The Jadeite Jewel: Down with the Cardinals

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: Take the Easy Out vs. The Pop-Up Throw

Take the Easy Out

Editor’s Pitch: Simmons is so good he probably could have tossed the ball over his shoulder and gotten the runner out at first, but he didn’t want to show off so he went after the runner heading to third. If you’re trying to teach your children the proper fundamentals of throwing a ball, don’t have them watch Simmons. They’ll come away with the impression that your body can literally be in any position you want it to be and the throw will still go exactly where you want it to go. He was not only on his knees when he released that throw, he was still sliding. Yet his throw was on target and he got the out to end the inning. Ho hum. All in a day’s work.

The Pop-Up Throw

Editor’s Pitch: Double plays are one of the prettiest things in baseball, but when Andrelton Simmons is involved their beauty is worthy of masterpiece status. This play is just so smooth, yet it involved running, sliding, getting up, and throwing. He did all of those things so well he killed two Cardinals with one stone. That alone is worthy of accolades and adulation.

110 thoughts on “The Jadeite Jewel: Down with the Cardinals”

  1. Uggla’s agent is throwing out the idea that Uggla’s struggles were due to an undisclosed concussion.

  2. That seems entirely plausible, and would account for the severe degradation of his skills. But he’ll be 35 in March, he has been one of the worst players in baseball for the last two years, he had a skillset that was naturally bound to age poorly, and concussions are no joke. So while the injury may account for some of the loss in performance, there’s not much chance of him regaining his skills at this point.

  3. I’m loving this series of top plays from Simmons.  Really makes you appreciate his defensive wizardry day in & day out.  I know his bat needs some work (looking forward to the Kevin Seitzer experience), but I’m so glad that we have him locked up to the long-term deal that was recently signed.

    Also, I loved both plays, right now the DP is winning in a landslide (I voted for it too), it almost wish I could show more love to both of them.  Maybe we could rate them – you know, 9.975 vs 9.995, etc, that would show the appreciation even for the non-winning plays.

  4. Ah, but there can be only one.

    @4

    I had to read that three times before I was sure you weren’t joking.

  5. @4, Not just undisclosed. The word used on MLBTR was “undetected.”

    We’re going to suffer through multiple seasons of miserable baseball, resulting largely from Uggla’s decline. So if this is true, I’d like to see the Braves’ medical staff publicly held accountable.

    We lasered the guy’s eyeballs but may have missed a concussion?

  6. Looks like Headley will sign with the Yankees, so maybe there’s a chance of trading CJ to the Giants? He’d do well in a big park like that.

  7. You’d think they’d have learned not to rely on the Braves scrap-heap after their week of Uggla, undetectably concussed edition

  8. From Tom Verducci:

    “Where do World Series teams come from? Anywhere. Of the past 20 teams to reach the Fall Classic, half of them posted between 83-89 wins the year before their pennant, while the other half was split between really good teams (90-plus wins) and really bad teams (66-76 wins).”

    Looks like the Johns (good name for how I feel about them so far–with, admittedly, a lot of time to change my mind) did their homework. No mention of 79-win teams anywhere near the pennant!

  9. He might not have wanted to play in Atlanta. Not every player is available to every team. According to the articles, it seems to have been a foregone conclusion that he would re-sign with NY.

  10. If made available, Chris Johnson would be the most attractive 3b on the market. If ever there was a time to dump his contract…

  11. And when you look at his production/contract, he’s an upgrade over…

    If you’re the Astros, you probably just want to save money and play Matt Dominguez until your window opens.

    If you’re trying to contend and starting Joaquin Arias/Casey McGehee/Mike Moustakas/Conor Gillapsie, CJ ain’t that much better and comes with a longer commitment. If I’m those teams, why not just wait it out rather than make the desperation play now for CJ?

  12. Well it obviously won’t be prudent to bank on a team making a -smart- decision to acquire him. Maybe we play up his lefty-hitting. Mike Moustakas can’t hit left-handed pitching. (Then again, Moustakas can’t really hit right-handed pitching lately.) If I’m Kansas City I think about it.

  13. And actually KC’s the one place I can think of where a CJ-Justin bundle makes a little bit of sense. Moustakas was horrible, and unless KC’s planning to play Dyson every day they need an outfielder.

  14. @21
    He’s not an upgrade over many, but he’s an upgrade over the scrapheap that’s left. The Giants are most definitely a team with a 3b need. I’m sure there are others.

    I dig the idea of the Braves paying some salary to get back better prospects, especially considering the lack of quality FA on the market.

  15. @24, My point is, yes, Joaquin Arias sucks, but he’s only a fraction of a win worse than CJ. And not only is Arias dirt cheap, they also don’t have to pay him at all after this season.

    So why pay $23 million over three seasons for the privilege of getting better by half a win?

