A Million Ways to Die in the West: Braves 8, Poisonous Snakes 9

[Our movie reference is to a comedy. For such we must search because the drama is too negative to endure. We just try to laugh it off. Also, all of the cliches work. And, the title reminds us that this team has found MANY ways to lose, so this is one more.]

If “the Johns” really didn’t have the first draft pick in the next amateur draft as part of the plan, they really aren’t executing on the plan very well. Because the only legitimate contender to become the anointed worst team in Major League Baseball just lost ground in “the race to 1-1” last night.

Basically, Folty (Mike Foltynewicz) Foltied. Pretty good at times, not as good at times. He has shown he is a Major League caliber starter. Now if he can continue to improve command and control, he could make a “Randy Johnson type” leap. But at least this starting pitcher deserves to be on a Major League roster, even for a pretty good team. So, Braves have 2 of those.

Freddie Freeman turned around a cortisone shot awfully fast. Turned around 2 pitches into homeruns awfully quick. Both talent AND effort. Amazing.

The coffin nails were pounded in by a hammer known as Arodys Vizcaino. Either he is hurt or he is awfully off in “rustiness.”

This team only has 6 more chances to die in the West this year. I am expecting 4 or more.

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107 thoughts on “A Million Ways to Die in the West: Braves 8, Poisonous Snakes 9”

  1. Whether we like it or not, I think BMac ends up in a Braves uniform for next year. His no-trade clause really handicaps his suitors and Gary Sanchez is killing it.

  2. Who else is rooting for the Braves to lose now?

    Might as well get that #1 overall pick. I can’t remember where, but Mac wrote a thing years ago in one thread about how much more valuable the #1 pick is than the #2 pick.

  3. @3
    I think it’s obvious after the Bethancourt debacle that the Braves value leadership from the catching position.

  4. @3 – That was my reaction also, but after looking at the available catchers out there, we could do much worse.

    On another note, Kemp has walked 10 times in 74 at bats since coming to Atlanta. He walked 16 times in 409 at bats for SD. His slugging percentage has dropped 70 points, but his OBP has increased almost 60 points. I wonder if this is just small sample size or if the Braves are asking him to change his approach. My feeling is that his slugging percent will start creeping up. If his OBP remains constant, he could be pretty useful.

  5. I’ll pass on McCann and Prado. Those guys don’t help us long term. The Braves goal shouldn’t to be to fill the ball park next year by bringing back former players, it should be to win long term.

  6. @8
    Both guys give sufficient time to let young guys develop and also set the tone of work ethic. No one works harder in the video room than McCann, and Prado’s work ethic (first one there, last one to leave) has been a hot topic at every stop. I think they could help a whole lot.

  7. @11
    Now you’re just being bull-headed.
    Prado: Mallex, Dansby, Albies.
    McCann: The entire frickin’ staff.

  8. I don’t think Mallex will be on the team. Flowers can mentor the staff just fine, as could any veteran catcher. I don’t want retreads. It’s time for the new Braves.

  9. You’re going to have to add FAs. It’s that simple. FAs cost just money, which is the one thing the Braves will have available. Even the Chicago Cubs, the gold standard of rebuilding, has a rotation comprised entirely of players acquired via trade or FA. 3/8 of their position players were FAs this past offseason. It’s just a fact of life. If you wait around for a team of Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, Austin Riley, Dustin Peterson, Mallex Smith, and some RF with a rotation full of homegrown players, it ain’t going to happen. Life happens. You’re going to have to fill some positions with guys on the wrong side of 30. You’re not going to sign Yoenis Cespedes for LF and Manny Machado at 3B. No one does that.

  10. This would all look so much better if our SPs were progressing better. Not ready to give up on any of them yet but I’d really hoped 2-3 of Wisler, Blair, Folty, Jenkins or Ellis would be, not stars, but at least established in our rotation by now. As it is, Folty’s the closest and I still feel like he’s 2-3 bad starts from being back in AAA.

    Prado would be an ok piece to add but not for > 2 yrs, maybe 12-15 mil? McCann and Flowers as a tandem would be cool so long as NYY was paying a substantial amount of his salary and we didn’t have to give up a haul to get him.

  11. I’m not saying it will happen, and I’m not even sure if I’m advocating it, but how would the following lineup compare with the rest of the NL?

