Mark F***ing Kotsay

ESPN – Sources: A’s to trade outfielder Kotsay to Braves for pitcher Devine – MLB

I wouldn’t have taken this loser for free. Giving up Joey Devine and paying him whatever the Braves wind up paying — even if it’s “just” $2.5 million or whatever — is just excrement icing on the crap cake.

Let us ignore his 2007. We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that his abhorrent, nay Langerhansine, .214/.279/.296 line (a 57 OPS+) was entirely due to injury. We are still talking about a 32-year-old outfielder who has been declining, as players do, ever since he was 28, who has never made an All-Star team, was never a great centerfielder and who now appears to be below average, and whose career slugging percentage is below the league. This is a player who if he’s lucky gets a guaranteed contract and a platoon job, if he’s unlucky a minor league deal and an invite to spring training. What’s more, the Braves are probably going to hit him second, or even leadoff. At least Margor Blanderson would have hit eighth.

Kotsay was the Marlins’ #1 pick in the 1996 draft, out of Cal State-Fullerton, where he’d won the Golden Spikes in 1995. He tore up the minors, and was in the big leagues to stay in 1997. The Marlins used him mostly as a right fielder, even though he didn’t have the bat for an outfield corner, and even some at first. After a couple of subpar seasons, he had a decent year in 2000, just as he was entering arbitration, and you know the Marlins — time to trade him!

Sent to the Padres for mostly Matt Clement, Kotsay switched to center and had two fine seasons in 2001-02, followed by a slightly below-average 2003. The A’s traded Ramon Hernandez and Terrance Long to get him before the 2004 season, and locked him up on a long-term deal. He played well that year, was mediocre the next, bad in 2006, and subhuman in 2007 before they shelved him with a back injury.

In a good year, he’s a .285-.295-range hitter with some walks, not too many, a .337 career OBP, career high .370. Suboptimal power, slugging percentage below the league despite good batting averages, and a career HR high of 17… No platoon split to speak of. In his defense, he’s played his entire career in pitchers’ parks, and these medium-range power guys often are the hardest hit by tough HR parks. 59 career homers on the road, 44 at home, but his overall stats are actually a bit better in home games… Caught 59 times in 140 career SB attempts. In other words, he’s less valuable on the bases than a guy who doesn’t run at all.

Rotsay’s most-similar player is Garry Maddox. Maddox was a good player, but Kotsay isn’t within a league of him on defense and is playing in a far hitter-friendlier era, and Maddox’s last good year was at 32, Kotsay’s age last year. Marquis Grissom is next, and more promising, but Grissom hasn’t had Kotsay’s injuries and again was far better defensively. Next is Jimmy Piersall, whose last good year was at 31, though we can assume Kotsay won’t go insane.

But he’ll hit for a higher average than Andruw, maybe, and isn’t that all that counts? Our only hope is that he fails his physical. Anyone want to pull a Gilooly on him? Get one Braves fan (with any sense) on the jury, and you’ll never be convicted.

Mark Kotsay Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com

168 thoughts on “Mark F***ing Kotsay”

  1. I would have been fine with the deal if the Braves were trading a prospect they’d be alright with giving away, but Devine? This really makes me wonder if Wren’s eyes should be checked before he makes any other major decision.

  2. Especially after the way the treated him this past season, I always figured the Braves had something against Joey Devine…and now trading him for Kotsay, now THAT’S an insult.

  3. On one hand, this deal may indicate the Atlanta scouts and management believe Joey Devine won’t make the team out of spring training and since he’s out of options, the Braves need to get something for him now.

    On the other hand, the one that is clinched and ready to beat one senseless, this deal was the very wrong way to go. Joey Devine, while possibly not ready (not given that he wasn’t ready), has some of the best stuff in the system. You can’t waste him on Mark Kotsay, who I think can be better than others feel he will be.

    Ugh.

  4. Yeah there must have been something the Braves’ brass had against Devine. They’ve often turned out to be right about trading away players like this (Betemit, Macbride), so I’ll reserve judgment. Kotsay isn’t much of an upgrade over Anderson, but it won’t matter for long if Shaeffer is as good as people think.

  5. I think I’m gonna puke.

    Was Frank Wren in Atlanta for 2005 and 2006? Does he realize the toll that having an incompetent bullpen takes on the entire team?

    The Braves entered the offseason with a surplus of impressive young bullpen arms. Frank Flubbers has now obliterated that surplus, and for what? He managed to bring back a LOOGY with one year left on his contract, a utility backup, and a washed up outfielder (also with one year on his contract) who no other team even remotely wanted.

    Look at Devine’s stats. He had a 1.89 ERA with a 1.05 WHIP in the minors last season. He’ll at least be a quality middle reliever in the majors, and if the recent free agent market is any indication (Linebrink, Mahay, Hawkins), that’s worth more than $5 mil and an outfielder whose unimpressive prime is long past.

    Look out, everyone. There’s a hack who’s willing to overpay for “veteran presence” in the GM chair now. Fumblin’ Frank might just be an idiot.

  6. Why would Bobby bat him leadoff or second, though? During a bad Kelly streak/Yunel growing pains?
    This trade is odd, but the allure of veterans strikes again, I guess.

  7. I don’t like it, but I’m not finding myself too upset about it. Looking at the bright side, we’re paying Kotsuck less than anyone thought, and Devine has looked like a late-career Billy Koch in his various ML trials. Our bullpen is already deep and settled for the high-leverage situations, so I see a W/L impact of approximately zero.

  8. Moronic. Absolutely moronic. Renteria trade aside, Wren has not been impressive so far.

    That said, my objections to this trade are more due to the principle of the thing rather than out of any belief that this is going to affect the Braves’ playoff chances in any significant way. The Braves seem to have one of those unreasonable grudges against Devine, and I would have been surprised if he made the team out of ST. They aren’t spending a lot of money on Kotsay, it’s only for one year, he’s not going to be any worse than Blanco or Anderson, and if he is truly, unacceptably awful he can be quickly and tearlessly benched. Ideally you don’t make this kind of trade at all, but I doubt that it affects the Braves much either in the short or long term.

