Sunday Links (And the Saga of Scott Kazmir)

Sunday Links

Aaron Blair, Matt Wisler, and Lucas Sims all optioned to AAA

You’d have hoped that at least one of the three, at this point, would have been ready to contribute in some way at the major league level. But Wisler and Sims appear to have very straight, hittable fastballs with almost no ability to make adjustments to that problem, and Blair didn’t pitch well enough to command a spot in the pen. Blair wasn’t bad, though he didn’t get many innings (8.2), but his K rate was poor (4 in those 8.2 IP), and he allowed 15 baserunners within that time. As all go to AAA, you’d think there’d be something of a logjam early on. Mike Soroka, Kolby Allard, Luiz Gohara, Max Fried, and the aforementioned Blair, Sims, and Wisler all are considered starting pitchers who should begin the year at AAA. And as the season goes along, Touki Toussaint and Kyle Wright might push for spots in AAA. The Mediocre Three may see their days as starting pitchers all done very soon.

Kazmir misses start due to jaw contusion

Kazmir leaves game early, then released

I put these two links together to draw a humorous, if not completely unrealistic, connection between Kazmir getting a bruise on his jaw and then getting released. Obviously both events are not connected, but the real events are Kazmir left the game early yesterday, and then he was released. He left the game early because he was fatigued from a bullpen thrown 3 days previous, and then he was later released. This came as such a shock that David O’Brien tweeted that Kazmir would not be released only to tweet one minute later that he would.

Some questions I have:

-Why did Kazmir throw a 90-pitch bullpen on Wednesday only to pitch again on Saturday? Does this point to mismanagement?
-Is AA being more decisive about cutting the string of bad money given to Hector Olivera, then to Matt Kemp, and then to Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon McCarthy, and Scott Kazmir? Should he get any credit since we are obviously getting to the end of the rope with that string of money? After all, Gonzalez and Kazmir are now released (and there was probably not much, if any, money to recoup there), and McCarthy is owed so comparatively little relative to his positive value that there is no money to “double-down” on?
-If we’re not being told the full story with Kazmir, does that concern you?

Otherwise, after finishing 2017 Spring Training with a 9-23 record, the Braves have improved to 13-16. So we’re seeing improvement at least in the spring training won-loss record, which doesn’t mean much.

46 thoughts on “Sunday Links (And the Saga of Scott Kazmir)”

  1. Q: how did Kazmir acquire a bruise on his jaw? I know how I have on occasion acquired facial bruises. They are almost universally derived from the “stop dropping your right when you throw the jab” school of bad kickboxing habits. I am curious as to how Kazmir got one in spring training.

  2. It has been widely reported the Kazmir got hit in the face with a ball thrown back to him in a warm up session.

  3. Tyler Flowers needs to go on the 10 day, Lindgren, Gohara, Whitley, Sims, Wisler and Schimpf need to go on the 60 day DL.

  4. @2 I recognize that, and I should have included that, but I don’t think I trust the Braves to tell us if another story was true.

  5. @4 I understand why Lindgren will probably end up on the 60-day, but why would the others be put on the 60-day? Because they’re bad at baseball? Why Gohara then?

  6. Rhys Hoskins

    Am beginning to feel the first symptoms of April Angst. Reality sets in, fantasy withers. You will remember last year’s Phillies, ugh, and they dominate our April schedule. They’re back plus one addition. In his first 50 games in the majors last year he did something Trout has done twice in his career.

    His name sounds very Welsh, lovely.

    yes i know
    but the Welsh Acuna
    he’ll be rarin’ to go.

    But he busted last September when we got to see him at our park. And apparently he’s a klutz in the field. There has to be hope, somewhere. And then you look at his ST numbers. SSS? yes, again. 30HR? how about 45?

    Drafted 142nd, 2014, fifth round.

  7. @3 If challenges to fight have been accepted on this board, this will finally be the board’s Jumped the Shark moment, LOL.

    I’ll be honest, I don’t understand why the Braves don’t just release Wisler and Blair at this point. If for no other reason than just logjams, etc.

  8. Just watched a bit of the first inning. Folty’s secondary pitches look good. If he can be consistent with those then maybe he can finally take a step forward.

  9. Chief sent this over to me on Twitter:

    I don’t want to be one of those fans that when a prospect gets traded away (or ripped from your arms), you say to yourself, “Well, he wasn’t that good anyway.” But… Kevin Maitan does not look good. He doesn’t look in shape or athletic at all.

  10. @12

    Charlie Culberson has had a horrible spring. Danny Santana, himself, may very well be pretty horrible too. I guess they just want to find as many .600 OPS infielders who can at least play a few positions.

  11. The Kazmir thing is a curiosity, but I’m not really concerned with whether we ever learn all the details.

  12. 76 wins already sucks. But yeah, trending more towards 66 with every injury announcement. This will be unwatchable until the summer when more kids come up.

  13. My prediction, really bad start, somewhat better, some kids come up, levels off a bit, 2nd half through end of season bad.

    I’m thinking my prediction was probably even too high. I’m thinking wins in very low 70s. Something like 73-89.

  14. Schedule-wise, the beginning of April does look tough. Certainly tougher than May and June.

    I don’t think anything has happened this spring that should change anyone’s priors. I’m not bullish on Camargo, and so I don’t think there would’ve been much dropoff between him and Ruiz. Even if you think his 2017 was for real, he won’t even be out that long. And because of the schedule, Gohara won’t miss many starts.

  15. @7 Hoskins will terrorize us this year, and for my money instantly already the most hateable Phillie

    DOB tweeting that Folty “didn’t intend to go deep” in today’s start after he got lit up for 6 runs in 2 innings was worth a nice chuckle. He plays his role as half of the Braves State Media mouthpiece so well it seems like he actually believes this garbage.

