2022 Braves Player Review: Ian Anderson

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Well, if you told me that Ian Anderson, after giving up only 3 ER in 22 postseason IP in 2021, would find himself in AAA for a big chunk of the year and lose his rotation spot, I would say there was probably an injury. However, no one really seems to know exactly what happened to Ian Anderson last year. All we know is that’s not the Ian Anderson we thought he would be blossoming into.

If you look a little closer, Anderson’s struggles weren’t that unpredictable. Ian outperformed his FIP by a wide margin in his first full season in 2021. His 4.12 FIP looked a whole lot worse than the 3.58 ERA suggested he was. If you can believe it, his FIP in 2022 (4.25) wasn’t that far off. But instead of outperforming his FIP, he badly underperformed it, and he finished with a 5.00 ERA for the year. So one could conceivably chalk this up to a sophomore slump and a whole lot of bad luck. For his career, his FIP and ERA are nearly identical now (3.99 and 3.97, respectively).

There were a few indicators on the pitch data side that says that maybe something was up. He lost a little over a half MPH off of his fastball (94.0 down from 94.6 in 2021). His whiff rate on said fastball was down a little bit too (18.1% down from 21.1 in 2021). His walks, never a strength for him, got even worse (11.0% up from 9.9% the year previous).

Did he forget how to pitch? Maybe. Was he a 24-year old who just had the most grueling season of his life pitching well into November for the first time, lost a few ticks off his fastball, maybe felt the fatigue of being a rotation anchor, and his FIP didn’t bail him out (in fact, turned on him)? I think that’s more likely.

Ian will go into 2023 with more than enough opportunity to make it back into the rotation. Problem is, behind Max Fried, Kyle Wright, Spencer Strider, and Charlie Morton, there is only one spot available. And Mike Soroka also has his eye on that one, and Bryce Elder, no slouch himself, will also be tough competition for it. It’s great for Atlanta that we have two great rebound candidates (plus Elder) for one spot, so that should give fans confidence. And these things tend to sort themselves out. Very rarely do you really have the pitching surplus you think you do, and watch Soroka, Anderson, Elder, and maybe even others get plenty of starts this year.

Hopefully 2023 will be the step forward for Ian that we thought 2022 was going to be.

116 thoughts on “2022 Braves Player Review: Ian Anderson”

  1. I still think Ian has a future, or I’m hopeful he does.

    A full World Series run can be tough on a young arm. I’m hopeful that it was fatigue from 2021 and he bounces back.

    Definitely needs to work on location and sharpening a 3rd pitch, but he’s still young.

  2. Anderson has three pitches, and the third (curveball) is not so great. And that puts pressure on the other two pitches. He’s a victim of his own initial success: the changeup was so devastating that he neglected the curve. The one thing about curves is that if you don’t throw it often enough, you lose it. A perfect example is Johnny Sain, a dominant NL starting pitcher in the late 40’s. He was a 20 game winner four out of five years. He started throwing the curve less to save his arm and prolong his career. The result is that he lost it and ended up being a relief pitcher.

    I think Ian is going to need to go through a few years of struggle before he makes it back with a fourth pitch. He’s not going to make it with the three he has. If he can do that, he’ll have a nice career like Charlie Liebrandt or Anibal Sanchez , who both went through that process. I don’t think the Braves are going to give him that kind of time.

  3. I’m still not understanding this move for Jimenez .. give up our best position prospect for a 1 yr rental of a reliever ….

  4. @2
    I think that is a good breakdown. I’ll add that he has very little movement and has to nibble which makes him throw a TON of pitches. He needs a good 3rd pitch because his stuff just isn’t that great.

  5. Ian really needs a cutter. His delivery makes sliders difficult to throw and I don’t think he’s a starter much longer without a third pitch. He walks too many batters to be a reliever in my estimation.

  6. “As a married man, I can tell you there’s only one thing on Dansby’s mind this week.”
    And that would be the need for new curtains in the sitting room. Those mauve things just won’t do.

