The Jadeite Jewel: HoF Version

Andrelton Simmons standing on a baseball field with a glove on his hand is a web gem waiting to happen, and this winter Braves Journal is going to determine which of his gems is the best of his best—his Jadeite. For the full rules, check out the introduction.

Round 1: The Jeter vs. The Chipper

The Jeter

http://youtu.be/45YDhOfbA-Q?list=PLK2xliesUwLpZ90rRE_gpyDOVFHu9qHyf

Editor’s Pitch: With the Braves clinging to a 3-2 lead with 2 outs and a runner on 3rd in the bottom of the 8th, Jordan Walden got Travis d’Arnaud to hit a ground ball. Unfortunately for the Braves, it was headed toward the hole and looked destined to tie the game for the Mets. Fortunately for the Braves, they have Andrelton Simmons playing shortstop, and he ranged to his right, snagged the ball, leaped, and threw the runner out with nanoseconds to spare. ESPN will tell you this type of play was patented by Derek Jeter, but there are some notable differences between Jeter making the play and Simmons making the play. Jeter would leap because, unlike Simmons, he did not have a strong enough arm to take the time to plant himself and get the throw off in time. Simmons leaped because he had ranged so far to his right that he was able to get to a ball Jeter never would have even thought to try to get to, and, with as far as he had to run, had he tried to stop his momentum to plant himself and fire across the diamond, he probably would have fallen over. Although he made this look easy, it was anything but.

The Chipper

Editor’s Pitch: While Chipper was never a stellar defensive third baseman, he was the master of charging to barehand a ball and nab the runner. It’s pretty typical to see third basemen make—or try to make—that play, but shortstops really don’t have the time to even try (in fact, when Alcides Escobar tried to make a similar play in the World Series, Harold Reynolds made the comment that he had not seen a shortstop make a play like that since Omar Vizquel. Fortunately, we all know Harold Reynolds the commentator is an idiot.) Simmons, however, has a strong enough arm that he has enough time to do pretty much anything he wants. It’s really not fair.

220 thoughts on “The Jadeite Jewel: HoF Version”

  1. The Jeter is probably more impressive, but gotta go with the play that’s got Alex Wood in the clip!

  2. They’re very close…it’s hard to go against the classic shortstop play in the hole, but the runner in the charging play was much faster. Calling the first play the “Jeter” and the second the “Chipper” prejudices me towards the latter….but then again, each play is Simmons saying “take a lesson, avatar of said play”, which makes me lean towards the former…..

  3. Adam R and I have our first major disagreement…the Jeter it is!

    Speaking of disagreements: I really, really like Harold Reynolds.

    Thanks for keeping these pumping, ‘Rissa.

  4. Edward disagrees with Adam R, and I agree with Edward. Twice. Repent, for the end of the world is at hand.

    I too like Harold Reynolds, and The Jeter is just an impossible play to make. Nobody plays or has ever played shortstop better than Andrelton. Those Curacao kids can play defense.

  5. Wow, hard to decide. I voted for the Chipper but the Jeter was equally impressive.

    @4 And Boston has too many outfielders now that they are going to play Hanley in LF.

  6. If Adam R’s info from the previous thread is good, then I’m not sure we’re using the man to his greatest advantage, based on reports like those.

    “I like seeing us obviously use Heyman to set the terms of negotiation for Upton.”

  7. I voted for the first play (“The Jeter”), that one is SO difficult to pull off and the situation he did it in only makes it better.
    Actually, it might have been my favorite overall Braves moment in 2014.

  8. @11

    Heyward is definitely worth it. Man, Heyward is the Florida State Seminoles of Braves baseball.

  9. @9
    Heyman is a complete buffoon right? He had the temerity to question the sanctity of WAR.
    In this particular case he is only reporting what he is hearing from his sources.

    So, Braves Journal, will we end up trading Gattis or Justin? Or neither?

    @11 – still not enough.

  10. I go with #1.

    Was at the game, sitting upstairs along the 3B side. When the ball was first hit, my initial thought was a simple, if Spurrier-like: “Welp… tie game.”

    After Simmons pulled it off, it earned a rare (for me), if Malzahn-like, fist-pump.

    If you’ve ever heard the phrase “dance like nobody’s watching,” that was it for me. I couldn’t help it. It was that great.

  11. @14

    Well, Heyman is a complete buffoon because it is his job, as a professional trade rumor reporter/speculator, to be a complete buffoon. I doubt he’s a buffoon at home. But you missed my joke.

    (And besides, I don’t defend WAR; it just happens to agree with me about Heyward.)

    @13

    I know there’s a sarcastic barb in there somewhere, but I can’t actually see what you’re driving at. Is the spoof: “Heyward is undefeated heading into the playoffs” or “Heyward barely beats his opponents” or “Heyward has much too great an influence on Tallahassee police” or “Heyward is top four” or “everyone agrees that no one likes Heyward unless he’s in a position to spite Ohio State” or just “Heyward ruined Sam’s Saturday night”?

  12. Lester is apparently deciding very soon which team he will be going to, but the hype here died down a long time ago, so I doubt anyone is waiting with bated breath.

