. I doubt that if those numbers stay, Dansby is in the lineup and Camargo is not. I also doubt Ender’s 67 OPS+ against lefties will be allowed to continue. If Duvall, I think someone will play a corner while Acuna plays CF like they tried at the deadline last year.

    And Philly will never have our pitching. Washington and New York have a much, much better 1-4, but they don’t have the 35-40 starts you give to your 5th starter and injury replacements. That’s a lot of games.

  87. I’m not sure Philly would want our pitching as it currently sits. We’ve got some lottery tickets. That’s nice, but they’ve got Aaron Nola and will likely be ahead of us in the market for another elite TOR. As has been stated numerous times, we’ve got a 2, a 3, and a lot of 4’s. A LOT of 4’s.

    So when you state up above that we could deal Newcomb and Wright in a trade for Franmil Reyes and a top prospect, I kind of face palmed. It’s a nice thought, but we ought to be able to make a deal for Franmil Reyes without making it overly complicated and involving one of Wright, Anderson, or Soroka in a ploy to get another position prospect. We went all in with drafting the pitching, I think we’ve got to lock in on those three arms if we’re to come out out of this with an elite TOR.

    Newcomb and Teheran for Franmil and something. Sure. All day long.

  88. @118 +1

    I’m fine with the position group the Braves have, as is. I’d be fine if they took a shot at Reyes, too- although I like Renfroe a bit better.

    What I wouldn’t be fine with is if they trade Wright, Anderson or Sororka for almost anything other than an ace. Just no… There’s no reason to try and get too cute when two teams match up with surplus and need.

  89. @112 I have an autographed Tom Glavine ball, Rob.

    That’s a really cool thing to get that ball signed by McGriff like that. Great ball player, and possibly an underrated player in Braves history.

  90. @119

    That’s the truth. If they really don’t even have room for Reyes in their OF, then there’s no way I’m giving them a top prospect in return for him–not when he’s arguably the centerpiece for us. I’d like to see us actually win a trade this off-season by trading from our excess and not from the top of the pile of prospects.

    Besides, Julio Teheran is still regarded as good value for his salary. At what point are we able to flip him for something “kinda good?”

  91. At least Greinke being worth his salary means you’re getting a 3 WAR player, as opposed to the fraction of a win you might as well try to find within your farm system that Teheran represents.

    I wonder if we want Greinke enough to entice him to waive his no-trade.

  92. @123,

    Greinke has a limited no trade. As of earlier this offseason, it was reported Braves are NOT subject to no trade clause.

  93. @125, I just did a double take. This whole offseason I thought we were on the list… and so many other contenders are on there!

    Can the DBacks do us just one more favor and stumble out the gate this year?

  94. @123

    Ehhhh… that’s fWAR for ya. It places a high premium on K’s for outs and doesn’t credit pitchers nearly as much for innings pitched as bWAR does. For comparison, Teheran’s bWAR looks like such:

    2016: 4.8
    2017: 1.5
    2018: 1.8

    He’s not great, but he’s not awful. And… he is immediately better than any of the guys in the Padres’ rotation last season.

  95. @127 you know Ahmed just won his first gold glove, right? I really don’t like the idea of giving the D’Backs two good SS. Besides, Dansby is going to pick it up.

    @125 Greinke’s from Orlando…. I don’t think anyone in the NL East is on his no trade except the Phillies (or something like that). Kinda why I’ve been talking about Greinke all winter (among other D’Back players I’d like to trade for like Peralta or Bradley).

  96. @118 None of the Pads prospects I mentioned are position players – all pitchers. The point is to trade for another prospect that might be a TOR. Gore is such a prospect – top 10 overall in the majors. If we can trade a ML pitcher with upside and a top 100 prospect, even a Wright, (i.e. Newcomb and Wright) and get Franmil and Gore then it would still be a win as Gore is not ready for the 40-man roster. Gore is better than Wright and farther from the majors. If you throw in Teheran for the cost savings then there’s payroll space and a 40-man roster spot for a FA acquisition e.g. Keuchel to replace Newcomb.

  97. Of all the throw-ins in the Justin Upton trade, Nick Ahmed is better than Brandon Drury and Randall Delgado, and that’s all I have to say on the subject of Gold Gloves.

    Uh, dude, you know that the Padres aren’t trading Gore, right? He’s the best lefty pitching prospect in the world. Those guys don’t get traded. He’s the literal entire point of their rebuild.

  98. You’re gon’ sit here and tell me that Zeke Spruill wasn’t the best player we sent in that deal?

    Was it Zeke Spruill? Can’t remember.

