Phillies 5 (by coop)

Ryan Weber was outstanding in his major league debut, if you forget who the Braves were playing. Aaron Nola was better, unless you remember that he was pitching against the Braves.

The Phillies beat the Braves 5-0. Atlanta had plenty of opportunities but went 0-10 with runners in scoring position. The most egregious came in the top of the eighth with runners at first and second and nobody out. Luis Garcia had just walked Hector Olivera. Freddie Freeman turned a base on balls into a strikeout in a miserable effort. Furthermore, it looked like Freddie tweaked his left leg in his penultimate futile swing. Big league pitchers can make big league hitters look bad, but Freddie did this all by himself. Opportunity lost. Braves failed to score. Again.

Danny Burawa retired Freddy Galvis to start the eighth after getting the two batters he faced in the seventh, then put the game out of reach (wasn’t it already?) by giving up consecutive singles to Jeff Francoeur and Cesar Hernandez and a three-run home run to Odubel Herrera.

The loss cut the Phils’ lead over the Braves to one game in the hunt for the first pick in the 2016 draft, so that adds drama to tomorrow’s rubber game of the series. If Road Julio shows up, we could face the Mets as the Least of the East Thursday.

In other news, the Nationals choked up a huge lead to lose 8-7 to the Mets. Frosted Tips bounced into the game-ending double play. ‘Rissa, those Nats keep delenda-ing themselves.

121 thoughts on “Phillies 5 (by coop)”

  1. Freddie Freeman’s at-bat with 2 on, none out in the 8th was the worst I’ve ever seen from him. He was thrown 6 balls and swung at 3 of them, two of which when he was ahead in the count.

  2. To piggyback a thought from the last thread, 24 months ago today I was writing retrospectives on the Braves’ miserable playoff failures in preparation for another one:

    https://bravesjournal.us/?cat=75

    and today I’m on what’s turned into a Sixers blog with all of the attendant arguments. I’ll admit that from a certain detached angle that’s a fascinating narrative twist.

  3. Watching the sixth of Mets-Nats game. The Nats broadcasters are both insane homers (they wanted that to be a inside-the-park grand slam), but it goes from intolerable to delicious when you know the outcome.

  4. Well the thing about rebuilds is that the pain is guaranteed and the architects have written themselves a two year post dated IOU.

  5. Frank Wren is the front-runner for the GM job with the Red Sox.

    Watch him be the winningest GM there, as he was with the Braves. Meanwhile, Hart has a shot at being the biggest loser GM (by team record) for 2015.

  6. W.C.G.—

    Do you, coherently aggressive rebuilder with an alleged modest budget,
    a) pay the offseason cash-only price for Olivera, which when combined with your other moves still keeps you under your self-imposed cap, or
    b) wait for someone else to pay the freight, then get him at a “discount” by surrendering 4 seasons of Wood and 6 seasons of Peraza?

    This is what I’m talking about. b) makes no sense as a superior option if you’re executing a long-term plan. b) is the province of people making it up as they go and/or being cheapskates and/or viewing their personnel through an animus against the last boss.

    Alex Wood is a three-win cost-controlled pitcher now and into the projectible future, including the promised 2017. The rest of this bunch, Olivera included, are scratch-off lottery tickets.

    As I have said before, it seems obvious to me that they view Alex Wood differently than you (and everyone else upset by that trade) do. They think he’s soon to break. If they projected his future as a consistent three-win guy, I doubt they would have traded him for Olivera. Now, as I have also said before, they may well be wrong about that, but that doesn’t make their plan, given their informed opinion of Wood and his health, incoherent.

    Hector Olivera signed for $62 million in May, and the Braves saved ~$30 million of that contract price by trading for him two months later. You assume that they got cheap, while I assume that they think that $30 million (plus valuable draft pick, 4 cost-controlled years of Paco Rodriguez, and a TINSTAAPP) is worth more than 4 years of Wood, 6 years of Peraza, 3 years of Avilan, and two months of Jim Johnson.

    I think it’s possible they’re right, and I think it’s probable that the $30 million in savings will be spent on assets they like better than Wood, et al.

  7. I wish I understood the plan. I wish I’d win the lottery, even though my mother taught me never to pay the state tax on the stupid.

    Faith vacillates, but hope is strong.

    I trust the Johns know what they’re doing. I hope I’m right. 2016 promises to be either frustrating or a revelation.

    So, Stu, is the Florida dude odds on for our first pick, or is there a major league hitter lurking out there somewhere in the college ranks? I think we’ve got the first pick nailed looking at the rest of our schedule.

  8. @7

    I agree. The front office’s plan is to trade pitching for hitting.

    If this team is planning on contending in 2017, they need to have most of the cogs in place by mid season 2016. By getting Olivera now, we have set most of our infield and addressed the biggest/second biggest hole in the organization. There aren’t a lot of third basemen on the market either.

    Alex Wood may be a solid pitcher and have a nice career, but he was expendable.

