Posts Tagged 'baseball trades'

#169: Some Advice to the Braves from a Fan…

Vox O’Reason Oct. 12, 2017

So how do the suits in Lake Buena Vista begin to wash away the ugliness that currently stains our formerly “gold standard” franchise?

I have a couple of thoughts on that. (Big surprise, right?) And I say this with the disclaimer that the investigation is still ongoing and that there could be more negativity coming.

So suits, listen up!

Terry McGuirk, this first part is addressed to you. You obviously have to hire some stable leadership and get this boat back upright again. We’re listing thanks to the current hierarchy, regardless of who knew what and who did what. Those at the top failed. I include all leadership in “baseball operations”. Anyone at GM level or higher has failed. Period. The venerable John Schuerholz can stay. After all, he’s really nothing more than a figurehead in the organization now, and hasn’t been for 3 years. He’s a HOF’er that makes for great PR on the speaking circuit. But his influence over the day-to-day operations of the Braves is long gone. He’s kind of like the Queen of England. Great history; no power.

When the house becomes unstable, you don’t go in and try replacing the framework a 2×4 at a time. You raze the structure and start from the foundation. That’s what we need to do here – clean house and start fresh.

Next, have to make sure you don’t lose the fan base that came out to see the shiny new ballpark this year. STP won’t be nearly as much a novelty in 2018, and this current blight will surely cement the cynicism among the fringe fans. In order to keep the fence sitters interested, you have to create some positive news and positive energy. The best way to do that is by showing them you are committed to winning NOW, and that you aren’t going to use this setback as an excuse to push the target further down the timeline.

They say that money can’t buy happiness, and that’s true. But it can buy you out of some bad press if you spend it correctly. You want some of the bad news to go away? Break out the wallet and go after a couple of key pieces in FA and prove to the fans that you want to step forward in 2018. How badly do you want to put this darkness behind us, and how quickly? Buy some big positive headlines. It’s not that hard… just expensive.

Yes, I know that you can’t buy World Series winner. Then again, CC Sabathia and Aroldys Chapman did play a key role in the Yankees beating the superior Indians in the ALDS. (And I kind of remember a FA laden Marlins team winning the whole shebang not just once, but twice. But I don’t advocate that method – the stock and purge method.) The Yankees example shows us that the best way for a young team to shine is to have some key veterans put them in that position. And there are absolutely a couple of positions on the Braves that glaringly cry out for a veteran to step in.

Todd Frazier

On the top of my list is 3B and starting pitcher. Is it prudent to roll out the armored car and land a guy like Mike Moustakas? Uh… probably not, especially since you have Austin Riley projected to be about 2 years away. Again, I point to the Yankees, who have gotten key contributions from 3B Todd Frazier down the stretch and into the playoffs. His powerful bat isn’t setting any records in post-season, but his steadiness and vocal leadership is proving to be the rudder that’s keeping the Yankees ship on course. His 27 HR’s over the course of the regular season didn’t hurt anything either. That would have been the 2nd highest total on the Braves this season, just 1 behind Freddie Freeman and way far ahead of the twin Matts’ 19 each. Want a steadier power bat behind Freddie in 2018? Todd Frazier is the guy. Want a guy that you can project into the lineup every day, unlike Matt Kemp? Todd Frazier is the guy. He’ll be just 32 and he played in 147 games in 2017. You can probably sign him for 2 years plus an option, so he fits the timeline nicely.

Jake Arrieta

Now you need a starter, and I mean a real one. Yes, I’m talking about buying one now. This whole Coppoloser mess gives us an excuse now to buy one, and I think we should take advantage of it. I’m not talking about Bartolo Colon or RA Dickey. I’m talking about Jake Arrieta. I’m talking about Yu Darvish. I’m talking about Alex Cobb. I’m sure there will be a couple of teams escalate the bidding on these guys, but if you get in on the right one – Cobb perhaps – you can still land your desired ace and stabilize a quite unstable rotation. And in doing so, you effectively strengthen your bullpen as guys like Max Fried and Lucas Sims can be counted on in a multi-inning role, much like the Yankees have done this year with Chad Green and Aroldys Chapman. Those guys are weapons.

