I wasn’t worried… Were you worried? Braves 5, Nationals 4 in 10 innings.

The ‘60s have cultural touchstones aplenty, and as the most arrogant generation in world history, us Baby Boomers aren’t about to let any of them die until we do.  The Twilight Zone ran from 1959-1964 with syndication that ensured that almost all of its 156 episodes would become shared culture.  A few episodes were genuinely prescient, including several for which the jury is still out.

Episode 2 in Season 5 (“Steel”) debuted on October 4, 1963.  I doubt I first saw it then, and am quite certain I wouldn’t have fully understood it that night if I had.  But it was fully imprinted on me by 1970.  In it, human boxing has been outlawed but the sport lives on through robots providing a realistic enough simulacrum to entice a paying crowd.  In the episode, a down-on-his-luck former boxer turned trainer (Lee Marvin) is forced to pretend to be a robot and box against one in order to preserve a meager payday.  He is beaten near-senseless, earns only half his promised fee, and serves as an exemplar of human futility and the indomitability of the human spirit even in a world in which the physical limitations of flesh and blood are overwhelming. 

So many tasks once performed by humans have shifted to being routinely performed by robots in my lifetime that it would be even more than usually foolish of me to limn any kind of demarcation between the machine world and the human. The scenario of Steel has not quite come true, though Battlebots are now far more popular than Demolition Derby.  But what (nobody asked me) do I think of Robo-umps?

I think we already have them.  We just have bad ones, though they’re getting a lot better.  Recall the time before Questec, the predecessor to PITCHf/x.  The poohbahs of the sport were naïve enough to think that they could change the de facto strike zone by telling umpires to change the de facto strike zone.  It didn’t work because no one will ever be convinced they are doing a bad job, not even CB Bucknor, unless you can show them they’re doing a bad job.  But with years of feedback from Questec, PITCHf/x and now Statcast, umps have learned to call the strikes that the robots want them to call, not the ones they see.  They aren’t perfect at this of course (the umps, I mean, not the robots) but they only miss about 9% of called pitches.  (This, and the subsequent takes are based on the BU study which I think overstates the inaccuracy of umpires by assuming that PITCHf/x data is completely accurate, but until they publish their study in a way that it can be assessed, it’s about the best guess we have.)   Over time the number of errors that the robo-assessment age has squeezed out of the game is really striking.  Eric Gregg, spin fitfully in your grave.  The big remaining bias is the error rate on called third strikes.  According to the BU research, a whopping 37% of called third strikes were incorrect in 2008, declining to 21% last year[i].  (The fact that Tom Glavine was still pitching in 2008 can only account for part of that issue; that was his last year when he started only 13 games.)  There are only about 4 called third strikes per game, so we’re only talking about one bad strikeout call per game.  Sounds about right. 

I don’t think robo-umps are going to give people what they want, but I think people are confused about a lot of things they think they want.  [Mac’s Prime Directive is hereby invoked to keep me from saying what I mean by this.]  Umps are getting much better than they used to be, and more consistent—even Angel Hernandez.  So let’s just be happy with that, lest someone invent robo-Gregg and give him a playoff start.

There is no such thing as a must-have game in July, or even August, but this game was a little more would-like-to-have than most – the rubber game on the road against FP Santangelo’s gNats.  The fans in DC didn’t treat it as a must-win – nobody was there.  Soroka against Sánchez.  After a scoreless first, Gwinnett Penicillin 2.0 struck again with yet another Duvall homer.  (This simultaneously creates a nickname for Duvall and one for Riley.)  Unfortunately, it was matched by a Soto homer in the bottom of the 2nd.

The BFFs, Acuña and Albies, led off the 3rd with doubles to break the tie.  They added another in the 4th when Acuña knocked in Camargo, who had gotten to 2nd when a Braves pitcher got a hit for once.  Back-to-back doubles from Inciarte and Flowers (!) chased the third greatest MLB strikeout pitcher in Venezuelan history for a fourth run.  Tyler, having done something well, proceeded to get thrown out at third.

M-m-m-mike, who, btw, makes my motor run, was his usual amazing self.  7 IP, 3 hits.  What I learned about him in this game was that McCann and Flowers literally call different games when they catch Soroka – McCann requests more fastballs and Flowers wants more breaking balls…. and Soroka doesn’t mind.  This strikes me as crazy.  Surely one way is more effective than the other, right?  Canadians are just so damn nice.