  9. coop, there’s no odds-on favorite. It’s way too early, and the field is way too muddled. My favorite college bat at this early stage is Kyle Lewis (from Mercer…), but there are a lot of names being tossed around for the top of the draft.

  10. @Stu

    The idea that the Braves FO thinks a pitcher is about to break and therefore is expendable is nuts. For one, pretty much every trade they’ve made the last year involves someone coming off TJ, they drafted a kid in the second round who’s had TJ… Why would they get cold feet about a guy who’s never had any issues with his arm before? Are they medical geniuses and have figured out every trigger for damaged ligaments? It’s just absurd. Maybe they figured he’d hit the peak of his value and felt he was expendable and that’s fair enough, I think what most people have a problem with is return. Olivera came here unknown, injured and 30 years old, couple that with the fact that Peraza was our closest major league talent coming through the system and was seemingly just thrown in for this too and it’s really hard to understand. SSS and all but Olivera looks overmatched at the plate against major leaguers. It’s hard to see how this was worth it right now.

    Maybe you’re right and they think the $30 million is worth more than Wood/Peraza and it could be, but it depends if they actually spend it on major league players rather than pocketing it this year and calling it the Bourn/Swisher slush fund or whatever. Even if they did spend it, I dunno who on the free agent market they are going to go after who will have any sort of impact. You can’t imagine they’ll be in play for someone like Price or Cespedes given the actions of the past year so who is legitimately there? Where is that $30 million going to go?

    It’s not that I don’t think they had a plan, I just think their plan was stupid and now it’s backfiring on them way more than they ever anticipated. They voluntarily blew up the core of a 96 win team because it was easier than trying to fix a few problems with the roster and John Hart legitimately doesn’t give a fuck, he has no accountability. The top brass fired Wren and then hired themselves to run the organization and there’s literally no one above them who will do anything about it. If 2017 rolls around and the Braves are still terrible/mediocre they can just point to the rebuild and say well these things take time, etc and stay in their jobs. It’s genius for them, they get to prove how smart they are with all these prospect lottery tickets if one of them hits, or just play the rebuild card and nobody in the organization really questions it.

  11. @9 – I agree. The Braves will use pitching as the currency to acquire more offense. Given the performance of our pitching this year its starting to make some sense that the team is stockpiling arms in the hopes that some of them can contribute at the MLB level whether starting or as relief pitchers.

    @11 – I’m not so sure it was so much the Braves thought Woods arm would fall off. I do think that they regarded him as just a contributor and not a star. I think its that to get something you have to give something. This is the current market. Give a decent to good pitcher for a potential bat that happens to play 3b a tough position to fill. Sure, its a huge roll of the dice, but given that the top position prospects in the system are light hitting speed guys the Braves needed to get a power bat. Olivera with all his question marks is considerably less expensive than Pablo Sandoval.

  12. Olivera cost 5 years and $32 million plus 4 years of Alex Wood and 6 of Peraza.

    Sandoval cost 5 years and $90 million.

    Add it all up it probably amounts to something similar in terms of money, and a drastic opportunity cost unless Olivera is actually good.

  13. The Nationals are going to can Matt Williams anyway, so this is just piling on, but you are officially a Dumb Person if you go bonkers-flakes with the WE GOTTA BUNT WE GOTTA BUNT BY GOD WE GOTTA GIVE UP THAT OUT and it’s plainly obvious that your guys never actually practice it.

    FrediBall at its finest. Lousy idea executed ham-fistedly.

  14. You guys seem to think we’re sitting on a big stash of pitching poker chips just waiting to pounce on the right bats when the opportunity presents. Last I checked we pretty much have one of the worst pitching staffs in either league. You think our pitching is “expendable”? Craziness. We bought a bunch of way out of the money call options with all the trades. Maybe some of them will hit, but we have to get lucky here again at yet another level – we have to keep the ones that will hit and trade the busts.

    I get being all-in on the rebuild. There’s no other choice at this point. I’m going to be mad for at least one more season…lol.

  15. @15

    Really just depends on the cash situation. If the Braves can add a 4/5th starter and a LF via FA, then we can use the pitching prospects to fill other needs. There is definitely enough of them. And if there’s not, there’s enough low-level fliers we picked up to piece together a couple big deals. I’m not sure what you’re seeing. We stink right now, but Stu fairly clearly showed that there is a plan.

  16. @15

    Pitching is much more projectable than hitting. Plus, you need 12-13 pitchers on a team. A lot of these guys on the current big league staff are just warm bodies.

    The thing I worry about the most is these young guys seem to have regressed some since being called up. Are we not developing them well? Julio has taken two steps back. Folty still hasn’t developed a third pitch. Wisler has fallen apart. The Williams has to throw 30 pitches before he can settle in.

    Is it just that they haven’t learned to adjust? Maybe. But I have to think McDowell is going to have to evaluate his approach to these guys, especially Julio.

  17. @16, I’m thinking that we’re going to have to keep pretty much all of the pitching chips in order to fill out a good rotation and bullpen. Some percentage of them won’t pan out. Some probably will. But if you trade those pieces too soon, your odds of guessing right on the keepers will be lower.