Alex Cobb

Estimating arb salaries and pre-arb raises, the Braves have somewhere in the neighborhood of $90M committed for 2018 to the current roster. A non-tender here, or a buyout there and that total changes, but it still works as a reasonable baseline from which to work. The 2017 total payroll was somewhere in the neighborhood of $120M. The league average Opening Day payroll in 2017 was exactly $152,327,084. You’ve been telling us that The Battery is bringing in more more revenue that is to be turned around into the team. So use it. Increase the payroll to league average. Give your new GM some walking around money to improve the product on the field. Give him $60M or so to make real progress with the roster. But even if you don’t want to go that high in 2018, an increase of $40M would still spend nicely. Sign Alex Cobb for 5yrs/$125M or maybe 7yrs/$175M($25M yearly), Todd Frazier for 2 yrs/$25M ($12.5 yearly) and you’re in the ballpark, pun fully intended.

Hey, a guy can dream… can’t he?

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#146: A Dim Light in the Dark

 by Vox O’Reason  –  Northeast Georgia

OK… I tried to give up and check out, because the collective displeasure across all venues about the 2015 Atlanta Braves was becoming almost overwhelming. It’s not in my nature to cater to the dark side of things. I am a “glass half full” guy, and will give the benefit of the doubt to a fault. I know it and I admit it. And I refuse to change it. You see, I am just a sinner saved by grace. A humble and grateful man that looks at things in a unique way, because I have a perspective that looks at things in a unique way. I march to the beat of the proverbial different drummer. And I’ll eagerly crank my guitar up and play loudly right along with him. I am the classic non-conformist… but for good reason. I strongly believe in that reason, and have submitted to being a voice for that reason… so to speak.

So for that reason, I have something to get off my chest. I reached a breaking point yesterday. Don’t misread or ballthruwallmisunderstand me. It’s everywhere, not just here in our little corner of Stuffville. Everywhere. Maybe because my neighbor and fellow fan has already converted all his Braves swag over to Bulldogs and Falcons… maybe because it was a Monday… maybe because everything collectively had gotten too loud for me to tune it out any more. I don’t know.

But yesterday I slipped a groove and went sideways. And in the evening as I was pushing my old lawn mower around on my overgrown yard, exerting and sweating – purging if you will – it kind of hit me. I shall not be swerved. I shall not conform. I shall not be silent. And I will explain why.

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dizzydeanThis is a flippin’ game, folks. It’s a bunch of guys in pajamas playing a game where one team tries to keep another team from hitting a little ball and running around in a big circle back to where they started so that they can go into a clubhouse and hug each other. It’s a kid’s game that grown men get to play. It’s something I did when I was a kid. And when I watch these grown men play it, it still takes me back to that time when the only thing that mattered was if we had enough guys to be able to hit to all fields, or if we had to close off Right Field. Heck, sometimes we didn’t have enough guys to even have enough baserunners. Anyone else remember “imaginary man on first”? We met at the school playground, set out our small squares of cut carpet, and started tossing the ball around to get loose. I always pulled up on my bike with my well worn glove slipped over the handle bar. Carrying my bat on my bike was a little trickier, but it could be done. Half the bats had been cracked, but we just wrapped extra tape on it to keep it together. And when that battered old bat sent that marked up baseball over the fence and into the woods, it was magic. Not Harry Potter magic. It was Ernie Johnson magic. And in my own mind, I could hear Ernie making the home run call as I circled the makeshift bases. I loved playing shortstop more than anything else, even more than hitting. I loved making the plays. I loved fielding the ball and turning quickly to gun it to first. I was Jerry Royster. I just knew that one day I’d be pickin’ them at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. I just knew it. The closest thing we ever had to a fight was if the runner was safe at home or not. And we even managed to work that out without too much difficulty every time. Those were truly the golden days. I miss them. They are long gone.

Now instead of fighting over being safe or out, I have to fight to keep my clients happy or my business will fold. You see, the next vendor for them is just a simple turn of the Rolodex away. I‘m expendable. My ability to keep my creditors off my heels is at the whim and pleasure of someone else. There’s a lot of pressure in that. I have a family that depends on me. This is my adult reality. It’s a very real everyday fight. And the clients hold all the cards. All the cards… and they know it. I have to fight this fight. No choice. It ain’t easy.