    1 – Inciarte CF
    2 – Prado RF
    3 – Freeman 1B
    4 – Valencia 3B
    5 – Kemp LF
    6 – McCann C
    7 – Peterson/Albies 2B
    8 – Swanson SS

    I don’t know much about Valencia, but he’s had 2 pretty solid years between Toronto and Oakland and he’s either a clubhouse cancer or he can’t get along with the clubhouse cancers in Oakland.

  12. Valencia is the biggest clubhouse cancer in the league. That’s not happening. I think we see Ender and Mallex in RF and CF next year.

  13. @25 – In the case of McCann, he may be the only affordable and available upgrade we can get at catcher – maybe not, but it’s a possibility. I have never advocated for Prado, but if he’s affordable, a .320 BA and an OPS of over 800 is hard to ignore. He’s still not my first choice because he is the ultimate “buy high” candidate, but we could spend a lot more money and do a lot worse.

    The other two are not on anyone’s radar.

  14. I don’t comment much anymore, the board neither needs nor wants more Cassandra’s. But here we are going into year three of a rebuild and seriously discussing a starting lineup that features Matt Kemp, Martin Prado and Brian McCann at a total salary that will almost certainly exceeded $50 million.

    “Look on my works, ye mighty and despair!”

  15. @32, spike, please don’t deprive us of your ominous but welcome words. And that is very succinctly said.

  16. I’m not tied down to getting McCann or Prado. The point is that if we get a right fielder and a 3rd basemen who can come close to replicating their performance for this year, we’ll have a pretty solid lineup. If we add a solid starting pitcher and have luck with an Aaron Harang type of reclamation project, I think we can win be a contending team next year. As a fan it’s fun to look for realistic ways to make your team better. After this year’s team there aren’t many ways to make it worse.

  17. I do appreciate that you are only locked-in two years on McCann. Money will be free by the time they make a real push if necessary. I’d see a quality player to mentor the young pitchers and solid bat as a fair investment anyway. Better than going crazy in free-agency before your window is open.

  18. Right, virtually any move we make will probably make the team better. 70 wins is better…a lot better even. But you don’t want to do that if it means tying yourself to ageing players for 3 or 4 years. Matt Kemp is not the kind contract length that we should be after. One-year rentals are fine by me, but I expect this team to be decent in 2018, and having dead weight on the roster that we can’t do anything except release…well, that’s not what we should be looking for.

    We’re going to suck in 2017 unless they aggressively promote some of the really young pitching (and they do well). If you want one year of McCann and Prado and the like to help mitigate the sucking, well then I guess that’s ok. Three or four years will be handcuffs.

  19. What if the entire point of this rebuild, trading away all that young talent, acquiring all this young pitching…was to be the worst team in baseball for 2 years and then lock ourselves down long-term with Doug Fister and CJ Wilson?

  20. @40 I suppose that’s my point for acquiring McCann. Quality free-agents are still near or past their peak years and would require real commitments. The team isn’t that close to competing at the moment and likely would see a diminished player by the time they do.

    McCann helps the product on the field and helps the pitchers develop. They would essentially be signing him to a two-year contract. Unless they can save the money for later, they may as well spend some of it.

  21. The problem with McCann is fully what we would have to trade for him. The money and time commitment are non-factors. There will likely be competition for McCann for exactly that reason–the money and time are reasonable. They are not going to take a few players we were going to cut anyway.

  22. They wanted Folty and a prospect the last time we talked. Still want McCann? I know, they’ll come down off of that in the offseason, but he’s not going to cost just money.

  23. I’m working on the assumption that that is GM-speak and they would only need a lesser prospect. Possibly one of the guys causing the 40-man overflow.

  24. Our pitching is so bad at the moment it really won’t matter what offensive upgrades are made this winter

  25. The pitching is really incredibly bad. This is nauseatingly awful.

    My hope was August and September would be promising. But now I have to hope for September, and then some will be capped out for innings.

  26. McCann would probably ask that his 2019 option ($15 million) be picked up in order to waive his no trade clause which would make it 3yrs/$49 mill. Option becomes player option anyway if McCann has 1,000 PAs in 17-18 combined, catches 80 games in 18 and not on DL at end of 18.

  27. I don’t think he’ll get 1,000 PAs in 17-18 anyway, and he doesn’t need to to earn his money.

    McCann can ask all he wants for his option to be picked up, but he’s got two choices: come play close to full-time close to home, or get 300 ABs (maybe) a year for the next two years. Pretty simple choice, Heap.