    Of course, if you wait too late it also might wash the shine off some of the prospects. I just think it’s a numbers game. We made a bunch of bets and we’re hoping 30% of them pay off (to pick a random number). If you think 80% of them will pay off then you probably aren’t as worried about it as I am.

  18. Since starting 42-42, we have lost an additional 42 games to go against 13 wins.

    42-42
    13-42
    —–
    55-84

    Losing 42 games is a lot more fun when 42 wins are mixed in with them.

  19. Gaz @ 11 – You’re aware that Alex Wood himself had Tommy John surgery before he was drafted, right? He’s certainly not “a guy who’s never had any issues with his arm before.”

    If the Braves read his declining velocity as a negative indicator on the state of his ligament, coupled with any internal knowledge they might have, such as complaints of pain or dead-arm, video evidence of a subtle alteration in his mechanics, they could very easily conclude that he’s a heightened injury risk.

    And let’s not act even a first Tommy John is nothing. When a pitcher misses a full year during his arbitration years, the team loses a year of control, and his price tag continues to escalates. It becomes an open question whether to offer him the next contract. Take Mike Minor for instance. When a guy goes down in his arbitration years with a second Tommy John surgery, you let him, and any future value he may generate, walk away like Medlen and Beachy.

  20. @18

    Once again, it really boils down to cash. I recognize that you have to fill the current holes with prospects… if you can’t sign any FAs. We added KJ, AJ, JJ, and Grilli as small offseason moves. If we had all of them but Grilli right now, we’d be a much better team. We traded them away as part of the rebuilding plan. We knew that last offseason when they were signed. The plan hasn’t changed.

    You’re trying to evaluate a plan without knowing all the variables. What if the Braves plan on adding $30M in payroll between this offseason and next offseason? You add a LF, a SP, some platoon bats, a setup man, and all of a sudden you’re less reliant upon your prospects. But if no one knows how much money the Braves can spend, then it’s fruitless to argue over how smart it was to collect pitching prospects.

  21. @21, if we’re going to greatly expand payroll then we should’ve just bought Olivera for cash rather than giving up Alex Wood. It’s going to cost a ton of money on the FA market to replace Wood’s low-3’s ERA and nearly a strikeout per inning.

    You’re totally right – we don’t know the payroll plans so it’s all just guessing right now. I’m still completely baffled by that one trade. Cost-controlled young (and effective!) pitching is what we’re trying to collect.

  22. 11—For one thing, you are ignoring the Rodriguez/draft pick aspect of the trade. Both of those have value; the pick has *lots* of value. It was not just Wood and Peraza for Olivera. The rest of what the Braves acquired is worth substantially more than the rest of what they sent to LA.

    For another…well, I honestly don’t feel like talking about the injury stuff anymore, but here’s a brief, half-hearted effort: The plan is to maximize assets. If you think you have an asset whose value is soon to be lower than it presently is (Wood? Peraza?) and sell it for an asset whose value you find under- or fairly-priced (Olivera), while simultaneously acquiring other assets (various stockpiled injured pitchers) whose cost is low but whose value you believe is likely to rise, you do both of those things as part of the same coherent plan.

    I get that some people are mad about ugly baseball, and I get that some others are mad about ugly baseball and the team leaving the city, but I still think it’s hard not to see that there is a plan in place. You just have to hope the guys doing the talent evaluation and development for the Braves are good at it.

  23. @22 Here’s the thing… in trading Wood, the Braves were very likely not giving up a “low-3’s ERA and nearly a strikeout per inning”. Wood has a 3.51 ERA so far this year, with a crappy 2.22 K/BB rate. His pitch speed is declining, and with that you see a marked decline in his swing-and-miss stuff. Wood was pitching like a SP1 last season (3.78 K/BB) but more like a SP3-4 this year, and the odds seem to be against Wood going back to “low-3’s ERA and nearly a strikeout per inning”.

    I wish the Braves had gotten closer to SP1 value for Wood once they decided to trade him, but obviously that ship has sailed. The fact that Olivera has looked awkward at the plate only compounds the decisionmaking re: Wood.

  24. Just to make everyone feel better, Fredi Gonzalez has now managed the 2nd most games, and has the 2nd most wins and losses of any Atlanta Manager. Last night pushed him past Luman Harris into the #2 slot for losses.
    Bobby Cox is #1 for all of those categories.

    Fredi is now #7 on the all-time franchise loss list, 28 games behind #6 Fred Tenney. The Braves can lose enough games for Fredi to catch Tenney this season.

  25. Oops,

    Typo. Supposed to read, “The Braves can’t lose enough games for Fredi to catch Tenney this season.”

  26. 24—Not sure I understand what you’re saying. Per M-W, a plan is first defined as:

    a set of actions that have been thought of as a way to do or achieve something

    So…yeah. Whether it’s a good or likely-to-succeed plan, I’m not sure, but I just don’t think the making-it-up-as-they-go accusation fits.

