Where Do We Go From Here? The Starting Rotation (by seat painter)

The Braves began this past season thinking that their rotation might be a — and maybe the — strength of the team, while they had serious confidence issues about the offense. Then they finished the season with the offense carrying the shell of a rotation across the finish line. Atlanta used 16 different starters over the season, and finished the year with major questions about 15 of them.

The Sure Things
The “Ace” of the rotation was, no surprise, Julio Teheran. Julio went 7-10 on the year, with an ERA of 3.21. That season ERA was the fourth one in a row that was beneath his FIP, which in 2016 was 3.69. It appears that Julio has the ability to outperform his FIP. He also lowered several key peripherals from 2015, including Hits/9 (from 8.5 to 7.5), HR/9 (down from 1.2 to 1.1), WHIP (down to 1.053 from 1.306) and BB/9 (from 3.3 to 2.0). He also raised his K/9 from 7.7 to 8.0. All this was over the course of 188 innings, which was 12.2 less than 2015’s total. Put it all together, and Julio’s ERA+ was a healthy 129. So, I present Exhibit 1,752 (Exhibit 1,751 was Shelby Miller ca. 2015) of why pitcher wins are a terrible way to judge starters.

The other certainty to start 2017 in the rotation is Mike Foltynewicz. Folty entered the year with high hopes and many question marks. He answered a lot of those questions in a positive manner. He has absolutely filthy stuff. High 90s heater and filthy curve that reminds me of Noah Syndegaard if I squint hard enough. Mike led the team with 9 wins to go against 5 losses, while pitching to an ERA of 4.31, which was right in line with his FIP of 4.24.

Folty got a late start in the rotation, beginning the year on the DL after recovering from thoracic outlet surgery (which Matt Harvey of the Mets underwent). Mike threw 123 innings this year, up from 86 in 2015, but unlike Teheran, his peripherals were merely pedestrian, which led to a slightly below average ERA+ of 96.The main problem appeared to be a H/9 of 9.1 (although that was better than 2015’s 11.8 mark), and a BB/9 of 2.6 which totaled a WHIP of 1.297.

The main question facing Folty next year will be health. No one doubts the stuff, and prior to taking a line drive off the calf he was pitching as well as he ever has. If he can stay healthy and improve as much from 2016 to 2017 as he did from 2015 to 2016, the Braves will have a very good 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation. Certainly this year showed the Braves were correct in keeping him as a starter.

The Third Guy
Next up is the perplexing Matt Wisler. Wisler went 7-13 and seemed to take a step back from 2015. But he was only 23 for the majority of the season, so it’s too early to write him off completely. Wisler’s ERA was a nice round fat 5.00, which will happen when you give up 9.1 H/9 and 1.5 HR/9. Wisler seemed to lose confidence in his pitches, and would get in trouble trying to nibble at the corners. The positive to this was that it would drive Joe Simpson crazy, which is good to keep him on his toes. The negative? Just about everything else.

One has to wonder if Wisler was one of the main reasons that the Braves and Roger McDowell parted ways, as McDowell’s rep for connecting with young pitchers was less than stellar, and Wisler never seemed to improve. 2017 will be a big year for Matt to prove himself, as he has to be hearing the footsteps from the herd down on the farm who will be itching for a spot in the rotation next year.

After Teheran, Foltynewicz, and Wisler, the Braves have a big question mark as to who will fill out the last two spots (three if Wisler can’t get it together). The front office has publicly stated that the team will be looking to acquire at least two starters, either via trade or free agency.

Trade and Free Agent Targets
The Braves have several targets they COULD theoretically pursue in trade – the main target being Chris Sale of the White Sox, who has apparently irked the Sox brass. But, to be fair, Sale would be a huge get for any of, oh, 28 other teams as well, and the haul needed for him may make us long for the good old days when we only had to send four studs to Texas for Mark Teixeira.

The Rays also may be in the market to deal some of their starters, and might be induced to part ways with Chris Archer or Jake Odorizzi. Oakland may look to deal Sonny Gray as well. The only thing that will be sure is that Coppy will explore all potential options, and perhaps even some that aren’t viable.

The starters available on the free agent market are nothing to get excited about, with either age or injury concerns, or both, to give pause to clubs. The best of the lot may be Doug Fister from Houston, Jeremy Hellickson of the Phillies, or Andrew Cashner from Miami. None of those names are likely going to get season ticket sales at STP soaring. An intriguing name on the list is Ivan Nova, who went 5-2 with a 3.06 ERA (ERA+ of 139) in 64.2 innings for the Pirates after the Yankees traded him away mid-season.