  99. Reports are that the Giants are in the drivers seat for Harper. Would be nice to see both Machado and Harper go to the NL West to teams that are marginal competitors. Might be able to drag the Dodgers down some.

  100. @132 I realize it’s a stretch but the Padres need ML-ready pitchers. That’s why I offered a lesser deal for one of their other top 10 (team not majors) pitchers e.g. Newcomb and Wilson for Franmil and Morejon/Patino/Weathers. Wilson might not be quite as good as those three but he’s top 100 and ML ready whereas the others are in A/A+ ball.

  101. If we’re just gonna deal for Franmil, I think Newcomb is too much, but Teheran might not be enough. That’s why I expanded my proposal.

  102. Ehhhh… that’s fWAR for ya. It places a high premium on K’s for outs and doesn’t credit pitchers nearly as much for innings pitched as bWAR does.

    Ok, but don’t the stable of AAAA pitchers you could also cobble together for even cheaper to not strike people out over the equivalent of Julio’s innings all get graded on the same forgiving bWAR curve?

    I mean, Greinke also gets to add 1 bWAR too.

    We’ll see if I can manage to jinx it, but people have been talking about how Teheran is still a good value for years, even amidst front offices trying to bring costs under control. Our state media has said Teheran has all but no place on this team. So, if all of this is true, then why hasn’t he been traded yet?

  103. I think Tehran’s just an odd case. He has value, but it’s priced in line with his salary. The Braves could easily move him, if they’d like to essentially give him away- but it doesn’t appear they’d like to do that.

    They could eat salary, and likely get something of value in return. The fact that they haven’t is interesting. I kinda chalk that up to the fact though that teams are probably thinking, “why trade for Julio when we could sign a guy like Santana for money alone?”

    I think he’ll be moved, but closer to the season, when the FA pitching is gone.

  104. So, if all of this is true, then why hasn’t he been traded yet?

    Because this team don’t make trades during the off-season? I don’t know…

    Ok, but don’t the stable of AAAA pitchers you could also cobble together for even cheaper to not strike people out over the equivalent of Julio’s innings all get graded on the same forgiving bWAR curve?

    I mean, Greinke also gets to add 1 bWAR too.

    It doesn’t work like that… First of all, Greinke gets to add more than 1 bWAR (try 1.3 bWAR), and secondly those AAAA pitchers probably struggle to last into the 4th and 5th innings without getting shelled (see: Kolby Allard). That’s the thing about pitching 170+ IP: you actually have to keep from getting knocked out of the game or getting hurt to accumulate those innings. There’s just not that many starting pitchers who will give you those innings while managing to not be awful. That’s the definition of Teheran.

    He has value. It’s not what it was in 2016, but he is certainly better than any AAAA pitcher precisely because he knows how to pitch and will keep a team in the game in most of his starts.

  105. First of all, Greinke gets to add more than 1 bWAR (try 1.3 bWAR)

    I don’t think the decimals matter that much with any formulation of WAR. At least not enough to be predictive of future performance. Nobody goes around saying, “Wait, wait, you just called my player a 1 WAR, when he’s actually a 1.3 WAR guy!”

    and secondly those AAAA pitchers probably struggle to last into the 4th and 5th innings without getting shelled (see: Kolby Allard)

    Maybe sometimes that happens, but that’s certainly true of Teheran sometimes too. And it all evens out to the meh that he is.

    That’s the thing about pitching 170+ IP: you actually have to keep from getting knocked out of the game or getting hurt to accumulate those innings. There’s just not that many starting pitchers who will give you those innings while managing to not be awful. That’s the definition of Teheran.

    And what I’m saying is, practically any team can assemble the equivalent in whatever WAR you want to use of a Teheran between what’s already in their minor leagues that they can cycle through, riding the hot hand, and what they can sign for cheaper than $8 million. If they end up with 0.9 bWAR instead of 1.1 bWAR, they might even up with the same exact record at the end of the season.

    I can’t say I feel much of a need to argue this point. The facts speak for themselves. There’s no room for him here. There’s no future for him here. We want to trade him. We could clearly stand to spend that $8 million elsewhere. Yet we haven’t traded him. You’re not arguing against me so much as you’re arguing against reality here.

  106. I think Julio’s intended role on the 2019 Braves is fairly similar to Bartolo Colon and R.A. Dickey’s intended roles on the 2017 Braves: eat innings until one of the prospects forces him off the roster.

    To paraphrase John Malkovich, I’m fine with paying the man his money till then, particularly since I have very little confidence that Liberty Media believes the highest and best use of a dollar is to pay a man’s salary.