  27. @25, I like the odds of Wood pitching well going forward better than the odds of a 30 year old rookie that oh-by-the-way hasn’t really played much baseball in the last 3 years. I’m not going to go bonkers over a one-month sample size for Olivera, but expecting him to be Chipper Jones next year is kinda tough to swallow as well.

  28. I said I recognize what their plan is, I just find it stupid and I find the message from the organization patronizing. I think they traded a winning team for B and C level lottery tickets while trying to promise the fans this wouldn’t be that painful. In the Coppy interview last week he tried to say well it’s ok because look at the Pirates, Cubs, Astros, Royals, etc while forgetting to mention that it took those franchises YEARS of top 5 picks to put winning teams together. The Braves will have to get VERY lucky for this process not to take 5-10 years.

    If the team had been the Phillies with a bunch of aging vets on big contracts or the Astros with a bunch of nothing then it’s one thing to rebuild but they basically rebuilt because they didn’t want to pay anyone and it’s hard to get behind anything when that’s the motivation.

  29. End of 2011 season. The Cubs finished last 3 years in a row under him (and were terrible years before he arrived as well).

    When do we hire our Theo Epstein?

  30. I don’t think the Braves were thinking Chipper Jones. The comparison I kept hearing was Travis Fryman. In the current environment Fryman is a 20 million dollar per year player. The Braves traded a guy that they thought was at best not going to get better than he is this year for a guy they think can put up a .274/.336/.443 averaging 21 HR per year. And pay only 8 million per year for him.

    I know there were other aspects of the deal that IMHO make it defensible from the Braves point of view but Olivera was the centerpiece for them.

    The Braves have a plan. In a different world they are acquiring position players and hitters but other teams aren’t dumb. They realize that the hottest commodity now are hitters and hitting prospects. I think that market reality is one of the main reasons the Braves seem to get nothing but pitchers.

  31. @31 – The Braves are a mid market team. That’s just reality. Wishing for them to spend more money than they have in the past is simply a waste of time.

  32. I would posit that the Cubs’ timeline is nearly the absolute best-case…5 years of losing badly and getting high draft picks. Epstein presided over 4 of those drafts. If we can do it faster than the Cubs have then all our FO guys will be the envy of the baseball world.

  33. I don’t understand why they couldn’t just extend Justin Upton and Jason Heyward, and sign 3 starting pitchers to replace Santana, Floyd, Minor and Harang, and just make BJ and Chris Johnson play better. That’s all they had to do, and we would have had a dynasty on our hands, no rebuild necessary.

  34. @35

    The Braves were bought by Liberty in 2007 for about $400 million. They are now valued at around $1.2 billion so in 8 years Liberty has made 300% ROI. A quick check of Liberty’s financial data reveals they are sitting on almost a billion in liquid cash alone. Baseball’s revenue sharing program means that even if a team operates in the red they’ll be compensated for it to offset the losses.

    So tell me exactly why I shouldn’t expect a baseball owner to invest in the team?

  35. I don’t understand we didn’t get to watch the contract seasons of Upton and Heyward. Or Gattis bumbling around in LF and doing folk-hero things. 2016 was a tank year no matter what. 2015 didn’t have to be. Try to win when you have some good players.

    We’re telling the fanbase that we can’t have proven good players, because they’re just too darn expensive. Our only hope is thinking way outside the box. Yay, go Braves!?

  36. Becuase to date they haven’t? At least to the level you expect them to. I could care less about Liberty’s financials. I follow the Braves. To me they are a separate entity with their own financials. I simply won’t waste time or emotion wishing for something that probably won’t happen. But, feel free if you wish.

  37. Saying the Cubs rebuild took years is just factually inaccurate. The fact that they were losing does not mean they were rebuilding.

    75 wins in 2010 with a $70m payroll
    71 wins in 2011, with a $125m payroll.

    Fired Hendry, hired Theo.

    61 wins in 2012, with a $80m payroll.
    66 wins in 2013, with a $57m payroll.
    73 wins in 2014, with a $57m payroll.

    This year they’ve won 80, on pace for 95, with a $110m payroll.

    And if you’re smart, you don’t just let good players walk in their free agent years, not when those same players put up a losing record the previous year. That seems to get lost in this revision of history. The team that just lost 79 games was losing 3 starting pitchers, and one year away from losing their 2 corner outfielders, and had a bottom 10 farm system.

  38. “Becuase to date they haven’t?”

    Well yeah, that’s the whole point right? They are running the Braves like a separate corporate entity, not a baseball team. Crying poverty while owning a professional sports team in the United States is such a scam. They have a monopoly on competition but with federal antitrust exemption, controls built in to limit the amount of losses and a largely inelastic product yet the Braves can’t afford to pay Jason Heyward $20 million a year? If you can’t make money running an MLB team that’s a YOU problem, why should I care?

    It comes down to the fact that Liberty COULD choose to invest properly in the team but they choose not to. I also have the ability to choose to invest in the team but between the faux poverty rebuild and the move to Cobb County Fake Neighborhood Cheesecake Factory Field I don’t see a lot of upside in it for me right now.

