#135: What Should Braves Fans Really Expect in 2015?

Gil Mechanicsville, VA

Gil
Mechanicsville, VA

With the trades of Jason Heyward and Justin Upton this winter, the new Braves President of Baseball Operations/General Manager has sent a message that the future is still in the future. Although the Braves surprised everyone in the baseball world by winning the 2013 NL East pennant sprinting past the Washington Nationals who quite frankly, under performed the first five months of the season. The Nats only became relevant the final month of the 2013 season but it was too little too late and the Braves held on to win the flag.

2014 started off like gang busters for the Braves with a pitching staff that surprised everyone by posting a combined ERA of 1.50 for the month of  April.  Everyone in Braves Country was giddy with the surprise success of this team. Alas, it did not last and when the pitchers began to flag under the unrealistic pressure of maintaining such an other-worldly mark, the offense failed to pick them up. Anyone who knows anything about baseball knows it is not just pitching that wins baseball games, you need to put some runs on the board too.

There is a huge difference in being able to pitch with a three or four run lead than having to worry about one pitch, one mistake, one hanging breaking ball being the difference between being on the winning or losing end of a baseball game. It is often said that it is not just the number of pitches thrown in a game by a pitcher but the amount of high stress pitches thrown. Give a pitcher a five run lead and he can relax a little bit and challenge opposing hitters and not worry about being so fine with his pitches he starts trying to hit the corners with every pitch. Unfortunately for the Braves’ offense, their hitters were not only were fooled by pitches out of the strike zone, they also did not make opposing pitchers pay for their mistakes either.

Other than April of last year, the Braves posted only a .500 or sub .500 record. The worst month was September when they simply folded like a cheap suit after the Nats caught them and then never looked back. Washington finally woke up and realized they were as good as advertised.  They were, however, eliminated by the Giants who were on their way to their third World Series Championship in five years.

So, what do we have to look forward to for 2015?  To begin with, the Braves brain trust has determined they were not going to beat out the Nationals with the talent already assembled by since-departed GM Frank Wren and company. Perhaps the lingering bad taste of having to eat bad contracts to under performing second baseman Dan Uggla and the five year contract of B.J. Upton outweighed the single pennant won in 2013 and the miracle pick up of Arron Harang and Ervin Santana to replace injured Chris Medlen and Brandon Beachy. More telling is beyond Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, Aderlton Simmons and Julio Teheran, the Braves scouting department had little to show for their efforts during Frank Wren’s tenure as GM for the club. That and the fact he was running off some of the Braves’s best scouting talent, the total collapse of the Braves in September appear to be the final straw to break the camel’s back. Perhaps the only real surprise was that Freddie Gonzalas remained at the helm of the team as manager.

It appears that Bobby Cox, who himself appeared at odds with since-departed GM Wren and may have even hastened his own retirement, likely saved Freddie’s job. After all, if you don’t have the horses to begin with, it’s hard to win the race.

Now, what do we have to look forward too? Interim GM John Hart and his staff have made the conscious decision that the Braves were faced with three realities:

1: they were not going to get any better with the current team assembled.

2: they desperately needed pitching to stay relevant in 2015.

3: there was no help on the horizon coming from a severely depleted minor league farm system.

There are lots of reasons for the third but the most likely suspect is the robbing of Peter to pay Paul theory. That is, in order to keep corporate owner happy with the bottom line, they cut corners in their minor league system  to stay within a budget set forth by team owner, Liberty Media. That was made even more severe after the negotiation of what appears to be an under valued TV contract. While teams like the Dodgers are reaping billions from their contract, America’s team got pennies on the dollar. After all, the Braves are still rated as the third most popular franchise in America following Ted Turner’s brilliant decision to buy both the team and a little known local UHF station in Atlanta and market them nationally via cable.

Tyrell Deon Jenkins Born: 7/20/1992 in Henderson, TX  Bats/Throws: R/R  HT: 6'4'' WT: 204

Tyrell Deon Jenkins     7/20/1992 Henderson, TX
Bats/Throws: R/R
HT: 6’4” WT: 204

Shelby Charles Miller Atlanta Braves – No. 17 Pitcher Born: October 10, 1990 (age 24) Houston, Texas Bats: RightThrows: Right

Shelby C. Miller (P)
Born: October 10, 1990 
Houston, Texas
Bats/Throws R/R

John the Elder made two trades to address the problem by first trading Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden to St. Louis for rising star Shelby Miller and prospect Tyrell Jenkins.

He then traded soon-to-be free agent Justin Upton to the Padres for a bevy of young talent in a minor-league haul, including two former first-round picks:

 

 

 

 

trades

MAX FRIED (P)

age 20, b.  Jan 18, 1994
Ht/Wt: 6’3’/180
Bats/Throws:  Left/L

 

 

JACE RYAN PETERSON

Born: 5/9/1990 in Lake Charles, LA
Bats/Throws: L/R HT: 6’0″ WT: 210
Debut: 4/25/2014 College: McNeese State

 

 

DUSTIN ALLEN PETERSON

Age: 20 (September 10, 1994) in Phoenix, AZ
Bats/Throws: R/R Ht: 6′ 2″ Wt: 180
Draft: Round 2 (2013, SD)

 

 

MALLEX LYDELL SMITH

Born: 5/6/1993 in Tallahassee, FL
Bats/Throws: L/R
HT: 5’9″ WT: 170

 

MANNY BANUELOS

Born: March 13, 1991 (age 23), Gómez Palacio, Durango, Mexico
Height: 5′ 11″
Weight: 198 lbs
Bats: Left-handed

Banuelos is now into his second year of recovery of Tommy John surgery and is expected to vie for the fifth starter’s spot in the rotation.

Alberto Callaspo

Alberto Callaspo

The Braves had already signed journyman second baseman Alberto Callaspo, late of the Athletics as a place holder for Braves prospect Jose Peraza but the acquisition of Jace Peterson from the Friers may have pushed young Peraza down a spot on the depth chart.

A J Pierzynski

A J Pierzynski

The Braves also have inked veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski to serve as the backup/mentor for young Christian Bethancourt at the catcher’s position and allow the Braves to move slugger Evan Gattis to the left field position so his bat can be added to the everyday line up for the Bravos.

Nick Markakis

Nick Markakis

The Braves also signed free agent Nick Markakis of the Orioles to a 4 year $44 million dollar contract to play right field in place of the since traded Jason Heyward. Markakis has a couple of gold gloves to his credit himself and is known to be a contact type hitter. While he is probably better suited to hit second, he will likely be drafted to take Heyward’s spot as the lead off man in the line up given the Braves lack of other likely candidates for that position.

So, as it stands, with the Nationals pretty much standing pat and the Marlins vastly improving their club from last season, the Braves look to fight it out with the Mets for third place in the division ahead of the aging Phillies. Never say never however, after all, the 1991 Braves were picked by one and all to finish last in the National League West then dominated by Dodgers. A lot has to go right for the Braves this season and a few things have to go wrong for the Fish and the Nats but baseball is a game played on the field, not on paper. Now if only Hart and company can figure out some way to either trade the other Upton brother and his over the top contract away so they can have a little financial flexibility or somehow BJ himself take personal responsibility for his poor play and learns how to hit again so as not to be a drag on the club, the 2015 Braves might just have a chance to be more than just a footnote on the way to the 2015 World Series.

Gil2

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360 Responses to “#135: What Should Braves Fans Really Expect in 2015?”


  1. 1 chrisklob January 3, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    good stuff Gil!

    almost everything the braves have done this off-season has made sense to me except for the markakis trade. for a team that no one expects to make any noise why spend that much money on him? i don’t see him as a real difference maker and i surely don’t see him driving ticket sales. what are you thoughts?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 2 Carolina Lady January 3, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    Excellent, Gil! Thanks so always!

    Like

  3. 3 berigan2electricboogaloo January 4, 2015 at 1:09 am

    Excellent work as usual Gil! 🙂 One does wonder if the previous administration was more willing to sign a BJ Upton rather than keep the minors system well oiled, and the scouts happy. I have read more than once that scouts seem to often get the short end of the stick, very much underpaid. I forever see stories of scouts that say discovered Mike Trout, getting let go a few years later…when you would think they would get a contract for life.
    Sorta how I feel J.S and perhaps J.H. feel that a solid bullpen will just magically appear from leftovers and having a good pitching coach (another underpaid part of a team, if you have a really good one, and we did hear that J.S even had to step in there to keep McDowell from going to the Phils)
    I do agree that something had to be done….that no way you could just hope that the team would magically start to play better, be more patient hitters, AND hope that J Hey and J Up would re-sign after 2015….

    Like

  4. 4 berigan2electricboogaloo January 4, 2015 at 1:13 am

    Hey Chris!
    I have wondered the same thing, why they signed Markakis.
    2 reasons I think….
    1, because of the barren farm system, there simply was no one available….and the Cards I guess weren’t going to toss in an outfielder in the J Hey trade….
    reason 2, was in this day and age, he was cheap (one good year, and J Hey will easily double the annual contract) and I just checked, since the Orioles made no offer to him, the Braves didn’t lose a draft pic…
    Ok, that’s 2 1/2 maybe 3 reasons, sue me! 😛

    Like

  5. 5 Gil in Mechanicsville January 4, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Moring folks,, great to see you back Chris, feel free to express you views here anytime…

    On Markakis, In today’s environment, Nick’s contract is very reasonable. He is actually heading into some of his best years but short of throwing in the towel and blowing up the team and returning to the 80s’ The Braves believe it is incumbent upon them for them to try and stay relevant in the NL East and not just cede the division to others.

    Being within the Orioles/Nationals Greater Co-prosperity Sphere, I get a bit of news about both teams. Markakis might just be one of the better contracts the Braves have signed in recent years. Certainly, it is head and shoulders beyond what the Braves doled out for either Uggla or Uncle Melvin.

    The Braves have lost a significant market share with the expansion of major league baseball to Tampa, Miami, and Washington. The young kids who once were avid Braves fans now have three other teams competing for their support. Even in my neighborhood, a lot of former Braves fan have switched their allegiances to the Nats and the Giants. (San Fran’s double A affiliate is located in Richmond) and the fact both are winning ball clubs has not hinder that shift, after all, there is always room on the front running bandwagon.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 6 Gil in Mechanicsville January 4, 2015 at 10:17 am

    CL, my thanks to the graphics department staff for adding to a long winded opine and making it more entertaining. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. 7 Carolina Lady January 4, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    You’re very welcome, Gil. I’m sorry I couldn’t get the WP program to maintain what I entered in proper places. Tried many times. You wrote an excellent lead! Thank you!!

    Like

  8. 8 JoAnn Brooks Elliott January 4, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    Just hoping we have 9 players, that can hit, run, throw and every once in a while steal a base, and most important of all scores some runs. Have some heart in the game, and toward each other. Pitcher’s that pitch and don’t spend a lot of time playing around the corner’s until they walk hitter’s and catcher’s that don’t let the ball get by them. Not asking for much. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. 10 Vox O'Raison January 5, 2015 at 8:41 am

    Only 46 days until P&CR!! 😀 (Feb. 20)

    Liked by 3 people

  10. 11 Gil in Mechanicsville January 5, 2015 at 10:36 am

    Okay, I am all ready to get into serious baseball fever discussions, now all I need are people to be disgusted with…..

    Like

  11. 12 Gil in Mechanicsville January 5, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Okay, here are some opines about the up-coming season. Methinks, (a tip of the the old hat to the late Journalist Bob) that if this new Braves assembly can just play .500 ball until mid-season, they might indeed be able to make a push post All-Star break. A lot of times some youngster in AA or AAA will break thru and be called up to give the club a boost.

    Perhaps by then, we’ll see what can be expected as far as the team going forward with Uncle Melvin… He will likely be given a month or two for progress to be shown and will then either be a contributor to the team’s success or sent packing with the Braves eating his contract.

    Like

  12. 13 Vox O'Raison January 5, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    Agree on both counts, Gil. If the Braves do not pick up another veteran pitcher, they should have somewhere in the neighborhood of $12M-$15M to spend at the trade deadline. And that’s a pretty nice neighborhood.

    To me, the real key is how the young pitchers perform. I think 1-4 are all capable of 15 wins each, with Julio a serious 20 win candidate. The questions are: can they perform to their capability, and can the team score enough runs for them? One thing is for certain, the Braves cannot be much more miserable as a team offensively than they were last year. If the new philosophy and a lineup consisting of more than 8 middle of the order type hitters can come together, they may surprise a few folks. They faltered due to lousy team chemistry and poor roster design. A team has to have role players, and they cannot all be the same role.

    Like

  13. 14 Vox O'Raison January 5, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    And by all accounts and reports, Uncle BJ is on a short leash in 2015. If he is indeed the “different player” he claims he will be, then all the much better. If not, he’s not going to play. John Hart does not have the ego and insecurity that Frank had, and he also isn’t responsible for the signing. He’ll let Fredi bench the kid if he doesn’t perform.

    Like

  14. 15 berigan2electricboogaloo January 5, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    interesting, from MLBTR….
    The Braves made a similar offer to the one-year, $5MM contract that Aaron Harang signed with the Phillies early in free agency, reports David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link). However, at the time, Atlanta was told that Harang had other offers for more money and more years.

    Like

  15. 16 berigan2electricboogaloo January 5, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    MLBTR posted this Ken Rosenthal article about the braves (and other teams) offseason moves…I find most of the critizism fair (except again Nick M, great deal, IMHO and someone HAD to play RF after the trade) Yes, the deals were risky, but….the braves had to take chances to rebuild prospect pool, and fairly quickly. The braves are like the Yankees, and other successful teams in that they can’t just trade every good player to get prospects and have the team lose 100 games a year for 3 years (and it sure helped the Astros to get the top picks year after year-even after screwing up the last #1 pick) As it is, if the braves don’t get off to a quick start again, I think there will be a half empty stadium in June instead of September….

    http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/story/atlanta-braves-rebuild-will-hinge-on-success-of-young-pitchers-010415

    Liked by 1 person

  16. 17 Gil in Mechanicsville January 5, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    Again, the signing of Nick Markais was a signal that the Braves are not just giving up on 2015 and cutting payroll. What is the alternative, play two to three rookies in the everyday line up? The Braves were a young club last season, only a tad older than the Astros. From all accounts, Nick is also a good clubhouse guy to boot. While some folks might view $11 million per year as excessive, think what Jayson Heyward will command after next season?

    No, this club is shaping up, not sexy but datable. Lots of blue collar guys except one who isn’t but should be paid like one. Oh well, just wait until Evan runs over Uncle BJ going for a flyball and the Braves can collect insurance on Melvin for the rest of his contract. Just saying…..

    Yep, there is room for some rookies on this team but not too many at one time. That is how you lose 90 to 100 games per year.

    What makes 2005 so remarkable….

    Liked by 2 people

  17. 18 Gil in Mechanicsville January 5, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    Sadly, for Aaron, I just don’t think he will prosper in Phillie, fence are just too close to home plate. It’s like putting Mike Minor in Great American Ballpark. The same, but different…

    Liked by 1 person

  18. 19 Gil in Mechanicsville January 5, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    Now, If the Braves really wanted to make a splash, they would acquire Cole Hammels but I look for him to head west as the Phillies rebuild…. My, what a haul he should bring.

    And I am surprised the Phillies and the Orioles haven’t come up with some kind of deal for Ron Howard. He would hit 30 home runs at Camden Yards alone….

    Like

  19. 20 Gil in Mechanicsville January 5, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    Everyone has an opinion don’t they Ber? Anyway, while reading the different opines on the Braves coming season, what I really fail to see is a five hole hitter…. Christ Johnson is much better down in the line up. The Braves may yet make some more moves, I doubt I am the only one who sees this weakness….

    Like

  20. 21 Gil in Mechanicsville January 5, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    Everyone is saying the Braves should have gotten more for Justin Upton. It is like your neighbor telling you he could have gotten you a better deal on that new car you just bought… Maybe so but where were they when the fur was flying.

    Hart took a chance. I’m sure the Cards felt the same way when they got Wainwright…. Then again, maybe not….

    Like

  21. 22 Gil in Mechanicsville January 5, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    It’s tough to guess right every time…

    Liked by 1 person

  22. 23 Vox O'Raison January 5, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    I like Aaron Harang, and think he was very important to the Braves season in 2014. But Turner Field is, to a certain degree, a pitcher-friendly park. Citizen’s Bank Park, affectionately called The Bank Vault, is about as big as a bank vault. Harang is well known as a fly ball pitcher. Those deep fly balls Harang tossed up in 2014 will be HR’s in 2015. Not that the Phils needed any help staying a last place team, but this signing won’t help that status.

    Like

  23. 24 chrisklob January 6, 2015 at 1:00 am

    this is what ken rosenthal thinks of the bravos hot stove season. i agree and i still stand on my statement about the markakis signing. what’s the point (at least for the near term). i don’t think we will be contending at least for the next couple of years. too many albatross deals (uggly/bj) and a bad tv deal.

    and for the record, i hope i am DEAD wrong! just trying to be realistic!

    http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/story/atlanta-braves-rebuild-will-hinge-on-success-of-young-pitchers-010415

    Liked by 1 person

  24. 25 chrisklob January 6, 2015 at 1:01 am

    in reference to my last post and me hoping that i’m dead wrong, please see my avatar. it’s old and dusty but still pertinent!

    Liked by 2 people

  25. 26 Carolina Lady January 6, 2015 at 2:57 am

    Chris, it is a delight to see your name here! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  26. 27 Vox O'Raison January 6, 2015 at 9:02 am

    CK, you are da man!!! Great to have you around. And as I often say around here, “we will have to agree to disagree” on Markakis.I like the Markakis signing.

    In today’s market, he isn’t that expensive. He plays an above average D in an OF that is going to be a bit D challenged, he’s a high contact rate hitter, and he’s a long time clubhouse leader. With the exception of the good D in RF, the other 2 areas were sorely lacking last season. I also think that his decline over the last 2 years is directly attributed to having a bulging disc in his neck… the disc that was repaired last month.

    Obviously, there are questions as to how he will recover, but the doctors do not feel that the disc fusion will impair his swing at all. And don’t forget that we had in RF wasn’t exactly Mike Trout, either.

    Here is a comparison of the 2014 offensive numbers for both Heyward and Markakis. (NOTE: These are actual game stats, not some wacky boutique number created by a mathematician in his grandma’s basement.)

    Heyward: .271/.351/.384, 11 HR, 58 RBI, 98 K, .304 vs. RHP, .169 vs. LHP
    Markakis: .276/.342/.386, 14 HR, 50 RBI, 84 K, .274 vs. RHP, .280 vs. LHP

    Where is the offensive dropoff? In fact, vs. LHP JHey was abysmal. Heck, BJ Upton hit .200 vs. LHP in 2014. Jason will make $6.65M in 2015, but is projected at $15M+ per season beyond… if you could re-sign him in a market that will have a wide variety suitors. He’ll also likely command a 6 or 7 year commitment, something the Braves are loathe to give following the huge financial albatross contracts you mentioned above. 7 years at $15M+ equals a minimum of $105M of guaranteed coin. No way the Braves would commit that amount… especially to a guy who honestly has not lived up to his rookie season production. With Markakis, you have 4 years of cost certainty at $11M per season, which is right at the median for RF in 2015 (tied for 11th out of 30, with 13-15 being $10.5M-$10M).

    I think Rosenthal looks at the pitching acquisitions, as we all do, and sees exactly what we got… a bunch of former top rated prospects coming off injury. And it will be impossible to fully assess the trades until these guys recover and ascend to the major league level. Had John Hart come out at his press conference and said the Braves were in a rebuilding phase, folks would be less likely to give the team the fish eye. But that’s not the case here.

    Our rotation 1-4 will be better than it was in 2014. Julio Teheran is a year older and poised to take ace status, Alex Wood is a year older, Mike Minor’s private parts aren’t being messed with and his offseason schedule is on track for 2015, and Shelby Miller is a top-of-the-rotation pitcher with ace potential. The #5 slot is still up in the air, but when has a team’s #5 starter determined the overall fate of a team over 162 games? I believe 1-4, our staff will hold its own (slight sarcastic nod to Mike Minor) in the NL East.

    If you look around at the rest of the everyday lineup, we can actually deploy hitters in proper roles in the order. Last year’s lineup was full of “all or nothing” run producing 3-5 hitters (and BJ) top to bottom. It’s hard to drive in runs when there are no runners on base. Once Jose Peraza arrives, this lineup will have a proper #1 hitter and a proper #2 hitter in front of Freddie Freeman for the first time since he’s been in the 3 slot. And with El Oso Blanco hitting behind him for more than 100 games, he should see plenty of pitches to hit. I look for this to be a big year for Fab 5.

    Andrelton has to remember that his role in the lineup is to get on base and to run, not to hit HR’s. 2013 vs. 2014. Kevin Seitzer has reportedly already started that dialogue with him.

    I think we know what we’ll get out of Chris Johnson. He won’t be an All-Star, but he won’t hurt us either.

    Bethancourt? He showed in 2014 that his bat is ML ready. Will he be Mike Piazza? Of course not. But he’s here to catch our staff first and be a 6 or 7 hole hitter after that. It isn’t a stretch to think he will achieve that much.

    But here’s the rub: we really need production out of our CF. This is a lineup that isn’t going to bludgeon anyone and can’t afford to give away AB’s. But here’s where 2015 will be different. BJ is already on notice that he has to produce or he’s out. He’s aware and motivated. Will that make a difference? FrediG has the authority to actually bench his butt this year. We won’t go past May with an offensive black hole in CF again. Whether he’s motivated or not affects him personally. His butt will be kissing pine if he can’t get it together and Cuban import Dian Toscano will begin his tenure in Andruw’s pasture.

    Will the Braves push the Nats for the NL East crown? Probably not. But I think they can hang with the Fish and the Mets, who each have their own holes yet to be filled. Miami’s big deals of the offseason were Stanton, a guy they already had, and Dee Gordon, not exactly a guy that will carry a team on his shoulders. Their rotation is supposed to be anchored by Jose Fernandez, who was electric prior to TJ surgery. Uh… doesn’t the post-TJ criticism apply to teams other than ATL? The Mets have good pitching, but their own post-TJ woes. And they still have no clue who their SS is. Position for position, I’ll take ATL’s players in almost all cases except CF and 3B. (No slight to CJohn, but David Wright is still a stud.)

    If Los Barves can get Peraza at mid-season and – as Gil mentioned earlier – hang around in the mix until the trade deadline, I think they can still contend for a Wild Card. And as we saw this season, a team only has to get in and get hot at the right time.

    Oops… got a little long winded. My apologies!! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  27. 28 Vox O'Raison January 6, 2015 at 9:03 am

    Actually, that was alot long winded. 😐

    Like

  28. 29 Gil in Mechanicsville January 6, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Chris, not saying you are off the mark but I still think Hart is trying to stay relevant in a tough division. Again, not an over the top contract and a guy who will still have some trade value if the rest of the team goes into melt down mode early.

    Yep, it’s tough to play with the big boys when they can afford to make multi million dollar mistakes and you can’t. However, you need veteran leadership and guys like Markais know what that is all about coming from a club house in Baltimore that was stocked with leaders and knew what it takes to win.

    The sad thing about Atlanta is they had sadly neglected their farm system far too long. It left the sports writers in Atlanta with no one to talk about but a kid named Peraza who did not even start for his AFL team as the team’s next best hope.

    John Hart has been there and done that but his best work may be in his willingness to be the fall guy the next couple of seasons while he grooms GM in waiting, Copella, for the job.

    I am realistic, I see a Washington team that has surged to the forefront by being patient and rebuilding from the ground up, A Marlins team which has positioned itself to make a run even with a skinflint of an owner who gets lucky every so often by being in the position to buy low and sell high. The Mets have suffered in a town that abhors losers. Their hopes are pined on some very young and talented starters nobody short of the most rabid baseball geek saw coming after the team’s ownership got caught up in the Bernie Maddoff scandal.