    If you’re the Giants, better to hope the luck dragons favor Arias’ BABIP and he’s the 2015 McGehee, right? Or just wait until some team with an actual 3B falls out of it, so you can get a real upgrade for your money.

    @23, Yeah, maybe. But if I were them, I’d rather stick with Dyson :(

  16. I would be reticent to take at face value the talking points of the agent of a guy who went from 15 mil per year to unemployed in the matter of two years. It may be true, but right now “concussion” sounds a little too much like this year’s “vision problems.”

  17. Rosey says Padres all over Upton. Looked at Sickels review of his pre-season top 20, uninspiring.

    CJ can hit lefties. I think a lot of teams would have a problem with the jump in k’s and fall-off in walks. They knew the BABIP would change somewhat, but he wasn’t hitting the ball that well. Harang had a higher walk-percentage late into the season.

  18. 32: Any journeyman minor leaguer, while they wait to see if Kubitza can be a starter and plan to reallocate salary to a free agent third baseman in 2017.

  19. @JesseSanchezMLB: Source: OF Dian Toscano’s deal with #Braves is for four years with option for a fifth worth $7.5 million. Deal is pending physical. #Cuba

  20. I am not a great fan of the Chris Johnson contract, and agree that it was foolish to extend him at the peak of his career year/BABIP numbers. That said, clearing his contract isn’t a priority. It’s a nice to have, not a must have. Getting value for JUpton is a must have. Moving BJ, if something presents itself (it won’t) is a must have. CJ is a second tier concern at best. He’s not a good player, and it’s not a particularly good contract, but that deal won’t kill the team.

  21. I think the contract has the BABIP normalization priced in, it didn’t account for him putting the ball in play less

  22. @Buster_ESPN: The Los Angeles Dodgers have agreed to a one-year, $10 million deal with left-hander Brett Anderson, with $4m in possible incentives.

    Geez…

  23. Surprising

    @mlbbowman: The #Braves are expected to DFA Anthony Varvaro to create a roster spot for Alberto Callaspo.

  24. Yeah I’d like to think we have a trade in place for Varvaro. No reason to just DFA him. He’s posted solid numbers and is cheap.

    Rios got $11mil. Crazy market.

    Upton/Varvaro/something for Walker/Miller

  25. I was on a flight from Atlanta to Daytona a few years ago and this guy who said he owned a bar in Buckhead was talking to me about Uggla closing his place down most nights. He also said Freeman was his sidekick. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but it could explain the erosion of skill more than a phantom concussion…

  26. @26 I wish I were as good at something as Andrelton is at defense, but I thank you for the compliment!

  27. “Owners of the Cumberland Mall are concerned that the Atlanta Braves’ parking plan for the new stadium will include fans hijacking some of the 5,600 parking spaces at the mall, then riding a circulator bus to the ballpark.”

    Howdy, neighbor!

  28. Varvaro isn’t a piece to be upset about, but he’s still cheap and can post solid numbers. I guess we are thinking that Michael Kohn will be the guy to replace him.

  29. I’m not certain this isn’t an 85 win team. I mean, I’m not certain this team isn’t a lot of things. Simba can hit better (possibly), CJ could start putting the ball in play again (maybe he won’t have a lower walk rate than Harang deep into summer), Freeman could develop the power we hope for, hell, BJ’s not that old, so who knows?

    They competed last year for a long time. Maybe they’ll give it a go again. I’m curious to see what happens next.

  30. We still only have four starting pitchers, unless we are really actually going to give Russell a chance to get in the rotation. I don’t see that happening though

  31. We have 5 starting pitchers, technically; it’s just that none of us particularly want to see David Hale as Plan A.

  32. There’s still plenty to enjoy about the Braves event if they won’t get to .500 next year. That’s the approach I’m taking.

  33. @71 – Truth. And that is with CJ, Simmons, BJ and 1/4 of the time Laird sucking the life out of the offense. But then we also had Harang and Santana pitching way above expectations too.

    I don’t hold out much hope for BJ or Simmons but there is at least some hope that Johnson hits better.

    If we keep Justin and Gattis I think we can compete if at least one of the above doesn’t ‘hit’ like a pitcher.

  34. We have a good top 4 in the rotation that should keep us in games. (5th starters are just 5th starters.) But it doesn’t look like we’ve improved offensively except getting guys who strike out less.

    As it stands now David Hale and Cody Martin would compete for the 5th rotation spot.

  35. MLBTR saying that the mariners are close to acquiring a hitter, but doesn’t Mention who. Also saying that San Diego and Tampa Bay or close to huge trade. Apparently Myers is the big piece heading to SD and would take them out of the Upton talks.

    If the Mariners in San Diego are both out on Upton that could certainly change things.

  36. For now, he would be an upgrade for almost anyone come playoff race time.

    Trading a lot for one year and a draft pick is pretty dumb on its own, and a trade now would be banking on the assumption that your team is actually that closing to winning it.