  7. I’ll wait for the other shoe to drop.

    Ooh, three team trade with Contreras going to Brewers. And Pina to the A’s. Wonder who else is involved.

    Starting to make sense with Murphy and TdA switching off between C and DH.

  8. Passan with the breaking story.

  9. @12 for real??? That takes us out of the Swanson sweepstakes, I presume. I think the Brewers would still need something more.

  10. I assume there’s more to this, because it’s incredibly pointless otherwise. Murphy’s a solid player, but why?

  11. If you believe in C FRM, this is a fantastic trade. If you just like offense, and think that C FRM is bunk, it’s not.

    Contreras is already a better hitter than Murphy.

    I personally wouldn’t have made this trade. Now if we somehow do get a MLB caliber SS out of this somehow, I’m game.

    And if its Adames, then just hire me because that’s literally who I chose the other day…

  12. @16 Maybe this doesn’t say much about our next moves afterall. If this is what we gave up for 3 years of Murphy, then I’m betting AA felt he couldn’t say no.

  13. Oak gets: Pina, Muller, Tarnok — Grissom has been rumored but not mentioned again. Hope not!
    Oak gets Estury Ruiz from MIL

    Mil gets Contrearas

    Atl gets Adames, Murphy

  14. I have only seen Murphy to the Braves. There better be something more. Braves giving up Contreras, Pina, Muller, Tarnok, Yeager so far and only getting Murphy back.

  15. Murphy is damn good, but I find it hard to believe that AA would give up Contreras to a third party just to make it happen.

  16. The amount of time it’s taking to find out who’s in this trade is really weird. Like we still don’t know if Adames is in this deal, and names keep trickling through.

  17. Plus, the way the names look, there’s almost clearly a large hole in value that can only be filled with a good Milwaukee player going to Atlanta.

  18. @28 Yeah, definitely.

    Murphy would have been the 3rd-most valuable player on the Braves last year, per fWAR.

    Nice distraction on a day filled with the heartbreaking news about Mike Leach. So sad.

  19. Oakland was asking more than we’ve reportedly given for Murphy. I think it’s pretty safe to assume that Grissom is going out too, and Adames is coming our way to balance out the Brewer’s side. Without Adames none of this really makes much sense.

  20. NVM. That settles that. I dunno, we gave up a lot for Murphy.

  21. if that’s all MIL gave up, they got a pretty sweet deal and ATL gave up more than the other two combined.

  22. @31

    There’s no way that’s all they gave up. 0 chance.

    Well, Passan is reporting it too. What the hell, AA?

  23. Six players for Sean Murphy? And Milwaukee giving up a utility guy and getting back three players including an All-Star? Yeah, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense as currently reported.

  24. Per the Furcal rule, I’m really not gonna weigh in at all till the team press release. But the latest Passan tweet, which he calls the “full trade,” has this as a 6-for-1: Contreras + Muller + Tarnok + Pina + Salinas + Yeager for Murphy.

    I am guessing there are more wheels turning. But what do I know?

  25. The Braves got taken to the cleaners on this trade. Sure, let’s ignore the bleeding wounds at SS, LF, and DH to marginally improve, if that, a position in which we actually have quality depth, and pay a prospect cost to do it.

    In fact, this makes one of those bleeding wounds even worse, because Contreras can no longer cover for Rosario and Ozuna being worthless. Garbage trade.

    Even if you love Murphy, why do this?

  26. We have three holes in our lineup:

    SS
    DH
    LF

    Wild Bill filled one of them with Pina as backup catcher.

    As of now, we still have three holes.

    I don’t understand it. I hope there’s more.

  27. Considering Pina, Contreras, Muller, and Tarnok were all on the 40-man roster there has to be someone more on a 40-man roster coming back unless AA is planning a bunch of FA signings. Maybe Dansby’s already locked up and saving $1M makes a difference……. lol. Maybe someone is throwing a bunch of money to ATL?