    So, you may be right, it may all be for naught but I shudder to think of what it would be like to go back to the 70s and 80s like Atlanta teams…..

    Liked by 1 person

  29. 30 Gil in Mechanicsville January 6, 2015 at 9:32 am

    And yeah, what VOX said… 🙂

    Like

  30. 31 Vox O'Raison January 6, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    HOF announcement in less than an hour (2pm EST). C’mon Smoltzie!! You earned it!!

    Like

  31. 32 Vox O'Raison January 6, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    Congratulations John Smoltz!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  32. 33 Vox O'Raison January 6, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    Wooooooo Smoltzie!!! HOF!! Well earned!! 😀

    Like

  33. 34 Gil in Mechanicsville January 6, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Glad to see Biggio make it in too, great player IMO..

    Liked by 1 person

  34. 35 berigan2electricboogaloo January 6, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    So glad Smoltz made it on the first ballot!!!! 🙂
    Gil, like you, Glad to see Biggio make it too, a great player, like you said…

    Like

  35. 36 Carolina Lady January 6, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    Cooperstown Class of 2015 set

    Randy Johnson (97.3%) was a five-time Cy Young Award winner.
    Pedro Martinez (91.1%) won three Cys and led MLB in ERA five times.
    John Smoltz (82.9%) amassed 213 wins to go with 154 saves. 😀
    Craig Biggio (82.7%) racked up 3,060 hits while playing three positions up the middle.

    Together, they make up the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015.
    The induction ceremony is scheduled for July 26 in Cooperstown, N.Y.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. 37 Gil in Mechanicsville January 6, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    I’m curious to see which cap Johnson and Pedro wear going into the hall…

    Liked by 2 people

  37. 38 Vox O'Raison January 6, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    That’s a tough one with RJ. But he won 4 of his 5 Cy’s with ARI, had his perfect game with ARI, and won the World Series with ARI. Still, he might go as Greg Maddux did, with a blank cap.

    i think Pedro is a shoe-in to wear the “B”.

    Like

  38. 39 Gil in Mechanicsville January 7, 2015 at 8:02 am

    Good morning fellow Stuffians, I am sitting here at the key board a bit bleary eyed. from reading one of the new David Baducci tomes.

    Not a lot of anything new to talk about as no further move being made as of yet and all the air has been sucked out of the air by the HOF. Well, good for them, they all earned it.

    Like

  39. 40 Vox O'Raison January 7, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Official announcements on GrillCheese and AJP, along with LHRP Outman. I’ll dig up the usual on Outman and be back…

    Like

  40. 41 Vox O'Raison January 7, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    Josh Outman split ’14 between CLE and NYY, sporting a 2.86 ERA as a lefty specialist, including 0.00 ERA in 9 appearances with the Yanks after August 28.

    For his career, lefties are hitting a mere .186 against him; .169 in 2014. Looks to be a good signing.

    Mr O’B had indicated that John the Elder was still trolling around for a classic lefty specialist. It looks like he found one. And it increases the bullpen depth as well.

    Like

  41. 42 Vox O'Raison January 7, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Mr. O’B also indicated that the Johns are still sifting through both the FA and trade markets for a veteran 5th starter type. It would appear that such a pitcher is the only unchecked box left on the list.

    One more item of note today. I was listening to some radio chatter earlier, and it sure looks like the Braves are going to give young Jose Peraza every opportunity to show what he can do in the spring. Fredi has said that Peraza will travel to every road game and play every one. In other words, he’s gonna play alot in spring. They are gonna give this kid a very serious in depth look.

    Like

  42. 43 Vox O'Raison January 7, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    And I think that may have put them over the 40 man limit by 1. I’ll check up on that one.

    Like

  43. 44 Vox O'Raison January 7, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    The Braves have not updated their 40 man roster yet, but it stands at 38 players as is. That means somebody’s gotta go.

    It should also be noted that Cuban OF Dian Toscano has not yet been added, but that’s a bit different. He isn’t even in this country yet. Still a lot of paperwork to be done on that guy.

    Like

  44. 45 Gil in Mechanicsville January 7, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    There is always room on the DL:-)

    Like

  45. 46 berigan2electricboogaloo January 7, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    Braves To Designate Tyler Pastornicky For Assignment
    By Steve Adams [January 7, 2015 at 4:27pm CST]

    The Braves will designate infielder Tyler Pastornicky for assignment tomorrow in order to clear 40-man roster space for the three signings they announced earlier today, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports (on Twitter).

    The 25-year-old Pastornicky struggled in 47 plate appearances with the Braves in 2014 and has never hit much at the Major League level, as evidenced by his .243/.295/.314 batting line in 268 plate appearances. However, he only just turned 25 last month and has a much stronger track record in the minors, where he’s a .290/.348/.386 batter in 793 Triple-A plate appearances.

    By releasing Dan Uggla midseason, trading Tommy La Stella earlier this winter and now designating Pastornicky, the Braves have jettisoned the three players that saw the bulk of the playing time at second base in Atlanta last season. The Braves inked Alberto Callaspo to a one-year deal to hold down the fort at second this year, presumably while top prospect Jose Peraza continues his development in the minors. Additionally, the club acquired Jace Peterson from the Padres in the Justin Upton deal — another infielder capable of handling second base.

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2015/01/braves-to-designate-tyler-pastornicky-for-assignment.html

    Like

  46. 47 chrisklob January 8, 2015 at 12:24 am

    was doing a little research about how the caps are selected. i had heard years ago that the HOF determined which cap would be shown for eternity on the plaque. the reasoning here is that it is a museum and they want to show where the player had the most historical experience. however, there are exceptions, such as maddux. as you know he played almost as many years in chicago as atlanta. frankly, i think his contribution as a brave was more important than his time in chicago (3 cy’s, 194 wins, ws championship, etc) but it seems he had some say in being enshrined with no logo.

    this link is a few years old but gives some good insight into the decision making process: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=lukas/interview/090723

    Liked by 1 person

  47. 48 chrisklob January 8, 2015 at 12:26 am

    oh, and i just read that smoltz is the first tommy john patient to be elected to the hof. had no idea! http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/eye-on-baseball/24941945/john-smoltz-becomes-first-pitcher-to-make-hall-of-fame-after-tj-surgery

    Liked by 2 people

  48. 49 Vox O'Raison January 8, 2015 at 7:52 am

    The other shoe has dropped and Pastor has been DFA’d. Let’s face it… he had maxed out his abilities here and never got really over the hump. He was ok defensively, but not great. He was ok at the plate, but not great. He’ll likely be traded to a team in need of a backup IF and continue his career as a bench contributor. But the Braves have alot of options on that front, including Phil Gosselin and newly acquired Jace Peterson. With Jose Peraza expected to crack the lineup at some point sooner than later, the best Pastor could hope for here was another ticket to Gwinnett. Being traded will be the best thing for his career.

    Like

  49. 50 Vox O'Raison January 8, 2015 at 7:58 am

    CK, Smoltzie was an amazing pitcher even post-TJ. If you think about it, the advances in TJ surgery and rehab have occurred more in the last 10 years. Johnny was probably in that bunch on the new leading edge. It does make you wonder what pitchers may have seen “greatness” in past decades if they had been able to have the same treatments and repairs.

    Leo was on the radio talking about Johnny’s pitching yesterday, and the subject of TJ came up… especially under the context that Leo didn’t lose many pitchers to that injury. Leo contends that the concept of “velo” is the single biggest contributor to the rash of injuries. He said that he never cared what a pitcher could hit on the radar gun; he was much more concerned with movement and location, movement especially. He said if a pitcher could hit 99 straight or 91 with movement, he’d take the 91 with movement. Leo knows.

    Liked by 2 people

  50. 51 Vox O'Raison January 8, 2015 at 8:06 am

    Here’s another thought on the HOF cap thing. In this day and time, there aren’t nearly as many HOF caliber players who stay on the same team anymore. Many are more like mercenaries selling there prolific talents for the highest bidder, especially if they’re represented by uber-agent Scott Boras. This issue of cap selection will probably be seen more and more in the future. Fortunately, there are still a handful of guys like Craig Biggio, Derek Jeter and Chipper Jones who stayed with one team throughout their entire memorable careers. Sadly, those players are becoming more and more rare.

    And that’s not necessarily an indictment on the players either. Teams bear the same responsibility. Some cannot afford to pay potential future HOFers and will need to trade them away to get some kind of return. Others may pay them once, but will trade them (or their contracts) once their talents begin to fade, or their team needs to rebuild.

    The game’s changing economics even have an effect on the HOF. Who woulda thunk it?

    Like

  51. 52 Vox O'Raison January 8, 2015 at 8:14 am

    Here’s a cool story that Leo told yesterday about HOFer Smoltz. During the season that he injured his elbow, you will probably recall that he delayed surgery, instead changing his pitching mechanics to lessen the strain and pain in his elbow. He dropped his arm slot to a 3/4 delivery, as opposed to over the top, and worked change of speed instead of fastball./slider. As the playoffs commenced, the Braves were in a key game with John taking the hill. Leo watched him warming up and noticed him throwing over the top for the first time in months. He said he asked him what was going on, and John replied saying that he would have to be able to throw his splitter to beat that particular team, and he had to come over the top to make the split work. He proceeded to pitch 8 innings of dominating baseball. He was also in tremendous pain.

    That guy was the grittiest warrior I ever saw take the field. He’s still one of my favorite Braves of all time.

    Liked by 2 people

  52. 53 Vox O'Raison January 8, 2015 at 8:18 am

    Speaking of future HOFers, Chipper related this funny story in a pair of tweets the other day:

    “I love sitting next to a guy in the airport with Braves hat and jersey on. Then he makes eye contact and…………..nothin! #makesmelaugh”

    “Ok so I lean over and say, ‘who’s ur fav player?’ He says, ‘Chipper Jones’. I go,’Really?’ ‘Really????’ He double takes n says, ‘Holy [censored]!'”

    😆

    Liked by 1 person

  53. 54 Gil in Mechanicsville January 8, 2015 at 11:19 am

    “…never hit much at the Major League level, as evidenced by his .243/.295/.314 batting line in 268 plate appearances”.

    Or as Uncle Melvin would say, a turn around year…..

    Isn’t .243 about what BJ’s career average was when he was signed by the Braves?

    I’ll not worry about the Pastor, he will play somewhere next season, maybe even in the majors. He is still young. Wasn’t he the last guy picked up in the trade with the Blue Jays?

    I always felt Collins (now the Royals closer) was the kid to watch in that trade and the real keeper…. Oh well, the movers and shakers of that era are no longer around.

    I am so often reminded of guys (football, baseball and basketball) who are hired and have great records with kids recruited by the guy they replaced. Then, when those players graduate, the replacement coaches can’t win with the players they recruit and the cycle repeats itself. Or not….

    Anyway, good morning folks, CL, hope you are feeling better. At least you did not break anything… At least I hope not….

    Tough recognizing super heroes without their capes Raisins…. Hey, look at how long Superman got away with just wearing glasses as Clark Kent…. 🙂

    I think Tyler was always in a tough place. A lot of pressure to put on a kid that young to be expected to be the guy when so many folks around him were not… I sometimes wonder how different it would be if contracts were not guaranteed like those in other professional sports. For sure, we would not be stuck with Uncle Melvin but guys like Loria of Miami would use it to screw over players worse than he already does. Sociopaths should not be allowed to own teams in pro sports no matter how much money they have. Megalomaniacs maybe but never sociopaths….

    Liked by 1 person

  54. 55 Vox O'Raison January 8, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Liked by 1 person

  55. 56 Gil in Mechanicsville January 8, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    Funny thing Raisins, the weather here in the river city is not much different that that of Atlanta. What we lack in altitude, we make up in latitude… While 11 degrees is not a record, it is a heck of an average. It is currently 22 degrees as of 1:30 PM It is the reason we have heat pumps and the like rather than living in a cave. No wonder bears hibernate.

    Of course those folks in Fargo would view this as sunny spring like weather…

    Now baseball, I suspect Tyler will be traded for some minor leaguer we have never heard of who can be added to a minor league roster.

    Like

  56. 57 Vox O'Raison January 8, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    I suspect Tyler will be traded for some minor leaguer we have never heard of who can be added to a minor league roster.

    Yep.

    Like

  57. 58 Gil in Mechanicsville January 8, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    “The Braves added another piece to their revamped bullpen by signing left-hander Josh Outman to a one-year, $925,000 contract Wednesday.

    Outman, 30, was 4-0 with a 2.86 ERA in 40 appearances for the Yankees and Indians in 2014, and his .229 opponents’ average included .169 (10-for-59) by left-handed batters. He signed a major-league contract that includes up to $475,000 in additional performance incentives, and he won’t be eligible for free agency until after the 2016 season.” D. O’Brien AJC

    I think the Braves have signed their loogie… This will make either James Russell or Luis Avilan expendable. We will have to wait and see what the Braves will do but I think it is in the cards one or both could be trade bait. Which one may be based on interest by other clubs and/or current pay roll flexibility.

    Like

  58. 59 Gil in Mechanicsville January 8, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Of course Outman was expendable for the Yankees who acquired a lefty Chasen Shreve along with David Carpenter in the Banuelos deal.

    I think it was a good signing for the Braves as Avilan, for whatever reason, just did not seem to be as effective as he was in 2013.

    James Russell is making more money but given a clean inning from which to start, Russell appeared to be very effective. Everyone appears to be a specialist in the Bigs now when it come to pitching.

    Like

  59. 60 Gil in Mechanicsville January 8, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    Note to readers: Remember when I said I spilled my Diet Coke on/into my old keyboard? Well, Santa brought me a pack of two… Cheap but what the heck, they worked, well, almost. The first on had a key that wanted to stick/hang up (the letter A) and it was almost as bad as my coke splashed one… Drives me nuts, like a tire out of round or a warped break rotor. Anyhoo, I had finally had enough and changed out to the second keyboard in the pack. Works just fine. Will not make me a better writer or a better speller but at least it will not make me a worse one.

    Words you will never hear said on TV or in print. “MADE WITH THE FINEST CHINESE CRAFTSMANSHIP”

    Liked by 1 person

  60. 61 Vox O'Raison January 8, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    But this bit of news will not be decried as criticism to the same degree that Nick Markakis’ neck surgery was. A procedure, by the way, that will have him resuming full activity before Spring Training. For the life of me I cannot understand why the disc fusion is seen as a negative and not a positive. Markakis has been dealing with this nagging issue for 2 years, a 2 year period that not-so-coincidentally he has seen an offensive downturn. You have to think his swing can improve with the relief.

    Like

  61. 62 Gil in Mechanicsville January 8, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    You are aware that Jason was arrested for DUI last month. Not a lot has been said about this has it?

    Liked by 1 person

  62. 63 Gil in Mechanicsville January 8, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    Yes, I look for good things from Nick this year. His surgery is a lot less likely to have a negative impact than Jason’s shoulder surgery. Now, I realize that pro athletes have the benefit of having the best doctors and the best personal trainers but Miss Josie had similar surgery done 15 years ago and still has trouble with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  63. 64 Carolina Lady January 8, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    Thanks, Gil. Bad fall and I hurt everywhere. Knee badly swollen – can’t put the lightest touch on the area of the knee and 5″ below. Shoulders, neck and back muscles hurt. I’m tellin’ ya: ya gotta be tough to get old!!! (Don’t have a clue what caused it.)

    Excellent posts, guys! Great reading. 😀

    Like

  64. 65 Gil in Mechanicsville January 8, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    All that said, I’d still take him for Uncle Melvin….

    Like

  65. 66 Gil in Mechanicsville January 8, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    Rick Ankiel, will serve as the life skills coordinator (coach) for the Washington Nationals farm system for the 2015 season. I’m not quite sure what that is but evidently the Nats wanted to get him started in the coaching profession. He was/is a good guy so I guess it makes sense. I think it is a little bit like being a chaplain or maybe someone to teach the kids how to act. Anyway, good for him to have a job.

    Looks like the Nats are having a hard time finding a second baseman. Danno might actually have a shot at making their team if he has a good spring. I know a lot of folks poo-pooed the idea of him having an undiagnosed concussion but I remember the difference in Johnny Estrada after he was waylaid by Darin Erstad of the Angels. Clearly a dirty play by anyone who saw it as Erstad went out of his way to deliver a forearm shiv to Estrada’s head. Johnny was never the same afterwards.

    Anyway, I can see how it could affect a player’s ability to see a baseball.

    During my high school football years, our quarterback received a vicious hit during one game early in the first quarter, to his credit, he staid in the game but to this day, he says he has absolutely no recollection of the game or the week that followed. (We lost by the way)

    Like

  66. 67 Carolina Lady January 8, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    Life skills coach?? I googled it:

    “A life coach is someone that looks to empower others by helping them make, meet and exceed goals in both their personal and professional lives. A key aspect of life coaching is confidence. Often people that use a life coach are short of self confidence and find themselves in a routine or rut that lacks enjoyment or excitement. Their self worth is low or the challenge facing them too high. A life coach essentially seeks to reinstall an individual’s faltering confidence and ensures they have it within themselves to live up to their potential.

    Life Coaching Can Help:
    Life coaching can help with virtually any aspect of someone’s life, whether it is in their personal or professional life. Hiring a life coach for personal difficulties has become a huge market and is continuing to grow. Most often a life coaches services are required for family coaching or help with a relationship. With over a third of all marriages in the UK ending in divorce, more and more people are turning to a life coach in an attempt to save their relationship. The stress of work, coupled with financial worries mean young couples have less time for each over and this heavily impacts upon their home life and in turn causes strain in a relationship. As a result the demand for relationship coaching has risen exponentially over the last decade.

    There are many other reasons why people seek the services of a life coach for personal endeavors. These vary from the lack of motivation to exercise, help taking up a new hobby or indeed improving at an existing hobby and having someone to consult before taking a gap year or year abroad.

    Life coaching has helped people in their professional lives for a long while, dating back to the 1980’s. Business coaching as it is more formerly known can support people in all lines of work. Whether it is executive coaching for senior managers, interview coaching for job seekers or start-up business coaching for entrepreneurs all have proven to be massively successful in fulfilling an individual’s goal. Coaching has also been seen to help with motivating a work force or helping someone find a work/life balance that has for one reason or another been lost.

    Of course people are going to be skeptical about firstly turning to a life coach and secondly opening up to someone in an intimate environment. However the success of a life coach is highly dependent on the individual and their desire to change. A life coach isn’t a miracle worker, just as a counselor isn’t. But rather than dwelling on the past and probing what has gone before, a life coach has a more positive outlook and will concentrate on the future and encourage personal development.

    Life coaching sessions are most commonly conducted face to face, however it has been known for them to take place over the phone or even over via video chat services such as Skype. The first life coaching session will look to gain an overall perspective of someone’s life, before identifying which area they seek to improve or are currently unhappy with.

    The life coach and individual will agree goals that during sessions will be broken down into more achievable objectives. It is then down to the individual to go away with the techniques they have been taught and work on what has been agreed. As mentioned previously in the empowerment phase, it is between sessions that the individual must possess the drive and focus to want to change. This will be facilitated by the life coach who during the sessions will change how someone looks at both themselves and the rest of the world and in time a more positive thought process will be developed. It is the alteration of their thought process combined with the desire to change and challenge themselves that will allow the individual to ultimately achieve their goal.”

    I’ll be interested to see how they use him. Sounds kinda like a therapist.

    Like

  67. 68 Vox O'Raison January 8, 2015 at 11:20 pm

    Like

  68. 69 Vox O'Raison January 8, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    Like

  69. 70 Gil in Mechanicsville January 9, 2015 at 9:13 am

    The Braves are taking the long view with that trade. I know Kyle Kubitza’s name had been bandied about as a possible replacement for Chris Johnson but it looks more and more like Chris is going to be given the opportunity to return to 2013 form before making a move on the hot corner. That and the Braves prospects received from San Diego are rated ahead of Kyle.

    Sanchez is another roll of the dice by the Braves to restock their pitching staff. Be afraid Mike Minor, be very afraid….. 2017 is looming….

    Thanks CL for your explanation on Life Skills Coach. Like I said, sounds like a chaplain/physiologist for the minor league guys who are having a tough time adjusting. Do the Braves have anyone who fills such a position on their staff?

    “The #Braves have acquired LHP Ricardo Sanchez from the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for RHP Nate Hyatt and INF Kyle Kubitza”.
    Also makes some room on the 40 man roster right now…

    Like

  70. 71 Gil in Mechanicsville January 9, 2015 at 9:19 am

    or maybe not.. thought Kubitza was on the 40 man… Move to PCL should help his BA

    Like

  71. 72 Carolina Lady January 9, 2015 at 9:25 am

    Gil, first thing I thought of was the psychologist that Smoltz had on his payroll for so long. I guess the difference in price is which title is being used. 🙂

    Like

  72. 73 Gil in Mechanicsville January 9, 2015 at 9:41 am

    I would think you would have to have a special personality to be that sort of mentor to handle the head cases…. but I too thought of Smoltz, hmmm Smoltz, head case… yeah that fits….

    Liked by 1 person

  73. 75 Vox O'Raison January 9, 2015 at 10:02 am

    I know Kyle Kubitza’s name had been bandied about as a possible replacement for Chris Johnson… and the Braves prospects received from San Diego are rated ahead of Kyle.

    It would appear that Kubitza is not quite as promising a prospect as originally advertised. The phrase DOB used was that “Kubitza made big strides in 2013 and hit well in Double-A this past season, but there were ?’s whether he’d hit enough to play 3B in bigs”. First time I had heard that. The fact that he was in the Braves list of top prospects spoke more to the dearth of good prospects in the Braves system than to the projected success of KK. It is yet another indictment of Frank’s management of the Braves minor league system.

    The young 17-year-old Ricardo Sanchez becomes the guy we’ll look at now as we did Julio Teheran 6 years ago. And we’ll track his progress up the ladder with the same anticipation.

    Like

  74. 76 Gil in Mechanicsville January 9, 2015 at 10:41 am

    When it comes to drafting kids, I am reminded of the movie Moneyball When one of the coaches did not want to draft a young pitcher because he had an “ugly” girlfriend. Said it indicated the kid had no self confidence…. yep, drafting a baseball prospect is so scientific…

    So many things can happen on a prospect’s path to the Big Leagues. All of these kids were all head and shoulders above the guys they played with when they were kids, except maybe Aldreton Simmons, who played with some pretty good teammates in the land of Andruw Jones.

    The Braves are clearly in retool mode now. Stacking up young talent in the hopes one or two might make it to the Show. Clearly, there they don’t want the fan base to give up on them while they go thru some growing pains but unlike 2013 when everything seemed to fall into place, 2014 exposed them for who they were. A team that was streaky and prone to long dry spells.

    Like

  75. 77 Vox O'Raison January 9, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    Like

  76. 78 Vox O'Raison January 9, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    thought Kubitza was on the 40 man

    He was. The roster currently sits at 39, but Cuban OF Dian Toscano has not yet been added. Still, it allows a little wiggle room should the Braves find a veteran 5th starter they want to sign now. An adjustment for Toscano can be made at the appropriate time.

    Speaking of Toscano, the more I read about him, the more I think we’ll see playing time out of him in 2015. IMO, he’ll probably open the season in AAA just to get his feet wet in American professional baseball. But he projects to be a contributor in 2015, especially if 2015 BJ is same old BJ.