My wife teaches in a broken public education system where “No Child Left Behind” means no child gets ahead. They are overcrowded and underfunded. It’s run by bureaucrats that couldn’t teach a fish to swim. The system has given all the power to the kids and stripped the teachers of any authority. The students won’t learn and their parents don’t care, if they’re even in the picture at all. Most of today’s kids are savvy enough to realize that the schools cannot afford to hold them back and must push them along, like cattle in a herd. These kids truly have checked out and don’t care. Yet the teachers’ very livelihood depends on whether or not these kids can perform on standardized testing. It’s no wonder that quality college students are fleeing from education in unprecedented numbers. Where will the next generation of real teachers come from? It ain’t easy.

My oldest kid is trying to figure out who he is and what he wants to do in a world that increasingly punishes accomplishments and rewards apathy. It encourages entitlement and quenches ambition. Most public universities will openly seek to change every moral convention under which he has been raised. And they are proud to do it. He has to hold strong to his convictions and try to navigate in hostile waters. It ain’t easy.

My youngest lives in a world of intense and extreme peer pressure that demands conformity into a socio-group that has no moral compass. If you don’t belong to the right cliques, you are shunned and cast in any number of negative stereotypes. Self-esteem is promoted as more important than discipline and respect, yet the kids themselves do more damage to their own peers’ self-esteem than any educator or administrator ever could. I cannot imagine the pressures that she lives under on a daily basis. And we parents have to walk a balancing act to demand discipline and respect without adding additional pressures. And often we fail because the cards are stacked against us. It ain’t easy.

This next generation of voters and leaders stands and cheers loudly as Kanye West announces, in broken English, at the MTV Music Awards that he is running for president in 2020. These same current voters are giving presidential candidateduh and avowed socialist Bernie Sanders more tread than any American should ever have to imagine. In South Carolina, some character named Deez Nuts is getting 9% of the votes in early polls. This is reality. We’ve reached the tipping point where those who can take have crossed the 50% barrier to those who produce. They know it and are doing everything inside – and outside – the law to keep it that way. And the current “leadership” supports it. It’s crazy.

This “leader” can shape and change this great nation into his own globally submissive vision with “a pen and a phone” and we the sheeple stand by powerless to stop him. Remember when his spokesperson said at his first coronation, er… I mean swearing into office that they were “ready to rule” right away? That wasn’t a slip of the tongue. It was deadly accurate. It’s insanity.

Immoral and evil men can shoot and assassinate innocent sworn officers of the law, and our “leader” remains silent. But our defenders under the rule of law can exercise their lawful authority over law breakers, and our “leader” makes a public statement that empowers radicals to create public uprisings and riots and that encourages more killings of innocent people. And that is supposed to be model “leadership”. It’s worse than insanity; it’s evil.

People are now allowed to “choose” their gender. A man in a dress changes his name and is considered a hero, worthy of Bruce-min1awards and accolades. A prominent American university has announced that the pronouns “he” and “she” are being replaced on their campus because they are considered offensive. Meanwhile, a public school in this very country of ours has taken the labels off their restrooms so as not to force children to have to make that gender choice. And if you dare speak out against it, you are considered to be “hating”, publically vilified, and subject to losing everything you’ve ever worked for. It’s darkness overtaking the light.

Here in the US, a country founded on Christian principals no matter how the “leadership” tries to rewrite history, my fellow believers in Christ and I are losing our rights to practice our faith more and more each day as darkness tries to silence us completely. In the Middle East, they are practicing an open and public jihad to exterminate us. Yet our “leadership’ makes a deal to give them nuclear capability and the funding to accomplish it. All the while, most of America is being indoctrinated to think that Christians are a hate group with the liberal media fueling the fire daily. The bible says that everything will flip, that what is evil will be called good and what is good will be called evil… and it’s happening right before our very eyes. It’s real, and it’s happening all around us. I know and believe that we will be the victors. Darkness cannot prevail as long as light exists, no matter how dim the light gets. But the fight is difficult and bears its own collateral damage. It’s here and it’s real.