  28. Yeah, I dont see how this really makes us better at all. We have 2 catchers now, great. We had 2 and a3rd who could catch and DH.
    2 trades this offseason I am not in love with.

  29. You gotta assume that Adames is part of this complicated trade. Otherwise we made a lateral catching swap and give up two semi-decent pitching prospects along the way. No idea why they’d slow play the details though. I guess to drive clicks.

  30. Love the deal. Wild Bill–though I love and will miss him–isn’t really a catcher at the MLB level, IMO. And AA gave up a bunch of prospects who are really only prospects because the system is so thin.

    Sean is the best Murphy the Braves have had in decades!

  31. Braves get Sean Murphy, giving up Kyle Muller, Royber Salinas, Justin Yeager, Freddy Tarnok, Manny Pina and William Contreras.

    Brewers get William Contreras, Joel Payamps, Justin Yeager, giving up Esteury Ruiz.

    A’s get Kyle Muller, Esteury Ruiz, Freddy Tarnok, Royber Salinas and Manny Pina, giving up Sean Murphy and Joel Payamps.

    My take is Murphy is clearly the best player in the deal so we win. Hate to lose Bill but glad we keep Grissom. This does free cap space so maybe it means Dansby is the next domino to fall?

  32. Esteury Ruiz is a utility player – he’s basically a version of Jose Peraza. I can’t imagine the Brewers not giving up more players.

  33. Murphy is the best player, but he isn’t playing 150 games for us, how many will he play? Is he that good a hitter to dh 80 games? Probably not. 6 guys for a platoon player? Part time starter, no I don’t get this at all. the more I look at it the more baffled I become. Why Contreras at all? Brewers gave up nothing.

  34. Apparently AA has a huge boner for Murphy. It never seemed like the Braves really loved Contreras. I get the need for catching defense but Contreras is the better hitter no?

  35. This is just such a bizarre use of resources. It makes a certain amount of sense in isolation. Like, if I didn’t know anything else about the Braves’ roster or farm system or payroll, I might like or even love it. But given the structure of the team and its needs, it’s just baffling. Even if the prospects don’t amount to anything, they’re prospects that are not being traded to fill actual holes on the team. And the Braves are not exactly swimming in worthwhile prospects to send out to fill those holes.

    Like, the most optimistic read I can make of this trade is that it makes your best-case scenario better. But it makes a lot of sub-best-case scenarios noticeably worse.

  36. Whether this is the full trade or just a tease of a bigger one, I’d say the odds have gone way down for Grissom or Andrus at SS. It’s either Adames or Dansby, right?

  37. Stu @45, if your perspective on Bill is right, then it’s a great deal. Agree that the other prospects we threw in are not particularly valuable in their own right.

    What are you seeing that makes you say he isn’t a catcher, though?

  38. Set aside what you think about a 6-for-1 swap for Sean Murphy for a second.

    As reported, the Brewers gave up a utility player and got back a freaking All-Star and two prospects. There is no way that can be construed to make so much as a lick of sense, for either us or Oakland.

  39. We (fans) must be seriously over valuing our prospects including Contreras. Unless the Braves think Contreras just had his best season and are trading high. If we sign Dansby and a LF like Benintendi (or even Duvall) and trade out Ozuna then this all might make some sense. All would be right with the world.

    And @51 has a point. Now we have two starting catchers. How’s that gonna work out?

  40. I don’t think clearing Pina’s salary changes the math on Swanson (or any other significant free agent) at all. Clearing Contreras and Muller certainly would seem to make a trade more difficult, though.

  41. @56, which is why I’d assume this trade isn’t fully reported yet. There’s rumors flying everywhere about Grissom going out, Adames coming in, and (my favorite one so far) Ozuna also going out.

    If the current reports are indicative of the final deal, then all we did was get a part-time catcher with less power and better defense than our existing guy, and freed up several 40-man spots for future moves. Not really anything to cry about, but nothing that moves the needle at all either.

