Archive for the 'Brian McCann' Category

#182: So What Is The Winning Formula?

Vox O’Reason

Sitting here in God’s country in the foothills of the beautiful North Georgia mountains, it’s awful easy to speculate as to whom I want to see the Braves sign or trade for. After all, I’m spending someone else’s money and prospect capital, right? Who doesn’t want a job where they get to have all the fun with no accountability?

As this year’s Hot Stove season winds down to a just couple of weeks remaining, I can look back at all the players I’ve wished for. From Madison Bumgarner to JT Realmuto to Corey Kluber to Andrew McCutchen to Ryan Haniger to David Peralta to Sonny Gray to Bryce and Manny, etc., there really are a lot of players at a lot of positions. It would look like the Braves had a lot of needs to fill, even though it was really just a brief list…

Needs: catcher, outfielder
Wants: starting pitcher, reliever, bench

Nick Markakis

Brian McCann

In reality, our new buddy Alex Anthopolous has addressed our needs, to arguable degrees. He brought home our old friend Brian McCann. And while I cannot think of a better teacher and mentor for our young pitchers, I also cannot with full sincerity say he and Tyler Flowers together can handle 162 games behind the plate. I just can’t. AA also brought back Nick Markakis, an integral piece of last year’s success story, but not a sexy or well received signing. In fact, it was divisive at best. But the fact remains, he addressed the “needs”. Fancred’s Jon Heyman even said, “After signing Markakis, Braves have very solid team and no obvious flaws.”

That’s the equivalent of being told your blind date is really smart and has a great personality.

But let’s get real here. The goal of every GM should be to put together a team that can contend for and win a World Series. Yes, I know we’ve just emerged from a rebuild where there were a few seasons that we were simply not going to contend.

I still feel the residual sting from those years. But a GM still *wants* the team to succeed. And when a team is in position to contend, that GM wants to put together the winning formula to make it happen.

Ah… and that’s the rub isn’t it? Exactly what is the winning formula? Obviously, if I knew that I wouldn’t be sitting in my office, I’d be in a executive office somewhere. But here’s what I can do. I can look back at several World Series winners and see what they have in common. What is it that binds them all together?

Looking back at the last 10 World Series winners, I found the following…

2018 Red Sox: Starting pitchers Chris Sale and David Price, relievers Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly.

2017 Astros: Starters Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers, Jr., who got injured and was replaced by Justin Verlander, relievers Ken Giles and Chris Devenski.

2016 Cubs: Starters Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta, relievers Hector Rondon and Aroldis Chapman.

2015 Royals: Starters Danny Duffy and Edison Volquez, relievers Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera.

2014 Giants: Starters Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum, relievers Sergio Romo and Jeremy Affeldt.

2013 Red Sox: Starters Jon Lester and John Lackey, relievers Koji Uehera and Andrew Miller.

2012 Giants: Starters Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum, relievers Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo.

2011 Cardinals: Starters Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia, relievers Fernando Salas and Jason Motte.

2010 Giants: Starters Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner, relievers Brian Wilson and Sergio Romo.

2009 Yankees: CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett, relievers Mariano Rivera and Phil Hughes.

Are we seeing the pattern here?

Obviously all of those teams had potent hitters in their lineups. And so do the Braves. I don’t need to regurgitate our lineup here. But if we want to put a winning team on the field, one that can not only dance during the regular season, but succeed in October especially, we better have a solid 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation and we better have some shut down capability at the back end of the bullpen. Period. Those qualities are simply not negotiable.

Close your eyes and remember Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Mark Wohlers, Rafael Soriano, etc. Fits the pattern, doesn’t it?

So I say all that to say this, on January 28 as the Braves appear to still be chasing Miami’s catcher. Abandon the hunt. Pull back the dogs and turn that attention toward Cleveland and go get Corey Kluber. The same prospect package that would bring back the All-Star catcher will certainly bring back the All-Star pitcher. Get him. And then go sign Craig Kimbrel. The prospect capital is there and the money is there; just go spend it.

 

 

Then maybe next year I can add to the above list “2019 Braves: Corey Kluber and Mike Foltynewicz, relievers Craig Kimbrel and AJ Minter.”

 

 

 

 

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#181: Baby It’s Cold Outside

Gil

Gil in Mechanicsville, VA

As we trudge into winter, Braves fans everywhere, but most particularly here in Stuffville, are hoping that the hot stove will heat up during MLB’s winter meetings in California this week. The Braves spent $25 million dollars on two players, 3rd baseman Josh Donaldson and catcher Brian McCann, but really only added to their bench with the signings. That is, it allows the Braves to move erstwhile 3rd baseman Johan Camargo to serve as a super sub, the role most in the Braves front office envisioned for the young Panamanian to begin with.

DonaldsonJosh

Donaldson inked a one year deal with the Braves which allows the Braves to further evaluate their now number one prospect, Austin Riley, as their future 3rd baseman. Riley who is only 21 years old has shown the propensity for big power and has steadily improved his defense since his being drafted 41st over all in 2015 by the Braves. There is no way to know if Riley will indeed ever play in the majors as a Brave or if he will be included as part of a package for a number one starter or possibly for Marlins catcher J T Realmuto.

So, with that in mind, we should bear in mind the Braves primary needs going into the off season were: A) A front line ace to lead the young Braves pitching staff; B) An outfielder to replace free agent Nick Markakis; C) Bullpen help (either a closer or set up man); and D) Bench help/ power bat to protect Freddie Freeman in the line up.

Brian McCann

So far, the Braves have made several moves around the periphery with McCann, who while it is a feel good story in his return to Atlanta, is questionable as to how much he can add to the Braves line up as a catcher who can catch a fair number of games in tandem with Tyler Flowers.

The Nationals made a major acquisition in signing free agent pitcher Patrick Corbin who will be slotted as the number three starter in their solid starting pitching staff and the Mets made a major trade to acquire shut down closer Edwin Diaz and aging 2nd baseman Robinson Cano from the Seattle Mariners. There should be no question that both moves have made the NL East a much stronger division. To be sure, the path to winning the divisional pennant will be a tough one foe every team.

So, as we wait and watch for the Braves to make the moves necessary to shore up the team and plot a course to repeat as NL east champions, we all should remember the games still have to be played and while it is nice to compare stats, we can point to the Nationals epic fail in 2018 despite having the best team on paper by far.

gil2

 


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BravesAndStuff: Dec 5, 2007


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