So I come back to baseball, and to my team the Atlanta Braves because it is like a warm blanket on a long, cold night. It’s the Baseball_frogone thing I can sink into and temporarily escape this insane and evil world. To me, it just simply takes me back to being a kid, picking teams, lining up and stepping into the batter’s box, where the biggest thing I had to worry about was who was pitching. After all, it’s still just a kid’s game, even if it is adults playing it. It might not be Jerry Royster making the plays anymore, but Andrelton Simmons is just as good. Better, even.

Does it really matter that the Braves got drubbed by the Bronx Bombers in their own home park? Is it really all that serious that half our players, and most of our bullpen, wouldn’t make the 25-man roster in some cities? Does it really have a major impact on our daily grind that Shelby Miller hasn’t won a game in over 100 days? To me is doesn’t. To me, it really doesn’t mean a tiny sliver of a thing in the overall scheme of today’s reality. They can get beat 20-6 and still come back to the park for the next night’s Bulova Time of First Pitch. The only thing that has changed are the numbers in the standings. Maybe a bullpen arm or two. The world still turns.

Skip3On the day that the great Skip Caray passed away, one of the Mets broadcasters noted that during an extended losing streak back in the mid-80’s when the team was annually awful, that Skip once introduced the team at the start of a broadcast with: “Like lambs to the slaughter, the Braves take the field”. Skip never took the game too seriously, never lost his sense of humor, and never lost his perspective. Neither will I.

My team has warts… big’uns too. And I still love them. Hey, let’s play two!!

ump

144: Half Way Home & The Braves Are Caught In A Rundown…

Gil Mechanicsville, VA

By Gil In Mechanicsville

In a 162 game season, 81 games represents one half of the games necessary to complete the race to the play-offs. Once upon a time, the team in the American League with the best record would face the National League team with the best record and meet in a best of seven series for the title of World Series Champion. Then, the leagues grew and grew. First to two divisions, East & West, for both leagues. This meant games would needed to be added as the two division winners of each league would meet in a best of seven series for the privilege of playing in the World Series.

Then each league expanded again, now there we three division in each league but this meant an odd number of teams would vie for the right to become league champion and meet the opposing league for the opportunity to be the World Champions of Baseball. No problem, there would be one team from each league which would be designated as a Wild Card team. They would be the team with the best record who had not won their division. First it was a best of three, then expanded to a best of five. Now a best of seven. All the while, the season was getting pushed deeper and deeper into the fall.

Not to be deterred by all the hardships generated from playing a sport, clearly designed for summer being played in cities with wind chills in the teens at night on dates normally reserved for football, the major league owners saw an opportunity to add even more revenue by expanding the play-off to include two Wild Card teams. No matter how improbable it might seem, even teams with very so so records had a chance to get into the big dance. Not that they had a serious chance of actually winning, they still had a chance. So, with all the revenue being produced from television rights, the season has now become a marathon with the final month of October and shutter, November, being like the final mile of the 26 mile marathon, only it was uphill and into the wind. A very steep hill and a cold, cold wind….

So, what does the previous three paragraphs have to do with the Braves? Well, by all accounts, the 2015 Braves were going to be one of the worse teams in baseball. Likely to lose at least 90 games and possibly 100 with the midnight trade of Craig Kimbrel to the Padres by John Hart. After all, why would a team going nowhere need a luxury piece like Kimbrel? No use having an All-Star closer when you are only going to win 60 games. So, what is the dilemma? Well, it is a bit of good news, bad news for the Braves at this point. With a team going nowhere, the two Johns would pretty much have a free hand of trading and selling off players. Not like the fans would notice. They would have given up by the end of May. The Nationals, who were stocked to the gills with high priced pitching, would be going to the World Series this year. They would win the division by 25 games and with only token resistance from the Mets, should have things wrapped up by June 1st.

