Where Do We Go From Here? Third Base

It’s complicated.

It gets that way when you don’t have a General Manager in place, or really even know what your front office is going to look like, or how many of your prospects are going to be cast into free agency.  One thing that is clear is that the 2018 Braves need to get substantially better in every area.

Focusing on the offensive side, the Braves finished 2017 11th in the National League in Runs Scored, largely “fueled” by a 9th place finish in On Base Percentage, an 11th place finish in Slugging Percentage, and a 13th place finish in Home Runs.  Third base is the position, for good or ill, where the new leadership has the most flexibility. It will be disappointing if the Braves don’t try to upgrade their power numbers here.

The Incumbent(s)

Before we start, let’s remind ourselves what a 3rd baseman on a playoff team looks like (since it’s been awhile.)  Justin Turner. Kris Bryant. Anthony Rendon. Jake Lamb. Nolan Arenado.

Got it? Now let’s talk about Johan Camargo, Rio Ruiz, and Adonis Garcia. The trio played 43, 41, and 39 Major League games respectively at 3rd base last season, representing no single true incumbent.

Camarago had the best season, coming out of nowhere to produce some impressive numbers in a limited number of appearances. He had a .299/.331/.452 batting average / on base percentage /slugging percentage “slash” line in 256 plate appearances, and accumulated 1.1 WAR. Camargo had not shown much offensive promise before 2017, hitting .267 with 4 homers in 446 AA at bats in 2016, and .258 with 1 home run in 391 AB at A+ Carolina in 2015, and with no AAA record at all.

The switch hitting Camargo will turn 24 in December, and has played mostly shortstop in the minors. The Braves could do worse than to turn some positions over to some guys with some upside and try to get lucky. My preference here is to have Camargo battle for a middle infield spot where his bat would play better, and to try to to get lucky with a guy with more power potential at 3rd base.

Rio Ruiz will also be 24 in 2018. The left handed hitter delivered some needed improvement at AAA in 2017 in his power numbers, hitting 16 home runs in 388 AB, although his OBP went down somewhat. Ruiz got 150 AB in Atlanta, batting only .193 with 4 home runs. He still managed a .283 on base percentage in Atlanta, and he has consistently displayed a skill at getting on base throughout his minor league career. Ruiz now has 853 AAA at bats, slashing .260/.340/.461 with 26 home runs. None of this inspires much confidence that Ruiz is ready to provide the power to be the 3rd baseman the Braves need in 2018, but it will be interesting to see how he develops as he gets closer to his baseball prime 2 – 4 seasons from now.

At least Ruiz falls into the category of guys you might get lucky with. Adonis Garcia will be 33 in 2018. Plagued by injuries in 2017, Garcia was not able to duplicate his passable 2016 season where he hit .273 with 14 home runs in 532 at bats. At age 33 in 2018, it’s unlikely Garcia will ever exceed those numbers, were he to be given the chance. Contra Ruiz, Garcia consistently provides little additional value through OBP. He could be a useful right handed bat off the bench, but provides little position flexibility for a bench player, beyond a little left field. He could also be a right handed platoon partner for Ruiz, but I will be disappointed if the Braves go with any of these internal options.


How you feel about how aggressive the Braves should be in the Free Agent or Trade market probably depends on how you feel about Austin Riley. At age 20, Riley got his first taste above low A ball in 2017, and matched his age in home runs. Eight of those came at AA Mississippi, in 178 AB. Riley tacked on 306 AB at A+ Florida, and produced a combined .275/.339/.446 slash line. I’m concerned about how Riley’s on-base numbers at that level will translate to the Major League level, and I’ll be interested to watch if Riley can get on base at the next level at a sufficient rate. If so, he will likely be in Atlanta by 2019. At 21, he’ll be young for his league in 2018, whether he is in AAA or AA, so I would not consider it a disappointment if he is not ready for Atlanta in 2019. Riley is the 10th ranked 3rd base prospect according to MLB.com,and 10th overall in the Braves system.

Travis Demeritte is another player like Rio Ruiz, who the Braves would be wise to keep an eye on and see where he stands when he is closer to maturity. Currently a 2nd baseman, Demeritte has the power and arm to play 3rd, if he is blocked at 2nd.  At age 23, coming off 15 home runs in 458 at bats at AA, and with a long history of inability to get on base, he will not factor into any Major League plans in 2018.

Free Agents

The trouble with most free agents is that they are already past their prime. That does not mean that you can’t pick up a useful player in his 30s, it just means that at best get what you pay for, and at worst you get Melvin Upton. There’s no upside to it.

You can check out available free agents here: http://www.spotrac.com/mlb/free-agents/3rd-base/

The marquee names are Mike Moustakas and Todd Frazier. Moustakas actually won’t turn 30 until September of next year, and is coming off a career year in home runs with 38. A .314 OBP and the first negative dWar of his career contributed to a calculated WAR of only 1.8 though. For his career, Moustakas has a .251/.305/.425 slash line.

Frazier hit 27 home runs between the White Sox and the Yankees, in 474 at bats, and managed a .344 OBP despite a .213 BA. Frazier will be 32 in 2018. With a career batting average of .245 and OBP of .321, his 2017 season could be a warning to watch for Bill James’ old adage that an older player starts to walk more when he realizes he can’t hit any more.

Danny Valencia and Mark Reynolds posted competent seasons. Valencia will be 34 in September, and I don’t project him to be a huge upgrade over a Ruiz/Garcia platoon. Reynolds has not played 3rd base since 2015.  The rest of the list is old or uncompelling, or old and uncompelling.