  28. @52, don’t forget the mid-level prospects we’d have to trade just for the privilege. But nobody is actually thinking about any of that. I get the sense that most of this is driven by “Liberty better spend some GD money or else!” If it’s not well spent, I don’t see the point.

  29. No sane person can watch the 2016 team and not want to spend a truckload of money on pitching. The problem is that the FA market is bad in our areas of need. So…Coppy is gonna have to trade away a good number of our adorable prospects in order to get the MLB pieces we really want. I’m not talking about Blair and Jenkins for Sale here. If you want quality then you have to give up quality.

    Or…we can keep our powder dry, call up half of the M-Braves and let them play, and go on a crazy spending spree next winter when the market has better offerings.

    I vote for the latter. Afraid we’ll get the former.

  30. Who has said you’d get McCann at full price (and now including his option year?) while also giving up mid-level prospects? The correct answer, according to Wikipedia, is “no one”. “No one” is the correct answer.

  31. McCann hasn’t batted over .230 in 3 years! In 2013 he hit .256! Yay!

    This is 1000% about reaching that fan that hangs out at the Chophouse and never actually watches an inning of the game but tells everyone they’re a Braves fan.

    IMO.

  32. Those types of fans are going to go in droves to WFF in 2017 anyways. We do not need any extra hooks to get people into seats next year. Dansby Swanson Ladies Night will be plenty.

    If you want to create some buzz, call up more kids and hype them up ala Swanson. Baby-Braves 2.0 might sell a few extra tickets. What on-the-fence fan is going to get excited about McCann or Prado?

  33. I guess we were all too busy looking at Tyler Flowers’ wikipedia page and wondering what miracles McCann’s going to work with Wisler/Blair/Jenkins that Flowers can’t.

    Maybe there’s a legit answer to that, but if there is, then the Braves should’ve spent Alex Wood on a catcher.

  34. At least we have another lineup of pitching prospects to stare at tonight:

    Atlanta: Whalen
    AAA: Blair
    AA: Newcomb
    Rome: Ricardo Sanchez (meh)

    Lost in the very well-placed pessimism about our pitching woes is that Whalen did throw a 6 IP, 1 ER game last time out.

  35. Aside from Chief, I know no one that puts stock into batting average anymore. McCann’s OBP and SLG are both healthy despite the fact that his BABIP is crazy low this year, and has been for several years. Probably has a lot to do with the amount of shifts he receives combined with his abnormally slow feet. Still should have better overall numbers than what he currently has, but I’m not convinced his overall numbers will ever be better than a mid-.700 OPS.

  36. Strongly in agreement with scenario laid out in part “B” of #54. Whatever other missteps the front office has made, they did–I believe–a great job drafting in ’15 & ’16 and with Int’l free agents as well. I could see trading ONE of Sims, Newcomb, Weigel, Folty to “fill a hole” with a 2017-ready upgrade–but not 2 from that group.

    Other than that, don’t rush / don’t panic. Then, pick from the ’18 free agent class, please.

  37. And before Blair’s injury and first start back, he did have outings of 7 IP, 2 ER; 6 IP, 0 ER; and 7 IP, 3 ER in his three previous starts.

    Wisler’s last 4 starts in AAA were 8 IP, 3 ER; 6 IP, 2 ER; 5.2 IP, 3 ER; 7 IP, 3 ER.

    Before our starters went on a week and a half long stretch of 7+ ERAs, there was some optimism. Some.

  38. Trading any of Newcomb, Sims, Weigel, or Folty for a 2017 stopgap is the very definition of rushing or panicking. This was insane when we were talking Ellis and Whalen for McCann. Now you’re wanting to dip into the high ceiling pitchers. Big, fat no on that one.

  39. @63

    I think most are saying that they wouldn’t want to see Sims/Newcomb/Weigel/Folty traded. I think it’s the cluster of potentially low-ceiling pitchers like Ellis/Wisler/Whalen/Jenkins/Blair/Gant. One from the former group; one from the latter. And to get a rental, not a player signed for multiple years.

  40. @65

    It was Ellis and Whalen for McCann and lots of cash, thankyouverymuch. I’d rather have $8M in 2017 player payroll to use elsewhere than keep both Ellis and Whalen.

  41. Full list of Braves MILB players eligible for Rule 5 draft. If you’re on Twitter follow @bravesoptions as he’s the one who has put in the work to build this list.