Only problem, the Nats were so busy reading their press clippings, they forgot they still had to play every game on the schedule. Now, to be realistic, the Nationals have played better of late but they are far from unbeatable. The Mets? They have some really good young pitching, good enough to be a Wild Card team and even challenge an under performing Washington for the NL East title. That is except they are struggling to find enough offense on a nightly bases to win consistently. This leads us to the Braves. At the half way point, the Braves are 40-41. One game under .500 and only 1/2 game behind the Mets and 5  behind the Nats. Okay, I know, it’s still a losing season at this point but the loss of Freddie Freeman for the past month has had a lot to do with the Braves’ recent woes offensively.

But, the Braves’ silver lining has begun to show through the clouds of doom and gloom. Pitching…. Despite the hic-ups incurred by Shelby Miller and Julio Teheran, the debuts of Matt Wisler and Manny Benuelos have given Braves’ fans a glimmer of hope for the future. That and the recent hardening of the relief corp has helped to diminish some of the angst felt by everyone in Atlanta when a starter had to come out of a game. Now, by no means are the Braves being mentioned as shoo ins for the play-offs but stranger things have happened. This is what makes this season’s trade deadline a real poser for Hart & Company. Can you really trade away your best catcher and best reliever for a couple of more prospects when you are not yet really out of the conversation?

What kind of message does it send to your team when you ship your spark plug and chief cheerleader, Jonny Gomes, off to another club. Are the Braves really going to trow in the towel when the fight could still be won? I am as realistic as the next guy, I know this year was all about transitions, a revamping of an under performing and underachieving team into a prototypical National League team built on pitching, defense and speed. Perhaps this year’s team was a little too good too quick. It is going to be tough to make choice between being buyers or sellers this year as long as the Braves are hanging tough. Lots of baseball still to be played this year. The Braves may well fade this year late like the last three seasons but I would not count on it. By all rights, the Nats should be winning going away but you never know. Lots of years the Braves were supposed to win it all too and got beat.

So, let’s keep watching and rooting for and enjoying one of the most interesting ball clubs we have seen occupying Turner Field in years. Good pitching, good defense and just enough offense to keep you in the game for the full nine innings. We still have 81 more games to play to prove if the Braves are contenders or pretenders.

141: So It Begins Again

Gil Mechanicsville, VA    by Gil In Mechanicsville

Well, the 2015 season is underway and the first couple of weeks have held forth a few surprises. I guess the biggest being the departure of fan favorite and closer extraordinaire, Craig Kimbrel. Less than 24 hours before the start of the season, Kimbrel was sent to San Diego along with some heavy baggage formerly known as B;J Upton who’s play was so bad, he felt the need to change his name thinking he could fool the fans in Atlanta into believing a new player had been acquired.

So, a few additional faces we had not had a chance to discuss. Trevor Cahill, a former All-Star who has apparently lost his way since undergoing hip surgery. Mechanics are a funny thing for a major league pitcher, the least little thing can cause him to become a complete Jeckyl and Hyde act.  Coming to Atlanta the final week of spring training for a minor league outfielder and a deep discount on his 12 million dollar salary. Trevor did not look at all comfortable in his first start but perhaps like Matt Latos of the Marlins who was shelled by the Braves in his first start, he can come around to the point he can become somewhat of an innings eater. We will know soon enough I suspect.

Eric Stults also made the team. Originally slated as a fifth starter, he moved up a slot with the continued problems experienced by Mike Minor and his balky shoulder. The Braves will continue to hope Stults can be an effective back end of the rotation guy but I do not see the Braves going too deep into the season with him in the line up if Stults continues to struggle. I look for the Braves to turn to another one of their late spring acquisition, Matt Wisler. The 22 year old right hander who came along with Cameron Maybin from San Diego for Kimbrel and Melvin Upton. The young rightie has a high ceiling and appears far ahead of the Brave other wunderkin Mike Foltynewicz. Perhaps the Braves will score a trifecta win with Wisler, Folty and Lucas Sims by the time they move into their new digs north of Atlanta. For sure, the good folks in Gwinnett should take avantage to see these kids develop while parking and seating is cheap. I should also mention Manny Banuelos is another possibility if he can return to his pre Tommy John form. Like I said, mechanics are very important and is often the difference in a weak grounder to short or a 400 foot big fly.

