Braves Panicked After League Says They Must Field a Major League Team in 2016

November 15, 2015
VOL 72 ISSUE 45
Sports · Local

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Braves General Manager John Coppolella was informed six weeks into his new job that he is expected to field a major league team in 2016.

ATLANTA, GA—Braves officials were taken by surprise earlier this afternoon when a league official informed the team they have a major league schedule they will be expected to play out in 2016.

“This comes as a surprise to us,” Braves General Manager John Coppolella admitted. “We really did not have this on our radar right now.”

Earlier in the day, Coppolella told the media the team was actively looking to get rid of Freddie Freeman and Julio Teheran, saying that both had been members of the franchise for too long. “Freddie and Julio have been great guys to have in the clubhouse, but it’s time to move them along and get some fresh blood in there,” Coppolella said.

However, the team is having difficulty moving them, Coppolella noted, because the Braves have already used the rest of their major league talent to stockpile minor league pitchers recovering from Tommy John surgery, and they are now running low on potential trade partners. “Most of the other teams out there do not have many of the type of prospects left we are looking for,” Coppolella said, “Ideally we’d like to have a variety of prospects to choose from in a trading partner, but we were so active last winter that we were able to get most of the guys that fit our prototype, and so few Tommy John surgeries were performed over the summer that there is a real shortage of pitchers recovering in farm systems right now.”

After hearing Coppolella’s comments about Freeman and Teheran, a league official sent the team a memo reminding them that their appeal to have their major league operations suspended during their retooling process had been rejected, and that they would be expected to fill out a 25-man major league roster at the end of Spring Training.

“I was never notified about that. This is the first I have heard of it,” Coppolella said when he was reached for comment. “When I took this job, I was under the impression that I was supposed to continue the work I was doing as the Assistant GM. There I had been instructed to dismantle the major league team and restock the farm system, so I had assumed the team’s petition for a short-term recess from MLB had been accepted. This will definitely change the game plan I have been following.”

Coppolella further noted that the team will be opening a new ballpark in 2017, and that he is appalled the league is going to make them play this year in their old one. “This place is like 20 years old—it’s outrageous we are going to have to play ball games here next year when we will be opening a new ballpark so soon. All of the elements were in place for our petition to be accepted, so I really don’t know why [the league] rejected it. But, that’s life. If we have to play next year, we will play.”

When asked if he felt pressured to construct a major league roster in such a short time frame, Coppolella dismissed the idea. “April is a long way away. We are not concerned in the least about whether we will be able to assemble a team or not.”

A source close to the situation, speaking on the condition of anonymity, disagreed with Coppolella’s statement and said that the atmosphere in the Braves front office is decidedly panicked. “Coppy was shocked at first—he really didn’t see this coming. Now that it’s sunk in a bit, he is putting on a bold face for the media, but he has started to panic, and everyone else in here are kindof taking their cues from him.”

This source believes things will settle down after a while, though, and is confident there will be nine players taking the field in a Braves uniform on Opening Day. “We may have to turn some of our minor league pitchers into athletes and have them fill in some other positions in the majors for awhile. There’s also a lot of semi-pro leagues around here and some church softball teams that we can take a look at to find some guys who can wear a glove on their hand and take the field. So it’s really not that big of a deal—we’ll get something worked out before the season starts.”

Coppolella went a step further and expressed some optimism about the 2016 season. “We know the fans in Atlanta want to see competitive baseball again, and I have no doubt we will be able to give them that this year, even if it is a bit sooner than I was expecting,” he stated through a text message this evening. “I expect there to be some close contests this season, some nail biters, some exciting baseball. I think fans will be surprised by the product we will put on the field,” adding that with the fans’ demands for competition, the team is anticipating sellouts against each contest played against Philadelphia, and is scheduling their promotional giveaways accordingly.

141 thoughts on “Braves Panicked After League Says They Must Field a Major League Team in 2016”

  1. Of all the funny things in this piece, I think that editing a fake quote is the most subtle piece of awesome. #[theleague]

  2. I could probably play left field if we had a shortstop with a really great arm to take the cutoffs, but probably the only way I could get on base would be if I were facing some really wild Double-A guy.

  3. Coppy Coppolella
    at forty considered the thinking man’s fella
    is put on the spot
    put out or likely you’re quickly forgot.

  4. My single biggest frustration with all of this crap is not knowing if the Braves will actually spend the money they have this offseason. Have they not all but said that they have $20M to spend? Why do we have to wonder if that will get spent? If they do, we’re a much better team, and it’s incredibly frustrating having ownership that makes you wonder if they’ll spend it. Completely ridiculous. You could sign Alex Gordon and some relievers with that money and completely change the landscape of the team. Will they do it? I don’t know, and it pisses me off.

  5. Yep. I propose a march on Turner Field if they don’t spend every cent of 30 million.

    Also, this is great ‘Rissa. Bitter sarcasm and parody are only things I can imagine getting me through the next 3 or so years. Very well done, and done in the spirit of Mac for sure.

  6. @10 – Exactly. They need to either spend it or stop bragging about it as part of their haul. This is what pisses me off more than Olivera, Andrelton, Gattis, or anything.

  7. @14
    That’s a really hard question to answer right now considering there’s no telling who’s traded next. Frustrating…

  8. @14 – LOL, I’m an ideas man; I can’t be bothered with details.

    Admittedly, they should only spend the money if there are people available who are better than someone currently on the roster. I imagine there are such creatures.

    Another question is: where do we not need to get better?

  9. Well Markakis is under contract for 3 more seasons, and if they are really going to waste a passable 3B in LF, then signing a RF would be ill-advised.

    The problem with the “they better spend all this money they’re saving,” is that very few contracts, at least those for players worth having, are going to be just for the one season.

    @15 says “there’s no telling who will be traded next,” @17 says “where do we not need to get better?”

    These are valid questions for a team in the kind of flux the Braves are in. The flip side of both of those coins is: there’s no telling which position we might trade FOR. There’s no telling which prospects will pan out and which will flame out.

    What if we sign Daniel Murphy for $60m over 4 years, only to find Olivera won’t work in LF, and Albies can’t stick at shortstop, but the “good” break is that Ruiz grows in to a masher. Now we’ll have 4 players for 3B and 2B, with no LF and no SS, and we won’t have the money to sign them.

    That’s just one scenario, and only figuring on the guys we know we have. When you account for the part where we eventually flip some of these pitchers, we don’t know what the best players available in trade will be, what positions they’ll play and how close to the big leagues they will be.