  42. It still wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense even if we re-signed Dansby in the next 24 hours. I’d agree to ignore the fact that clearing a couple million off the payroll shouldn’t be required to do that because I’d be happy Dansby’s back. But unless there’s more to this deal than currently being reported, it’s utterly bizarre regardless of what else we wind up doing.

  43. My gut reaction is that this trade is bad but that doesn’t mean Murphy isn’t a really good player. He is better than d’Arnaud offensively, defensively, and health-wise.

    Relying on d’Arnaud to catch more than 80 games at age 34 given his health history would be a mistake imo. But I still can’t get over Milwaukee giving up so little.

  44. I can see Murphy and Darnaud in lineup against lefties .. DH and C … if Ozuna gone .. Rosario DH and LF against righties .. looks like free agent signings for LF and SS .. all our trade pieces are gone …

  45. Welp, press release is out. It’s final.

    Braves get: Murphy
    A’s get: Muller, Pina, Tarnok, Salinas, Estuery Ruiz (from MIL)
    Brewers get: Contreras, Yeager, Joel Payamps (from OAK)

  46. Yeah, the Brewers’ return doesn’t make sense on its face. There must be more to come.

  47. I’m guessing there still has to be something involving Dansby and Adames that this is sort of a part of, but that can’t be announced. But only because the deal doesn’t make any sense without more.

    As an example, suppose the Brewers have come to terms with Dansby, but only if the Braves waive the compensation pick, and they’re going to get Adames as direct compensation…. or something. (I’m clearly just making stuff up.)

  48. I wonder if the new rules on pitchers throwing to first next year had anything to do with the need for this.

  49. This is a weird trade. On one hand, Sean Murphy is one of the best players in baseball. He’s 22nd overall in fWAR and 2nd amongst catchers. So we’re getting one of the best players in baseball, bottom line. And Atlanta, in my opinion rightly, heavily values catching defense and the ability to handle a staff and its impact on a pitching staff. And between d’Arnaud and Murphy, we probably have two of the better guys to handle pitching staffs in baseball, and they’re both on the same team. I’m fascinated to see what impact this can have.

    With that said, I don’t see why we made this trade. We have a hole at DH. We had d’Arnaud, Contreras, and Pina who could catch and fill the hole at DH. d’Arnaud produced 3.9 fWAR last year, Contreras 2.4, and Pina in 2021 produced 1.5 fWAR. Now d’Arnaud will be less valuable because he won’t be playing as much, so Murphy’s value add is diminished. This is a weird trade for us to make unless we’re trading d’Arnaud as well.

  50. Did we send Contreras to the A’s first and then they traded him to the Brewer’s for the OF prospect (Ruiz)? That kinda makes more sense than they way it’s being commonly reported. It’s still kinda weird, but less weird if you frame it in that context I guess.

  51. Maybe I’m too high on Contreras, but for what you’re saying to make sense then Oakland has to be fine trading Contreras for Ruiz. I don’t see anything in Ruiz’s projections that require that.

  52. I’m not saying it makes total sense, but it allows us to get Murphy without giving up Grissom or someone I value even more than Contreras. The A’s don’t want or need a catcher in this deal, so adding in Milwaukee allows us to force the catcher in there anyways. Ruiz doesn’t look like a terrible prospect, he’s top 30 at least…but yeah. It’s still kinda weird.

    Did we get the best player in the deal? Yes. Did we need this player? Arguably yes. Does it fill our biggest holes for next season? No. But it doesn’t prevent any future moves either. The money in today’s trade seems net-even.

  53. @74

    That would make more sense if there were some kind of salary dump involved with Contreras, but there’s really not. He’s not arb eligible for another couple years. Even if you don’t really want him (which makes sense since they have Langeliers and now Pina), you can’t get anything better for him than a utility player in a 1-for-3 swap? Playing him in Triple-A and shopping him at the trade deadline makes more sense than that.

    And the same applies to us. We can’t hold onto Contreras and try to shop him elsewhere this offseason rather than just giving him away? Yeah, it becomes obvious we’re a motivated seller at that point but, like, we just gave him away seemingly for nothing. Seems like it would’ve been hard to do much worse than that.