  13. Lester isn’t going to be a Brave. Not waiting anxiously but it will be interesting to see if his signing triggers moves on Shields and Scherzer.

  14. The hush here is a prelude to the nearly certain Justin Upton trade, as well as the potential Gattis trade.

  15. It seems all of our trades involve young pitching. However, we have like zero bats on the farm, two out fielders, no second baseman and several bench spots opened. We had a terrible offense last year.

    Shouldn’t we be looking for a bat or six?

  16. @23 – We should but hitting, even just ok to good hitting is expensive as hell this year. See Sandoval, Cuddyer, Ramirez, Butler, Markakis etc. We also have our two of our positions where we need hitting blocked by BJ and CJ.

  17. @26 – I agree. If Justin can get us a couple of real hitting prospects and maybe an MLB ready 4/5 starter or 2b then that would be a decent return.

  18. Agreed. I’ll even take a good hitting pitcher who we can convert to be a position player if pitching doesn’t work out for him!

  19. The Jeter is such a good play. The real Jeter would make the same play going about half as far and with about twice as much height on the throw.

    The Chipper was a real nice showcase of his quick release. He got that ball out of his hand so fast….

  20. @mlbbowman: When the Royals showed interest in Evan Gattis a few weeks ago, the #Braves asked for Yordano Ventura. KC will likely not deal Ventura.

  21. From the BA article:

    “He was a left fielder for Villa Clara, and he’s expected to stay there in pro ball because of his lack of arm strength, though he runs well enough that he could see some time in center field.

    Since Toscano is 25 and played five seasons in Serie Nacional, he’s exempt from the international bonus pools.”

  22. Smitty, I’ve also noticed that we seem to be connected to a lot of young pitching. With how hard it is to find hitting (as evidenced by the decline in offensive production), why is it necessary to be finding 5 #1-2 starting pitchers? At this point, we should be rounding the rotation out with lottery tickets and organizational filler and be focusing on finding bats. Considering we already have a good bat in left, why are we dealing this bat for more pitching. It doesn’t make sense in and of itself.

    In this offensive environment, when you have a rotation of Teheran/Minor/Miller/Wood, then move on. Medlen can be a lottery ticket and you can collect the incentive-laden Gavin Floyd contracts and castaway Aaron Harangs. The bullpen also looks pretty solid adding Vizcaino, Johnson, and Kohn to Kimbrel/Carpenter/Simmons/Avilan/Varvaro (maybe need another lefty).

    If we could add a decent hitter at 2nd and 3rd, then I don’t think you need to trade Gattis or JUpton to improve the team.

  23. By the way, what is our current payroll after project arb raises? Do we have actually have decent money to spend?

  24. If everyone’s going after hitting and driving the price of hitting way up, then maybe now is the time to buy low on excellent pitching.

    Of course, we’ll still need to find some warm bodies somewhere to play the positions, but if the goal is to get the best player available, maybe going after pitching is the better way to get bang for your buck.

  25. Toscano didn’t play at all last season either, so we’ve got that going for us, which is nice. This looks like a complete non-event. Maybe we’re doing this as a favor and his agents can hook us up with someone that will actually make the team.

  26. The Braves certainly seem to be shopping against the market’s big ticket items (hitting, RH power specifically.) And they seem to be selling high on the commodities they have in that vertical (Heyward sort of, Upton, Gattis.)

    And apparently they’re shopping the international bargain bins to find replacement players for the offensive pieces they convert to young cost controlled pitching.

  27. But they won’t get anything since teams wouldn’t be able to offer him a QO. He’d be a 2 month rental with no pick compensation.

  28. @DOBrienAJC: #Braves not eager to trade Gattis, but #Rangers could offer multi prospects from among P’s Alex Gonzalez, Jake Thompson, OF Nomar Mazara etc

    Anyone want to fill us in on these names?

  29. So nobody was elected by the Veterans Committee. 12 votes needed — Dick Allen and Tony Oliva finished with 11, Jim Kaat had 10, Maury Wills had 9, Minnie Minoso had 8. Hodges, Boyer, Pierce, Tiant, and Howsam all had fewer than three. I’d have voted for Minoso, and maybe Tiant and Boyer. I can understand votes for Allen, Kaat, Oliva, and Hodges, but I would have said no. Pierce is destined to be underrated, but nonetheless falls short of HOF worthiness. Maury Wills has no business being a HOFer. I agree with Posnanski (or else a commenter on his recent article) about Minoso — if he’d been born 10 years earlier or 10 years later, he’d already be in.

  30. Tony Oliva was one of the greatest hitters I’ve ever seen. Would have voted for Oliva, Tiant, and Minoso. Wouldn’t have complained on Kaat, Boyer, or Allen. I never thought Hodges belonged, and Wills would be a horrible mistake.

  31. Apparently, the Mets are shopping Dillon Gee. That would certainly be one way to ensure that he never faces our offense. If the price is right, I’d gladly take him off their hands.

    Dick Allen is basically like a better version of Jim Rice: similar length, similar strengths and weaknesses, just a much better hitter. But Rice had all of Boston pulling for him, and Allen — well, Philadelphia fans are not famous for their effusiveness.