    This just isn’t the part of the rebuild where you spend serious money. You’re really just pre-planning outrage over a manufactured disappointment that is destined to come to pass.

    The purpose of the trades was never to get the 2016 payroll below a certain point, it was always to reduce the future commitments to the point where you have the ability to sign free agents (once we know what we need) extend players (once we know who’s good) and fill holes on the fly (once we know who gets injured) so that the next good Braves team has the flexibility to become great.

  10. Good work, Rissa.

    I’ll decide later if this is good work by Coppollella. A lot of my “figuring” was based around Simmons being at short.

    If Simmons’ offense improves, then this will look like one of the stupidest trades ever.

    Also, I agree when you do the long term extensions and buy out arb, that fans are looking for those to create long term relationships.

  11. @20

    All of these trades have had some risk at some point. The prospects developing, Gattis regressing, Kimbrel regressing, Heyward not becoming a superstar, Wood getting injured, Peraza over-valued, Olivera under-valued, Andrelton’s defense regressing and offense not developing have all been bets that the Braves have made in the last 12 months. The good news is that not all of them have to be true for the Braves to have a much better team than when they started this process, which is nice.

    @18

    There are probably some 1-2 year commitments the Braves can make to the right players. I would be happy if the Braves made similar signings with similar succcesses that they made last year. KJ, JJ, Grilli, AJP were all booms, and Gomes, Wang, Callaspo, and others were busts. We didn’t need to hit home runs with all of them for what we cumulatively spent. The difference this year is that the Braves will not flip all of these players at the deadline. Last year, that opened the door to a huge physical and psychological crapstorm that resulted in an epic collapse. That reality alone should cause an improvement to the 2016 product. Remember, we were .500 until about July 14th, then we were a .200-.300 ballclub until about the first to second week in September, then we were a little over .500 thereon out. Take out what was clearly an aberrational move of gutting the roster in the middle of the season, and we didn’t have a real bad squad last year.

    But back to my original point, they should be able to grab some resurrection guys that can provide a decent product for 2016 for a decent price. I wouldn’t begin to know who they are, but there are the KJs, JJs, Grilli’s, and Gomes’ out there that are looking for short commitments and opportunities, and the Braves are there to provide them. If I just had to throw names out there, Juan Uribe and Chase Utley make a ton of sense. They’re both at points of their careers (both 36) where a 1-2 year deal makes sense. There are plenty of bullpen guys you could do that with. You could also do again like they did with Erick Aybar and trade for a guy who’s going into a walk year. I bet that’s precisely what they’ll do in one instance. Then platoon your way into a slightly below average offense, and ride a decent rotation and bullpen to a 84 win year. Bob’s your uncle.

    Then you take about $35M off the books after 2016 and you’re really in the clear.

  12. @18 – “You’re really just pre-planning outrage over a manufactured disappointment that is destined to come to pass.”

    I was thinking more along the lines of “this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part,” but I like yours better.

  13. I think we should sign Jason Heyward to a 1-year contract worth $30 million. It would make him the highest paid player in the league for 2016, and it would give him a chance to put up a monster year at an age where guys tend to put up career years (26) and land a $200 mil contract the very next season. If he has his career year, we will end up paying about $4 million per WAR (or less), which is a good deal. When he leaves after the season, we will collect a first round draft pick. Everyone wins. This is an absurd proposal, but I actually like it…

  14. @18 – You’d have a point about preplanned outrage if the 30 million figure hadn’t been thrown around publicly by Cop., Hart, and Co. in the service of pandering to/blowing smoke up the asses of an increasingly outraged fan base. And who can blame them since if you don’t spend the money this season, it’s going to look an awful lot like the Kimbrel trade was done purely out of cheapness and not some desire for meaningful flexibility.

  15. The Atlanta Braves, Liberty Media, and Misplaced Anger

    A really timely piece re: the Braves and their (relatively non-existent) relationship with Liberty Media, posted in reply to some of the concerns (frequently stated or alluded to re: Liberty and “shareholder profits”, etc) in the last few comments of our previous thread.

    While it is true that the Atlanta Braves typically are in the middle of the pack in payroll dollars, the reality is that it isn’t Liberty Media holding payroll down (more in this later). The Braves’ payroll and operating budget are set by Braves’ longtime Chairman and CEO Terry McGuirk. McGuirk and President John Schuerholz run the day-to-day business operations of the Braves, while President of Baseball Operations John Hart runs the day-to-day baseball operations. Liberty Media has virtually no involvement with the club; the team operates as a stand-alone entity, surviving or failing based on its own revenues generated.

  16. In Sept, plans for building the bridge from the parking lot to the new stadium were put on hold. That’s not exactly going to help attendance. So it makes sense for them to unload any multi year commitment they have until they get little problem with revenue sorted out.

  17. @25 – Interesting piece. It seems to totally ignore increases in franchise value that would seem to be far more interesting to a growth-hungry org like Liberty Media, and I didn’t see any mention of the proposed public stock offering either. I don’t doubt that the team is currently left to its own devices with some caveats, but it also isn’t directly answering to shareholders. Yet.

  18. Trading Freeman would confirm they are not serious about winning until 2020. It also starts the questions if they are serious about trying to win ever.

  19. They didn’t know the bridge was being put off indefinitely when they made the Olivera trade. Now they’re in deep shit. The only plan now is reduce expenditures.

    If there were an Emil Fuchs award, it should go to Schuerholz.

  20. What’s this about the parking lot? Why is this guaranteed to reduce revenue to the point where they are cutting payroll? Are we just making something out of nothing?

  21. I think the most distressing part of that Rosenthal piece is the effect the recent trades have had on the players remaining – I can’t imagine that Freddie, Julio, Shelby et al. are thinking warm fuzzy thoughts at the FO when they have to wonder when they’ll get the Laurel and Hearty handshake on their way out of town.

  22. There’s only so much one can say about the tear-down. Just don’t call it rebuild until we get a better roster than the one’s from the Wren regime. Anyone can tear the team completely apart. That takes literally zero unique skills.

  23. @PeteOrr…

    ~”Interesting piece. It seems to totally ignore increases in franchise value that would seem to be far more interesting to a growth-hungry org like Liberty Media, and I didn’t see any mention of the proposed public stock offering either. I don’t doubt that the team is currently left to its own devices with some caveats, but it also isn’t directly answering to shareholders. Yet.”~

    I didn’t address the increase in franchise value because, while that is how Liberty Media will make their money when shedding the team, it has no effect on payroll, which is what most fans are complaining about (‘the team doesn’t spend enough!’). And, FWIW, I’m not defending the structure or practice…I was just explaining it for others.