If the Johns can’t acquire the two starters they want, then who will the Braves stick on the Opening Day Roster? Let’s take a quick look at the internal options.

Internal Options for the Back of the Rotation
Josh Collmenter was acquired in the waning days of the season, and made three very good starts for the Braves down the stretch. He had spent a good chunk of the time in the Diamondbacks bullpen, appearing in 15 games, all in relief, and not turning in results that impressed. But when the Braves trotted him out as a starter, he was a different guy. His “stuff,” such as it is, will remind no one of a prototypical MLB starter. It may not even remind one of a prototypical high school starter, as he tops out a fastball in the mid 80s. However, a funky delivery, seeming to hide the ball behind his head, seems to throw hitter’s timing off. Based on the last three starts, he should get the first chance at one of the spots.

Among the many other internal options are such diverse elements as Tyrell Jenkins, who was absolutely awful last year; Aaron Blair, who was even worse; Williams Perez, both of them; John Gant, who did have a few good outings out of the pen; Ryan Weber, who did too; Jesse Biddle, a former Phillies prospect who was on the 60-day DL; Rob Whalen, and a cast of thousands.

The kids on the farm who might make a push for the 2017 rotation include mainly Lucas Sims and Sean Newcomb, although Max Povse is a sleeper who pitched well in High A and AA.

The Bottom Line
As much depth as we have on the farm, the strategy in 2016 was Teheran and Folty and pray for rain, and it’s not clear how much better the staff will be in 2017. Unless you believe in Josh Collmenter, Matt Wisler is the third-best starting pitcher in the organization right now. The Braves don’t appear to be satisfied to stand pat. We’ll see what they do.

150 thoughts on “Where Do We Go From Here? The Starting Rotation (by seat painter)”

  1. It’s definitely easy to see why management wanted to develop pitching; this might be the worst free agent market of all time if you’re looking to go buy a starter, which the Braves have been saying they want to do. Maybe that’s just a smokescreen to keep other teams from asking for the moon when they go sniffing around trade targets, maybe not.

    What the rotation looks like when Spring Training opens is going to go a long way towards how confident I feel about the 2017 season. The Rome rotation last year was full of studs and it promises to be full of studs again next year, so I’m confident that internal solutions are on the horizon, but somebody’s gotta pitch the innings before they get here.

    If the Braves had ended up hiring Bud Black, I would have said that Cashner to the Braves was the most obvious free agent destination of the offseason — Cashner put up some pretty decent seasons in San Diego and collapsed basically concurrently with Black’s firing. Even without him, Cashner might still be the best free agent option if the Braves are serious about not paying the prospect price for a real starter. I’d also be fine with Nova if the bidding didn’t get too absurd, which I suspect it will. Otherwise… eh. Might as well hope a new pitching coach can fix Blair or Jenkins, in that case.

  2. Ryan Weber was claimed off waivers by the Mariners. Collmenter opted out of his contract but I suppose could be resigned.

  3. The article was written about 10 days ago, before Weber was claimed. I have also heard that Collmenter did not opt out, and is currently in the mix still. But if he isn’t on the roster, then it should not be a big deal.

  4. On Twitter, gondeee mentioned Charlie Morton as a potential Braves target — that makes a lot of sense to me.

    Also, I feel like this blog has been remiss in not congratulating the biggest Cubs fan any of us knows: Chip Caray!

  5. Collmenter news was falsely reported on Braves transactions page. He’s still arb-eligble and controlled by Braves.

  6. I really hate the Josh Collmenter fake news stories that keep popping up. I should be able to trust the Collmenter-related news that I read.

  7. Twenty-first century journalism at its finest. Don’t trust anything you don’t read on Braves Journal.

  8. I understand that bandwagon fans and endless media coverage of the Cubs may be annoying in the US.
    In the German-speaking media, most of the stories actually centered around the Indians during the World Series (probably the first time ever, baseball was mentioned in mainstream print and tv ever) because of the movie, which was very popular over here – and everyone knows Charlie Sheen.

    Reading up on the parade from yesterday and learning that Game 7 was the most watched game in 25 years, I am excited about the Cubs winning. They seem to have truly great guys on their team (Rizzo, Ross, Heyward, Zobrist…) and the best manager in the game. Also Ricketts is a very good man.
    This is good for baseball.

