THANK GOD BASEBALL IS BACK

I swear, the All-Star Break gets longer every year. By 2030 it’ll probably last about three and a half weeks. But tonight, tonight! tonight baseball is back.

So we get the Phillies, and it’s A.J. Burnett versus Ervin Santana. I won’t go so far as to guarantee victory, but I was in Philadelphia last Sunday to see them lose 10-3 to the Washington Nationals, and it is frankly staggering how bad a team they are. They can’t hit or field, which is one of the things that happens when your entire roster is on the wrong side of 30 — except for Domonic Brown, who’s a DH playing in the wrong league, for a franchise that seems determined to crater his value. They are essentially a test tube for what the steroid era had been like if none of the 36-year olds who put up career years had actually been on steroids.

It’s sort of sad to watch Rollins, Utley, and Howard, three of the best players of their era — Utley is a dark-horse Hall of Fame candidate — flop around on the field, drop the ball, and try to poke the occasional single. On the other hand, they’re the Phillies, and so it’s also sort of funny.

Burnett is, from time to time, a really good pitcher, and Santana is occasionally a staggeringly bad one, so it’s not like this game is automatically in the bag. But if we lose, it will be unbelievably embarrassing.

UPDATE: The Braves are releasing Dan Uggla.

76 thoughts on “THANK GOD BASEBALL IS BACK”

  1. The Braves or Braves’ sites or Braves’ fans cannot poke fun at Ryan Howard.

    He is the god of the long ball for us until the Braves prove him otherwise. To fail to recognize this is folly.

  2. 3: Braves, I would hope. Moving Wood for Price would be two steps forward, one step back. If they were to trade for Price (very unlikely), they should be aiming to make the overall rotation one to be feared, which doesn’t really work when your third starter is still Ervin Santana.

  3. @2

    Um…all you need is a left-handed pitcher and he’s an automatic strikeout. Hell, even at his height all you needed with a lefty and he was an automatic strikout.

  4. Forget Price. I’ll take Alex Wood. The Braves can make a better value trade without dealing a valuable piece like Wood.

  5. 7: Unfortunately, a left-handed pitcher is just what the Braves have not got in this particular series. They do have a left-handed arsonist, but even Howard can keep his bat on his shoulders while Avilan throws 4 pitches to Vidalia.

  6. General consensus has been, acquiring Uggla good, extending Uggla bad. But can anyone here say with conviction that they could have predicted this steep of a decline?

  7. @20

    No. I don’t think anyone saw this coming. I wonder if his decline has to do with increased PED testing.

  8. Sometimes players hit a wall all of a sudden, but it’s unusual. As I recall, I expected Dan Uggla to have a good first three seasons and to suck for the last one or two. Instead, he had a good season (actually, a bad half-season followed by a spectacular half-season) and then just turned into a pumpkin.

  9. Yeah there is that. Does any GM give a 29 or 30 year old 100 million if his name isnt Mike Trout?

  10. Gondee posted this which seems relevant @20:

    Braves acquired Uggla after a 4.3 rWAR season with Marlins. He posted 2.5 total rWAR in 4 years with Atlanta. Highest was 2.9 rWAR in 2012.

  11. I remember being nervous, thinking Uggla’s rookie year came at, I believe, age 26 or 27? (Edit: posting via phone.) I had some notion that Rule 5 success stories aren’t made to last, unless they are PED-assisted, perhaps.

    I did not expect this level of disaster, that’s for sure.

  12. Braves that have just had their play nose dive. Murph, Andruw, Uggla, BJ Im missing a few. Trying to leave one season wonders off.

  13. @27

    There was the one guy whose nose dive made even Uggla’s look like a gentle downward slope — Mark Wohlers.

  14. @23, absolutely. I mean, the Shin-Soo Choo and Josh Hamilton contracts look terrible and it’s easy to look around and find overpays, but you have to remember that $100 million isn’t a huge amount of money on the free agent market these days. That’s because, if you’re a 90-win team with a multibillion dollar cable television contract and this is your year to try to push to win the World Series, you’re willing to pay a guy who you know will be very good for the first couple of years and you’re willing to swallow some bad years at the back end to do it. In any given year, the best free agent is going to make somewhere north of $100 million, and if he’s really good, like Cano, he’ll make north of $200 million.

