Is There a 40-Man Roster Crunch?

I’m not going to bury the lede on you. No, there’s not a 40-man crunch. With the rebuilding process of collecting as many pitching prospects or injured former prospects, there have continually been situations where the Braves have had too many players for their 40-man, hence the “crunch”. But as it’s played out, there hasn’t been a scenario where anyone victim of said “crunch” has been “lost” to another team. In the quantity-over-quality approach to collecting players, we seem to consistently have 5-10 players on the back of our 40-man that are almost indistinguishable from each other, and other teams have agreed. How does the 40-man break down? See below.

The Locks

Position Players

C – Tyler Flowers, Kurt Suzuki
INF – Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, Charlie Culberson, Johan Camargo, Rio Ruiz
OF – Ronald Acuna Jr., Ender Inciarte, Nick Markakis, Preston Tucker

Pitchers

Julio Teheran, Brandon McCarthy, Mike Foltynewicz, Sean Newcomb, Luiz Gohara, Arodys Vizcaino, A.J. Minter, Sam Freeman, Peter Moylan, Jose Ramirez, Daniel Winkler

Total: 23

 

The Probables

Position Players

Chris Stewart – He will need to be on the 40-man if he stays in the organization, which you’d assume he would.
Peter Bourjos – Acquired on Sunday on a major league deal, he appears to be headed for a spot on the roster.
Ryan Flaherty -Also acquired on Sunday on a major league, and he too appears to be headed for the roster.
Lane Adams – Even with Bourjos signed, Lane might still make the Opening Day roster. Nonetheless, while he may lose his 25-man spot once Acuna comes up, he still should stay on the 40-man.

Pitchers

Max Fried, Anibal Sanchez, Matt Wisler, Aaron Blair, Luke Sims, Akeel Morris, Adam McCreery, Rex Brothers, Shane Carle

Total: 36

This assumes Anibal is our 5th starter while Gohara recovers. With Scott Kazmir‘s release, Shane Carle seems like the long relief option. Brothers has potential and options, so as a lefty, he probably sticks on the 40-man. McCreery was protected in the Rule-5, so you’d assume he’s on there. Blair, Wisler, and Sims all deserve a spot. Same with Morris.

 

On The Bubble

Position Players

Ryan Schimpf – And is he? Is there any concern he won’t pass through waivers at this juncture?
Danny Santana – Same thing here. With Flaherty’s signing, it seems AA wants Flaherty over Santana. They probably won’t keep this many infielders/outfielders on the 40-man. I think both he and Adams pass through waivers.

Pitchers

Ricardo Sanchez, Chase Whitley, Jason Hursh, Jesse Biddle, Jacob Lindgren

Total: 43

Lindgren probably gets moved to the 60-day, so he doesn’t need to be added. Grant Dayton, by the way, is already on the 60-day, so he’s not even on the bubble. So unless I’ve missed someone or miscounted, you have 42 players for 40 spots. The Braves will most likely have to decide if they want to risk passing two of Adams, Santana, Sanchez, Whitley, Hursh, or Biddle through waivers. Is that a hard decision? I would contend that like Mauricio Cabrera, Luke Jackson, and Josh Ravin, who were put through waivers in the spring successfully, some if not all of these players will pass through waivers. And if they didn’t, would we even miss them? I say no, so my friend, we do not have a 40-man crunch.

154 thoughts on “Is There a 40-Man Roster Crunch?”

  1. Great post. I can see Santana and Schimpf clearing waivers but I don’t know about Lane Adams. I’ve heard he’s out of options. Doesn’t it seem fairly likely that a team will want to take a flyer on him based on his effective year last year, which includes speed and power?

  2. JC’d from previous thread which was in response to another’s post referring to Santana’s poor WAR numbers..

    …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.

  3. I tell ya, like all of you, I hate this site theme so much. Even putting headers and subheaders make it still look like a pile of goop. We’re going to have a new theme soon which will be much more function.

  4. Other than Lindgren(and even that would depend on whether he could ever be healthy), I don’t think any of those bubble pitchers are worthy of a 40 man roster spot.

  5. @4

    Chief.

    Regret to have to inform you that you may be reverting to type. After a few weeks of more positive assessments/forecasts of what lies ahead for us all, in the last ten days you have effectively been dismissive of so many groups of players which you apparently wish to disappear from the 40 man, let alone the 25.

    4 above is a good example. Bubble pitchers? That’s a dozen gone. Excellent defenders? Unnecessary baggage unless they can hit .350. I won’t embarrass you with full list of those who fail to meet your exacting standards. To the point were there must now be serious doubt about how many are left to fill 25 places let alone 40.

    What happened to your more positive self? We can only assume it may be the extra load of your excellent Fantasy League obligations and, more recently, your clearly stated fears of in-Board mano a mano encounters which might overwhelm us all.

    But don’t ever change, please.

  6. Paper move: Nationals released Jeremy Hellickson and then re-signed him to a deal with the same terms as his original minor-league deal.— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) March 26, 2018

    https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    According to a Twitter account, this was to avoid paying a $100K retention bonus. Not sure if that’s true, but if so, I thought you weren’t supposed to rake players over $100K?

  7. @3 As someone who irrationally hates change, I will be very sad to see this dusty, drab little theme go. Like many have said, I love this bar, and it will hurt a little if it gets better lighting, $12 cocktails, and a hip DJ.

    Yes, it’s ugly, but it’s ours, and its ugliness helps keep out the riff-raff from the (largely much less pleasant) broader Braves internet.

  8. @8

    I agree, and because of that, I’ve had a difficult time deciding on a theme. I definitely want to take it out of the stone age, but yes, I don’t need it to be the shiniest thing in the world for the reason you cite. The biggest thing that requires a theme change is that all of the plugins that improve commenting (the bread and butter of this site, IMO) all require a supported theme. For what I gather, this theme has not been supported for the greater part of a decade.

