This Halloween is especially terrifying, as the other Boston team won another World Series. So, in the spirit of the season, here’s what I’m especially afraid of in 2014:

• Over the course of the offseason, Frank Wren is unable to find a taker for Dan Uggla, so he decides to keep Uggla on the 25-man roster and fills second base with a rotation of Elliot Johnson, Paul Janish, and Tommy La Stella. (This would be the second base equivalent of our 2009-2010 left field arrangement.)

• Over the offseason, Wren is unable to ink extensions for Jason Heyward, Andrelton Simmons, Freddie Freeman, Julio Teheran, Mike Minor, or Kris Medlen.

• Despite announcing that the Braves have payroll flexibility, Wren limits his offseason acquisitions to a 34-year old right-handed reliever, a 36-year old utility outfielder, and a 25-year old backup infielder from the Padres organization. The team insists to DOB that they were “in on” Robinson Cano, but that talks broke down when they demanded he give them a hometown discount.

• Brandon Beachy suffers another setback.

• One of the starting pitchers who hasn’t yet undergone Tommy John surgery, undergoes Tommy John surgery.

• Someone on the team says something vile and homophobic, or gets into a DUI, or does some other horrendous and indefensible thing.

B.J. Upton hits .190 for the first three months of the season, and Justin Upton enters another sympathetic slump. Fredi Gonzalez continues to insist “we just have to get them going.”

• The Braves win exactly 83 games.

• The Mets win 84 games.

• The Phillies win 85 games.

• The Nationals win 100 games.

• The Cardinals win 87 games, and the World Series.

• After Bud Selig retires, Major League Baseball announces that the new Commissioner is Tony La Russa.

69 thoughts on “Boo!”

  1. The Braves sign a big-name free agent, who then backs out on them after getting a signed term sheet. The Braves then announce that they’ll never negotiate with Jay-Z again.

  2. Even though Wren wouldn’t come right out and say it yesterday it sure sounded to me like he has already determined McCann will not be back next year.

  3. Tony LaRussa as commissioner? Alex R’s head would explode with hate for LaRussa’s face.

  4. I don’t think he’ll get $100 million, unless the bidding gets unusually heated. I never heard that number during the year. I’d expect $70-$80, but I wouldn’t be surprised by anything from $60 to $90MM. Anything below $60M or above $90M would genuinely surprise me.

  5. This would be scary and stupidly ironic:

    The Braves are up by a run after seven innings in the deciding game of a playoff series. Fredi decides to have Kimbrel get six outs. Kraken plows through the first five guys, but on a full count pitch to the final hitter, his arm explodes as he’s throwing a fastball and he collapses to the mound in pain like Jay Powell did in 2005. The pitch is nowhere near home plate, so the hitter reaches on a walk. Fredi makes a pitching change, and the new relievers promptly serves up a two-run homer.

  6. DOB is alluding to the Braves only offering Bmac a qualifying offer. Said the market will probably keep them from even entering the bidding war

  7. You didn’t mention the NL adopting the designated hitter rule! What a travesty it makes of the game.

  8. I’ve seen the talk about McDowell. I can’t imagine what would possibly motivate him to make such a lateral move to a worse team and, by all appearances, worse organization.

  9. Apparently Roger is one of the least paid pitching coaches in all of baseball. He and Wren met last week, but they haven’t agreed on terms. Can’t blame him for using any leverage that he can get. Would be a huge loss, esp if he goes to Philly. Imagine the scouting reports that he would provide?

  10. 34-year old right-handed reliever: Ryan Madson ($3M)
    36-year old utility outfielder: Marlon Byrd ($7M)
    25-year old backup infielder from the Padres organization: Tommy Medica (500k)

    Like you said, there’s our payroll flexibility!

  11. Jason Heyward does sign a massive extension, then the next day injures himself when he sneezes while carrying luggage up stairs, missing the entire 2014 season. Released by the Braves, he is signed for the league minimum by the Cardinals, and leads them to the 2015 World Series, playing in every game and winning MVP honors.

  12. If any of you younger guys were wondering what it felt like to watch the Jack Morris narrative train leave the station, it’s now happening with David Ortiz.

  13. I can’t believe you didn’t mention the scariest baseball event of all time. Heyward goes down at mid-season and he is replaced by Francoeur for the rest of the year – thus the reason for us winning 83 games.

  14. La Stella finally gets his chance to show us what he can do, hits .150 for his first ten games, and is returned to Mississippi, never to be seen again.

    Regression, um, regresses as Chris Johnson can’t hit water falling from a boat.

    18, 20- Even better/ worse: Heyward’s replacement is Jorge Constanza. Oh goody!

  15. Andrelton Simmons joins Evan Gattis on a three-year long Grand Tour through the emergent guru scene of the central Canadian boom-towns, during which time they are both seriously injured while trying to operate a derrick.

  16. I found out today that the school where I teach (at the beach) is partnering up with the Upton Brothers Foundation. Pretty cool and pretty random.

  17. #36
    Hate to disappoint, but…

    I got my Yankee season-ticket notice the other day, so I suspect that the Jeter signing (and its timing) was done for the benefit of the club’s season-ticket drive.

