#29: Andrelton Simmons (by bledsoe)

See the 44 Greatest Atlanta Braves here.

No. 41: Andrelton Simmons
RH Hitting, RH Throwing Shortstop
Braves Seasons: 2012-2015
.256/.304/.362, 31 HR, 168 RBI, 197 RS, 85 OPS+

Some will think this is low. But Simmons just eked out the minimum three full seasons this past year, and if this were based solely on offensive production alone, he wouldn’t make the top 44. If we expanded it to 66 he might not make it. But his glove, even in three short years, makes it impossible for me to leave him off. We are in my view looking at the best defensive shortstop ever to play the game.

Born and raised in Curacao, he spent less than a year playing for West Oklahoma State College when the Braves drafted him in 2010 in the second round, as a pitcher with a 98-mph fastball. I’ve heard two contradictory versions of the story, one in which Andrelton wanted to try to pitch in the bigs, and the Braves wanted him to switch to SS, and the other in which the positions were reversed. In any event, the pitcher experiment was very short-lived, as by 2011 he was a full-time shortstop at Carolina. He was called up from AA on May 31 in 2012 and we’ve never looked back.

Is he better than Ozzie Smith? I think he is. It’s a tough question. He’s only 25. We’ll have to see if his career can last as long as Ozzie or Mark Belanger’s. But based on an admittedly short statistical sample, he is on pace to blow away their career defensive sabermetric marks. For example, the career modern era SS dWAR leaders are:

Smith (19 seasons)43.4
Belanger (18)39.4
Ripken (16 at SS)33.7
Aparicio (18)31.6
Vizquel (24)28.4

Well, Andrelton is at 15.2 after 3 ½ seasons. Ozzie’s highest dWAR season was 1989 with 4.7(his mean season was 2.2.) Andrelton has averaged 4.76 dWAR over the last three years. In other words, he’s averaging the best season ever recorded by the guy considered to be the best defensive shortstop ever to play the game.

Defensive sabermetrics are of questionable value. But here are some of Simba’s highlights.

In 2012 he only logged 426 innings, but compiled a UZR/150 of 33.4, which I believe is the highest ever recorded at shortstop since 2002 when they started recording the stat.

His total UZR in 2013, 23.9, was more than double the second place finisher at shortstop, Troy Tulowitzki, at 11.4. In dWAR, he was 5.4, more than double the next guy, the Twins’ Pedro Florimon, at 2.1. He’s second in career dWAR for the Atlanta franchise, with 15.2, after just three seasons. (Andruw is the leader in the clubhouse with 26.2, and Andrelton should pass him in 2018.)

Just use your eyes. Virtually every other game I watch, I see something that he does that nobody else in baseball could do. Just review the highlight reels on this site.

I also think he is one of the brainier players in the game. The stuff he pulls to deke baserunners into thinking they’re safe trotting back into first, or throwing to a base no one expected him to, is brilliant. He is thinking about plays, and able to execute them, that most players would never conceive of. Those smarts will I hope lead to improved success at the plate. His contact rate is phenomenal (career K rate is 9.2% — Ichiro’s is 9.9%). He’s too athletically gifted and too intelligent to continue to struggle finding his stroke. I expect that we will see continued tinkering but also continued improvement. I see no reason he shouldn’t be able to hit .275/.350/.400.

Just a classy guy. He slides in at New No. 41, below Kent Mercker and above Chris Chambliss. Again, I hope he never leaves Atlanta. He will shoot up this list quickly.

188 thoughts on “#29: Andrelton Simmons (by bledsoe)”

  1. “Again, I hope he never leaves Atlanta. He will shoot up this list quickly.” Do you want the good news or the bad news? Just kidding. It’s only bad news.

  2. Angels fans are pretty pissed to see Newcomb included in the deal. 2014 draftee with 11.1 k/9 across 3 levels, 168 k’s tied for 2nd in all milb. Baseball America slots him in as our new number one prospect.

  3. #Braves’ rationale: Simmons no HRs, SBs, low OBP. Newcomb close, maybe 1 or 2. Simmons getting pricier, SS prospect Albies getting closer.

  4. I miss Wren.

    Or possibly the ownership is ordering the GMs to get rid of anyone who makes money. We are the new Montreal Expos.

  5. Maybe this trade makes sense, but I think it stinks, Braves have been ‘my team’ thru thick and thin since 1958. You can put any kind of spin on this, but it still stinks. A real ‘groin kick’ to the fanbase. Thanks for all the great plays, Andrelton, you’ll be missed.

  6. I’m not gonna really push the argument right now, but yeah…I don’t really think there’s any reason other than sentimentality to freak out. On paper, this is easily the Johns’ best move since last offseason.

  7. I will miss Andrelton so much. What a source of joy.

    Anyone care to estimate the WAR diff between Simba and Aybar next year? This will be an interesting trade to look back on in 5 years…

  8. Good send-off, Bledsoe.

    Well this doesn’t seem like any kind of endpoint. I wonder what the Johns are up to next.

  9. When smitty posted earlier today that he didn’t see anything he wanted from the Angels, I had thought about Heaney and Newcomb, how they’d be the obvious targets for us. Coppolella has been said to love pitchers. No kidding. At least we can’t say there’s no plan…

    Newcomb may now be our best prospect. I’m still underwhelmed for reasons everybody has said.

    They really had better spend every dime this winter to justify this.

  10. 17 — Trading Freeman is next. Or maybe they will send Aybar to another team. Then Shelby and Teheran and then we will see what a team full of replacement and below replacement level players can do.

  11. What would really bug me about this if I still cared (strictly defined, I’ve been a troll here for some time now) is that Simmons is a security blanket to young pitchers, of which the Braves have and will have many. What a confidence-builder it must be to have him behind you, making all the plays and then some. As bad as the pitching was last year, what’s coming will be much worse without him. He’s inimitable.

    Also, it’s oddly fitting that Martin Prado was overshadowed in his own appreciation. I got you, Martin….

  12. My guess: Freeman won’t be traded. Nor will Miller. Teheran gets dealt. Would not be surprised if the pitching surplus begins to be traded soon.

  13. Well we were going to have to pay him below-market value for the next 5 years, so we obviously had to get out of that commitment.

    Funny applicable bit from Grant Brisbee’s column today:

    “And as we all know, the point of baseball is to acquire prospects. The team with the most prospects at the end of the year gets a parade right down the middle of the Internet.

    Except this brings up the Greater Theory of Rebuilding, which I totally didn’t just make up:

    The total number of prospects you can get by trading all of your best players is inversely proportional with how much sense it makes to trade them.

    That is, if you have a ton of great players, you can exchange them for a whole bunch of prospects. Except … you have a bunch of great players. Maybe keep them? Build around them? Do good baseball things with them?”

  14. help me out here, because I’ve done a little interweb searching and having trouble figuring out the answer, are the braves still an anti-saber team? or is the blood letting of the last 12 months or so a crazy adjustment over to the other side? I feel like I would feel better if I could understand what the heck was going on with the home side.

  15. I’m in shock.

    I think Freddie will be screeching for a trade right now. I think at this point he’ll set an unbreakable record for intentional walks with no one around him to help out.

  16. It’s like Bill Simmons used to say in his columns (quoting William Goldman) “Nobody in Hollywood knows nothing.”

    I’m starting to think that this FO fits that bill – Nobody knows nothing.

  17. @23, love it. The Greater Theory of Rebuilding is exactly the motivation for all my schtick this past season. I still can’t shake the cognitive dissonance it creates, and I still don’t get why everyone was so ate-up with the “this front office is so damn smart!” narrative.

    We *had* a baseball team. Now we have…I dunno what we have. Everyone should be numb to it by now. This die was cast when they sold Heyward and JUpton and Kimbrel and so on. It’s a little late to be upset or surprised by the final dismantling of everything. This is the natural (and arguably the only?) path forward once you decide to blow it up. The rebuild-that’s-not-a-rebuild is now a Marlins-esque reboot, but our baseball guys aren’t as good as theirs.