    We also have a nasty issue of certain commenters’ comments being arbitrarily flagged for moderation, which is both annoying for me and the person. I know blazon, mikemc, and braves14 have had their share of problems for some reason (VPNs, guys?). But it requires me to have to go through and manually approve the comments, which I would prefer not to do.

  9. @8

    If it helps and is relevant to what you are considering i’ve always thought this format has one huge advantage over other versions and that is the alternating shade/clear backgrounds and so on. It may not sound much but look at a 20 post ‘page’ here and see how it breaks everything up, the contrast making it very much easier on the eye.

    I like the type font too, same reason.

  10. I will chime in and say the alternating colors is excellent and the simplicity is what makes it so user friendly.

  11. The regulars love their dingy little local dive. Of course they do. But the place needs some makeovering. You can only run with 1998 era Web 1.0 of so many decades.

    EDIT: if you do nothing else, please put in a “read more” hide/expand bar for the posts on the .index page.

  12. The good news is that as long as it’s on WordPress, it will stay very basic. Even if the new guy wanted to go crazy and make it like Talking Chop or something, I couldn’t. Plus, eww. Too much going on there.

  13. FWIW… I think I was the last person to make changes to the theme after Bethany was working on a new theme but then abandoned us. The last things I did was fixing the comment edit timer plugin and changing the margin widths a little bit so the post content could be a bit wider. Since I made the changes I have come to feel a bit invested in the theme.

  14. Glad to see we are not looking at a gaudy overhaul. I would always prefer to keep what we have, but if it must change (and really, must it?) let’s keep the spirit the same.

  15. Good call on the comment edit timer plugin. I feel like I use it daily.

    Interested to see what happens with Chris Stewart. I can’t imagine he’d get a major league deal, so I don’t know if he would opt for free agency vs. taking an outright. We really don’t have a 3rd catcher if he leaves other than Scivicque.

  16. Talking Chop
    can on occasions resemble agitprop
    our dignity must be maintained
    our current Editor extended thus retained.

    Rob
    Be it known that were you ever to be compelled by WP into a TC type display we would look favorably on a 50% pay increase. Percentages, you understand, not necessarily actual dollars. And payment per word i’m sorry to say in your case is unsustainable particularly were you to insist on numbers being included.

    Fine work, Rob, thank you!

  17. @6

    I’m just saying that those guys that are mentioned in the the On the Bubble are IMO, dime a dozen types, minus Lindgren. These type of guys lurk in AAA or on the periphery of every MLB roster. You could just swap the names.

    I’m just a little miffed that we sign Ryan Flaherty and Peter Bourjos in a FA environment where the players were signing for fractions of what they thought they were worth.

    Plus, I think our pitching sucks. And we have no power outside of Freddie and Acuna (in theory).

  18. @20

    Thinly veiled is too subtle for me, Chief. The others change the background color and I still manage to screw it up.

    Thinly veiled
    by so many words assailed
    that may or may not be intended
    those colors though, be fair to say, we all at times were quite offended.

  19. @21

    Bethany and her Scorecards, seems an age ago. And where is the recap Queen, ‘Rissa? Call please!

  20. 26 — Preston Tucker might add some power as a 4th OF. I think Albies can add 10-15 HR as well. Flozuki should be expected to hit about 20 HR. But I would agree that power is our team’s biggest weakness.

  21. @26–you know, Chief may be right that our pitching sucks (among other team deficiencies) and that we may not win 70 games.
    But if the pitching is as bad as last year’s the whole rebuild is in doubt. I don’t see a lot of hope that this year’s team will score more than last year’s–unless Acuna really is as good as Mike Trout as a rookie.
    The only chance this team has to threaten .500 (or in our wildest dreams a wild card berth) is that at least two of Folty, Newcomb, Gohara, and Fried take big steps forward this year, that Teheran is the pitcher of 2016 and 2014, and that the bullpen is dramatically better than last year’s (low bar, I know). And then before the year is out Soroka and perhaps Allard or Wright make stellar MLB debuts in limited action.
    In other words, better pitching is the key to a better 2018. Just as importantly, most of the improvement described above is necessary for the Braves to be competitive in 2019 and beyond. There is a lot riding on these young pitchers. They don’t all have to make it–and of course all of them won’t–but several better step it up this year.
    Having said all that, I am decidedly more hopeful than Chief (come to think of it, that is the ultimate low bar).

  22. But if the pitching is as bad as last year’s the whole rebuild is in doubt.

    Give Wright and Soroka a couple MLB seasons before making this determination.

    As things stand right now, a future rotation led by Wright, Gohara, and Soroka could make the playoffs. Having some mix of Folty/Newcomb/Fried in the bullpen will also be quite helpful. It’s not hard to imagine one of those guys going Archie Bradley on us, and it’s not the end of the world if none of them succeed as starters.

    In a recent comment, I think Rob mentioned something about being bad for four straight seasons. For a rebuild to take five seasons seems about right to me. Think of what other franchises have been through — five seasons is not that bad! We may not be very good this year, and I think this is the last season where that could happen without it being that much of a problem for the future.

  23. Yes, yes, yes. If the players acquired in the rebuild aren’t very good, the rebuild will be unsuccessful. Thank you for your gleaming insights of pure wisdom, men.

  24. If we traded JUpton, Heyward, Kimbrel, Andrelton, Alex Wood, and Gattis and only got Inciarte and some relievers to make a long-term impact, uhh, that means a failed rebuild regardless of what Soroka does.

  25. I don’t know whether anyone else has noted this, but this Yankees team appears to have a lot of good hitters.

  26. I think a current trend of batting power hitters up higher say, 2nd is interesting. I’m not sure that I understand fully the rationale, but I do find it interesting.