    Like

  77. 79 Vox O'Raison January 9, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    OK… this is a bit out of my comfort zone, but this is a rough list of the Braves current Top 10 Prospects, with info gleaned from Baseball America, MLB Prospects, MLB Pipeline and Bleacher Report, including the new kid positioned as stated by John Manuel of BA via Twitter. I have attempted to consolidate all opinions and rankings into one list:

    1. Jose Peraza, 2B, age 20, ETA 2015
    2. Lucas Sims, RHP, age 20, ETA 2016
    3. Max Fried, LHP, age 20, ETA 2017
    4. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP, age 24, ETA 2015
    5. Ozhaino Albies, SS, age 18, ETA 2019
    6. Ricardo Sanchez, LHP, age 17, ETA 2018
    7. Braxton Davidson, OF, age 18, ETA 2018
    8. Jason Hursh, RHP, age 23, ETA 2015
    9. Tyrell Jenkins, RHP, age 22, ETA 2017
    10. Manny Banuelos, LHP, age 23, ETA 2015

    While, as Gil has so accurately stated, you never know how a prospect will develop and ascend, there is at least one opinion in the vast world of baseball writers that believes with this latest trade, the Braves farm system – which was near the bottom of 30 teams when Frank left the building – has risen into the upper half, and possibly into the top 10 overall. And while we want to look more shortsightedly at what this team is going to do in 2015, the Johns very openly stated that 1 of their 2 important tasks they faced was to restock a paltry farm system. I think they have done a remarkable job in that respect thus far.

    Now… can they give us something fun to watch this year and next?

    Like

  78. 80 Gil in Mechanicsville January 9, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    VOX, thanks for putting in the time to do the research for that. There are so many moving parts to a baseball team, for sure, it’s not something one or two guys can do in their basement, despite the best efforts of a few on the AJC blogs.

    Anyhoo, the trade was noted on the MLB show Hot Stove as one of those under the radar trades that signaled the direction the Braves were taking. They said it was quite a departure from John Hart’s philosophy when he was in Cleavland when he loaded the line-up with boppers, had a so-so starting staff and an adequate bull pen.

    Perhaps he has seen what it actually takes to win a WS. The Braves model was great pitching, great defense and adequate hitting. John Surholtz discover you could not win in the National League without great pitching. When your pen cannot hold a five run lead, well, we all know the results. And did not the Texas Rangers learn the same lesson when they came within one out of winning the World Series against the Cardinals?

    Perhaps the influx of A.J. and Nick into the clubhouse may yet wake up some of the Braves bats this season. We have seen the Braves pitch well enough in the past to hang with most everyone. No, on paper, they are not as talented as the Nationals or the Marlins on maybe even the Mets but like Yogi liked to say, “Ya never know..”

    The Braves don’t have a bad team, certainly, BJ will be given the chance to continue to fail but I don’t think he will be allowed to stink up the clubhouse for long this season, after all, it’s not like anyone left in the front office has to save face with his signing, the money owed to hm is spent money, the Braves will have to develop their own aces and will not be able to get into discussions about players like Cole Hammels or Price or the like.

    Given Liberty Media’s continued business model, they hope the Braves will be more prone to being lucky, as in 2013, as opposed to being good. They will continue to try and seek a return on their investment by selling $10 hotdogs, office spaces and parking fees. As long as the team isn’t actually losing money, they feel pretty content. Meanwhile, whomever is running the team, has to compete like the US Olympic armatures had to up against the USSR and East German teams who were being subsidized by the “state”. Boys against men in most cases except for the East German swim team where it was girls against men….

    Please note: All comments made herein are strictly the opinions of this writer and may not necessarily reflect the management and staff of the Braves and Stuff blogspot… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  79. 81 Vox O'Raison January 13, 2015 at 8:11 am

    Slow days in Braves country. Not much to report on now, except perhaps the Pastor-watch as he has about 10 more days in DFA limbo. But seriously, are we watching that very closely?

    The Braves still could pick up a veteran type 5th starter candidate, but the more I ponder that, the more I think they don’t really need to. If the motivation is just to add experience to a young staff, I’m not so sure it’s necessary. Y’all realize that “old” Mike Minor (27) already has 3 years under his belt, right? And Julio Teheran (22) has 2. Shelby Miller (24) has 2. Alex Wood (24), who might be the #2 starter, has 1 full season as a starter.

    Y’all can scoff at me if you want, but I see this pitching staff of Teheran, Miller, Wood (and to certain degree Minor) as being similar to the terrific young group the A’s had in 2001 with Tim Hudson (25) , Mark Mulder (23) and Barry Zito (23). I honestly think this group is that good.

    When the A’s began that 2001 season, Huddy had 31 career wins in 2 seasons, Mulder had 9 in 1 season and Zito had 7 in 1 season. By comparison, our “big 3” of Teheran, Miller and Wood have 29 (2 seasons), 26 (2 seasons) and 14 (1 season, 11 wins as a starter) wins respectively. You can even add Minor’s 38 to that total.

    But here’s the difference. In 2001 when Hudson rang up 18 wins, Mulder 21 and Zito 17, the A’s had an offense that featured a few guys you may have heard of. Jason Giambi? Jermaine Dye? Eric Chavez? Johnny Damon? Miguel Tejada?

    And there’s the big difference. It’s a little easier to pitch and win when your team averages 5.46 runs per game.

    But make no mistake, the Braves starting pitching is not a weakness.

    BTW- that 2001 A’s team had a couple of guys share the #5 starter slot and notch 12 wins between them. I foresee the Braves giving David Hale a shot initially, and acquiring a veteran at the trade deadline if necessary. If Hale proves his worth over the first 2 months, or the Braves are simply not contending, then maybe they just leave it alone. Their recent acquisitions have given them the bullpen depth to allow Hale to start.

    But maybe not. Don’t forget they signed Aaron Harang late in Spring Training 2014. If a vet they like falls our way again, then who knows?

    Like

  80. 82 Vox O'Raison January 13, 2015 at 8:13 am

    Not much to report on now, except perhaps the Pastor-watch as he has about 10 more days in DFA limbo.

    Let me correct myself… it’s 10 days total. There are about 5 days remaining for the Pastor in DFA limbo.

    I need another cup of coffee… :-/

    Like

  81. 83 Gil in Mechanicsville January 13, 2015 at 10:22 am

    Good morning all, thanks for the update VOX, All the news on MLB seems to be where the likes of David Price and Max Scherzer will sign and for how much, that and when and if the Phillies will go all in on rebuilding and trade away Cole Hammels. For a pitcher of his caliber, he is pretty reasonable but I’m pretty sure the fight’n Phils are looking for a Mark Texiera type haul in return. If it was just money, it would be easy to look far the usual suspects but methinks it is the prospect the Phillies are looking for.

    It appears the A’s are quietly rebuilding their team on the island of misfit toys and doing a decent job. Billy Bean has assembled a decent group of players but will find it tough to compete against the likes of LA, Texas and Seattle. He saw his team pretty much implode after trading away Celespo last year to the Red Sox.

    Fifth starter for the Braves… Well, it’s like this, every major league team believes they need at least 7 major league caliber pitchers to get through a 162 game season. Things have changed since the days when guys left their off season day jobs and laced up their spikes and hurled from 200 to 240 innings for the season. Now we feel lucky to have one guy who logs 200 innings a season and that guy makes $20 million per season…..

    Think about it, it is not the team loaded with boppers that is often spoke of as being probable World Series contenders, it is the team with the great pitching staff and a strong bullpen. However, that didn’t work out so well for Oakland last season did it?

    A quick note about college football…. Goes to show you, it is not how you start but how you finish that matters…. The offensive line for Ohio State reminded me of when the Washington Redskins had the “Hogs”… Big burly strong men who just wore down the defense and a big strong running back to blow through holes….. And to think, weak sister in the ACC this season actually beat them in week two of the season. Looks like Urban Myers has built another powerhouse…..

    Okay, will opine more on the Braves and less on stuff when there is something to report on….

    Like

  82. 84 Gil in Mechanicsville January 13, 2015 at 10:32 am

    One more quick note… I really hated to see Evoldi go to the Yankees. He was the one pitcher on the Miami staff the Braves could actually beat last season….

    One last comment about Braves pitching…. One would have to believe that ManBam is who the Braves are counting on to fill the five hole in the starting rotation. I have to believe that David Hale as the number five is viewed as a fall back option by the Braves brain trust.

    To be honest, the Braves have a pretty decent line up except for the guy who is making the most money…. The guy otherwise known as Wren’s folly….

    Like

  83. 85 Gil in Mechanicsville January 13, 2015 at 10:40 am

    Which leads me to another thought…. Tyler should bring back something from someone, he is not a bad player, just not a great one but he is still young. The Braves should get a decent minor league prospect for him, likely not one who has a great upside but if not, I look for him to be put back on Gwinnett’s roster as insurance. It is really just trying to get him through waivers but to be truthful, Does he now have too many other prospects ahead of him now?

    I still say Collins was the best player picked up in the trade with the Blue Jays and Fran Wren and his crack staff of experts saw fit to trade him away to the Royals….. BAH! HUMBUG!

    Like

  84. 86 Vox O'Raison January 13, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    If I had only held my earlier opinion for a few hours…

    Like

  85. 87 Vox O'Raison January 13, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    Minor league deal. Good signing for the Braves. He can compete for the 5th starter job with no promises. Our GM tandem are pretty sharp fellas.

    Like

  86. 88 Vox O'Raison January 13, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Yep. he failed his physical with Philly 2 weeks ago. not sure why, but I’ll find out. Low risk signing for ATL. Nothing lost.

    Like

  87. 89 Vox O'Raison January 13, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    ajc.com: Various injuries, including a forearm strain, have limited him to just 18 major league starts in the past two seasons, and Rodriguez was 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in six starts with Pittsburgh in 2014.

    Like

  88. 90 Vox O'Raison January 13, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    CBSsports.com: Rodriguez, who will turn 36 on Jan. 18, made just six starts for Pittsburgh in 2014 due to a knee injury.

    Like

  89. 91 Vox O'Raison January 13, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    It appears that this signing epitomizes the phrase, “Why not? What have we got to lose?” I wouldn’t count on Wandy making many waves in Spring unless he has some outrageous off-season rehab program going on. And if he still failed the Phils’ physical within the last 2 weeks, he isn’t too far along. But stranger things have happened. David Hale should definitely continue to work toward being “stretched out”.

    Like

  90. 93 Vox O'Raison January 13, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    Nothing to see here for sure. This is even less than a “low risk” signing. It’s a “NO risk” signing. Nothing guaranteed on a minor league deal. If he can get healthy, and get good, then he can compete for the 5th starter spot. If not, then he gets released. Pretty simple.

    It appears that the goal of this hierarchy is to create a healthy competition. So far, there are no less than 5 pitchers currently in the mix including David Hale, James Russell, Manny Banuelos, Chien Ming Wang and now Wandy Rodriguez all invited to Spring Training to make their case.

    I still believe Hale wins it from that group of 5. But as we saw today, that group will be in flux for the foreseeable future. We’ll know better on Feb. 20, I suppose.

    Like

  91. 95 Gil in Mechanicsville January 14, 2015 at 10:37 am

    VOX, Re your Bryce Harper article, He is typical of many of the young kids of today, Long on talent, short on brains, he is the poster child for the ME! ME! ME! generation. If he had to suffer a little while in the minors to actually learn the game and a little humility, It would have paid dividends for the gNats but if Matt Williams can’t corral him, look for him to be flipped to someone else who can.

    Wandy Rodriquez eh? Interesting. For sure, a good pitcher when healthy, being injured/hurt explains a lot. Let’s see if the Braves training staff can get him right. The Braves have had a long history of salvaging pitchers off the scrap heap. Otherwise, no skin off their nose if he doesn’t work out. After all, not like he is making Mike Hampton level money….

    Like

  92. 96 Vox O'Raison January 14, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    not like he is making Mike Hampton level money

    And won’t make any $$ if he cannot pass a Braves physical, either. Nothing wrong with giving the guy a shot. Braves have nothing to lose.

    Like

  93. 97 Vox O'Raison January 14, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    Holy crap!!

    Like

  94. 98 Gil in Mechanicsville January 14, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    So, the Braves are in official blow up the team mode…. Now Freddie will know how Juan Carlos Stanton felt as his team vanished around him.

    This would be a great fit for Houston, not so great for Atlanta… Sigh, getting very close for me to throw in the towel as far as my Atlanta fanship and start rooting for the local team only 90 miles to the north…. SIGH!

    Look soon for a gNats and stuff blog possibly coming soon…..

    Like

  95. 99 Vox O'Raison January 14, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    Dexter Fowler seems to be in play… gotta keep an ear on this one…

    Like

  96. 100 Gil in Mechanicsville January 14, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    Whoopee…. What a steal….. for the Astros

    Liked by 1 person

  97. 101 Vox O'Raison January 14, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Don’t stray too far, Gil. Fowler is a terrific switch hitting CF. He’s a premier defender, and a legitimate base stealing threat.

    He batted .276/.375/.399 in 111 games in 2014. He has logged the majority of his career in the leadoff spot, but also has plenty of experience in the 2-hole as well, mostly following the emergence of Jose Altuve in HOU. He would make the perfect #2 guy to follow Jose Peraza, allowing Markakis to drop in the order… presumably to #4.

    This scenario brings up 2 key questions:
    1- Is BJ again involved in the equation as he was in their talks earlier in the offseason?
    2- Who else might be involved? If BJ is in the deal, our return will obviously be lessened. But if you give up both your CF and LF, you better get another guy for LF.

    Seems to me the team is still looking to get back a bevy of prospects. Obviously we are just in the initial stages of these talks and thus we as spectators are only throwing darts at the moment. It does stoke the Hot Stove coals a bit though, doesn’t it?

    Like

  98. 102 Vox O'Raison January 14, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    And keep the name Domingo Santana in mind…

    Like

  99. 103 Vox O'Raison January 14, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    Like

  100. 104 berigan2electricboogaloo January 14, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    Oh boy…Dexter Fowler…a younger….Michael Bourne injured as often as…Michael Bourne The top, THE TOP number of games Fowler has played in 6 season? 143.
    135
    132
    125
    143
    119
    116
    Stole 11 whole bases last year….
    So, it would be a deal to get rid BJ, and now who plays left???
    Just not impressed at all…

    Like

  101. 105 Vox O'Raison January 14, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Like

  102. 106 Vox O'Raison January 14, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    If Domingo Santana is one of them, y’all will be happy.

    Like

  103. 107 Vox O'Raison January 14, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    DOB says on the radio it’s a done deal pending the physical…

    Like

  104. 108 Vox O'Raison January 14, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    Like

  105. 109 Vox O'Raison January 14, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    Like

  106. 110 Vox O'Raison January 14, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    Like

  107. 111 berigan2electricboogaloo January 14, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    Michael Foltynewicz , A PITCHER….7 7 .500 5.08 at AAA . Wow…so very impressed another prospect after a bad year….didn’t we let one of ours go like that??

    Like

  108. 112 Vox O'Raison January 14, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    “[Astros #4 prospect, 23 year old RHP Mike] Foltynewicz is a pure power pitcher. His fastball sits in the mid-to-upper 90s, and it has been clocked in the triple digits. Like most young flamethrowers, Foltynewicz is still working to tighten up his command and improve the consistency of his offspeed pitches. His changeup is his best secondary offering, and his downer curveball has the promise of giving him another average or better pitch.”

    Like

  109. 113 Vox O'Raison January 14, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    “[Astros #9 prospect, 20 year old 3B] Rio Ruiz has a good approach at the plate, and his sweet swing generates a lot of bat speed — giving him above-average power.”

    Like

  110. 114 berigan2electricboogaloo January 14, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Rio Ruiz, 20, 3rd baseman. In A+ ball last year…11 77 4 4 82 91 .293 .387

    Ok, looks pretty good….but way, way away…

    Like

  111. 115 Vox O'Raison January 14, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    Full report on Foltynewicz: http://www.scoutingbook.com/players/p2745

    Like

  112. 116 berigan2electricboogaloo January 14, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Andrew Thurman , A PITCHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 22 y.o. 7 9 5.38. In A ball, at 22, he sucked…
    So, no left fielder, a team LOADED With prospects, position prospects, needing arms, traded 2 underperforming arms…wow…John Hart has made some risky moves, but one’s I could get behind…as the team is now…there is no LFer, a terrible CFer, no bat to protect FF….are they going to find some cheap OF’er to play lf? Can they possibly trade these guys for an outfielder? Or some of the other prospects they have recently gotten?
    This trade just makes no sense as of 1-14-15….

    Like

  113. 118 Vox O'Raison January 14, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Thurman is the outlier… not a top 20 prospect.

    Like

  114. 119 Vox O'Raison January 14, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    What? Bowman says it’s not official:

    Like

  115. 120 Vox O'Raison January 14, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    OK… here is the view from where I sit…

    If this is a done deal, then the Braves have traded for yet another big arm for the rotation. (I actually like this one alot, by the way. Would love to see him get a shot at the #5 slot.) But with an already young rotation, and a stockpile of young pitching stacking up behind them, where does everyone fit?

    Remember, the purpose of developing players serves 2 purposes: 1) to fill a Major League need, or 2) to be traded, preferably from an area of strength, for someone who can.

    Don’t be surprised if one or more from this stockpile of pitching isn’t used to acquire an OF.

    Liked by 1 person

  116. 121 Vox O'Raison January 14, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    Like

  117. 122 Carolina Lady January 14, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    Raisins, I’m sure glad you know who’s who – most of these names I’ve never heard of. The Braves front office must have a plan. Don’t they??? (Please tell me ‘yes’!) Seem to be buying lots of low cost people (cheap?) for some reason. I hope they aren’t hoping for one or more to suddenly become Babe Ruth in ST. Hmmm.

    Like

  118. 123 Carolina Lady January 14, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    They traded Gattis?? Good grief, Charlie Brown. So Fredi Freeman is about the only “regular” left. Oh, well. There’s always next year – maybe. Now I’m officially disgusted with them.

    Liked by 1 person

  119. 124 Vox O'Raison January 14, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    I am disappointed that Domingo Santana was not included. Foltynewicz and Ruiz are good pickups for sure.

    Foltynewicz, the ‘stros #1 pick in 2010, pitched 102 innings mostly as a starter at AAA last season, and is described by Baseball America as having “crazy arm strength”. His fastball sits 96-100 mph, and his curve is also plus. He made 16 relief appearances at the major league level last year with mixed results, but his development has been as a starter. He was their #2 prospect.

    Ruiz, a 4th round pick out of HS in 2012, is a legit power prospect at 3B. He hit .293/,387/.436 w/ 50 exra base hits (11 HR), 77 RBI in high-A lat season. He’ll likely start 2015 in AA Pearl. He’s a youn’un at just 20 years old. Should be ready just in time for the Braves move to SunTrust Park in 2017. He was their #9 prospect.

    Thurman is not bad, but not what I had hoped for as the 3rd guy. He’s 23, and was the ‘stros 2nd round pick out of college in 2013. He was 7-9 w/ 5.38 ERA and 107 K’s in 115 1/3 innings last season in 26 games (20 starts) in A ball. He was not in their top 20 prospects.

    Like

  120. 125 Vox O'Raison January 14, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    Ruiz and Thurman kind of replace Kyle Kubitza and Nate Hyatt, the guys traded a couple of days ago for the Angels’ Ricardo Sanchez… except that Ruiz has a much higher ceiling.

    Like

  121. 126 Vox O'Raison January 14, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    I know the feeling around here (and elsewhere) is that of doom and gloom, but the organization is better off in the long run. As much as we all love Evan Gattis, he was a man without a real position here in Atlanta. Could he have played LF? Sure… but I wouldn’t want to be on the mound. Yes we can all name off a handful of bad OF to hold the fort out there, but most of them had strong CF’s to help pick up the slack. We all hope BJ can just pick up his own slack. You all know I have never been comfortable with the thought of having Evan Gattis as a full time OF. He is a prototypical DH. Houston is a great place for the Texas native. I’m happy for him.

    The prospects that we have gotten back aren’t going to help much in 2015, with the possible exception of Folty. And Gattis may hit 40+ HR’s in the Juice Box in Houston. Time will surely tell. And that is the optimal phrase. It’s not possible to tell the tale on any trade the day it comes off. Only time will tell you if it was a good one or not. Both Folty and Ruiz are legit.

    The reality is simple, though. The Braves of 2014 were not getting any better, and there were no top prospects on the horizon to bring any improvement. The choices were to sit on the team, or try to get better down the road. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but one that was necessary. As for me, I’d rather know we are at least moving in a good direction than watch a repeat of 2014. They were completely frustrating last season.

    And I don’t believe for a second that they are going into 2015 without adding another LF, so let’s see where that leads us. We do have an arm or 2 we could part with.

    Like

  122. 127 Vox O'Raison January 14, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Jeff Schultz, ajc.com: “The Gattis trade was made because he just didn’t fit anywhere and he had some value on the trade market.”

    Like

  123. 128 Vox O'Raison January 14, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    El Adioso Blanco

    Like

  124. 129 Vox O'Raison January 14, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    Intriguing…

    Like

  125. 130 Vox O'Raison January 14, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    Like

  126. 131 Vox O'Raison January 14, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    Everyone else in the world is treating the Astros deal as being done except Bowman. Could he know something no one else knows?

    Like

  127. 132 Gil in Mechanicsville January 14, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    So, Bravos 1986 redux…. I am so close to being done… Thinking I am going to call DirecTV and cancel my MLB package, after all, I have no need to watch the Braves while they become the Houston Astros. Would not mind the sell-off so much if the return was a bit higher but it seems to me the Braves are getting a lot of “B” grade prospects that might pan out but might not.

    Turner Field is going to look mighty empty this season. I doubt the Uncle Melvin jerseys will be flying off the shelves at the Braves clubhouse stores. Swept off maybe but not many jerseys will be sold methinks.

    Oh well, the Braves should be in good position to acquire lots of first round draft picks over the next few years. Should be an interesting battle between the Phillies and the Braves as to who will get the number one over all pick next year. Too bad they won’t have be willing to give up the money necessary to sign them.

    I guess Evan was getting too pricey for them, him being able to get third year minimum money and all. Look for CJ to get traded too, the Braves will eat some of the contract and plug in a place holder.

    I will not be surprised to see Evan play some first base in addition to being the primary DH for the Astros.

    Freddie Gonzales will wear the goat horns after the team rebuilds, At least he has plenty of experience in managing young teams who will lose 90 games a season.

    Liked by 2 people

  128. 133 berigan2electricboogaloo January 14, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    hmmmm…
    4:57pm (CST) The deal is not only not complete, but includes one or more players who have yet to be reported, a source tells Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter).

    Like

  129. 134 Vox O'Raison January 14, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    Couple of items… apparently the Houston deal is “agreed to” pending physicals… and also as Ber mentioned, there are some other names floating about.

    Hearing Braves will definitely address their hole in LF either through trade or FA. Rays’ LF David Dejesus could be a trade possibility. FA Nori Aoki, LF and leadoff hitter, has also been mentioned.

    Folks, don’t bail on this team yet. There is still several weeks before P&CR. It’s far from 1986. This team has some very good young pitching and a couple of top notch players. Yes, there are holes, but every team has a hole somewhere. Wait until we see who is brought in for LF before casting them into purgatory.

    Besides… if y’all jump, who will I bloviate to?

    Liked by 1 person

  130. 135 Carolina Lady January 14, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    We love your bloviation, Vox! (Why is spell-check underlining “bloviation”? Isn’t it a word? Well, if it isn’t, it should be!) 🙂

    Like

  131. 136 Gil in Mechanicsville January 15, 2015 at 12:28 am

    In a move that leaves me bunfuzzled, the gNats trade All-star relief pitcher, RH Tyler Clippered for head job Yunel Escobar. Do they really think Yunel can be moved to second base? The Nats already have one of the top ten young shortstops in the game, they have been looking for someone to play 2nd but Yunel hates being touched, always hears footsteps of guys charging down the line….