  9. @12 I didn’t know we have a poster located in Germany! Is Timo the most far-flung member of the Bravesjournal family, I wonder?

    Re: the Braves’ hot stove options, I saw this posted in a Fangraphs chat from yesterday:

    10:22 Erik: Which sub-.500 team will sign the most expensive free agent contract this winter?
    10:22 Jeff Sullivan: I feel like the Braves might do something weird

    OK folks, get ready for Something Weird!

  10. Not to bash timo’s distance from Atlanta, but don’t we have a Braves Journal guy in the Middle East?

  11. @14, yes, I think UAE and we have or had someone in Japan, I think, at least at some point.

    @13 technically living in Switzerland but German.

  12. And in news from academia:

    Make Baseball Fun Again (Vivek Bhattacharya and Greg Howard)

    Abstract: Using Pitch F/X data covering over 6 million pitches, we document that pitchers are averse to throwing fastballs. Controlling for the state space of a baseball game, including balls, strikes, outs, inning, run differential, and pitcher/batter fixed effects, we find the pitching team is more likely to win the game when throwing a fastball. This is inconsistent with a mixed-strategy equilibrium where the pitcher’s utility is winning the game. We document that fastballs are riskier, leading to more outs, but also to more extra-base hits. We outline a possible incentive problem between the team and the pitcher, who has preferences over remaining in the game, similar to career concerns (Holmstrom 1998), leading the pitcher to be risk-averse. As suggestive evidence, we show that these effects are more prevalent later in the game, and that rookie pitchers, who have less leverage over pitch choice, do not exhibit this tendency.

  13. I just read that Brian Cashman has confirmed Gary Sanchez is the Yankees’ starting catcher going forward, which leaves Brian McCann in a DH/backup catcher role – a suboptimal use of resources considering McCann’s bat isn’t really good enough to DH.

    McCann’s remaining contract is 2yrs/$34M, with a $15M team option for 2019 that becomes a player option if McCann hits some playing time incentives. That’s a relatively expensive deal, and McCann is coming off a down-season. I have to hope that the Braves are exploring the idea of trading for McCann – given his contract and age (and the fact that the Yankees are set at C) he shouldn’t cost much in the way of talent. Braves have money to spend and this presents a real opportunity to get better without having to trade away too many good prospects to accelerate the return to competitiveness.

    From the Braves’ side, the deal also make sense b/c it would allow them to create a time-share between McCann and Flowers (I don’t trust Flowers to repeat his offensive success next season), and McCann would certainly help sell a bunch of tickets at the new ballpark.

  14. Montero may have fallen out of favor with the Cubs for some comments he made recently, but he’s not the answer either.

  15. I would also say that McCann would certainly be a better Pierzynski than 2016 Pierzynski. I don’t hit left-handed or catch, but maybe I could be a better Pierzynski than 2016 Pierzynski.

    At the end of the day, if there’s a guy out there who’s going to give you 350-400 PAs of 1-2 WAR production, hits left-handed, and can catch, and the cost of acquisition is he’s cheaper than McCann, then go get that guy. But if McCann be acquired for some combination of prospects and payroll that makes sense compared to the comparables, then McCann would obviously be a good fit for our team. I’m concerned that we’re not a very good trade partner for the Yankees. If given the choice between getting a prospect or saving more payroll, the Yanks will choose the former. We’re not really interested in that. There’s probably another team that is in a more “win now” mode, will deal prospects, and take on less payroll. With that said, the Yanks could then take that cash and go buy a prospect, but that just makes the deal more complicated and less likely to get done.

  16. Coppolella said in an interview with DOB that the Braves aren’t shopping any outfielders and that he, Coppolella, believes that the Braves have one of the best outfields in baseball. Which, um, yikes.

    It’s almost certainly posturing (in the same interview he says the Braves would be fine with Flowers/Recker at catcher next season, which is secret code for “Get real about your demands for McCann, Cashman”), but it’s pretty eyebrow-raising all the same.