  32. I think you move Gattis now and Justin near the deadline. Gattis is a long term cost-controlled guy that teams want in the sober light of the offseason. Right now, Justin still has the rental distinction that is so off-putting before the playoff races heat up.

    As backwards as it is to trade for a few months of someone, a LOT of teams would be bidding for J-Up if they were in contention. I think the price would be pretty high since he would be an upgrade for almost any team looking for something extra. Also, you wouldn’t have Gattis in left field at any point, which is a plus.

  33. @45 I forgot about the pick. I still believe rationality goes out the window that time of year, and that would give the Braves the option of saying no.

  34. @55 The problem with planning to trade Upton at the deadline is that when it comes around, he could be in the midst of one of his protracted slumps.

  35. Allen is a better hitter than half the HOFers, sure. But…short career, played more than 128 games only 6 times, terrible fielder, kept getting traded (although I don’t blame him fully for that). I’d vote no.

  36. If they can get anything resembling the return from Texas Dan O’Dowd threw up on MLB Network tonight, they’d be fools not to send him yesterday.

  37. @57 Everyone knows what he is. They won’t pay like he’s Hank Aaron when he’s hot or like he’s BJ Upton (with bad defense) when he’s cold. I know it’s a tired phrase, but he’s a “back of the baseball card” guy.

    I just think one year guys would be worth more when your season is somewhat defined.

    Gattis won’t be an attractive piece when he’s floundering around left-field (check out Matt Kemp’s season on fangraphs). He had a good year behind the dish, especially with the framing metrics. If they think Bethancourt and Freeman are the future, it’s time to sell.

  38. Apparently the Braves are trying to sell Upton and Johnson as a package.

    I’m not sure I like these attempts to saddle our tradeable assets with a bad contract. No one would be happier than me to never see BJ Upton or Chris Johnson again, but I feel it’s more important to get talent from Justin Upton or Gattis than salary relief. Even if they cleared all that money, there’s nothing to buy with it this offseason, and if you’re building for 2016 or 2017 the players are going to be more important than the money. (Assuming those savings would be revinvested into the team in the first place, which is no sure thing.)

  39. @Alex

    Maybe I’m continuing to not understand the strategy, but I don’t see what freeing JUpton’s salary accomplishes. Justin is signed to a pretty team-friendly deal, so while we’d be trading him before free agency (which has value), replacing his production on the open market will be much more expensive. If the goal is to extend players on the roster, then that makes sense, but I’m not sure who is extension-worthy after Extendfest 2K14.

    I suppose signing Toscano (if he’s major league ready), trading JUpton for prospects, and using JUpton’s salary to sign… someone makes some sense. Eventually you’re going to need to have some elite players on the roster, and JUpton is the closest we’re going to get to elite offensive ability. I mean, shoot, we just traded a Punch and Judy hitter and everyone lost their minds.

  40. @64 Exactly, if the goal is be competitive by 2017, you can’t trade bad contracts after bad years. BJ and CJ will almost certainly be easier to move after the season. Even if they don’t improve at all, they’ll have less money left on the contract.

  41. Currently, there exists the following holes in the 2016 lineup:

    LF – (Justin Upton is gone)
    CF – (BJ Upton is not gone)
    3B – (Chris Johnson is not a BABIP god any more)
    2B – (Peraza may or may not be ready)
    SP5 – (Whatever question David Hale is the answer to, it ain’t this one.)

    You trade Upton to fill one of those holes; all evidence suggests that they’re trying to fill SP5 by dealing him. You then have one less hole to fill, some projectable talent in the minors, and Upton’s 14.5m per to fold back into filling the remaining holes via mid-tier free agents.

  42. I suppose it just depends how you can re-allocate Justin’s $14.5M per year. If you can spend, say, $7M on a 3B who can hit righties and $7M on a second baseman who is not terrible, then I suppose it makes sense to move JUpton. But then who plays left? Is Toscano being penciled into LF in 2015?

  43. I mostly remember Dick Allen playing for the White Sox, his sale to the Braves (for whom he never played) & his 2nd stint with the Phils (just as they were getting good again).

    But I’ve talked to people who saw Dick Allen play in person, some of them older Mets fans who made a point to see him when he came to NYC. One opinion: “He could hit the ball harder & farther than anyone not named Mickey Mantle.”

    However…
    Bill James on Dick Allen: ““He did more to keep his teams from winning than anyone else who ever played major league baseball.”

    And here’s a good spiel on Dick Allen: http://www.billjamesonline.com/article914/

    BTW, thank you, Falcons, for the backdoor cover. I had +11.5 tonight. You really made me sweat it out. Whew.

  44. 64: Strongly agree. Hopefully that rumor turns out not to be true–many aren’t. The front office’s job is to get talent for talent, not to clear salary so that John Malone can smirk in satisfaction at a .9% drop in costs.

  45. Will be interesting to see the return the A’s got for Samardzija. You figure it would have to be the floor for what the Braves would ask for Upton.

  46. Sam is suddenly pessimistic about getting rid of BJ’s contract.

    That’s Job #1, if you ask me.

    Sam, is there anyway you see to get that done?