  54. @78 – It prevents future moves involving Contreras, Muller, Pina, Varnok, etc at least. It makes no sense to me as is. Reminds me of the Alex Wood trade.

  55. Do we really want Sean Murphy and his .250/.332/.426 slash last year DHing? You’d obviously be betting on him hitting better in Atlanta than Oakland (gee, where have I heard that before), and having fresher legs not catching as much. But then he loses value because he’s not catching. This definitely a weird trade.

  56. It’s rational in the sense that we’re at a point in our competitive window where we should be consolidating multiple “ok” pieces into one or two “good” pieces. Admittedly, we’re pretty much running out of opportunities to do that.

    I think you have to reserve judgement until we’re done making moves. If this is all we do, yeah, it’s weird. If we do this and also still somehow address SS and LF/DH, then it looks pretty smart? Maybe? I’m trying to see this in the best way possible.

    And for the record fWAR for catchers is bunk and that whole idea is moot if/when we got robo umps. This dude better produce with the bat.

  57. They must really hate the defence of Contreras to make sense out of this deal. They don’t see him as the long term catching solution.

  58. So long story short, I’m willing to be proven wrong on the initial “Murphy isn’t worth six guys, however marginal most of the guys” part of my stance. Analytics seem to think much better of him than I did, and it would be nice to have a catcher who can play defense (as long as it’s actual defense and not all wrapped up in pitch framing, which I couldn’t care less about to put it mildly).

    However, that still leaves the fact that one of the six guys was Contreras, who is much better than marginal. And with how the deal is being described, it makes it just seem like we more or less gifted him to a third team for no reason. A team who we could easily be competing with for a playoff spot BTW. I’ll be interested to see if someone can explain it in such a way where it might have been actually necessary instead of the pointless toss-in that it seems.

  59. If you start thinking about TdA going the way of Flowers, then this starts to make sense. Braves tried Contreras to see if he was the catcher of the future. Apparently, he’s not but then Murphy is. If you really wanted to make Murphy “the guy” then you trade TdA and keep Pina as the backup. But Pina’s bat absolutely will not play at DH whereas TdA’s will. This may be a 60/40 or 70/30 this year with each swapping off at DH. With Murphy being the main guy after that. The pitchers were all surplus. If they need a LH DH then Rosario can do that. But we still need a LF and a SS and to trade Ozuna as a salary dump. If we can somehow dump Ozuna’s salary then we can sign Dansby and a LF without a big luxury tax hit and next season jettison TdA and Rosario for flexibility under the cap (and simultaneously get Grissom more ABs at AAA and let him fill the Rosario gap the following year). I actually think the Henry-Malloy trade may have been a bigger risk in context unless Jimenez is very very good.

    Note: I think I’d be fine with Duvall and Dansby. But it might have to be Ozuna and Dansby.

  60. The part of the story that I’m late to the party on here is that TDA is probably not a Brave beyond next season, and is definitely still a trade candidate this winter and through next season too. If you plan to move him in the next 7 or 8 months, you need a real #1 catcher that can play five days a week. Contreras probably isn’t that guy.

  61. One possible takeaway is that teams see Contrearas value vastly decreasing due to the new rule changes – he may well be unplayable at catcher – in which case evaluating him solely as a hitter at DH might yield this result.

  62. I don’t really think the bat of either Murphy or D’Arnaud plays at DH unless you’re anticipating peak offensive seasons for both, which seems kind of unlikely even with lots of rest. Like, they’re probably better than Ozuna or Rosario at this point, but not “oh my god, this guy needs to be in the lineup every day” type of bats.

    At the same time, though, I’m not seeing where you find that kind of bat at this stage of the offseason. I’ve resigned myself to shortstop being replacement level, and if that’s the case you really can’t tolerate more ineptitude in left.

  63. #83
    Right, and maybe AA didn’t see Contreras’ value getting any higher… but I sure liked him as a DH/part-time C in the short-term. Guess we’ll just have to wait a bit to see how the big picture shapes up.

