The Jadeite Jewel: Honorable Mentions

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.

Before we launch into the second round in our series, I wanted to take a moment to honor the plays that did not make it into this contest. Having to cut some of these was hard, but ultimately they had to go, either because a similar play was already included or because there were other plays that were just better.

As I sorted through these one last time after I filled out the bracket, to make sure nothing slipped through the cracks on me, I thought with amazement that for some shortstops, plays like these would easily be in their top five. For most MLB shortstops, these plays would at least make it into their top ten. For Andrelton Simmons, though, they didn’t even crack the top 32. That, I think, may be the most insane thing you will see in this whole contest.

There is no voting for these—just enjoy! Think of this as the lull before the storm. The competition will definitely heat up in round two!

And, really, what better thing is there to do during than offseason than sit around and gorge yourself on clips of Andrelton Simmons being really awesome?

80 thoughts on “The Jadeite Jewel: Honorable Mentions”

  1. Saw someone in previous thread complaining that this was the most depressing offseason since they became a Braves fan in 1990.

    Well, yeah.

  2. I’ve been a Braves fan since the 70’s and I can never remember a rebuilding offseason. Of course, given some of the players the Braves had during that time, it was very difficult to rebuild by trading away your one or two good players. Some would say that the Braves were in perpetual rebuilding mode until 1982, only to go into another 8 year rebuilding project. From 1970 to 1990 we finished above 3rd place 2 times and had 3 years with a winning record.

    I’m pretty confident we’ll do better than the 1988 Braves, who finished 54-106 and 39.5 games back. Sad thing is that even before that season I was optimistic that they would have a good year. I can’t say that I’m overly optimistic about 2015, but with our pitching and a little luck, I think we can at least finish in the middle of the division pack (around 75-87). I think rebuilding was absolutely necessary, so I’ll take what we can get.

  3. Sorry, I mis-stated the Braves accomplishments above. They had 5 out of 21 winning seasons from 1970 to 1990. They also had 5 years where they finished 3rd place or better, compared to 8 last place finishes during that time. Those were the days!

  4. I won’t repost it here, but at the very end of the last thread there’s another installment of the Bizarro Braves for those who are interested. The subject of it is what happens if the Bizarro Braves are completely terrible and are sellers at the deadline.

  5. @5, I said before, I think the worst case scenario for the Bizarro Braves is actually that they’re in it all the way up until the end…only to fall one game short of the play-in. So they keep Upton/Heyward through the stretch run and don’t even get to trade them. That’s the reality the team has to balance against.

    I still wouldn’t necessarily say it’s straight-up impossible to rebuild for 2017 under those circumstances. But I’m not willing to do the work to show it :)

  6. Yeah, that’s the biggest risk by far. I’m saving it for last. I haven’t even begun to think it through, but I have started on the much more enjoyable task of what happens if the Bizarro Braves make the playoffs and advance.

  7. The physics of Coors makes it difficult for Rockies hitters to play up to their abilities on the road.

    I mean, Blackmon is an immediate improvement and doesn’t cost much, but I think our current plan dictates that we’d be looking for players with more risk and more upside, so we could either keep them or deal them for prospects before the deadline if they produce in the short-term.

    At some point, we are going to have to strike it rich with a position player, one way or another…

  8. Good work, fellow fantasist!

    The Brewers have extended a spring training invitation to Dontrelle Willis. Here’s hoping he figures out a way to stick.

  9. It’s not that I don’t want Blackmon, it’s just that I don’t want to trade top-20 prospects for him. To me, he looks like a below-average outfielder with mediocre power and an ugly walk rate whose physical peak has nearly passed.

  10. High-risk, high-upside players are great targets for a rebuild, but so are cheap, low-ceiling, high-floor guys, because the major league roster is so awful. The biggest problem with Markakis is that he isn’t that cheap — but that’s only in the context of a team that is cheap. It’d be great if we could sign a few more one- or two-year stopgaps until whenever the front office is ready to try to start winning again.

    Charlie Blackmon’s top comp on baseball-reference is Matt Murton, which sounds about right. He’s a fourth outfielder who can hit a little. We could have used him last year, that’s for sure.

  11. Lot of good Freeman highlights in there too. He’s underrated at first, imo. But what really amazes me is that Simmons acquired all these highlights in little more than two seasons of play.

  12. Ryan, what do you predict would be our cost of trading for Allen Craig? Boston has a surplus, but they wont give him away.

  13. @12, That’s as helpful/accurate a list of expected return on trades as I’ve seen. Pretty great. It really underscores just how important a Minor bounceback season is for the team.


  14. Callaspo and Pierzynski are classic late 80’s type signings. (See Oberkfell, Ken, and Moreno, Omar)

  15. Can we add KJ to this list of late 80’s type signings? Let’s see: Over the hill guy people have heard of and might fool some fans into being excited? Check, check, and check.

    (Actually, I’m pretty excited.)

  16. Remember when we traded Victor Caratini for Emilio Bonifacio and James Russell? Look for a plethora of those types of trades this deadline, except for the Braves being the ones receiving the prospects.