Mike got into a couple of jams, but emerged from one with a line drive double play and another when Howie Kendrick tried to score from first on a Turner double.  Howie Kendrick is faster than Brian McCann and me.  That doesn’t mean he can score from first.  That said, kudos to Inciarte and Camargo on a good relay.  Soroka’s only problem with this team – his absence in the 8th and 9th.

The 8th and 9th were given to the bullpen, who would have to pitch a lot better in the 8th and 9th than they did the night before.  Swarzak got the 8th (again) and yielded a long blast to big Matt Adams in an otherwise efficient inning, narrowing the lead to two, which is less room than any reliever we have really requires. (Newest Brave Chris Martin was not around.)  And Luke has been especially shaky.  But he got the 9th despite 27 pitches (and, like Swarzak, 3 runs) last night.

A scratch single started the nervous-making, as Rendon came to the plate representing the tying run.  Camargo muffed a grounder to put the winning run at the dish, which led to the not-entirely-solid Newcomb, who gave up 3 in his last effort.  He walked Soto to load the bases with no outs. Suzuki then singled to make it 4-3.  A double play tied the game, and a strikeout took us to extra innings.  So instead of giving up 6 runs in the 8th and 9th like they did last night, they were much better – only 3.

The 10th Brought Rain off Doolittle.  If a two run lead is hard to hold, what can you do with a one run lead?  The next save opportunity goes to Josh Tomlin.  Robles flew out to the track.  Adrián Sanchez singled when Tomlin failed to cover first.  Turner then walked.  Eaton popped out and once again Rendon was at the dish.  Foul ball.  Line drive to Duvall.  It’s a win.  Easy peasy.

Chip note: Milestones.  Anibal Sánchez became, in this game, third in strikeouts among Venezuelan pitchers.  This is a milestone, but I note that Sánchez was already fifth among Venezuelan pitchers in batters faced, so the fact that he strikes out guys at a higher rate than Freddy Garcia is about all that tells you, since you already knew that he was a pretty good pitcher.  Mike Soroka is already tied for fourth in All Star Game appearances by a Canadian pitcher, and in this game passed Jim Henderson for 56th all time innings pitched by a Canadian pitcher.  So there are milestones and milestones.

The Puigless Reds tomorrow. Go get ‘em.


[i] Actually, it’s not clear whether that’s really a two-strike bias or whether pitchers throw two strike pitches to that part of the zone most vulnerable to bad calls: low just off the corners.  For the purposes here, though, it doesn’t matter.

Author: JonathanF

Alive since 1956. Braves fan since 1966. The first ten years were pretty much wasted. Exiled to Yankees/Mets territory in 1974 --- bearable only with TBS followed by MLB.TV.

146 thoughts on “I wasn’t worried… Were you worried? Braves 5, Nationals 4 in 10 innings.”

  1. JC’d:

    DOB is acknowledging the reported Greene move (per Rosenthal) and talking like it’s happening, though no specifics or actual confirmation yet. (And after I posted this, I saw the above Olney tweet.)

    Also, probably worth noting that if Philadelphia beats San Francisco tonight, they’ll pass Washington for second and we’ll be six games ahead of them (as opposed to the 6.5 we’re now ahead of Washington).

  2. DOB now confirmed the Greene deal, though still trying to figure out what’s going the other way.

    He also retweeted the above tweet about the Murphy deal.

  3. Anxious to hear who we’re losing. Unless it’s Anderson or Pache, I will love this deal.

  4. I’ll be interested to hear whether the deal for Murphy is seen as more of an indictment of Tyler Flowers or of Alex Jackson.

    UPDATE: And realizing I’m an idiot right after hitting send, it dawned on me it probably means that Alex Jackson is going to Detroit.

  5. This is good. Keep going, AA.

    Melancon shouldn’t cost top prospects. He’s owed a lot until end of next season.

  6. Mark it down. “Royal We” all wanted bullpen help. The juice will justify the prospect squeeze. I fully reserve the right to review this later

  7. Tristan Beck is a lottery ticket who has been hurt. Winkler isn’t good anymore. I’m good with that one.

  8. @17 By sending Beck I would certainly hope that there’s quite a bit of money coming back from the Giants. Melancon currently costs Kimbrel-money for next year.