  39. And the team that’s going to win the NL East had a terrible offense and question marks in their rotation. Fortunately for them, they didn’t blow up their team.

    I’ll give you that the Cubs weren’t rebuilding in 2010. But the 2011-2014 suckage gave 4 years of good draft position for the Epstein crew. We’re about to get our 1st year of good draft position…

  40. “Saying the Cubs rebuild took years is just factually inaccurate.”

    I said it took the Cubs years of high draft picks to build a good team. Whatever you want to quantify as a rebuild is up to you I guess.

  41. I could spend hours unpacking all the things I find awful about the Wood/Olivera deal and the ways in which I think it’s this management’s signature trade (in a bad way), but the thing we haven’t talked about in this thread is:

    – For some reason, Atlanta included Bronson Arroyo’s deadweight contract, and presumably got a worse return for that reason.

    The most on board I’ve ever been with these current suits was when they took on Arroyo’s dead money to get Toussaint. That’s a forward-thinking, rebuilding trade. Say what you will about the Sixers, but they’re not afraid to rent their cap space to needy teams if they get future assets back. That’s at least coherent rebuilding.

    Then they undid it all by taking a worse return* in order to foist Arroyo back on the Dodgers. I can’t see that as being anything but cheapskate and counterproductive to any long term strategy.

    *I get that the Dodgers are made of money, and suuuure, maybe they’ll just take Arroyo as a charity case. But according to generally accepted principles of negotiation, you get a better return when you don’t insist on including your deadweight, i.e. the price of Craig Kimbrel straight up vs. the price of Craig Kimbrel + M. Upton Jr.

  42. It was reported that the Dodgers are only paying $500K of the Arroyo contract, right? (EDIT: Confirmed by jjschiller.) I assume that $500K was the result of some accounting-method counterbalancing with the other major-league contracts in the trade; whatever it was, it didn’t materially affect the return the Braves got.

  43. In retrospect given how weak the NL East is, the Braves could probably have cobbled together a team that would’ve had a chance to win the division. Sign a mid-level SP or two, maybe get a reclamation project SP as well, cobble together a bench, and sign a Bonaifacio-type to back up OF/ play CF when Bupton inevitably Buptoned. Hope CJ doesn’t poop the bed at 3B and cross fingers that Gattis doesn’t break down. If things broke well, that’s maybe a 85-87 win team in the NL East.

    But we would have had close-to-zero chance of making noise in the playoffs. I know there’s a lot of randomness but they’re not completely arbitrary. And then we really would be looking at a 5-year rebuild when Heyward and Good Upton walked. FO punted a possible marginal playoff team in ’15 for a head start on the rebuild. Seems reasonable.

  44. I saw last night that Ryan Weber is from St. Pete, FL, where I hail. In my internet perusal, I also learned that Frank Wren is from St. Pete.

    I’m moving.

  45. That’s actually a lot better than I had thought, then. I stand corrected. Still hate the deal, but at least I don’t have to wonder what they’d have pulled if they hadn’t thrown Arroyo in.

  46. I have to agree it is revisionist history to suggest we could’ve won something in 2015 without spending BIG on free agent pitching, which we weren’t going to do.

    Could a staff of Teheran/Wood/Wandy/Stults/Harang have won anything with Heyward, Justin Upton, Gattis, and Kimbrel on the roster? It’s just hard to imagine, unless we could’ve tricked the Cards into giving us Shelby without putting Heyward in the deal.

  47. Are we really re-re-re-evaluating the need for the rebuild? I think we’ve seen this movie before.

  48. @54

    This is picking a completely insignificant, out-of-date, revisionist nit, and so isn’t worth much–but no attempt to win in 2015 would have included Craig Kimbrel on the roster.

  49. @45 – You may be the only one still questioning the decision to trade Heyward and Upton. There was simply no way the Braves were going to be relevant this year had they kept them. There were simply too many other positions the team needed to fill to compete.

    Using the Mets as your counter example is specious. The Mets strength is young, outside of Colon, cost controlled pitching. None of those guys were one year and done. Good pitching beats good hitting. They got lucky and everyone stayed healthy and even luckier that the Nationals got all banged up and sucked it up this year.

  50. @53

    I’m pretty sure the Dodgers have to pick up Arroyo’s buyout though which is $4 million IIRC.

    @54

    There was enough money available this offseason to sign someone competent (see Markakis, Nick) other than basement level reclamation projects. Winning something first would have meant putting together a really good bullpen which involves some luck but is highly possible to do especially when we could have had Kimbrel/Walden/Vizcaino/Grilli/Johnson to start with. Then upgrading the bench was the biggest thing needed to the offense last year to put a platoon at third and other options at 2nd and center. Again, you’d need some luck but not as much as you need when throwing 20 prospects against the wall and declaring you’ll be contenders in 2 years.

  51. Why does anyone suppose that it would just be OUR ownership that would, in this perfect world, let loose the purse strings and just spend the damn money?