    So long Evan, we hardly knew you. Astros will have to pay out some serious cash out for the folks in the Crawford boxes when Gattis hits one of those bullets.

    I just don’t know what I will do as far as the Braves, maybe I have become too invested with this team. I understand what John Hart is trying to do but I don’t think I have another twenty years to wait for them to come back….

    I know how these things go, I was a big Redskins fan for a long time. Then Dan Snyder happened…..

    Liked by 1 person

  132. 137 Gil in Mechanicsville January 15, 2015 at 12:30 am

    Now, how long until we hear the lament out of Atlanta that they need a right handed bopper?

    Liked by 1 person

  133. 138 chrisklob January 15, 2015 at 1:41 am

    a few days ago i commented that i found the markakis signing to be very curious considering the direction that our team is headed the next two, maybe three years. i was widely criticized for that. not to worry, we are all friends right?

    but seriously, does anyone here expect this team to compete any time in the near future?

    one of the comments i received in response to the markakis signing was that he was a veteran and a good clubhouse presence. i don’t doubt and won’t debate either of those points as i’m sure they are valid. but is it really worth $11m over the next couple of years? as the roster now stands, markakis is essentially another coach. that is a very valuable position. transitioning to the bigs has got to be a big job. but can anyone tell me that there isn’t another FA outfielder with the same skill set (and i don’t mean on-field skills) that could help our future kids find their way?

    another comment back was that the braves were trying to stay relevant. seems pretty obvious to me that this team knows that relevance is not something to be expected in the short term. maybe these trades will work out in the long term but let’s not kid ourselves about what is going to happen in the short term

    hate to sound like a negative nelly. the bravos are my team — just like everyone else reading this. i wish them well. just have to have realistic expectations.

    Like

  134. 139 Vox O'Raison January 15, 2015 at 7:33 am

    blo·vi·ate: ˈblōvēˌāt/
    verb, informal
    talk at length, especially in an inflated or empty way.

    Liked by 1 person

  135. 140 berigan2electricboogaloo January 15, 2015 at 7:40 am

    Chris, I think the Markakis trade made a lot more sense before this trade…one thought I had (before the Gattis trade) and amazingly didn’t post here (A baseball thought, and it wasn’t shared with the world? Like I said, amazing! 😉 ) was that Markakis could legitimately replace the JHey of the last 3 years. Fans would see an excellent defender, and a guy with a sweet swing…And that to stick a Joey Terdoslavich, or Todd Cunningham out there…and they were hitting .190 in May, well…then you would see the kids booed terribly, how they were no JHey, plus….if possible, even more pressure on BJ to hit, and if both were hitting .190…
    But now…Nori Aoki would have made more sense…except I guess he may be our left fielder :/

    Liked by 1 person

  136. 141 Vox O'Raison January 15, 2015 at 7:56 am

    but seriously, does anyone here expect this team to compete any time in the near future?

    I do. Pitching. Pitching is key. The Braves are obviously rebuilding, but they have the pitching. Don’t forget the pitching.

    And they are not finished putting this team together. John Hart has been successful in building 2 winners at 2 previous stops. Why can’t we trust that he’s putting together a winner here? And guys (and gals)… be honest. What could you have done to make the 2014 team better immediately without becoming what the Phillies of 2014 – an old overpaid team with nothing in the farm system? The only thing the Braves could have done was to keep the team as was, continue to hide Bethancourt in AAA and try to find some productivity at 2B. Otherwise, you had to get rid of the guys who were gonna be stepping out in 2016.

    (Before the idea even hatches, no one is taking BJ. No one.)

    They had nothing of value as far as prospects that would have brought back any major league upgrades. Nothing. Todd Cunningham? Joey Terdoslovich? They were in the rut the Atlanta Hawks NBA team was stuck in for 20 years. Not good enough to advance past the 1st round of the playoffs and not bad enough to blow up. And for 20 years the Hawks became completely irrelevant.

    Free agency? Go back to my comment about the Phillies.

    Look… I’m not trying to argue. But what else could the Braves have done? I have heard (not just here, but everywhere, much lamenting. But I have yet to hear anyone suggest anything specifically that realistically could have been done differently to immediately improve the team from 2014. Nothing.

    And once the retool began, it didn’t need to stop half way. One area that I know I am the Lone Ranger on is playing Even Gattis in LF. I have never liked that idea and contend that he would be terrible out there. And from a pure offense standpoint, what was a tremendous contribution from a catcher becomes very average from an OF. Pete Incaviglia version 2.

    One more thing, since the can has been opened. We also seem to be overlooking the fact that Gattis has spent considerable amount of time on the DL in his short time in The Show with a variety of injuries including his knee. Do you not find it at least a little interesting that it took so long for the Astros medical staff to pass off on the knee? In fact, it was iffy enough that the Braves kept their talks ongoing with another team.

    All I’m saying is don’t pin so much deflation on the trade of Evan Gattis. He’s a great dude… a tremendous competitor. And what a great story! But he’s not Johnny Bench and he isn’t even Justin Upton. Given his size and injury history, the guy has one real clear career path and that is as DH. Couldn’t do that here in the A.

    Like

  137. 142 Vox O'Raison January 15, 2015 at 8:08 am

    I need to add one more overlooked fact to my previous bloviation. The word is that there was enough concern over Gattis’ knee that the Braves had to give up a minor league pitcher to sweeten the pot after all the medicals were examined. They tossed in minor league pitcher James Hoyt, a RHRP that split time between AA and AAA last season. He was not a top prospect, but another part of the deal that was necessary to make it happen. We cannot lament the loss of the legend that is El Oso Blanco without also considering the reality that is Evan Gattis, a good hitter with a balky knee and no clear defensive position.

    Like

  138. 143 Vox O'Raison January 15, 2015 at 8:27 am

    Like

  139. 145 Vox O'Raison January 15, 2015 at 8:45 am

    For those who watch such things, MLBPipeline has updated their Braves Top 20 Prospect list. Ex-Astro Mike Foltynewicz (pronounced FOLE-tin-eh-vich) is now #2 behind 2B Jose Peraza, and ahead of the much ballyhooed Lucas Sims. Fellow ex-‘stro Rio Ruiz sits in the #6 spot, one behind Christian Bethancourt, whom I don’t understand why he is still on the list.

    The Top 20 now looks like this:

    1. Jose Peraza, 2B
    2. Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, acquired from Astros
    3. Lucas Sims, RHP
    4. Max Fried, LHP, acquired from Padres
    5. Christian Bethancourt, C
    6. Rio Ruiz, 3B, acquired from Astros
    7. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP, acquired from Cubs
    8. Braxton Davidson, OF
    9. Ozhaino Albies, SS
    10. Jason Hursh, RHP
    11. Tyrell Jenkins, RHP, acquired from Cardinals
    12. Manny Banuelos, LHP, acquired from Yankees
    13. Mauricio Cabrera, RHP
    14. Garrett Fulenchek, RHP
    15. Ricardo Sanchez, LHP, acquired from Angels
    16. Wes Parsons, RHP
    17. Dustin Peterson, 3B/IF, acquired from Padres
    18. Alec Grosser, RHP
    19. Cody Martin, RHP
    20. Victor Reyes, OF

    8 of the new Top 20 have been acquired via trade this offseason.

    Like

  140. 146 Vox O'Raison January 15, 2015 at 8:45 am

    At least Jon Heyman liked it from the Braves perspective…

    Like

  141. 147 Vox O'Raison January 15, 2015 at 9:06 am

    Jeff Wilson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: the Rangers were in on Gattis but balked at Atlanta’s asking price of right-hander and former first-round pick Alex Gonzalez and/or top outfield prospect Nomar Mazara (who received a hefty $5MM bonus to sign with Texas in 2011 and reached Double-A last year).

    Mazara would have been really nice…

    Like

  142. 148 Vox O'Raison January 15, 2015 at 9:07 am

    Evan Drellich, Houston Chronicle provides evidence for my position:

    Like

  143. 149 Vox O'Raison January 15, 2015 at 9:14 am

    No doubt the Braves shared the same concerns and felt compelled to strike while the iron (or stove, as the case may be) was hot and to trade him before any possible chronic back or knee problems devalued him dramatically.

    Like

  144. 150 Vox O'Raison January 15, 2015 at 9:26 am

    OK… y’all are all tired of me attempting to defend the Braves’ new regime, and I am getting a headache from it as well. For the most part, I am a “glass half full” kinda guy, and I admit it. To that end, I will always try to find the positives in any situation. I am also fiercely loyal, and will go to war for my teams no matter what. I’ll also remain a rabid fan. That’s just me. Maybe it’s because I grew up with the Braves being so bad for so many years. I don’t know. I remember they had 1 good year, in 1982. But really, they just got off to a historic start winning their first 13 games and barely hung on for the rest of the season (89 total wins, playing barely .500 ball – 76-73 – after the opening streak) before being swept out of the LCS by the Cards.

    Then 1991…

    In any event, the braves are my team and I love them. I’ll continue to love them through thick and thin.

    Now… I am ready to begin speculating on who will fill the LF hole. Anybody else game, or am I in this by myself?

    Like

  145. 151 Vox O'Raison January 15, 2015 at 9:36 am

    If anyone cares, my list of candidates thus far for LF includes:

    Ray’s David DeJesus (via trade), FA Nori Aoki and FA Colby Rasmus.

    Of the 3, Aoki is my favorite. He is a proven veteran who bats leadoff, has a high OBP, and plays a good defensive LF. He made his MLB debut at age 29, having played 3 seasons in KC. He’s batted .288, .286 and .285 in his 3 seasons, with OBPs of .355, .356 and .349. (The 2014 AL league average OBP was .316, so Aoki was way ahead of the pack in that regard.) Aoki walks about as often as he strikes out, with only 141 career K’s (that’s 1 season for BJ) and 144 career walks. He hits both righties and lefties equally well. If the goals for the 2015 Braves was to reduce the ridiculous amount of strikeouts, then Aoki fits the mold. As for his defense, if you go in for the newfangled boutique stats, his “UZR” in 2014 was 5.9. I have no idea what that means other than the fact that it is above average.

    MLBTR projects him to receive a 2-yr / $16M deal, which fits under the speculated $10M remaining the Braves have left in the 2015 payroll. Also, he did not receive a QO, so there isn’t a draft pick attached.

    What say ye?

    Like

  146. 152 Gil in Mechanicsville January 15, 2015 at 10:19 am

    SIGH! I feel like I have been rode hard and put away wet this morning, Feels like every inch of my considerable amount of skin is screaming at me…. For sure, I am officially over the hill…..

    Well, the folks at MLB like the trade between the Rainbows and the Braves for both clubs. I wish Evan all the best and to be truthful, it is a good move for him, he will become a star for the Stros as they go forward in a very tough division. To be honest, the Astros had no choice several years ago but to completely rebuild a club that was in the NL to become an AL club. Same thing happened to the Brewers and the DBacks.

    Anyway, on Markakis, he has a very tradable contract. He can be moved if the Braves want to go in whole hog on the rebuild.. Not that he will have any fond memories of the Big A .

    Besides, the Bravos still have to contend with that huge black hole in centerfield who if he hit .190 would actually be an improvement. Oh how we were sold a bill of goods on that one….

    That said, the Braves are positioning themselves for some very good draft picks in 2016 and 2017. After all, the reason the Stros had so much depth is because the have sucked for the past 6 seasons…. DUH!

    So, I will not lament the loss of Evan Gattis, he should flourish in his home state of Texas. More so than he would ever have a chance to do in Atlanta. I guess it is just getting harder for me to find someone to identify with on this team. You see, I got spoiled by having guys like Chipper, Smoltz, Doggie and Glavin to root for for 20 years. And then it was BMac, now it is a bunch of guys who I have no clue about. Other than Fredie Free and Simba… who? Just going to be a very quiet at Turner Field this season, On the bright side, parking and traffic should not be a problem around Hank Arron Way this summer…..

    After all, it’s a business and we are just the suckers who get caught up in it thinking it’s a game…..

    I felt very betrayed when the Braves moved out of Richmond, but, I know it was not the Braves who were at fault, it was Hiz Honor the Mayor who torpedoed that deal….

    I may just drift along and root for whoever is winning like most casual fans. Of course there are some exception, won’t be the Yankees or Red Sox…
    No, even the gNats look to blow it by trading Esponosa away and using Yunel at short, for sure, Yunel won’t play second base, actually, he can’t, he is gun shy at that position…. Of course there are the gNats announcers… I cannot stand them, period!

    So, I think I will devote my time to other pursuits this summer, I need more exercise anyway. Spending three hours a night watching the team of misfit toys learn how to lose 90 games a season the next two years just does not fit into my plans for the limited time I have left on this earth. Time better spent trying to work in the yard or visiting my grandchildren etc.

    Baseball says they want to attract younger crowds, well, I was young once too, they seem to forget it’s us old guys who actually have enough money to attend or watch/support the game…..

    Liked by 2 people

  147. 153 Gil in Mechanicsville January 15, 2015 at 10:31 am

    No, I spent the majority of my youth rooting for a losing franchise with a losing minor league system, I guess that is what made 1991 so sweet. Maybe they were only a couple of pitches away from winning at least two more World Series but why doesn’t John Hart go all in and trade Kimbrel away to someone who can actually make good use of his services? Not like there are going to be that many games to save for the next couple of years, he aught to be worth some more minor league players for sure…..

    Like

  148. 154 Gil in Mechanicsville January 15, 2015 at 10:32 am

    Okay, I’m done venting, someone else can espouse for a while….

    Like

  149. 155 Vox O'Raison January 15, 2015 at 10:39 am

    huge black hole in centerfield

    Double entendre? 😉

    watching the team of misfit toys learn how to lose 90 games a season the next two years

    We will have to agree to disagree here. I don’t see them as losing 90… not with the pitching they have. And to be fair, they haven’t yet completed this year’s roster.

    I will admit that the Wild Card has become a more distant goal to reach, but they didn’t achieve that last season anyway. And even when they did, they couldn’t advance. That’s more painful to me. Haven’t we all, at some point, said we’d rather watch some exciting youngsters fighting for a job? I think we will get our chance.

    Like

  150. 156 berigan2electricboogaloo January 15, 2015 at 11:06 am

    V, I love your optimism , really I do…I just don’t see it…for now.
    Right now? I see a flat out lousy team in 2015. What can we expect from the Bethencourt at the plate? Who knows? FF??? Well, with J Up behind…wait, well, with Gattis behind him…oh wait…Yep, FF will have a guy (Chris Johnson) who isn’t a cleanup hitter, batting cleanup. So, he will try to carry the team on his back, will strike out too much, and regress…swell.
    2nd base? Alberto Callaspo he of the .223 ba. or the rookie phenom , so phenomenal, he didn’t even start in the AZ league…SS? Simmons, he of the .244 BA, and .286 OBP. 3rd base? CJ, he of the .262, .293 OBP, cleanup for sure!
    LF? Gee, I just read the Braves and Rays are a good match for David DeJesus , 35, 83 games last year. No power (ok, 6 homers) no speed (really, no stolen bases) .244 BA…braves can be lucky enough to get him, for a prospect, and then pay his 6 mil. CF? —– RF? decent, leadoff or 2nd hitter, little power….like I said, decent, good OBP.
    perhaps 30th out of 30th teams is possible, with the padres improving so much….

    Like

  151. 157 chrisklob January 15, 2015 at 11:41 am

    “Why can’t we trust that he’s putting together a winner here?” yes,hart has been successful in the past and i trust that he’s doing the same here. it’s just obvious to me that the bravos are in rebuild mode. with a limited budget and a farm that looks like a dust bowl left him in a tough position trying to field a competitive team in ’15. those two albatross contracts and a neglected farm have doomed this franchise in the near term thanks to fw.

    And guys (and gals)… be honest. What could you have done to make the 2014 team better immediately without becoming what the Phillies of 2014 – an old overpaid team with nothing in the farm system?

    i assume that you meant the 2015 braves team. to answer your question, not much of anything could be done but i don’t compare them to last season’s phillies. old, they are not. they are more like a typical marlins team. couple of bright spots (with a majority of salary going there) along with much of the remaining roster filled with place holders — guys only keeping their respective seats warm until the new baby braves grow into them.

    But I have yet to hear anyone suggest anything specifically that realistically could have been done differently to immediately improve the team from 2014. Nothing.

    completely agree with you, unless liberty was willing to shell out some serious cash which they’ve not shown much interest in doing. the future is not now for this franchise. looking at the updated list of prospects DOES give hope for the future and, overall, i do like what hart has done. he was dealt a tough hand and i think he played it as well as he could.

    the gattis trade makes the markakis signing even more curious. hart knows he has a dog this year. $11m tied up in a very good player on a bad team? he’ll be the second highest paid player (third if you wish to include uggly). it’s not like he’s going to be a draw at the gate either. someone like ichiro would have at least filled a few more seats. in my opinion, hart should have kept his money in his pocket on this one. in the (in)famous words of hellary, “what difference, at this point, does it make?”

    For the most part, I am a “glass half full” kinda guy, and I admit it.

    i get that. i respect it too. as for me, i’m a realist and from every angle i see, this glass is less than half full.

    that being said, am i still a fan of the atlanta braves? yes! will i watch the games, read the articles and otherwise follow the team? YES! will i yell at joey noname when an easy ground ball goes under the glove and hoot and holler when he hits one out? you can bet your most favorite guitar on it that i will. but am i expecting much out of this team in ’15? no not so much.

    with all that being said, they still have to play the games. a LOT can happen over the course of the season. you can’t generally predict injuries and there will be some guys that play better than expected and others that play worse so we’re just going to have to see how it all plays out. and that, friends, is part of the beauty of not just this game, but all.

    but hey, if nothing else, at least we have smoltz’s induction in the hof to look forward to!

    Liked by 1 person

  152. 158 Gil in Mechanicsville January 15, 2015 at 11:45 am

    VOX, I can appreciate your loyalty, after all, I was young(er) once too. Besides, the Braves are your home town team, who else are you going to root for? The Rays? Nope. You can grin a bare it for a while, maybe the Braves will surprise us this season and finish ahead of the Phils but I am not laying any money on it. The Braves have gone all in on the rebuild and perhaps it will work, It is going to be painful however, especially for a guys like Markais who thought he was going to a winning team, And Shelby Miller who is going to lose a lot of ball games because he will not be able to pitch that many shut outs.

    The pen is still decent but you need to get to them while there is a lead to hold. I reality , the Braves have become this year’s version of the Padres…. They had some decent pitching too.

    Anyone else besides me remember the year John Smoltz put up some very impressive numbers but did not win a Cy Young because he was like 16 and 14 that season…? Went to a dude who was not as good in my opinion but had a team which could actually score some runs.

    Nope, I use to watch/attend Richmond games to see the kids play and become better and move up to Atlanta. Guys like Chipper and Mark Lempke and Glavin and Smoltz and Javy and Steve Avery and Furcal. Even way back when they had Luman Harris as a coach and sent guys like Ralph Garr and Dale Murphy. Folks, I have been a Braves fan since 1967 when the moved their triple A club to Richmond from Atlanta. No longer the Crackers, just the Braves…. I hung with them for a long time, a lot of games on TBS and could have easily become a Cubs fan because they were on WGN every night too….

    No, Ill get over it, after all, I have been through this before, it is just tough knowing what’s coming and knowing there is not a chance in Hades of doing a thing about it except swallowing this bitter pill of rebuilding. I have seen how Washington has built themselves up through some very tough times but it was by a lot of former Braves front office types and scouts.

    At least Don Sutton knows all about calling the play by play for some very bad ball clubs.

    “black hole in center” lucky pun but I left out the a** part of it….. Same, but different….

    Like

  153. 159 berigan2electricboogaloo January 15, 2015 at 11:47 am

    Another reason I am sorry to see Gattis go? excitement. Enjoyed his a.b’s any time, he could hit a ball 500 ft, and make Cole Hamels cry. Same with J UP….now? No power on the team. No one interesting at the plate. Simmons? Sure, fine defender…who seemed to get sloppy in the field at times last year. Of course, playing hurt was stupid (not his fault) JHey, was a joy to watch in RF….now? Simmons in the field, and FF at the Bat, except, I worry he will stop being the hitter he is, for some superman. And as we know, some hitters never get “it” back.
    So, what we have is a team with some good starters (sub .500 team last year with a great-statistically speaking staff) a very iffy bullpen (A 38 year old expected to have a heavy workload, and a guy who somehow managed to have a consistent 7 ERA for an entire year…. and now the offense simply HAS to be worse, even if the OBP, in theory will be better. (I really can’t wait to see Bethencourt, Callaspo, Simmons, BJ, then a pitcher hit, has there ever been a more 5th thru 9 hole? )
    Did the team have to make changes? sure…could they have signed Hanley Ramirez, or other expensive players while trading JHey? No, apparently not…the billionaire owner of Liberty, ain’t gonna spend on this team. Wait till he sees 11K fans sitting in the Ted come June, and the money the team is gonna bleed there and on Fox when no one is watching…

    Like

  154. 160 Gil in Mechanicsville January 15, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    Well, the good news for the Braves (Liberty) is the TV money is already guaranteed. Fox is not worried, they still get paid by MLB to have TV coverage for the MLB package. No, this year’s Braves club is going to be a lot like watching last year’s Astros club of for those who can remember that far back, when the Braves had Dale Murphy (who will never get in the HOF because he had no one to protect him in the line up) and Phil Nikro and some other decent pitchers who constantly watched balls be dropped by some really bad defenders.

    I am just saying, what was the difference between a club that won the NL East two years ago and the team last season? Mostly the same guys. How did they drop off so much? Why could they not rebound? Was BMac that much of a difference maker?

    We may never know, I still say J-Hey will flourish in St. Louis, may be he will reach his full potential there. Same for Gattis in Houston. J-Up will still be streaky but it may not matter so much in San Diego.

    Honestly, I only thought the Braves needed someone to take Uncle BJ’s place on the roster and in center field to actually have a good team this season. Now, they are like the Marlins with fewer stars.

    Funny how baseball works, the gNats were the one team that could beat the Marlins like the Braves pounded the gNats. The Mets had the Braves number too but could not beat Philly…..

    No, I will keep an eye on the Braves but just not as much as the last 40 some odd years. Likely about as much as I watched Baltimore….

    Anyone think Markakis would like a do over?

    Liked by 2 people

  155. 161 chrisklob January 15, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    No, I will keep an eye on the Braves but just not as much as the last 40 some odd years. Likely about as much as I watched Baltimore….

    negative sir. you still have to follow enough to write for this blog! 😀

    Like

  156. 162 Vox O'Raison January 15, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    you can bet your most favorite guitar on it

    Never. Not on anything. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  157. 163 Vox O'Raison January 15, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    Apparently ESPN’s Keith Law is in my corner…

    In dealing a trio of prospects for Evan Gattis, I really don’t understand what the Astros are doing. The prospect depth they have in their system could allow them to acquire a player of a much higher caliber than Gattis, preferably a younger one as well, someone who’s going to contribute to the next good Astros team in a few years. Atlanta, meanwhile, has gone from a bottom-five system in baseball to likely a top-10 system, overhauling its major league roster while adding a broad mix of near- and long-term talent to its farm, in this case trading a player somewhere near the apex of his value.

    Like

  158. 164 Vox O'Raison January 15, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    I just read the Braves and Rays are a good match for David DeJesus

    I still believe Nori Aoki is a much better fit being a real top of the order bat. And I am in complete agreement that we have lost our power element. But again, I present my argument that last season we had some real power potential that left the team at home in Oct. watching the playoffs on High Def instead of playing. The problem with power is that it’s streaky. When JUp was hot, he was flat out scary. When he wasn’t, he might as well have been BJ. The all-or-nothing approach that these players (and apparently the Frank Wren model) displayed last season grated mightily on my nerves. I suppose I am looking forward to the higher OBP and lesser K totals of guys like Markakis. It’s why I’d like to see Aoki in LF. Consistency over star power has value… just ask the 2014 Royals. (No, I’m not saying the 2015 Braves will be the 2014 Royals, but you get the idea.)