    Max Fried
    Lucas Sims
    Rio Ruiz
    Connor Lien
    Jed Bradley
    Zach Bird
    Matt Lipka
    Joseph Odom
    Johan Camargo

    Steve Kent
    Emerson Landoni
    Victor Mateo
    Willians Astudillo
    Enderson Franco
    Carlos Franco
    Oriel Caicedo
    Omar Obregon
    Joey Meneses
    Carlos Castro
    Zach Quintana
    Luis Valenzuela
    Sean Kazmar
    Blake Lalli
    Jordan Pacheco
    Braeden Schlehuber
    Rob Wooten
    Jimmy Moran
    David Peterson
    Levi Hyams
    Wes Parsons
    Steve Janas
    Tyler Brosius
    Reed Harper
    Jacob Schrader
    Ryan Gebhardt
    Erison Mendez

  42. The Braves will still be sellers in ’17 and ’18, so might as well sign a few guys they can sell. Who cares what their names are — the only thing that matters is whether they’d be here long enough to block somebody else. The size of the contracts only matters in terms of how it impacts tradeability.

  43. @ 69,

    Upon looking at this list, I was reminded of and inspired by Mr. Justice Potter Stewart.

    “I don’t know how to define ‘dreck,’ but I know it when I see it.”

  44. There’s a handful of wild cards after the gap but needless to say those guys aren’t likely to be protected…or claimed.

  45. No sane team is going to take Zack Bird and have to keep him on the MLB roster for an entire season. Unless you’re tanking. Sims, Fried, Bradley, and Ruiz have to be protected. Lien and Odom can be allowed to dangle for a year. Actually, let’s just make Odom our catcher instead of foolishly trading for McCann. He’s 24 and he played in the high-A ASG.

  46. Funnily enough because of injuries, Braeden Schlehuber is my backup catcher for me on OOTP. He’s hitting about .180. I did trade Jace Peterson and Albies and another suspect for Salvador Perez, however. Peterson is thriving in KC.

  47. Sims and Ruiz could be Sept callups. They’ll want to protect Fried for sure. After that…good luck with your new teams.

  48. I’m not really worried about anybody other than Ruiz, Sims, and Fried, but if Newcomb and Albies get added to the 40-man at some point, you’ll have a logjam.

  49. @78, there was a period a while back where they were really flowing.

    @77, Albies will surely be added in about 9 days, Newcomb I’m guessing will be sometime next season?

  50. Albies would be a shot in the arm for a tired, frustrated fan base.

    I wouldn’t question calling Newcomb up. It worked for Cabrera.

  51. Meneses started really strong in Carolina but the hits have leveled to a trickle since he joined the AA club. You might say that Meneses’ stats were padded in A ball.

    I’m done. I just couldn’t resist.

  52. They really hung Meneses out to dry in the rule 5 draft, but after his spotty performance at AA, there was no room for him on a cramped 40-man roster.

  53. I think they’ll protect Jed Bradley as well. He’s been sensational since being acquired from the Brewers. Former 1st rounder…and left handed. Steve Janas is also a questionable guy on the list. Could be a September callup so I guess we will know soon whether he has what it takes.

  54. After a streak of walk totals of 2, 5, 4, 2, 2, 5, Newcomb’s most recent starts have seen walks reduce to 1, 2, 3, 1, and 2 so far tonight in 5 IP. His issue is walks, and he’s slowly curbing them.

  55. On other shores…the Rangers, in Cincinnati, release Josh Hamilton. And therein lay a thousand tales.

  56. The walks have been the only thing holding Newk back from a promotion. I wouldn’t be surprised if his next start was in Gwinnett.

  57. I think Blair is going to be put on a strict offseason workout program. Dude looks overweight & unconditioned.

  58. Weigel is the most excited I’ve been about a pitching prospect since Hanson when he took the AFL by storm.

  59. As I was going up the stair,
    I met a man named Aaron Blair.
    He was Aaron Blair again today,
    I wish, I wish he’d go away.

  60. Whalen, in more ways than one, reminds me of Jason Marquis, and I could see him having a similar career.

  61. Walk, walk, walk, single, HBP, double, and that’s the end of the night.

    These starters freaking suck. Unbelievable.

  62. If we’re going to let middling prospects walk the stadium, why not let Newcomb walk the stadium? At least he has the stuff to get out of it.

  63. Our current pitching prospects are all back end starters at best. Wisler, Folty, Perez, Whalen, Blair, etc….Coppy needs to find multiple starters for next season.

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