It is possible that we will look at bringing Brandon Phillips back as a 3rd baseman. I enjoyed watching Brandon play. Bringing him back would be a clear signal the Braves do not intend to get any better in 2018.


Once upon a time there was a Plan, and the Plan involved trading established ballplayers for prospects, with the idea some would succeed, some would flame out, and some would be traded for established ballplayers. I’m not sure the Plan understood the conservation of mass, but now the Plan is dead. Long live the Plan, whatever it is.

Here are some players with variable levels of upside who may or may not be acquirable for various sized packages of prospects and/or money, all dependent on what kind of splash the new management wants to make, if any.

Maikel Franco, Philadelphia.  Turns 26 in August , and has regressed each season, posting -0.2 WAR in 2017. Franco has a .247/.300/.426 career slash line and hit 25 home runs in 2017. The Phillies need to make room for J.P. Crawford, probably by trading Freddy Galvis or Cesar Hernandez, but one can ask.

Eugenio Suarez, Cincinnati.  Suarez will be 27 in 2018, and had 3.7 WAR in 2017.

Miguel Sano, Eduardo Escobar, Minnesota
The Twins don’t need both these guys, right? Escobar will be 29 for the 2017 season, and would be a placeholder.  Realistically, we are not getting Sano.

Wilmer Flores, Mets.  Has always seemed underappreciated in New York.  Will be 27 in 2018.

Cory Spangenberg, San Diego.  Will be 27 in 2018.  Might be worth a shot to get him out of Petco.

Jedd Gyorko, St. Louis.  Will be 30 in 2018.  No upside left really, but better than what we have, and probably available.

And so they lived happily ever after.  Get it done, _______.

Author: Rusty S.

Rusty S. is a Braves Journal reader since 2005 and an occasional innings-eater. It was my understanding that there would be no expectations.

139 thoughts on “Where Do We Go From Here? Third Base”

  1. Catching up on the late results from last night. Maybe the Series wasn’t over after 1 game.

  2. RE: WDWGFH for 3B

    Give 2018 to Camargo and Ruiz. See what Riley does at AAA or as a call up in MLB. If we’re in the same holding pattern come next winter, throw all the money at Manny Machado.

  3. I absolutely endorse phase one of Sam’s plan (2018). I consider phase 2 as interesting.

    I really think the way to use money is to try to extend any young uns we see as worthy as the most important thing. Then, maybe go get one real pitcher. I would have said try to get Darvish to get Otani, but even if Otani will take the standard 300,000 max and such, we probably will not get to pay the 300,000.

  4. Great analysis, Rusty. Thank you.

    I have no idea what to do at third but lean towards letting Johan earn the job if we’re still ceding shortstop to the wunderkind. I understand Arenado is not currently available.

  5. Nolan Arrenado, following up an .836 OPS at A+ Modesto (California League), as a 20 year old in the Arizona Fall League: .388/.423/.636 (1.059)

    Austin Riley, following up a .786 OPS between A+ Florida and AA Mississippi (Florida and Southern Leagues, respectively) as a 20 year old in the Arizona Fall League: .345/.424/.793 (1.217)

  6. I doubt Riley spends that much time at AAA next year as he needs a bit of seasoning at AA first. Maybe a second half promotion is in order if he does really well. He’s young and we can wait.

    I have little hope for Ruiz as he is so ground ball focused. Last year, literally anything that wasn’t down and in got pulled on the ground to 2nd base. Camargo, on the other hand, looks like a skinny Dominican kid getting stronger as he ages and can hopefully at least match his power numbers from last year. The scouts have always said he would eventually hit for power anyways.

  7. Temps plunged into the low 50s last night here on the central Florida coast. Brrr. It may be time to head south.

  8. Camargo / Ruiz platoon means we’re not trying to win, yet again. If you really think Camargo needs a long look, then put him at SS.

  9. Camargo’s fielding is pretty horrid at short but good everywhere else. I would far rather take the chance of discovering if the bat is real at 3rd. All those trade possibilities — they were once kids someone took a chance on.

  10. Rusty, great work, thanks..

    Here’s a way to get started on upgrade…Galvis for ss..package Swanson with somebody for somebody.

    3rd base…Camargo but platoon Adonis till the ASB, then bench. Bergman would have been lovely.Call the Mariners for another Taylor. Play him anywhere.

  11. If the Braves signed J.D. Martinez to play LF, cut bait with either Cakes or Kemp, called up Acuna to play RF, and pulled in a decent “innings eater” fail safe for the rotation just to provide stability, but left 3B to Camargo/Ruiz, they’d be trying to win.

  12. I mean, first, it’s a little early to give up completely on a 23 year old second year guy. But even if you do, why would you want to replace him with a guy that is worse?

  13. Consider this, acquire Colin Moran from the Astros for L/H pitching. They are really deep at 3B and have an organizational need for L/H pitching. He’s an average defender than can be aided by Ron Washington. # 5 prospect in their system, Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 45 | Run: 30 | Arm: 55 | Field: 45 | Overall: 50
    I say do this rather than spend on a free agent, if he doesn’t work out Riley should be ready late in the year.

  14. You said that, not me. The two were not connected. But as a separate issue i’d take Galvis any day over Dansby at short stop. With or without your pejoratives.

  15. When you realize that Galvis is on his final year of arb vs 5 more years of control for Dansby, a different picture emerges. They are approximately equal last year on defense. Galvis, despite crushing Barves pitching, was one of the worst hitting shortstops in the league. Dans will do better going forward. Not a close call.