    All teams have budgets. It doesn’t make a person somehow not down enough with the common man to accept that. If you want the Braves to forget the bottom line and just spend the damn money, then all the teams should forget the bottom line and just spend the damn money. What makes us think we’d be able to afford Heyward or Upton in that world? They wouldn’t be $25m/yr players, they’d be $65m/yr players.

    What good comes from comparing the present situation to this fantasy?

  52. @58 I think you’re underselling the mess that was our starting pitching. We had only three SP (counting Minor) and no MLB-ready prospects. The 11 mil we spent on Markakis might have been enough to patch the rotation – maybe – but we’d still be left with huge problems at 2B, 3B and CF.

  53. @58 – Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles “Source: #Dodgers only picking up $500k of Bronson Arroyo’s contract, including buyout. Media has exaggerated some of their financial outlay”

    He’s saying ‘of the contract, including the buyout, the Dodgers are paying only $500k.’

    Also, Markakis was paid with Upton and Heyward’s money. You can’t use the signing of Markakis, who was signed to replace the cash-dumped players, and say there was obviously cash around.

  54. I don’t think it’s that far beyond the pale to ask for the ownership to spend more money on the team after getting the public to help build them a stadium (without asking said public whether they wanted to or not).

    Raise the budget by 20 or 30 million for a couple years and you can compete – maybe not make the playoffs or win it all, but you can compete and field a decently exciting team.

    Now that we’re all Marlins and Devil Rays fans I guess we just have to get used to our lot in life. We can’t hope to compete consistently, we just have to hope it all comes together once a decade and the other nine losing seasons are part of doing business as a small market.

  55. The powers that be proclaimed payroll would remain the same going into last offseason. It ended up at something like $88 million opening day after being at $115 for 2014 so you do the math and tell me why there wasn’t money for free agents.

  56. Pretty sure our current pitchers have provided Mike Minor with a guaranteed job for next season with the Braves. I would’ve thought earlier this season that we would have just non-tendered him after the season. I think we bring him back now.

  57. So according to your Google contraption, the Braves have $80.1M under contract for 2016 ($53.66M from the doc, plus Swisher, Bourn, and Olivera, minus CJ). Miller and Vizcaino will undoubtedly get raises, and I’m not sure what happens with Minor (raise? pay decrease?). Assuming Miller goes to $5M and Vizcaino to $3M (arbitrary numbers, someone correct me), that means the Braves will have $88M committed for next season. If the Braves can go get next year’s KJ, JJ, AJ, Gomes and have similar luck, then the Braves could have a .500+ team with the same opening day payroll as this year. That still leaves, most likely, a hole in LF (will Toscano EVER play baseball?), some holes in the bullpen (Simmons, Withrow, Folty?), and a hole at 4th and 5th starter (and several prospect choices potentially). For the second year of a rebuild, is that really that bad?

  58. OK, I’m pulling that out into a full-on rosterbation.

    (NOTE: Spare parts like Pierzynski and JJ are not necessarily those players, just players like them who provide similar production for similar cost)

    POSITION PLAYERS
    C-Pierzynski/Bethancourt
    1B-Freeman
    2B-Peterson
    SS-Simmons
    3B-Olivera
    LF-Toscano/Swisher/Bourn
    CF-Maybin/Smith
    RF-Markakis

    ROTATION
    Miller
    Teheran
    Folty/Wisler/Perez/Minor/Fried/Jenkins/Banuelos/Other pieces of spaghetti

    BULLPEN
    Grilli
    JJ
    Vizcaino
    Simmons
    Withrow
    Moylan
    SP Rejects

    That’s a terrible, terrible, terrible rotation. You have to sign a starting pitcher, or you have to try to trade something out of prospects/LF members into a starting pitcher. The bullpen looks like it can be piecemealed together like in years past. That looks like a .500 team in the second year of a rebuild. I suppose I’ll take it, but I’m not sure if I pay $129 for MLB.tv.

  59. Dian Toscano
    Real or fictiano?
    We made him a 6 million dollar contract wielder
    Which is steep for an imaginary fourth outfielder

  60. @68 You basically just listed the team as is right now… How did you just pull a team that’s played at a .100 clip the past month and declare them close to .500?

  61. See, this is why it’s more fun to rosterbate with what could have been in 2015. That list of “players” @68 is just depressing. Also, for our “rotation”, you probably can’t include Fried, he’s still two years out.

    We still need a 2B, a younger catcher, an entirely new OF (though RF will be hard to move), a bench, 3 starting pitchers, and duct tape and wire to craft a bullpen. Question mark at 3B. Offensive question mark at SS. Health question mark at 1B. We’re close…

  62. How do you just pull a team that was .500, remove two middling relievers and a #3 starter, add a competent third baseman and left fielder platoon (Swisher and Bourn), and declare them a .100 team? That’s the mystery of July-September 2015 Atlanta Braves baseball. We didn’t lose enough at the deadline to justify a .400 decrease in win production? That’s the real confusing part, and probably the reason why the manager’s being blamed: it doesn’t seem to be a player personnel issue.