  27. If we traded JUpton, Heyward, Kimbrel, Andrelton, Alex Wood, and Gattis and only got Inciarte and some relievers to make a long-term impact, uhh, that means a failed rebuild regardless of what Soroka does.

    This is a bad take. We traded away a very, very limited amount of control over Justin Upton and Heyward. And despite what Braves Journal thinks of him, Evan Gattis isn’t that good and could only be traded to a limited number of teams. So as you would expect, we did well to get players in return who were not slam dunks, had obvious flaws, etc, but were also players that fans could dream on — and then some, in the case of Shelby Miller. (And my comment above pertained to pitching; I’m not postulating here that Dansby’s a flop, so when you say “Inciarte and some relievers,” those are your words, not mine).

    For the other players on your list, we just made straight-up bad trades or used our resources to help us unload other bad contracts. And yet here we are.

    I guess it doesn’t go without saying that the measure of whether a rebuild is successful is the team’s win-loss record… whether the Braves win with Wright/Gohara/Soroka atop the rotation or with Folty/Newcomb/Fried as starters is very much beside the point. I’ll take a “failed rebuild” with two guys throwing 95-98 with stuff and command at the top of my rotation and Young Derek Lowe Part II backing them up any day.

  28. It’s been a while since it was discussed on this board, but as I recall The Book (see http://www.insidethebook.com/) says you should bat your best hitter second, because he comes to the plate with more runners on than hitters lower in the order and he will get more plate appearances.

  29. Batting your best hitters 1st and 2nd is common sense, because they will lead the team in total PA’s for the season if they hit there. Baseball is mostly devoid of common sense though.

  30. Put another way: the upside of Fried/Newcomb/Folty is they stick in the rotation and contribute to a future contender; the downside is they occupy your attention while the surer things that we draft or poach from other teams develop and eventually surpass them. Any way you slice it, at this point, mission accomplished.

  31. I agree that Wright/Gohara/Soroka have a better chance of being top of the rotation starters than do Folty/Newcomb/Fried. I also agree that I’ll be equally happy if any of them become all stars.
    It would worry me, though, if no one other than Wright/Gohara/Soroka pans out as a quality MLB starter. Because as good as W/G/S appear to be, odds are that at least two of them will disappoint or get hurt.

  32. @46, That would put us in the same boat as other competitive teams. Nobody can withstand losing their two best starters.

    That said, if catastrophe befalls Wright/Gohara/Soroka, we could still trade prospects for a frontline starter. We could then spend FA dollars on another starter in the offseason. There’s always Teheran, to keep or to trade. And maybe one of Folty/Newcomb/Fried sticks in the rotation. Maybe Allard regains his velocity. Maybe Touki pans out.

    We’re not in bad shape. We have options. It doesn’t all need to come together this season, and it probably won’t.

  33. I’m noticing Kyle Wright isn’t listed as one of the pitchers for the 40-man above.
    Some reason? Roster rules aren’t my Will (forte).

  34. @49

    Was just dropping by to post that story. Looks like Acuna is in AAA for a few weeks because he chose to be.

  35. Given that the Phillies signed Kingery to $36 million deal and he is not near the prospect Acuna is-either the Phillies are crazy (consensus seems to be they made out well) or we really lowballed Acuna. We should probably double that offer if he is willing to give 3 option years like Kingery did.

    Edit: I had the Kingery deal wrong, he is guaranteed $24 million. We still could’ve probably managed to go to $40 or $45 guaranteed.

  36. I wouldn’t say they low-balled him. They offered him a guaranteed contract, he chose to bet on himself. That’s all fine and good, for both sides. For every Evan Longoria deal, there’s a Jon Singleton deal.

  37. There is no information provided about how many free agency years were being covered. That has a big impact on perception of the number.

  38. Here are the details of the Kingery deal: $1.5MM signing bonus, $750K this year, $1.25MM in 2019, $1.5MM in 2020, $4MM in 2021, $6MM in 2022 and $8MM in 2023, plus club options on his first 3 FA years – $13M, $14M and $15M from 2024-26 (and a $1M buyout if options are not exercised). Assuming all options are exercised, it’s a total of 9 years / $65M.

    I have to think the Braves approached Acuna similarly to Kingery, but there are some sizable differences in their respective situations. For one thing, Acuna is a substantially better prospect than Kingery, and he’s also 3 1/2 years younger. Even after 7 years of team control, Acuna will be 27 – prime age to grab a huge FA contract. Kingery would be 30 before his 7 team control years ran out, which is good but not as promising. Essentially, the stars were not aligning for the Braves to get Acuna on a cheap team-control contract.

    @55 I disagree! I think we can stipulate that having Acuna in AAA for 2 weeks to start this season will not meaningfully alter the Braves’ chances at the 2018 NL pennant. Beyond that, you’re just weighing the value of gaining a 7th year of team control over Acuna (in what should be the prime of his career) against any ill will Acuna has against the Braves for service time manipulation. Given that *every other team* would do the same thing the Braves are doing, and that Acuna is already signaling that he would rather roll the dice on getting paid full value rather than lock in with the Braves, we can predict that he is unlikely to give the team a hometown discount for his FA years later on. If that’s the lay of the land, then the Braves are acting rationally in playing the service time game.

    Basically, Acuna is in the same situation as JHey was back in 2010. The Braves did right by him by starting him in the big leagues on Opening Day. JHey chose to reject the Braves’ extension offers and made clear that he wasn’t going to give the Braves a discount, despite the fact that the Braves were his hometown team and did not manipulate his service time. The likelihood is that Acuna would do exactly the same thing JHey did if the Braves let him start Opening Day 2018 in the majors.

  39. What is this notion that Heyward rejected the Braves extension offers? He’s on record saying he tried to start negotiations and they weren’t interested and the Braves FO never commented on it. It’s ultimately inconsequential to Acuna but I don’t know where that counter-narrative came from.