    So far, all righties. That means our lefties will hang around – Blevins, Minter, Newk. Assuming no one from active roster is traded along with AJax for Greene then three have to go down. Probably all righties.

  9. Will the three pitchers we got be better than those they replace? It is a low hurdle they must clear, but was the cost too dear?

    Not if we hang The Flag.

  10. Mark Melancon is the only Melancon I know that doesn’t have a cedilla in his surname.

  11. #Tigers acquiring Joey Wentz and Travis Demeritte from the #Braves in exchange for Shane Greene, sources tell The Athletic.

    I’m ok with this.

  12. I can’t figure three…. without taking out a lefty. I’m guessing Sobotka, Walker, and Minter. That would leave:

    Blevins
    Jackson
    Newcomb
    Swarzak
    Tomlin
    Martin
    Greene
    Melancon

    That’s actually a lot of old guys.

  13. Just saw we gave up Joey Wentz and Travis DeMerritte for Greene.

    Yes, please.

  14. Allard and Winkler are 2 40 man spots. You’re right, they need one more for the 3 new relievers.

    They could call up Gohara and put him on the 60 day IL if they don’t want to do that with Neck or DFA anyone.

  15. The Astros apparently snuck a Zack Greinke deal in at the buzzer, per Rosenthal, and the Cubs did so for Nick Castellanos.

  16. If it were gonna be a DFA, you’d think we’d have just thrown whoever that was in with the package to San Francisco or Detroit, though.

  17. Jonathan F…

    Did you put a recapped notice up around 3.30 when you started this new one? I never saw it if you did so for half an hour or so we had two threads covering ‘the dying of the light’ at 4.

  18. The other odd thing that happened with our threads today was that between 12.56 and 3.30 there were only 5 new posts on the old thread, all by the same person. What a trooper he must be.

    What a great day. So who will emerge as our fourth starter?

  19. Second Stu @32. giving up Tristan Beck, Dan Winkler, Joey Wentz, Travis Demeritte, and Kolby Allard, and getting three extremely reliable relievers is an absolute A+ deadline performance. He took the single crappiest thing about our team and addressed the hell out of it. Between Soroka, Donaldson, and these guys, the Braves had a really good afternoon.

  20. I don’t see John Ryan Murphy as anything more than relief for our catching duo when rosters expand in September, but considering we literally gave up a few bags of baseballs, this sounds okay to me.

  21. SMH at the Astros getting Zack Greinke. That’s what World Championship baseball looks like. They did it AND DIDN’T deal their Pache or their Anderson.

    I can’t help but feel a bit of FOMO…

  22. @46–couldn’t agree more. But about an hour and a half ago, this afternoon was looking very shaky. Looked for all the world that our pen would lose the game and we hadn’t heard about Greene and Melancon.

    But now we have three top
    notch relievers that we sorely need and we didn’t give up anyone who is a certain big leaguer. And we’re 6.5 up on the Nats! And another stellar (and remarkably quick) recap by JonathanF! This is an afternoon to remember.

  23. So does he really go by John Ryan Murphy, full-name style? I thought that was reserved for serial killers and SAG members.

  24. So, pen usage:

    9th Greene

    8th Melancon

    7th Martin/Swarzak/Jackson

    6th Newk/Chewbotka

    Long Guy/Mop Up Tomlin

    LOOGY Blevins

    Think the pen is 1000% better than 2 hours ago.

  25. Melancon is the head scratcher to me. His ERA is okay, but his WHIP has been pretty bad over the last few years. Before that it was phenomenal- well below 1 for several years.

  26. Luke Jackson went from the 9th inning to the 6th inning in about 24 hours.

    Snit has plenty of buttons to push. No excuses now.

    I also think this helps keep Soroka and Fried’s innings down.

  27. @58

    I saw one thing referring to him as J.R. Murphy, so you can probably do that if it makes you feel more comfortable.

  28. Who’s the third guy to option? Sobotka and Walker are a given. Minter?

    Then…. who gets DFA’ed if you want to bring Webb back?

    Great problems.