    And yeah, a drag to hear about MSU coach Mike Leach. Got to “know” him a bit from a great book called “The Perfect Pass” by SC Gwynne about the history/rise of the Air Raid offense. Quite a character.

  64. I wonder if AA or anyone else on the Braves ever asked Matt Olson what he thought of Murphy, with whom he played for part of 2019 and all of 2020-21.

  65. Atlanta has considered guys like Freddie, Dansby, and d’Arnaud to be their team leaders. Guys that play with passion but aren’t necessarily flashy and “play the game the right way” (you see where I’m going with this).

    Did they end the season thinking they had too many flashy/knucklehead-type guys (Acuna, Ozzie, Ozuna, Contreras)? Do they think Contreras was a knucklehead who didn’t have the baseball IQ to catch and wanted to change the dynamic of the roster a little? Just have one less flashy guy and replace him with a no non-sense kind of guy? Did they feel like one of the areas they could replace the impending loss of leadership in Dansby was at catcher?

    Just some thoughts.

  66. I think it’s as simple as them not being ok with Contreras as the answer for catching 140+ games in 2024, so best to trade for a catcher that can. If you care about leadership (I don’t) then wouldn’t you want someone that speaks Spanish really well? I dunno. That’s a narrative that leads to nowhere good. We want a team of great players in the end. Who cares how flashy they are.

  67. I really hate personality/chemistry explanations for moves. For one think, if that kind of thing was important enough to dictate teambuilding philosophy, they should have pulled out all the stops to sign Freddie. For another, they won 101 games. Do we really think they’d have won 110 with a better attitude?

    AA’s approach to roster building has always struck me as relentlessly value-oriented. If he thinks he’s getting a good deal, he’ll acquire you. If not, so long and good luck. Managing the personalities is Snitker’s job.

  68. Kyle Muller cut his walk rate a lot this season. Would not surprise me at all to see him be a solid big league pitcher.

  69. Unless the injury bug hits hard, Braves have many years to draft/develop new players.

    Aa optimistic as I was about Handsome Muller, with him gone there’s still only one rotation spot for Anderson, Soroka and Elder.

    I can’t help but think how different things would be if the A’s would’ve taken Contreras instead of Langeliers. But then probably no 101-win season.

  70. The Braves must love Murphy to do a deal like this. It’s obvious that they overpay but I guess they see they are getting a player they love. Would not be surprised if AA gives him a long-term deal like what he did to Olson.

    Personally I am not a big fan of this deal but a world series win will buy lots of brownie points for a GM, not to mention I love AA to begin with. I agree that Contreras can at least be a backup catcher and a full time DH but I guess you don’t want to kill a kid’s defensive career at such a young age.

    Going back to Anderson, he can’t pitch with just fastball/curve/changeup. He needs something that moves sideway to be successful long term and be anything more than a pitcher who can only get through the batting order twice. He needs to adda slider and a cutter…..fast…..

  71. So here’s our lineup vs RH pitcher

    1.Acuna-rf
    2..Harris – cf
    3. Riley-3b
    4. Olsen -1b
    5. TDA – DH
    6. Albies -2b
    7. Murphy- c
    8. Rosario-lf
    9.Grissom -ss

    Against a LH pitcher plug in Ozuna for Rosario..

    Hope we have more to do …but will have to be free agent cause we don’t have anything to trade for Reynolds …

  72. AA press interview from today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3z3JzT2trU

    First 10 minutes is mainly explaining their thinking on acquiring Murphy. 11:35 mark or so starts some coy commentary on the SS situation. Didn’t say a whole lot that we haven’t covered here but he’s pretty candid as always. I get the sense that he knows it was an overpay but also knows that we won’t have many chances to keep the catcher position as a team strength in the next few seasons, so why not move now.