    What really disappoints me is that I was a fan of Kotsay’s back when he was a good player, and I’m going to hate having to bag on him. That’s not going to stop me, though.

    What’s the upside here, I wonder? .750 OPS and average defense?

  9. Ok guys just one plus. Lots of shots of Mrs. Kotsay on TV? Hey I’m reaching.

    Mac, I’m still laughing at your diatribe. Funny stuff man. I swear.

    I hate the hell out of this trade but just to be Mr. Sunshine, offensively if he just sniffs his career averages he is way better than Jeff Anderson isn’t he?

  10. The Joey Devine story is pretty much a case study in organizational stupidy:

    -Burn a first round pick on a relief pitcher – Check
    -Draft for a need at the major league level – check
    -Bring the guy up way too early and blow his confidence and rep – check
    -Take an irrational dislike for the guy and then just give him away – check

    Stuff like this is why we are not very good at the major league level anymore.

  11. This is the version of the trade I hate and everyone else has mentioned why.

    Good night, and have a pleasant drive home. If you are home, lucky you.

  12. Langerhansine – Wow Mac. Hateful man really hateful. LOL… I swear.

    Robert – good stuff. I was laughing but you were probably drilling your keyboard through your desk typing it.

    What scares me about this deal is how ‘traditional old school’ it is. Almost a quaint return to reading bubble gum card backs to determine who is good (or in Kotsay’s case was kinda good). You know:
    Frank – we need a center fielder.
    Flunky – we could carry Jeffgreg anderblanc and carry their bats if their defense is all its hyped up to be. I mean Chipper Yunel KJ and Tex can hit a little.
    Frank – hmmmmmmm Not veteran enough for me. Just looked at my Topps cards. Kotsay has a career .282 BA. I’ll get him.
    Flunky – sigh…..

  13. Initial thoughts (totally subject to change):

    This trade sucks. I’m not real bent out of shape about this, but we really blew it with Joey Devine. We use a first round pick to get him, and he ends up doing absolutely nothing for us. However, if Joey Devine turns out to be nothing, then I think my opinion on this trade will change. Jung Bong, Bruce Chen, Macay McBride, Juan Cruz, and lots of other pitchers have been dealt by Atlanta when they were solid prospects, and none of them have really done anything (jury is still out on McBride, I guess). Hopefully we saw something with Devine and traded him when his value was highest.

    One thing to keep in mind is that we’re actually only playing $2M for Kotsay. Considering we were looking at $7M for Cameron, that $5M could give us additional flexibility to shore up other areas of need. Hopefully this won’t come back to bite us in the butt, though.

  14. Rob, Good points. You are correct that the Braves pitching ‘prospects’ tend to not work out for the receiving team.

    Never thought about it that way. Trying very hard to see something positive out of this.

  15. … you know, now that I think about it, Devine WAS expendable. It’s not like fire-balling middle relievers are hard to come by. All that he would really develop into was a middle reliever, nothing more.

    All this trade really speaks to is a strange mis-handling of Devine.

    Just pray that Kotsay will stay healthy enough to keep Anderson on the bench and Schafer in the minors.

  16. Plus, Devine WAS out of options, wasn’t he? Someone would have been left with the short end of the stick if he didn’t make the team out of spring training.

  17. Would anyone really care if there wasn’t a place for Yates in the bullpen? From my reasoning, the bullpen worked out fine with Devine in it.
    1. Soriano
    2. Moylan
    3. Ohman
    4. Ring
    5. Acosta
    6. Devine
    7. Boyer

  18. Devine was out of options. To me, the more I look at it, the more my complaint isn’t so much that Devine was traded, it was that Devine could have been used in a bigger deal, I feel.

  19. I like this trade. Why not. If he is healthy. It is better than Josh Anderson. Plus the A’s are going to pay 2/3 of his salary.

  20. That’s exactly it dreamscape – even though the Millwood Estrada trade worked out okay, the point was we should have gotten more in return.

  21. A guy’s confidence and reputation are only blown if he fails, and Devine failed. It wasn’t a given that he would fail so spectacularly — to say so is hindsight, pure and simple.

    We brought Devine up in 2005 because our bullpen sucked. I’m sure we’d rather not have had to do it, but go take a look at who we were throwing out there. It was awful.

    In the three games prior to his debut, our starters never once made it out of the fourth inning, so we were burning our ‘pen left and right. So we bring him up, and still Cox waits until the 13th inning to put him in. He gives up a slam.

    We get great starts from Smoltz and Hudson the following two nights, but then Thomson again can’t get through the fourth. This being Cox’s first opportunity to bring in Devine in a low-leverage situation, he does so. He gets hammered again.

    He gets on the postseason roster because so many other pitchers sucked, and they try to restrict him to low-leverage situations, but what are you supposed to do in an 18-inning game?

    For the next two years, he pitches well in the minors, then can’t throw a strike whenever we try to call him up. This is mishandling? Why can’t it be that he was given repeated opportunities, only to fail every time?

    Here’s the totals of the guy we’ll miss so freaking much:

    111 batters faced
    24 hits
    4 HR
    23 BB
    2 HBP
    5 WP
    1 balk
    7.17 ERA

    I wish him luck, but I won’t miss him. He had his chances.

  22. I will reserve judgment on this trade. I used to have some confidence in the Braves’ scouts. Unfortunately Mondesi, Brian Jordan (the return), Pratt, Wilson, and Woodward have all shattered my confdence. Let’s just hope Kotsay has one more decent year left. I guess it’s better than giving up $7 mil for Cameron.

  23. Devine has been on the 40 man roster for three seasons. He has also been demoted in each of those three seasons. Not sure why he would have another option left.

  24. From BP:

    “A player is eligible for a fourth option season if he has been optioned in three seasons and has not yet amassed five full seasons of professional baseball experience.”

    Also, the number of Devine’s available options depend on whether he was added to the 40-man roster upon being drafted, or whether he was added once he was brought up in ’05. If the former, he’d have had one option remaining. If the latter, he’d have had two, as he wasn’t subsequently demoted in ’05. That’s my understanding.