  16. If the Braves signed J.D. Martinez to play LF, cut bait with either Cakes or Kemp, called up Acuna to play RF, and pulled in a decent “innings eater” fail safe for the rotation just to provide stability, but left 3B to Camargo/Ruiz, they’d be trying to win.

    I agree with that. But the key is using some of this $30M in space to land an elite player. You’d think they’d try to do that at 3B with the money owed to Kemp/Kakes, but there’s another good option too.

    I haven’t seen any better option based on where we are then to go with Camargo. There’s just no slam dunk player for 3B that moves the needle enough, I’d think. But I’d love to have Camargo in a super sub role, so getting a player like Gyorko which then pushes Camargo back to super utility would really improve the roster.

  17. Galvis is 27, hits as badly for his career as Swansbo did last year, and doesn’t add anything defensively. I literally have no idea why anyone would want to add him to the roster.

  18. Crasnick is reporting that Hart had no role in the illegal signings.

    Hart has The Pictures, and Manfred must be in them.

  19. Manfred knows Hart wasn’t involved because Hart was on the golf course with him all those days.

  20. I guess if the choice is between Hart hitting the links everyday and Hart extending Chris Johnson, I’m fine with it.

  21. So, we need a GM who will actually do the things…to carry out the job of mostly standing pat this offseason.

    It would be hilarious if we didn’t hire a GM until we’re prepared to contend in 2019.

  22. I feel like I see a lot of contempt around here for ceding positions to young and unproven players. I thought the whole “preparing to compete” thing implied that we roll with these unproven commodities until enough of them stick that we’re suddenly competitive.

    Wasn’t that a thing??

  23. I think the general critique of Ruiz, at the very least, is that like Jace Pederson, he IS a proven commodity at this point. Proven lacking, in point of fact. I’m not sure I sign onto that completely, but that’s their argument against I suspect.

  24. Ruiz, Camargo, and Swanson are definitely still unproven. Jace is pretty close to proven. All of them play positions that we need to upgrade, if you just look at their major league numbers to date. They are all cheap, so waiting for organic improvement from them means that we can spend money elsewhere to improve other needs. In theory.

    The whole team is full of players that look kinda promising but don’t seem to be surefire locks. I think we’re really just waiting on this org to give us a least a couple guys other than Freeman where you can write in great numbers for next season and it not be wishes and hopes.

  25. Really hate that we may have the worst manager in the East. And hate more the profile of manager we have vs the others.

  26. Borrowed this from Tomahawk Take re our misbehaving Braves:

    “The fish stinks first at the head.” – old Turkish proverb

    The top Johns didn’t know, perhaps, but they should have. Off with their heads!

  27. @30, That escalated quickly! Did I miss something in the news?

    @32, I agree. If Coppy was some horrible rogue element in the front office such that other teams were refusing to trade with us and we’re going to wind up losing talent, then that’s in the realm of “people paid to notice such things should have noticed such things”. I’m big on accountability.

  28. @32, @33 Alas, I’m afraid the only acceptable punishment for this crime must go all the way to the top… Ownership should have to forfeit the team and leave baseball entirely. We all had hoped it wouldn’t come to this, but nevertheless we must prepare ourselves, as should Liberty Media, and let’s do the right thing finally.


  29. I assume @30 is distraught because the Nats hired Dave Martinez?

    When I first started playing fantasy baseball, we always said the guy that drafted him was officially awarded “the Dave Martinez 5.” It was a pun about a jazz group and the number of homeruns you could expect out of Martinez any given year.

    I am very old.

  30. Yeah. Martinez and Kapler. Even the Mets might have made a better hire with Callaway. It just seems like every team in the East actually employed a process to get the best guy, and we just said, “Ahh screw it, let’s go with the guy we got. We have too much going on to be bothered with interviews.”

  31. It just seems like every team in the East actually employed a process to get the best guy, and we just said, “Ahh screw it, let’s go with the guy we got. We have too much going on to be bothered with interviews.”

    You’re not wrong. We agree on these facts and feelings. That said, until they get a new, stable upper management team in place, including the GM and whomever (if anyone) that replaces Hart, they kind of DO have too much else going on to be bothered with interviews. Or more to the point, they’d simply be doing deep interviews and making long term promises to candidates they couldn’t assure the new GM would want to keep and work with indefinitely. That would be unfair to both the new GM, as well as any field manager hired on the assumption that he’d have a reasonable time frame to put his mark on the club.

    It’s a shit position to be in, but they’re better off NOT alienating long term manager candidates by running them around now, knowing full well that the state of flux above them might blow everything up again in six months regardless. So they keep the loyal organizational soldire Snikter, who knows full well that the new GM may decide to move on from him, but is okay with that because he is in fact a Loyal Organizational Soldier.

  32. Jim McElwain and Florida’s UAA have done their best to entertain me in midst of waiting for the Braves’ frivolities to finish its course, but I own my impatience with how long it’s taking to know what’s going on with the Barves.

  33. They announced at the very beginning that nothing would be announced until after the World Series. MLB’s not going to step on its premiere prime time showcase with shit PR from the Braves’ front offices. Houston wins tonight, we might get something before end of week Else, we wait until after Game 7.

  34. I attribute the lack of leaks is due to the Braves (who would be the people to leak most directly) to the team’s desire to grease as many skids as possible with MLB prior to the official handing down of punishment.

  35. Hart has to go to bring in Moore or any established quantity. They’re not going to come into this mess to play second fiddle to captain Golf Course.