  40. @58 – Perhaps I am incorrect in my recollection that JHey turned down contract offers from the Braves; it is certainly accurate to say that JHey and the Braves were unable to reach an agreement on a contract extension during his pre-FA days.

  41. Don’t you hate when people add “gate” to the end of a word describing every little controversy? Really dumb.

    #acunagate

  42. @40

    That is not a bad take at all. Yes, I should have included Dansby. But while years of control obviously impacts value, the cumulative value of all of those players absolutely should yield more than Inciarte, Dansby, and some relievers. That’s what you’re insinuating. If each player individually wasn’t able to yield trade value to make an impact, then those assets acquired should have been combined in different ways to trade for something that does have value. Taking Wisler, Blair, Newcomb, Folty, Olivera, etc. back in trades and letting their collective value plummet to the point where all you have is a couple relievers is very bad for the rebuild. If you couldn’t get good enough players back in those trades, you need to trade those players in a package that gets you something that helps. And they said they were going to. But they’re holding onto Folty and Newcomb because they think they have topline starter value. And if they don’t become effective starters, that’s absolutely an indictment on the performance of the FO.

  43. Part of the rebuild would have to include the fruits of drafting higher as a result of the rebuilding years.

  44. This is a shitstorm entirely of the front office’s own making, so I don’t have a whole lot of sympathy. One day it would be nice if somebody filed a grievance over this kind of crap to see what would happen, since everybody on the planet knows teams are trying to circumvent the rules and it has nothing whatsoever to do with development.

    The only group that benefits from this kind of Machiavellian roster manipulation is ownership. It’s not good for the players and it’s not good for the fans…even the ones who’ve convinced themselves that it is good for them. Meanwhile, we still seemingly have no interest in actually winning baseball games, so that’s fun…can’t wait for this season!

  45. I really don’t have a huge problem with the way players are getting paid, and this serves as a response to Adam’s well-written post a few days ago.

    These players have a significant amount of risk attached to them in the early part of their career, and they’re paid accordingly. For every Mike Trout, there’s a couple-few Jeff Francoeur’s that have a couple good seasons and either don’t improve, regress, or completely flame-out. So yes, you should be paid relative peanuts for your first few years of being a productive major league regular. And as the market is shifting, we’re seeing a squeeze in the free agent market and a swelling in the pre-arb market.

    Kingery just got a huge contract for having never played a game of major league baseball. Acuna just rejected a big contract (of course, the term is important, which we don’t know), so the right players are getting huge guaranteed money in the beginning, and the wrong ones aren’t. You aren’t going to see a lot of pitchers inking these deals, to begin with. But there’s no guarantee Kingery will ever post positive WAR, but the Phils took a chance because they’re saving money in the FA market and they wish to re-allocate it to younger, more stable players. What’s the problem with this?

  46. If the players want to close the service time loophole, they should hire actual representations for their next CBA negotiations and not send an ex-first basemen instead.

  47. I really don’t have a huge problem with the way players are getting paid

    Ronald Acuna will make just under $500,000 before he turns 20.

  48. To illustrate how much of all this is the front office’s own making, the 25 man roster is currently worth about $80 million while we have $35 million in dead money simply because the front office was stupid. Imagine if $35 million had been spent on a third baseman and right fielder, maybe 2018 could be something…

    As is, 4 years into the “rebuild” we’re looking at a rotation including Brandon McCarthy and Anibal Sanchez while the most promising young players either were acquired by the prior regime (Albies and Acuna) or were drafted high in the first round because the team sucked (which they said it wouldn’t). Basically all those who thought trading all those guys early would “jump start” the rebuild were wrong, this is a 5-10 year process like I said in 2014. I can’t imagine Anthopolous will do worse than his predecessor but until there’s new ownership not much is actually going to change.

  49. And before he posts any positive value at the major league level. A 22-year old major leaguer with a year and a half of productivity is just not going to get paid the way a 28-year old with 6 years under his belt is going to get paid. It’s fair.

  50. But while years of control obviously impacts value, the cumulative value of all of those players absolutely should yield more than Inciarte, Dansby, and some relievers. That’s what you’re insinuating.

    No, that’s not what I’m insinuating.

    I don’t think I could be more vocal in my opinion that we should have kept Andrelton and Alex Wood — certainly, if we felt we were better off trading them, we should’ve gotten better returns. We made bad trades, and we paid the price.

    There are big differences between Andrelton/Wood/Kimbrel and Justin Upton/Heyward/Gattis. In the case of Heyward, we were very fortunate to get Shelby Miller — it took a combination of the Cardinals being in the sweet spot on the win curve to overpay us + the Oscar Taveras tragedy. Those circumstances don’t always line up like that.

    My larger point is that the rebuild seems like it might still succeed whether or not Newcomb/Blair/Wisler establish themselves. I don’t see how this is remotely controversial.

    But they’re holding onto Folty and Newcomb because they think they have topline starter value. And if they don’t become effective starters, that’s absolutely an indictment on the performance of the FO.

    I think this is far truer for Newcomb than it is for Folty. And I’d qualify that by saying “because they think they have topline starter upside.” If you’re coming over in a trade packaged with Rio Ruiz, a fringe-y major leaguer, in exchange for Gattis by himself, that means at least two front offices don’t exactly think the world of you.

  51. Ooooh, that’s a hard number, blazon. The Braves play 26 games in April. 6 against the Nats, 3 against the Cubs, 4 against the Mets, and 3 against an improved Phillies. So they’d have to score more than 1.3 runs per game.

    Under.

  52. This is a shitstorm entirely of the front office’s own making, so I don’t have a whole lot of sympathy.

    Would anyone else even describe this as a shitstorm?

    I have a feeling we will regret sending Acuna down.

    Make up your mind, is this team supposed to be good or horrible this year?