  63. @71

    As I alluded in my previous comment, the question becomes: if this team is so awful, why were we .500 so late in the season? It’s not rhetorical; I’m honestly wondering. Either the team played over its head from April to July 15th, or it’s currently playing under its head from July 31st to now. I honestly can’t explain it.

  64. Don’t snooze on John Gant

    @73,
    Folty, Perez, and Wisler went from being competent to atrocious. Also, Freddie spent some time injured, we traded a couple of average bats, and our offense went from being close to average to worst in the league.

    EDIT: Also, our bullpen went from being bad to a laughing stock

  65. Also the team was projected to lose 90+ games going into the season. Guys like Maybin had a hot start and then returned to their same old crappy selves. That roster in @68 is avert-your-gaze bad (that’s not .100 baseball bad, but it’s well short of .500 bad).

  66. @73, as I said in the previous thread, I think the .500 first half performance caught everyone by surprise. Maybin and Kelly Johnson certainly played better than expected. Uribe was really good at 3B offensively in his brief stay. Freeman was his typical self before getting hurt. The offense was almost average as opposed to worst in the league.

    The pen was also surprisingly good in the first half. Selling them all, plus Grilli’s injury, and here we are. Fixing the pen is at least 10 wins for us. That’s the one thing I think they’ll be able to do next season (if they want).

  67. @57

    He’s far from the only one, but it’s generally recognized even among those who agree that it’s a conversation that’s been had. But there is no acquiescence on the point, no.

    The smart bet on having gone for it in ’15 is that it would ultimately fail. That’s the smart bet every year, unless you’re a Giants fan. It’ll be the smart bet going forward, too, even if the plan comes together, because almost everybody comes out of the gate trying, every year.

  68. coop, it’s a good thing the Nats are delenda-ing themselves, because we epically failed in delenda-ing them. Their downward spiral has been the lone bright spot in this otherwise incredibly uninspiring season.

  69. Sometimes Olivera comes out Around the ball so much he dribbles it for a perfectly placed swinging bunt. That is the bright side.

  70. @ 77…

    ‘he’s alabamy bound, alabamy bound
    and if the train don’t stop and turn around
    he’s alabamy bound.’

    Harper just hit #35 in a rather big game – douchebag, yes!

    Al Hrbosky
    he was badly hurt when playing long tossky
    we’re paying him still
    a Hungarian bank has to be specified in our will.

  71. @80

    John…

    you will be pleased to hear that in our forthcoming second Clerihew thread the swinging bunt itself – and the embarrassment often associated with it – features prominently…can you wait?? ha

    and thanks for all of your efforts, much enjoyed and appreciated.

  72. 68 — Paco Rodriguez should also be in the bullpen. It will be a much improved bunch than the clown show bullpen out there right now.

    But, you’re right, the Braves would have to sign at least 2 SP to think about being competitive next season. And who plays catcher? Do they bring back a 39 year old AJP? Try to sign Wieters? It appears Fredi has given up on Bethancourt after that Vaudeville performance a couple of nights ago.

  73. @75,76

    I suppose it depends on how you look at things. Some guys got hot in the beginning; why can’t some guys get hot now? And next season, why can’t some young players develop? This is what I see:

    1) Markakis will be one more year removed from neck surgery. Power should get a little better.
    2) Peterson and Simmons will have another year to develop. Simmons either cements himself as Rafael Belliard (all-glove, no-hit), or he develops into a useful hitter. Who knows? Peterson gets another year too. He just turned 25. Can he get better?
    3) Freeman stays healthy and hits like Freddie Freeman.
    4) Olivera is the Travis Fryman most MLB scouts have predicted him to be, and not the player we’ve seen in the last two weeks?
    5) EVERY SINGLE PROSPECT THAT WE’VE ACQUIRED IN THE LAST 9 MONTHS GETS AN OFFSEASON AND SPRING TRAINING TO DEVELOP. That’s so huge. You’d have to be the world’s biggest skeptic to conclude the farm system that went from consensus #30 to consensus #1-2 won’t produce some fruit. You’re certifiably insane if you don’t think some of those players turn a corner.
    6) Braves put what appear to be about $12M in payroll room to reasonably good use (similar to the way they did last offseason).

    Like I said, just depends on how you look at things. You can list all the reasons why the rebuild has been a failure after what has ultimately been a few weeks since its completion (I’m saying the deadline deals were the finishing touches on the implosion), or you can concede that 3 or 4 of those things I listed will happen. If it does, we’ll be about a .500 team in 2016, and then you’ll have to trust the FO that SunTrust Park brings a few more shekels into the coffers. Your choice.

  74. @83

    I did forget about Paco Rodriguez. Where would guys like Rodriguez and Withrow slide into our prospect lists? After all, they are future reinforcements to the big league roster, so one would think they’d be in the same category as “prospects”.