  18. The role of Omar Moreno will now be played by Michael Bourn. The role of Ken Oberkfell will now be played by Erick Aybar. The role of Ted Simmons will now be played by A. J. Pierzynski.

  19. @28 – I think I am numb to it. I’ll miss watching Simba play. He was the reason I went to several games over the past few years.

    On the other hand, I like Newcomb as a prospect. Sure would like to see the Johns pick up some guys to play the field at some point, though. I think we’ve got the Mets half of the equation down, now we need the Cubs half.

  20. I’m actually ok with moving Simba (just not so much on the earlier activities that have made this seem like a fait-accompli). There’s a couple hundred guys that can play major-league SS and not hit. We got a good return if you believe those saying the pitchers we got are now our two best prospects. I have no earthly idea how any pitching prospect turns out, but taken at face value it seems like we’re doing ok on this one.

    Defense starts and ends with the guys on the mound. Our focus there is correct. It’s the execution that seems sketchy so far. Maybe this will pan out.

  21. @26

    I’m not sure what you mean. If anything, while not being much, this helps Freeman at the plate. Aybar is the better player offensively, even if there’s a drop off defensively.

    My initial outburst of negativity was centered around getting cash in the deal. I couldn’t imagine why the Braves are seeing Andrelton as anything close to a salary dump. It looks like Aybar will make $8.5M in 2016, they’re evening out the shortstop salaries.

    The more I think about it, it seems like Atlanta really won this trade. I’ve said a few times before that, while Andrelton is amazing defensively, he’ll probably never hit enough to justify his contract. When he gets into the $11M, $13M, $15M areas of his contract, there’s really going to be a rub with him. And with his neanderthal, swinging-out-of-his-shoes approach at the plate, one wonders if he’ll ever be a league average hitter again. If he becomes a league average hitter, then he’s a great player. If he can hit muster an .800 OPS, then he’s a perennial MVP candidate, but you really can’t have a regular with an OPS+ of 75-86 (past two seasons). I had also said previously that one of our offensive black holes (per their position) will need to be traded, and it looks like he was the one to bring the most return. Aybar is coming off a down year, but he’s as good a bet as anyone being 31 going into a contract year of rebounding big.

    The two prospects actually look really solid, and Newcomb could be in Atlanta by late-2016. It really, really sucks to keep looking at a trade with a long-term prospect, but they look good.

    It’s really hard to keep saying goodbye to players, and hopefully enough is close to being enough, but it’s hard to argue with the return for a guy who simply can’t hit. Can they at least reward us long-suffering Braves fans with a big FA bat signing?

  22. @31 – yes. It’s fun to speculate about what our farm system will look like in July/August of this year…all the while wondering when the team will win its 30th game of the year.

  23. I really thought we’d get a top prospect. Not a top prospect on a team with bad farm, but a top prospect. Not sure why I thought that, they haven’t got one yet (unless you count Olivera).

  24. Mississippi is going to have a pretty crowded rotation. I count 7 starting pitchers out of our top 30 prospects who are either at AA and aren’t necessarily ready to advance, or who need to advance to AA.

    Newcomb, Sims, Ellis, Thurman, Bird, Gant, and Janas. And that leaves Sobotka (22) Whalen (21) and Parsons (23) all in High A Carolina.

  25. @37

    That leads me to believe that we’ll definitely trade some of that surplus for a hitter. Who could you not?

  26. @39 – Frankly, of those names, I’d hang on to Newcomb and Sims, and make any of the other 8 available. Because coming up behind them, is Kolby Allard, Touki Toussaint, Max Fried, Ricardo Sanchez, Mike Soroka and Alec Grosser, all ALSO on top 30 prospect list, who need to find a spot on a full-season roster, and all we have for them is Rome.

  27. @34, why, when you can collect revenue sharing money and you can slash payroll faster than the gate receipts slash themselves?

    Plus your “baseball guys” can amuse themselves playing Drunk History 76ers and spend a few years calling themselves the smartest men in the room where no one can falsify the claim.

    I’m done with rooting for this team. I’m just here to convince you to not give it your money. That’ll only encourage them.

  28. @43 – By that same tortured logic he’d be the top prospect on 18 out of 30 teams…?

    I mean, the fact of the matter is, that one ranking system ranks him 19th. The distribution of the 18 guys ahead of him (the fact that multiple of those 18 belong to the Twins, Dodgers and Nationals) doesn’t effect in any way the quality of player he is, or the validity of his ranking.

    It’s actually harmful to your overall argument, such as it is. If the Twins, Dodgers and Nationals are taking up multiple spots on the top 20, that means more teams aren’t represented there at all, leading to him being better than the best prospect of 18 teams.

  29. One scout’s evaluation: “Newcomb will always be a high-pitch-count starter who will end up in the pen because he doesn’t throw quality strikes even though he can touch 96 [mph] and he’s left-handed.”

    Look, it sounds like this guy can go either way but it’s a seriously underwealming deal especially when we have 9 guys EXACTLY THE SAME besides this.

  30. Newcomb’s future aside, they took back CASH in this trade. Fucking CASH. Let that sink in for a while. This team that has done nothing but slash expenditures decided to pull back $2.5 million worth of currency instead of $2.5 million worth of baseball assets in this trade.

    Where do you suppose that’s going? Into the magical cap space that isn’t actually cap space? NOPE. It’s going into these cheapskates’ pockets. Just like it did last year when they promised to spend $100-120 million and spent $95, dead weight and trades inclusive.

    (Go ahead, Sam. Tell me how they’re actually going to spend that $3.5 million on baseball players. Matt Harvey and Corey Seager and Julio Urias and I are over here waiting.)

    Do not give these people your money. They will not invest it.

  31. @45 – We don’t have 9 guys exactly the same as him. We have no guys exactly the same as him, that’s why he’s our number one prospect. That means that more than “one scout” thinks he’s better than the guys we already have. More than one scout thinks he’s the 19th best prospect in baseball, and that none of the 18 ahead of him are in our system.

    @46 – Whatever you have to do man. If the $2.5m to remain revenue neutral for this season really bugs you, then you can have it. If you feel that strongly that they should have found some throw-in outfielder from High-A who was worth approximately $2.5m, then I’m not going to argue with you.

    Watch this video and tell me you aren’t watching a young Jon Lester. Lester’s highest Top 100 ranking was 22, when he was a projectible lefty who needed to sharpen his command and his secondary pitches.

  32. Nobody here wants the Braves to try Simba. We are all pretty emotional today. We will always think we are not getting enough and the Angels fans will always think they are giving up too much. Let’s just call it a day and just do something else.

    I am quite sure they will hang onto Ayber so they can claim that they are still putting a competitive team onto the field next year.

  33. I used MLB because you used it to claim he’s more than a bad team’s best prospect. He wouldn’t be the best prospect on fourteen of the thirty teams. I don’t see anything tortured about saying he’s not one of the league’s top prospects.

    He looks like a young Jon Lester. A lot more people look like young Jon Lesters than old Jon Lesters.

  34. You guys shilling for this trade are flat out idiots. I’ve been a Braves fan since the early 80’s. Attended 20 to 30 games in 1991 as a 16 year old kid with a newly minted driving license. Spent a not inconsiderable part of each day for the past 15 years reading and more rarely commenting on this wonderful site. But I just don’t give a flying fuck about this team anymore. The Johns and Cobb county can all go fucking die as far as I am concerned. I’ll check out Andrelton highlights but the Braves, why bother. I’m out.

  35. @46: Pretty much that. Did the Braves ever do anything with all that money they cleared up in the B.J. Upton deal? Was it wisely spent on Swisher and Bourn?