  53. To illustrate how much of all this is the front office’s own making, the 25 man roster is currently worth about $80 million while we have $35 million in dead money simply because the front office was stupid. Imagine if $35 million had been spent on a third baseman and right fielder, maybe 2018 could be something…

    As is, 4 years into the “rebuild” we’re looking at a rotation including Brandon McCarthy and Anibal Sanchez while the most promising young players either were acquired by the prior regime (Albies and Acuna) or were drafted high in the first round because the team sucked (which they said it wouldn’t). Basically all those who thought trading all those guys early would “jump start” the rebuild were wrong, this is a 5-10 year process like I said in 2014. I can’t imagine Anthopolous will do worse than his predecessor but until there’s new ownership not much is actually going to change.

    I just want to point out that you start this post blaming the front office for a non-competitive 2018 and then conclude it by saying our ownership situation determines our destiny. Which is it?

  54. @73

    This is revisionist history. The returns were well-received. Andrelton was considered light, but the outrage was largely over trading a fan favorite. At the end of the day, the market was fair and spoke, and we got a lot back. We were rightly decisive about cashing out that value into another asset. We didn’t give it away. It is reasonable for the average fan to expect the pitching to turn a corner this year. If it doesn’t, then there’s a degree of failure you have to assign to those trades. We chose a strategy of taking back a ton of pitching. If it works, we look like geniuses, and if it doesn’t, we lost. And in 2018, you should see some return on these trades, which was tfloyd’s point. You can’t say that we didn’t get good returns because we did.

    Really, a lot of this is over the fact that we took pitching vs. hitting. Phils went after hitting and hitting is easier to project, hence the higher amount of optimism about the Phillies. But their rotation is suspect, so it goes both ways. Expecting our pitching to be better is a very valid expectation based on what we took back. You can take a dump on the fact that we didn’t get back 80-grade prospects, but it doesn’t change the cumulative haul and what could/should have been done with it after the trades.

  55. Our rotation is more than suspect. So is our hitting.

    @76 that’s a very un-nuanced simplification. It’s possible to think that we’ll regret sending him down and thinking we’ll still suck with him for 2+ extra weeks. It’s a team game.

    I do think the overall offense might be better this year than last, but I’m not expecting anything but a pile of poo from this pitching staff.

  56. If we still have a bottom-3 bullpen after we jettisoned JJ and his contract, have a full year of AJ Minter, and left 3-4 40-man spots clogged for a couple years waiting for some of these guys to pan out, then we deserve what we get. If we can’t fix that we were also bottom-3 in the league staff-wide in walks, then maybe we shouldn’t be handling this much pitching.

  57. The returns were well-received. Andrelton was considered light, but the outrage was largely over trading a fan favorite.

    You’re really putting on a fallacy clinic here.

    Should we go back and look at Braves Journal when the trade went down? I recall questioning the need to get a shortstop back. I recall people pointing to Newcomb’s most obvious flaw. Sure, the vast majority of people were upset because “generational defensive talent,” etc, but don’t lump me — or the Braves — in with that line of argument. Conventional wisdom makes for an awfully convenient straw man.

    Should we also go back and look at the Olivera trade? Was that well-received?

    At the end of the day, the market was fair and spoke, and we got a lot back. We were rightly decisive about cashing out that value into another asset. We didn’t give it away. It is reasonable for the average fan to expect the pitching to turn a corner this year. If it doesn’t, then there’s a degree of failure you have to assign to those trades. We choose a strategy of taking back a ton of pitching. If it works, we look like geniuses, and if it doesn’t, we lost. And in 2018, you should see some return on these trades, which was tfloyd’s point. You can’t say that we didn’t get good returns because we did.

    “A lot.” OK… I don’t know what “a lot” means to you. I consider a few cost-controlled pitchers with frontline starter upside to be a lot. That seems like a good return. Folty’s basically a 2ish WAR pitcher right now. That’s good! We gave up several years of a 1ish WAR player to get him. Nice work! If Folty doesn’t max out his upside, I’m not going to complain. Not many pitchers do.

    I don’t know what “for the average fan” means either. It may be reasonable to expect our pitching to turn a corner this year, but I’d say that’s more on account of Gohara, Soroka, and perhaps even Wright showing up. We even traded for Gohara. Why are these guys not a part of the rebuild for you?

    How many teams have even completed a near-complete teardown in four seasons?

  58. How many teams started with a 79-win squad worth of talent and Albies and Acuna far down the pipe? You can’t compare our rebuild to the teams like the Phillies and Astros who were already bottomed out and then just got better. That’s not “rebuilding”. That’s “we really sucked and it took us a long time to get good”. We actually had something to tear down, and we’re arguing over how much positive value that should have produced.

    We traded enough away to dispute your point that we ought not evaluate the pitching until Wright/Soroka/Gohara, the “elite” pitching prospects, have their day. If they couldn’t take the returns from those players, combine that with draft position, about $30M per year in additional monies, and put something better on the field for 2018, then that’s the failure I’m describing. Listen, the returns were fine. There’s enough there. I’m disagreeing that some of it should be here by now. It’s not what they got; it’s what they did with it from there that could prove to be suspect if we don’t get a couple talented pitchers out of it faster.

  59. Here is a simpler way to have this discussion:

    Should Newcomb, Folty, Wisler, and Blair be farther along, especially by the end of this year? I say yes; you seem to say no. I’m not going to debate that point any longer.

  60. @78 Maybe by you they were well received. I still haven’t come to grips with how we shipped Wood, Simmons, and Kimbrel out for what we got in return. I said it back then on whatever forum I was on (probably ChopNation at that point) that we were trading the very pieces that a rebuilding team needs in order to successfully rebuild. On dealing Kimbrel, I could understand he was a luxury, but on trading Alex Wood it never made any f’ing sense.

