Archive for November, 2014

#134: Love ’em? or Leave ’em?

Sometimes I feel that caring about the Braves, is like being a teenager in love…You are seemingly forever in flux. One minute, everything is GREAT! WONDERFUL! AWESOME! Then, the rug gets pulled from under your feet, and while sitting on your butt, you think to yourself, I am done! I will NEVER love Lisa, err, the Braves again!

But, time heals all wounds, and apparently, makes you stupid. Because, there you are again, like a moth to a flame, thinking this time, it will be different, you won’t get burned…not this time.

Hope, springs eternal, even in the middle of Fall. Doubt is also, not too far away either.

We know the Nats will be as good as anyone in baseball next year, they could once again win the division, even without making any moves, and losing Adam LaRoche.

The Mutts, as much as we all like to rag on them, have rebuilt their rotation. Jacob deGrom (Who? ) was named rookie of the year. He was the guy with the long hair, if that helps. 9-6, 2.69 ERA.

The worst starter in their rotation last year, Bartolo Colon, had a 4.09 ERA, and lead the team in innings, with 209 (Not bad for a fat 41 year old! )

And oh yeah, if he is healthy, Matt Harvey will be back next year, so the Mutts will likely be a lot better.

Marlins? They will be better no doubt. They are likely to get to get ol’ Adam LaRoche.

Philies? They will suck, but the Nats, Marlins, and Mutts, I wouldn’t be surprised if any of those teams won the division.

What about the Braves? Well, who knows? John Hart keeps saying, over and over the braves lost 400 innings with the seeming loss of both Santana and Aaron Harang.  I’m with Mr Raisins , the braves ought to consider re-signing Santana(even though Harang had a better ERA and pitched 8 more innings, he is 5 years older, and there is a good chance he will turn into a pumpkin) But, getting Shelby Miller, is half the rotation battle. And there’s a good chance his ERA will be less than Santana’s 3.95 ERA. So, just 200 innings to replace, unless they get a deal done with Santana.

So…the pitching side of the equation, looks to be in fairly good shape…as long as  there are no injuries.

Hitting, on the other side of the ball…meh, I said Meh!  :/

Down one hitter, yet few here or elsewhere feel the loss of JHey’s offense , It just didn’t feel like he was  a real presence in the lineup. Didn’t help they kept trying to make a leadoff hitter out of him, something he didn’t like and wasn’t.

But, his defense, that will be missed. A Mets historian was on mlbtv after the trade and said that he was glad he had left the NL East, as he had saved, 2-3 games a year with his glove.  Of course, you score more than 3 runs a game, you don’t need spectacular defensive plays. But, even with that defense, the braves were 17 games back, in spite of great pitching. So….to borrow and rework a lame phrase, it’s the offense, stupid. And boy, has the offense been stupid. At least the philosophy has been , as we all know. We all have watched games with runners on, and everyone and their brother thinks they are all J Up, and should swing for the fences. Especially with 2 strikes on the alleged home run hitters. It’s hard if not impossible to teach old dogs new tricks. So changes must come to the lineup. There is a need for more contact type hitters, more speed. Not having more than a single hands worth of real major league prospects, they can’t trade them for a speedster. Of course, Jose Peraza has stolen 60 bases a year in 2013 and 2014. But, he’s 20. Perhaps he comes to spring training, hits .400 and forces his way into the lineup. But most likely, the Braves will have to go with a Kelly Johnson solution as V said, and if he fails, up comes Peraza.

That might be May or June though. Without JHey, and after the failed experiment of BJ leading off, who can lead off? Really no one on this team. Simmons, IF he became more patient, but who knows if/when that will happen.

So, seems J Up has to be traded, for reasons everyone is familiar with . Can the braves get both a starter and a contact hitter for him? Will there be enough offense without J Up, and JHey? Can this team realistically expect BJ to at least go back to a .240 hitter that hits 20+ HR’s and drives in 70+? Or hope that some sucker team, err…an optimistic team  will take a chance they can fix him, and just pay him 2-3 mil a year. If BJ is hitting .190-.200 in May, that’s it, you can’t trade him, just release him at that point. Perhaps Seitzer (SP) can, with a willing BJ, rebuild his swing, flatten it out, take the wiggle out that seems to slow his bat up, and then it’s like getting a new hitter. Can’t see Hart, even if he says so, relying on that, when you are likely to trade away the 2 better outfielders.

So many questions. One reason Yasmany Tomas makes some sense on top of trading J Up alone. Trading J Up alone means getting a starter and perhaps an outfielder that isn’t a perfect fit. Trading him for one pitcher might get a better arm, or perhaps 2 quality prospects. At least, there are some options. As the team is currently constructed, there are holes, but they are not black hole sized holes.

Can this team compete? Sure, but it’s going to take some smart moves and taking some risks to be really competitive.

~ Berigan ~

 

 



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