  17. With Mallex, I keep thinking that if they turn him into a 4th OFer for 2017, that it’d stagnate his development, but:

    1) With Kemp and Markakis’ age, he’ll still probably get enough playing time across the three positions.
    2) Kemp and Markakis are old, and they very well could injured and miss extended periods of time. After all, both Mallex and Ender did last year.
    3) Could it look something like Andruw’s first year? RF – 95 G, 55 GS/CF – 57 G, 41 GS/LF – 2 G, 0 GS. Could you spread that out a little better, assuming everyone is in good health to get about 25-30 GS at each OF position, with him essentially being a late-inning defensive replacement in LF and RF in about 50 games? Depending on how lineup spots break down in the late innings, he could end up with about 400-450 PAs (90 GS * 4 PAs + 50 PAs late inning). He could be first left-handed bat off the bench and stay in the game in one of the corners. That’s really not a terrible way for Mallex Smith to spend his age-24 campaign.

  18. @28
    I very much agree. I understand wanting to give young guys as much play as possible, but it’s not as if no good player has ever spent a season or two in a reserve role early in his career. Sure, I’d rather have seen a guy like John Gant start all year at Aaa before the call up, instead of getting used in mop up and middle relief, but I think with 2 30plus guys and a CF that hasn’t exactly been an iron man, Mallex will get sufficient playing time.

  19. Tidbits today:
    1.With announcement that no QO has been attached to Weiters, Braves are “interested”.

    2. Turner, Encarnacion, N.Walker, Bautista, Cespedes, Jensen, Desmond, and Fowler will receive qualifying offers.

    3. Hammel had a handshake agreement with Cubs after they acquired him that he’d not receive a QO when time for free agency. Kudos to Cubs for holding their end of the bargain. Upon that news, DOB immediately stated Braves would be interested in Hammel.

  20. Neil Walker? $17.1M QO? Dang!

    And Hellickson? This is crazy! Frickin’ dogs and cats living in the same home, a reality star running for President, and Jeremy Hellickson gets a QO?!

    Yep, we’re going to sign Bud Norris.

  21. @31 #3

    I’d imagine a “handshake” agreement becomes fairly binding in this context. If you’re telling players you won’t QO them (which totally screws the player) then you turn around and do it without an excellent reason, then you’re going to have a bad time in the long run.

    And ya know what, people may get tired of hearing about the ole Cubbies, but as far as I’m concerned, they are the gold standard for Braves fans. 14 of the 25 players on the roster were traded for, almost every position player was acquired via trade, and they made some smart FA signings. We have more young pitching, they have more money, but the blueprint will end up looking very similar. I keep trying to find that article about all of the transactions they’ve made in the last 4 years, but I still can’t find it. I wish there was a site that just listed noteworthy transactions instead of having to sift through DL stints, DFAs, call ups and recalls, etc.

  22. Weiters is Brian McCann with the weight proportioned differently.

    He’ll probably end up needing to take another pillow deal after the ’16 season he had. He might make a heck of a lot more sense within the Braves’ rebuild than Heap.

  23. Wieters has been almost exactly half the player of BMac (17.8 WAR for Wieters, 35 for BMac) to this point in their careers BMac is 2 years older. Why would Wieters make more sense especially considering he’d want a longer deal?

  24. Wieners has accumulated less WAR because he was injured his age-28 and 29 seasons. He also came up later than Fun Police. He may want a longer term deal but his 87 OPS+ season on his pillow backfired on him. If the cost to acquire Heap exceeds the “just money” 1-year deal for Wieters, then you do it.

  25. Wieters isn’t going to take a 1-year deal in a weak FA market. Some poor team is going to give him a 4/60MM deal.

  26. It’s hard for a payroll-constrained team to compete with non-payroll-constrained teams when they give $60 million contracts to replacement-level players like Wieters. No thanks.

  27. Pro: He’s a better pitcher right now than any 2016 Braves starter except Teheran.


    1. Because he doesn’t cost a draft pick, he’ll likely command close to the qualifying offer annual rate at 3-4 years, which is a lot of money for a longer period of time than we should be comfortable with.
    2. He’s never pitched even 180 innings in a season
    3. He’s 34
    4. His ceiling is league average starter.

    If I’m the Braves, I’m interested in Hammel at no more than 2 years, and no more than 14 or 15 million per year. Anything beyond that and he becomes part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

  28. He isn’t replacement-level. But he also hasn’t had a 2-WAR season since 2013 (according to Fangraphs) or 2012 (according to b-ref).

    The guy I’d like us to go after is Wilson Ramos. Give him something like a 4-year, $40 million deal. The first year will be a write-off because of his injury, but the back three years could be really good.