  36. @51 – The assertion that he’s not a top prospect isn’t tortured. It just happens to be wrong. The logic you used to arrive at your wrongness is what is tortured. You assert that because he’d be the third best prospect on the Dodgers, Nationals, Rangers or Red Sox, that means he’s not a top prospect.

    I illustrated that of the 18 spots ahead of him, only 14 teams are represented. That means 16 teams don’t have a prospect better than him. That means that if he belonged to any of those 16 teams, he would be their top prospect. Where am I losing you?

    How is he only a top prospect on a bad team, when less than half the league has a prospect better than he is?

  37. @58 – I’m arguing with silly and stupid assertions. Be sad all you want to. Grieve away. But when you say things like “the return is irrelevant,” or “you guys are idiots! I’m old, I know what I’m talking about!” you have to expect someone to push back a little.

  38. John Coppollela: “I’m not afraid. Fans won’t like this trade because they love Simmons. We need more talent…This trade helps that happen.”

    Not that utter disregard for (and possible contempt of) the fan base was in question, but this says it pretty explicitly. The new Liberty Braves stockholders will love this deal, and that’s all anyone cares about. End of story – we’ve been written out of it.

  39. I believe I said we should get a top prospect, not a top prospect on a team with a bad farm. Bad farm (though true) was an addition to the “on a team” piece. My meaning was that we should be getting a top prospect overall.

  40. I think that quote is saying that his job is to be dispassionate and make decisions based on a balance of total value, cost in dollars, and opportunity cost, and not to make them based on what the blogs are saying. And I think that’s right.

    I think if you build a team the way a fan would, you would wind up giving huge extensions to Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins and pay huge dollars to aging pitchers, trying to put together a Big-3 rotation because “Oh shit! Ya know what would be awesome?!”

  41. @60, if you want to keep paying your hard-earned in support of John Coppolella’s fantasy league experiment, you are truly the real winner.

  42. @64 – You will love these guys, too. Don’t you understand that? Simmons was once a pipe dream and trading Yunel was the stupidest idea ever.

    We once cut Tom Glavine, who was our guy, who had pitched a shutout to win the WORLD SERIES, when he was due to be activated from a rehab assignment, in order to make roster space to promote a lottery ticket, projectible prospect kid. Frank Wren really pissed in our apple juice that day. And just two days ago we cried because that kid, Tommy Hanson, OUR KID, passed away.

    One of these kids will strike out 16 guys someday. One of these kids will throw a no-hitter. One of these kids will throw a 3-hit shut out in a playoff game. And when they do it, they’ll be your guy. They’ll have always been your guy, and you’ll have always loved them.

    One of these kids will pitch us to our first World Series, and believe it or not, trading Simmons mover that day sooner. There’s more talent in the system than there was yesterday, and more money in the budget, and more flexibility in future years, too. Those things matter, whether you value them or not.

  43. Let’s have a look at some #19 Baseball America prospects lately…

    2008 – Andy LaRoche
    2009 – Alcides Escobar
    2010 – Aaron Hicks
    2011 – Mike Montgomery
    2012 – Anthony Rendon
    2013 – Jameson Tailion
    2014 – Robert Stephenson

    so that’s pretty cool, there’s like a 1/7 chance this kid is as good as Anthony Rendon who has a third of Simmons’ career WAR at the same age

  44. @67 – And Andrelton Simmons topped out as the number 92 in 2011. We should have traded him for Domimic Smith! The 92 spot is where all the WAR is!

  45. @66 – One of these kids will get traded away with 5 years of control left for prospects that can be traded for more prospects. One of these kids will be packaged with a bad contract for a salary dump so payroll can get cut by 10 mill the next year anyway. One of these kids will get trashed by the state media and traded away because the wildly profitable team claims it can’t pay him in free agency anyway.

    You’re really putting all your savings in this Ponzi scheme the Johns are running, aren’t you?

  46. @69 – We should have just forged the paperwork so we could take Buxton from th Twins.

    You think that 5 years of Simmons at $50m should have returned one of the guys ahead of Newcomb?

  47. http://www.sbnation.com/mlb/2015/11/12/9726596/andrelton-simmons-trade-reaction-braves-angels

    “What it looks like from here, though, was that the Braves traded a rare, generational defender under team control for the next five seasons for a couple of pitching prospects. Did the Braves get more than the A’s got for three months of Scott Kazmir? Probably. But the fact that we’re asking this question suggests they got an ordinary return for an extraordinary player.

    Trusting the process worked in Kansas City. We all looked stupid on that one. Maybe this will be a reverse-brilliant trade after all. From here, though, I have no idea what the Braves were thinking. Newcomb can’t just become a good pitcher to even this deal out. He has to be outstanding. He has to follow the path everyone expects, which isn’t how pitching prospects usually work.

    Smooth defensive masters usually keep on keepin’ on, though, especially when they’re just entering their mid-20s. He was safe, he was filled with upside beyond his predictable value, he was relatively inexpensive, and he was a fan favorite.

    I don’t get it. I just don’t get it.”

    Me either.

  48. @71 – Do you actually believe that this is the preferred method of operation of this front office, and not that it’s the method chosen to dig out from under bad contracts and years of the future budget being eaten up by replacement level players coupled with a terrible farm system? Do you believe John Hart’s career began when the Braves hired him? Did aliens abduct Schuerholz and replace him with a dolt?

    I don’t think that’s really a reasonable position to take, that the baseball operations guys are doing this because it’s fun or because they are mustache twirling villains.

    I think they’d much rather have un-signed BJ and Uggla, and given that money to Heyward and Justin.

    But the money was spent. The system was barren. The budget was what it was. With the best players about to walk for the lack of financial flexibility, the pertinent thing was to regain the financial flexibility, and start assembling the next crop of good players.

    You don’t have to like watching it, but the “their just bastards!” line is just stupid and annoying. No matter how hard you refuse to understand it, they can’t just print money so they can keep on keeping on.

  49. @52

    Fine, I’m an idiot. But since you’ve decided to no longer follow the Braves (and this goes for the rest of you claiming the same), might I suggest becoming a fan of tennis or golf or freaking NASCAR, since you guys don’t seem to understand the basic concept of being a fan of team sports.

  50. “You can make an argument that we’ll win more games with Aybar,” Coppolella said. “This wasn’t a prospect trade. This was a value-for-value trade with two really good prospects in it.”

    The gall of these guys is unbelievable. Just insult my intelligence more why don’t you, ugh.

  51. @78: He’s right though. With Aybar we might be able to win as many as 62 games.

    But c’mon guys, aren’t you excited for the 12-man rotation we’re putting together?

    And how about those 2016 G-Braves… gonna be another great year in Lawrenceville!

  52. @2: That 11.1 K/9 looks a LOT less impressive next to his 5 BB/9… even less impressive when you look at his AA stats alone, 9.8 K/9 and 6.0 BB/9.

  53. Well, I started off loving Wren but the guy killed our farm. I guess we are going into a completely different route this time…much different than what we have ever imagined. I am fine with trading Justin, Gattis and even Wood/Peraza, but guys like Kimbrel, Heyward, and Simba are the kind of guys we should be keeping in my opinion.

    Hopefully I will end up loving Coppolella, but it is not looking good right now.

  54. I’m not sure why he thinks we could win more games with Aybar. Didn’t JS come out a few weeks ago and say we had probably traded too much and that we would be better? The Braves front office has always been full of crap towards the fans, but this is nuts.

  55. As people know, the Braves hired the guy who wrote this writeup of Newcomb. I don’t know why relative rankings matter more to people here than absolute ones. McDaniel says Newcomb had roughly the same value going into 2015 as Andrew Heaney:


    2. Sean Newcomb, LHP
    Current Level/Age: Lo-A/21.7, 6’5/240, L/L
    Drafted: 15th overall (1st round) in 2014 out of Hartford by LAA for $2.518 million bonus
    Fastball: 60/65, Slider: 50/55, Changeup: 50/55, Command: 40/50

    Scouting Report: Newcomb was the Hunter Dozier of the 2014 draft, a player that clubs liked higher than the media consensus had them, partly because teams weren’t sure if they were the only team that had him so high, so they kept it pretty quiet. Sources have indicated that the Mariners probably would’ve taken Newcomb at the 6th pick if RF Alex Jackson wasn’t there and there were a couple more spots where he was the backup choice, before the Angels stopped the slide at 15th overall.