  36. Unless they’re really young and inexperienced and an apprenticeship of a GM position is the best they can do.

    The situation is still kind of hard to read. Maybe this Glass guy who owns the Royals really would let Dayton go and he’s just saying he won’t permit him to interview with us as a way to help Dayton get some leverage over us.

  37. John S. is a Hall of Famer. Good for him. Can we please put him out to pasture and sweep clean with a new broom?

    Oh wait: Dayton Moore’s just a new one of the old boys, and Liberty does not set the Braves free from its now tainted past. Are we hoping for more of the same? Well, the ’90s were fun.

  38. @51 Just because someone is linked with the past doesn’t mean they’re more of the same. I recall quite a few very knowledgeable fans were actually upset when Frank Wren was promoted to GM and Dayton Moore left town.

    Regarding putting JS out to pasture: I wouldn’t complain if we did, but I also wouldn’t care that we did. What does it matter? Why should we care? Is he to blame for the gutting of our team? Is he the reason the Braves couldn’t muster enough payroll to go after a staff ace? Are we to blame JS that most of our young talent have gone on to play in the World Series for other teams now?

  39. I am going to assume that Dayton Moore was uninterested in the Braves GM position, and is letting KC ownership take whatever heat there may be for declining the interview. That keeps his options open for the future, if a position that he’s actually interested in comes along.

    As long as JS/BC are in position, the Braves’ GM position is not particularly attractive. Absentee ownership combined with unclear reporting structure and uncertain budget constraints is just not a good thing.

  40. Dayton Moore was haaaaaaated for some very good reasons in the pre-WS days in KC. Gil Meche, Yuniesky Betancourt, Trey Hillman, etc. They were terrible for a decade, built up a stable of top draft picks, and briefly bubbled up to the playoffs for a couple of years – 2014 was one of those mediocre-wild-card-team-gets-hot-in-the-playoffs runs, while 2015 was legit but evidently not sustainable.

    Not that I doubt we’re headed there anyway, but aspiring to the KC lifestyle of 10 years down, 1 year up is a grim prospect and really depends on a ton of playoff luck to not look like a complete waste of time even after your 1 year up. I have no doubt Dayton Moore could lead us there though.

    Edit: I completely forgot that the man signed Jeff Francoeur to a multi-year contract extension. I mean, Jeff Francoeur. Multi-year contract.

  41. JS is a hands off executive president. He has zero impact on the on field product. Bobby Cox is no more involved in the day to day operations than is Hank Aaron.

  42. As long as JS/BC are in position, the Braves’ GM position is not particularly attractive. Absentee ownership combined with unclear reporting structure and uncertain budget constraints is just not a good thing.

    I think I stop a little short of that. Yes, Dayton Moore is not interested in the Braves’ GM position, but I highly doubt Dayton Moore is not very interested in a VPofBBOps position with Atlanta. JS being fairly hands off is a good thing for Moore, IMO.

    Royals ownership may very well just see an opportunity to extract some trade value out of Moore. We may end up sending a concession to the Royals to get Dayton in the way the Red Sox did with John Farrell and, I think, the Cubs did with Theo Epstein.

  43. Who, if not Dayton Moore, should the Braves hire? It’s easy to complain about what NOT to do.

  44. BA:

    “Ronald Acuna, OF, Braves. Highlighting Braves prospects in the BAPR may be getting a little repetitive but they keep dominating the AFL. Acuna hit his fourth home run of the AFL season yesterday in a 3-for-5 day where he also doubled. Acuna leads the AFL with a .377 batting average and a .462 on-base percentage. He’s also second in slugging percentage (.698). He also leads the league in hits, extra-base hits, runs and total bases.

    Austin Riley, 3B, Braves. Riley is trying to keep up with Acuna. He also hit his fourth AFL home run yesterday, keeping him tied with Acuna for second in the league in home runs, trailing only fellow Brave Alex Jackson, who has five.”

  45. Right, and I know it’s easy to say, “don’t hire that guy because he signed X, Y, and Z and traded for such-and-such guy”, but every GM has those deals. Coppy traded for Hector Olivera and Matt Kemp, signed Nick Markakis for 4 years, and traded Andrelton Simmons for less than he should have, and if he wasn’t running a pimp game down in Columbia, many would be happy he was our GM.

  46. Agreed. Cherry picking, for good or bad moves, is a fool’s game. I’d love to hear ideas outside of the list of people the AJC has been pushing since Coppalella-gate kicked into overdrive (Moore, Dan Jennings, etc.) But I’m not sure Ben Cherrington is notably better positioned to move this team forward than would be Moore.

  47. The next GM has all the expectations of the rebuild, but none of the control. The die is already cast for the most part. If you don’t believe in our pitching prospects then you are walking into a tough situation. You will not get 5 years. You may only get 1 or 2.

  48. Barring an absolute stripping due to the international free agent shenanigans, the next Braves GM will walk into the best stocked farm system in baseball. If he is given even a middle-of-the-high-road budget and free reign to trade as he deems appropriate, it’s a cat’s bird seat position.

  49. Becoming an MLB insider who knows actual things about behind-the-scenes GM candidates is on my to-do list, but in the mean time I’m using the available info on Moore to anchor an opinion that we should avoid that one human out of all the other humans. My GM/President selection process would be to start with a list of currently living people who haven’t signed Jeff Francouer to multi-year deals and go from there. Also he’s clearly the “Braves Way” choice when the “Braves Way” has been very recently and famously exposed as a sham at best and a thing to actively avoid at worst. Is another Schuerholz guy really what we’re looking for at this late date?