  61. I disagree, on principle, Chief. The people who produce the work should get paid for that work. In baseball, the work AND the product are the players. They should get paid for their productivity. Free markets and all that, ya know?

    As for Acuna, I doubt 20% of the “ERMHAGAH ACUNAGATE!!!” chorus give two shits about Ronald Acuna’s actually earnings, or his rights as a worker to the full fruits of his labor. Most of them are just pissed they don’t get to see the super prospect in Atlanta for an extra three weeks.

  62. I’m simply in awe of the cajones it takes to pass up $30M. I guess they have ways to insure decent amounts of future earnings in case of injury (or in case of can’t-hit-a-slider), but that’s life changing money.

  63. @69

    I agree. They sold us the rebuild as the three year quick fix. Here we are in year five and unless we make some major moves, we won’t be good next year either.

    We may have the top farm system according to some, but a lot of the guys in it are overrated, far from the bigs or already on the team. There is not a crop of young players like there was in 1990.

    Our best pitching prospect profiles as a number two-at best. We traded Simmons for a guy who may be a solid number four. Our best hitting prospect was found by Wren. The rest of our hitting prospects are nice roll players/platoon guys at best.

    So far the only deal we have come out ahead on was the Swanson deal and that is because of Inciarte has been great.

    We gave Kimbrel away to pay for Upton, which was dumb. We gave Simmons, Wood and Justin Upton away for magic beans.

    I imagine they would have traded Freeman for two injured A ball left handers, 100 bags of cotton candy and tickets to “No, No, Nanette” But someone balked at the cotton candy.

  64. We went from “Some of Newcomb/Folty/Wisler/Blair need to establish themselves in the rotation in 2018 in order for the entire rebuild to be successful” to “Newcomb/Folty/Wisler/Blair should be farther along by the end of this year.”

    I disagree with the former and agree with the latter (more as it pertains to Newcomb/maybe Folty? than Wisler/Blair).

  65. #43: Martin Prado (by bledsoe)

    This is what I said about the Andrelton Simmons trade. Getting more pitching back was my frustration. But Newcomb was a good enough prospect received back to expect more than what he’s shown.

    #43: Martin Prado (by bledsoe)

    That may serve as anecdotal reason for support: Angels fans liked Newcomb. And he’s still a very highly touted top 100 prospect. He should be a good pitcher. I don’t know why that’s being debated.

  66. This is what I said:

    If we traded JUpton, Heyward, Kimbrel, Andrelton, Alex Wood, and Gattis and only got Inciarte and some relievers to make a long-term impact, uhh, that means a failed rebuild regardless of what Soroka does.

    I’ve since added Dansby. But yes, if you trade that much talent and you don’t get one single productive major league starting pitcher to add to Inciarte and Dansby, then yes, you’ve failed.

  67. Delmon Young made $21 million. Jeff Francouer took home $30 million plus. I think those are reasonably considered Acuna’s “down side.”

  68. You’re avoiding the issue with Newcomb the way Newcomb avoids the strike zone. But yes, while Newcomb is no longer a rookie let alone a prospect, I certainly expect more than what Newcomb has shown. He can start by throwing 150 IP this season.

    Separately, he needs to do way more than that to justify the Andrelton trade. What he needs to do is almost certainly asking too much, but that’s not his fault. Newcomb can flop, it will reflect very poorly on Coppy, and the rebuild…can still succeed!

    But yes, if you trade that much talent and you don’t get one single productive major league starting pitcher to add to Inciarte and Dansby, then yes, you’ve failed.

    Should the Braves make the playoffs a couple times with Wright/Gohara/Soroka and someone like Folty in the ‘pen, let’s remember to let them know that it doesn’t count, or something.

  69. We need to establish the point at which all patience is lost and it’s fair to say “the rebuild” isn’t working. End of the 2019 season? Longer?

  70. Since we’re doing this again, I feel compelled to say that we’ve had 3 rebuild years and we’re starting year 4 now. We are not 5 years into the rebuild.

    Also, the rebuild is good.

  71. @95

    With another rebuild, no doubt!

    @96

    That’s great. Except we were promised that the rebuild would only take 2-3 years, not five.

  72. New information constantly puts the rebuild under review. Bottom line. When we were contending for almost 25 years, we never had an attitude of “well, let’s just see how things are in 5 years.” For instance, as the team says that we will be competitive in 2017, then you tend to make observations. And then the team says it again for 2018, you make more observations when, in this conversation’s context, are concerned about the rotation, especially when The Rebuild(TM) was predicated on trading for a ton of pitching 3 years ago. It’s not “doing it again” in a pejorative sense; it’s taking another look after more time has passed.

  73. That’s great. Except we were promised that the rebuild would only take 2-3 years, not five.

    Whenever someone expresses this sentiment, I think of little kids whose parents say, “Surprise! Get in the car, we’re going to Disney!” and they actually take them to the dentist.

    Except this comparison between gullible kid and gullible Braves fan actually insults the kid! We all knew all along that Coppy’s promise was hot air, unlike the kid who may not know better. All the worse it makes anyone look who’s still carrying a grudge over a PR move intended to work on the most undiscerning of fans.

  74. Coming in last a lot of years in a row will eventually work. I don’t think that should be called “the rebuild” though.

  75. FWIW, my view is that the rebuild is basically over, and many people just don’t recognize it yet. But we’ll see.

  76. When we were contending for almost 25 years, we never had an attitude of “well, let’s just see how things are in 5 years.”

    At some point, the Braves’ decision-making became about prolonging the division streak at all costs — moreso even than winning the World Series, IMO.

  77. @99

    Yeah, OK…fair enough.

    But on the other hand, I’m totally supposed to believe that they’re actually gonna spend money next offseason, right? That’s clearly not BS hot air designed to keep people from abandoning ship as we embark on a fourth crappy season in a row. That one’s totally gonna happen!