    Like

  159. 165 Vox O'Raison January 15, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    And just look at all the awesome discourse we’ve had yesterday and today!!!!!!!!!

    See?!? See?!? Positivity!!!

    😀

    Liked by 2 people

  160. 166 chrisklob January 15, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    @Vox, i don’t think anyone is doubting the gattis trade was a good move for the braves. i surely don’t disagree. my point is, was, and will continue to be about the markakis signing, specifically the amount of money tied up on a team that isn’t going any where this year.

    retooling a barren farm system is just one step for the braves to get back to being what the braves system is famous for and that is identifying, obtaining and identifying talent.

    Like

  161. 167 Vox O'Raison January 15, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    Besides, the Braves are your home town team

    ‘Tis true. I was a mere pup in 1969 when my dad moved us to the big city, and took a part time job at the old Fulton County Stadium selling tickets. On promotion nights, he’d bring me all the cool swag like the Ralph Garr Road Runner bike license plate, the complete team 3×5 player card set, the mini bats, etc. The licence plate was the absolute coolest thing ever. It had Garr’s name and a picture of the Looney Toons Road Runner, tongue out, spit flyin’, doing his signature “beep-beep” and sliding into 2nd base. Gold.

    Liked by 1 person

  162. 168 Vox O'Raison January 15, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    my point is, was, and will continue to be about the markakis signing, specifically the amount of money tied up on a team that isn’t going any where this year.

    I get your point, and agree that it is not a playoff team for 2015… as it stands. I still think we have to see how they address LF before proclaiming this a last place team, though. It is still hard to get a complete grasp on exactly what they are doing, and to me that is to their credit. I do understand now why Coppy wasn’t given the GM job already. John Hart is doing all the dirty work and laying the foundation for Coppy to enjoy in 2 years when he steps into the corner office. And it really makes sense now why FrediG kept his job. I just hope he isn’t buying real estate in Atlanta. And if the strategy is to take an exciting contending team into the new park in 2017, don’t you have to have that product in 2016 to generate said excitement? Perhaps next offseason they begin to use their own stockpile of young pitching prospects to pick up some major league talent, then in 2017, when the albatross contracts are completely off the books, they can flesh it out with an A-list free agent.

    But for 2015, we have to do what we haven’t seen for 25 years. We have to endure a rebuilding process. It’s more a testimony to the success of the Schuerholz era that it has taken this long. It also speaks to how spoiled we as fans have gotten because of it. There isn’t another team in MLB that hasn’t endured this somewhere along the line since 1991…. many more than once. Some constantly for the entirety of it. It also brings some clarity to why Frank failed. He micromanaged his vaunted scouting department and drove them away, essentially killing the golden goose that was providing the major league team a nice new golden egg each year or 2. And that is the painful reality that we are all seeing and feeling right now.

    Like

  163. 169 Vox O'Raison January 15, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Lost in yesterday’s dust:

    Like

  164. 170 Vox O'Raison January 15, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    Like

  165. 171 chrisklob January 15, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    vox, seems like you’ve finally gotten my point. 🙂 and for the record, i didn’t say it was a last place team but there may well be a scuffle for that spot!

    Like

  166. 172 Vox O'Raison January 15, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Insanity.

    Like

  167. 173 Vox O'Raison January 15, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    Like

  168. 174 chrisklob January 15, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    from mlbtraderumors.com: Staying in the division, Rosenthal says that the Braves should deal away closer Craig Kimbrel. The righty is an expensive luxury for a non-contending team, says Rosenthal, who does note that the club might get better value for him at the trade deadline. That may well be, but it would be interesting to see what teams would give up now for one of the game’s most dominant arms; I’m guessing quite a bit. For its part, Atlanta is “optimistic about the coming season” and has no interest in dealing away Kimbrel, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman tweets.
    The ship has sailed at this point, of course, but Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution opines that the Braves may not have been in need of such a dramatic renovation. While the plan to re-build around young pitching obviously makes sense directionally, Bradley argues that the team now looks destined to be rather dreadful for the next season or two and wonders whether a less drastic plan could have been pursued.

    Liked by 1 person

  169. 175 Gil in Mechanicsville January 15, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    Well, after much gnashing of teeth and wallowing in ashes and wearing sack cloth, I have come to terms with the blowing up destructionreshaping of the Atlanta Braves by John Hart was done as more of an after thought than an intentional wrecking of the team. Otherwise, I think the Braves would not have signed Nick Markasis for $11 million per year. As so noted by Chris. I think many of us thought either Justin or Gattis would be traded but by trading Heyward, Justin and Evan Gattis, the Braves have really taken all the players other than Fredi who were expected to produce offense this season and moved them out for pitchers and prospects.

    The rumor that the Braves might sign Aioki to me really makes no since because you are going to be paying a guy with about the same defensive talent level as Gattis but for a lot more money.

    So, what to watch for… I think as soon as the dust settles I will attempt to write a new lead but many of the opines I stated with the current lead need to be updated and revisited.

    But, I am reminded of a lot of the old town houses that line Richmond’s Monument Avenue. They are often bought or were bought for around $100,000 and the speculator thinks they are going in to do a quick flip and the next thing you know, they have sunk a cool million and a half because the renovations needed greater than expected but they do end up with some beautiful 6000 square feet homes with boo coo upgrades but still, they did not always anticipating having to spend so much.

    Maybe that is what John Hart found once he was able to dig deep and look at the Braves organization from top to bottom. The vinyl siding looked pretty good but the termites had eaten away at rotted wood left by years of neglect. The Expos were a team like that and it took a lot of time and money to make them the darlings of the NL East.

    It has been painful as a Braves fan to see guys we like and identify and rooted for gone and the big old huge rotted floor joist still in place in center field. Notice to JH, want to really get some enthusiasm going with the fan base? Go ahead and eat the contract for the one who shall not be named and put someone in center field who might actually help your pitching staff once in a while. He can just be a final footnote on the Frank Wren legacy.

    Liked by 3 people

  170. 176 Carolina Lady January 15, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    Probably right, Gil, but I’m still mad about Gattis. Kimbrel? They KNOW how good he is. Who will they ever get to replace him? Goofy?? As well as the fact that all of these guys will be playing against the Braves for years to come. NOT a happy camper. > 😡

    Liked by 2 people

  171. 177 Gil in Mechanicsville January 15, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    From the Associated Press

    HOUSTON — Evan Gattis is returning to his home state to play for the Houston Astros after a trade from Atlanta, and the slugger is thrilled about the move.

    Gattis, who grew up in Dallas, says: “I’m home. I feel more at home here.”

    The 28-year-old, who can play catcher and left field, was acquired on Wednesday with right-hander James Hoyt for three Houston minor leaguers.

    He is the third key player the Braves have dealt this offseason after trading outfielders Jason Heyward and Justin Upton in recent months. Gattis says those moves made it clear to him that Atlanta is rebuilding and he’s happy to move to a team looking to win now.

    He says: “We are on the rise — trying to push this team and get guys in the direction of winning.”

    Yep, we can see that too Evan, we can see that too….

    Liked by 2 people

  172. 178 Carolina Lady January 15, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    The Braves have run up a white flag announcing to one and all “We’re surrendering this year and probably for a few more years. Sorry. Love, the Braves.”

    Like

  173. 180 Gil in Mechanicsville January 15, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    White flag or no white flag? What do you expect them to say? They still have a guy who should have been black flagged along with Frank Wren playing center…

    Like

  174. 181 Carolina Lady January 15, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    I agree. The man who ruined the Braves. I had hoped and hoped that he would be sent down to the minors like the oriental pitcher they once had.

    Liked by 1 person

  175. 182 Vox O'Raison January 15, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    BTW- Not sure how long that link will work… it’s a back door into the pay site.

    Liked by 1 person

  176. 183 Carolina Lady January 15, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    Thanks, V! LOL I bet you’re the one who absconded with the key to the doghouse! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  177. 184 Vox O'Raison January 15, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    Busted!! 😯

    It’s a good thing, too. I seem to have found my way in there over the last couple of days.

    Liked by 1 person

  178. 186 Vox O'Raison January 15, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    Mike Foltynewicz has been added to the Braves 40-man roster and is currently showing on the “depth chart” as the #6 starting pitcher. THis is the profile of Folty as provided by Teddy Cahill at MLB.com:

    Mike Foltynewicz, RHP: At the time of the trade, Foltynewicz was the second-ranked pitcher on the Astros’ Top 20 Prospects list, behind only former No. 1 overall Draft pick Mark Appel. Foltynewicz is one of the hardest-throwing prospects in baseball — according to Pitchf/x his fastball reached 101 mph in the Major Leagues last season. But, like most young power pitchers, he has struggled with his command. He averaged 4.01 walks per nine innings over four years of full-season ball in the Minor Leagues.

    Foltynewicz, ranked No. 57 on MLBPipeline.com’s Top 100 Prospects list, has experience starting and relieving and was used as a reliever during his big league debut last season. He has all the tools necessary to start if he can harness his powerful fastball. But without better command, the bullpen may be the role for which he’s best suited.

    Don’t know why, but he reminds me a little of Tommy Hanson. Gotta be the beard. At any rate, it looks as though he’ll be given a shot at the #5 starting slot in spring. The kid is just 23 and stands at 6’6″, 220. I like him alot.

    Like

  179. 187 Carolina Lady January 15, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    John Smoltz had a lot to say about young pitchers relying too much on the fast ball to get them through. But, as he said, it doesn’t take long for the word to get around about it. He said that (someone I can’t recall) took him aside and explained to him that if he really wanted to succeed in the major leagues, he had to learn control to go along with the power. He added that is when he really started to become a pitcher and not just a ‘thrower.’

    BTW, what’s with all the scruffy beards and straggly hair these days?? I sure liked Bobby’s rules on appearance. Just one woman’s opinion, guys. Don’t throw me in the doghouse! 😆

    Like

  180. 188 Vox O'Raison January 15, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    Not to worry, CL. I know where the key is… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  181. 189 Carolina Lady January 15, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    Of that, I have no doubt,my friend! You da man!! 😆

    Liked by 1 person

  182. 190 Gil in Mechanicsville January 16, 2015 at 9:30 am

    Good morning Stuff fans…. VOX, always appreciate free access to the pay per view sites.

    The 411 on Foltynewicz is appreciated too but unless you are pitching to guys like BJ Upton who could not catch up to a fastball but those lazer straight BBs are like eye candy to major league hitters like Juancarlos Stanton and Frank Howard. I guess watching Greg Maddux pitch all those years really gave me an appreciation for a guy who can change speeds and have a lot of movement on the ball. Of course, they say you can’t teach power…. That is a God given talent, I’m surprised that all these TJ specialist doctors haven’t tried experimenting with lengthening the insertion point of the tendons but maybe they have…

    I’ve noticed Brandon Beachy is still unsigned, I’m hoping he is able to make a comeback somewhere. I really liked that kid.

    I wonder if the Braves will make make name tags for all the new players in camp this spring? I’m thinking it would be a big help to the coaching staff. I always hated it when we would get a bunch of new hires and it would take me months of trying to get names right.

    Some folks are blessed with a memory which allows them to remember peoples names, then their are people like me…

    I think it is hereditary, my mom would always get my and my brother’s names mixed up, especially when she was excited or upset. I can know a person for years and somehow not remember their name… Just a mental block thing…. I guess you will never see me on Jeopardy, even if I do know most of the answers, except when taking gabapentin, or about Shakespeare or French Poetry… well, ya’ll get the idea.

    I guess like Ber, I can name every make and model of any American can made from 1950 to 1985, Now, I can’t tell a Ford from a Toyota, And truthfully, no longer care.

    Liked by 2 people

  183. 191 Vox O'Raison January 16, 2015 at 9:39 am

    Morning all…

    Today is the deadline day for arb eligible players/teams to settle before the player officially files for arb salary figures are exchanged. It is a deadline per se, as the filing process is automatic. But players/teams can still negotiate salary up until they actually sit before the arbiter. The only difference is that the agreed salary figure has to then file between the 2 filed salary amounts. Naturally, that should happen in the negotiations anyway. Still, there is a motivation for players/teams to settle ahead of the filing period to avoid the awkward adversarial position it puts them in.

    After James Russell came to terms yesterday, the only remaining unsigned arb eligible player on the current Braves roster (which we all know can change on a dime, right? 😉 ) is Mike Minor. Chances are he’ll settle sometime today.

    Like

  184. 192 Vox O'Raison January 16, 2015 at 9:53 am

    I wonder if the Braves will make make name tags for all the new players in camp this spring?

    Back in the HS football camp days, the coaches wrote your name on trainers’ tape and put it across your helmet. Maybe they can do that across the Braves caps.

    Like

  185. 193 Vox O'Raison January 16, 2015 at 10:01 am

    As to Folty, which he henceforth shall be named, he does have more than just the fastball. But when it’s you’re a big strong kid who hunks it up there 96-100 mph, that’s what everyone will key on. That said, he does lean on it, as he should since it’s his strength. Scout.com notes that it is not a straight fb, featuring late movement. As with all kids, he is still refining his command of it. He actually has 4 pitches, that throws with the following frequency: Fastball (58.90%), Curveball (16.26%), 2-Seam Fastball (16.26%), Changeup (8.59%) — courtesy of Baseball Cube. The change is a big swing-and-miss pitch for him, but it is his least refined. If he can develop enough confidence and consistency to increase the use of it, he could be devastating. Ha… developing confidence and consistency… the mantra of every young pitcher.

    Like

  186. 194 Gil in Mechanicsville January 16, 2015 at 10:16 am

    6′-6″… Must have the wing span of a 747… And looong fingers.

    I wonder if they will allow Tom Glavin near him?

    I’m beginning to understand why the Red Sox and the Yankees do not put players’ names on the back of their jerseys. It makes a fan less inclined to root for a player and more for a team.

    It drives me crazy to watch them though because often I don’t have a clue as to who is who…

    If I were Mike Minor, I think I might just go into arbitration just to get an honest assessment of what the Braves think of him. Sometimes, even though it might be painful, you need to know what others perceive as your weaknesses so you can work on correcting them.

    Liked by 2 people

  187. 195 Gil in Mechanicsville January 16, 2015 at 10:25 am

    What the old saying? A real friend will tell you what you need to hear, not just what you want to hear.

    Liked by 2 people

  188. 196 Gil in Mechanicsville January 16, 2015 at 10:32 am

    By the way, it appears that my like button does not always want to work, just take it for granted that I like every post made by y’all…. I might not always agree but if folks told me everything I already knew, I would not learn anything. To me, knowledge is a never ending quest. I would go back to school but I just don’t have the discipline for it and well, you know…..

    No teacher wants a smart ass like me in their class…..

    Sure would not mind finding a small engine repair class however. At least one where I can always sit, well, most of the time…..

    Liked by 2 people

  189. 197 Gil in Mechanicsville January 16, 2015 at 10:45 am

    VOX, Two things about your comments made me think about a pitcher’s minor league stat’s vs what they can do in the majors. One is the difference in the seams on the baseball between major league and minor league balls. I have no idea of why they are not universal. It is like the difference in a lid’s college batting average using an aluminum bat vs a wooden bat. Night and day difference.

    The other is umpire strike zones. I am sure by now, every major league club has a book on every pitch called by a major league umpire as to whether it is a ball or strike depending on right handed vs left handed batters, pitchers, day games vs night games, breaking ball vs fastballs, rookies vs veterans etc. I have seen a lot of balls called strikes depend on if the ump is watching the ball or the catcher.

    I know Tom Glavin and Greg Maddux would expand the strike zone by consistently throwing a pitch to a spot but relief pitchers often don’t have that luxury. Just opining in case the guys in the front office are reading the blogs this morning. We have seen the defensive shifts used more and more in games, one would think umpiring tendencies are tracked too.

    Liked by 1 person

  190. 198 Vox O'Raison January 16, 2015 at 11:17 am

    Like

  191. 199 Vox O'Raison January 16, 2015 at 11:18 am

    … but won a World Series and Cy Young with ARI.

    Like

  192. 200 Vox O'Raison January 16, 2015 at 11:19 am

    Stats vs. results? I’ll take results. It’s why Maddux should have worn the “A”.

    Liked by 1 person

  193. 201 Vox O'Raison January 16, 2015 at 11:32 am

    ESPN.com:

    President of baseball operations John Hart acknowledged that the Braves made all the trades with an eye toward their long-term future. Yet, in a city that has endured only three losing seasons in the last 24 years [Wow!!], the deals have caused major consternation among the fan base, with many complaining that the team has given up on the next two seasons and is more concerned about being competitive when it moves into a new suburban stadium in 2017.

    Not so, Hart told The Associated Press.

    “We may not be the prettiest girl at the dance,” he said in a telephone interview, “but we’re going to be a lot of fun to dance with.”

    You gotta admit, that’s a good line… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  194. 202 Vox O'Raison January 16, 2015 at 11:37 am

    More…

    Even with Justin Upton, Heyward and Gattis, the Braves still ranked next-to-last in runs scored in 2014. The offensive woes led to a late-season collapse that resulted in a 79-83 record, 17 games behind NL East-winning Washington.

    “Look, we weren’t going to be favored even if we kept everybody and added two pitchers,” Hart said. “But I think the future is significantly brighter because of what we were able to do this winter.”

    That is exactly what I have been trying to say in several overblown and overworded posts. Perhaps I should learn to post less and express more.

    Like

  195. 203 Gil in Mechanicsville January 16, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    “We may not be the prettiest girl at the dance,” he said in a telephone interview, “but we’re going to be a lot of fun to dance with.”

    Reminds me of one of my favorite lines uttered by a waitress. “I may not be pretty, but I’m friendly”

    Nope, VOX, we get paid by the word around here….

    Liked by 2 people

  196. 204 Gil in Mechanicsville January 16, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    Folks who don’t want to read use twitter…

    Liked by 1 person

  197. 205 Vox O'Raison January 16, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    Nori Aoki is off the board.

    Like

  198. 206 Gil in Mechanicsville January 16, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    Does anyone in the Braves front office that removing BJ from centerfield will have the immediate results of raising the Braves collective offensive output by at least 50 point, no matter who they plug into the mix? Rick Ankiel had better numbers…. And he was forced out and retired. He could still outplay Uncle Melvin….

    Hey, the one guy we all wanted to see gone is the one guy still on the roster.

    Melvin is probably the only guy who if he was on an AL team, they would allow the pitcher to bat and use the DH in his slot in the batting order.

    Liked by 2 people

  199. 207 Vox O'Raison January 16, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    BH Upton = Black Hole Upton

    Liked by 3 people

  200. 208 Vox O'Raison January 16, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    Lost in all the hoopla and hubbub on Wednesday was a Braves signing. Well, it was a minor league signing. And a minor minor league signing. (Hey, I just report ’em; I don’t scout ’em.) They signed an OF named Joe Benson out of the Twins system. This Benson dude was once a top prospect, cracking the MiLB Top 100 twice after crushing A and High-A. But he apparently stalled at AA and hasn’t righted the ship. Good speed, above average defense, good power… high K rate. (Actually sounds a little like BH Upton.)

    Hey, somebody has to play in AAA if Cunningham and Terdo are both gonna be on the big boy roster, right?

    Liked by 1 person

  201. 209 Vox O'Raison January 16, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    And for the record, Joe Benson was not added to the 40-man roster.

    I do wonder when the Braves and Dian Toscano will finish all of their paperwork. I’d like to know what the Cuban import has to offer.

    Like

  202. 210 Carolina Lady January 16, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    Gil, gabapentin is something else, isn’t it? But I’m thankful to have it. After my last swan dive on the kitchen floor, the dosage has gone up.

    Like

  203. 211 Vox O'Raison January 16, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Point of housekeeping: Benson was signed back on 1/7. Obviously, it was not a high profile signing.

    Also, 2 days left for Pastor in DFA limbo.

    Like

  204. 212 Vox O'Raison January 16, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    One more point of housekeeping: Benson came up in the Twins system, even appearing with the big club in 2011, but was signed by the Fish last season as a minor league FA and slashed .259/.361/.403 with 10 HR’s, 62 RBI and 15 steals in 129 games between AA Jacksonville and AAA New Orleans.

    Like

  205. 213 berigan2electricboogaloo January 16, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    101 MPH eh? thats Tommy John territory! 😉
    Here ya go V, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vc3Pa79RF1Y

    Liked by 1 person

  206. 214 Vox O'Raison January 16, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    OK… I don’t know how I have gotten my days mixed up… but it was my understanding that a team had 10 days to deal a DFA’d player before sending him through waivers. Pastor was DFA’d on the 8th. 8 + 10 = 18, right? Well, Bowman is reporting that Pastor has cleared waivers and will report to AAA Gwinnett. I suppose a team does not have to wait the entire 10 days before starting the waiver process. It’s the only explanation.

    For what it’s worth, I’m glad he’ll remain in the organization.

    Like

  207. 215 Vox O'Raison January 16, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    Maybe Pastor needs to learn to play OF. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  208. 216 Vox O'Raison January 16, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    You know, I’ve never really had an AL team that I rooted for. Maybe HOU is the one. Could be. Tons of young talent.

    Like

  209. 217 Carolina Lady January 16, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    Thought y’all might enjoy this:
    http://biggeekdad.com/2015/01/1953-cadillac-eldorado/

    I think Simmons and Freeman are the only 2 players I recognize now.

    The Astros are in the AL now?? I’m cornfuzzled. Rangers?

    Liked by 1 person

  210. 218 Gil in Mechanicsville January 16, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    CL… You did not know Houston was switch to the AL a couple of years ago?

    We are going to have to do something to get you up to speed… You do know that Dale Murphey is retired… Right? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  211. 219 Gil in Mechanicsville January 16, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Ber, I had a ’55 Ford Sunliner which was nearly the same color. I might add, it was no where close to being as nice as that Caddy. I was once shut down by a ’56 Buick station wagon… SAD!

    Of course, with a nick name of Hunk-O-Junk, what could one expect? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  212. 220 Carolina Lady January 16, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    MURPHY ISN’T PLAYING??????? WHAT ARE WE TO DO!!???? 😆

    Liked by 1 person

  213. 221 berigan2electricboogaloo January 16, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    CL, please sit down before the vapors overtake you….Bob Horner….has….retired! 😦

    Liked by 2 people

  214. 222 Carolina Lady January 16, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    Oh, mercy, Ber! Well, I knew that boy wouldn’t last long. *sigh* Next thing ya know Lemke and the others will be gone, too. *shakes head* Almost too much to bear! Astros in the AL!! That’s like trying to understand the in-field fly rule! Tough to digest!

    Liked by 1 person

  215. 223 chrisklob January 17, 2015 at 12:39 am

    cl, i hate to break this bad news but both eddie matthews and warren spahn are retired as well!

    oh, and b.j. upton = bad job upton. fitting, no?

    Liked by 1 person

  216. 224 Carolina Lady January 17, 2015 at 4:02 am

    Chris, this is almost too much to take! *fans face* 😆

    Perfect fit, I’d say! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  217. 225 Gil in Mechanicsville January 17, 2015 at 8:37 am

    “.259/.361/.403 with 10 HR’s,”

    or as Melvin would call it, a career year type numbers….

    Like

  218. 226 Gil in Mechanicsville January 17, 2015 at 8:40 am

    We can only wish…. eh?