    I think you’d have to move Swisher ($14M) and spend a lot of the extra cash to get Weiters. Doubt that happens. The point of listing people like AJP, JJ, etc. was to show that it’s very possible to sign some journeyman players to team-friendly deals (AJP makes $2M, JJ $1.6, KJ $1.5M) and get some decent production.

  75. Hector Olivera
    buddy can you spare a
    change of heart?
    three for three, 308, he’s clearly a work of art.

  76. Suddenly Olivera is batting .300

    Now that he’s NOT struggling we’ll start saying how small the sample size is.

  77. @86…

    I never give up on him, then i do, then something like tonight…

    it’s the defense, though..

    Christian Bethancourt
    he’s apparently so often deep in thought
    that ball in the dirt-
    not so much of a smother as rather a squirt.

  78. It is cool the Braves are up 4-1 in the 5th but they have had 16 base runners a double and a homer and only 4 runs. That’s hard to do.

  79. Everyone wants Olivera to be awesome, even more than being right. Tonight he has a swinging bunt, a pop up past 2b and a 4 hopper up the middle for 3 base hits. Call it what you will, but he still hasn’t shown much of what we’re hoping for. He did get down the line in very good shape for a big guy on that swinging bunt. That’s something.

  80. Call it whatever you like, it adds up to .296/.345/.444 (.789)

    The fact that a bloop, a seeing eye single and a swinging bunt has moved him from .217/.280/.391 illustrates my point. If its too early for the numbers to matter, its too early for the looks to matter either. Whether he looks good or bad to you, he’s an infielder OPS’ing almost .800,

  81. Olivera’s numbers for one month don’t matter. Hopefully he’ll play winter ball.

    I mean it wouldn’t suck if he hit 10 bombs, but even if he struggles it’s pretty meaningless. Next season is what matters.

  82. Strasburg very much on song for Nats..

    12K through 7…they lead 2/1

    what does BFP mean please?! Pitcher’s Line in box score.

  83. Cespedes..2run homer off Storen…14 in 37 games, better than Olivera?!

    4/2 Mets, who will win the World Series. Fait vos jeux.

    @99 I thank you.

  84. @95, everyone here knows that numbers don’t matter in a small sample, which is why nobody has been saying “zomg Olivera has been hitting .217” (though it would be more convenient for your argument if they had). If he’d been clubbing them to the warning track for outs and lining out, we’d be talking about how encouraged we are despite the bad numbers. He’s looked awkward with a long swing, making weak contact, and weak contact made him 3-4. I hope he starts to look better and continues to ops .800. There’s lots of time for that to happen, and it needs to bc we gave up a lot for him.

    This exact conversation happened when constanza was hitting .450 on dribblers and bleeders. People argued the looks of it were more important than the results then. They were right.

  85. @104

    Many different ways to look at it. You can look at his Cuban league success, his body type, his tools, and the $60M the Dodgers threw at him and be confident he’s a solid hitter. If he can OPS .800 with holes in his swing and a low line-drive percentage right now, then unless you think he’s a deeply flawed hitter, you could conclude that his ceiling is much higher than this.

    I wonder who makes the calls right now on Folty and Wisler spending some time in the bullpen? Is that a scouting department, GM, or manager decision? Those are big decisions about a player’s development.

  86. Bryce Harper
    he perplexes a certain type of carper
    a question of moral fiber?
    most certainly according to this blogging scriber

    Braves win 8/1…when did we last score 8?

  87. I am sensing that Hector will get the “Andruw Jones” treatment regardless of how well he will do. He is never good enough and everything is his fault.

  88. I bet the last time we scored 8, we lost.

    My point about Olivera is, the numbers he puts up in this one month of play, and the way he looks doing it, are equally indicative of what we’ll see next year: They aren’t.

  89. @DOBrienAJC: #Braves Fredi G on whether he considered replacing Teheran with bases loaded in 7th inning: “Have you seen our bullpen?”

    He’s certainly not doing much to keep the clubhouse in order is he?

  90. @112 – Reminds me a bit of this. After Justin Upton hit a walk off homerun against the Mets immediately after a long rain delay, the homeriest homer them all tweeted this:

  91. @113

    Yeah, but the Mets had three months to come back from a deficit two games smaller than the one the Nats currently have three weeks to come back from. If the Mets collapse (which is the only way the Nats win the division at this point), you guys can blame me if you want.

  92. A Mets collapse in ’15 would be much more surprising than the one in 2007. Or the one in 2008.

    I know he’s only played 36 games for them, but it’s hard to imagine anyone more valuable to his team this year than Yoenis Céspedes has been for the Mets.

  93. No I wasn’t arguing with you. The Nats are pretty well buried. Maybe “that reminds me of,” wasn’t the proper phrase. “That brings to mind,” perhaps?

  94. @118

    Ah, sorry. Yeah, a quick check of Thomas Boswell’s Twitter feed tonight does not reveal him having a whole lot of hope for the situation.

  95. I know I am supposed to dislike the Mets, but I love what they’ve done to the Nats.

    Also, is it possible both Bourn and Swisher have some value? Bourn looked more like his old self tonight.

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