  25. Ah ha. New information. I believe he was brought up in ’05 and then demoted after the two grand slams. That should be one option year.

    I hate the deal a little bit more now.

  26. Was he demoted, or did he just sit on the bench — his debut was in late August. I seem to remember he just sat in the ‘pen for about a month.

  27. As I understand it, Devine was not out of options. He’s one of the guys we could have sent to Richmond, but he probably would have been one of the better relievers in Atlanta. We could have at least used him to get something of actual value.

    Basically, we have now traded two major league relievers to fill the CF position and we still don’t have much quality out there.

  28. Obviously, we’ve labelled Devine as “future closer”, but was he really going to be that, especially after Rafael Soriano was imported? Devine would have ended up being a fancy Tyler Yates.

  29. 111 batters faced isn’t much of a chance.

    With his stuff, Devine has the potential to dominate, particularly against RHs. I feel he will always have some trouble with lefties, but hopefully would do well enough against them not to be relegated to ROOGY status. This is a 1st round pick with a lot of talent (though I still don’t like taking a reliever in the early rounds).

    But even if Devine never pitches in the major leagues again, this deal is still questionable. Mark flippin’ Kotsay. What, Otis Nixon wasn’t available?

  30. I still stand by the idea that the Braves are setting up a fast track for Schafer. All the better if Kotsay remains on the field and Schafer continues to develop in the minors. That’s all I really care about right now.

    I mean, what kind of stopgap is the perfect solution? Someone we could have traded for and then traded immediately next off-season?

  31. Mac, you were right yesterday. I feel like I got kicked in the cajones. This is horrible trade. Devine has filthy stuff and it wouldn’t suprise me at all to see Street traded and Devine be the closer before the end of the year. For f***ing Kotsay. Plus, you’re tellin me Wren, that Devine and another prospect couldn’t have gotten you DeJesus/Willits/Hall. All of whom are much better than this guy AND under control for multiple years.

    Frank, Billy Beane just took you behind the woodshed.

    I’m also surprised Schuerholz didn’t swoop down and destroy this moronic deal before it happened.

  32. and do you WANT control of those players when we have Schafer to think about? Our next Grady Sizemore? Or is that in my imagination?

  33. This seems to me the Second Coming of the Great Andy Marte Trade Meltdown..in which all of us (me included) went apeshit over the trade before the ink dried.

    On the face of it, it looks bad, but then again Marte for Renteria looked awful as well. I will withhold judgment until I see how Devine does in Oakland and how Kotsay does here. Devine certainly is getting a fresh start, which he sorely needed, in my opinion, and Kotsay may be another vet who is rejuvenated by playing for Bobby. Or, he may have a difficult time tracking down flyball due to the giant fork sticking out of his back, but let’s wait and see before we decide that Wren screwed the pooch.

  34. Of course it would, but this is the way to figure it out. If Kotsay holds up, Schafer will develop some more.

    If Devine becomes the next great closer with Oakland, so what? The only way we regret that is if Rafael Soriano falls apart in the next few seasons. That is unlikely to happen, isn’t it? All Devine would have been is a middle reliever and a backup closer. A Tyler Yates, if you will. The Braves have options there too.

    Would Devine have brought more? Sure, he might have. But why get all worked up about that? The only thing the Braves are guilty of is mishandling potential, and is that such a bad crime, considering that all center field is for now is a jumble of eight-hitters?

  35. Devine was pretty darn good at Double and Triple A last year with a gazillion strikeouts. I don’t see why he shouldn’t be a good major league pitcher.

  36. The Braves definitely overpaid here, but I think you’re also underselling the quality of Kotsay’s defense before his back problems started. By most measures, both statistical (UZR) and observational (TangoTiger’s Fan Scouting Report), Kotsay was not just a good defender, but an elite one through 2005.

    Here’s some historical UZR stats:
    http://www.tangotiger.net/UZR0003.html
    where Kotsay has better rate stats than players like Mike Cameron, Torii Hunter and Andruw Jones.

    Here’s TangoTiger’s 2005 fielding awards (I wrote Kotsay’s section):
    http://www.tangotiger.net/scouting/scout2005_winners.html

    In 2006, his back problems started, and his defensive numbers dropped from elite to below average. He played through the pain in 2006, and the offseason rest didn’t fix it, so he had surgery in spring training 2007. So a single injury basically has derailed the last two seasons for him.

    The injury hurt his range, but he could still throw just fine. Kotsay has the most accurate outfield throwing arm I’ve ever seen, bar none. Darn near every throw he makes is right on the money. The NL East will soon learn not to try to take the extra base on him.

  37. Seat Painter the voice of reason.

    ‘Or, he may have a difficult time tracking down flyball due to the giant fork sticking out of his back’

    Funny stuff man.

    The thing is that giving up any pitching close to worth a damn in this market for a probably washed up 32 year old center fielder seems nuts. Cliche you can never have too much pitching.

  38. So, from the guys that pitched out of the major league bullpen (somewhat effectively) last year, we have now traded Villareal, Ascanio, and Devine. With Gonzalez on the shelf, was our pen really that deep?

  39. As I think about it, we have traded two of those relievers for two different centerfielders.

    Seems like poor planning to me.

    Meanwhile, Gregor Blanco, who carries some nice leather, is hitting .340 in the VWL.

  40. braves14,

    I refuse because we can make a set-up man out of Moylan. He might have been lucky last year, but I think it’s a good idea.

    Parish,

    It seems to me that because Kotsay was acquired, that Josh Anderson was intended to be a backup all along. That’s not exactly poor planning.

    Funny how you criticize that when we all knew it was either trade Villarreal or get nothing for him because we weren’t going to arb with him, right?

    The Braves have plenty of bullpen depth. For God’s sake, we still have Acosta and Ring. If Boyer gets his crap together, put him in there too.

    And you’re citing a place where Egardo Alfonzo hit .335 with an .897 OPS.