    Liked by 1 person

  219. 227 Gil in Mechanicsville January 17, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Clubber… Reading the various opines around the baseball world, it appears many folks are agreeing with you over the Nick Markais signing. It’s a little like the Braves making a last minute decision to blow up the team after the fact. Like me spending money on a car before I trade it in even though a dealer is going to give me the same money either way. Been there and done that….

    Most folks think the Braves got a lot more for Gattis than should be expected, of course, those same folks thought they let Jason Upton go too cheap. The thing about trades, it often takes years before you know how it works out for both sides.

    For sure, Evan is happy to be back in Texas. We will see where the Astros end up playing him but he should get a lot of RBI opportunities with the guys batting ahead of him.

    The Braves meanwhile will be trying desperately to not have Freedie Freeman go into a full funk trying to hit balls 6 inches off the plate. I doubt he will see many fastballs this year, after all, who is going to be hitting clean up for this team? BJ?

    Liked by 1 person

  220. 228 chrisklob January 17, 2015 at 11:47 am

    Gil, i think it was you that first brought the idea of the braves changing strategies after the markakis signing. in retrospect, i can’t see any other scenario to spend that kind of money on a team no one expects to contend unless pigs fly through a frozen-over hell (but given how things are in this world now i guess even that is possible). really makes you wonder if markakis will actually play the length of the contract out. or maybe trading him for more prospects was the strategy all along.

    Like

  221. 229 chrisklob January 17, 2015 at 11:52 am

    seems like my html skills are a little rusty!

    Like

  222. 230 berigan2electricboogaloo January 17, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    Chris, one does wonder if they knew all along how much they would dismantle the team…perhaps they did….perhaps they knew all along that JHey, J UP and Gattis would be traded, meaning the one and only outfielder for sure in 2015 would be….BJ . So, they had to at least fill in one of the positions. 11 Mil a year is basically nothing these days for a better than average outfielder. Heck, I saw somewheres folks guessing on what J Hey would get…many thought 20+ Mil a year!!!! So…11 mil ain’t bad at all…and yes, if the braves have a 90 loss season or 2, you can trade him..for get this, more prospects with ETA of 2020 😛
    Man, I’ll tell you one team I’d hate to be a fan of..and I wouldn’t be after a few years…the A’s. I know they are in a terrible situation with that stadium, and MLB not letting them move were there would be more fans (San Jose)
    But, they will trade ANYONE, at anytime. Yeah, they stay competitive, but trading everyone away because they have 2-3 years til Free agency, and arbitration numbers will get too high…yuck.
    Imagine if the Braves had offseasons like this every 2-3 years?
    I guess the Rays to a degree too, but did lock up Longoria, and kept pitchers a bit longer than the A’s do…

    Like

  223. 231 chrisklob January 17, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    ber, you are right about $11m not being a lot of money, relatively speaking. if they knew they were going to blow it up i would have preferred they keep that money in their pocket and spend it in the future when it can make an impact.

    and yes, i’m glad i’m not an a’s or rays fan. i do respect what those teams have done to keep themselves relevant and competitive but you are right about how hard it would be to be a fan.

    Like

  224. 232 berigan2electricboogaloo January 17, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    CL, I guess my lame excuse is being sick for the last several weeks…I know I saw you fell, was too tired to write anything half intelligent, then…I forgot 😦 ground only seems to get harder, the older you are. I sure hope you are feeling better!

    Liked by 1 person

  225. 233 Gil in Mechanicsville January 17, 2015 at 11:45 pm

    CL, Ber makes a good point, Ask for double padding to be installed under the carpet next time…..

    The As’ are surprised as anyone when they finish in the playoffs. The reason they could not relocate to San Jose is because the Giants consider it part of their territory. Perhaps the As’ would have better luck if they moved to Portland. At least their patrons would not fear being mugged right in the stands…. Oakland is and has been a very bad neighborhood for well, since it was Oakland…. Of course, then Seattle would whine but what can you do? Move to Charlotte and fight it out with the Braves?

    Until baseball comes up with a revenue sharing plan like the NFL, you are always going to have this kind of infighting and territorial disputes. The Orioles and the Nationals are fighting now over TV revenue on the channel which is owned by the Orioles. It was a sticking point when the Expos moved to DC. I think the first year the gNats were carried on a local TV station but Major League baseball does not allow for a single carrier to televise all the games any more. They all remember what Ted Turner was able to do with TBS.

    Everyone wants a piece of the same pie but no one is willing to take a smaller slice. New York City actually has the revenue base available to support another major league franchise but both the Mets and the Yankees (especially the Yankees) would both squeal like stuck pigs if anyone tried to move in on their honey hole.

    Liked by 1 person

  226. 234 berigan2electricboogaloo January 18, 2015 at 11:23 am

    Chris, thinking more about what you said…perhaps putting the 4 years, 44 Mil to better use….I had forgotten about someone I was really hoping the braves would go after…Yasmany Tomas

    Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas has agreed to a 6-year, $68.5 million deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks,…..Tomas is listed as 6-1 and 230 pounds and is probably a best fit for a corner outfield position, which would jeopardize the spots of Mark Trumbo, Cody Ross or Ender Inciarte. Baseball America rates him as having 70 power on the scouts’ 20-to-80 scale.
    but…that would have been…risky…unlike all the high upside pitchers who have had off years, or TJ that the braves have rounded up :/

    Now, who will play LF? Aoki, would have been fine with me, but he signed with the Giants. Ichiro Suzuki? He’s 41, but if there was ever a man that spits in the face of age, it’s him . Ichiro hit .284 last year. He also has 2844 hits. (1278 in Japan) I know…a risk…you need a strong 4th outifielder (we have that cheap Cuban we got, so him perhaps?)
    But…someone needs to play there…..pretty sure MLB frowns on just 2 outfielders…

    Liked by 1 person

  227. 235 Gil in Mechanicsville January 18, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    “But…someone needs to play there…..pretty sure MLB frowns on just 2 outfielders…”

    Ber, I’m not so sure about that any more, given the increased employment of specialized defensive shifts. In fact, if it were up to the owners, they would cut the number of players period to increase scoring, that is what drives sales, right? At least according all the talking heads. Want to make the game really interesting? Institute a penalty box instead of simply tossing a player, a team would have to play short handed…. Hey, I can come up with all kinds of idiotic new rules, like a 255 foot infield fly…

    Oh well, you are right, the Braves will sign someone to play left field. I doubt it will be a top tier guy but it will certainly be someone who can pass the Braves cost test. Someone like Cody Ross who is clearly past his prime. Terdo can find what his future with the Braves organization is this spring. Clearly, he is a player like the huge Cuban the Braves released from his minor league contract to allow him to go to Japan last year

    Todd Cunningham is another guy, no one really standing in his way to playing in the majors except his own abilities.

    I know the Braves are loath to simply release BJ Upton with so much money still on the table but if the Braves are really serious about building a winner in Atlanta, it’s pretty clear they are going to have to face facts and understand they cannot allow BJ to spread his discontent to the club house.
    I doubt he will allow the Braves to send him down to Triple A to work things out, no way BJ will ever ride on a bus again. His ego is too big.

    If it were just BJ’s contract, the Braves might throw in the towel on the beleaguered center fielder but added to Dan Uggla’s final year’s contract money, you are looking at a fairly large chunk of coin, Max Scherzer type money… just saying…

    Liked by 1 person

  228. 236 Gil in Mechanicsville January 18, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    Okay, enough pilling on of Uncle BJ, I’ll stop now, for a little while anyway.

    Like

  229. 237 berigan2electricboogaloo January 19, 2015 at 7:20 am

    Wow!!!! Really don’t get this signing….but hey, not my money….I think Zimmerman and Strausburg are about as good as he is…and didn’t cost a fortune. Guess they will trade one of those two for a boatload of talent…
    Nationals To Sign Max Scherzer
    By Charlie Wilmoth [January 18, 2015 at 11:03pm CST]

    The Nationals have agreed to sign top starting pitcher Max Scherzer to a seven-year deal, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman tweets. The contract will carry through 2021, which will be Scherzer’s age-36 season. The Scott Boras client will make over $180MM, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (on Twitter). On Sunday, Heyman reported that the Nationals and another team were talking with Boras about seven-year deals for Scherzer, with the Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore later reporting that the Scherzer and the Nationals were close to a deal.

    USATSI_8081610_154513410_lowresThe Nats’ emergence as a top bidder for Scherzer came as somewhat of a surprise, given the terrific starting pitching they already had (including Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister, with the signing bumping Tanner Roark, who himself had a very good 2014 season, out of the rotation).
    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2015/01/nationals-to-sign-max-scherzer.html#disqus_thread

    Like

  230. 238 Vox O'Raison January 19, 2015 at 10:03 am

    Guess they will trade one of those two for a boatload of talent

    That’s exactly what they’ll do. They’ll spend a boatload… make that a battle cruiser full of money to make the big splash, then trade away the guy who probably makes more financial sense to get back some prospects to keep their farm system from looking like the Braves’ system did a few months ago.

    But here’s the thing… they are taking a bigger gamble on Scherzer. He’s at the top of his game for sure, but we have seen what can happen when a guy signs a huge contract and then tries to meet expectations. $180M can have all kinds of effects on a person’s psyche. And let’s not forget that he’s only a few sinewy fibers away from being parked for a year or so.

    That doesn’t make him a bad signing. If you’ve got the money to shop at Nordstrom’s, you should shop at Nordstrom’s. But if the Nats trade away Jordan Zimmermann in the aftermath – see what I did there? “Math”? – how much better have they gotten for a huge investment? 4 wins from 2014 by my count.

    Is Scherzer worth $180M? Well, the capitalist in me says he is worth every penny someone is willing to spend on him. My only question is this: If they do trade Zimmermann or Strasburg on the backside of this deal, how much have they improved? $180M from a pitching starved team, a team in need of a true ace, would make alot more sense. But the Nats seems a little bit forced. It’s as if Washington doesn’t have confidence in their own team. Odd to me.

    For $180M, they could extend both Zimmermann and Ian Desmond. Yet, they will likely lose both over the course of the next year or so.

    Oh, it absolutely appears they are poised to make the big run in 2015 with Desmond still there. Maybe even keep Zimmermann for the run too. They are probably now the Vegas favorite. But 2016? Who will play SS for them? I think Span is in his last year, too.

    So maybe this is the Marlins model. Load up for one big year, revel in the glory. Then lose the core. Who knows? Things can change so quickly.

    Still, it doesn’t make much sense to me. They were already the class of the NL with young players getting better. Certainly the easy favorite to win the NL East. Yet they are now likely to let both Zimmermann and Desmond get away. And they have brought in a pitcher 2 years older than Zimm who only won 4 more games last season.

    I’d take Zimmermann on the Braves in a heartbeat. Desmond too… wonder if he can play LF? … or CF? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  231. 239 Vox O'Raison January 19, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Liked by 1 person

  232. 240 Gil in Mechanicsville January 19, 2015 at 11:30 am

    That folks is a Greg Maddux like signing back when the Braves were not afraid to spend money. The Braves had a pretty deep rotation then too but it was Maddux who put them over the top for a long time.

    Personally, I have never thought Strasburg was all that but he was the prized pig. I cannot begrudge the gNats of taking advantage where ever they can. After all, it is not my money, well, I don’t think so but anyway, they are what they are. The Lerners are the new Ted Turner in the NL East.

    The Mets will be matching them dollar for dollar now that the Wilpons are pretty much out from under the Bernnie Maddof fiasco. The are in rebuilding mode right now but they will jump in soon.

    Perhaps the difference between Tanner Roark’s 15-10 and Max Scherzer’s 15-10 was Tanner was opposing a lot of one and twos while Roark was facing a lot of four and fives. Still, it is nice to have that kind of depth if you can afford it.

    I do expect the price of hot dogs to go up at National’s Park this year. Other than the once proud Washington Redskins, DC has become home to some pretty good sports teams. Of course, back in the days before salary caps, The Redskins would out spend everyone to have the best players. Now they have a megalomaniac who is a lot closer to the late Al Davis than the late Jack Kemp Cooke.

    Oh well, while the Braves continue to shake out the seat cushions, the Braves will become a lot more like the Astros and Tampa as the gNats will become more like the Dodgers. I am sure the players will be taking notice, especially Harper who thinks he is God’s gift to baseball right now. He heard and read a few too many newspaper clippings comparing him to Mike Trout.

    I will say this, That at today’s prices, Cole Hammels is a bargain. His trade value has just gone up as far as the level of talent coming back is concerned. A lot of players take notice of what teams are willing to pay. It is why they scoff when teams say they can’t afford to pay what a player wants. As always, it is what a team chooses to pay, not if they can afford it.

    Like

  233. 241 Gil in Mechanicsville January 19, 2015 at 11:33 am

    As far as the gNats being the class of the NL East, it has not stopped the Dodgers from piling on in the NL West has it?

    Like

  234. 242 Gil in Mechanicsville January 19, 2015 at 11:50 am

    Y’all do know that Washington traded Tyler Clippard to the A’s for Yunel Escobar? It would be a step backwards to have the Crazy Cuban at short instead of Espinosa but Ryan Zimmerman is still iffy as far as his shoulder and is moving across the diamond this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  235. 243 Gil in Mechanicsville January 19, 2015 at 11:56 am

    They are not the perfect team but it is still all about pitching. We will see how they stack up against the rest of the league. At least it should make people realize what the Braves are going to be up against going forward as far as what others are willing to do to have a “winner”. The Phillies rode that wave for a while too, now they are falling back to earth.

    Like

  236. 244 Gil in Mechanicsville January 19, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Or should I say, they fell back to earth two years ago…

    Like

  237. 245 Vox O'Raison January 19, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    Holy Crikey!!

    7 yrs / $210M. Seriously? If they can keep Zimmermann, Strasburg and Fister together and still add Scherzer, the way the Braves kept Glavine, Smoltz and Avery when they added Maddux, then great for them. But at $210M? And what will Zimmermann demand next year?

    No way they keep Ian Desmond now. And that truly is a step back. No way they keep Denard Span after 2015 either. I guess the current model is to pitch your way through everyone. It’s what the Braves seem to want to do, too. Chicks dig the cutter?

    Liked by 1 person

  238. 246 Vox O'Raison January 19, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    And in the midst of the Scherzer talk, the ‘Stros just traded Dexter Fowler to the Cubs. Man, I sure wish we could have gotten him here. Funny thing is, it looks like they just opened up an OF spot for Gattis. Springer will now shift to CF, with last year’s LF Robbie Grossman moving across the OF to RF. Of course, it also paves the way for their slugging prospect Domingo Santana to move on up to RF at some point.

    Like

  239. 247 Vox O'Raison January 19, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    New Vegas odds on the World Series are out. As expected, the Nats are the favorite at 6-1 with LAD following at 8-1. Speaks to the power of the purse.

    Liked by 1 person

  240. 248 Vox O'Raison January 19, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Interesting:

    Like

  241. 249 Gil in Mechanicsville January 19, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    Smart contract deferring that much money, Sounds like a Jeffery Loria kind of deal, Easier tax wise and not too much of a drag on the team right now, Kind of like Bobby Bonia day in New York. Aren’t the Braves still paying Len Barker?

    And if the Lerners ever sell the team, guess who gets the bill? That and inflation will kick in eventually. So many things can happen. Team declares bankruptcy and deferred payments go POOF! Hey, it could happen…. Anyway, creative financing is like paying BJ money every year without having to play BJ in centerfield…. Win win!

    The Braves have been paying 10 to 15 million every season for guys who were not playing so not much difference…

    Besides, in DC $15 million a year is chump change to a lot of the lobbyist.

    Like

  242. 250 Vox O'Raison January 19, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    <i.Besides, in DC $15 million a year is chump change to a lot of the lobbyist.

    Now that you mention it, it fits perfectly in DC where “wins” are purchased on a regular basis.

    Liked by 1 person

  243. 251 Vox O'Raison January 19, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    Take 2:

    Besides, in DC $15 million a year is chump change to a lot of the lobbyist.

    Now that you mention it, it fits perfectly in DC where “wins” are purchased on a regular basis.

    Like

  244. 252 Vox O'Raison January 19, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    Gotta say, even I feel a bit discouraged watching DC drop $210 on the top pitching name on the market. I still feel that depending on how LF is addressed, and depending on the health of our pitching, that we can be a .500 team in 2015. I think at times they will be entertaining, and at times they will look like what a young team looks like. But watching the Nats freely spending like a Congressman with votes in his pocket turns my stomach a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

  245. 253 Vox O'Raison January 19, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    I do want to take one more look at the Braves lineup for a minute…

    Granted we have no idea what our LF will look like, and hopefully it will be someone with some pop in his bat. So for the purposes of this exercise, he’s simply going to be called ???? because I just don’t believe he’s on the roster yet.

    1- Markakis
    2- Callaspo
    3- Freeman
    4- ????
    5- Johnson
    6- Upton
    7- Bethancourt
    8- Simmons

    Understanding that we have a gaping hole at the critical cleanup spot, we have new parts at 1 & 2 and most of the same guys following.

    In 2014, this is what they got out of the 1 and 2 slots:

    1- .245 / .314 / .350 w/ 153 K’s
    2- .231 / .296 / .333 w/ 146 K’s

    And they finished 29th out of 30 teams in runs scored at just 3.54 per game and a robust record of 79-83, 17 games behind the 1st place Nats.

    In 2014, this is what they got out of the new 1 and 2 dudes:

    1- Markakis: .276 / .342 / .386 w/ 84 K’s
    2- Callaspo: .223 / .290 / .290 w/ 50 K’s

    It’s a step up at #1 and a small step back at #2, but with far fewer K’s. FAR fewer. Overall, it’s a better top of the order with 165 fewer K’s. That is a staggering figure.

    And again I say the offense was 29th of 30 teams. Putrid. The top is improved, and Freddie could get more RBI opportunities at #3. OR will he be #3?

    So much turns on that cleanup spot. And as much as I agree the prevailing thought that you want your best hitter batting 3rd so that he gets the max number of AB’s and gets in the first frame, I think FF could fit better at cleanup. If your new offensive philosphy says “get on and run like the wind”, than I think you want the cement-footed Freeman batting 4th, and a little swifter line drive hitter batting #3.

    So who will be in LF next season? That’s the guy we need: good speed and gap-to-gap hitter.

    (Actually, what we need there is the Tampa version of BJ, but I really don’t want to stomp on that sad old horse anymore.)

    Man, wouldn’t Dexter Fowler have fit well?

    Like

  246. 254 Vox O'Raison January 19, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    I wonder what it would take to pry Drew Stubbs away from COL? They need pitching badly.

    Mike Minor?

    Like

  247. 255 berigan2electricboogaloo January 19, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    V, Drew Stubbs had a decent year last year, but that was in Colorado…previous years? .233, 213, .243. How much was Colorado last year?

    Like

  248. 256 Gil in Mechanicsville January 19, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    So many things can affect a hitter’s OBP. As far as the Braves go, I think you are right about who bats clean up. I think on days AJ is catching, he would not be a bad choice. When he is not, I guess it make little difference if the opposing pitcher can see BJ’s spot in the order coming up.

    So, I guess the Braves will be seeking that elusive right handed bopper.. Oh, wait. Uh never mind…. The Braves were a very young team in 2013, they were a very young team in 2014, thus, you had teams that were prone to being streaky and tended to fade at the end…

    Here are the facts as I see them, the Braves are not going to be willing to spend much above their current payroll until they can see where it will make a difference in their chances to finish near the top of their division. Then they will take the money from Uggla’s contract and bank it and prepare to eat Uncle Melvin’s final two years.

    With Liberty Media, I can say without reservation that if they could get robots to take the place of real live people, they would do it to save payroll… Of course that might not be totally fair, they could have been spending Marlins level money the past 10 years….

    Liked by 1 person

  249. 257 Gil in Mechanicsville January 19, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    And I’m pretty sure Denard Span will be available next year… 🙂

    Like

  250. 258 Gil in Mechanicsville January 19, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    Nope, the Braves are hoping one of the prospects they have just acquired will be the next Christian Yelich..

    Like

  251. 259 Gil in Mechanicsville January 19, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    While the gNats have spent some money, I think the Marlins will give them fits all season if they can stay healthy. They have got some really nice young starters in Miami and a team which can score a lot of runs…..

    Like

  252. 260 berigan2electricboogaloo January 19, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    How about another Rockie supposedly an option for the O’s?
    Charlie Blackmon
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/blackch02.shtml

    Like

  253. 262 Gil in Mechanicsville January 19, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    While I knew Scot Boras represent several of the gNats, I did not know it was 1/3 of the roster

    Liked by 1 person

  254. 263 JoAnn Brooks Elliott January 19, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    Hi guys, came by to read how everyone was taking the trades, and the Braves shopping at the Dollar Store for this seasons players. We were going to spring training this year, but I told Gil I didn’t see a need to go and watch a team that just isn’t going anywhere this year.
    Margie I’m with you about all that nasty face hair and those guys that have hair that needs a pony tail. What ever happen to real men playing sports. Not a bunch of want to be hippies. Well the boss just went to bed, so I guess that my cue, see you on the flip side, or for the younger guys on here that think I’m crazy later 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  255. 264 Carolina Lady January 19, 2015 at 11:18 pm

    Great, great observations, Josie! Love the “Dollar Store” reference! So true.

    I think the players are trying to portray themselves as “cool” or whatever the current slang may be, but it’s a total flop, whether they know it or not.

    ‘Night, JoAnne!

    Like

  256. 265 Gil in Mechanicsville January 20, 2015 at 7:51 am

    Yep, what ever happened to “Good, clean cut American Yuths”?
    To steal a line from My Cousin Vinny

    Was just think of how the gNats fans must be dancing in the streets and how I know I’m not a Washington fan, despite my rumblings. I don’t feel bad but I just know the Braves are not going to be getting a lot of ink this season.

    Nothing to do but grin and bare it look for some bright spots for the Bravos. Pretty sure however, that Scot Boras is happy. 10% of 230 million? Like hitting the Lottery… I should have been smarter in my life, I too could have been a Stethoscopeologist…. Little joke there from “Second City” skit….

    Liked by 1 person

  257. 266 Gil in Mechanicsville January 20, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Everybody loves a winner, everyone hates a whiner, try not to be a wiener… Words to live by….

    Like

  258. 267 Vox O'Raison January 20, 2015 at 8:22 am

    Interesting comments by Mark Bradley

    Gil, I tend to ignore much of what is written by Mark Bradley… and Jeff Schultz as well. They are columnists who are paid to gin up public emotion in an effort to sell more papers, or online subscriptions as the case may be. Fueling the outrage of Braves fans is really just low hanging fruit.

    Good people of the B&S, the fact remains that the Braves were a flawed team with a flawed system behind it. There is no questioning that. There was no quick fix for that.

    When I had a leak in my roof around my fireplace, I was hoping that I could just go up there with a little flashing and pitch and take care of the problem. But the leak went alot deeper. The fact was that the flashing had not been installed correctly years ago, and over the years the damage had gone deep. The result was that supporting wood underneath it had rotted. So I had to hire someone to came out, strip away the surface, repair what was underneath, and put it back together. I wanted to hire a company with a full crew that could have done it in one day, but sadly didn’t have the money in my budget to do so. So I hired the best guy I could afford to come do it. It took a little longer because he had alot of work to do, much of what was not apparent as it was under the surface. It kind of made me a little angry because it didn’t look like anything was getting done and I was afraid he was just making it worse. Initially, it was kind of ugly. There were raw roofing materials that sorely needed a coat of paint. Everyone could see it. My wife got mad and was angry at the whole house and wished we had bought something else in another neighborhood. Even when he got done, she resented the whole thing and still held a grudge against the house. And she had zero confidence in the roof. But in a couple of days it rained, and there wasn’t a drip to be found. The repair looked OK too, but the exterior of the house still needs to be painted. There was some intrusive work, and there is still some residual evidence.