  29. You pretty much need to 60-day Gohara. Or you’re DFA’ing someone like Dayton, Weigel, Ynoa, or Parsons.

  30. Per Rosenthal, the Dbacks are sending $24M to the Astros as part of the Greinke trade.

  31. 67—Oh, totally forgot Gohara hadn’t yet been 60-day’d. That’s definitely one of the 40-man moves.

  32. What if we send Newcomb down temporarily to stretch him out as a starter? We may need him more as a starter than reliever now.

  33. I don’t think Demeritte was traded. Only Wentz.

    Looks like both Greene and Martin have an option left. The only optionable relievers other than Newk are exactly Sobotka, Minter, and Walker. Webb is optionable so he will go to Gwinnett when he recovers.

    When Dansby comes back then, for sure, Riley goes down.

    Our bullpen got very old very fast. The only guys under 30 are Newk and Luke. The Gwinnett shuttle has come to an end until Sept 1st. There is no one left to option.

    Also, we have not created any 40-man holes so we can’t expect to see Pache or Rowen or DePaula or Burrows or Clouse or Demeritte.

  34. So the Astros owe $53 million for Greinke for 2019-2021, some of which is deferred. That’s a little over $21 million a year in ’20 and ’21 and a little over $10 million left this season. I woulda paid that, but too late now.

  35. Also, we can’t expect to see Folty, Wilson, or Wright come back up either.

    Why didn’t we get Sam Dyson instead of Melancon? Cheaper, younger, and probably better.

    @75@76 well, that answers that question. I’m sure they’re hoping no one claims him.

  36. Wow, pretty surprised by the Gohara move. If my math is correct, they saved something like $175K by DFAing him rather than moving him to the 60-day IL (which comes with major-league salary), but yikes.

  37. OK, now I see all sources including Demeritte in the trade. I was hoping to see what he could do in the majors. He could easily be every bit as good as Camargo.

  38. The guys on MLB said we moved “seven minor leaguers, but only three of our top 30.”

    I only count five: Allard, Wentz, Demeritte, Beck, and Winkler. I’m wondering if we’ll find out that Jackson will be going to SF or Detroit; that would explain the Murphy “trade”.

  39. @82 Jackson is in the top 30 and, if you include Gohara, at least 4 of the top 30 (5 including Jackson) would be moved.

  40. All deals are now official. Melancon for Beck and Winkler, Greene for Wentz and Demeritte. I’m guessing the MLB Network guys just can’t count.

  41. I wonder if they’re hoping other rebuilding teams don’t have a free 40-man spot since they’ve been making deals and taking back quantity, but someone’s going to have a free spot for Gohara.

  42. I thought Murphy was cash considerations. Not sure if he’s worth much more than that given his Corky Miller like stats.

  43. @84 The Braves are right at $140M for the year.

    I wonder how far over they went. They were at $130M last year, so I would think $140M is right in line with what we had hoped for based on what they told us along the way to building the castle, I mean edifice. :)

  44. Yeah, the Gwinnett shuffle comments are right on. There’s absolutely no wiggle room at the pen save Newcomb. It’s a bullpen of grownups now.

    I love how we’ve talked the entire rebuild about how our starting pitching prospects can become relievers if all else fails and that’s happened so far with exactly one guy.

  45. I know I’ll be following the guys traded away. I cheer for the laundry mostly, but I like a lot of our guys too. Hope we can see Demeritte and Allard on major league rosters immediately.

  46. @89–AAR is right as usual; Demeritte is not likely to be a productive major league hitter. He strikes out too much.

    But Brandon Hicks never had an offensive year as good as Travis is having this year at AAA. He may have just figured some things out and turned a corner. Even so, he’s not too high a price for Greene.

  47. I have no idea how the new relievers will do, but the big picture is that we didn’t give up any jewels from the farm. Nothing negative to say about AA today.

  48. If you have been closely following the Braves’ farm, you will not lose any sleep over the prospects that AA traded away. Well done AA.

    Feel a bit sad over Gohara. Hope he will bounce back.

  49. @Alex
    I think it’d surprise you to look at Demeritte’s K% as it’s dropped significantly in the past 3 years and for a serious power stroke, a 26.6% K rate isn’t bad. Hicks stayed around 30. Also, Demeritte hits the ball as hard as anyone at AAA & that’s including both AJax and recently promoted Duvall.