  41. Trading analysis thus far and the impact it will have on the team.

    players lost via trade/free agency:
    devine: –
    ascaino: –
    mahay: –
    renteria: –
    villareal: Neutral
    woodward: +
    orr: +

    players gained via trade/free agency and the impact it will have on the team.

    ohman: +
    resop: Neutral
    jurrjens: +
    kotsay: –
    lopez: Neutral
    infante: +
    anderson: –

    6 negatives, 5 positives, and 3 neutrals. so far, not a stellar offseason for the braves. sigh.

  42. If it turns out that there is a situation where the Braves would have sorely needed Devine, maybe I’ll hate the trade again like I first did.

    But like I said before, the only thing that matters to me is Schafer’s development. Kotsay can help to that ending if he stays on the field. The Braves don’t need a superstar, just someone to hold the fort and be average.

  43. I wouldnt be surprised if this deal doesnt go down. Olney has reported deals that are just rumors and have never taken place. Lets complain once the deal becomes finalized

  44. I haven’t been posting for a while and this is the kind of moment which I just can’t resist to post. Honestly, trading for Kotsay is not a big deal, playing $2.5 of his salary isn’t a big deal either…but giving up Devine?! You have to be kidding me.

    I have been reading conflicting reports regarding whether Devine is out of option or not. Regardless, giving up Devine for a one-year injury risk is just ridiculous. I can handle a Boyer + Blanco type of trade, but Devine? It is the A’s who have to dump salary, why do the Braves have to give up a top prospect for that? I guess the Braves really have lost any kind of confidence in the kid…poor Devine, he deserves better. I hope the A’s will handle him better than the Braves did. If Devine turns out to be another Street, we will all remember this trade for years to come.

  45. I’m a longtime fan of this site and feel compelled, on this sad day, to vent my frustration with Frank Wren. This trade is like getting a post-retirement Nick Esasky for a future closer.

  46. Ryan C–You have it right: at best this offseason has been mediocre. At worst, it smacks of a meltdown….

    I might add that if we were going to trade for Cotton Kotsay then why trade for Josh Anderson?

    My real complaint about the trade is not that we lost Devine, but that it does indeed say something about Wrenn.

    I had always believed that trading for Tex and signing Glavine was to make a run for 2008. Trading Renteria (a good move–neither ambitious nor conservative, but possibly shrewd) made sense because J-Man might strengthen the rotation and having another great CF prospect might provide the Braves with more trading options. Even though I have reservations about Ohman, the deal for Infante appeared to be good (it could free up Lillibridge for trading) for similar reasons.

    Therefore, I thought the Braves would go out and get another quality starter and then find a decent or ideally a good CF.

    Instead, Wrenn promised to spend millions and then talked at the Winter Meetings about finding a backup catcher. Meanwhile, other teams have been far more active at improving their rosters. Now, we have landed with a CF who if he has a great year will be league average.

    At this point, it is really hard to see how this team will be much better than the 2007 version….

  47. The A’s didn’t need to dump salary; they could probably even add $10-$20 million of salary if the wanted to. That’s the leverage the A’s had; they could hold onto Kotsay if they didn’t get a name they liked. They want talent more than salary relief.

    That said, I’m sure there were some lesser talents that the A’s probably liked, too. Definite overpay by Wren.

  48. Maybe you’re right, Ken — and it’s not like they got much salary relief out of this. But I just question why the Braves felt such a burning need to get a player whose career is so in question.

  49. And by trading Devine, the Braves are engaging in exactly the kind of sell-low tactic that we really need to avoid. Even if Kotsay outperforms expectations, Devine at his best is worth a lot more than that. At this point in his career, he’s nothing more than a useful piece, but he’s just the sort of talented cheap commodity you need to stockpile, not jettison. (The Braves more or less did the same thing with Kyle Davies; as Stu knows, I supported that trade, because I thought there was no way Davies would ever succeed in Atlanta. However, it’s pretty clear the Braves mishandled Davies and minimized his trade value too.)

    And that wasn’t Wren; that was JS.

  50. Rampant Stupidity!!!! damn his wikipedia page is already saying A Major League sidearm pitcher for the Oakland A’s. this sucks actually saw Devine at NC State followed him up a little after the draft and he actually had a good year last yr. Whats wrong Wren? why???? Wish u luck Joey

  51. Also a class A pitcher?

    Maybe this part is right and the devine report is wrong.

    BTW, John Sickels ranked Devine as the 5th best prospect on the Braves’ farm but BA did not have him among their top ten.

  52. I’m not going to criticize anything because while I certainly dont agree, these guys have been right more than I have. That said, Joey Devine is not just a middle relief type of pitcher. He has the stuff to be a lights out closer. His slider is wicked. The only thing that might keep him away from that is his mindset, and we can argue this was because of his being brought up too quickly, early career struggles, etc. You don’t give that up for a question mark such as Mark Kotsay Oops, I guess I just did criticize this trade. #76, any names thrown in about the Class-A pitcher?

  53. I don’t like the trade, but only because I think giving up Devine is too much. The deal will be okay if Kotsay performs like 2005 Kotsay, but really, otherwise we got hosed. I mean, it’s nice to not have to pay for him, but we’re basically hoping his surgery takes him back two years in time, which seems like a bit of a stretch.

    I think Devine will be a fine middle-of-the-pen guy, maybe an 8th inning type later.

    Also, Devine IS out of options; players drafted out of college (or maybe after some given age) only have 4 years in the minors, not 5. I’m like 90% sure about this.

  54. Sam–I am not half hoping…I am hoping.

    I hate to see who the Braves throw in to make the deal work… Last year they threw in Beau Jones at the last minute and the Braves will come to regret it….

  55. Not only are the Braves going to regret trading Saltalamacchia, Andrus AND Harrison, they’re also going to regret trading BEAU JONES.

    WHY?!

  56. You know what, screw all this. I can’t take it anymore. I’m not posting for a while until this damn thing blows over.

  57. Beau Jones has yet to find success in High A level yet, and he will be 21 next season. I see another McBride in Beau. Along with Harrison, I honestly with reservations about the two.