  47. Buster Olney: “Some teams that have walked away from talks with the Braves are convinced they are keeping Evan Gattis into 2015.”

  48. Assuming we trade Justin and from what is being tweeted:
    LF – Gattis
    CF – Upton the bad.
    RF – Markakis
    3B – Johnson
    SS – Simmons
    2B – ? – in house Pastorinicky, Gosselin.
    1B- Freeman
    C – Bethancourt – I still don’t see what the Braves see.
    P – Teheran
    P – Wood
    P – Minor
    P – Miller
    P – ? in house option is Hale
    P – Vizcaino
    P – Kimbrell
    P – Varvaro
    P – Johnson
    P – Russell

    As far as I looked the only bat still on the FA market is Mike Morse.

  49. The Braves will need to pick up a guy like Bonafacio who can fake it in CF. I did forget the Cuban that has allegedly been signed.

  50. Using the “North of 100, south of 120” million dollar payroll, with the signing of Markakis, J.Johnson, and the new Cuban, the Braves likely have right at 100 million committed to the payroll. Assuming JUp gets traded, that figure drops down to 86 million, and will likely come back with someone that can fill the SP, 2b, backup catcher, or OF hole(s).

    From there, the Braves have anywhere between 15&33 million to spend, and like in the middle at 24 million. The Braves could easily fill the holes leftover with 24 million.

    I think we should start a petition for Evan Gattis. Either keep him at Catcher or trade him. Who’s in?

  51. You know the team doesn’t look too bad for 2015 if you put Justin in LF and Gattis at catcher. Surely the Braves could pick up a project for a 5th starter and sign a glove for 2b that wouldn’t suck the life out of the offense.

  52. @3, D’aww.

    Well…technically speaking, I support the Heyward trade, given that we weren’t going to pay him. What pisses me off is that this is apparently the front office its fans deserve, when it comes to valuing/paying for elite defense.

    I hate being stuffed into the Heyward fanboy straw man. I’m exclusively an Alex Wood fanboy until his arm snaps off, and probably for several weeks thereafter too. Get it right or pay the price.

    We’re right not to trade Gattis for lotto ticket prospects. I’d want at least one ML ready player in whatever package.

    It’ll be fun to see if JUpton gets us less than Heyward did. And that would be after the pool of available OF has shrunk (you have to assume there is greater scarcity because Heyward himself is no longer on the market), driving the cost to acquire Upton up a little bit.

  53. #81 – Wouldn’t it look the same as the 79 win team from last year, minus some defense in RF and a 200 inning starter?

  54. My whole push for trading Gattis is based on the idea that he would play left for the Braves. It kind of goes out the window if Hart’s bluffing.

    Is Hart bluffing?

  55. So this is what the White Sox are giving up for one year of Samardzija.

    12:57am: The Athletics’ return includes at least Marcus Semien and righty starter Chris Bassitt, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. The Athletics will also likely receive a third player. The 25-year-old Bassitt made his big-league debut in 2014 despite missing much of the year with a broken hand. In four minor-league seasons, Bassitt has a 2.97 ERA, 8.6 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9. Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook 2014 ranked Bassitt the White Sox’ 15th-best prospect heading into the season.

    Semien, 24, had a terrific half-season for Triple-A Charlotte in 2014, then hit .234/.300/.372 in 255 plate appearances in the Majors, playing mostly second and third base, although he can also play shortstop. He boasts an excellent batting eye and reasonable power. The Athletics could use him in their middle infield next season.

  56. The Braves have signed Alberto Callaspo to play 2nd base…not sure if it’s a minor or major league deal, but I’d guess Major. He was REALLY bad last year.

    Fredi emphasizing contact and defense in an interview, yet this is the 2nd player signed with below average defense according to advanced metrics.

  57. Hmm, assuming it’s a one year deal and not too much $ (he got 4.875 last year in the last year of arb but was dreadful last year) I still don’t know. Seems like a slightly below average defender on the whole though really below at 2nd while above average at 3rd. He’s been able to get on base in the past (though not last year .290 OBP) .330 career OBP. Maybe Seitzer worked with him in KC?

  58. Callaspo is the kind of one year rental you go after. He had a bad 2014 but his body of work before that was MLB worthy. Its a decent gamble.

  59. I’m assuming this means we are moving Pastornicky or Gosselin in a deal somewhere. Not sure Callaspo provides us with anything more than either of those two, or Pena who we just DFA’d due to his $1.75 est price tag

  60. Fredi emphasizing contact and defense in an interview, yet this is the 2nd player signed with below average defense according to advanced metrics.

    Boring, defensively-lacking players with no upside must be the new market inefficiency.

  61. He is a caddy for CJ and insurance, just in case Gosselin turns out to be Gosselin at 2b. Even if he gets starts and plays a lot, if he hits his career numbers he is pretty much league average. Most teams don’t have a star at every position.

  62. Callaspo is a better hitter than Ramiro Pena, but he can’t play shortstop. He’s basically an older version of Gosselin with a slightly better bat. We still need someone who can back up Simmons, and we all know that Pastornicky can barely even fake shortstop.