  107. I’d give even odds that Julio Teheran out pitches Sean Newcomb this year.

    It could happen. If it does, boy, it’s not going to be a fun season.

    A lot is riding on Newcomb.

  108. @146, put it this way: a little fewer than 60 pitchers in the major leagues qualified for the ERA title last year. Julio Teheran is in the bottom 10, trending downwards. His average fastball velocity is right around the same as Zack Greinke and Mike Fiers and James Shields and Dallas Keuchel and Zack Godley and Gio Gonzalez and Marco Gonzales.

    Julio Teheran is not Zack Greinke, to put it mildly. He’s not Keuchel, either, though it’s not completely beside the point that no one this offseason seems to trust Keuchel’s arm either. And I bet that not even you would bet money on Marco Gonzales repeating, mostly because all of a sudden he cut his career homer rate in half and cut his walk rate nearly in half, and if he can do it then Newcomb certainly can.

    Now: will one of the group of Fiers or Shields or Godley or Gio or Marco or Teheran outpitch Newcomb?

    Probably, yeah.

    Is it even odds that most of these hamburger-shouldered slop-throwers will outpitch Newcomb?

    Well, no. It isn’t.

  109. There have been times when I’ve wanted to say, “If the Braves knew that Newcomb and O’Day were going to perform at their ceilings, then this offseason makes total sense.”

    But Newcomb already has enough to live with, right? Being the guy we got for Andrelton in an IMO unwise swap, he has to feel that pressure even without the roster construction kind of demanding that he take a step forward.

  110. @142

    Okay, you got me there. Fact is, most fans don’t talk about WAR. I only get weird looks when I mention it in public. I consider a full 1 WAR difference between the two sites to be a meaningful difference, but that’s because there’s a lot of teams with starting pitchers eating ~120 IP to 0 or negative WAR. Maybe those teams intend to lose (I really don’t know anymore…?), and that’s only reason I thought we could package and ship Teheran out for something like a 4th OF’er or a reclamation reliever.

    If almost any team could really cobble together AAAA pitchers for positive WAR, then teams really must be tanking on purpose.

  111. @112 – I have a program signed by Hank Aaron, Dusty Baker, and Ralph Garr. It’s about all I’ve got, but it’s about all I need.

    I wrote about it a couple of years ago, when we were trying to eat some innings to get through the winter.

    August 2nd, 1973 (by Rusty S.)

  112. Even if the Braves knew that, the offseason would not be considered a success, given that AA has already admitted that one of the biggest problems with the team last year was our thin bench, which we barely addressed. (Moving Camargo to a supersub role is nice, but Markakis and McCann are basically a push.)

  113. Is there a bigger addition to any NL East team’s bench than Camargo to ours? Man, I’m just a big “Camargo as Marwin Gonzalez as a roster construction maneuver” fan.

    But yes, committing to Duvall as your 4th outfielder is a dangerous game.

  114. I get the feeling that Julio will either have one his best years or be an absolute bust with no in between. If he keeps on losing velocity it won’t be pretty.

  115. @112, I have a signed San Diego Chicken card from ’83 that makes me smile every time I see it. (Timely!) But my sports faves are my personalized Lou Whitaker headshot and Fleer card.

  116. @156, 100% agree.

    Improving the bench is a volume game. That’s why I’m so annoyed that the Braves haven’t, say, signed Tyler Clippard or Ryan Madson, or given out a few more contracts to fourth outfielders and fifth infielders.

    Put it this way: the way the bench is currently constructed, Camargo is basically a single point of failure. If he gets injured, who steps in? As far as we can tell, Austin Riley or Christian Pache aren’t ready. So who is it?

  117. I’m not ready to just dump Teheran unless we have five guys who can put up better numbers over the course of a full season. Right now that’s Folty, Gausman and *maybe* Newcomb. There’s value in a guy who can give you 170-180 mostly cromulent innings every year, especially on a roster filled mostly with young guys who have limited ML experience. Maybe the money could be better spent elsewhere but odds are decent we’d just pocket it.

  118. Best thing at this point would be if we can move Teheran for Franmil (plus or minus others) and use the excess to sign Keuchel. I still think you need another rotation slot to properly test and rotate in the prospects we have ready to play (e.g. Fried, Soroka, Touissant, Gohara, Wright, Wilson). That’s why I’d consider including Newcomb if the Pads will include a low level highly rated pitcher in return.