  58. Considering that Sickels (a) considers the Rangers a “loaded system” and (b) ranks Andrus 3d, Harrison 5th, and Feliz 12th… Well, the Braves better either win the division or re-sign Teixeira, or that deal’s a disaster.

  59. In a word, pffft. What a crap trade. Devine was never going to be a productive Brave but we could have done much better than a guy whose greatest asset is the generic hotness of his wife.

  60. Mac, I never thought you would still be up this late. Yes, the Braves better resign Tex, and I think they are saving every penny for it. Having Wren as a GM will mean a breakthrough that the Braves will finally resign a Boras client…but the cost will definitely be substantial.

  61. Beau Jones pitched quite well for his minor league team in the Texas organization. I am pretty sure that the Braves treated him as about as intelligently as they did Devine. Jones was rushed to A ball and then looked like a bust. The way the Braves handle or mishandle young pitchers is subject for another post.

    In any event, I still think that Beau Jones might cut it as a reliever–but the main thing is that the Braves threw him in the make the deal that the Rangers would have probably made anyway….I hate to see who we have thrown in this time….

  62. I don’t know if anyone cares or if anyone’s mentioned it, but Reitsma signed a minor league deal with the Mariners. If they keep Horacio around, they’ll just need Kolb to complete the set.

  63. Stephen, Beau’s success with Texas is with the Low A club, so he still has to prove himself with their high A club. However, I agree with you that the Braves were probably turning sour on Beau. Did the Braves mis-handle Beau? I can’t find any evidence that they did as they did not seem to have rushed him.

    Mac, can we expect a devil drawing for Wren like the one you had for JS?

  64. I am still debating if I was angrier with the Marte – Renteria trade than I am now with the Devine – Kotsay trade. The Renteria trade turned out to be more than ok. Hopefully, the Braves will get a good year out of Kotsay and get a draft pick in return when he becomes FA…pretty unlikely if you ask me now…

  65. the submarine arm motion does great the first half of the season, but when MLB hitters get used to it, they FEAST on them (Hideo Nomo, anyone?).

    The Braves thought that Devine’s stuff would overcompensate and make up for his delivery, and it might, yet, Devine needed a change of scenery, for his confidence in Atlanta has been Shattered.

    i liked Devine, but I saw him play my tar heels back when he was at NC State, and i NEVER understood why we took him in the first round. he was a player, but he was nowhere near the best pitcher on the field that day (Andrew Miller was, followed closely by Bard). Devine may turn into a player, but i never really thought he was that good.

  66. KC–The Braves drafte Beau Jones in 2005 and he pitched well in the GCL. I believe Dayton Moore thought that the Braves had drafted the best lefthand high school pitcher. In 2006 they allowed him to skip Danville and he was not ready: he pithched terribly–especially during the second half. Last year he started out well in A ball and then the Braves promoted him to Myrtle Beach. After just 5 games (he pitched horribly) they sent him back to Rome and then traded him to Texas. My guess is Jones can be a good pitcher and will do well in another organization.

    FWIW, the trade for Renteria did not bother me because Marte was never going to play 3B for Atlanta; in contrast, the deal for Cotton Kotsay has made me as mad as anything the Braves have done in a long time.

    Yeah, I certainly hope to be wrong and see Cotton Kotsay having a productive year for Atlanta….

  67. #85

    Neyer’s explanation only covers players who aren’t added to the 40-man until they’ve already completed three full seasons in the minors. Those players then have three option years once they’ve been added to the 40-man.

    In Devine’s case, he was added to the 40-man immediately (or almost immediately) in mid-2005. Since he has only 2 1/2 years of total professional baseball experience, the “fourth option year” caveat I cited in @30. This would be the case even if kc is correct @84 about college players.

  68. Kotsay instead of Cameron?

    How many bad backs return to their peak performance? Hell, at least Willie could steal a base …

  69. I think this trade tells us the team doesn’t have much money left this year. If they did, they would have signed Patterson instead of giving up talent.

    If we assume the Braves are on a tight budget, then this is a good move. If you don’t have money, players are your only currency, and Kotsay is at least a player who can play CF without killing the team. Also, he’s probably a plus defender. (He has a good arm; it’s hard to tell anything else from TV, so I’ll trust the complex metrics.)

    If we don’t make this trade, who plays center? Getting a passable offensive CF, who’s probably a plus defender, for $2 mil is probably worth Devine if we don’t have enough cash for the FA market.

  70. If I had to guess on player value, I would probably think of this as selling the rights to Devine for $4 mil. Not something you’d do if you were the Yanks or Sox, but lacking infinite money, it might be a forced move.

  71. The Braves financial situation is probably determinative–but then again Wrenn was talking in December about the many millions the Braves were prepared to spend. If we could not afford either Patterson or Cameron, then he probably should have kept his mouth shut….

  72. Well well. I went away to watch football and come back to see the house is indeed on fire. While many here turned against this trade because it was Devine who was traded, I still remain adamant that this is bad for the Braves if only because of Kotsay. As Mac writes, I wouldn’t want him even if it was for free. He will be WELL below average at the plate. He will be below average in the field. He will bat near the top of the order. He will take over for Willie Harris as ‘the fast guy who keeps getting caught stealing.’ He will cost money that could have gone somewhere else. He will, in short, hurt the team. Congrats to Frank Wren for plugging the hole in CF!

    Others have discussed Devine so I’ll leave it alone. I am still much more upset over obtaining Kotsay than losing Devine. He’s that bad, folks. He is also exactly the type of player Bobby shouldn’t have on his roster, for he will end up in the field far more than on the bench. This isn’t Renteria-Marte; it’s worse because Renteria could play while Marte was a risk, while Kotsay is toast while Devine is a risk.

  73. how much input does Bobby C. have in a deal like this? it always seemed like Devine was one of those guys that he just didnt like. every time Devine pitched, they’d show Bobby in the dugout looking like a man that just found half a worm in his apple.

  74. Stephen, thanks for giving me the details of Beau’s development. I guess I didn’t pay enough attention to the level he pitched.