  63. I am with y’all that the idea of Callaspo as our everyday second baseman is not something to look forward to, but if he is expected to be a veteran bench player, I am more than happy with the risk. The guy has covered every infield position in his career and left field while being a switch hitter. It cannot be any worse than what we had on the bench last year, so I will try to remain positive on the signing for now.

    The more concerning thing to me is that it is after lunch on day two of the winter meetings, and I have yet to receive any breaking news update on my phone about a Braves’ move. I do not really care what the move is. I would just like to know we are doing something to reshape our team for the better either immediately or in preparation for the long term. If these winter meetings go by with no eventful action, I will sorely disappointed.

  64. Not a single move yet to make me think we aren’t the worst team in the NL. I fully realize we’re not done, but it is what it is. Add Mike Trout and put him in CF and this team is still bad.

  65. @106 – Was my concern as well. Didn’t we play Gosselin at short 4-5 games last year? I can’t remember him doing anything awful defensively so I’m wondering if that’s the current plan?

    I think long term, you’d want Peraza to be able to backup Simmons.

  66. #Braves prefer Gosselin in utility role, but he’s also 2B candidate if needed. RT @ADigesu10: @DOBrienAJC What about Phil Gosslin
    — David O’Brien (@DOBrienAJC) 2014-12-09T18:48:35Z

  67. 101—I’m with you. I find myself agreeing with you a lot, these days.

    It’s been an uninspiring off-season, but I think each move has been a good one.

  68. How many of these guys will we carry in the pen?

    Kimbrel
    Johnson
    Carpenter
    Russell
    Simmons
    Hale
    Vizcaino
    Jaime
    Varvaro
    Avian
    Thomas

  69. On Callaspo, he really does seem to be a better 3B by quite a bit. His UZR/150 at 3rd is 7.5 while his UZR/150 at 2B is -9.0.

    Wondering if he may wind up playing more 3rd than 2nd?

  70. 113—My guesses, as of today, would be Kimbrel, Johnson, Carpenter, Russell, Simmons, Vizcaino, and either Avilan or Thomas.

    Bowman noted yesterday that the Braves are shopping Varvaro and Pastornicky, so I don’t expect either of those guys to be back next year.

  71. 118 – I don’t know I mean you know what you are getting in Olive Garden, solid if uninspiring, but I think the Braves should hold out for the upside of say a Carrabba’s or Maggiano’s

  72. @Sullivan_Ranger: Rangers interested in Braves C-OF Evan Gattis. But Braves want RHP top prospect Alex Gonzalez and that’s a deal-breaker for Rangers.

  73. Rangers also interested in Upton but won’t give up top prospects and would flip him for pitching. Time to move on from the Rangers. I guess we need Morse and Melky to sign.

  74. Melky (cuss word) Cabrera wants a 5 year deal. (cuss word) him.

    If Hart pulls off the rebuild+reload this off season, even Edward may forgive him.

  75. If they can get a decent return, I’d prefer they trade Gattis. It would be painful to try to watch him play OF, I’m not sure how long he’ll be able to hold up playing catcher, and 1B isn’t an option. Seems a good sell-high point.

    Baseball America has AAAG, as Tejas’s #6 prospect…4 years of Gattis for a guy who has pitched 73 innings above A ball does not sound unreasonable. Daniels however doesn’t really seem to be comfortable trading talent in the minors for MLB players. The only example I could find over the past few years was Garza from the Cubs…though that did include C.J. Edwards who is now Chicago’s #5 prospect according to Sickels.

  76. Hart does seem to like to keep ’em guessing. But you have to figure we have trades involving both Upton and CJ lined up, and it just depends on who loses the Lester sweepstakes, so therefore Callaspo.

  77. coop @ 122,

    I don’t know what “officially” they would say, but no, to me that is not “Hispanic.”

    Nor would Haitians be Hispanic.

  78. Former Dutch and French colonies. Yup.

    On the prolific Alex Gonzalezes. This is my brother Sea Bass and my other brother Sea Bass?

  79. Yet Another Alex Gonzalez?

    If they trade Gattis and JUpton, is anyone going to watch the games? Do the Braves have a free-pass to suck for 2 years because the opening of NCS@WFF will generate buzz and ticket sales no matter what the team does on the field?

    I’m afraid that the answer is a resounding yes.

  80. @131 – I don’t get your negativity. The Braves organization was headed in the wrong direction. You can disagree on moves here and there, but even if only a few of these moves work out, it’s hard for me to imagine that we would be in better shape by keeping the status quo. We lucked out last year by making last minute pitching decisions that worked out. Even with that we missed the playoffs. Us relying on basically the same lineup and same pitching staff this year as last would have been disastrous IMO.

  81. @132, this team is going to be lucky to win 75 games. A lot fewer if they move two of the three remaining hitters. I’m not saying that the FO shouldn’t be doing this. I’m just pointing out that we’re not going to even be close to competitive. It’s a necessary evil, but there’s a whole generation or two of Braves fans that don’t know what it’s like to have the team be terrible. They are about to find out.

  82. If we can get rid of CJ’s contract with Upton, it won’t matter how bad Callaspo is.

    In a way, it’s good that the stadium is coming in 2017 because it gives the rebuild a (somewhat) near-term target. If they won’t open the purse strings now to improve the team, they had better do it in 2017.