    The things scouts like so much about Newcomb are easy to see: he’s huge (6-foot-5/240), athletic, left-handed, has a fresh arm (New England multi-sport kid), flashes three plus pitches (sits 91-94, hits 97 mph) and shows surprising pitchability considering his background. His off-speed stuff plays more to a 55 on a consistent basis, but both the slider and changeup flash plus at times, though usually not in the same start. Newcomb has good control, feel for sequence and a repeatable delivery, but the’s still working on the finer points of pitching and consistency with command and crispness to his stuff. The raw elements are here for an ace if Newcomb can make all the necessary adjustments and stay healthy.

    Summation: He should spend all of 2015 in A-Ball, but many scouts see the ability here to be on the fast track by the end of the year and rush to the big leagues faster than I suggest in the projected path below. Many of these scouts pushed for Newcomb over Heaney for this reason and I ranked them close in the top 200 (51 vs. 55), but couldn’t pull the trigger to put an A-Ball pitcher over a possible 2015 200-inning MLB starter. That said, it shows how good Newcomb can be that I have them that close and almost listed them in opposite order.

    FV/Role/Risk: 55, #3/4 starter, High (4 on 1-5 scale)
    Projected Path: 2015: Low-A/High-A, 2016: High-A/AA, 2017: AA/AAA/MLB, 2018: AAA/MLB

  56. I think the only other players in our system that McDaniel ranked a 55 or higher on the 20-80 scale are Albies (60), Ruiz, Fried, Peraza, and Folty.

    If we don’t take Aybar, we get a better prospect from some other team, which is aggravating. Of course we’ll be flipping Aybar for something before the deadline.

  57. The Braves have given up on two generational “dWAR” talents in the past two seasons. I don’t know if that says anything about our philosophy or not, but I find it interesting.

  58. Hate hate hate to see Andrelton go. He is one of a kind.

    This makes me feel just a little bit better (from TC – on Newcomb):

    “He’s huge — 6’5, 245 pounds — with a mid-90s fastball and two plus breaking pitches. Command has been a bit of an issue in the past, but he’s a legitimate No. 1 prospect. He struck out 168 batters in 136 innings. He surrendered more than five hits ONCE in 27 starts in 2015.”

  59. @75 – The “saddled with crippling contracts” case you’re so generously making for our impoverished overlords MIGHT have been reality, to some arbitrary standard that only a team run primarily by accountants determined to not just be profitable, but to be X amount profitable might adopt. Whatever the case, that disappeared about 4 trades ago. We’re completely in the “what’s the big deal, these guys are just numbers and stop getting so attached to them, and I don’t really care what the fans think about this product that I’m not really trying to sell them anymore because we have alternate sources of income” phase of the rebuild now.

    As I’ve said upthread, I can handle losing players at the end of their team control, but extending a guy with a generational talent who’s a sure bet to provide way more value than his contact and dumping him to go marginally younger, shortly thereafter, then insulting fans who aren’t happy about it is a real bad way to actually have fans and tells me you’re not actually interested in doing that.

  60. @87 – That’s the case, yes. Minor has about a 0% chance of seeing 2016, and I’d say Teheran is maybe 20%. I’d guess there’s a non-zero chance of Freeman demanding a trade too, so we could actually achieve our team goals by 2016 instead of 2017! What a way to build momentum going into our new shopping mall.

  61. I still don’t like the trade, but I’m not one to toss asidce a team because I don’t like a particular move made by said team. Heck, I was here for the Oberkfell signing for goodness’ sake.

    Anyway, let’s see what Newcomb becomes. If he’s the next Kershaw/Bumgardner, then we made out like bandits. If he’s more of a Gio Gonzalez, then the trade is a wash. If he’s Zane Smith II….

    Anyway, that’s the issue with trades – it always takes a while to decide who ‘won’ the trade. Wait and see. If losing Simmons is too much for you – well, that’s your right to root for whatever laundry you want.

  62. As I’ve said upthread, I can handle losing players at the end of their team control, but extending a guy with a generational talent who’s a sure bet to provide way more value than his contact and dumping him to go marginally younger, shortly thereafter, then insulting fans who aren’t happy about it is a real bad way to actually have fans and tells me you’re not actually interested in doing that.

    If they just bank on these prospects and never sign a meaningful free agent or never trade some of them for a player with a bigger contract at a needed position, then you’ll be right and the Braves will get what they deserve.

    This move needs to happen in tandem with something else. A big signing or a trade of prospects.

  63. Right now I just feel alienated by the front office. I understood the letting McCann walk – hell, I even agreed with it – and I saw the sense in trading Kimbrel. I was a little frustrated when Heyward said the front office wasn’t negotiating a contract extension with him so I saw that trade coming. But this one…wow. Yeah, it’s possible Simmons never becomes an above average hitter. It’s also likely his defense begins to slip. But he was one of two players the fan base could recognize and probably the one guy people enjoyed watching on this team. Now he’s gone. We’re essentially the Marlins or Montreal Expos right now. I’m pissed.

  64. Why would any player sign a team friendly multi year contract with this front office? Talk about a bait and switch.

  65. Back away from the ledge. We traded another fan favorite. But we fans probably overstate his value a bit. We basically traded away a young Rey Sanchez.

  66. @91

    The Braves front office and Braves state media have always done that. “Mike Hampton isn’t hurt, he just is good friends with Dr. Andrews.”

    I also understand we are pulling for laundry. However, we should be able to grow with some of these guys. No one is going to show up to the park to watch no names play. Then we start losing money and the front office will say, “Well, we can’t sign anyone because the fans aren’t coming to the games.”

  67. When Kevin Maitan signs with the Dodgers or Yankees for eleventy billion we’re going to need some new false hope. This would be a good time for the Braves front-office to create a Sidd Finch or two.

  68. @ 68
    …when one of them was still driving a taxi in the winter.

    …stirring words..not sure i can sign on but stir they did.

    ..you cannot write what you do for us and ‘be done’.

  69. So, what exactly am I a fan of now? The Braves brand? There’s no identity with this lot. It’s just a bunch of misfits and three old men running the show at the top.

  70. @99

    What have you ever been a fan of? The “Braves” is a collection of talent. They’re in the middle of a tear down/rebuild of that talent. Were you a Braves fan during the late 80s? If so, what were you a fan of? Dale Murphy and Ken Oberkfell?

    Were you a fan of the brand, or Mike Devereaux and Luis Polonia in 1995?

  71. I find it fitting that Liberty has chosen this week to announce the offering of Braves stock. Now, instead of inartfully addressing the fan experience, our collection of “Chainsaw Johns” can speak earnestly to their true passion, delivering return to shareholders.

  72. I’m a fan of the Braves because they represent my city (and yes, they still represent my city even if they play in Cobb County because the city is more than just the strict city limits, as far as I’m concerned) and I grew up rooting for them. There is nobody around from when I first started following the Braves and I’m still a fan for those reasons. That’s what being a fan of a sports team is. It’s part of your identity, and it remains part of your identity even if your favorite player goes away. If the individual players mattered more than just being pissed for a couple days, my Braves fandom would’ve ended in 1997. This is how it works. If any of you acting like this is the end of the world are fans of college football, well…that’s a pretty stark contradiction, isn’t it? How is that possible? Particularly those of you who did not attend your team’s school.

    Now you don’t have to be happy about it. If you decide to not go to games this year because you don’t want to give Liberty Media your money, that’s a reasonable reaction, but following the Braves does not require giving them a dime during the 2016 calendar year, necessarily.