    Still…there’s reason he’s 24 and not in the show but I hope he’ll get to prove himself in the Tigers org.

  50. So, if Mark Melancon is making $14M this year and next year, and he probably wouldn’t have gotten that on a two year deal this past offseason, why did we have to give up Dan Winkler and Tristan Beck to get him? I think that’s a fair question.

  51. There’s no doubt it was an overpay without any $ being eaten. His GB rate should really work well with the Braves defense though.

  52. I am breaking all my rules to talk about playoffs on July 31, but a 4 – 2 road trip against the 2 closest teams will do that.

    Let’s say your playoff starters are Soroka, Keuchel, and Teheran. One possible bullpen could be:

    Multi-inning guys:
    Folty
    Gausman
    Newcomb
    Tomlin

    Short guys:
    Greene
    Martin
    Melancon

    LOOGYs
    Blevins
    Minter

    That leaves Luke and Swarzak battling for a roster spot, and that’s only if we think we’re going to need 13 freaking pitchers to get through a playoff series.

  53. I would rather we overpay a little bit than what JS did in the early 90s. Don’t think AA significantly overpay here at all. This team has a chance this year and these trades need to be done.

  54. The Major League ball at AAA has led to video game power numbers across the league. I think everyone’s taking it with a grain of salt – that may be one reason the Braves were so hesitant to bring up Duvall, but it’s also the reason that org guys across baseball are suddenly having Triple-A career years, all at the same time. Demeritte hit .220 at Double-A with a normal baseball. How different is he?

  55. This offseason, AA kept the 14 Mio as promised for the trade deadline.
    Looking back, you cannot really complain about him.
    This is a roster built to battle the Dodgers for the NL title.

  56. There’s a combination of things that I think went wrong with Demeritte, but the biggest issue was that he had to spend 2 years at Pearl, where everyone’s power comes to die. I don’t expect Demeritte to be a .900+ OPS guys in the Majors, but a ~.800 OPS guy with defensive versatility is very valuable.

    Not to toot my own horn, but I’m likely the only guy here that’s actually been able to watch 100s of his ABs and the work he’s put in to maintain power, all the while decreasing his K-rate. Sure, there’s a lot of everyone’s success at AAA aided by the ball, but it’s still the same ball that MLB uses and Duvall hasn’t missed a step and he and Riley are our best sample sizes for now.

    He might’ve been Hessman in his early career…he ain’t now. In fact, he’s quite similar to Duvall.

    Regarding Overpaying for Melancon: Completely fine with it…for now. It might hinder in 2020.

  57. I certainly hope all these moves pay off and the national media has been very positive (most seeing the Braves as the second best winner at the deadline behind the Astros and Greinke). All of the teams with the players I would have liked to have traded for seemed to back out or want totally unreasonable returns. My big questions are:

    1. Melancon – why not pay for Kimbrel instead? (to answer my own question, I think it’s the two years vs three). And, if not Kimbrel, why not Dyson instead who was cheaper, younger, and also traded and probably a better reliever at this point?
    2. Martin – big risk with a SSS. He is a slightly better version of Chewbotka. Both tall monsters who are going to have control issues. Sobotka just hasn’t gotten his Zen in Japan. I wish we could have gotten LeClerc (I do realize Texas was less likely to trade him, though).
    3. Greene – probably the best pure closer who was actually going to be traded. This one was a good trade for sure. But everywhere I read says he has a huge potential for serious regression. I hope not, but that’s the big risk.

    Maybe there is no such thing as a “sure thing” but I wanted to see us get someone who was perceived that way. Granted that we didn’t trade the prospects it would have taken to get the sure thing, so the future is still bright. A Greinke trade would have been the “big splash”. Seems like the strategy was to make incremental improvements rather than the big splash. Maybe that’s for the best, but you have certainly got to give the Astros props for bringing in Verlander, Cole, and Greinke in successive seasons. That’s the kind of “consolidation” of prospect value that the Braves need to do some time in the future.