  29. I agree; my number one FA target would be Ramos. He’s young as free agents go, he plays a position of both immediate and long-term need, and he has star upside. In addition, the Braves are in the unique position of being able to accept a long rehab — they don’t really need to rush him back, whereas a team looking to seriously compete in 2017 is going to be wary of their big free agent addition coming with a two- to three-month rehab. And their first-round pick is protected, so the qualifying offer shouldn’t be that much of a deterrent.

    He’ll be expensive, for sure, but less so than he would have been healthy, and the Braves have money this offseason.

  30. AAR, you and I are destined to always get into hair-splitting arguments with one another. You’re right–Wieters is better than replacement level right now, but not by a whole lot, and there’s a good chance he’ll average out there for the life of a 4 year contract at his age.

    I like the idea of a gamble on Ramos as well if it means there’s surplus value on the back end in our (hopeful) contention window.

  31. Tanto,

    Did Washington give a one year 17. 2 mill contract to somebody who may not be able to play at all next year? And who DEFINTELY requires a team at their point in the win curve to go get another catcher?

  32. Wieters makes more sense than Bmac right now because the Yankees have asked for Inciarte and Folty in return. Id rather pay Wieters and keep those 2 guys.

  33. Why would Hammel get a better contract than Lackey did last season? Lackey had come off a 5+ WAR season, and he signed for $32/2. Granted, he was 37, but Hammel is 34 and coming of a 1 WAR season. Going 4 years on a 34 yo below average starter seems insane–actually the pitching equivalent of that Wieters deal.

  34. I’m okay with Weiters as a catcher, but a 700 OPS catcher is not the impact batter we need. If we get Weiters, I bet we go after a power hitting 3rd baseman or move Markakis and others for a power bat in right. Weiters caught stealing percent has consistently been about 35, which puts him in the top 10 in baseball.

  35. @48, I think that the basic problem is that the free agent market is pretty much always going to seem too expensive, and guys like Wieters — who have had an inflated profile ever since their prep days — are always going to seem like they cost too much. I’d probably give Wieters the same money they gave Markakis, because finding a catcher is so damned hard. But he’ll probably get between 50% and 100% more than that.

  36. @51, You’re technically right, but I doubt you’ve been having the recurring Ricky Nolasco/Matt Garza nightmares I’ve been having.

    Looking back at last year, the Royals went 5/70 for Ian Kennedy, which seemed pretty weird. He did have a nice season for them, though.

  37. If we’re talking pure free agent shopping and discarding trades, here’s my new wishlist:
    1. Bartolo Colon- 1/12MM (rumored that Mets aren’t likely to bring him back)
    2. Hammel- 2/32MM
    3. Luis Valbuena- 2/14MM
    4. J.Castro- 2/15MM

    If #Braves move their payroll up to 120 million, there’s room for this.

  38. Fangraphs

    Jason Hammel (Profile)
    Some relevant information regarding Hammel:
    •Has averaged 171 IP and 1.9 WAR over last three seasons.
    •Has averaged 2.2 WAR per 200 IP* over last three seasons.
    •Recorded a 1.5 WAR in 166.2 IP in 2016.
    •Is projected to record 2.2 WAR per 200 IP**.
    •Is entering his age-34 season.
    •Made $9.0M in 2016, as part of deal signed in December 2014.

    *That is, a roughly average number of innings for a healthy starting pitcher.

  39. He’s… like… fine. On this team, he’s pretty much a godsend. But I’d guess he’s going to want more years than we’ll want to give him. I wouldn’t want to go more than three, with a team option for a fourth, and he’ll want four guaranteed.

  40. What is the consensus on this accumulation of pitching minds into the organization? It seems as if between scouting and development and new pitching coach hires down the system that you could speculate that there will be some uptick in pitching performance in Atlanta. When? How much? Will this help with pitching retreads, meaning a Bud Norris is just as likely as a Jason Hammel to produce the same performance? Should the Braves simply avoid signing anybody that costs more than $5M-10M? Or is the significance of guys like Dave Wallace returning simply BS?

  41. For Limerick lovers…

    the first episode of the new gigaseries, Crown,(Netflix),contains two of the funniest, raunchiest limericks you will find – spoken by the King himself.

    Sadly,NBC…otherwise i would have claimed them as my own.