    Also, the announcement of the stock sale had not been made at the time the article was written. But, the proposed public stock offering is not fr shares in the team; it’s a tracking stock. Tracking stocks do not provide any stake in the underlying asset. They simply track the financial performance of the underlying asset…similar to buying an S&P 500 indexed mutual fund that tracks the performance of that particular asset.

    In this case, LM wants to be able to highlight the Braves’ financial performance separate from all of the other Liberty assets and properties. IMO, this makes it easier to market the team for potential sale.

    Others seem to think the same thing, as well:

    http://www.bizjournals.com/birmingham/morning_call/2015/11/atlanta-braves-tracking-stock-could-lead-to.html

    The tracking stock could be a first step to spinning the team off entirely on its own.

  24. The idea that it’s not the right time in the rebuild to spend — especially on account of waiting to see which prospects pan out — is misguided.

    If you were actually trying to win and you came across a player with the right contract (or who could be acquired at the right price) that fills a current and future need and whose aging curve fits with our window, of course you’d pull the trigger regardless of if there’s a prospect at that position who might pan out. If the prospect works out, flip him when that happens to fill another need.

    We have actual money to spend and prospects to trade. There’s no reason not to convert these resources into actual near- and long-term improvements this offseason.

  25. @42

    I agree, but playing devil’s advocate, the flip side is that if you can’t find that player then you shouldn’t be spending money just because it’s there. If Liberty isn’t raiding the kitty, then sock it away and wait for the right player to become available.

    Not saying that I agree with that strategy, and am not sure the FO will know how to stick with it, even if I did/do.

  26. I don’t disagree. I think next off-season would probably be better as the picture will be clearer. But to be specific, what are our areas of need, and whose aging curve fits our window? There are no free agent second basemen under 30. The best available are Murphy, 31, and Zobrist, 35. Free agent third baseman under 30 are Conor Gillaspie and Gordon Beckham. The best available might genuinely be Uribe, 37, but probably Freese, 33.

    I don’t want to sign three more Markakises, to three more $40m/4yr deals, just to feel better about a bad team. I’d rather make the bad team actually better.

    I’d rather see a Folty for Javier Baez type move, or a couple moves of that type, rather than sign Daniel Murphy to be good whIle we’re bad and bad by the time we’re good. I’d even rather see a Shelby Miller for Kyle Seger type move.

    We gave up a whole lot in the name of financial flexibility. I don’t see any reason to give Simmons money to older, worse players. I’d rather it not even be spent.

  27. @25, my day job, as a public defender, is often to straight-faced argue on behalf of indefensible people. On that level, I respect what you do here.

    However: to go from 10th highest opening day payroll in baseball in Liberty’s first full season as owner in 2008 ($102MM) to 23rd in baseball in the most recent season ($97MM) during a revenue-explosion era, and to call that “middle of the pack in payroll dollars” – wow, that is the definition of weasel words.

    The whole piece is based on taking club officials at face value and not on any independent investigation. Where did the MLB Advanced Media money go? Why has nominal payroll remained stagnant for basically a decade while league-wide (shared) revenues have gone up-up-up?

    If you actually think Liberty Media hasn’t been pocketing a bunch of Braves money for years now, I have a bridge across 285 to sell you.

  28. We have money and prospects. People keep posting this thing that someone in FO apparently said about how we’re purposefully acquiring pitchers because they’re the universal currency. We’re buying them as damaging goods and hopefully rehabilitating them to sell for a profit in some cases. We should be trading for Marcell Ozuna, except the whole league is probably trying to get him for pennies on the dollar because the word is out. So, young players who perhaps fit the description of post-hype sleepers who are undervalued by their own team. Like Javier Baez.

    I love seeing the “Maybe the Orioles will want Markakis back” bs on mlbtr. It made me snicker. I’m glad the Braves are trying because Heyward is the obvious FA get. At the risk of sounding like a Chipper-to-first-er, he should be playing in CF anyway.

  29. If you are projecting future payroll increases and you are dumping payroll now, why not go after a Heyward?

    Our top draft pick is protected. It would bring good will to the fan base. It looks like we stole Miller and Jenkins. He is young and would be a great building block.

  30. @47

    The 10 Seasons Before Liberty Ownership

    1998: 4th at $61.7m (Leader: $71.9m)
    1999: 3rd at $74.9m (Leader $88.2m)
    2000: 3rd at $84.5m (Leader: $92.5m)
    2001: 6th at $91.9m (Leader: $109.8m)
    2002: 7th at $93.5m (Leader: $125.9m)
    2003: 3rd at $106.2m (Leader: $152.7m)
    2004: 8th at $88.5m (Leader: $182.8m)
    2005: 10th at $85.1m (Leader: $205.9m)
    2006: 9th at $90.2m (Leader: $194.7m)
    2007: 15th at $87.3m (Leader: $189.6m)

    The 8 Seasons Of Liberty Ownership

    2008: 10th at $102.4m (Leader: $209m)
    2009: 11th at $96.7m (Leader: $201.4m)
    2010: 15th at $84.4m (Leader: $206.3m)
    2011: 15th at $87m (Leader: $201.7m)
    2012: 16th at $83.3m (Leader: $197.9m)
    2013: 16th at $89.8m (Leader: $228.8m)
    2014: 14th at $110.9m (Leader: $235.3m)
    2015: 23rd at $97.6m (Leader: $272.8m)

    A few observations: First, the Braves payroll in Liberty years is AS MIDDLE OF THE PACK AS IT CAN GET, with an 8-year average of EXACTLY 15th, an 8-year median placing of 15th, and, for that matter, the mode of that data-set is 15.5. I don’t know how much more 15th place you can get. Are you somehow surprised that the payroll went down in the year that they traded everyone away? I personally think it’s silly the way some around here look at the present and take for granted it will always be this way. It’s a whole new level to act as if it has always BEEN this way.

    Second, the slide in payroll-standing relative to the league began long before Liberty bought the team; and not because payroll has been stagnant; in fact, in the past 18 years Braves payroll as an actual number has always fluctuated, presumably based on needs vs. available players. But the Braves standing in the league has slowly descended as the top half of the league has spent more and more. But that slide in ranking began before Liberty bought the team. Since Liberty bought the team, the number has fluctuated, but the ranking has stabilized as middle of the pack.