    And I did have to pay. I had to pay more than I wanted… more than my wife wanted. It hurt, and we had to adjust our budget for many months to account for it. But I did what I had to. If I had just carried the new flashing and pitch to the roof and made a patch, it would have stopped the leak for a while. Maybe even a couple of years. But the underlying damage would have remained and the rotting would have worsened. The whole integrity of the roof would have been compromised after a while.

    I guess if John had the budget to support it, he could have signed Jon Lester for the rotation, and traded for Dee Gordon for 2B/leadoff, and bid on Yasmany Tomas for LF. And perhaps we wouldn’t have had to put up with the ugly in 2015. But he didn’t have the resources available to do so. And the necessary repairs to the supporting minor league system were still very costly. Thankfully, though, the repairs have been made, and the collapse is no longer imminent.

    I don’t want to watch the team that I love struggle any more than anyone else. But I love my house and i don’t want to move. I’ve lived here a while and it’s just home. Maybe next year I can afford to paint it and it will look even better. Not this year though… still suffering a little from the roof repair. But it’s getting better.

    Like

  259. 268 JoAnn Brooks Elliott January 20, 2015 at 9:12 am

    Vox O’Raison, I agree with you and the repairs were needed, but this team goes a lot deeper then just one house, as we may see a lot happening in the coming years to the farm club. While our beach house is being pounded by a hurricane. I remember when there were very few fans in those stands, and when you lose the fans in the stands, they fill that time with other things, and a lot of times never come back. Gil and I use to go to too see the local Braves, they moved. Do we love baseball less, no we were hurt that they left. Baseball is still played here, but we have never been back to a local game. It not who the team is, it is our mind set that our time can be use for more useful things. So I would have to say a imminent collapse is likely with the Braves. No fans, no need for a new stadium. Just my point of view 🙂

    Like

  260. 269 Gil in Mechanicsville January 20, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Ah… Welcome to the Dark Side Miss Josie…. 🙂

    Raisins, I feel for you Bro, been there, done that and the good thing is sometimes that light at the end of the tunnel is not a freight train coming at you.

    Your analogy is spot on however. After my initial shock at the direction of this team (Braves) and the jettison of some pretty good and popular players, I finally realized that to resist was useless and like it or not, I had too choices, chuck it all or suck it up and get over it….

    I’m over it. To be honest, it cannot really be any worse than the Braves piddling along like they did from 2006 to 2010. Not really in it but not really out of it either. Just enough flashing to patch the leak but never enough to really fix the problem.

    We really had it good there for a while though. We all got a little spoiled methinks. Anyway, it is what it is. The Braves are rebuilding while they are still living in the house, maybe they should put up a “Pardon Our Dust” sign on the door. Pretty tough however to feel the need to wear a hard hat while you are sleeping….

    So, we will watch the kids grow and hope they become what we want them to be. These things do go in cycles and sadly, we are going to have to live with it. Hopefully, John the Elder will prove to be a master craftsman, it could be his crowning achievement to an already pretty impressive career.

    Doesn’t mean I have to like this nasty tasting medicine but hopefully, it will do the job.

    Liked by 1 person

  261. 270 berigan2electricboogaloo January 20, 2015 at 10:47 am

    Miss Josie, you’ve GOT to go to Spring Training! Gil has been wanting to go for several years, and Gil has been a good boy, he told me so! 😆

    Liked by 1 person

  262. 271 Vox O'Raison January 20, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    maybe they should put up a “Pardon Our Dust” sign on the door

    Maybe we need that on our banner here. 😀 It is currently bereft of players anyway. Kinda like the team, but different.

    Like

  263. 272 berigan2electricboogaloo January 20, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    V, very good post above, the house one…
    I hope you are right about being a .500 team. I fear 90+ losses, but I am forever semi – optimistic. 😕

    Like

  264. 273 Vox O'Raison January 20, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Mr. O’B has up a terrific article in which he converses with Baseball America’s editor-in-chief John Manuel about the Braves newly acquired prospects. 5 of the Braves’ new Top 10, and 11 of the new Top 20 came to us over the last few weeks after the “re-tool” began.

    Here are his evaluations of a handful of them:

    #2. Mike Foltynewicz, RHP: First-round draft pick in 2010, he made his major league debut with the Astros in 2014 and was their No. 3 prospect. Top-of-the-rotation potential, has a 96-100 mph fastball (topped out at 102) and above-average breaking ball. Why him over Fried? “No. 1, because of health,” Manual said. “And No. 2, his high level (ceiling). His floor is as a seventh- or eighth-inning impact relief pitcher, as hard as he throws. And reports are the breaking ball is good.” Manuel compared him to Angels starter Garrett Richards.

    #3. Max Fried, LHP: Big lefty will miss 2015 season recovering from Tommy John surgery, but regarded as another legit potential ace. “Our international guy made some points about him and (No. 8 Ricardo) Sanchez, said he would grade out their stuff very similar. This list 3 through 8 is malleable. Reason (Fried) was available was basically he missed most of 2014 and will mss all of 2015 cecause they tried to rehab without surgery. So you may not know what you have till 2016 or even 2017. But he’s an athletic left-hander who showed you good stuff, amateur track record pretty strong. Other clubs when looking at Braves prospects like sanchez better than Fried. I think that’s very reasonable. l we felt like Fried was a little more higher ceiling than Sanchez.”

    #8. Ricardo Sanchez, LHP: The Braves traded third-base prospect and minor league pitcher Nate Hyatt to the Angels for Sanchez, 17, who was rated Anaheim’s No. 3 prospect. Low- to mid-90s fastball and impressive curveball, had a 3.49 ERA in 12 appearances (nine starts) in rookie ball while striking out 43 in 38 2/3 innings. “I like (Braves Nos. 9-10 prospects) Jace Peterson and Rio Ruiz, but to me, that top eight is a lot closer together,” Manuel said. “If you were going to do a first tier and second tier of Braves prospects, that first tier is that top eight…. We had reports on him hitting 95; I don’t think he pitches there, but to see him do it at age 17, you think this is a guy who can grow into maybe doing that fairly consistently. And then he flashes an above-average breaking ball. He’s shown you the ability to spin a breaking ball. That fastball in the Arizona League was generally sitting in that 90-91 range; not bad for a 17-year-old.”

    #9. Jace Peterson, 2B/3B: Another who came from San Diego in the Upton trade. Hit .307 w/ .402 OBP and 33 extra-base hits (three homers) in 382 plate appearances in Double-A and Triple-A in 2014. “For some people he’s just a (potential) championship-caliber utility guy,” Manuel said. “I think we see him as guy who could be a solid second baseman. We throw out Adam Kennedy comps a lot, because he wasn’t a star but he was a regular on good teams for a long time. This guy might have a chance to be that kind of hitter, and maybe even a little bit better athlete than Adam Kennedy was. Adam Kennedy was a purer hitter, but this guy runs better, so maybe he ends up with a similar average and on-base percentage even though he does it pretty differently.”

    #10. Rio Ruiz, 3B: Second-best prospect to come from Astros in Gattis trade. Former high school quarterback standout committed to play football at Southern Cal before signing with Astros. Ruiz, 20, hit .293 with a .387 on-base percentage and 50 extra-base hits (11 home runs) in high Single-A, and replaces Kubitza as Braves top third-base prospect. “For me he’s the other interesting guy here. The Astros gave this guy $1.85 million. And then as soon as they could trade for Colin Muran (from the Marlins), they did. I saw Colin Moran for three years at UNC. I did their games on TV, did his whole regional in 2013. I’ve seen a ton of Colin Mran; I’ve seen a decent amount of Rio Ruiz on video. I think those guys are going to be really similar. I think the Astros chose the guy who’s a little less athletic in Colin Moran.”

    #13. Manny Banuelos, LHP: Former No. 1 Yankees prospect is still trying to regain form since October 2012 Tommy John surgery. Braves got him in trade for relievers David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve. “I’ve always felt the Yankees were pretty good at developing pitchers; I always though the problem was at the big league level, guys stopped getting better in the big leagues. There’s a lot of Yankees who’ve had success outside of New York…. To me he was a great risk to take. He’s left-handed, he’s shown plus stuff, he’s had success at Double-A. The Braves don’t necessarily need him in the major leagues right now, so I think he was a great risk to take. He kind of got overshadowed (this offseason). He’s going to have to prove himself again (coming off Tommy John). I’d rather prove myself again in a new organization than in front of an organization where there were a lot of preconceived notions of what I can and can’t do.”

    #15. Arodys Vizcaino, RHP: Former Braves prospect who returns after an injury-plagued few seasons with the Cubs, much of it spend recovering from Tommy John surgery. “He’s the prospect who won’t die,” Manuel said. “I think he has one of longest entries in our (prospect) handbook. But all of our reports from last year are still a lot of 97-98 (mph).. It’s the kind of stuff you see out of an eighth-inning guy in the playoffs. Not necessarily closer command, but a guy who comes out there and just blows cheddar for an inning. That’s him. And it doesn’t hurt that he spins a breaking ball.”

    #20. Andrew Thurman, RHP: Third of the prospects who came from Astros in the Gattis trade, Thurman was a second-round pick in 2013 and went 7-9 with a 5.38 ERA and 107 strikeouts in 115 1/3 innings last season in Single-A. Projects as a potential back-of-the-rotation starter in the majors. “A college guy in the low-Class A Midwwest League, we kind of thought he’d tear that league up, and he didn’t,” Manuel said. “He’s shown three pitches that he can throw for strikes, he’s shown an above-average fastball that he can throw for strikes. It’s just matter of doing it consistently.”

    That was only a select handful of new prospects. They provide an evaluation of each one of the 11 new guys.

    The entire article is here: http://atlantabraves.blog.ajc.com/2015/01/19/trade-frenzy-reshaped-braves-top-20-prospects/?ecmp=ajc_social_twitter_2014_braves_sfp

    I think it is a great picture of just how well the Braves did in restocking the empty pantry. In fact, Manuel asserts that the Braves farm system would’ve ranked 29th out of 30 major league teams in early November. Now it’s at least in the top half, and the top 10 according to some evaluators. That’s pretty strong.

    One more thing… John stated that this was job #1 of the 2 parts to the process. Now that they’ve done job #1, they can commence on job #2, fixing the Major League team. I would think that whatever moves are left before April 6, and going forward, will be on the Atlanta team.

    Like

  265. 274 Vox O'Raison January 20, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    CK… I am curious. Do you think we should punt LF for this season and ride it out with a combination of Almonte/Cunningham/Toscano/Terdo, or should we pursue someone who can be had on a 1 year deal at < $10M?

    Honestly, I'm a little torn on it. Before the Nats signed Scherzer, I'd have said get the best guy you can afford that fits the bill. Now… maybe we just let our own guys split time there. Maybe there is a workable platoon that gives us moderate production. Maybe Toscano is a bigger deal than we have been told. Heck, maybe Pastor gives it a go in Spring. Who knows?

    I still wouldn't be surprised to see them trade Mike Minor for a LF. He's due $5.1M – $5.5M, and they may feel they have some other youngsters they can plug into the mix. Maybe Hale and Folty make the rotation.

    I just find it odd that the 2 sides would go to arb over the difference between $5.1M and $5.5M. I mean, really? Less than half a mil? It doesn’t send a signal to anyone that the team is necessarily enamored with Minor.

    Like

  266. 275 Vox O'Raison January 20, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    😯 I just had a flashback!

    Like

  267. 276 Vox O'Raison January 20, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    Braves had 1,369 K’s in 2014.

    Like

  268. 277 Carolina Lady January 20, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Raisins, my thoughts – even though I wasn’t asked 😛 – If they’re selling every valuable player except Freeman and Simmons, why spend money on a new person who really won’t be much better than the replacements we can field. Save that money for the future. Besides, who will want to play for the Braves now unless it’s some “elder statesman” who has no other choice?

    I’m really ticked off at them! I mean, Kimbrell?</i. Come on! These guys are gonna come back and bite us in the butt in the years to come and will probably enjoy doing it.

    Somebody remind me why I ever liked baseball.

    AAAGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

    Liked by 1 person

  269. 279 Vox O'Raison January 20, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    In 120 games at AAA Gwinnett in 2014, Todd Cunningham slashed .287/.347/.406 w/ 8 HR’s and 58 RBI against only 79 K’s. He also had 19 stolen bases. He’s also a SH whose numbers are pretty even from each side.

    Like

  270. 280 Vox O'Raison January 20, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    CL, I don’t think they are selling every valuable player… just the ones that made sense in a re-tooling mode. Their pitching is still intact, and the reason I truly and honestly believe they have a .500 team.

    They could not have signed JHey after 2015, nor JUp. Paying them together a collective $21M to see them leave for nothing made no sense. And Gattis was a different story. He was a guy that management didn’t think could physically handle a full season of playing, and couldn’t give them good enough defense in what is a a pretty big OF at The Ted. His physical state was evidenced by the drawn out examination by HOU, who had serious reservations about both his back and his knee. Obviously we’ll get the answer to both the physical and the LF questions next season. Still, they got back 2 Top 10 and an additional Top 20 prospect in dealing him. One of them could be in the rotation this season, and could be the ace in a couple more.

    They received 11 Top 20 guys, plus a major league #2 starter. That’s quite a haul. I think you’ll be less disappointed in them as the season unfolds and you see the results as you are right now still feeling the emotional sting.

    Liked by 1 person

  271. 281 Gil in Mechanicsville January 20, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    Story today that Washington is trying to move Strasburg. Good choice I think for the gNats, similar kind of situation for them as far as it was for the Braves with J-Hey. Difference is they have the pitching to cover his movement and DC will get a decent return.

    Still look for the Phillie to move Hammels, they are further behind the Nationals than the Braves are right now. The Malins have restocked and have a decent payroll too. The folks in Miami aught to be doing cartwheels.

    CL, I have gotten past those who have departed and now look forward to see what we have got. The current Braves team will be one which will be scrappy but lacking power.

    I agree the Braves are better off allowing the talent they have to try to come to fore rather than throwing away another 10 mil.

    Roger that on Minor, I think he has sort of worn out his welcome in Atlanta. Just never was the first round pick they envisioned. I think a change of scenery could do both he and the Braves good.

    Liked by 1 person

  272. 282 JoAnn Brooks Elliott January 20, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    Berigan, we both agreed that we would stay home this year, Save the dollars for a nicer vacation down the road. Maybe next year, there will be more to look forward too. Games cost to much for a ok game, I want to see someone that will knock the cover off ball, where as Gil would rather see great pitching. I think I will go with him to a few braves games when they play in Washington, if they turn out to be any good. That way we would see the new team, and also get to see some of our old players that are in Washington. 🙂 and yes he has been a very good boy this year 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  273. 283 berigan2electricboogaloo January 20, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    Umm, I’d just as soon run with the AAAA guys….he’s Evan Gattis in the outfield….without the pop. Plus, I would think he’d rather go to a contender…


    Braves Pursuing Jonny Gomes
    By Steve Adams [January 20, 2015 at 6:36pm CST]

    The Braves are pursuing free agent outfielder Jonny Gomes as a potential platoon option in left field that could pair with Zoilo Almonte, tweets Mark Bowman of MLB.com.

    Gomes, 34, split the 2014 campaign between the Red Sox and Athletics, posting a combined .234/.327/.330 batting line in 321 trips to the plate. While the average and on-base percentage in that triple-slash line aren’t too far from Gomes’ career marks (.244 and .335, respectively), his slugging percentage was a full 112 points below his career rate.

    Power outage notwithstanding, Gomes remained an effective weapon against left-handed pitchers in 2014, batting .276/.373/.371 in 170 plate appearances. That production, paired with a career line of .277/.376/.485 versus southpaws, does indeed seem to make him a nice platoon candidate with Almonte. Though the 25-year-old Almonte is a switch-hitter, he’s shown a significant platoon split over the past two seasons, posting an OPS below .600 as a right-handed hitter between the Majors and Minors combined. However, he did manage a seemingly solid .272/.313/.468 triple-slash with 18 homers as a left-handed hitter between Triple-A and the Yankees. He’s also a more gifted defender than Gomes and would naturally receive the bulk of the playing time in left given his side of the platoon.

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2015/01/braves-pursuing-jonny-gomes.html

    Like

  274. 284 Vox O'Raison January 20, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    I actually saw Zoilo play last year when his AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders played our Gwinnett Braves. He hit a home run. The only reason I remember it is the name… Zoilo. Kinda hard to forget that one.

    I don’t think I’d mind Gomes too much as a veteran presence for the bench, but not so much more than that. Surely the cost cannot be too much. As for platooning… whatever. I am not a big fan of the platoon unless it is a pair of youn’uns. Otherwise, let your guys get their hacks.

    I’d kinda like to see the 2015 version of Charles Thomas emerge. Can’t Todd Cunningham be that guy? I know he can play defense. And having seen a couple of games at Gwinnett last year, I gotta say he stood out in that crowd. Not sure if that makes him Major League ready or just AAAA, as Ber says. Still, he ought to get his shot in Spring. I would think that regardless of whom they may bring in, that position is wide open.

    Liked by 1 person

  275. 285 Carolina Lady January 20, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    Zoilo. That’s Zoro from Brooklyn, isn’t it?

    Like

  276. 286 Gil in Mechanicsville January 20, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    So here is the thing, from my prospective, about swing and miss guys or high strike out guys versus contact hitters, gap hitters etc.

    A player like Evan Gattis or a young Ryan Howard or Carlos Gonzalaz of the Marlins are a risk verses reward kind of thing. I hate to see young players take big loopy swings in the hope of hitting one out only to have warning track power, they are wasted at bats. but I’m willing to have a guy who hits .225 if he is also giving me 125 RBI a season.

    What I want to see this season are smarter hitters, being aware of the situation. Having a team full of punch and judy hitters means that the opposing pitcher needs to make several mistakes in order to score runs. Having some big bats in your line up puts more pressure on the opposing pitcher to be perfect and folks, there are only a handful of those in the majors.

    I look at Morse and Prado as real positive additions for the Marlins. They are smart hitters.

    As for Gomes, I don’t know if the club house will be big enough for him and AJ….. You cannot put too many Alpha dogs on the same team. Fredi G would have to be more of a referee than a manager.

    Like

  277. 287 Vox O'Raison January 21, 2015 at 9:28 am

    As much as I’d like to see a semi-productive veteran in LF, I am hoping the rumors of Jonny Gomes are much ado about nothing even though both Bowman and DOB are tweeting about it. He’d come cheap, though. I suppose he’d come as close to a power threat as anyone available, even though the threat is not really high. And it would have to be in a platoon situation. He’s never been able to hit RH.

    Like

  278. 288 Vox O'Raison January 21, 2015 at 9:29 am

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  279. 289 Vox O'Raison January 21, 2015 at 9:47 am

    MLBTR also identifies 6 possible LF trade options, none of which really look that great. One is Wil Venable, who is out of a job in SD, and would probably be a better option than Gomes. He’s in the last year of a 2 year deal that will pay him $4.25M for 2015.

    The other name is a little intriguing, being Dayan Viciedo of the ChiSox. Their signing of Melky knocked Viciedo out of a starting job in LF, and he is on a 1 year deal for $4.4M. He’s a RH that can also play 3B. His 2014 slash line was .231/.281/.405, w/ 21 HR’s and 58 RBI. But he also had 122 K’s. (Heck, we’d be thrilled with those numbers out of BJ!!) He’d be as good a #4 candidate as anyone on the market. He is not a great defensive OF. But neither is Gomes. Venable would at least give you good defense. The ChiSox are actively seeking to trade Viciedo and are looking for bullpen or bench depth. I bet we could dig up a reliever to trade.

    One other name is slightly interesting, being Charlie Blackmon. But his numbers away from Coors Field are not very good. Still, if we’re talking Blackmon vs. Gomes…

    Like

  280. 290 Vox O'Raison January 21, 2015 at 9:54 am

    The other thing to consider on Blackmon is that the Rocks want a SP. While I could see the Braves trading Mike Minor in the right situation, Minor’s numbers at Coors are awful. Not sure that would fly, no pun intended, in Denver.

    Like

  281. 291 Vox O'Raison January 21, 2015 at 10:18 am

    I lied. That pun was completely intended. 😉

    Like

  282. 292 Gil in Mechanicsville January 21, 2015 at 10:44 am

    I know the brain trust in the Braves front office are looking at a good fit, I think I would rather the Braves give one of the kids a chance. After all, while minor league pitching is not supposed to be all that, neither is minor league lighting at the majority of their fields. Besides, a kid like Cunningham is just beginning to come into the age where he is suppose to become productive. Besides, not like the Braves have any young phenoms in which they have a lot invested.

    Melky wasn’t all that at Turner Field either.. So many supposedly good players never did well in Atlanta. Maybe the Braves were too tight with the PEDs….

    Anyway, a lot depends on the attitude of the team over all. If they concede early to the Nats, well, we are going to see some really bad numbers for the homeboys…

    I want to see some swagger and attitude. I know when I was a huge hockey fan, you could tell when a team was simply punching a time clock and when they had some fire in their eyes. You cannot play a 162 game schedule on adrenalin along but sometimes you need to dig down for something extra. You better have it or you are going home early.

    Another thing the stats guys can tell about a player are things like bat speed, swing plane, holes in their swings etc. When facing a pitcher like Cole Hammels, you are going to have a bunch of o-fers that day. It is the 3-4-and 5s that you fatten up your BA and OPS on.

    Nope, I think BJ is going to have to show something early or the Braves are going to find a new center fielder and just be done with it. They would hate to eat $25 million this season for two guys not on the team but so be it, they will have about the same payroll as the Marlins for the players on the field.

    We will see if Chris Johnson remembers what made him a high BA guy in 2013 or continues to be Evan Gattis lite. Chipper Jones knew what it took to have a high BA but also knew it was his job to be an RBI guy. It is why opposing teams employ the shift so many times. They don’t mind a guy like a Bryan McCann or Ron Howard gets a single to the opposite field, They are happy when they just keep them in the ballpark.

    Anyway, I think the Braves will try to keep their options open as far as the outfield goes, The might even move one of their young shortstops they have in the minors to the outfield to see if they can play centerfield. I’m thinking Simba has that position pretty well blocked for the foreseeable future.

    Like

  283. 294 Vox O'Raison January 21, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    Of course, after watching him crush that pitch in the embedded video, maybe I could get used to the idea. 😉

    Like

  284. 295 Vox O'Raison January 21, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    Heh heh…

    Like

  285. 296 Gil in Mechanicsville January 21, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    Yep, I wonder if Boras will start encouraging his players towards “his” team”?

    But, would we complain if they were our guys? Still less money than an NFL franchise…

    Bad thing is, will Boras try to undercut the players on the team who he does not represent? After all, we are talking Washington here, they have perfected the art of lying beyond the pale. I’m pretty sure I would not by a used car from a guy like Boras, would not mind him selling one for me though.

    Liked by 1 person

  286. 297 Vox O'Raison January 21, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    I suppose some antennae went up along with the rash of TJ injuries…

    Like

  287. 298 Vox O'Raison January 21, 2015 at 5:54 pm

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  288. 299 Gil in Mechanicsville January 21, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    Kelly Johnson eh? Well, why not…. Gaylord Perry is in town tonight as the keynote speaker of the Hot Stove banquet for the local Giants AA team. Wish I had known about it sooner, I would have bought tickets and gone…

    Like

  289. 300 Gil in Mechanicsville January 21, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    Braves parting ways with Dr. Andrews?

    Like

  290. 301 JoAnn Brooks Elliott January 21, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    Yeah Kelly Johnson and Freddie Freeman we now have a grand total of 2 players I can cheer for, might watch a game or 2 this season.