    Also if you’re going to dismiss a history of bad moves as cherry-picking, what exactly are you left with in the criteria-for-employment department? Gets along well with others? That’s a preferable but insufficient quality upon which to build a winner.

  50. My dismissal of the Jeff Francoeur extension is no different from your dismissal of Moore’s Royals appearing in back to back World Series this decade.

    If you hate the “Braves Way” so much why don’t you just punt and go root for the Astros or the Cubs?

  51. Did the “true fan” card just get played? Lol. It’s not illogical to want to replace the guys currently in control of the Braves, even if you have no idea who to replace them with. That’s Liberty Media’s job. It’s unfortunate that our ownership doesn’t give a crap about the baseball team, but what can the fans do about that? Not a whole lot, except to stop going to games.

  52. DOB notes that Coppy and Blakeley seem set to sue the Braves at the end of this. So this should be fun. Blakeley is said to have rescinded his letter of resignation within 24 hours of submitting it and has not been paid since though his contract runs through 2019, however, and I’m no lawyer, I don’t believe an entity has to allow you to rescind an LOR. They can just accept it and move on right? You didn’t have to submit one.

  53. Perhaps he’s trying to manipulate the events to make it appear as if he was terminated. After all, he was indeed terminated, for all intents and purposes. It seems like he waived all of his leverage by resigning. Maybe one of the attorneys on here can weigh in.

  54. I’m open to hearing their labor board cases out, but letters of resignation don’t come with take backsies kid.

  55. I think a wrongful termination lawsuit is to be had. If they can successfully argue that they were acting under implied consent from their superiors, then the Braves would be best served to settle and move on.

  56. We’ll see where the labor case goes, but if your boss’s reaction to you screaming @I QUIT!!” isn’t how can I keep you?!?, you quit.

  57. Purely speculative of course, but if the boss tries to coerce your resignation by threatening adverse action, or reneges on terms of separation, I could see a way forward for them. No idea if this is even the alleged case of course.

  58. If we’re going to speculate, I’m going with “Coppy was like, I’m out bitches, you’re with me Niles!” and Niles was like “I’m out too nerdos!” and the front office was like “What. Evah.” and then Niles called his lawyer to brag and his lawyer was like “WHAT THE FUCK HAVE YOU DONE?!” and then Niles was all “10 second rule!!”

  59. Perhaps. In my experience people that are earning at the level to warrant an employment contract have some circumspection though.

  60. Would it not have made more sense to just let Kershaw start this game?


    So you’re saying he wouldn’t have called them nerdos?

  61. If Kershaw is good enough to pitch in inning three, why not start him? Doesn’t make much sense. If I lose, I’m losing with Kershaw. I’d have started Kenley Jansen, squeezed three innings out of him, and let Kershaw finish it.

  62. Finally. We reached a point where someone else on here maybe would’ve considered starting Kimbrel in the WC game.

  63. @79

    Well, even if that gambit would work as a general theory (and to say I’m skeptical would be an understatement), it’s not at all guaranteed that Kershaw could go six innings on two days’ rest, so starting Kershaw and letting him go until he can’t anymore is a way better idea here than starting Jansen and assuming Kershaw can go six or seven.

    But regardless, even I agree that starting Yu Darvish in an obligatory fashion and having him waste time until they thought they could bring in Kershaw was a very bad idea.

  64. Kershaw, even on 2 days rest, should have started since there is no intent for the starter to go deep in the game.

  65. Congratulations Houston! Great season and World Series. Of all the unlikely heroes, I would have never suspected Charlie Morton. Radio announcers said he threw 5 98 mph fastballs tonight. That matches his season totals.

  66. Happy for Maybin, too (I’ve spent a lot of time in Asheville and have followed his progress since his days at T.C. Roberson).

  67. From this very board (hope you all went to Vegas on my pick):

    Dusty Says:

    I know 90% or more of us will be rooting for the Astros in the WS but let’s make some predictions.

    I’m going with heart over head and saying Houston in 7 with Springer winning the MVP.

    October 23rd, 2017 at 10:34 am

  68. @87

    Dusty Dusty
    clearly you’re not rusty
    but did you presuppose
    that Charlie Morton would have them by the nose?


  69. I can’t find Rob’s called shot, which IIRC was a spot-on prediction of Melvin’s suckitude right when we traded for him.

  70. Re: resignation letters. It is *possible*, even when one has resigned, to argue what is known as “constructive discharge”, namely that you were left in an intolerable position so that you had no choice but to leave. The evidentiary requirements for such a claim are, as you might imagine, higher. But I have certainly seen plaintiffs who have made money in lawsuits (usually in a settlement)after they resigned.

  71. Kinda awkward on the MLB Network postgame interview with Bregman. They’re talking about him going #2 in the 2015 draft.

    Interviewer: Who went #1?! (Confused)

    Bregman: Dansby Swanson


    Bregman: ::stutter:: He’s a good player. ::stutter:: He’s gonna have a good career.


    I could have been imagining the length of the silence and stuttering, but… yeah… that was awkward.

  72. Yes, but if we traded for him thinking that he was the best player available in the amateur draft just a year previous, then that ain’t good. Of course, it doesn’t seem like we did that with getting Blair and Inciarte. Might have just been a really good PR move of saying, “we just traded for last year’s #1 pick!” which then resulted in really bad PR of “let’s hitch our wagon to a guy that should have been the 10th overall pick a year and a half ago and has played about one full year of professional baseball!”