  73. I’m terribly sad and it feels quite unreal that Andrelton is gone. Still, I’m nowhere near saying something like “I’m done with the Braves”. Actually I can’t think of anything that would make me say that. Following baseball equals rooting for the Braves for me, nothing can change that foundation.
    However, this trade feels like by far the toughest one to swallow yet. I was devastated when Heyward was traded, but at least I could rationally put myself in the position to see the point of doing it (one year left on the contract etc.). But with Simmons, I can’t understand it from both an emotional and a rational viewpoint.
    As for the emotional part: TP called him The Reason, and lately, he was not only the biggest but often the only reason it was fun to watch the Braves. Of course, it was fun that lots of people (among them many who weren’t Braves fans) wondered if he is (or is becoming) the best defensive player ever. I would watch those highlight reels over and over and over again, with a big grin on my face, knowing that there was a good chance that same night he would make a play yet again that made you wonder if it was even better than the one you were just watching.
    Also, there’s a bunch of little things that further endeared him to me personally. Him being from Curacao and therefore playing for the Dutch. Him being a former pitcher and now a shortstop, just like me in my little world of recreational playing. His lion cub nickname :)
    Of course that’s all emotional stuff and we all know watching professional sports can sometimes lead to your heart being ripped out. But like I said, I also don’t get it if looking at it rationally.
    You build around (young) pitching and defense, preferably defense up the middle. It will instantly make your pitching so much better. That’s what TP meant when he called Andrelton The Reason. The same TP who, along with Belliard and Bream helped Glavine, Smoltz and Avery take off all at the same time back in the day. How can you hold on to a young guy with a team-friendly contract who’s not only a good shortstop but who’s THAT good?
    That, I just don’t understand.
    Actually, what Rosenthal wrote yesterday says it all. Andrelton is the kind of player you build around, not the kind you move.

  74. So, if we say:


    Then we have managed in the middle of a rebuilding effort to assemble a starting lineup of 7 mediocre players, 6 of whom are past their prime.

    Certainly there is a lot more that could happen before April, but if they don’t turn loose of all the money, I’m going to remain ill. I remain highly skeptical of that.

  75. The Braves are a floor wax and a dessert topping. Some people are fine buying it to be one or the other, others need it to be both.

  76. @106 – I totally agree with all of that. I don’t think I can just quit the team, and if I was going to follow another team instead based on their getting my favorite player then Heyward would’ve done it or no one will, and I only watched one Cards game last year.

    I also just don’t get the trade in the larger team context. It’s not that the absolute value of the return wasn’t as great as what we gave up – I think there’s some chance it was (not counting for the Picasso effect of Andrelton’s all time great defense). It’s just that by cramming two more pitching prospects into the farm, you’ve just pushed two more out at some point, presumably to trade for another young toolsy player who will overwhelmingly likely not be as good as the one you just gave up. Or you’ve just bought another couple of pitcher raffle tickets that marginally increase your odds of hitting on 5 good starters at roughly the same time. We traded from a position of organizational weakness to bolster a position of organizational strength. That’s craziness even if it was an equal-value trade in a vacuum. That’s all ignoring the fact that there’s now no plan for SS past 2016, and that all-world SS defense is exactly the kind of thing you want behind your young-pitching-centric rebuild effort.

  77. @109

    And yet you’re still here…on a Braves blog…bragging about how you no longer care about the Braves. So you do still.

    It’s pretty much just the laziest thing ever and it irks me. “I’m done with the Braves, don’t care. Except for that time I checked the score here, and flipped by the game and watched it for 15 minutes here, and stopped by Braves Journal once a week during the season, etc.”

  78. Can’t wait for the spin when they toss away Freeman for a TJ-recovering AA pitcher, some cash, and a box of Pogs. WE’RE GETTING YOUNGER, FOLKS! THIS IS BRAVES COUNTRY!

  79. @113- I didn’t go to a Braves game last season. I didn’t watch a single Braves game from start to finish. At most, I napped on the couch over the course of three innings on July 4. I might’ve had five posts here total during the regular season; my greatest post output as of late was in the discussion thread on UGA football.

    Is it bragging? A little. But my greater point is that this organization is trash, and they’ve lost me on the plot. Just an opinion, expressed on the Internet as one does.

  80. Also, did we not just have Edward post a write-up literally entitled “Trade. Everyone.” and have everybody more or less agree with what he said? Well, we traded somebody, and now everybody’s flipping their shit.

  81. @ 116 – Just me, personally – I agreed in a “well shit, since you’ve ruined everything you might as well finish the job and burn it all to the ground” kind of way, not in a “Great job guys, this is a really good plan!” kind of way. Trade everybody and show yourself out when you’re finished – that’s my message to the Johns. Seriously, eff those guys.

  82. @ 116

    You can agree with the general strategy of “trade everyone” but be disappointed by the execution. I hoped for more of a return than two pitching prospects and an expiring contract.

  83. I have a hypothesis that I thought I’d throw out there to see if anyone agrees. It might get roundly rejected, and that’s fine. My hypothesis is this:

    If this trade happens last offseason, it’s not really received all that badly by the fans. Some people are pissed, sure, but at worst, it’s a Heyward trade situation where half the people are pissed and half are pointing out that, on paper, this trade makes a lot of sense. It’s only after last season, which devolved into a surrealist nightmare in August, and after the Wood/Olivera trade, which caused everyone to be sure that the FO has no idea what it’s doing and doesn’t actually care about winning (which is a bizarre conclusion to draw BTW…if you wanna say Liberty Media doesn’t care, I won’t argue, but to say our own GM doesn’t care…), that everyone knee-jerk rejects this trade as a slap in the face and no one has stopped to look at what we got back on paper.

  84. @123 – Maybe doing it all at once would’ve been slightly less insulting, I don’t know. I doubt it. Besides, they actually did do it after the apocalypse that was last August, and after very seriously and solemnly vowing to get better this year.

    And again I can only speak for myself, but please see @111 for my look at what we got back on paper. It’s not the value of the return, it’s the position of the return and the makeup of the team post-trade that makes zero sense. They got a really nice piece back for Andrelton – but they had quite a few almost as nice pieces already and don’t have another Andrelton.

  85. Here’s my bottom line “defense” of this trade, as it is:

    No team where Andrelton Simmons is the best player is ever going to win the World Series.

  86. Simmons is a generational player in his prime, under control. We have a AAA pitching staff and we’re trading the best defensive player in baseball NOW? I think the outrage is the realization that the Braves are getting rid of all of our good players, even Simmons, one of the G.O.A.T. Why keep any actual MLB players? I’d be shocked if Freddie is back next year.

  87. I care about this blog. I care about the people here. I have cared about this blog a lot more than I’ve cared about the team for the past two years.

    I’m not going to find a new team. But I’m just going to care a whole lot less about baseball for the foreseeable future. If the Braves get good again at some point, I’ll probably start rooting for them again. I stopped watching them in the late ’90s when I felt like they got rid of everyone I grew up loving — they turned over pretty much the entire starting lineup from the early ’90s by the mid-’90s, and they did it again a few years later. The pitching and the Joneses were real constants. But at least we had a core we were building around.

    I don’t know what we have. I don’t trust the process because the team itself admitted this offseason that they weren’t so sure they believed in it either.

    I’m more of a Braves Journal fan than a Braves fan.

  88. @127 – Perfectly stated. I think I actually could just totally disassociate from the team, but I’d be hard-pressed to stop visiting BJ first thing every morning.

  89. I have read this entire thread and I would just like to congratulate those of you taking the long range view of this trade and other trades we have made, and of trying to convince others of the the same. It isn’t always easy to take long range view. That’s why most people can’t manage money. It’s hard.

    I hate losing Andrelton. He was a wonder to watch in the field. That and a bag of chips will get you around 75 wins or a first-round exit in the playoffs. We need more talent. I personally believe they are trying to win. I guess we will see.