    The league has been outpacing the Braves because of the bad TV deal. When they owned the team, Time Warner negotiated a TV deal that paid the teams somewhere between $10m and $20m a year for 25 years. In comparison, the Dodgers are paid $240m a year by their TV deal. The Angels, $147m, the Rangers $80m. That’s not MLB Advanced Media, that’s not revenue sharing. That’s local TV, paid to the team. The Braves have since “reworked” that deal to the apparent tune of $500m over it’s life, which is part of why the team could lay out the money for Simmons, Freeman and Teheran in the first place.

    Aaaaaand then Medlen and Beachy went down with second TJ surgeries, leaving two gaping holes in the rotation, right as decision time was approaching for Heyward and Upton… and then, even with those guys, the team lost more games than they won… and then they decided to rebuild… and we argued about it on Bravesjournal for 2 years.

  31. @25,

    There is some fundamental accuracy in the linked article, but the true facts are only looked at to produce the author’s conclusion.

    1. Forbes and Fortune routinely debunk the “nobody really nets any cash flow owning a sport franchise” argument. The “real” books are hidden, but true forensic examiners get to the bottom line. Payroll is known. Most of ticket and TV (and Advanced Media) revenue is known. Baseball’s revenue sharing / luxury tax is known. After adjusting for owner’s kids making 2 mill a year as “special assistants and things like that, they make money.

    2. Although factually true that MLB ordered Liberty not to lower payroll, the approximately same payroll has dropped them from upper third to lower third. (@ 37).

    3. The “fiduciary duty” arguments are mostly specious. Once you get beyond the 5 year limits by MLB, then The Braves are like any other subsidiary. I guarantee the big cash haul is either transferred to parent or absolutely controlled by parent by now.

    4. The REAL value of sports franchises is not their year to year income, but the continuing increases in franchise values. To make it sound like Liberty just accidentally ended up with the Braves rather than some commercial building portfolios is very disingenuous. John Malone once owned an interest in the Rockies. Liberty sells all sorts of programming, including sports.

    5. The Braves ultimately would sell based on their ACTUAL TV contract, not a theoretical “fair” contract. So, Liberty bought the Braves well knowing that the deals Time Warner had put in place were not favorable.

    6. MLB Advanced Media and the new national contract rates have added around 30 mill in revenue during the Liberty era. Also, the extended regional contract was to not only be higher in the newly added period, but add 10 plus by this year.

    7. Liberty MAY believe it IS protecting its asset by NOT paying more for payroll. I very much disagree. Their sale is probably set for 2017 with new development and new ball park. BUT, to maximize the franchise growth, they need a winner. Atlanta will not support a loser. This isn’t a Chicago Cubs / Boston Red Sox thing where people are in it to the end.

    8. Somebody can come up with a pedestrian bridge design that is workable and safe and doesn’t cost nearly so much money.

  32. I also find it rather ironic how all of the “we want an organization like Theo runs!” talk has died down as our own in house wunderkind stats driven GM has torn the organization apart exactly how Theo tore down the Cubs.

  33. Theo never signed Nick Markakis for 4 years or traded young controllable assets for 30 year olds. He also never shoveled shit in the fans face by flat out lying about the intentions of the front office’s strategy. If this is the Cubs strategy then the fans should be prepared for 4-5 years of losing at least but the Johns at be repeatedly state their intention is to contend which isn’t actually true.

    The Cubs also did not move Wrigley Field to Aurora or something.

  34. The Markakis deal still doesn’t bother me. I’m just surprised we spent the money. However, if the Orioles are looking to get him we should trade him.

  35. @55, LOL

    @56, good points–I’ve approved of all the trades more or less (despite emotional reservations) except for the Olivera trade and now the Simmons trade (though I understand that one more than I did the Olivera trade). I also approved of all the veteran signings last year except for the Markakis signing.

    P.S.: I don’t think the Johns are BS’ing everyone as much as you think, gaz. The fact that the Olivera trade makes so little sense is proof of that. It can’t be both ways unless they’re trying so hard to fool us into thinking they’re trying to contend that they would make what they knew was a bad trade for a 30-year-old that they knew wouldn’t be good by the time they finally had a contending roster. That’s a lot for me to swallow. I think it’s just a hefty dose of groupthink.

  36. I think the front office is dealing with a couple of things this year that they didn’t have in their sights last year. First, they seem to have realized that the process they envisioned for three years is likely to take five or so. That’s what makes Andrelton and Freeman, et al, available where they were not previously. If your compete date is 2017, then those guys are your core in the newly rebuilt competitive team. If your compete date is 2019-20 they’re just expensive assets that won’t be terribly useful when you get good again.

    At the same time, I think the absolute shit-show of the second half surprised the FO, and they’re trying to avoid that sort of meteor crater again. That’s why you see them trying to get people who can at least fake it at the ML level (Markakis, Olivera, Pierzinsky.) The Olivera deal makes sense if you see Alex Wood as a marginal pitching asset (of which we now have approximately seven hundred thousand or so) and Jose Peraza as a lottery ticket likely poised for a career as a ML backup at best.

  37. @59 – there are a few things coming out post trade that make it make sense IF YOU ASSUME THEY ARE TRUE.

    First, the Braves’ internal metrics think dWAR is full of crap, and think Andrelton’s defense (while superb) was overrated on the market. They don’t think they’re taking THAT BIG of a hit defensively going to Aybar.

    Second, they clearly don’t think Andrelton is going to develop as a hitter.

    If you combine those things, you’d prefer having a one year deal for Aybar than the long term deal for Andrelton.

  38. What scares me about that article is that John is citing Aybar to be one of the better hitting SS’s in all of baseball. I don’t personally think we improved offensively in this trade and we certainly took a hit defensively.

  39. I’d really like to know how our farm system will be graded in, say, 12 months from now. If The Scouting And Development Dream Team (TM) is as good as they’re hyped, then I would imagine assuming reasonable TJ-recuperation and development of our 2015 draft class, prospects received in trades, and the international signings we’ve made that we had better have a top three farm system at that time. And with the quantity and quality of the draft selections we have in 2016, one would assume that will drive up our farm system within that 12 month period.