  58. I’m not going to complain at all about the Braves taking back payroll — like many have said, it’s not my money — but yes, it does seem odd that we took back so much of Melancon’s salary when Melancon had been used as an example of overpay two offseasons ago and a deal that a player was not going to get last offseason. We basically had about a year of people saying, “The days of Mark Melancon’s deal are done,” then someone turns around and trades for his salary and gives up talent for the pleasure of doing it.

  59. By the way, every time I’ve seen Melancon’s name in his career, I’ve thought of the band Millencolin. It’s close, but No Cigar. I’m hoping that Melancon is a Fox, and not just a pick up because of Trendy Winds. Random I Am, I know.

  60. 115 – I’m sorry, I have to call out that your worry with Martin is a lack of control and he has something like 4 walks in 38 innings.

  61. @115,

    Martin also had 2 great control years in NPB in 2016 and 2017. 2018 was not as good in MLB, but he had actual injuries lingering (not major). He is able to harness that length and maintain control. We will see if command is as good, but generally they correlate a good bit.

  62. @118 The Melancon deal wasn’t one that had to be done but AA/Liberty chose to do it because it (ie. going a little bit over budget, spending some lower prospects) gives the team a little bit more for the playoffs.

    I really believe the team was in on Greinke. The remaining salary for this year is the same. The team agreed on the over-budget payroll, and they were faced with two trade possibilities in Greinke (costs ~4 of your top 6 prospects, big remaining salaries and is 35) or Melancon ($14M owed next year, costs 2 lower prospects, age 34).

    I’m not sure how to feel about Melancon because in my heart I was already earmarking the O’Day money for Gerrit Cole… but flags and pennants fly forever!

  63. I’m a big fan of signing older guys who figured something out abroad, from Sal Maglie to Julio Franco. I don’t know if Allard qualifies as an “overpay”; all I know is that he stunk in his cup of coffee, he got bit by the homer bug in Triple-A like everyone else, and scouts around baseball were unsure whether he’d ever be able to succeed at his reduced velocity.

    When the Braves drafted him, they knew he was a risk, coming off injury. I’m guessing that the velo drop may be related to his past injuries, though I have no idea. They clearly didn’t have him in their plans, so I’m glad that they were able to make a move to shore up the club. I also think that Martin will do very well in front of Donaldson, Swanson, Albies, and Freeman — those guys know how to turn ground balls into outs.

  64. I just don’t have a big problem with trading Allard. We ended up trading the two LHP prospects with probably the lowest ceilings, Wentz and Allard. Those two had to be on the list of players you’d trade to get the absolute best the market would bear. I’m trusting that AA knew what the market was. It’s not like we did anything that was really out of bounds of where the market was except for Melancon.

    But there’s something to be said about doing what you need to do to protect your division lead. The Gnats brought a knife to a gun fight, as far as AA was concerned. The Gnats desperately needed an upgraded pen, and on the biggest trading day of the year, the Braves added more. That’s what you hoped the rebuild would produce.

  65. @ 125,

    No, Rob. I suspect Waters was held out as part of a Greinke package. Greinke was a game changer, but costly. Stroman at the price he went for, would have been good. Bumgarner wasn’t moving. Bauer at a comparable price to what he went for would have been good.

    In terms of “neglect”, I think the Melancon money was the starter money and when they knew for sure there wasn’t a starter that they wanted at the price, it was diverted to Melancon. I don’t KNOW that, but it smells that way.

  66. Couldn’t have put it better than cliff did. I think the team tried to add a starter, but at the final hour they doubled down on the pen and the Astros got Greinke.

  67. AA did say that they weren’t particularly close on any SP. I wonder if Greinke came available late, the Braves kicked the tires, and they never got serious.

  68. Yeah, we would need to decipher what that means in Anthopolean. I’m guessing it means they agreed to disagree but left the door open until 3pm.

  69. I’ll bet Bauer came down to the fact the Indians got Puig AND the Franimal. The Braves could have filled the Reds’ shoes and sent Waters or Pache to the Padres (matching Trammell) but had no one to match Puig (unless Duvall is really back – but that would have been more risky for the Indians). And maybe the Pads liked Trammell better anyway.