    So stick around for this season as we waste another year of our best player’s career, refuse to put the one player everyone is most interested in actually on our team (for now at least), and give utility and AAAA players “chances to prove themselves.” Next year, we’re actually gonna turn this around! Just you watch!

  78. I have every expectation the 2018 offseason will be spent with leaks to the beat writers about how they’re seriously going after Machado, never seriously bid and then a month worth of stories of how they never really wanted him anyway because he’d block Austin Riley.

  79. But on the other hand, I’m totally supposed to believe that they’re actually gonna spend money next offseason, right? That’s clearly not BS hot air designed to keep people from abandoning ship as we embark on a fourth crappy season in a row. That one’s totally gonna happen!

    Near-complete teardown rebuilds don’t happen in 2-3 seasons. It’s just not possible. That’s how we knew right away that it was a lie.

    It’s funny because the Braves haven’t explicitly promised to spend money next offseason. Yet, we can infer the likelihood of it because the writing’s on the wall, when you look at the talent coming up from the minors, the Kemp salary offload, the free agents available this coming offseason, and what our likely needs will be, etc. They don’t need to say anything because it should be obvious from the things the team is doing.

    If the Braves don’t make moves — I don’t even think the spending of tons of money is necessary, but it very likely is — to vault us into contention for 2019, I imagine the team will lose fans. And it’ll be deserved.

    If everything goes amazingly — Teheran/McCarthy/Folty/Newcomb/Gohara is an awesome rotation; Austin Riley forces his way up or Camargo is for real — maybe we won’t have to spend. Anyhow, I personally would be way less likely to pay any attention to the team if it kept payroll at the same level and trotted out replacement level versions of Dustin Peterson/Austin Riley to LF/3B.

  80. @105

    The only thing I’ll say to that is that they more-or-less have said they’re going to spend money next offseason, because they sent their media mouthpieces out to basically declare that they are, and that that’s one of the reasons why we couldn’t have nice things this offseason.

    Other than that, fair enough. You’re obviously way more patient than I am, but your line of thinking is reasonable. And once the season starts, I’ll get over (most of) my anger that we’re IMO needlessly suffering another year of crappy baseball so that I don’t give myself a heart attack.

  81. I am serious that if the Braves don’t do what I expect them to by the end of next offseason, then I won’t pay any attention to the team.

  82. I do not expect the Braves to spend next offseason. I expect them to make some mid level offers with marginal improvements. But trying to WIN or get the players that oh no, cost money, no. Nothing in their previous track records would indicate this.

  83. I object to the idea of rebuilds in principle. Sports are not a zero-sum game where anything less than a championship is a total failure. There are 30 teams. Statistically you’re entitled to one every three decades. Fans shouldn’t let teams get away with intentionally being bad, ever. Put the best product you can on the field, every year. Hopefully you get lucky. If not, who cares? It’s baseball. If you’re watching just to see a title winner, re-examine your priorities.

    It’s gross to watch owners slash payroll and get away with it with promises that things will get better someday. I just want a team to be proud of. Please, just spend enough money to be credible out there every year. It’s shameful not to.

  84. All this because I said that Folty and Newcomb are important to the rebuilding process. I’m sorry, everyone.

  85. Charlie Culberson is the DH tonight…someone might point to this as an example of suboptimal roster construction…

  86. In 2009 the Braves signed star free agent pitcher Derek Lowe to a four year, $60 million contract. That same season they signed international free agent Kenshin Kawakami for three years at $7 million per.

    In 2011 the Braves acquired slugging All Star second baseman Dan Uggla and immediately extended him for five years, at $62 million total.

    In 2013 the Braves signed free agent outfielder Melvin Upton, Jr to a five year, $75 million deal.

    All of these deals were signed post-Liberty Media acquiring the team. The notion that they refuse to spend money on players is simply factaully incorrect.

  87. I had to LOL, that was so pouty. My lord.

    Chief, win curves. Do yourself a favor and learn about them.

  88. Yes, Chief. It was five years ago. Teams generally don’t sign large contracts for free agents during rebuilds. The team has been in a rebuild for the last three years. Prior to that, the team’s budgets were maxed out due to the large dollar contracts given to Uggla, Upton, and Craig Kimbrell.

    Your argument is simply false. Factually incorrect. Wrong on the most basic, brute level. The Braves haven’t ran a top-3 payroll since the heydays of Ted’s 1990s, but even in the Liberty era they have spent money on star player acquisitions on the free agent markets when they felt those players would benefit their competitive chances.

  89. All this happened because tfloyd said, “But if the pitching is as bad as last year’s the whole rebuild is in doubt.”

    I don’t know how the hell you reach that conclusion unless you simply don’t know or don’t believe that two of the Braves’ three most talented pitchers haven’t even reached AAA yet.

    That’s really all that needed to be said.

  90. @118

    In 2009 Derek Lowe was the second or third best available starter on the market. CC Sabathia was clearly ahead of him, but after that it was him and AJ Burnett.

    In 2013 Upton was the similarly situated in the OF market. He wasn’t going to get Josh Hamilton money, but after Hamilton he and Michael Bourn (whom he replaced in Atlanta) were the top two OF on the market.

  91. Charlie Culberson is going to get ABs on our team this year, for better or more likely for worse. I’d rather he get lots of practice this spring since that is going to be the case. Who cares about lineup optimization in a spring training game? On the list of things to complain about, this one goes somewhere between whether or not the team brings Beat The Freeze back and how Acuna is wearing his cap.

  92. Actually, I take it back. Batting Charlie Culberson 5th in a spring training game is a clear indication that we are not trying nor will we ever try to win. Congratulations, you proved it. It’s a perpetual rebuild. We’re never going to sign another free agent. Our prospects are all frauds. We may never win another game. Baseball dystopia is upon us. The NL now has the DH, and you guessed it, ours is Charlie Culberson. On days he’s not starting. Sam Holbrook is our permanent crew chief. Chip Caray now narrates your internal monologue, and there is no mute button. The Battery at Suntrust Park has started growing of its own accord, and soon its tendrils will reach your homes and families and incorporate them into its web of modern amenities and southern hospitality. Everything is awful.