    Edited to add – I totally understand not wanting to invest yourself in this team or watch them anytime soon. I cancelled cable this past year and didn’t watch a single Braves game. It was probably a good thing. But I am still a fan and will always be one.

  90. I hate the trade personally because I loved watching Simba play defense and that was about the only watchable thing on this team last year.

    It seems to me though that the idea is to get as close to a blank slate for 2017 as possible which as many have pointed out means treating any holdover “Wren” Braves like poison, but also seems to have an eye towards very little future committed salary. What will be done with all the added flexibility remains to be seen, but with the #3 pick in the draft and what sounds like a tremendous upcoming haul in the international market, I remain cautiously optimistic. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt though.

  91. I grew up a Reds fan and gave it up at age 17, after a long train of abuses and usurpations, culminating in the trade of George Foster to the Mets. I switched to the Braves even though cable hadn’t come to our community yet, and I was quickly rewarded in ’82 with a division championship and a very exciting season.

    When the decision was made not to retain Phil Niekro, I found myself in the same situation as I had with the Reds. I eventually decided that it was fruitless to bounce from team to team as they pissed me off, as it was going to be a never ending cycle.

    So, I suffered through the remainder of the ’80’s (I like that since I mentioned Ken Oberkfell that he’s been mentioned twice more; I see him and Omar Moreno as emblematic of those days) and certainly the years since have been as much as any fan can ask for.

    I’m Rusty S. (as far as you know,) and I’m a Braves fan.

  92. It certainly seems like the Wren era’s baby is being thrown out with the bath water. And I think this trade hurts worse because Simmons was more of a fan favorite than Justin, BJ, CJ, and maybe even Kimbrel and Gattis.

    But Simmons is not a 7 WAR player anymore. When Atlanta signed him to the extension after 2013, he was coming off a 7 WAR season. He then went 3.3 and 4 in the next two seasons, and his salary will more than double and almost triple in the next 3 seasons. Aybar was a 3.9 WAR player in 2014, and unfortunately had an off-year at 31 last year. He’s also in his walk-year, so you gotta believe he’ll turn in a big year to cash in on his last big paycheck. So in a vacuum, Aybar is a comparable player to Simmons anyway. But we’re not in a vacuum, and Simmons had to play on a punch-less Braves team that has to get some offense. Aybar provides that, and Andrelton was probably not going to.

    I think the most frustrating part of the deal is that so much of the return is tied up in two more freaking TINSTAAPPs. This is where the Braves need to listen to the frustrated fan base and turn some of the glut of double-A starting pitching prospects into some 2016 production, and this is where everything will come down to in this offseason. If the Braves keep this glut of pitching prospects and leave the current roster as is, I won’t be watching. I stopped watching last year once the trade deadline and college football season started, and I won’t start this year. But if the Braves take the prospects and the $20M in payroll flexibility and turn it into 3-4 major league impact players, then I can jump on the saddle. But the Braves have to know that hundreds of thousands of fans just like you and me feel the same way about 2016: it doesn’t matter to the Braves, and it doesn’t matter to us.

  93. By my count, of our top 20 prospects by MLB.com, 8 of them are pitching prospects acquired by trade in the last 12 months. 2 of them were drafted this past season. Then there are probably 3 or 4 more that fit the same criteria when you go from top 20 to 30.

    Enough is enough. Some of these need to be cashed out. And if you were going to cash out, why take on two more in this last trade? I keep going back to Hart saying that they are collecting pitching because it’s a universal currency that fits with almost any trade partner. Perhaps they took the best two prospects from LAA simply because that’s all the Angels could give them for Andrelton. LAA was the best trade partner for Andrelton, and they took the highest value. Makes sense, but it’s got to be converted into something tangible for the 2016 roster.

  94. I understand it is what the game has become these days and no way to change that but I think the thing that bothers me the most about this is we are losing the faces of the franchise. Gone are the days of a player being on one team for 10-15 years (or more). Teams really no longer have face of the franchise players because no players are with any team long enough to become a face. Sure this is great for all the folks playing fantasy sports because “who cares what team that player is on as long as they put up the numbers I need for my fantasy team?” But for an old guy like me, I miss the days of having a core of players you just knew were going to be with your team forever. I miss Tommy Lasorda “bleeding blue”. Managers, players, GMs, the whole stinking thing has become fungible and that is what bothers me most. This current trade is just another fine example of that. This trade is not the reason I decided not to renew my long standing season tickets but it sure doesn’t help. I’m tired of collecting souvenir cups with players on them who will be gone before the cup even begins to fade (as I sit here looking at a cup with Kimbrel on it).

  95. I will say that the “rooting for the laundry” thing goes both ways. I’m essentially rooting for the Braves (and the Falcons and Hawks, for that matter) because they’re my city’s teams. So I’m really rooting for the city more than the laundry, but anyway…if the Braves were to actually move, like out of Metro Atlanta entirely and to Portland or Charlotte or Montreal or wherever an expansion team is supposed to pop up next, I would be done with them without a second thought, regardless of how much I liked individual players. Would not wish the individual players ill, necessarily, but I simply would not care.

    For instance, I was actually a pretty big Thrashers fan when they were here. (Yes, I was one of the three.) They had several players I’d watched for years and grown to like, but when they moved to Winnipeg, it was over. They still have a fair number of players up there who played for the Thrashers, or at least they did when I checked out of curiosity toward the end of last season. Don’t care in the slightest. And though I don’t really wish the individual players ill, I do hope that that franchise continues to never win a playoff game so long as it exists, so that would indirectly bode ill for the players.

    The fact that I’m a Tennessee college football and basketball fan despite never having lived in that state is something of a contradiction of this viewpoint, I suppose, but I grew up rooting for them because my father went there and it’s not like I stopped rooting for them when the football program was at the Derek Dooley depths. But that one, I guess you could argue, is laundry.

  96. Good things my inner psychotherapist is telling me about this trade:

    1) We are no less likely to contend in 2016 because of this trade, given that we had zero chance either way

    2) By the time we finally do contend (say 2018), Andrelton would be a very expensive all-glove SS, assuming his offense doesn’t improve by then

    3) By that time, Albies may be a really cheap decent SS himself

    4) Aybar will probably have a good season and be a decent trade chip at the deadline

    5) Newcomb is pretty good

    I am still sick about losing Simmons because I thought we’d keep him for his career, and I had already daydreamed about having the GOAT defensive player enshrined as a Brave. He also gave the Braves a national visibility due to regular Web Gems. I think things like that are important, and I’m not so blown away by the return in this deal that those considerations are unimportant (we probably will not get Andrelton’s 5 years of WAR back in this deal).

  97. @137 I get that for residents, but I’ve never lived there. I’m simply a hold-over from the TBS days. I was attached to the Big Three, then Chipper held me over to the Baby Braves, and the pattern continued. I haven’t become attached to this generation yet, and Simmons was my strongest link.

  98. I will only say this once, but the idea that any move being made by the current management is driven by anti-Frank Wren animus rather than an honest (if possibly misplaced or ill-conceived) desire and strategy to build a winner is batshit insane.

  99. I’ll also point out that MLB.com has updated the Braves prospects lists post trade and per that source (I don’t know who runs MLB.com’s prospect lists), Newcomb is now our #1 prospect.

  100. @140, but it would be not batshit insane to say that this administration views Wren’s players as less valuable than Wren did, and as less valuable than the teams they’re trading with do.

    Anti-Wren animus may be the wrong way to phrase it. Smartest man in the room complex (and a desire to be seen as smarter than Wren) is more of the vibe Coppolella puts out. Every hotshot GM dreams of the job security and cult of personality Sam Hinkie enjoys accumulating disjointed assets on the “Philadelphia Seventy Centers.” #TrustTheProcess – the GM is now the star, ’cause ain’t nothing else left in town.