  37. The player is worth more if you have him for more games. You can count on other GM’s being impulsive or stupid, but it wouldn’t be the smart bet.

  38. Yes, his value is higher, but the value of the games you get him for is undetermined. I think they’re more likely to do something stupid when the stakes are higher and their off-season “plans” go out the window. That said, we apparently have a plan to let Gattis play left field, so I guess dumb ideas can strike at any time.

  39. Teams wouldn’t give up much at the deadline. They wouldn’t be allowed to make a QO if he’s traded mid season.

  40. I think that might be assigning too much value to a sandwich pick. If a small-market team thinks they have a shot, they’ll take it.

    I’m not saying take him off the table, just don’t panic when you don’t get what you want.

  41. I think the Braves must have agreed a deal with the M’s and that’s why the Padres moved on to Myers. I expect Varvaro to be in the deal with the M’s. Baseball god, please give us Walker and Miller but I know the Braves are never that lucky.

    Funny that Myers will be traded twice despite his status. Major red flag and seems like another Delmon Young case to me.

  42. I hope Wil Myers doesn’t end up a sad story. I would guess the Rays are cutting bait because they don’t believe his wrist is OK.

    I actually wouldn’t mind taking a chance on him. He already has one season under his belt that’s significantly better than anything Delmon Young ever did.

  43. Shame Justin won’t go to Chicago because I would love to make a deal with the Cubbies. Their bullpen could use some help…*cough*kmbrl*cough*

  44. Okay, last thought before I cede the floor: I don’t believe in the Marlins as a team that wins more than 82 games in 2015.

  45. Wil Myers was broken last year; but for about half a year before he broke, he really sucked. I would pass on all his potential even if he were canonized.

  46. Our man in the Caucasus…

    Forget Cuba, over exposed, so overpriced…you stand in line meekly and pay through the nose…

    let’s take advantage of the collapse of the rouble and get set up in a hurry somewhere in one of those seven time zones(or is it eleven)…major disaffection among youth with the sneering kleptocrats who run the show – do you think any of them would question a contract offer and/or insist on an auction with every other ML team?

    Hey, they can play hockey. It’s the ice, you say, plenty of it. Well, yes, time to toil in the sun then, be positive. Unsigned, undrafted, unknown, this is the country with a rich athletic tradition and even a sound working knowledge of dope when arms get tired – throwing the hammer/javelin/discus, what problem can a baseball pose? Power? have you seen those slavic muscles, dear God!

    The double play and the Infield Fly rule will take a little longer to be absorbed, the absence of overt corruption/match fixing will bewilder at first but how refreshing after Vladimir, let’s get the hell out. And so far from the Gulag if things go wrong.

    I am not entirely kidding. The time is ripe. We are on our back foot, so are they. Take a million Liberty dollars to get started and put it to work with a couple of key guys,one at each end, use the indigenous social media to get the word out. Seriously. Why not.

    It’s not that difficult a game to adapt to in its essence. Hit the ball/throw the ball. The rest can come later under the Georgia sun. All that needs to be done at this stage is identify the raw talent, sign something, ship ’em out. Thumb our nose at our competition.

    Cuba and Curacao we have done – in Yekaterinburg the Braves training camp is underway. The local slugger we have identified is happy to sign – a 10 year deal @ 100 million roubles per, we have the right to void when it suits . Or pay him in the dollar equivalent if/when that suits. No Boros.

    We have already found three guys who can throw over 100. One doesn’t even take a stride towards the plate. He’s on a bottle and a half a day but, hey, that will make his ML debut more effective – wild, we’ll spread the word.

    Again, i’m not entirely kidding. It could be done and tried at a cost that’s paltry compared to what we dish out now to mediocrity. 3 years would be enough, we would know by then. The right 2 guys to start it are obviously critical, the rest can follow. Russia is falling to pieces – there are millions of disenchanted young men who can’t get a decent job , a few hundred of them might be world class athletes. Social media plus Our Man on the spot will help find some of them, we need only a few to get started.

    Latest news! SPRING TRAINING IN THE CRIMEA.

  47. @103,105

    In my thirst for offense I’m starting to see the fata morgana in the desert of our offseason acquisitions.

  48. Teams aren’t going to trade us their Kris Bryants or Mike Trouts — I cite those particularly players not just for their freakishly linear paths to total success, but for their contracts as well.

    For the Braves to succeed with this payroll, they’re going to have to take a chance at some point. Whether that’s on a post-hype young player or a big FA deal.

  49. It looks like the Nats are the 3rd team involved in the TB/Padres talks. We are running out of options.

  50. I dunno, I kind of like that when the dust settles, it could be just us and Jack Z.

    Though it is aggravating that the Nationals will be more likely to keep their window open after this year, as a result of whatever this trade is.

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