  73. Dansby Swanson is going to be fine. Should he have been the first overall pick? Why does anyone care now?

    I believe the same thing used to be brought it up regarding Chipper Jones not going first overall. I guess that kind of pointless discussion makes for good fan entertainment, but honestly it’s not at all surprising that first overall picks often do not equate to superstars. Someone in the top 5 overall will, but it’s unlikely all 5 will.

  74. @96 It wasn’t Chipper Jones — he did go first overall. Who am I thinking of??

    But anyway, Barry Bonds wasn’t taken first overall. He went 6th, in fact. Who did go #1? B.J. Surhoff.

    @97 I tried to edit my post but it wasn’t working with <30 seconds left.

  75. Are we really re-litigating the Shelby Miller trade?

    Yes, but if we traded for him thinking that he was the best player available in the amateur draft just a year previous, then that ain’t good.

    Teams don’t fixate like you do on players’ rankings relative to each other; they try to find the best value or meet specific needs. No one in a front office spends much time worrying who went first overall in whatever draft. As far as the absolute value of Bregman, Swanson, and everyone else in their class, the jury is still out.

    Even if Bregman has a much better career, that’s on the DBacks.

    Might have just been a really good PR move of saying, “we just traded for last year’s #1 pick!” which then resulted in really bad PR of “let’s hitch our wagon to a guy that should have been the 10th overall pick a year and a half ago and has played about one full year of professional baseball!”

    So…you’re saying you think the Braves only wanted Dansby in the Shelby Miller deal for positive press…and then they promoted him aggressively and stuck with him, despite negative press…

  76. @100

    Seems like prime fodder for a Friday evening news dump to me. I’d check back tomorrow.

    I don’t think MLB is just super-excited to do a press release on the sanctions its levying on one of its teams for breaking international signing rules.

  77. MLB is glowing in the after effects of a team of joyful youngsters bringing Houston their first World Series Championship. They’re not going to release “this is how corrupt one of our flagship franchises was, by the way” news until at least after the damned parade.

    Chill. It’s friggin NOVEMBER 2.

    As for Swanson, I’m just going to echo @99. Are we REALLY relitigating that trade? I mean, we all agree that it was steal, yeah? Or was there some “no, we should trade for that Bergman guy because Houston totally would do that!” side track that I missed back then?

  78. @103

    I think a better question is how we can compare the way the Astros went about their rebuild and how the Braves did. This Ringer article today did a really good job showing how in addition to doing most everything right when they turned the corner, the Astros also got very very lucky. https://www.theringer.com/2017/11/2/16597054/houston-astros-world-series-win-tanking-chicago-cubs

    In October 2014 anyone arguing that the Astros would come out ahead of the Brady Aiken pick would be fooling themselves. They were going to get a worse pick, with a year less of development yet it so happened that the D-Backs did not take the best player in the draft (Bregman) and the Astros got a great talent ready to contribute on a championship team in 2 years. Guys like Altuve, and Keuchel who were holdovers from the previous regime suddenly figured their shit out and became MVPs and Cy Young winners. Pretty lucky, that doesn’t happen all the time.

    So the Braves are trying to do the same thing basically, right? Well it’s not going to work out that way… The Braves wasted their chances at turning it around with their insane notion of trying to contend in 2017. You know what the Astros NEVER would have done? Sign Nick Markakis and trade for Matt Kemp. Trade away good young players like Simmons and Wood and horde minor league starting pitchers like it’s the 90s still. The only guy contributing in the Astros rotation that they drafted since their great rebuild was McCullers. Their young core was all hitters, (just like the Cubs and Indians) and they went out and got the right guys at the right time to fill out their rotation (and Verlander was the last piece they needed).

    In any case, I imagine in the spring there will be some Braves State Media pieces about how they’re going to try and emulate the Astros success and… no it’s just not gonna happen.

  79. I can’t wait to hear about the new GM’s 5 year plan.

    And no, nobody is re-litigating the Shelby Miller trade. We won it. In foresight. In hindsight. Anyway you look at it. What’s open for debate is whether winning that trade even moves the needle one iota. At this point I would say that it doesn’t.

  80. @105, The counter-argument the Braves would make is:
    1) Our market, unlike Houston baseball fans, won’t be forgiving if we tanked like they did
    – Perhaps you could argue that we might as well be in a payroll death spiral at this point. When people were comparing the Braves and Royals upthread, I was surprised to find that the Royals have a bigger payroll than we do. Pretty shameful.

    2) The timing of the new stadium made it so that we had to fake it anyway, and the new stadium was necessary because of the TV deal screw-up
    – So, we’re still being run by idiots. It’s just a matter of finding the right root cause.

    3) Once we figure out which pitchers we can build around, we can trade from the excess.
    – We’re going to have to settle in… Wright and/or Allard (or I suppose Folty and Newcomb) need to find another gear. But we’re still not that far off.

  81. @106, Winning that trade — in light of also giving away Andrelton and Wood — kept the possibility of success for the whole rebuild alive.

  82. The Braves lost 97, 95 and 90 games the last three years so what difference does it make if they fake it or not? The fan base could have accepted 4-5 years of losing if there was a coherent and consistent plan in place but there wasn’t and they lost anyway. If they’re spending money on filling out the whole roster and only lose 80 games that’s one thing but that’s not what happened.

    We’re not “that far off” we’re half a roster off and half of the other half are guys who we think might be good but aren’t yet.

  83. @108, I don’t think Inciarte or Swanson are vital to the rebuild. The players that are vital aren’t even on the team yet.