    “Fair-weather fan” is a loaded phrase, because it mocks the fan who exercises agency in his fandom. Loyalty is a two-way street and if the team is making no effort to invest – happy to indulge an ego trip that pads the bottom line – the fan (and his wallet, and his time on summer nights) oughtn’t be held hostage.

    Co-signed on 90% of @127, esp. the last line. This place gave me a home to relive my college sportswriting days and I’ll always be a fan of Alex, of Mac’s work, and of y’all here.

  101. Going to be one heck of an interesting dynamic on this Braves fan site if a bunch of people who now despise the Braves remain committed to opining about the Braves to people who are still Braves fans.

  102. @142, Hoo boy. That is awful. So Newcomb and Ellis are projected to produce 3.3 WAR by age 28. That’s about what Andrelton is projected to do in 2016.

  103. I will continue to care and I will continue to watch. It’s the Braves.
    After many years, I found it oddly relaxing to watch the Braves last year. Even though they sucked, I had two great experiences watching the Braves live, Shelby pitching (and winning!) in Miami and watching the Braves get shelled at Wrigley (Swisher hitting two HRs). Sure, I’d rather have Andrelton on my team… and Heyward and JUpton. Still, it’s Braves. Love the Braves. Love Braves Journal. Go Braves.

  104. It wouldn’t surprise me if we traded Freddie Freeman, but it would be really stupid, since we’d be selling low after his down year. He’s fairly likely to put up a career year and increase his value.

  105. @144

    “Interesting” is one way to put it, though that’s a little more hopeful than I would choose to be. I’m assuming that 95 percent of these people will at the very least go back to being self-hating Braves fans and will still actually root for the team but just complain about everything like it’s the worst thing that’s ever happened, kind of like last year. If what you say happens, that people actually start rooting for the Braves to fail but still come here to discus how much they now hate the Braves…think AJC message board with a greater intelligence quotient. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.

  106. Since my 15 minutes of internet fame is tied to Braves Journal (remember the return of edit?) I will always be coming here. As for next year, it will be the first time in a long time that many of my Spring and Summer nights are not already planned out due to season tickets… so I guess this coming year I will be spending way more time at the beach and that will mean less time even watching the Braves on TV. I don’t see a sudden reversal of the things that I think ail MLB so this might just be the beginning of me drifting off into being less than a casual fan. Time will tell I suppose.
    I know some on here think those of us saying we will be less engaged are not being honest with ourselves but I can tell you personally that as a former season ticket holder of the Thrashers I can count the number of NHL games I have watched since they left town on only two hands.

  107. @145

    And Aybar has averaged 3.2 WAR over the last two seasons, and had a 4 WAR in 2014. I’m not sure I understand the point you’re trying to make, but if it is what I think it is, I think you might have proved the opposite.

    I’m not sure if this is one of those “straws that broke the camel’s back” things with continually trading away fan favorites, but if you’re random is attached to Andrelton Simmons, then the roots don’t run that deep. I love the guy, but I also didn’t love the neanderthal swings and his downward trajectory of offense when he should have been getting better.

  108. Eh, “these people” have been contributors to this community for over a decade in some cases, and will probably find a way to stick around. In the absence of a litmus test, anyway. Should there be one?

  109. Oh, of course not. And, of course, people are allowed to have whatever emotions they have, as has always been the case here. But in the past, if I have wanted to read the opinions of people who don’t root for the Braves, I haven’t come to Braves Journal.

  110. @152 – It’s one year of Aybar, so whatever. Maybe he’s a wash with Andrelton next year – decent offense, below average SS defense. Then he’s either gone or on a completely different contract that this trade didn’t involve. After that you’ve got the value of the two raffle tickets weighing against what should be Andrelton’s prime years, for which he’s getting paid what only the Braves and a handful of other teams would view as a lot. As always, playing the lottery makes you look dumb unless you bought the winning ticket. Who knows, but it ain’t likely.

  111. As for the FanGraphs WAR projections…yeah. I don’t think it’s any secret that the Braves are banking on Newcomb blossoming, and if he doesn’t, the deal is obviously not going to be remembered well.

  112. What does Aybar re-sign for if he puts in a 3.5 WAR season in 2016? Would it not be around $12M per, which is the average for what we’d paying Andrelton? Older, sure, but then we also wouldn’t have Newcomb and Ellis.

  113. @154, considering the EOC of this place pretty much declared himself fan-in-exile @127, there may be some new realities to adjust to.

    This community has always had a tone of skepticism and not tolerating bullshit. It’s an interesting dynamic, indeed, that the front office of the institution around which this place is built has been hard at work shoveling bullshit with industrial earth-movers. I don’t know what to do with that. I like hanging out with you guys and I don’t want to give those guys any of my money. That’s where I am. Sorry? I can’t quit you, Stu!

  114. @152,

    The point I’m “trying” to make was made by @155. Andrelton is a good bet to put up 20 WAR over the 5 years of his contract. Newcomb and Ellis are projected to put up 3.3 WAR over a 5 year window. Obviously, we’re wagering on the over, but the projection, even adding in Aybar’s possible 3 WAR in 2016, is a lousy one compared to what one would expect from Andrelton.

  115. It appears this front office’s philosophy is to trade any major league talent for as many pitching prospects as they can get, and hope some of them stick.

  116. If I understand the KATOH projection system correctly, it projects a player’s ML performance based heavily on that prospect’s last season. Newcomb’s projection means more “he’s not a finished product” and less “he’s going to suck.”

    Put another way, if he had the control/command the Braves think they can instill in him, he wouldn’t have been available — probably would be in the majors already, with an innings limit.

  117. This is not an endpoint to the off-season. But if I’m putting down money, I think Aybar wears the tomahawk. At least until July.

  118. While I spent the day puking up my emotions I’m happy to play wait-and-see on the baseball side of things. I don’t *think* we did a particularly good job to have picked up a pitcher instead of a hitter, or to move a relatively inexpensive proven shortstop, but…I’ll wait and see.

    I think we should keep listening on Freeman and Teheran–but it would be particularly stupid to move Teheran, considering his contract. He’s a very good pitcher who won’t even make decent-free-agent money 4 years from now.

  119. @171..

    the tracking stock
    go buy one for your favorite jock
    if any such remain
    no weeping please, important we stay sane.

  120. I’ll be curious to see how the prospects the Padres received for trading away Kimbrel compare to the haul the Braves received for sending him to San Diego a year ago. Considering that the Braves traded away one additional (reasonably priced) year of player control, the Braves *should* have been able to get a better more back than the Padres did.

    Per Fangraphs, the Padres’ return is as follows:

    Outfielder Manny Margot (60 FV, #19 ranked prospect overall, reached AA last season)
    Shortstop Javier Guerra (50 FV, about #100 prospect overall, A)
    Second baseman Carlos Asuaje (40 FV, AA)
    Pitcher Logan Allen (unranked, but has noted potential, low-A)

    “So that’s a Top 25 prospect, a Top 100 prospect, a guy with 2nd-3rd round ability, and a depth piece with enough upside to be kinda interesting. That is a remarkable return for a reliever, and in my view, quite a bit more than what the Angels gave up to acquire Andrelton Simmons yesterday. Not that the Red Sox needed a young shortstop, but the fact that the Padres got more for a one inning reliever — even a really great one — than the Braves got for a 25 year old above average shortstop is pretty surprising to me.”