    Liked by 1 person

  291. 302 JoAnn Brooks Elliott January 21, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    Oh make that 3 we also still have Kimbrel, he is fun to watch.

    Liked by 1 person

  292. 303 Gil in Mechanicsville January 21, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    Astros sign Cory Rasmus, The Marlins are eying Ischiro to play in their outfield. They are planning on having 65 players in camp this spring..

    Like

  293. 304 Gil in Mechanicsville January 22, 2015 at 7:16 am

    Good morning fellow Stuffians, Looks like pieces being taken off the board slowly so now I am thinking the next big moves will be trades of Howard and Hammels. Still have James Shields out there. The rest are guys who are left will be quibbling over playing time and meal money. After all,, some dudes like Domit and Laird will be waiting for a call from some team which incurs an injury and will need a fill in back up. That and young players come along every year and push the older guys out of the league. The bad thing about baseball players is most have a very limited skill set outside of baseball.

    Now football, what do you folks think about the Patiots being busted for 11 of 12 of their footballs being under inflated? Think they should have to forfeit the game and allow the Colts to play? Just a few draft picks? Fined a million dollars or so? What are y’all’s take?

    Like

  294. 305 Vox O'Raison January 22, 2015 at 7:27 am

    Braves parting ways with Dr. Andrews?

    Was he actually on the medical staff? Then again, as many surgeries as he had to perform, perhaps he should have been.

    Liked by 1 person

  295. 306 Vox O'Raison January 22, 2015 at 7:38 am

    Now football, what do you folks think about the Patiots being busted for 11 of 12 of their footballs being under inflated? Think they should have to forfeit the game and allow the Colts to play? Just a few draft picks? Fined a million dollars or so? What are y’all’s take?

    If the NFL really wants to make a statement, they’ll suspend Head Coach Bill Belichick for the Super Bowl. Problem is, there is so little time between now and next Sunday to build their case. Still… the evidence seems overwhelming.

    In all likelihood, it’ll result in a fine and the loss of a draft pick. I believe that was the protocol when the Pats got busted for “SpyGate”, where they were found to be videoing the opposing team’s practices.

    So ask yourself: Is it worth a fine and a draft pick to get to the Super Bowl? Answer: Apparently the answer is Yes.

    Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan tweeted this jewel yesterday: “Lost amid the DeflateGate cacophony is a simple and amusing fact: As great of a coach as he is, Bill Belichick really sucks at cheating.”

    Heh…

    Liked by 1 person

  296. 307 Vox O'Raison January 22, 2015 at 7:42 am

    And I just heard some “breaking” news that Vegas has posted odds on Belichick being suspended for the Super Bowl. If that’s a reality, then the possibility of a suspension must also be a reality.

    As I said, if the league wants to send a message and nip this in the bud (homage to Barney Fife), then a suspension is the proper action.

    Liked by 1 person

  297. 308 Vox O'Raison January 22, 2015 at 7:45 am

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…

    Like

  298. 309 Gil in Mechanicsville January 22, 2015 at 8:12 am

    To me, the punishment should be severe enough to deter someone else from taking a chance. Seen it so many times, after the fact, the perpetrator expresses real remorse. To me they are only sorry for being caught.

    To me, anyone who bets on pro sports is a fool. The Pats are a talented team but they will be forever tainted with the question, should cheaters be rewarded? I know at least high school and college teams will vacate a victory if the winning team is caught cheating. Something maybe baseball should look for in that if a player is caught cheating, the team suffers. Wins forfeited etc. Will it happen? No, too much money involved but to me, that is exactly why cheaters should be fined severely but really hit them where it hurts, Vacate victories. Make them play a man short on defense… lots of ways to do it that would have more meaning than just suspending the head coach from the game.

    What, no cell phones available so the guy can call the game from his living room? Might even be an advantage to call the game from the press box….

    Still, as much as I hate the Dallas Cowboys, I think the call at the end of the game of no touchdown was flat wrong. Just my opinion….

    Like

  299. 310 Gil in Mechanicsville January 22, 2015 at 8:24 am

    Looks like a foggy day ahead, glad I don’t have to work…. Traffic scares the heck out of me now. So many fools out there not paying attention. It’s tough always feeling like I’m riding a motorcycle in a demolition derby. What do they say, don’t tempt God?

    Liked by 1 person

  300. 311 Vox O'Raison January 22, 2015 at 9:33 am

    I reckon I should at least make a comment on the Kelly Johnson signing, although I feel like any non-guaranteed minor league contract signing is not really anything at all (Wandy Rodriguez). It’s a chance for a player to come and win a job with no risk to the team, nothing more and nothing less. It really is too bad they don’t all have to do that every spring. Anyway, I like KJ and truly hope that he has something left in the tank to offer the Braves. I always loved his swing… it was a thing of beauty. His 2014 numbers aren’t thrilling, but who knows? We’ve seen guys make comebacks before. And the dude’s only 32; it’s not like he’s a 39-year-old gimp vying for one more payday.

    Here’s the thing… he’s a veteran guy who was what Jace Peterson will be. If nothing else, he could be a great mentor for the youngsters. Bowman comments that KJ can push 2B Alberto Callaspo or Peterson for playing time if they aren’t playing well… he even mentions 3B Chris Johnson in that group also. I still think it’d be cool if he had enough in the tank to play LF.

    But alas, we are now projecting productivity to a guy who had a big dropoff in 2014. At any rate, I wish him the best, am glad he’s gonna come to Spring Training, and am glad his deal is not guaranteed.

    Like

  301. 312 berigan2electricboogaloo January 22, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    it’s not like he’s a 39-year-old gimp vying for one more payday.
    Hey, Jason Grilli is only 38! 😉

    Like

  302. 313 Gil in Mechanicsville January 22, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    If nothing else, it can set up a right handed and a left handed line up.

    Like

  303. 314 Vox O'Raison January 22, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Ber, I was actually thinking of Wandy Rodriguez when I said that, but Wandy is listed at only 36. That may be in Dominican years, though… 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  304. 315 Vox O'Raison January 22, 2015 at 3:57 pm

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  305. 316 Gil in Mechanicsville January 22, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    It’s hard for me to remember all the years that Bobby Cox employed a platoon so he could prevent opposing teams from loading up with lefties against his line ups. If I am not mistaken, it usually involved one of the outfielders and second base but back then it could have been first base too.

    I’m getting old folks, when the years start running together, well, you know…

    Liked by 1 person

  306. 317 Vox O'Raison January 23, 2015 at 7:47 am

    Yep, Gil, especially against lefties, Bobby wold load up his lineup with all RH hitters. That was a given.

    Speaking of platoons, we’re gonna have one…

    Like

  307. 318 Vox O'Raison January 23, 2015 at 8:14 am

    Jonny Gomes.

    (BTW- we just got rid of one guy who shunned the “H” – Jonny Venters – and now we have another. At least it isn’t Jhonny Peralta. The OCD in me would have exploded.)

    My quote on Tuesday was, “I don’t think I’d mind Gomes too much as a veteran presence for the bench, but not so much more than that.”

    On Wednesday I said, “I am hoping the rumors of Jonny Gomes are much ado about nothing.”

    I followed later Wednesday with, “Of course, after watching him crush that pitch in the embedded video, maybe I could get used to the idea.”

    And last night, after reading how the national media reacted, not the local guys but the national media, I’m not so much averse to it.

    For his career, the guy has hit LH at a decent clip. And he does have power from the right side. And from all accounts – especially from his teammates in Oakland, Cincy and Boston – he is a tremendous clubhouse presence.

    The Johns are quite forthcoming that the Jonny Plan is for a platoon, perhaps with Zoilo who has respectable numbers from the LH side of the plate. I suppose I am open minded to see how this arrangement works. I’m not decrying it as many “fans” are doing today. (Man, the reactions from some folks… you’d think John just kidnapped their grandmas or something.)

    Look, they Braves got him pretty cheap – $4M for 2015; $3M vesting option for 2016 – so it isn’t like they signed BJ Upton or anything. He can hit it a long way. He can provide some protection in the lineup for Freddie. And he can be a great mentor for someone like Zoilo, who could some day turn out to be more than anyone is giving him credit for.

    Did I mention that he does have power?

    Like

  308. 319 Vox O'Raison January 23, 2015 at 8:25 am

    And I have to snicker now when I think about the complete lack of leadership on this team last year. How many times did we come on this board and blast them for looking as though they were sleepwalking on the field? How many times did we beg for somebody to stand up and be a leader? How many times did we ask for somebody to fog a mirror in the dugout?

    You know… what if one or all of these guys like JoGo or Marky or AJP push BJ out of his slumber? What if he actually wakes up and shows some spark? I know that’s a reach, but just what if?

    The Braves will not lack for emotion and leadership in 2015. They may lose as many games as they win, but I’ll bet you a $7 burger that they’ll be more fun to watch.

    I’m beginning to get a little excited about Spring.

    Only 28 days until P&CR. 😀

    Like

  309. 320 Vox O'Raison January 23, 2015 at 8:42 am

    Oh… and John has turned his attention to the ATL roster, which I think is probably pretty close to intact. There may be some more bench tweaking to be done, but I think we have a good idea of what our starters are going to be. And you know what that means…

    Yep! I get to post a lineup!! 😀

    1- Marky, RF (L)
    2- Callaspo or Peterson, 2B (S/L)
    3- Freddie, 1B (L)
    4- JoGo/Zoilo, LF (R/L)
    5/6*- CJohn, 3B (R)
    5/6*- BJ, CF (R)
    7- Bcourt, C (R)
    8- Simba, SS (R)

    I think the 5/6 spots will come down to who is “hot” at the moment. I also think it would be ideal for Andy Simmons to be more effective putting the ball in play so that he could move into the #2 spot. Ideally, that’s where FrediG wants him to be, and it would facilitate moving a LH or SH down in the lineup to break up that long stretch of RH.

    1- Marky, RF (L)
    2- Simba, SS (R)
    3- Freddie, 1B (L)
    4- JoGo/Zoilo, LF (R/L)
    5/6*- CJohn, 3B (R)
    5/6*- BJ, CF (R)
    7- Callaspo or Peterson, 2B (S/L)
    8- Bcourt, C (R)

    This lineup looks better to me. Playoff contender? Probably not. But you do have to play ’em on the field. And we all know how things can change for WAS or MIA quickly. Look how MIA dropped last season after Jose Fernandez went down. I’d be shocked is WAS didn’t win the division, but I’m not gonna throw in the towel for the 2nd WC before we even throw the 1st pitch.

    Ask me again on Memorial Day (May 25). That’s the day you can really assess your team.

    Like

  310. 321 Vox O'Raison January 23, 2015 at 9:09 am

    There will need to be a corresponding roster move at some point. Dian Toscano is still technically not on the 40-man roster as there is still “paperwork to be completed”. But if he’s accounted for, as the Braves have continued to do, the 40-man is at capacity. And if you’ll recall, the Braves did DFA Pastornicky after the Grilli, AJP and Outman signings became official even though technically the roster sat at 39. That leads me to believe a corresponding move will also come to make room for JoGo.

    Any speculation? I’m thinking it doesn’t look good for Jose Constanza. I’m also thinking he’s a good candidate to pass through waivers cleanly and be outrighted to AAA.

    Like

  311. 322 Gil in Mechanicsville January 23, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Raisins, I agree Jose is a likely the guy in the barrel. Yep, should be interesting in the clubhouse this year, I’m wondering how Freddie Free is going to react to the new guys. I don’t see AJ or JoGo as the hugging types… Then again, you never know.

    Uncle BJ will not have anyone to sulk with this season. I’m pretty sure he is going to be on a very short leash this spring. It is not as if he lives in a vacuum. I’m sure he hears the boo birds and unless he completely ignores all forms of media, he knows he is not exactly beloved in Atlanta.

    And the front office can always point to the previous guys who made the decision to sign him for the Braves’ shortcomings.

    Now, a word about the Marlins, while I am unfamiliar with all the comings and goings down there, the snippets I have heard I am impressed. They are a team I would spend money to see.

    I also think the Astros are going to be fun to watch. Their pitching is not mature but they are going to have lots of RBI opportunities.

    I look at the Braves this season as being a lot like the Orioles. Hardly ever given a chance but seems to win. We will see how much difference the new hitting coach makes.

    Like

  312. 323 Vox O'Raison January 23, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    Will the Gomes acquisition make any opposing manager nervous about this year? Nah. it doesn’t. Are the Braves a better team today than they were yesterday? Yeah… I think they are.

    Much of this season’s success will depend on if Zoilo is ready to produce at the major league level. That’s a huge “if”. In a strict platoon, he’ll get the cast majority of playing time. But I’ve seen stranger things happen. This could be the perfect environment for a guy like him to have a solid year.

    BTW- I saw someone refer to the new LF platoon as GoZo. I think I like that. 🙂

    Like

  313. 324 Vox O'Raison January 23, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    cast vast

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  314. 325 Vox O'Raison January 23, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    FrediG, courtesy of Bowman: “If Terdoslavich, Cunningham and Constanza are paying attention, they have to know they have a chance to make this club and make an impact, I think Spring Training is going to be a fun time. It’s the first time in a while that the Braves will come to Spring Training with some openings.”

    This is the kind of thing that makes Spring fun…

    Like

  315. 326 Vox O'Raison January 23, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    John the Elder, courtesy of Bowman, “While he [Jonny Gomes] might not have ever been the star player, he’s always been a guy you want to have on your club. He holds himself accountable and he plays the game with his hair on fire.”

    Not hard to figure out what the Johns are trying to accomplish on this squad. Gone are the sleepwalkers; in is the fire. Gomes, Markakis, AJP, Grilli… not exactly guys who sit quietly on the bench and eat sunflower seeds.

    Like

  316. 327 Gil in Mechanicsville January 23, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    Okay, the Braves picked up off waivers, outfielder Eury Perez,from the Yankees who nabbed him off the wavier wire from the Nats. The scary thing is, he looks like BJ with better numbers. I know he has been added to the 40 man roster, since they have not signed the kid out of Cuba yet, Jose is still safe.

    Like

  317. 328 Gil in Mechanicsville January 23, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    Lots of opportunities in the spring to catch the attention of the folks who make out the line up cards and sign the paychecks.

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  318. 329 Gil in Mechanicsville January 23, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    Eury Perez is a pretty good player, He has put up better numbers than any of the current Braves Minor league outfielders. That is both good and sad at the same time methinks.

    When I think about it, the gNats will not have a lot of openings on their team this season. The Braves could really use a kid like him at the top of the order. Again, Jose’s ice is getting thinner….

    Like

  319. 330 Vox O'Raison January 23, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    Eury should make the major league roster. He is now the guy breathing down BJ’s neck. Kinda feel bad for Todd Cunningham, though. He was the next in line, and was the best defensive CF available. He had a great shot at making the roster. Those odds just got alot longer…

    Still, Eury is a really nice pickup for the Braves. Good fortune indeed.

    And Jose will have to be dealt with soon. The deal with JoGo is done, but not filed with the commish office. Once that happens, his roster spot will have to be opened. And it’ll have to happen again for Dian Toscano. That’s when it’ll get interesting.

    Like

  320. 331 Vox O'Raison January 23, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    With JoGo on board, and accounting for Minor’s soon to be raise, the Braves payroll now sits right about $90M. Danny-boy still accounts for $13M, and BJ’s gets $15M. That means between them, their $28M sucks up almost 1/3 of the team’s payroll.

    Let that one sink in overnight…

    Liked by 1 person

  321. 332 Carolina Lady January 24, 2015 at 12:09 am

    Hall of Famer and former Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks has died at the age of 83. The two-time MVP slugged 512 career home runs and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977.

    More on this story: http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2015/01/23/chicago-cubs-legend-ernie-banks-has-died-at-83/

    Like

  322. 333 berigan2electricboogaloo January 24, 2015 at 1:32 am

    I didn’t say anything(well, til I opened my big mouth, or typing now) about Gomes after the braves signed him cuz…meh. I said Meh! (simpsons reference that no one will get ) 🙄 ) More a guy that makes sense as a DH platoon, who can also be the 4th/5th outfielder…I would rather see Ichiro (I know, he signed with Marlins, and won’t get 3000 hits now) for 2 mil less, but he bats left handed. Hopefully , Zoilo, will be like Gattis, and able to parley a hot winter ball into the regular season….but, Neither can replace BJ, if/when he fails.
    But….Eury Perez…sounds like someone who actually could! As Gil said, better minor league numbers than any current braves AAAA’er
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=perez-001eur
    shows the talent the Nats have to give up on someone like him…

    Like

  323. 334 Vox O'Raison January 24, 2015 at 11:53 am

    It’s a good thing. Eury Perez is a direct threat to BJ’s playing time. And management isn’t pussy-footing around with that this season. Frank isn’t here to protect him and John, either one, cares only to the degree of any value he might possess on the trade market.

    Like

  324. 335 Gil in Mechanicsville January 24, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    The only difference between Perez and BJ besides the massive contract is BJ (when he could hit) was a legitimate power threat. Not Evan Gattis or J-Up power but he could hit 20 HR per season. Perez is a gap hitter who can use his speed.

    Yes Ber, the gNats have a multitude of riches, It’s why they have the 40 man rule in baseball. The Yankees let him go because they are of the mind set that unless you cost a lot of money or have a huge press following, you don’t belong in New York. They would rather have a 15 million per year free agent kind of guy. Too bad BJ can’t hit at least a little bit better….

    Now BJ, I am glad to hear he is receptive to the new coach. Perhaps he foresaw a future in AA as the Braves sent him down to “work on his swing” as part of baseball purgatory.

    After all, the Braves may as well get something for their 15 mil per year. Anyway, I’m sure the gNats would not mind having Eury back right now with Jason Werth sideline for a couple of more months.

    I knew the Marlins were looking at Ichiro but did not know they had signed him. I don’t know Ber, that is a pretty big outfiield in Miami, Lots of places for him to punch the ball. At 41, he might be suffering from slowed bat syndrome but he was never one to rely on power, it was not his game.

    Like

  325. 336 Gil in Mechanicsville January 24, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    I’m thinking Ichiro may have suffered from the same temptation many other left hand hitters in Yankee stadium have had to deal with in the short left field porch in Yankee Stadium. It is a lot like the Crawford boxes in Houston causing right handed to try to take advantage of the short fence. Smart hitters let home runs come to them, others swing over the ball resulting in weak ground balls.

    Like

  326. 337 berigan2electricboogaloo January 24, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    Hmmm, I know that there were no posts after Gil’s 8:49 PM post, and the one I made around 2 am. Now I see a few from V’, and CL’s sad news about Ernie Banks passing. One of the most likeable guys in baseball, let alone a HOF’er. Let’s play two! 🙂 Rest in Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  327. 338 Gil in Mechanicsville January 24, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    Scroll up Ber 🙂

    Like

  328. 339 berigan2electricboogaloo January 25, 2015 at 8:59 am

    Gil, that was the thing….when the page loaded I saw several posts that weren’t there before…honest! 😉 Weird…

    Liked by 1 person

  329. 340 Gil in Mechanicsville January 25, 2015 at 9:36 am

    This one is getting slow to load, Time for a new lead I suppose. Will try to run off some new(ish) opines focusing on some of the new faces and open spots in the roster. Thing is, we are not even to Camp Roger yet… It is so hard to predict the future at this point but it does not look like the 2015 Braves will challenge the 1927 Yankees.

    Liked by 1 person

  330. 341 Vox O'Raison January 25, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    You know… I don’t care for them to look like the ’27 Yankees. I wouldn’t mind them looking a little like the ’14 Royals, though. And that’s kinda the direction we are heading.

    Like

  331. 342 Gil in Mechanicsville January 25, 2015 at 8:30 pm

    Raisins, I’m pretty sure you are going to get your wish.

    Like

  332. 343 Gil in Mechanicsville January 26, 2015 at 7:57 am

    I started a rough hand written draft for a new lead, 5000 words later, I realized it was too long and I needed to pare it down, after all, we do not get paid by the word here so no need to try to cram it all in at one time. I decided it might be best to simply do a series of short leads. It would be easier to up date with greater frequency and besides, trader John(s) could change things at any time. So, I will forward to the editor soon my first installment. Watch this space…. The staff….

    Liked by 1 person

  333. 344 Vox O'Raison January 26, 2015 at 9:22 am

    One thing is surely true, things can change quickly. The Eury Perez pickup is evidence of that…

    Like

  334. 345 Vox O'Raison January 26, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    Like

  335. 346 Gil in Mechanicsville January 26, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    Buck is just another addition to the Island of Misfit Toys. Better addition than Corky Miller though. Pretty sure he will see at least a couple of weeks in Atlanta sometime during the season.

    Like

  336. 347 Vox O'Raison January 27, 2015 at 9:25 am

    To me, it was a nice under the radar move. He’s the defacto #3 catcher now. I mean… if Bcourt or AJP were to sustain an injury that required a stint on the DL, are you ready for Jose Yepez? Eli Whiteside?

    Exactly. Good signing.

    Oh, and he’s another “character” guy. Seems to be the theme this offseason.

    Like

  337. 348 Gil in Mechanicsville January 27, 2015 at 9:51 am

    He always seemed to hit Atlanta pitching well….

    Liked by 1 person

  338. 349 Vox O'Raison January 27, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    According to MLBPipeline (mlb.com), the #1 2B prospect in baseball? Yep… our own Jose Peraza.

    http://m.braves.mlb.com/news/article/107441844/2015-prospect-watch-top-10-second-basemen

    Like

  339. 350 Vox O'Raison January 27, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    And newly acquired 3B prospect Rio Ruiz makes the Top 10 at his position at #10:

    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/prospects/watch/y2015/#list=3b

    Like

  340. 351 Vox O'Raison January 27, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    Me too!!! I am excited about him in our rotation this season. I look for him and Julio to push each other in much the same way the HOF 3 did.

    And I have a great feeling about #5 candidate Mike Foltynewicz. I just do. I think he wins the #5 job and has a surprise campaign.

    Like

  341. 352 Vox O'Raison January 27, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    The thought just occurred to me… if Foltynewicz and Terdoslovich stand next to each other, it’ll look like someone tipped over a can of alphabet soup.

    Liked by 1 person

  342. 353 Vox O'Raison January 27, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    Foltynewicz and Terdoslovich… sounds like a moving company.

    Like

  343. 354 Vox O'Raison January 27, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    … or dance duo.

    Liked by 1 person

  344. 355 Carolina Lady January 27, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    Ice dancers from Russia

    Liked by 2 people

  345. 356 Carolina Lady January 27, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    NEW BLOG UP! THANKS, GIL!

    Like

  346. 357 Carolina Lady January 27, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    Oops. Technical difficulties! Hang on a minute! (Has anybody seen the duct tape??)

    Liked by 1 person

  347. 358 Carolina Lady January 27, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    Whew!! Use enough baling wire, spit and duct tape and you can fix ’bout anything! Anyhow –

    NEW BLOG REALLY IS UP!!

    Liked by 1 person

  348. 359 Carolina Lady January 27, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    OH, no…. I’m having a heck of a time getting #135 to link to #136. Anybody a hand grenade you’re not using? I have to perfect place to put it!!!! Every time WP comes out with an “improvement”, everything heads to extremely hot places in a handbasket.

    Liked by 1 person

  349. 360 Carolina Lady January 27, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    OK. Nearly 4 hours since I started work on this thing. I sure hope the links hold!

    Liked by 1 person


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Blog Birthdays

ChrisKlob: Feb 4

Raisins: Mar 13

Berigan: Mar 15

Gil: Apr 15

Salty: Apr 22

FloridaBravesGirl: Jul 8

Skip Caray: Aug 12

Miss Josie: Aug 18

Carolina Lady: Oct 7

BravesAndStuff: Dec 5, 2007


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