    In respect of the “millions” the Braves are prepared to spend, he did spend the “millions” on Ohman, Infante, and now Kotsay. The three should cost the Braves around $5M in total. I remember reading DOB blog that the Braves only have about $6M to find a left-handed reliever, an experienced backup infielder, a centerfielder, and a backup catcher.

  75. Adam M.–my thoughts as well. I have never been big on Devine (though I believed he could at least be valuable for a trade), but the decision to go for Kotsay hurts. Having first traded for Anderson, the Braves have decided to replace Andruw with a player who has not been league average in three seasons….

  76. DOB gives a little insight to the Braves logic on this. Look at some of the pitching prospects we have in the minors. Also Devine is 24, has a back injury history and bouts with wildness. From DOB:

    Braves have a lefty, Jeff Locke, who’s only 20 and had 74 strikeoutts, eight walks and a .213 opponents’ average in 61 innings in rookie ball last season, with a 7-1 record and 2.66 ERA in 13 games (11 starts).

    Lefty Cole Rohrbaugh is 20 and had a 96 strikeouts with 20 walks in just 61 innings last season between Rome and Danville, with 1.08 ERA in rookie ball and 1.29 at Rome.

    Righty Tommy Hanson had 154 strikeouts with 58 walks in 133 innings (26 games, 25 starts) last season at Rome and high-A Myrtle.

    There are others, but those are just guys in the top 10 prospects, along with Jurrjens and Reyes, who you know about.

  77. the submarine arm motion does great the first half of the season, but when MLB hitters get used to it, they FEAST on them (Hideo Nomo, anyone?).

    Carl Mays won over 200 games and had a career ERA of 2.92 as a submarine-throwing starting pitcher.

  78. Locke, Hanson and Rohrbaugh are certainly our best pitching prospects, but having a couple pitchers who may pan out isn’t a good reason to trade another one. If they think he’s so screwed up in the head he’ll never pan out, okay, but they appear to be alone in thinking that.

  79. It’s true that we’re trading away Devine for more salary relief on Kotsay, but yeesh! There’s no way a reliever with 25-30% K-rates in the high minors isn’t worth $4M plus. And honestly, who else was in the market for Kotsay? He had negative value for the A’s next year given that he was relatively expensive and blocking more useful prospects. I figured we could get them to chip in a few million and give them a decent “depth” kind of guy, but it looks like we wanted more money coming back, so we had to pony up a real prospect….

    Big question here is, how much do you really think Kotsay would be worth in the open market? I don’t see him getting a deal for more than 4 or 5 million, and that’s probably a stretch. So we really gave up Devine for closer to $2 million in salary relief…. Pathetic!

  80. @108
    Adam, I have to agree, losing Devine is not the big worry for me. Gaining a player like Knoplay is frightening.
    Bobby just can’t help himself with guys like this, he’s gonna play them and they always end up sucking playing time and payroll that ends up hurting the team. I knew it wouldn’t be long before we got some more deadwood on the bench to replace the other guys but couldn’t we at least get some guys that do that for less money?
    From all i’ve read Kotsay seems to be the right fit in the locker room, nice guy, pro’s pro and he also fits the Craig Wilson mold in that he’s a vet with potential upside. The problem for the braves is that any upside in this case is offset by his salary.
    So i guess i’ll wrap by saying i really hope Kotsay has a great season, but if he sucks i hope the braves put him on the DL with the phantom ingrown toenail injury to keep Bobby from playing him out of loyalty.

  81. beedee- His salary is $2M. That’s nothing. If he’s crap, it’s not the money we’re paying him that we’ll regret, it’s the loss of a decent bullpen guy.

  82. no, that’s $2M we could use towards locking up a young guy to a long term deal. Kotsay doesn’t give us an upgrade, he gives us an option.

  83. Jesus Mac. I mean, Christ, Kotsay isn’t a star and no one is expecting him to be, but if his back is healthy he’ll out hit Blanco or Anderson and play a decent defensive CF. For one year. For $2.5 mil per year. Devine is a fungible part his draft status notwithstanding and the Braves still have plenty of bullpen options. One year of Kotsay in the bottom half — no, there’s no reason whatsoever to think he’ll move Escobar and KJ from the top of the order — or until August of Schaffer goes Furcal/Freedompants on us isn’t a problem.

    Trade from organizational depth — middle relievers — for organizational weaknesses — the lack of a starting CF.

    You’d think they sent KJ to Boston for Coco Crisp or something. Flipping a fungible middle reliever for a useful if unspectacular needed part is not madness. It’s good baseball.

    And yes, if Kotsay puts up 2007ish numbers again next year he’ll be benched or cut and Schaffer or Blanco or Anderson will get the shot.

  84. Devine reminded me of a Brad Clontz type of pitcher, someone who turned out ok when used in the right situations, but nothing to get worked up over.

  85. Sam
    ‘Flipping a fungible middle reliever for a useful if unspectacular needed part is not madness. It’s good baseball.’

    Thats the problem. There is significant evidence that Kotsay doesn’t meet the criteria of useful part any more. Pitching is at such a premium in this market that if the player has ANY upside at all he goes from fungible piece to valued commodity.

    I have an admission here. The thought of Blanco or Anderson starting in CF was somewhat unsettling. I am slowly coming around to the fact that we had to do something.

  86. why did we have to do something? anderson, blanco, lillibridge, or schaefer could have done the job as adequately as kotsay will without the 2 million spent, and without trading devine. if something HAD to be done, then at least do the right f’ing thing and get an upgrade to what you already have.
    this will probably be mentioned so i will go ahead and throw it out there: the case with salty last year flip-flopping positions to fill a weak spot shouldnt be a comparison to this move. a 1st baseman is a primarily offensive player with defense coming a distant 2nd, while center field is vice versa. to even think that the available candidates couldnt do the defensive job as well as kotsay is absurd.

    centerfield candidates skill rankingson a scale of 1-10:
    anderson- o-4 d-8
    schafer- o-6 d-8
    blanco- o-6 d-7
    kotsay-

  87. Sorry, Mac, but I think this is a good risk. If used properly, he could be an asset. He’s known as a hardnosed, clubhouse kind of guy. If however BC decides that he must hit cleanup because the guy he’s replacing hit cleanup, we’re in trouble.