    Assuming that progress and growth, what would be the harm in, at this point, trading off a few of the assets to help the 2016 club? It would not surprise me one bit if we ended up making a HUGE trade in the offseason for a player in the last couple years of his deal in that 26-30 age group. Think the Gary Sheffield trade in 2002. We gave up Brian Jordan (Nick Markakis), Odalis Perez (Manny Banuelos), and some random minor leaguer (some random minor leaguer). Or even the JD Drew trade makes a little sense for us now. Drew and Eli Marrero (so like, Omar Infante?) for Jason Marquis (Williams Perez?) and Adam Wainright (Sean Newcomb) and Ray King (left handed relief is not a position of strength, so maybe Michael Bourn with some cash going over?). I’m leaving out the Tex trade because… we probably got hosed. Make some trades like that, and you’ve got a very different ballclub with minimal time obligation.

  40. I didn’t like the Markakis signing, and as it’s become apparen’t that there will be know plugging-and-chugging, we will be actually rebuilding, i like it even less. I would absolutely trade him.

    I don’t like the Olivera deal if he’s moving to the outfield. I believe his bat is worth the price we paid, if you add the positional scarcity of standing at 3b. I think the price in talent was too high for a LF who gets paid what he will, and who hits like I believe he will.

    I also believe that dWAR is wonky. I also believe Simmons is the best defensive shortstop on baseball. I don’t think that’s worth as much, in dollars, as many here seem to. I would pay him $12m on a team that was good. I think $12m every year for the next 4 is too much on a rebuilding team.

    I think that with or without the rebuild, $20m a year for Freeman might be too high for a 1B that hits like him. He makes $12m this year, he’ll average $21m from ’17 to ’19. I think given the rebuild, trading him would be wise. I think when it happens, people here will cry about their feelings and that someone lied to them and how people they don’t know owe them something.

    If Medlen and Beachy are humming along, going through arbitration, this rebuild wouldn’t happen. We’d have signed one of Upton or Heyward, maybe traded the other, maybe rode them through ’15 to free agency. Maybe traded one of Minor, Medlen or Beachy for a CF, tried a Harang type in their spot for a year or two.

    But the team has a budget, Wren walked it like a highwire, made some expensive longterm mistakes (Bupton, CJohnson, Uggla) that when coupled with defensible, fair deals to Teheran, Kimbrel, Simmons and Freeman, left no margin to hold the OF together while mending the mortal wound to the rotation.

    It seems like an easy history to understand. The idea that this is a conspiracy to defraud the fans, that Wren was somehow a victim of an accountants coup, is just so nutty to me.

    Do I wish they would have just plussed up the budget to cover the mistakes? Yes. Would they if they could? I don’t know. But I don’t think John Schuerholz is a Jeffrey Loria/David Sampson villain. I think they are simply trying something else, after they let the last thing run its course.

  41. Maybe the FO sees things more clearly than we think, but I would give Simmons about a 5% chance of producing an MVP type season in the next 5 years given his defense. I would also give him about a 5 to 10% chance of finishing as one of the top 5 best defensive shortstops of all time. To me these chances are a lot better than what could possibly happen with the people we got for him.

    I’m not threatening to no longer root for the Braves, but I just don’t see the trade as working out positively in the long run. Nothing we can do except wait and see.

    As far as the rebuild taking longer than expected, I don’t see it. If we have the same lineup as last year (heaven forbid) and league average pitching, we are at least competitive. In 2014 we retooled our pitching staff at the last minute due to injuries and had a solid rotation and a chance at winning the division before we forgot how to hit. We may be terrible for the next 2 to 3 years, but it’s not a huge stretch for us to be contenders given payroll and good breaks in 2017.

  42. @62

    He’s clearly not one of the “best” offensive SS in the game. But he has been significantly better than Andrelton Simmons.

    Here’s FanGraphs three year SS values (2013-15) sorted by offensive runs. Note that Aybar is dead middle, 14 of 28, with an offensive value of -12.9. (Yes, NEGATIVE 12.9.) Which is not good, until you look at Andrelton and his -41.9. (Yes, NEGATIVE 41.9.) Now, again, all of this requires that you discount all of the dWAR Andrelton has generated (which the Braves FO seems to do; they have already stated that their internal metrics don’t align with the public dWAR valuations.) But straight up offense, for the last three years, Erick Aybar has been as much better than Andrelton Simmons (29 runs) as Troy Tulowitzki has been better than Jhonny Peralta.

    Now, the counter there is that Andrelton is significantly younger and can improve, while Aybar is 31 and unlikely to improve, but the Braves CLEARLY don’t believe that and prefer the short term commitment to Aybar.

  43. Also, following up my own post @67, Aybar brings a positive 7.2 WAR from base running, where Andrelton loses another -5.1. All told, per fWAR, the two player’s overall three year averages:

    Andrelton: 9.7
    Aybar: 6.7

  44. @68, I know, but Terry McGuirk is still framing his argument as an appeal to millennial authority. I do not share many of the mass taste judgments of millennials, and while I don’t know Terry McGuirk’s son from Adam, I’m not sure I’m more inclined to buy his judgment than that of any other millennial.

  45. When we lose 100+ games in 2016 do we get to yell at the FO because they said they were trying to win? Or do we accept it as part of the “process”? I need clarification.

  46. “Millennial” is a useless term altogether any more, as it still comprises anyone born from 1980 or so through today. 30-somethings raising their young kids aren’t going to live in SunTrust Field and Play community. 23 year olds about to graduate college very well might. There are plenty of people who live in Atlantic Station and that Linbergh development.

  47. @55

    True that. Except Theo built the Cubs around highly regarded position players. The Braves strategy of building around dent & scratch pitching ‘prospects’ (TINSTAAPP!) does not inspire faith in this man’s humble opinion.

  48. @75 – disagreement with the valuation of prospects is one thing. Whinging and crying because the tear down involves your super faves getting traded away is something else entirely.

    The Braves FO may be wrong. They may overvalue pitching chits and Cuban position players. They may not have a winning strategy in place. But they do have a strategy, and it IS driven by a cohesive theory of value, and that theory of value IS supported by their internal statistical and scouting evaluations. And as such, it is a bit beyond the pale to insinuate or whine outright that they’re not trying to win or do right by the club just because you think dWAR is more accurate than they do.

  49. The whining and crying is because the FO has said publicly that they want to compete in 2016 and want to have a division contending team in place for 2017. They are the ones that said it, not the fans. The fans know that’s absolute horseshit and are calling them on it.