    @120 Maybe I stated it insufficiently, but Martin is separated by only 38 innings from a “meh” year in Texas, two years in Japan, and lousy, unacceptable results before that and he’s 33 on the downside. He did produce decent FIPs before and last year but this year’s FIP is over 4.00 (currently 4.01). Sobotka produces more Ks and fewer hits, but has a high walk rate. He has more potential (if he can ever get there) than Martin does. I hope Martin will hang in there this year and then we can choose between him and Sobotka over the offseason.

  70. The Braves bullpen is better today than it was this time last week, so it’s hard not to give Anthopolous an A for his dealings. He held onto the “Big 4” prospects, which is a HUGE win in my book.

    I believe they were in on Grienke too, though. The pieces just fit. Why else trade for Melancon instead of signing Kimbrel? You’d have had Kimbrel for more of the season, and kept some prospects.

  71. Before we move on, kudos to JonathanF’s insights into robots, umpires, and the Twilight Zone. In reflecting on umpires I couldn’t help but think of the TZ episode in which Burgess Meredith is the last man on Earth. He doesn’t mind because he can now read in peace but then breaks his glasses (he’s virtually blind without them).

  72. @123 Do you think Martin figured anything out in Japan? His 2018 FIP matched his 2014/2015 FIPs. And it’s worse this year.

    Looks to me like the main thing he learned to control was his BABIP….

  73. The only disappointment for me was watching the Astros going all-in to win the World Series (again), while we still appear to be going all-in to get people to keep coming to The Battery.

    Is the big splashy move a necessary condition to win the World Series? No. But our rotation doesn’t even come close to measuring up to the odds-on favorites. Bullpen won’t matter in the playoffs when the starters are out after 3 innnings.

  74. The Cards and the Yankees couldn’t get any starters, I am sure they tried like hell as well. That tells us something about the starters market.

    @122 Considering the current state of our bullpen and we couldn’t add a SP, we really need three new bullpen arms. Two is not enough. It’s not like Martin and Greene come with no risk.

  75. Sure, the realist in me can see that one guy probably won’t push us over the top – and it’s unclear that Grienke would even be *that guy* in the first place. He’s no longer the power pitching K-machine profile that I’m thinking we need to complete our puzzle.

    Emotional/Braves-fan in me still wants to see our Verlander-esque move. Maybe next year…

  76. I’ll be satisfied this offseason that we didn’t commit the money to Greinke if it means we can go hard after Cole. I won’t be happy if the money we owe to Melancon prevents us from doing that.

  77. @136. That’s exactly the feeling I have for Greinke. It’s like when we had Maddux and Glavine in the late 90s and early 2000s, their regular season stats were all fine but playoff baseball is just not the same.

    Really hope Folty will turn it around in time…we need one more power SP and he is exactly that…

  78. I have absolutely zero complaints about anything we did or didn’t do. I simply do not care that we’re paying Melancon’s contract next year. If we’d gotten some money back to offset, we’d have had to send more to San Francisco and people would be complaining about that.

  79. @138 I would loooove for the Braves to snag Cole, but I don’t see it happening. Even if the Braves go all-in on young and cheap guys in position roles next year (Riley at third, Pache called up in May) I don’t get the sense AA is going to give someone like Cole the years+money other teams will fork over.

    Rendon at 5-6 years at ~30 mil a year, at his age, miiiight be possibility? But I love Josh so damn much that I really hope we try to get him on a 2-3 year deal.

  80. Assuming injectivity (a math term for you all), the Braves would have given up #4, #5, #8, and #16 for Greinke.

    For us, that would have been (per MLB’s list) Wright, Langeliers, Contreras, and Tarnok.

    I’d make that trade. I think the money was more of a hurdle than prospects for the Braves.

  81. I dream big dreams, but I hold out no hopes that Folty is a Verlander or a Scherzer. I’m a dreamer, not delusional.

  82. @109, 139 You don’t like the moves JS made in the “early 90’s” and yet they were in the World Series 3 out of 4 years. They added Maddux ahead of the 1993 season and went to the World Series 2 out of the next 3 years. You didn’t like the playoff performances of Glavine and Maddux? Are we remembering the same team??

    1993 – NLCS
    1994 – Strike
    1995 – World Series Champs
    1996 – World Series
    1997 – NLCS
    1998 – NLCS
    1999 – World Series

    It speaks for itself. This team will need a little luck and some more payroll to sniff that kind of success.

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