    If we still have $20M to play with and Keuchel costs $20M then trading Teheran leaves $11M for the trade deadline. That sounds like a decent deal to me. If we can get Keuchel for 3/60 or 3/63 or something like that, we should jump on it. Especially if we can get a Franmil and top 100 non-40 man prospect in return. If the Pads go out and sign Keuchel, we should still trade Teheran+ for Franmil.

  119. I’ll be satisfied with the rebuild when Camargo is a super-sub, and all our starters are better than he is.

  120. Is there any source for all of the Franmil talk other than fans here wanting to get him in exchange for a player/contract they don’t like?

  121. So Harper reportedly rejected multiple 10/300 offers.
    That’s why I don’t put all the blame on the owners.
    And that’s why I don’t feel bad that it takes so long to sign players/him in this instance.

    He is not just the best player in baseball. He should take a 10/300. Easily.

  122. @162 There is none. Roger simply pointed out another player who could be on the market and he appears to be an extra in their overflowing outfield.

    It doesn’t have to be in exchange for player/contract most of us don’t like. It’s just that it is what could make sense since Teheran could even be the best pitcher in their rotation.

    I’m sure there are near ML-ready pieces that they would find acceptable that aren’t among our top 10, hopefully.

  123. Would anyone be interested in writing up some quick player previews – 3,4 paragraphs max unless you’re feeling overly jazzy – for any players who are almost certain to be on the roster this year? I’m writing up an Ender one for the 44 Greatest Braves anyway (or maybe I already have and posted it?), Alex has already done a really good Donaldson one, but that’s pretty much it. Please email them to braves journal rob at gmail dot com. I’m just super bogged on work right now.

  124. @159 Roger, I don’t see the Padres trading a top 100 prospect for Newk. Their timeline was 2020, and I imagine it still is. Machado’s a big boost, but they need some other things to shake out. If they’re going to start trading major prospects though, I’d think they’d just wait/hold until July, and see if the Mets are out of it. They coveted Thor at one point, I believe I remember seeing.

  125. I’d be interested to see a poll of which young pitcher will have the best season/ establish himself in the rotation. Soroka would be an easy choice for me if not for his injury.

  126. @162 Specifically stated in multiple online sources is that the Padres have an excess of OFs and are in dire need of rotation help. I’m just putting 2+2 together as I hope AA is.

    @167 I would disagree on waiting for the deadline for the Pads as well as the Braves. When Machado was in Balto, they were still a last place team and their main problem was horrible starting pitching. The Pads have a great system with a lot of high upside pitchers but very few are ready and the ones I’m targeting won’t be ready by 2020 (most projected as 2021 but those projections are usually aggressive). I want to target high upside pitchers who are not ready for a roster spot to relieve the roster bottleneck and improve the low end of the farm where we are facing issues due to penalties. Newcomb is darn sure worth a top 100 A/A+ prospect; he himself was certainly rated that high and now has a ML track record. A good one, too, with room to grow. But the real target would be Franmil (none of the other Pads OFs show high end potential including Renfroe). I want to include a Braves Top 100 (e.g. Wilson) on the 40-man for a Pads top 100 not on the 40-man (e.g. Morejon/Patino/Weathers). Neither farm system loses any weight just trading ML-ready for youth (19yo).

    Teheran could be a separate deal. I’m just saying he’s there as a sweetener, if needed.

  127. @169 Let me ask you this though, from the Pad’s perspective, would you feel like Newcomb gives you a legitimate chance to overtake the Dodgers this season?

    If not, your window is 2020.

    If your window is 2020, moving forward, would you rather have Newcomb or a chance at Thor or DeGrom?

    It’s a lot of “what ifs”, I know. Just trying to look at it from SD perspective, I don’t think it makes sense to be aggressive the way your proposing. I do understand your logic from the Braves side, however.

  128. I think all of these guys have a chance to be really special, and more than one will likely be big contributors. I decided to give Soroka the benefit of the doubt that he will stay healthy. I almost went with Fried, but he has similar durability concerns. The others seem most likely to start in the pen. As someone else said, it’s a good problem to have.

  129. @160 words that approach the biblical in their power, their wisdom. Mama C will be delighted when she can get them translated.


    Someone said the other week Harper dived for just one catch attempt last season (cf Markakis, 471). And his arm now is average at best. So, at 25, eyeing the prize, he’s already protecting his crystalline shell, holding back. And wants 10 years guaranteed.

    How am I supposed to take WAR seriously as the ultimate evaluator when, over the last 5 years, there is a chasm between them? Either it matters or it doesn’t . Look at these graphs, never before seen, sitting behind a huge paywall, still under construction…

    Ryan and Jason. Guilt keeps both awake at night. Bryce chortles all the way to the bank.

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