    Gutting the whole team for a 5+ year rebuild is at least somewhat defensible (debatable, but defensible). Just tell it like it is.

  50. Did it occur to you that they might have thought they could, and then been set upon by more base reality last year, and are now recalibrating the machine?

  51. No because if they thought they could they are dumber than I want them to be. I’d rather them just be afraid to tell it like it is.

  52. Again, if what you guys are saying is true, then how do you explain the Olivera trade? Olivera is not a good bet to be providing us much value by 2019. His peak value will almost certainly be 2016-2017. Is it just a cynical ruse by the FO? Is the Markakis signing the same?

    Everything the FO has done has been consistent with the explanation that they don’t value defense (or at least its metrics), which is why they thought Heyward for Markakis was a lateral move (“hey one gold glove for another”) and why they think Aybar may actually be better than Andrelton. They probably believe most of what they’re saying about contention. I think they’re just not nearly as smart as they think they are, though certain aspects of their strategy seem sound.

    @81, I would rather them be shrewd liars than honest idiots myself. Unfortunately what we wish for and what is so are not the same.

  53. The thing that scares me is that they very well may be dumber than we want them to be. At some point, they likely thought that a lineup that included Andrelton, Olivera, and Markakis could’ve contended in 2017. That’s scary from a player evaluation perspective.

  54. The onus is not on any of us to explain Markakis or Olivera. Nobody understands those moves. They don’t appear to help short term OR long term. I’ll buy that they don’t really hurt long term plans either, but that’s about as positive a spin as you can put on it right now.

  55. Purely speculative speculation – the original intent was to do a brief “reload” with an eye toward competing in 2017, but the disastrous 2nd half coupled with the perhaps slower-than-expected maturation of some of the young pitching prospects has led to a change in plans, and a full-on tear down.

  56. @84, but many, including you, ARE explaining the signings. Your position, as far as I understand it, is that they signed Markakis and traded for Olivera *merely* to pretend they were trying to contend. This is at least the implication in saying they’re BS’ing you with their language and actions.

    I just find that tough to swallow. I think they’re just not very bright. Hopefully they are much better at evaluating pitching talent than position talent. We might have a chance then.

  57. Actually, if you read the statements out of the FO about the Simmons/Aybar trade, THAT was a “win now” move. The narrative for “winning now” is that Markakis is a cost efficient replacement for Heyward, that Olivera is a potential middle of the order slugger that could be acquired for excess pitching (Wood) and middle infield defense (Peraza), and that Aybar is a better hitter with “similar” defense to Simmons. (i.e. Heyward/Markakis part two at SS.)

  58. “This will never happen again” – John Schuerholz, October, 2015

    That should replace “Watch out! You’re in Braves Country, Y’all!” as the teams tag line.

  59. @88

    Are you just trying to point out how out of touch with reality the FO is?

    Markakis, Olivera and Aybar are fringe pieces on contending teams, not integral parts. I know that, you know that, the FO knows that. Maybe there’s some schmuck who tunes into to a few games a year who will consider going to a game in June if he doesn’t know any better, that seems to be their audience here.

  60. It’s a pretty massive indictment of the front office if it took a super predictable, and in fact very widely predicted, 2015 black hole of a record to convince them that we’re actually talking about a 4-5 year rebuild here. Heck, they might’ve even chosen to go for one more winning season in ’15 if they had seen what was obviously coming once they started trading off anything that could still move. Being Snidely Whiplash-style, mustachioed villains is probably even preferable to the kind of incompetence that would demonstrate.

  61. No, gaz. I’m just trying to make an effort not to read every single detail in as harsh as light as possible.

    The stated plan is to rebuild between 2015-2017 and have a contending team in place as they move into the new stadium. They want to do this without cratering to a Houston-esque level of horror show so they can maximize attendance in their new stadium in 2017-18. The acquisition of Markakis was explicitly to set this “floor” on the level of horror show suck. It failed. It failed, notably, because one of their other “don’t truly horrifically suck during the rebuild” planks was “and Andrelton takes to Kevin Seitzer’s coaching and learns to hit a little too.”

    The Aybar trade is explicitly stating they don’t believe Andrelton will ever hit. They don’t like how his bat projects. I would put double any money you want to put down that Seitzer came back after this season and said “he’s never going to get it.” And they don’t believe he’s the dWAR god to end all dWAR gods, so they punted his contract in return to a guy that can hit a bit better NEXT YEAR.

    The Olivera trade is different, in that the primary disconnect is that they believe he will be a force next year and going into the new stadium, and you don’t.

    They believe Nick Markakis provides decent offense and similar defense in RF, going into 2016-17.

    They believe that Hector Olivera provides a better offensive option than Adonis Garcia or Chris Johnson, going into 2016-17.

    They believe that Erick Aybar provides a better offensive option than Andrelton Simmons going into 2016.

  62. Just checking some numbers from Aybar and Simmons last year:

    Aybar – .270/.301/.338, 81 OPS+
    Simmons – .265/.321/.338, 86 OPS+

    But at least Simmons is 5 years younger than Aybar and has potential to improve so it makes total sense why the FO would spin a story that this is a win now move.

  63. The point is that the idea that Aybar is empirically a better offensive player than Simmons is just not true. If the FO had said Aybar can be 75% of Simmons for one year until we find another solution and we get these shiny new TINSTAPPS on top of it it would be a lot more honest. Calling it a win now move is an astonishingly poor choice of words though.

  64. TINSTAAPP: There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect

    Rob Neyer’s lasting contribution to the baseball lexicon.

    It means, in other words, that pitching prospects are so volatile and their attrition rate is so high that their prospect status is a lot less meaningful than we like to admit: the odds of a pitcher being successful in the majors has a whole lot to do with their health, even though all we typically focus on is their talent.

  65. this just in…

    Is there/has there ever been/should there ever be a stat that evaluates a players value on the trade market? objectivity being all-regardless of who he is traded for – why not?

    And if there was wouldn’t that support an earlier only mildly facetious suggestion that good starting pitchers playing 10 hours a month have a bullet to bite if they want to be equated with, say, a .300 hitter who plays 90 hours a month.

    Yes of course, within the confines of any one game, he, the pitcher, more often has the greater influence on the outcome of that game than any hitter. But he bloody better have because he is absent 88% of the time. Meanwhile our undervalued slugger soldiers on, day in, day out.