    Make a decision, Lester.

  83. Any country speaking predominantly Spanish language is Hispanic. Brazil and the Dutch Antilles are predominantly Portuguese speakers and thus not Hispanic. Haiti speaks Spanish I think.

  84. @136 French I believe. Many almost certainly know both.

    If you want to get bummed out search for why there are no Haitian ball-players. SPOILER: No good reason.

  85. In the long run, it makes complete sense to drop J. Upton and Gattis this offseason. Like krussel said in @133, we are lucky if we are a 75 win team right now. It wouldn’t matter if keeping J. Upton and Gattis around made us an 85 win team. Both numbers are bound to leave us on the outside looking in come playoff time. Get rid of J. Upton for some return that will help us in 2016 and beyond instead of just losing him after this coming season. As much as it hurts to say this, get rid of Gattis while the getting is good. The guy will cost us more than he gives us if he is in LF. He might hit 40 HRs, but his lack of range and skill in OF could cost us just as many. If he is behind the plate, we are bound to only get 110 games out of him. Do we really want one of best bats to only give us 110 games each year? Both scenarios with Gattis are not what we need in the short or long term. I do not care that it is a cost controlled bat for the next 4 years. Actually, I take that back. The fact that it is a cost controlled bat for the next 4 years is the biggest reason to get rid of him. It makes him that much more appealing to other teams.

    I am one of those generational folks that have no idea what it is like to deal with a really bad Braves team, but I can handle it if it means a more stable system like what I grew up with in the long run. I was looking at our minor league stats today, and it is just sad. Peraza probably wouldn’t even be top 5 on most other teams top prospect list, yet he is our number one.

  86. Haitians speak Creole officially. It was derived from the French language. It is somewhat different than the Creole you would find in Louisiana as it does have Caribbean influence.

  87. I just don’t think the partial-rebuild is possible. If they are going to do this then let’s do it all the way. Trade Freeman for a big prospect haul and stick Gattis at 1B. Play out the next two years and hope that we can develop some young offense. Hopefully our pitching is still decent by the time the prospects are ready.

  88. I still stand by what I said earlier. If the Braves have really good pitching I don’t think they’ll have a total collapse. I’m not expecting a playoff run next year yet, but I’m not giving up either. I’m anticipating long term improvement rather than expecting the worst. Hopefully that won’t change.

  89. @133 is how I’m starting to feel about the situation – a rebuild is fine, if it’s done well, but the concept of reloading for 2015 is a Pravda-level fantasy that Hart’s trying his best to sell to a surprisingly willing group of buyers. The team has gotten actively worse on offense in the last month and if Gattis or Upton is traded, it will get way, way worse compared to last year, and last year’s offense was already terrible. Markakis is most certainly a worse hitter than Heyward, Bethancourt is not even a major league hitter at all, and there’s currently just not anyone to play 2nd unless you think it’s Callaspo, who is himself a terrible hitter. That’s downgrades across the board. Starting pitching has maybe (big maybe depending on fundamental changes to Shelby Miller) improved from a true talent standpoint, but Harang pitched above his true talent last year and we’re losing Santana who was darn good last year himself. The bullpen traded a guy in Walden who is actively good for a guy in Vizcaino who is actively unproven, at best. The defense…well the front office appears to think that bad outfield defense behind a group of fly ball pitchers is the new market inefficiency. There’s every reason to think that the team will both score fewer and give up more runs than a 79-win team did last year. That’s not reloading.

  90. I think the one thing that people can stop speculating on is the idea of moving Gattis to 1st. It is not going to happen. Freeman is under contract through 2021 with a very team friendly contract. Yes, he starts making 20 million a year come 2017, but his current numbers would almost guarantee him that as a free agent anyways. Who knows what people will be paying for offense in 3 to 4 years. Freeman could be the biggest contract steal ever for the Braves if things continue to surge in the free agent contract market.

    Also, Freeman’s power number may not ever go up, but if just 20 percent of those doubles turn to HRs, he will be dropping 30 a year. Basically, he would be giving us what Gattis would be giving us as a 1st baseman with better OBP.

    Also, does anybody know the dimensions of the new ball park. I watched Freeman hit a lot of doubles last year that would have went out in a number of parks.

    Plus, the power numbers of Gattis currently with the team control years make him much more appealing to move over Freeman as HRs are a scarce commodity in this day and age.

  91. It bears mentioning that this is Gattis’ last year of pre are. He will go are 1 in 2016 and get contracts similar to Chris Davis’ arb years. So 3/8/13 per or
    Thereabouts.

  92. Okay, I looked it up in that infallible source. Here’s what I got:

    “Hispanic is an ethnonym to people of country heritage that speak the Spanish language, in some definitions, to ancient Roman Hispania, which roughly comprised the Iberian Peninsula including the contemporary states of Andorra, Portugal, and Spain and the Crown Colony or British Overseas Territories of Gibraltar.

    Today, organizations in the United States use the term as a broad catchall to refer to persons with a historical and cultural relationship either with Spain, or with Spain and Portugal, regardless of race.

    Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hispanic

    Same thing with Latino:

    “Even though both terms are used interchangeably, there is a difference between Hispanic and Latino. Hispanic is a term that originally denoted a relationship to ancient Hispania (Iberian Peninsula). Now it relates to the contemporary nation of Spain, its history and culture; a native of Spain residing in the United States is a Hispanic. Latino refers more exclusively to persons or communities of Latin American origin. While there is a significant overlap between the groups, Brazilians are a good examples of Latinos who are not Hispanic (they speak Portuguese).”

  93. A lot of talk of packaging bad contracts, which is an error. A lot of the talk from Bob Nightengale, which is a pattern.

  94. If Braves really want to package JUp and C.Johnson to Giants, their chances just got better as Lester turned down Giants offer.

  95. We need to quit worrying about packaging a bad contract with a good player. That’s eliminating any hope of getting good players in return and we certainly can’t pay anyone on the FA market. I think it’s a bad strategy. Trade Jupton and Gattis for the best packages and hope CJ and Bupton can somehow rebuild their value on their own.

    Add Michael Kohn to the bullpen mix mentioned earlier. I forgot about us signing him.

  96. A rumored trade that would’ve sent Upton and Chris Johnson from the Braves to the Giants is about a week old and “not happening,” a source tells CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman.

  97. Even if they repeat last year’s performance, their value will increase because less money will be on their contracts.

  98. I am with the assumption that we need to stop trying to accompany a bad contract with a good one because it really is killing our chances. If you really think about it, keeping Johnson around as a backup 1st baseman and platoon person at 3rd base because he can definitely hit LH pitching isn’t the worst thing in the world. B.J. as a 4th or 5th OF with pinch running duty is about as much as we can hope for him. If he starts one out of every 5 games instead of 4 out of every 5, we would already be in a better situation than last year.

    Basically, those are two of our bench guys, Johnson is not a bad looking prospect as a situational/platoon guy although overpaid I will admit. B.J. is just B.J. We are stuck with him for another 3 years. Nothing will ever make him more attractive. I hope I am wrong, and he figured something out this winter. I sure am not going to hold my breath on that one though.

  99. The best thing about @143 is the assertion that it will require “fundamental changes to Shelby Miller” for him to be an improvement over Santana, who was “darn good last year,” when Shelby Miller through his age 23 season has posted a career ERA+ of 111, and Santana has posted a 99, and JUST LAST YEAR, Miller posted 183 innings of 98 ERA+ and Santana posted 196 innings of a 92 ERA+, this is of course ignoring that Santana got paid $14m to do it and was a one-and-done, and Shelby Miller will make $500k next year and be around for 4 years at least. That’s my very, very favorite part of that post.

  100. We moved Heyward on his own. You have to assume deals for Jupton are in place, and we’re just trying to get a little more before Lester gets this thing started.

    And it looks like he finally has.

  101. If Braves could get both Susac&Crick in a San Fran deal that sends JUp and C. Johnson, I’d be down. Shows my lack of confidence in C-Beth. Susac woud make Gattis expendable.

  102. @161 – To sincerely reply to your trite response, for some reason: the assumption in my comment is that Miller is replacing Harang’s production from last year. Harang was really lucky to post a 102 ERA+ last year, just like Miller was really lucky to post a 98. 6.2 k/9 and 3.2 bb/9 is a pretty poor ratio, one that will actually have to change for him to improve on the production that we got out of Harang in ’14. Is there some fundamental flaw with that reasoning that remains your favorite part of the comment? Please enlighten me if so.

  103. @161 – I also have no idea what the Miller/Santana salary comparison has to do with anything. My comment had nothing to do with the long term value of having Shelby Miller on the team vs. Ervin Santana – I’m thrilled to have the guy and I hope he turns back into the thing that got everyone so excited in 2013 and previously. That said, the most recent way that he has pitched is to do so without striking anyone out. That’s bad, and has to, one might say “fundamentally” change for him to turn back into what he was. And even if the chances of that happening are good, there’s every chance that it doesn’t happen by 2015, which was the ENTIRE point of my comment. There’s no special reason to think that the team has actually improved from last year, which was itself a bad, losing year.

  104. It seems like the Braves as a team were designed to strike out a lot but hoped to hit a lot of home runs. The strike outs came but not the home runs.

    It looks like next year’s team will hope to strike out less and pray that non power guys develop some power. Not sure that it will work but our strategy last year sure didn’t work.

  105. DOB saying our focus now is to add 1 more starter. That really can’t be our final touch to this offseason can it?

    And that’s a backend starter type

  106. It will never happen, because the Reds would never do it; but Smitty’s hairdresser told my wife that a JUpton for Cueto deal was close to happening.

    What did you hear, Smitty, and how’s the family?

  107. I think once you trade Heyward there’s no going back. You’re all-in on the full rebuild. They just can’t say that out loud. I’ll be shocked if they don’t move JUpton soon.

  108. @169 — The Braves built the kind of offense that would have worked five or ten years ago, but isn’t functional in the modern offensive climate. The Braves have always been slow about adjusting to changes in the game, but they’ve always had a productive farm system to cover for that. Now they don’t.