  16. Hey, Peter Bourjos, a guy likely to finish with more triples than homers, along with a sub-.300 OBP. That’s fun!

  17. This team is SO not trying to win. It’s almost comical. I just wish they’d come out and say, we’re not trying this year but we’re going to spend like crazy in next year’s frenzy. Don’t give up on us, come to the Battery, get drunk, eat at Murph’s come see the stadium.

  18. I don’t know if there’s much positive to say about signing Ryan Flaherty and Peter Boujos. What it says, positive or negative, is that the Braves are very, very clearly trying to create consistent, quality defense all over the diamond. And I really like that. Winning baseball games is a lot more than trying to accumulate a huge runs scored number, and even still, accumulating a huge runs scored number is more than just assembling the best OPSes you can find.

    Bourjos seemingly takes Lane Adam’s place. Adams is 28 years old, struggling in Spring Training, and while very fast, does not grade out well defensively. They probably felt like hedging their risk with Bourjos, a major league player with a track record, than Adams, who may very well not be a major league baseball player if you believe his 3,804 minor league PAs vs. his 116 PAs last year. Teams didn’t have a book on him, sample size, etc. They clearly are trying to put a legitimate defensive replacement in for Tucker and/or Markakis, and I like that a lot. If you’re worried about Bourjos’ stick, then remember that he might get one PA every now and again but 2-3 innings of defensive replacement daily for an otherwise bad defender.

    I don’t know as much about Flaherty, but it seems to me that they’re going for defense there too. I’ve been so frustrated that we can’t even put replacement level players (literally the easiest players in the world to find, hence their name) at the 23-25th spots on the roster, and we were in jeopardy of doing the same dadgum thing this year while saying we’re not. This works towards guaranteeing they’re not. If managed properly, maybe these guys can use their defensive abilities to be at least replacement level, and we can’t say that about Lane or Santana.

  19. If Snit can’t use Bourjos properly, then that’s Snit’s/AA’s problem. It doesn’t point to the illegitimacy of the move.

  20. Markakis should be in roster spots 23-25…then we’d be trying to win. As of now it’s just more of the same. All we can do is watch the pitching develop. The MLB team is an afterthought yet again.

  21. Thanks for explaining the Bourjos and Flaherty moves Rob. I have to say that I really like Lane Adams, but it is more of a sentimental attachment to a guy who greatly exceeded expectations last year. I understand that the Braves have to put sentimentality aside, but I still hope Adams exceeds expectations again, wherever that is.

  22. Flaherty is at least a good fielder, although I don’t really care about that. Bourjos is slightly above average. Giant meh. I actually think I’d rather have Flaherty than Bourjos. Although to be honest, despite spring, I think Lane Adams is still better than Bourjos.

    Quality FAs were going for pennies on the dollar and this is what they come up with. That’s the point.

  23. I’m not sure Adams gets the boot. Danny Santana definitely won’t be on the roster, so that’s a plus.

  24. If they keep Bourjos past Acuna’s call-up date, which you’d assume they would, that would make Adams the odd man out, I’d think. It would really be an improvement to have Tucker as one of your first bats and first lefty off the bench, and if they could find a way to have Stewart on the roster, Flozuki could be the first bat and/or first righty. You’d really be shoring up your bench if you had the ability to use your catchers in that role to go along with Tucker, and Culberson, Flaherty, and Bourjos as simply defensive specialists. But, that’s a 6-man bench, and that’s crazy talk.

  25. Right. I’m assuming Ruiz -> Camargo, Adams -> Acuna, and Long Reliever -> Gohara with Anibal going to long relief.

  26. And yeah, really sad for Adams, it seems. I’m not sure Bourjos has more talent or a higher ceiling than Lane Adams, but at least you know what you’re getting with Bourjos.

  27. Looking at Bowman and DOB’s Twitter comments, it’s hilarious how many people are mad that Danny Santana won’t be on the roster. “But he had such a great spring!”

  28. I would think that the plan for the bench is Tucker, Culberson, Flaherty, Suzuki and Bourjos when Acuna and Camargo are on the team. Given what we did with Kazmir, I wouldn’t be shocked that if Tucker or Carrera look good enough, AA lets Markakis walk. I was holding out hope that we could get something for Markakis, but that diminishes every day.

  29. Would you guys prefer a 31 year old outfielder who had an OPS for his last 2 seasons of. 679 and .764 or an ops of .685 and .729?
    I would say neither, but the 2nd one is Markakis before we signed him for 4/44 million. The first is Carerra, who the Blue Jays released because 1.9 million was too much to pay.

  30. @39

    One facet of Danny Santana that gets overlooked is he can be a disruptive force running the bases. See Oakland last year – stole 2 bases in the same innings, unheard of for us till then. With him added to Acuna and Ozzie we will run riot this year. Double steals will be routine, bunts a serious worry for the opposition, errors will mount. That on top of our modest power will present a formidable challenge. Pinch hit him late and all hell will break loose. Do not play him in the infield.

  31. @44

    …which puts him in the category of what John le Carre superbly called the ‘never wozzers’, originally a term aimed at a small string of worn out racehorses his father and a few dodgy friends ran, each of whom was at one time considered a sure thing but who never, ever won anything. The son knew, the father could never accept the reality and drained the family cash accordingly.

    You will note the parallel with baseball. The Santanas, the Garcias of our world will pluck at the heartstrings of the few romantics on board here while the majority demand their dismissal. And so life goes. But Danny will make the roster, Snit’s one of us.

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