    I know insight like this is rare, sacrilegious some would say, stupid even others. I say it’s precious, coming as it does from fresh eyes. Change is never easy. Still, rewrite the data base, there’s not a moment to lose. A good pitcher is never worth as much as a good hitter. If we’re going to obsess on stats then at least factor this in while dWAR disappears and WAR itself becomes more and more suspect in evaluating 6 year FA contracts.

    So why have we traded for so many pitchers? Currency, they say. To buy what? More pitchers.

    Jeffrey Loria
    such premature euphoria
    Liberty called
    he told them he was simply appalled.

  66. @66

    That quote is ridiculous in that it’s a hilariously tone deaf thing that fits perfectly into the template of something an old person (forgive me, I meant non-millennial) who doesn’t understand millennials would say about someplace they’d like to market to millennials:

    “I don’t understand what millennials want because I’m old and just figured out how Twitter works earlier this week, but I showed the artists’ rendering to my son, who happens to be a millennial, and he said he liked it. Did he actually like it or was he simply trying to humor me? Who the hell knows, but there it is. Please come and live in our community, millennials! It’ll fail without you!”

    I also agree with Sam that talk of millennials (or any generation, for that matter) as if they’re all the same is almost always overly simplistic and stupid. Millennials are pretty much anyone aged 15-35, at this point. That’s a pretty wide range, encompassing people who are in about as different a position in their lives as you can imagine. For God’s sake, you’re lumping people who have kids and have been in the workforce for over a decade with people who have recently entered high school!

  67. I think it bears mentioning that whether the FO is correct is a different thing from whether they actually believe what they are saying.

    I think they really believed Markakis was nearly as good as Heyward, that Olivera was an “impact bat”, and that Aybar is better offensively than Simmons (and except for 2014, he has been). I think we’re in agreement that the first is untrue, the second is wishful thinking, and the third is arguably true but overstated.

    It seems like the arguments are boiling down to whether the FO really believes these things or is conning the fan base. I’ve already stated my position on the con argument.

  68. ‘Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity.’ is my current view of the FO.

  69. I think we’re forgetting that Aybar is in a walk year in his last big contract period. I’m very confident that Aybar will turn in a 100-105 OPS+ season, whereas Simmons is pretty consistently an 80-90 OPS+ player. Does that offset the difference on defense? Who knows, but Aybar will definitely be better on offense than Simmons will be. And then when you add in the people who say that Andrelton’s defense could slip as he goes forward, and the fact that there are two other strong pieces of the deal, one would have to concede that there’s some upside to this trade.

    My problem is not with whether or not we got value, but I am wondering how the Pads got so much for Kimbrel from Boston. I’d love to break down the value of Kimbrel vs. Simmons and whether or not the Pads got a greater return.

  70. A 31/32 year old magically getting 25 points of OPS+ back would be quite a sight. Not sure about OPS+, but a 105 wRC+ last year would’ve been the 3rd highest for a qualifying SS in all of baseball. That would also be a career best for the aging Mr. Aybar. Old players get worse, not miraculously better just because they’re motivated all of a sudden. (Assuming they don’t get big jars of the cream and the clear for their birthdays)

  71. The annoying thing about the return on the Andrelton trade is that, similar to the Yunel trade, I guess we felt like we needed a shortstop back in the deal, which I’m sure hampered our ability to maximize Andrelton’s value.

    Unlike the Yunel trade, though, we’re not trying to win now, so you have to wonder WTF is Coppolella even talking about. Who cares at this point if Daniel Castro is the shortstop and we win 64 games instead of 67.

  72. I don’t know that Aybar is going to bounce back. I have no faith in as much. I have as little faith in Simmons figuring it out with the bat. He’s 26. He’s not advancing (in fact, he’s regressing.)

  73. Simmons actually had a kind of decent year for a shortstop with the bat last year. It was much better than the 2014 stats so to say that he’s regressing is puzzling. He probably will not hit 17 homers again but I don’t think anyone really expects that. If anything they seem like very similar hitters at this stage so the idea that Aybar represents a significant upgrade is very strange.

  74. Simmons sucks at hitting. But this is the mid-2010s, and he’s a shortstop — everyone in baseball sucks at hitting. Just for comparison:

    All shortstops in baseball: .260/.308/.380
    Andrelton Simmons: .265/.321/.338

    Simmons hit for less power and got on base more. In all, he’s either exactly a league-average shortstop or just a bit under league average. Relative to all other shortstops, he is not a black hole.

  75. Yeah! Why didn’t the front office just say “This guys not as good as the guy he’s replacing, but he’s cheaper/requires fewer years if commitment,” instead of being big nasty liars!?

    Because they have to work with these people, nincompoop. They arent going to say Heyward is better than Markakis and they aren’t going to say Simmons is better than Aybar.

    They got a few guys who they genuinely feel are 75-80% the contributors that the guys they shipped put were, but had the advantage of being cheaper, coming on shorter terms, and coming with prospects attached. They aren’t going to say that. We all can read the contract details, we all know we’re bbref is.

  76. So don’t compare them, just say the deal was in the long term interest of the club and leave it. Selling an inferior player to an already fed up fan base is just patronizing.

  77. “We like Erick Aybar a lot and look forward to working with him this year and perhaps longer. The two pitchers acquired in this deal also represent the kind of upside we’re looking for in the organization which made this deal too good to pass up.”

    Not hard.

  78. Time to focus on the important things.

    Playing a comically hard schedule – seven preseason top-25 opponents! three straight opponents with a bye week to prepare in mid-season! road games in Athens, Starkville, College Station, and Auburn! – Alabama is knocking on the door of a second straight SEC West title and a trip to Atlanta to resume the endless Bama-UF SECCG grudge match.

    They’ve done it on the backs of the most suffocating defense I’ve seen at Alabama, which to say that in Year 9 of the Saban era – that is amazing. On offense, they’ve done it with the most individually dominant RB I’ve seen at Alabama, which, again – to say that in Year 9 of the Saban era, that is amazing.

    The MO (except for that fluky weird Ole Miss game) is to let teams hang around until they exhaust themselves dealing with said defense, then break them. Against UGA, in the second quarter. Against Arkansas, in the fourth. Against UT, on the final drive. Against LSU, in the third. Against Mississippi State, second quarter. They are persistence hunters. It’s a beautiful thing to behold.

    Anyway, what I’m trying to say is it’s better for my sports mental health if I step back from thinking too much about the guys throwing plans at the wall haphazardly, and remind myself I’m living in the golden age of my team that executed its long-range plan, and then some.