  109. I think once you trade Heyward there’s no going back.

    How do you figure? Heyward had one year left and wants a ton of money. Even if you’re not rebuilding, trading him for a starting pitcher whom the team controls for four years isn’t a bad move.

  110. I was in Jamaica several years ago and a bat (the flying kind) came flying through the church sending us Americans, including me, running for cover. A 10 year Jamaican boy was with us. He calmly picked up a stick, waited for the bat to fly near him and knocked it out of the air with one swing. He should be the right age now. Maybe the Braves discovered him and he’ll make us all forget about Heyward. I can always hope can’t I?

  111. @171
    My barber says JUp, Pastornicky and Chris Johnson to the Tigers for Nick Castellanos Steven Moya and Angel Nesbitt.

    The family is doing much better. Thanks for asking.

  112. @177

    I think the point is that there’s no trading a 5+ win player making $7.8 million while trying to climb back into contention in 2015, because that sort of immediate value isn’t likely to be coming back to you, and contention was an uphill climb to begin with.

  113. #180
    Not only is that Lee Bains III & The Gloryfires record my fave for ’14 (probably), but they were easily the best rock show I’ve seen this year, as well. Blazing, relentless & downright soulful.

    Of course, I’m seeing Centro-Matic Thursday & Friday nights, so that could change…

  114. @181

    Agreed. Seems pretty clear that the Braves as constituted at the end of last season were not going to be winning any World Series (or much of anything, really) any time soon. They knew they needed big changes – hell, they fired the GM.

    I read where John Hart basically said Liberty Media declared they did not want a total teardown of the Braves, but in my totally uninformed opinion they are trying to totally reshape the major league roster and minor leagues without saying that is what they are doing.

    I think the Braves can pull this off and in a few years the team should be pretty good. Load up on arms and get some offensive players who can put the ball in play (for chrissakes) and they should be fine.

  115. I can attest to three of the albums on that list; Amy Ray, Old 97s, and Sturgill Simpson. I was underwhelmed by the St Paul & The Broken Bones album, but I hear they’re much more of a live act. (And it bears mentioning, 2014 was a year I spent firmly planted in the rock-space, more than the Americana space.)

    It used to be you could keep up with new releases over the course of a year. But today, it’s just impossible. Both because I am old, and because technology has released us into a golden era of music, sans the taste-makers and label executives at the gates.

  116. And the best show I saw this year was the opening set Gojira put on before Mastadon took over.

  117. Cubs in on Justin.

    Gattis, Justin, and the Braves’ entire farm system for the a beer, a brat, and the Cubs’ entire farm system.

    Make it happen Hart

  118. Cubs are one of the teams on Justin’s no trade list, not that he wouldn’t waive it to go there.

  119. @clarkspencer: So just to restate: #Marlins getting Dee Gordon and Dan Haren from #dodgers for Heaney, Kike Hernandez, Austin Barnes and Chris Hatcher

  120. Everybody else is on espn.com for trade talk. The Braves are there with an article about their new stadium renderings. Rediculous.

  121. Since the Rule 5 draft is in reverse order by standings, I looked back at the standings.

    .488, we may be blowing things out of proportion. 13 or 14 teams picking ahead of us.

  122. @194 Is there something wrong with Canha? I checked to see if he can hit righties and it looks like he can hit everything. The article says he can fake it at third, which sounds like an upgrade.

  123. @204 The Dodgers are paying the 2015 salary of Haren and Gordan. Regardless of Haren retiring or not, the Dodgers will pay that sum to the Marlins. So the Dodgers basically gave up $12.5m plus Gordan for all the prospects including Heaney they are getting.

  124. @203/206. I’m generally supportive of what the FO is doing, but taking a chance on Medlen and Beachy seem to make a lot of sense to me. I’m sure they know a lot of things we don’t, but the potential returns seem to far outweigh the risks unless both injuries look like they are nonrecoverable. I wish both of them well, but I’m still scratching my head – especially since we are looking far and wide for a 5th starter.

  125. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Braves were the rumored team to be trading up for the rule five draft

  126. @ 208 and @ 210.

    I believe we should have tendered to Beachy. Obviously, if they KNOW his arm is destroyed, then no.

    Reason, you are risking about 1.5 mill on possibly getting something useful this year. BUT, if you even get a good # 4 starter as the result, you have two more arb years. If he goes down again during the next year, then you non tender. Some chance of upside, not much chance of downside.

    Before Medlen was non tendered, he rejected anything less than the 5. 8 he got last year. So, at anything like that, no way until he shows something.

  127. Too bad the Padres got Kemp. Their young pitching/prospects are my favorites of the teams that were still in on Upton.

  128. I would’ve taken Yasmani Grandal off their hands, if they’re so intent on starting Rene Rivera or whoever.

  129. What do you all think of the Padres/Dodgers trade?
    Pads get Kemp at 5/77 million and catcher Fedorwicz (controlled for 5 years)
    and trade…
    Grandal, Weiland, and a 3rd player. Grandal has 4 years of control, Weiland 5, and a lower level pitching prospect, Zach Eflin.

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