    The extra money is a reward for his accomplishments & compensation for his gate appeal & the TV ratings he helps ring up. It also doesn’t hurt that, considering what’s going on with A-Rod & Cano, the fans view Jeter’s final season as devoid of front-office drama.

  18. @35: yes, but it’s more than that. We sit here, knowing what the budget is and figure: “What can we do with our spare $15 million or whatever?” The Yankees, out of pure sentiment (and I’ll grant ububba’s point, a tiny bit of marketing savvy) say to Jeter: “Here’s a little extra for your fine service,” barely noticing that that “little extra” would pay for our whole relief staff less the closer.

  19. DOB reports that Parra saved the same number of runs defensively as Simmons. How can a RF do that?

  20. The Yankees actually save 2.5 mil on their AAV numbers toward the luxury tax by making that move with Jeter. Basically if Jeter took the option he would get 9.5 mil and the Yankees would be charged 14.5 mil toward the luxury tax cap (due to the annual value of Jeter’s contract prior to this season.) The Yankees and Jeter came to an agreement where he would decline the option, ending that contract, which releases the Yankees from the tax cap number. Then the Yanks gave half of the 5 mil they saved in tax cap back to Jeter as salary.

  21. Obispo looked pretty good the few times I saw him pitch last year, but I am not sure why we needed to protect him with a roster spot.

  22. @45 – come on. It’s Nov 2. The WS ended two days ago. We are two months away from the winter meetings. It’s way, way too early for “we’re not getting anything for Christmas” doom.

  23. It feels like it’s been 2 years since our season ended. The more I read the more it sounds like there’s a good chance that all the extra money is going to arb-raises and maybe an extension or two. And Hudson wants a mult-year deal so I guess we’ve got that to look forward to.

  24. @ajcbraves: Hearing that ex-Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee could replace McDowell if Roger leaves #Braves. So in essence, could be swap of PCs.

  25. Mets are expected to opt out of Johan’s deal. I would take a $13 mil flyer on that, pending physical. No WBC to tear him up too early this year.

  26. @49 That sounds like a terrible exchange. McDowell has been terrific for us. I think losing him will really hurt.

  27. @52 I’m not sure. I mean, I’m not sure either way. But gosh wouldn’t I like to see him pitching like his old self in a Braves uniform.

  28. I’m not a huge fan of losing Roger McDowell, but it’s hard to determine who is more responsible for the Braves’ pitching success, Wren or McDowell. It may be an unwise move for a mid-market team to commit so much financially to a pitching coach if the role is really not that influential.

  29. But if the Braves lose McDowell, who in the organization will publicly say something “vile and homophobic”?

  30. @ajcbraves: Told that Roger McDowell has decided to stay with #Braves, awaiting for confirmation from team.


    @ajcbraves: McDowell gets a 2-year deal from #Braves, instead of one-year contract initially offered

  31. #56

    I’d imagine Liberty has allocated a certain amount towards the Braves’ overall operations, and that is categorized into several areas, including player and coach payroll. If McDowell is going to be paid more than originally anticipated, then it could definitely impact another area of the budget, i.e. player payroll (which I would imagine would be one of the few variable costs of a baseball team).

  32. @57 Good. I know the Braves have a policy of giving their coaches one year deals, but McDowell has been good enough for long enough that I don’t mind them giving him what he wanted.

  33. 55 – Eddie Perez?

    (Edit – never mind, I was misremembering a 2004 article in which he may have been misquoted. In 2009 he sounded more reasonable.)

  34. Greetings from Minneapolis…

    Muschamp is certainly a Red & Black sleeper agent.

    Thrilled with the rivalry win, but it’s too bad these 2 teams have been so unlucky with injuries. That game was a hot mess.

  35. @43 because those numbers are compared to average MLB player at the position. Gerard Parra was roughly 40 runs better than an average RF (with some CF thrown in), whereas Simmons was 40 runs better than an average SS. That generally is understood to make Simmons a better defender, because the average SS is a much better defender than the average RF.

  36. @64
    It’s still a remarkable feat. For comparison, Heyward had only 20 DRS in his gold glove campaign. Obviously CF is different, but Andruw’s highest was 19.

    I’m not sure a 40 DRS by an OF has ever been done before. Carlos Gomez had 38 this year and that might be the highest ever.

    In fact, DRS took a weird jump this year as 5 people had 30 or more DRS.

    You have to go all the way back to ’10 to find the next 30 DRS season and that was Bourn. ’09, Gutierrez. ’08 Utley. ’07 Tulo and Pujols.

    It has always been 1 player, maybe 2, right at 30. Never has there been a DRS season like ’13. Defensive spike or fluke calculations?

  37. To me there’s something fundamentally wrong with normalizing stats by comparing to league averages. What if there was a SS as good as Simba on every team? Would they all get rated near 0? I’d rather see the absolute numbers for each player so that they can be compared across seasons better.

  38. If defensive talent the likes of Simmons was freely available such that every team had it, that talent would be, by definition, average (at the MLB level.)

  39. It would, but it seems like we’d be lacking the tools to see if this average is good or bad compared to past seasons. What’s wrong with using the absolute/un-normalized values instead?

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