  42. Jason Castro hit righties last year to a .231/.331/.426 clip and .256/.306/.419 for his career. So, ya know, blah. He won’t cost much, but you definitely won’t get much. If you don’t spend money at catcher, and you don’t go big on SPs, and you don’t put money into the bullpen, and you have a lot of positions already having players either a) making money or b) young players for the future then… what are you going to spend money on? We can’t put it into the international draft, and the amateur draft is largely capped anyway. Unless we’re doing the Bourn/Swisher/Arroyo/Cahill routine again, then we’re running out of conduits here.

  43. Jon Morosi is reporting that the Braves are trying to get trade conversations going about Chris Archer, so they’re aiming high, at least. I can’t see the Rays moving Archer for anything less than a haul, though.

  44. Archer just came off his worst year, especially cosmetically with a 9-19 record, and he has a VERY team friendly contract through 2019 with team options on 2020 and 2021 for $9M and $11M. Can’t imagine why they’d trade him now, but I’d be down for a deal.

  45. Feels like as good a morning as any to share a couple of revelations:

    -Carly Rae Jepsen. E-MO-TION:Side B is everything I could want from a pop record, right down to the color choices on the album cover. Maybe not for everybody, but then again everybody doesn’t always know what’s best for them.

    -Weyes Blood. Front Row Seat to Earth. No comments, just listen.

  46. Big night. Big votes cast. Ender is the choice.

    As if he’ll be able to get through the violent mobs at border patrol to play next season.

  47. Trouble is, they’ve already got an Inciarte in Kiermaier. Similar non-destinations for Inciarte include: Toronto, Boston, LAA, and the Cubbies.

    Think they’d do it for those three prospects + Cakes?

  48. I really don’t want Bartolo. If he were in the AL the past few years, maybe, but my Braves associated self loathing from watching us flail at straight 90 mph fastballs from him over the past few years more than negates the tangible benefits of his pitching skills/comedic value.

    Plus, our luck will be that next year is the year he breaks (unless someone can show me a positive comp for a 300 lb 44 year old)

  49. I don’t know how Dickey will perform, but I can hardly think of a better guy to sit and talk with and also demonstrate the virtues of both professionalism and tenacity than RA Dickey. Good sign.

  50. Good sign indeed. With Collmenter, are we still looking for two more arms? Does this make a Sale-Verlander deal more likely?

  51. His home/road splits are encouraging, and getting him out of the AL East can’t hurt. Wouldn’t have him start a playoff game (not that I’m exactly worried about that), but should be fine as a backend starter.

  52. Dickey made $12M last year on the last year of a 2YR/$25M deal. I can’t imagine his performance and age required him to take that much of a paycut. But hey, he should eat some serious innings.

  53. I’m surprised the Braves were willing to sign Dickey considering it’s impossible for him to tear his UCL. So much for acquiring as many TJ guys as possible.

  54. Cool. I was calling for Dickey from a couple months ago. It’s ideal–mediocre vet innings eater on a short deal that won’t cripple our spending flexibility in a couple years.


    Marlins 7, Braves 5

  55. coop @ 98,

    I can now see Coppy throwing a lot of young talent on the table. His only crisis is a 2 to 3 year catcher. Castro as a platoon battery with Flowers solves that.

    One good to really good guy. Archer, Sale, Quintana (White Sox are open for business), Verlander.

    Then, take the money and create extensions with the “young uns.”

  56. I wouldn’t mind throwing some talent in for Jake Odorizzi, who had another strong season last year and will turn 27. You’re going to have to give up high end talent for the big guys, but you could get a strong #2 starter like him for quantity, which is what we’re dying to give up.

    So, five spots, and this is what we got:

    Teheran, Dickey, Foltynewicz, Wisler, Blair, Jenkins (bullpen?), Whalen, Bills, and FA SP #2. And that’s with Gant likely being a swingman, so that puts Bills out of a bullpen job, especially if Jenkins is somewhere in the mix there.

    There has got to be some trades coming.

  57. I can catch for Dickey. I’ll use the Bob Uecker method of catching knuckleballers – Wait until it quits rolling and pick it up.

    Edit: Like the signing.

  58. I like the Dickey signing.

    Does anyone else think they may go after a real catcher now and get a back-up with knuckle-ball experience? Flowers may be attractive to some other catching deprived clubs.

  59. They could sign Josh Thole, who’s been Dickey’s personal catcher for several years, if they’re looking for an extremely poor man’s AJ Pierzynski.