  17. KJ doesn’t play much 2b anymore, only playing about 30 games there the last 2 seasons via BR.

  18. So, the probable lineup looks like this:

    RF Markakis
    2b Peterson/Callaspo/Gosselin
    1b Freeman
    3b C. Johnson
    LF Almonte/Gomes
    CF Upton
    SS Simmons
    C Bethancourt

  19. continued:

    LF Almonte/Gomes
    IF Peterson/Callaspo/Gosselin (whichever 2 aren’t starting)
    C Pierzynski
    OF Cunningham/Terdo/Constanza/K. Johnson (pick one for the last spot)

    Starting pitchers
    1. RHP Teheran
    2. LHP Wood
    3. RHP Miller
    4. LHP Minor
    5. RHP Hale/LHP Gonzalez

    RHP Kimbrel – closer
    RHP Grilli, RHP J. Johnson, RHP Simmons, LHP Russell, RHP Vizcaino – set-up
    RHP Hale/LHP Gonzalez – long relief

  20. I think we are looking at platoons in up to 5 spots. More than likely, at least 4. And if the Braves are smart, they’ll stick with a platoon for many of the veterans to disguise their weaknesses.

    Lineup against LHP:


    vs. RHP

    Seriously, this team could be a study in the platoon advantage/disadvantage. The one questionable platoon is Callaspo as he’s a switch hitter that hits LHP better. If you squint hard, it’s not that difficult to see a .700 OPS average out of those 2 lineups.

  21. That would seem to be the best way to go, ryan c., but I don’t know about Fredi going for that.

  22. I am also confused about Gomes.

    These lineups are fugly. Should make for a team that’s both easy and hard to root for–that is, you want them to win, but they suck.

  23. Wow, that has got to be one of the worst lineups relative to the league in history. Are they really going to go into the season not spending money they have budgeted? Makes me want to puke.

  24. Now, the only way the Braves can spend the money is on a FA starting pitcher as the position player market is picked clean.

  25. Didn’t the Braves sign Cuban OF Dian Toscano? Is he a possible piece or minor league guy for now?

  26. I think we’ll find out what we have in Toscano come spring training.

    If I were the Braves I would have tried to find him a place in a winter league.

  27. DOB has alluded to Toscano being a 4th OF type player. Said he may need some minor league AB’s first.

    I’d like to sign Gomes and trade for Craig. I think he would be a good buy low candidate and Boston surely doesn’t need him.

  28. Craig has a fairly hefty contract. Last season he was bad and he hasn’t played more than 134 games. I don’t know if the low games played is due to being platooned or injury issues. I’d still take a flyer on him.

  29. I think Toscano is the replacement for BJ at whatever point they decide to bench or at least platoon him.

  30. I just discovered that when you cancel your MLB.TV subscription (otherwise you are automatically renewed for 2015) it asks you why you are cancelling and one of the options is “team not doing well”. Alas, there was no option for “team is a fucking dumpster fire”.

  31. Braves Journal will be making fun of many of our players this season, just like we are BJ Upton, I’m afraid.

  32. Sign me up for Francouer in RF, KJ in left to start the season. That’s basically the only positive outcome I can imagine for the coming season other than Minor not sucking again and none of the other young arms catching elbow disease. Actually, the front office would be way more likely to hang on to Teheran if he has a Tommy John surgery on his résumé, so maybe he should catch the elbow disease.

  33. BJ would find a way to strike out looking in T-ball.

    Why not? Baby Braves part deux. Hell sign Andy Marte and send him to Myrtle Beach.

  34. Rosenthal reporting that Gomes will sign with Braves for one year plus vesting option. No figures released.

  35. A vesting option for Jonny Gomes? I assume Hart is just giving Copolella some practice, in the event that someday down the road he needs to sign an actual player.

  36. Gomes was worth negative 1.5 million last year as a 33 year old. He’s 34 now, and unless time has begun to run backwards or he is actually being paid four million Russian rubles he can’t be described as a good buy.

  37. @72

    Ultimately though…does it really matter?

    It’s not like he’s blocking anybody or there was still anyone out there who would move the needle. If he can hit lefties okay and keep AJ from rubbing off too much on the young guys, I’m fine with it

  38. @66 & 69—we could finish in last place and I’d still watch every game if a Boyer or McBride appearance was a possibility. A full-blown 2005 reunion might be the best possible scenario for this team at the moment. Get it done, Hart!

  39. I’ve realized the only way I’m ok with all this is if we get someone to overpay completely for Kimbrel in June or July. I’m so frustrated with how we use him even when we’re good there’s no point in having an asset like that completely wasted on a bad team. Hopefully the Dodgers or someone get some injuries or just ineffectiveness and give up an actual hitter for him.

  40. @75

    That interview is something else!

    -Hey Fredi, who’s going to bat clean-up?

    “It could be anybody, any day. It depends on that matchup of the day.”

    -Ok, great. How will you replace the production of Gattis, Heyward and Justin Upton in the line-up?

    “I’m going to ask the guys to be more fundamentally sound defensively and offensively.”

    -Anything else?

    “Maybe be more aggressive on the basepaths. And if Constanza is paying attention, he has to know he has a chance to make this club and make an impact.”

    -Great, thanks Fredi. Looking forward to a long season with you.

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