The only real questions for the Braves will be if they can maintain the knack they have shone early on for staying focused in the field and continuing to put up good at bats. Not everyone on this season’s team is hitting over .300 but most every one of the hitters at putting up good at bats. There have been very few three strike at bats by the Braves hitter. Now, they have shone a few chinks in their armor to date but it’s been a fun ride so far. Still, the Braves are getting very little respect from the talking heads who are covering the sport on a professional basis. Can’t say that I blame them after the Braves made them look foolish last season. Besides, teams that tear down to the studs are not suppose to win. I guess the players did not get that memo….

By the way, I would be remiss if I did not mention my new favorite pitcher for the Braves, reliever Cody Martin. Love that kid. Cannot throw a 95 mph fastball but he can throw strikes and opposing hitters are not having much success against his Madduxess 90 mph cutter. He may be the one that Braves Country is glad didn’t get away.

#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

91: I’m Feeling Lowe – Send Me An Angel

by Voice of Reason Raisins

JEFFERSON, GA – It’ll be a slow news morning since most of the talking heads were up way late into the early morning staying on top of the Doc Halladay / Cliff Lee 3-team blockbuster.

This much is for sure. The Derek Lowe chatter picked up dramatically last night. Most think he’ll be the next domino to fall. Most think to the LA Angels. I am 99% in that camp as well. I really do wonder, though, what will the final value be?

Many see Lowe’s 2009 season as a sign of decline. I don’t; but regardless, it’ll be used in negotiations. It’ll cost the Braves in their return.

My humble and amateur analysis deems Derek Lowe in 2009 as an anomaly. Look… the guy throws with a motion that does not tax him physically, except for the occasional blister. He’s not wearing down. He is a horse, and one of value. I believe the reports of his spotting a mechanical flaw. If I were a betting man, who I am not, I’d bet that Derek Lowe in 2010 will look closer to Derek Lowe in 2008 than Derek Lowe in 2009. And my feelings would not be hurt to see him toe the rubber in The Ted for another 3 years. But we don’t need him. He has become a surplus part. And as surplus, he’s very expensive.

But back to 2009, the guy won 15 games on a team that was obviously NOT in the top teams offensively. He must have been doing something right, huh?

So, is he worth $45MM over the next 3 years? Not to Atlanta, where they’ll still have the best top to bottom rotation in the NL, regardless of losing Lowe and regardless of Philly picking up Doc Halladay.

But what about in Los Angeles, in Halo-land? They just lost their ace John Lackey. And they lost their superman Chone Figgins… to division rival Seattle. And did you notice the Mariners just acquired Cliff Lee to go with Felix Hernandez? The Angels just got a nice kick in the teeth. Yep… just as news was breaking that The Angels were losing their ace, the news was breaking that the Mariners were adding Lee. Ouch…

All that said, as much as I’d love to see a Derek Lowe / Juan Rivera straight up swap, that won’t happen. The Braves will have to eat some of the remaining $45MM on the contract, or will have to give up a top prospect to offset it. I don’t see them giving up any top prospects, and I don’t see them paying as much as $12MM, as has been suggested. I do, though, see them paying maybe as much as $9MM, OR adding a guy like Jordan Schafer to the deal. Once you start adding pieces, though, it begins to get a little crazy.

What I mean is, the Braves wouldn’t swap Lowe + Schafer straight up for Rivera. Not equitable. So then you have to add something on the Angels end. Then you could end up with multiple players / prospects changing locale. Loopy.

In the end, it’d be nice if Frank could make it a straight up Lowe / Rivera swap, and keep all of his own pieces, including Schafer, and add a little cash on the side. Heck, it could probably happen today if Frank had Yankee money. But he doesn’t. So they’ll take some time and haggle dollars – big dollars. That could take time. But time will only increase the sense of urgency for LAA. And that need is the one thing that might make Lowe’s real trade value increase.

And while time is more on Frank’s side, he doesn’t have all winter, either. He still has to add a few more arrows to Bobby’s quiver, so he can’t exactly play a total waiting game.

Nope, this intrepid reporter – OK, this amateur Braves lovin’ spectator – thinks a deal will happen sooner than later… maybe even before Gil can get this posted. Who knows?

I do know this: the Braves and Angels now have an overlapping common goal. That should be a good place to start.


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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