  73. The more I stew on it, the more it makes sense. The Braves must have really not viewed Contreras as a catcher long term. d’Arnaud will be 34 years old and can be a free agent at the end of the season. So if you don’t believe in Contreras defensively, you’re looking at a hole at catcher coming really soon. Murphy fills that position through at least 2026, and does so with an elite defensive skill set and a very good bat for the position.

    Maybe a slight overpay from the Braves, but nothing that is just unacceptable.

  74. The free agent market is so crazy because the trade market is dead. If we are going to trade for someone, we will have to overpay. It feels like we have traded away enough assets that are enough to make two trades. That says how crazy the free agents and the trade markets are.

  75. AA loves catchers. Sean Murphy was the best available. TDA is on the down slope.

    Losing Baby Contreras hurts, but it seems AA didn’t think Baby could be an elite catcher based on all the metrics that determine elite. Baby’s hitting stats were inflated, according to the stat nerds.

    Murphy is better a better catcher than Contreras.

    AA and Beane didn’t want Contreras. Weird to me, but I watched Home Alone in an old timey theatre tonight. What do I know.

    DOB question about SS and AA response was interesting. Seems like there’s something coming that AA likes.

  76. Guten Morgen, Murphy makes sense beyond 2023. Muller had no spot in Atlanta next season or probably beyond that. Sad to see Contreras go but again, Murphy is the better player. There’s no way AA is done. I’ll evaluate once we know know who we got on the team starting the regular season. Go AA!

  77. I have no problem with getting Murphy. I have little problem getting rid of Contreras for some substantial return. Someone still needs to explain to me what we’re getting for Contreras. It still isn’t clear to me we got anything.

    I do in fact trust AA, so I’m sure that for some reason Oakland wouldn’t do this deal without an outfield prospect, and we didn’t have one. Still doesn’t explain it.

  78. we gave alot up but for Murphy its worth it .. Contreras had good power but his defense was not very good .. and dArnaud is getting up there .. Murphy is in top 3 or 4 Catchers in game for overall rating .. Muller has potential but we traded from a position of strength in staters ..Tarnok never know if her ever pans out .. good for the immediate

  79. Ryan, I have to give props that you really called this. I obviously pushed back at the time — and I’m still doing it! — because I didn’t see why trading Contreras for Murphy made sense. I still don’t. (As Keith Law wrote in his trade analysis: “I’m not entirely sure I’d rather have Murphy than Contreras in a vacuum, and I think it’s easier to argue for Contreras in reality given his youth and additional two years of control.”)

    I’m sure I was scouting the stat line a bit in overrating Contreras, as I certainly underestimated the degree to which his glove diminished his value to the team, and you were absolutely right about how the team viewed Contreras.

    But this trade still feels half-finished. We’ll see what AA has up his sleeve next. At the end of the day, we traded our thin farm season a couple slots further down into the 20s and improved at catcher, while the rest of the roster remains extraordinarily strong and balanced up and down the lineup. So I can’t complain too much, even as I remain firmly set in my belief that the only logical solution at shortstop is the most obvious one: just pay Dansby.

  80. Jim Callis on MLB Network: “A rumor I’m hearing, and I don’t know if this is imminent, but with the Braves’ payroll climbing, who knows if they’ll sign Sean Murphy to an extension… I’m hearing some Max Fried rumors on the block, that they may not be able to sign him long-term. Don’t be shocked if we see a Max Fried trade this offseason.”

  81. That’s unexpected. Fried would probably get $30MM/year or more on the open market right now. He’s a union guy and from California, so he doesn’t seem the type of guy to take the AA special. He’ll also be 31 going into his first free agent deal and the Braves don’t seem to like giving extensions in the 30s.

  82. Yeah… they’re not going to extend him, but maybe that’s just the way it’s going to be. Call me old-fashioned, but aces are about the hardest commodity to find in all of baseball. Maybe the best plan is just to ride with the one you’ve got while you’ve got him. Lord knows the Nats didn’t get a king’s ransom when they decided to trade Max Scherzer — they had to throw in Trea Turner just to get back a couple of prospects, and no one would call Keibert Ruiz a worldbeating return.

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