    It is difficult to make an apples-to-apples comparison between that deal and the Braves-Padres trade, which (to refresh everyone’s recollection) was Kimbrel and The Artist Formerly Known as BJ in exchange for Cameron Maybin, Carlos Quentin, Matt Wisler, Jordan Paroubeck, and the #41 draft pick. At the time of the trade, here’s how Fangraphs reported the value of the two prospects:

    Pitcher Matt Wisler (55 FV, #41 overall, AAA)
    Outfielder Jordan Paroubeck (unranked, rookie ball)

    The Braves rid themselves of the remaining (at the time) 3 years / $48M left in Melvin’s contract, and took on a straight salary dump in Quentin ($8M, promptly retired), and a bounceback candidate in Maybin (2/$15 or 3/$24). Looking strictly at the perceived value of prospects at the time of the respective trades, the Padres netted much more than the Braves. However, the Braves’ haul included a huge salary dump (about $40M net), a very useful starting outfielder on a reasonable contract (Maybin) and the prospect included (Wisler) was considered MLB-ready. The Braves also turned the #41 pick into Austin Riley, a high school 3B with tons of pop who is now one of the top prospects in the Braves’ system.

    Frankly, when I started writing up this comment, I figured it would be easy to conclude that the Padres had clearly done better than the Braves did, but now I’m not sure of that at all. Seems to me that Wisler + Riley is roughly the equivalent of Margot + Guerra, and the relief of swapping out Melvin for Maybin was amazing.* I do wish that the Braves had managed to do a better job of stockpiling some more high-level position player prospects though, and I know I’m not alone in that.

    * That said, Melvin actually had something of a bounceback year, as his power and BABIP rebounded, and Fangraphs thinks he actually out-WAR’ed Maybin. I don’t see that continuing into 2016, but stranger things have happened.

  121. AAR and friends,

    I have never been prouder to be part of a community than I have these last few days. Intelligence, compassion, and good humor always win the day here, even in the face of the inexplicable.

    So, it’s natural to ask you to join in prayers for the country of France and the City of Lights. We’re reminded again of how small a role that sports play in the grand scheme, but it’s also wonderful to have a community to share these burdens, to focus our good will.

    Go Braves! And Viva la France!

  122. As the Braves post things like a “this day in history” of when Hank Aaron won an MVP award on their social media accounts, the overwhelming majority of the comments are sarcasm about trading Hank Aaron away and what the Braves would have done with him today. While social media certainly doesn’t speak for the entire fanbase, I wonder how long the comments will be that way. Will we get to Opening Day and a majority of the fanbase is still criticizing the FO and ownership? Do the Braves, simply out of response to the frustration, make a move that improves the quality of the 2016 product, even if they feel it hurts their vision of deepening and widening the farm system?

  123. I will try not to cross the “no politics” line with this one…

    Yesterday I was pretty sad all day long about the fact that my favorite player was no longer part of my favorite sports team.
    Then, late at night I read the news about what had been going on in Paris. Apart from being shocked, I also felt bad in a way, realizing how my above-mentioned sadness seemed totally irrelevant in comparison to those horrible events.
    Today, I thought about how these things are related.
    I guess following sports can for quick, passing moments give you the impression that “everything is OK”… It’s a lot of fun, you feel like you can easily tell what’s good and what is bad – there’s something quite simplistic about watching a kids’ game being played by older kids who are extremely good at it. And when you feel there’s reasons to project some kind of personal connection on some of those kids (like for me with Andrelton, see 108) it gives you even more reason to assume for a short moment that things are good and okay and that the world is NOT a broken place – before you watch the news at night and have to realize again, it is.

  124. Apparently the Auburn locker room halftime conversation was “hey were not doing great but we’re ahead and things are going our way. Let’s not do that anymore.”

  125. @ 176

    …that was not remotely political in any partisan sense – humanistic and very well said, thank you.

    John Malone
    he condescends to throw the dog a bone
    to keep him quiet
    there’s nothing like a strapped financial diet.

  126. @175

    I think it’s ‘worrying’ because it might signal the Braves will do what’s best for their bottom line, in order to maximize shareholder return over what’s best for winning.

    The flip side of that argument is that what’s best for a baseball team’s bottom line is to win. A lot.

  127. @175 – If it’s run like a true publicly traded company, then we should expect maximization of profits to become the primary goal. Last year was a pretty good example of how profitable it can be to cut payroll at the expense of the on-field product. Why would you do anything different if it means the share price goes down? I don’t doubt that there’s a secondary goal of building a winning team with as many cost-controlled players as possible, but I’d be completely shocked to see the team extend any player ever again until it’s sold, and I’d be equally shocked to see a player stick around for more than a year of arbitration. The revolving door is the new Braves Way, and maximization of profits totally justifies it.

  128. A couple of things:

    1) My affinity for Braves Journal has increasingly little to do with my Braves fandom and baseball in general.

    2) It’s entirely reasonable to have been a Braves fan for the past 20 years and not want anything to do with the team any more. I have attachment and affection for Smoltz and Maddux and Glavine and Chipper and Andruw and BMac. I had a great time rooting for Heyward and would always defend him. Gattis was briefly a delight to root for. But none of that has dick all to do with the 2016 Braves, and to me, Andrelton was the last guy that I really loved rooting for on this team. Don’t get me wrong, Freeman’s alright. But he never really did it for me in the way those other guys did. I can root for laundry to an extent, but at some point, there have to be personalities for me to grab on to. Usually, you like enough of the old guys to stick around until you start liking the new guys, too. At this point, there basically are no old guys.

    3) 9-1 SEC East champs, baby!

  129. I really hope we don’t trade Freddie. My heart can’t take much more. I’m not at the point where many of you are with the loss of Andrelton, but I’m close. I like Freddie much more than a lot of the players we’ve dealt, so he’s the one I’ve wanted to hold onto, and I think we will.

    The good thing is that, after 1-3 in the past few seasons, it doesn’t appear that we have that black hole in the lineup. We may not have many shining stars, but we don’t have that player that has no business being in a MLB lineup (and sadly, I would say Simmons was in that group these past two seasons). And by my count, we have 31 players currently that should be at least league average. In year’s past, we’ve had 4-5 players on the roster at any given time that were not MLB players. If we sign some re-treads like we did last offseason and actually put some money into free agency (which we have been told we will, in some capacity), then we should be able to push that number to 35, 36, maybe 37 and be able to overcome the inevitable attrition of injuries and non-performance. While we haven’t raised the ceiling of the roster by any stretch, we’ve definitely raised the floor from year’s past.

    For those that may want to know, these are the 31 players that I’m referring to: AJP, Freeman, Peterson, Aybar, Olivera, Swisher, Smith, Markakis, Bethancourt, Castro, Bourn, Garcia, Toscano, Miller, Teheran, Minor, Wisler, Grilli, Vizcaino, Withrow, Winkler, McKirahan, Folty, Weber, Perez, Moylan, Simmons, Jenkins, Banuelos, and Newcomb. Newcomb and Smith factor in as late-2016 options. That’s a .500 team, IMO, with a lot of room to grow.

    I think you can contend with a rotation of Miller, Teheran, Wisler, and the winner of Banuelos/Perez/Folty, but you have to sign a FA SP. Asking for Wisler to be your third starter, and 2/3 of those to be your 4/5 starters is playing with fire.

    Contrary to many, our offense got better with the Simmons trade. A lineup of Bourn/Aybar/Olivera/Freeman/Markakis/Maybin/Garcia/Peterson, while not even league average, is not terrible, and that’s without Swisher in there somewhere, and one would have to assume that we’ll do something via trade with the glut of outfielders.

    So, all of this to say… I’m over it. It really sucks to lose Simmons, but we won the trade. Plain and simple. My expectations have not changed that I want the Braves to construct a roster that has a reasonable shot at winning 82-83 games, an outside shot at playing meaningful baseball in September, and a really good shot at being a really good team in 2017.

  130. I got on YouTube and half of my “recommended viewing” videos were Simmons doing crazy things with a glove. I don’t think my YouTube history will ever recover from the Jadiete Jewel series last winter, but too soon, YouTube. Too soon.

  131. Calling Simmons a “black hole” on offense is a big much. His slash line last year is almost exactly the same as Ozzie Smith’s career line. He wasn’t BJ or Lemke or Belliard…

  132. @ 183 If you want to believe Gondeee’s sources, Freeman and Teheran are being shopped. We need more pitching prospects, after all.

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