  84. With a little more luck this past season, it would have made a difference. They weren’t on pace to lose 90 games before the break. But they had some things go wrong that were too much to overcome. It starts with Bartolo Colon having zilch from start to finish. Dansby Swanson was almost as bad. Julio Teheran continues to verify that he is just a very mediocre starter. The same for Matt Kemp in terms of value. These are four things that could have gone better for this team and it would have shifted the season in a big way.

    I’m not saying a winning team has these four players on the roster by choice, but it’s not like the four in question couldn’t have done a lot better than they did. We were counting on them to do much more than they did.

  85. (I’m prefacing this by acknowledging that I’m 31 years old and I’m a Braves and Florida Gators fan. Both have had long runs of success, and Florida fans are often chided for having too high of expectations. I’ve never endured a direction-less team. So there you go.)

    I’ve gone through the seasons of the Astros’ “rebuild” and I’m not sure I understand why people are so quick to label their “rebuild” a success. Yes, they did just win a World Series, but good gravy, they were terrible for almost a decade. You have to go back to 2004 to the last time they won more than 90 games. People emphasize the 4 years of 100+ losses. But look at their records the 5 years before: 82-80, 73-89, 86-75, 74-88, 76-86. I simply can’t even fathom being that terrible for that long and then deciding, “Yeah let’s go ahead and rebuild after all.”

    You want to talk about a consistent and coherent plan, gaz? We won 96 games in 2013, then went 79-83 the year after, but after decisively acknowledging that the farm system was bunk, sold off every tradeable asset not named Teheran and Freeman, threw every dollar you legally could (and even some you couldn’t, as we’ll soon find out), and kept the team decent enough to keep revenue from tanking. If you don’t think that’s a plan, you’re out of your gourd, dude. They won in the 60’s exactly twice, and as Donny illustrates, could have been emerging out of the rebuild after 2 seasons with a bit more luck. What would you prefer? Tread water for half a decade, bottom out to the point where you probably lose the Markakis money anyway with lost ticket and TV revenue, and do that for 4 years? Seriously, who outside of the top 5 in payroll has gotten into and out of a rebuild as quickly as Atlanta? Let’s be honest, this team will probably win in the 80’s next year, and be deep-playoff-run contender in 2019, four total years after a rebuild began.

    I’m pissed off about the dumb deals as much as the next guy, but if the alternative is selectively forgetting my team was terrible for a decade like an Astros fan did last night, then I’m quite happy with the way things are and will be very happy once the team takes shape at the end of the offseason.

  86. Alright, gaz. Poorly run team. Got it. Alright, let’s take the top 5 payroll teams off the table. Remember New York’s rebuild that lasted around 12 minutes? We’re not doing those guys. Who has done a rebuild, came out of it quickly, and has sustained success? Who are the gold star franchises? Cardinals? Is that it? Giants? Who else has had a down season or two and turned it right around? I’ll wait.

  87. The fan base could have accepted 4-5 years of losing if there was a coherent and consistent plan in place

    A couple things:
    1) I just don’t buy this. I guess it’s hard to tell when you’re in a constant state of apoplexy over the ownership, but if you pay attention to the overall mood of the comments on Braves Journal when the team goes on a winning streak vs a losing streak, then you know just how untrue this is. If our rebuild had looked more like the Cubs’ or Astros’, people would still be upset about losing 90 games, would still doubt whether our version of Kris Bryant or Alex Bregman would succeed, etc.

    2) Maybe this is quibbling, but I’d qualify your comment by saying that the plan has been consistent and coherent…it’s just maybe not the best plan, is all! Perhaps it’s not smart, as you pointed out, to hoard pitching prospects, but it’s kind of hard to argue that the plan to do that hasn’t been clear and consistent. Saying there’s no coherent plan, to me, just sounds like whining because you’re fundamentally not happy that we’re not spending more money / we’re not winning.

    This probably is kind of a dumb and inefficient way to rebuild. Maybe it makes it that much worse that it’s being carried out with such hubris — to see the Braves brass say “We know pitching,” and then you see Sims or Folty struggling. But that doesn’t mean it won’t eventually work. There’s still a lot of work to do. I see Acuna, Albies, and Gohara, and I can kind of believe.

  88. I’ve gone through the seasons of the Astros’ “rebuild” and I’m not sure I understand why people are so quick to label their “rebuild” a success.

    I mean, they’re gonna be good for a long time. Especially if they learn from what the Cubs endured this season and try to be more proactive about reloading their starting pitching.

  89. You’re mis-representing what happened with the Astros. They made the World Series in 2005 and tried to keep that core together longer than they should and stagnated their major league and minor league systems. In 2011 the team sold to Jim Crane who tore everything down and put a plan in place to ultimately get where they got. Using their records from ’06 to ’11 means what?

    I won’t re-litigate the decision to rebuild but suffice it to say you’re understating the situation. What I really don’t understand is this statement: “and kept the team decent enough to keep revenue from tanking.” No… they cut payroll to the point where the revenue didn’t matter in ’15 and ’16 and the team lost 192 games. That’s a decent team not tanking? Wtf are you talking about?

    “I’ve gone through the seasons of the Astros’ “rebuild” and I’m not sure I understand why people are so quick to label their “rebuild” a success.”

    That’s just nonsense, pretty much every other team in the league would kill to be where the Astros are for the next 5 years at least. If that’s not worth it I don’t know what you’re looking for.

    “Let’s be honest, this team will probably win in the 80’s next year, and be deep-playoff-run contender in 2019, four total years after a rebuild began.”