    Roll Tide. What a time to be alive.

  79. “As part of a wide-ranging interview with Phil W. Hudson of the Atlanta Business Chronicle (links to part one and part two), Braves chairman and CEO Terry McGuirk said that the club plans to raise payroll in response to the expected revenue increase from their new stadium. A top-10 payroll should be feasible, McGuirk said. He “won’t give you a timetable, but you will start seeing major jumps” by January 1, 2017. (The new stadium is expected to be ready for Opening Day of the 2017 season.)”

    Part 1

    Part 2

  80. So we’re going to suck for draft picks for 2 years, then build a brand new team from free agency in 2017? That makes little to no sense. The refrain from the beginning was that we’d have a core team in place by then and the extra money would put us over the top and into contention. We’re so far from having a core team in place that I don’t even know where to start…we have holes at damn near every position, and 2 pitchers.

    In other words, having extra money to spend in 2017 doesn’t do much good when you need to construct a brand new team from zero.

    Just say that we’ll compete again in 2020 and be done with it.

  81. So, as it stands now, the team will have $50M (or more) to spend on the 2017 team in addition to Freeman, Markakis, Olivera, Teheran, Miller (arb), Shea Simmons (arb), Viz (arb), Wisler, Banuelos, Folty, Jace, Mallex, and any of the pitchers who might become good. That doesn’t seem terrible to me.

    @123, do any sports teams open new stadia and *not* get a revenue bump? I can’t imagine that happens, but I could be wrong.

  82. Hopefully, the Braves are going to use all of this money on international signings, hopefully, and not towards a weak 2017 free agent class.

  83. @125, I can’t imagine another disaster year not significantly dampening revenue. The top line fell by 16M after a relatively hot start. I don’t see the roster as currently constructed being able to replicate that, and we’re just about out of salary to shed to offset ticket decline next season.

  84. Maybe they think 2017 will be played at Turner Field, so may as well get one extra tanked season in before we really start trying in 2018?

  85. @127

    I don’t see the roster as currently constructed being able to replicate that

    That’s what’s probably going to make this offseason so long: what is this team? What do we have? And what exacerbates the confusion is the fact that we don’t really know what collection of souls best categorizes the team that ultimately lost 95 games last year. There was so much shuffling of the roster last year (we used 60 players last year) that it’s hard to put your finger on the identity of the team.

    Then it gets harder because the team was so streaky. We were 42-42 on game 84, then we reeled the Herculean feat of a .240 winning percentage (13-41!!), then, after not having a trade, release, or demotion for 11 days, the Braves went 8-6 to finish the season. Some may disagree, but I attribute that to the fact that they simply let the Atlanta Braves play, instead of constantly altering the chemistry of the team. These are real people, at the end of the day.

    So the far-from-scientific way of looking at it perhaps would be to take the 13 position players who logged the most ABs and the 12 pitchers who logged the most innings, and I’ve listed them below:

    Hitters: Markakis, Simmons, Peterson, Maybin, Freeman, Pierzynski, Gomes, Garcia, K. Johnson, Bethancourt, C. Johnson, Uribe, Ciriaco

    Pitchers: Miller, Teheran, Wood, Perez, Wisler, Folty, J. Johnson, Stults (HUH??), Avilan, Cunniff, Grilli, Vizcaino.

    So fast forward to 2016, and what does the 25 most used players look like, keeping in mind that we will probably sign one decent FA, several FA retreads, and maybe even make a trade or two:

    Hitters: Markakis, Maybin, Swisher, Bourn, Olivera, Garcia, Aybar, Peterson, Castro, Freeman, AJP, Bethancourt, Ciriaco

    Pitchers: Miller, Teheran, Wisler, Perez, Folty, Simmons, Vizcaino, Grilli, McKirahan, Banuelos, Cunniff, Withrow

    So to answer the original question, that team right there probably doesn’t replicate the early success (a .500) team, but they’re not going to be as bad as the collection of stiffs that helped us to lose 95 games, and the answer is probably somewhere in the middle (70-75 win team). But if the Braves end up bringing in 3-4 players within now and Opening Day, then you better well believe this will be a .500 team. That may keep attendance up and avoid a revenue plummet.

  86. Is there such a thing as a “Players Who’ve Worn Out Their Welcome” List?

    There’s just gotta be some players who’re stuck behind another, who their teams values less than the kid ahead of them, and would love a chance to prove somebody wrong.

  87. I think JC wants to start his own legacy and he doesn’t want anyone from the wren era. I would not be surprised if he trades away freeman and Teheran if he can. Otherwise I can’t think of any reason why he would trade Simmons away without a package that would have blown everybody away. The reason why he accepted this deal is because he wanted to trade Simmons.

  88. Sugar Ray Marimon to the Korean League is the rare baseball transaction that is a big win for two different hemispheres.

  89. Again, I’ll note that @133 is simply paranoid tinged thinking. John Coppollela is trying to make the team he runs successful as he best understands their position and need. He is not trying to purge Frank Wren’s players. (Both Teheran and Freeman were extended BY JOHN HART, not by Frank Wren.)

  90. @133, maybe because he thought Simmons is an offensive liability in a lineup of offensive liabilities, or that Ozzie Albies or Carmargo will be ready by the time we can contend, or that Aybar and/or Daniel Castro can be a 2.5 WAR SS so why pay Simmons $12 million to be a 3.5 WAR SS?

    It’s hard to imagine he would be both so narcissistic and so spiteful that he would make a bad trade just on those grounds. And when/if he trades Freddie Freeman, I bet it will be because he doesn’t think you pay $20 mil for a first baseman who hits .290 with 20 homers.

  91. I want to say, “This is why you have to wait until the end of the offseason before trying to make sense of particular moves. If we spend every cent on, say, bringing back Heyward (not going to happen), people would feel differently about this trade.”

    I want to say that…but I feel like the more I defend the front office, the more they disappoint.

    The thing is, both Andrelton and Freddie’s deals are still below-market deals, even if neither is in the class of Harper, McCutchen, Goldschmidt. Unless you somehow think dWAR is so off that our eyes are also deceiving us and neither is more than an adequate defender.

  92. I mentioned Frazier earlier in this thread. However, he’s only got one year left on his contact. Might as well keep our prospects and make a run at him in 2017 if he’s a fit

  93. Where can I sign up to be in the Starting Rotation? Is there an application on the official website or something?

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