  88. I don’t see how anybody can even compare this trade with the Marte for Renteria trade. Granted Marte was highly regarded at the time (and still probably is than Devine), but Renteria at the time was a proven all star with a ring on his finger, neither of which would describe Kotsay.

    This trade sucks anyway you slice it, but I will agree with the point that other than Jason Schmidt there hasn’t exactly been a plethora of Braves pitching prospects that have been traded and came back to haunt the Braves.

    I’m going to offer a different take on this trade however. I’m probably a bigger Joey Devine fan than most people, but I highly doubt that Cox was ever going to have the confidence in him to pitch him in big situations, so I’m happy for him that he gets to move on. Hopefully he will go to an organization that will let him pitch and not jerk him around. I really do wish him well I hope that he can recover from all the crap that the Braves put him through.

  89. The last big braves pitching prospect traded is now on his third team, Jose Capellan. Maybe the Braves saw something in terms of this year’s bullpen where they did not think Devine would make the cut, thus forcing them to trade him anyway and risk getting even less than Kotsay. They might at least figure why not trade him for a veteran, who when healthy, you know what you are probably going to get. It is a risk, but the dude is a reliever, its not like we just traded Mark Teixeira for a Josh Anderson player.

  90. centerfield candidates skill rankingson a scale of 1-10:

    anderson- o-4 d-8
    schafer- o-6 d-8
    blanco- o-6 d-7
    kotsay- o- -2 d- 4

    I’m sorry, but the notion that a kid that’s never played above AA or a career minor league like Anderson/Blanco is a lock to outhit Kotsay is absurd. Granted, they have younger legs so the defense might be better, but I wouldn’t bet on it with big money. If Kotsay’s back is healed he’ll be a league average CF with plus defense. I have all the faith in the world that Schaffer will one day be much better than that, but I’m not at all sold on the idea that he’ll be better than that in 2008.

    If he plays himself into the starting role you can always shift Kotsay to a PH/defensive replacement for Diaz role. This trade makes the Braves better than they were.

  91. When people use the words gritty, clubhouse, teammate, or leadership to describe somebody, it usually means there’s no tangible basis for wanting the guy. He’s a 32 yo 4 years removed from offensive usefulness, playing one of the hardest defensive positions a year removed from serious injury. It’s a stupid, panicky move with really little to defend it.

  92. The more I think about the deal, the less I worry about losing Devine. Why? Let’s think about the way Bobby makes a lineup. If you’re not young enough to be his great grandson, you immediate get special treatment. I don’t see how Kotsay doesn’t bat either leadoff or second, meaning KJ bats 7th. Oh, and I must not forget that KJ will not only bat 7th but possibly platoon with Prado the utility player or Infante the $1.8ish million AAAA utility infielder. By the time BC realizes Kotsay isn’t a top of the lineup batter, a lot of damage will have been done. Honestly, I’m really becoming pessimistic about 2008 based on the moves the Braves are making and their inability to change strategies that haven’t been working for several years.

  93. I bet whoever it is, our centerfielder in 2008 will outhit his 2007 counterpart and play solid defense as well. I can live with that.

    Joey Devine might turn into something with the A’s or not, but losing him will not doom the Braves whatsoever.

  94. Based on the poll results, there must be a lot of people visiting this site that are not commenting. 54% think Kotsay will either produce his career average offensively or produce near his best? Wow! IF he does, this may not be a bad trade.

    I guess the final big question is “was Devine out of options?”. If yes, this might turn out allright. If he had options, it is crazy.

    For those of you who don’t get it, based on service time Devine has not rung up one year. Unless there was something funny in his contract the Braves still have 3 years of major league minimum and 3 years of arb. That would look like this: 400K, 400K, 400K, (and, if he is good) 1 M, 1.5 M, 2 M. Total for 6 years IF HE IS GOOD, 6.7 m or just over 1 million a year. WITHOUT every having to make a commitment beyond the next day. At a time when half decent middle men are getting 2 to 3 yers at 2 to 3 million and good set up guys are getting 3to 5 m for 2 to 4 years.

    Everybody other than the Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, Angels, and Dodgers cannot manage a roster without cost controlled players.

  95. .222/.311/.413 is all the Braves’ center fielder has to do better than in 2008 to be an improvement over 2007.

  96. I just found out about this terrible trade. The only positive I can think of right now is potential face time on tv for his wife. I hate Mark Kotsay. I have no doubt he will be released some time this season. I will advocate PT for Brian Anderson from here on out. Mark Kotsay is dog vomit.

  97. sam, that was actually my point in the whole argument. the -2 offensive ranking was my punch at sarcasm, but it must have fell upon deaf eyes.

  98. Kotsay is expected to have a physical in Atlanta on Monday, the Braves source said. When the A’s acquired Kotsay from San Diego before the 2004 season, his medical history and the physical delayed things for several days; he has a history of back trouble and he had surgery to repair a disk in his lower back in March. “That’s why this is still kind of a tentative thing,” the Braves source said.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/01/13/SPTAUEHGQ.DTL

    Still some hope…

  99. I guess the final big question is “was Devine out of options?”. If yes, this might turn out allright. If he had options, it is crazy.

    I’ve explained clearly multiple times that he was not out of options. Wonder no longer — take it to the bank.

  100. “[Joey Devine] was rushed to the big leagues,” one major-league scout said. “He’s got great makeup, but that kind of left him shell-shocked. A change of scenery will be good for him.”

    True dat.

  101. I saw There Will Be Blood today — it’s very dark, with great (and large) performances. The music will set your teeth on edge from time to time, but I actually liked it. But then I liked the cop and the strung out chick in Magnolia making awkward conversation over coffee set to Wagner, so I’m weird like that.