    You’re not being honest with yourself.


    Nobody rebuilds quickly… that’s the point. The Braves aren’t going to either and they screwed up major pieces of it along the way.

  90. @117

    I honestly have no idea what the hell you’re talking about at this point. You’re either splitting semantical hairs to an asinine degree or you don’t think the Braves will be good for another 20 years…either way, I don’t know where you’re going with this.

    Outside of that, I’ve never understood people clamoring for their team to be terrible. It makes no sense to me whatsoever. You never know if the rebuild will actually work, and if it doesn’t, you’re stuck in purgatory for a long time. People may act like the Cubs and Astros World Series championships were a fait accompli, but they weren’t. No one should look at what they did and say to themselves, “If only we were worse, that would solve everything.” Being ridiculously godawful is a bug in the whole plan of acute rebuilding (or whatever you want to call it), not a freaking feature. Anybody who’s actually happy that their team is bad is a near-total nincompoop. For example, see Philadelphia 76ers fans.

  91. The Braves should make a real push for Giancarlo Stanton.

    Stanton, Acuna, and Inciarte in the outfield…


  92. @121 I think some people are maybe reliving the experience of the late 80s and early 90s when the Braves had top 3 overall picks just about every year.

    Sure, that helps to restock a team. Our top picks will hopefully be at the ML level in another season or two. Just gotta be patient, and keep building around the core we’re putting together.

  93. DOB reports Blakeley is going to meet with MLB in NYC again. Hmmm. I thought this thing was getting close to being wrapped up?

  94. Talking Chop says the investigation is on-going. We may (or may not) hear next week. Our rudderless ship may be taking on water.

  95. Annoying. The question for the near term: can Hart bring himself to set his golf clubs aside and quickly give Moustakas all of the money?

  96. You’re mis-representing what happened with the Astros. They made the World Series in 2005 and tried to keep that core together longer than they should and stagnated their major league and minor league systems. In 2011 the team sold to Jim Crane who tore everything down and put a plan in place to ultimately get where they got. Using their records from ’06 to ’11 means what?

    I mean to contrast that with the Braves’ decisiveness, which I’m growing to appreciate more. I like Dayton Moore, but I think he waited too long to (and thus didn’t) break up the Royals’ core. The Astros, being this lauded franchise at the present moment, put their fans through over a half-decade of mediocrity and eventual futility for almost another half-decade. Same thing now with the Phillies, and eventually they’ll be a winner and people will forget that they refused to break up their core. The Nationals are going down a similar path. The Braves won 86,91,89,94, and 96 games, but after one “bad” season and one of the worst farms in baseball, they tore it down. I say all this to say that that is an indeed a consistent and coherent plan.

    A (now) clear thing they should have done differently throughout this plan was eating BUpton and not signing Markakis like spike suggested just a few days ago (why hasn’t anyone said that these last 3 years?). We could be sitting with one or two top prospects right now had we done that, and we wouldn’t have the last year of Markakis’ deal holding us back. With that said, with more “absolute tank” moves like that, you can look at the Astros’ attendance as a guide. They were, on average, a 2.5M attendance team while they were pretending to contend (’06-’11), and they got down to as little as a million and a half in attendance during the 110 loss seasons. The Braves, to their fortune, only went from that same 2.5M average to around 2M. Was winning in the 60’s instead of the 50’s the reason why they were able to avoid a 15% additional decline in attendance? Apples to oranges in some ways, sure, but you can infer some from those numbers.

    Anyway, I just simply reject that we have an inconsistent and incoherent plan other than giving Markakis a reasonable contract. And yes, many teams will make that 10-win jump into the 80’s in the second or third years after bottoming out (Astros, Royals, Cubs all did so), so I guess we’ll have to see if I should be as pessimistic as you.

  97. If Hart goes, but a Dayton Moore-figure doesn’t emerge, then who would fill Hart’s role?

  98. Upon assuming the GM job, I would give all the prospects to the Marlins for Stanton and then hit the golf course til spring training.

  99. @122, that’s exactly what I’m saying. They were coming regardless of whatever whiz-kid strategery the John’s had planned when they blew it all up.

    Of course they are important to the future of the team, and they are a huge part of our highly ranked farm system, but they are something we should be thanking Wren for.

  100. Let’s just assume we didn’t rebuild. JHey and JUpton left for FA. Mudge’s and Johnson’s contracts have expired. We still have Kimbrel, Gattis, Andrelton, Wood, Peraza, and we obviously don’t have Dansby, Ender, Newcomb, Folty, Gohara, Olivera/Kemp, JJ and Markakis. I’m also assuming all other non-major moves were still made (drafts, IFA, Rule 5’s, etc.) This is where we’d sit:


    SP-Teheran,Wood,??, ??, ??
    RP-Kimbrel, Minter (for emphasis), all the other filler.

    And you probably have about $60-70M in available payroll space. Do you like this core and commitments better than where we are now? It’s interesting to think about.

    EDIT: This was done very quickly, so I don’t know if I forgot to account for something.

  101. @135, worst case you lose 90+ for a while and pile up draft picks. Same as now. Best case, you start each season with a competent roster that just needs a few acquisitions to put you in contention.

    This point was and still is the people’s beef with “the rebuild”. But that dead horse is dead.

    Listen, we weren’t going *anywhere* with leadership that would make the Olivera deal. Or a serial obsession with Bonifacio-clones. Or sign Bartolo to sell bobble-heads. So it’s kind of a moot point. They would have still F’d it all up even if they hadn’t nuked the roster from orbit and started over.

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