  15. Yeah, but I actively disliked him. Uggla never really acted entitled so I have a little sympathy

  16. Oh, he sure did. He wasn’t shy about expressing his displeasure at being left off the playoff roster last year.

  17. @29 Whoa. Yeah. It was hard to watch. Is it still called Steve Blass disease?

    @31- Good points all around. I’d have to say that ‘big market’ (Maybe big TV contract would be a better term?) have the luxury of eating lousy back end contract years.

    BTW Braves made it official. The owl has flown.

  18. I didn’t hold it against him that he was pissed off at being left off the roster. Anyone would have been pissed off. As far as I can tell, he worked hard, busted his ass, didn’t raise a stink when La Stella replaced him, and generally was a good citizen in the clubhouse. It isn’t his fault that he got old and his bat got slow. I empathize with the guy and I wish him well, even though I’m overjoyed that he no no longer holds a roster spot.

  19. Pastornicky called up. I think Gosselin was ineligible since it hasn’t been 10 days.

  20. I don’t have a lot of joy he’s no longer here. Just glad we can move on from our long regional nightmare….

  21. Nate McLouth?

    I just took a look at Sanders Braves season. Hell, Its fantastic compared to what BJ is giving us. Then Sanders went on to AZ and became good again.

    @41 – I totally agree. I am sad that he simply couldnt play any more. As an old guy, i know what its like to not be able to do stuff any more. Pretty much sucks.

  22. I still do not understand why they waited until GameDay to cut ties with Uggla. They could have done this the other day and kept Gosselin on the roster.

  23. @46

    Pastornicky was on the 7-day disabled list with left knee inflammation (it’s seven days in the minors, not 15) last week at the time this happened. He was on the DL last night, too, in fact. He was just activated today. I’m sure they’d rather have Pastornicky than Gosselin, it was just a matter of calling up Gosselin to be the emergency 25th guy for a day last week.

  24. Gosselin, Pastornicky, whatever. The important thing is they’ve been playing with a 25 man roster since the day before the break, finally. Really, neither of those guys should be on a playoff roster anyway so it’s time to go shopping for bench bats.

    I had interpreted the one-game suspension as a precursor to DFAing him today (the rationale being that they’d have a few more days to work a trade by not announcing the DFA until after the all-star break) but I imagine they’ve called every team three times by now and there are no trades available, so the outright release is best for both parties at this point.

    Agreed with Alex @41 about it all. And I honestly thought we could get four good years out of him at the time of the trade, because I am not a great forecaster a lot of the time.

  25. Alex’s thoughts at @41 encapsulates my thoughts completely. I liked the guy, but it was more than time to move on.

  26. I still do not understand why they waited until GameDay to cut ties with Uggla.

    We don’t really have any details on anything. Could be that today was the magical “get out of amortization jail free” card. Or could be that Dan showed up late again today. Or could be that Fredi came back from the ASG and was like “man, having a full roster was really cool for a change!”

    It is what it is.

  27. The tumult and the shouting dies;
    The Captains and the Kings depart:
    Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
    An humble and a contrite heart.
    Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
    Lest we forget—lest we forget!

    RK

  28. It’s always best to air dirty laundry to the media late on a Friday, when no one’s paying attention, if you can control the situation.

  29. @CSNBaggs: I can confirm that Dan Uggla is under consideration for #SFGiants. He’s being talked about.

  30. And of course, its raining (albeit lightly) here in town after a few glorious evenings of inactivity

  31. 56: Seriously, fuck this noise. We just got finished with the break. Get out of town, rain; everyone hates you.

  32. Bunch of Braves called into AM680 to talk about what a great guy Uggla is/was in the clubhouse. I know it’s media but it came off as very genuine. Compared to the post-asg Esco deal this is more like a retirement party.

    And as a farmer with a new planting of beans and peas in the ground, bring on the rain.

  33. If this is an indication of how our offense will perform for the second half of the season, I’m in.

  34. This is the sort of high-leverage situation when you’d want to use your best bullpen arm, but, hey, save stat!

  35. Per Grantland, the Braves have the longest active streak of playoff appearances without a pennant. They are also tied with the Cubs for the most consecutive playoff appearances without a World Series win (13).

  36. A few more games like that from Heyward and we might have to dust off the “Bad Henry County” nickname….

  37. Heyward’s OPS (“The most trusted stat in sports!”) by month:

    April .601
    May .777
    June .774
    July .765

  38. @pgammo: Gm post-Uggla:”Braves desperate to get someone to take BJ Upton at almost any cost.”

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