  102. Why does something tell me that “Rampant Stupidity” will be a very popular category this year?

    Cox was able to get Schuerholz to release some of his screwups early last year (Redman, Langerhans). Our best hope is that he can do so again with Wren. Has anyone seen anything to indicate how well Cox and Wren communicate?

  103. DOB reported that Cox and Wren were together while taking in some of Schafer’s AFL games a couple months ago, which indicates to me that they’re likely to have strong communication between them.

  104. Plus this trade has a lot of Bobby’s fingerprints on it — veteran instead of a marginal rookie (Bobby doesn’t mind rookies, if they have star or near-star ability), and he didn’t like Devine.

  105. After looking at it more closely, I have to disagree with most of you on this trade. If Kotsay’s back is healthy, I think Blanco or Anderson will provide enough help to make for a pretty good CF combo. If Kotsay plays everyday or if his back isn’t completely healed, we’re in trouble. I just think that his back will be better. I have to say that I buy his excuse that his back problems had an adverse affect on him, thus resulting in a .214 avg, a whole lot more than I believe Andruw’s elbow caused him to hit in the low .200’s.

    I think you’ll see a resurgence from Kotsay because of the trade and better numbers than the past few years b/c of successful back surgery. I think this trade will turn out to be a pretty good thing if Kotsay passes his physical and the back surgery was successful. I know those are big “ifs”, but I give him a 60% chance of having a good season.

    Btw, .214 is not a Langerhansine average. Langy was batting .068/.192/.091 when we got rid of him. He set a whole new standard for pathetic. He tore up the league (comparatively) with the Nationals at a .198/.296/.370 clip and finished with a robust .167/.272/.305 avg/obp/slg%.

  106. This may go down as one of the worst trades in the history of professional baseball. An unprecedented disaster on virtually every level. There must be something that we do not know. There must be something.

  107. A lot on angst here over a trade which essentially is a non-event in terms of impact on the upcoming season IMO. Devine was never going to play a signifcant role here, and Kotsay is not going to be worse than our other options (and might be better if we are lucky). Granted, this doesn’t seem like the best use of resources, but I just don’t see this as a huge disaster either.

  108. “With Tom Glavine, we add a Hall of Famer,” Teixeira said. “We lose Andruw Jones and we put in a guy who is just as good as Andruw Jones. When Mark Kotsay is healthy, he’s just as good as Andruw Jones. So we’re really not missing a beat.”

    That’s pretty generous, but its good to see the players speak highly of him. We’ll have to see what happens.

    148 – I can think of five trades off the top of my head worse than this one.

  109. “I don’t see how anybody can even compare this trade with the Marte for Renteria trade. Granted Marte was highly regarded at the time (and still probably is than Devine), but Renteria at the time was a proven all star with a ring on his finger, neither of which would describe Kotsay. ”

    I didnt compare the two trades, just all the postings and the negativity reminded me of that day

  110. I kind of like Langerhansian too. I think this should only be reserved for players with a BA and Slugging Percent of under .150.

  111. Yeah, but Kotsay was so bad that the A’s traded for Langerhans.

    BTW, note that Langerhans’ Braves OBP is the same as Kotsay’s career OBP, even though Kotsay’s career batting average is about forty points higher.

  112. That’s a pretty slippery slope. We wanna take Langerhans’ career averages and compare it with Kotsay’s worst season, the season in which Langerhans was exponentially worse. And if Kotsay was truly injured, Kotsay being “so bad that the A’s traded for Langerhans” isn’t very fair of a statement.

    I’ll take Kotsay’s career line out of the 7th or 8th spot than Langerhans, too.

  113. Trivia time:

    Who led the AL in HR and XBH during the decade of the ’80s? (If you look up the answer, try to hold off posting)

  114. I like all the outrage on this site, but while I’m not the biggest fan of this deal, it’s not nearly as terrible a deal as anyone really is making it out to be.

    Kotsay could be serviceable (I think that’s the most appropriate word) in center field for the Braves for ’08, and despite the obvious gripes with it being Joey Devine, the Braves will only have to pay around 2.5 million for him. Mike Cameron, who was the other player considered for center field was just signed to a 7 million dollar deal, so this might not be that bad.

    Back to the point of him some people portraying him to be a surefire closer or impact reliever, consider me skeptical at best. Keep in mind that this is the same board that expressed outrage at the trade for Estrada, then skepticism about the Braves not trading Hudson away, and the aforementioned Andy Marte “outrage” of 2005.

    Also bear in mind that Kotsay will be in a lineup with a bunch of damn decent hitters, and the old cliche of good hitting being contagious usually does hold true. Whether this deal ends up being a GOOD deal remains to be seen. But to write it off as being reason to fold up 2008 and send Wren off on his way, I’d say you’re being slightly ridiculous.

    Prospects are described in their potential, or the player that they might become, but that’s all that they are: prospects. If Devine makes good in Oakland, I’ll be that much happier for him that he was able to prove himself despite the rocky start to his career. At the end of the day, the deal DOES makes sense for both teams.

  115. I’m with koro on this one. I think Kotsay could be fine, and I don’t see Devine as a closer necessarily. But surely there’s some chance that Kotsay is NOT fine and turns out to be a complete bust, and at the same time, Devine is almost surely going to be at least decent in the bullpen. This strikes me as a very short-sighted trade, even if it does have the potential to help us for 2008.

  116. sam, that was actually my point in the whole argument. the -2 offensive ranking was my punch at sarcasm, but it must have fell upon deaf eyes.

    Sorry, I missed the inflection. Hopefully I’m missing the same inflection with the guy that says this will go down as one of the worst baseball trades ever. You’d think Joey Devine was John Smoltz circa 1988 rather than a high-risk, low-reward college reliever who hasn’t progressed much since being drafted.

  117. A little historical perspective:

    I was walking through an airport 7-8 years ago when the TV announces that the Braves have traded Bruce Chen. I actually did the Darth Vader “NOOOOOOOOO!” right there in the airport.

    Turns out Chen was not the Next Tom Glavine ™ but actually more dime a dozen. So just hold tight.

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