  60. I like Bills, but I think we’ve given them ample audition. Sometimes couples need a fresh start in a new city.

  61. For those who keep up with such stuff, former Braves (& Reds) manager Russ Nixon has died. Nixon managed part of 1988, the 1989 seasons and was 25-40 in 1990 when Bobby Cox replaced him as the dugout manager. He managed part of 1982 and then 1983 with the Reds. He spent 15 seasons managing in the minor leagues, ranging from the rookies level Appalachian League to the AAA Pacific Coast League.
    Primarily a platooning catcher, Nixon spent 12 seasons in the Majors with the Indians, Red Sox and Twins (1957 – 1968).

  62. I really have zero interest in Brian McCann unless we are giving up nothing.
    A Chris Archer or Jake Odorizzi will makes us better, not a declining catcher who will be far from a full time player.
    Hell, I will take a chance on Volquez but do not trade a real prospect for BMac.

  63. Source: Bartolo Colon has agreed to a deal with the Braves, pending a physical. Terms of the deal have not been revealed.

  64. Don’t think this gets in the way of a trade for Archer or anyone else. The rotation is currently Teheran/Dickey/Folty/Colon/???. Probably Wisler.

    This is a good way of spending the money this year. Short-term deals on guys who will help and absolutely not get in the way of a real rebuild.

  65. Braves have added Dickey and Colon. Now to trade for Matt Bush and make Bobby Cox manager again. (Alan Butts is already asst bullpen coach.)

  66. @125

    Possibly. I would like to see another young pitcher in the five slot. They could learn a lot by sitting next to Colon and Dickey on the bench.

  67. You know, if we could find a good platoon partner for Flowers and upgrade one bat in the line up, this would be a pretty decent team on paper.

  68. They have the money, and they’re building a one-year bridge in those two rotation spots to a better free-agent class and a more mature prospect group. Seems like an outstanding strategy to me; curious to see what else happens.

  69. 1 year deal and we have cash so thats cool, his stats were better then I thought.
    They make us better, lets see what else Coppy has in the oven.

  70. You have to figure that if they offered any less, he’d just stay with the Mets. You can question the wisdom of getting involved in a bidding war for a 42-year-old in the first place, but a) it’s one year, and b) it’s not my money.

    Bartolo Colon has quietly become one of the most likeable players in the game following his steroid suspension years back, so it’ll be fun to have him around even if he doesn’t pitch like an ace.

  71. I don’t like the second over-40 signing. And I just don’t see either of these guys providing enough upside to justify not giving some of these innings to our low ceiling, high minors lot.

  72. @142, I’m not expecting to compete for a playoff berth next year. Are you? I see Dickey and Colon as, at the very least, innings eaters, which we may very well need as we develop our bonanza of young and not-quite-ready-for-prime-time pitching talent. They’re the kind of pitchers that might rebound and pitch very well. If we’re miraculously able to compete, we hold onto them. If they’re pitching well and we can afford to trade them, they’ll make for attractive returns at the deadline and we won’t miss them.

    I think these are great signings and pretty much pitch perfect for what this team is set up for.

  73. @145

    I don’t have the complete information. I really liked the way the Bud Norris signing ended up. He struggled out of the gate, but he ended up pitching in 22 G, 12 GS, 70 IP, and put up a 4.22 ERA. He did that for a 1YR/$2M deal, and we traded him for two guys in double-A’s bullpen, one of which could end up being a piece as early as 2018. The entire lifespan of that deal worked to our benefit. I was hoping we could do the same with one of the FA signings. Instead, we get someone that will probably put up similar production for 6 times as much, and even worse, he’ll most likely take innings away from guys who could be a part of the next great Braves teams.

    With that said, I think acquiring 2 SPs without trading a single prospect signals, at least to me, that the Jenkins/Blair/Whalen/Wisler glut not only does not have much value to other teams, they don’t have much value to us. This signals that they’ll either trade them or stash them in AAA. I was hoping, and no more than that, that they would be able to have some impact at the major league level in 2017. These signings indicate that the feelings about them are lukewarm at best.

  74. If some of our youngsters step up and prove they can hang with Julio and Foltynewicz, then I think Braves management will absolutely make room for them. The oldsters, assuming they’re pitching well, will be moved for prospects or lineup upgrades. Or simply given away like Jhoulys Chacin or Jason Grilli were.

  75. I agree with John R. It’s an investment in 2017 innings, 2017 developmental time (as needed) for the young pitchers, and potential 2017 prospect acquisitions at the trade deadline.

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