  93. Cristian Pache just hit his first career “professional” home run…. off Sean Newcomb.

  94. @130, 124

    They had like the 90,000th game of our Grapefruit League season on last night. How would anyone not be more likely to watch this game than that one? Why would you televise that game instead of this one?

  95. Yes, it’s ridiculous this isn’t on the tube. Though I am then able to watch this Jays game in Montreal.

  96. @126 – Of course it’s a spring training game and who cares.

    I just thought it amusing that a guy whose primary value (such as it were) is based upon his multi-positional defensive apptitude was playing DH tonight.

    There really isn’t anymore to read into it than that.

  97. @119–mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa.
    The last thing I want to do is to trigger another argument about the overall wisdom of the rebuild or the specific moves over the past three years. And yet, in a moment of weakness, or perhaps temporary insanity, I did make the statement that Adam quotes above. I apologize to all.
    And what makes it even worse that I appeared to place the fate of the rebuild at least in part on the left arm of our own Newk. Christian Pache, who has been unable to hit the ball over the fence against anyone, even in rookie ball and the lowest levels of the minor leagues, has left the yard off
    of Newcomb. I take it all back.
    But how about that Pache!

  98. By the way, I agree with Adam R. that Soroka and Wright are probably our two most promising pitching prospects. (In fact I agree with Adam R. about most things–certainly more than does Nick!)
    And I know that neither has even pitched at AAA (and Wright only has 17 total professional innings). But that is the point! If a large portion of our eggs are in the Soroka/Wright basket, we could easily be in for a world of disappointment. TNSTASPP may be trite, but there is a lot that can go wrong with even the most highly regarded pitching prospects. I will feel a lot better going into 2019 if at least a few of our current pitchers improve this year.
    Whatever that means for the overall status of the rebuild is beyond my pay grade, though, and I make no statements about that, express or implied.

  99. @108, For the record, I think miking players during a game is about the stupidest thing ever. Also for the record, that link was hilarious.

  100. According to MLB gameday, Soroka was 91-95 mph, Allard 90-92 mph, Wright 92-94 mph, Muller was 92-96 mph, Ian Anderson 94 mph, and Joey Wentz 92-94 mph.

    Obviously, playing in Suntrust in an one inning stint they’re probably letting it fly a bit, but given the reports he was held back in extended due to low velo last year, those numbers are pretty encouraging from Muller

  101. I would have loved to have seen those pitchers on my television. That’s especially good news about Muller.
    Ronald Acuna is old news. My new favorite prospect is Pache.

  102. We threw 8 legitimate pitching prospects one after another after another. And on the other side was 24-year old Sean Newcomb.

  103. I think our season revolves around how much Teheran, Folty and Newcomb improve from last year. Say what you want to about the rebuild, but I’m glad we’re not spending loads of money on guys who will give us the production of Markakis. We’ll field a good team next year and this year may be better than expected

  104. It’s sounding like the Braves may send Ruiz down because he is in a slump and just play Flaherty and Culberson until Camargo gets back.

  105. Cristian Pache just hit his first career “professional” home run… off Sean Newcomb.

    Baseball is great.

  106. Wait, the MLB box score shows that Pache hit two homers off of Newcombe. Was the second an inside-the-parker?

  107. @142 and he also sucks so…another good reason.

    I do have to announce though that all of our fears are unfounded because…

    The 2019 Atlanta Braves won the NL East in OOTP 19 under the guidance of yours truly. Spoiler alert, Albies is a stud and so is Soroka. Max Fried and others, not so much…

  108. I’m not expecting this, but if Pache continues his newfound power surge, he may take Acuna’s place next year as the number 1 or 2 prospect in baseball.

  109. Acuna

    AGE: PA, 2B, 3B, HR, BB, SO; AVG/OBP/SLG
    17: 237, 14, 04, 04, 28, 42; 269/380/438
    18: 179, 02, 02, 04, 19, 29; 312/392/429

    Pache

    AGE: PA, 2B, 3B, HR, BB, SO; AVG/OBP/SLG
    17: 236, 04, 07, 00, 13, 24; 309/349/391
    18: 514, 13, 08, 00, 39, 104; 281/335/343

  110. Ruiz and Santana were optioned. So it looks like the Braves plan to go with just 1 backup IF.

    Freeman, Albies, Swanson, Flayherty, Culberson with Camargo on the DL. I’d imagine Lane Adams or Nick Markakis is the backup 1B. Maybe half of Flozuki.

  111. I’m fine with us sending Ruiz down. He’s done very little in the last 2 years (especially in the majors) to earn a spot on the 25 man roster.

  112. Hard not getting excited about Pache after he hits 2 HRs against major league pitching. Who knows, maybe they were told to groove it to give the kid some confidence. But if he smacks 15 HRs this year, he’s going to fly up the prospect charts. As it sits, he’s a 4-tool player but his missing 5th tool is/was pretty damning. If this is who he is, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in September, which I know sounds crazy.

  113. Contending teams can’t go into seasons with questions marks like Camargo and Ruiz. That’s what they are. We’re not contending, so it’s fine, but if Camargo is not in a Javy Baez-type utility role next year, then we’re screwed.

  114. A personal thought.

    Hey guys, never take this game/ this team/this time and all their beautiful twists and turns for granted, simply bitchin’ away when we start losing. A new, full season ahead is a most precious thing. It will not always be there for you. For a few already the overriding thought/hope today is that they will be around at the end of this one- greedy! We are all blessed to be where we are in the fulcrum of time today, a new season ahead tomorrow, let’s be respectful of it.

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