Rain–Lots, Braves and Cubs–Nothing

Quite the downpour in ATL last night. After about two and a half hours of steady rain, they called it. Since this was Chicago’s last visit to Atlanta this season, you know they wanted to get this one in, but it was not to be. They’ve scheduled the makeup for August 30, the next off day that the teams have in common. That will give the Cubs a stretch of 23 games without a day off, and no I don’t feel sorry for them.

Things I learned during the Sports South rain delay programming:

Freddie Freeman is a serious student of hitting, and has quite the engaging personality. OK, I think I knew those things already, but the segment of Freddie in the batting cage with Paul Byrd was more entertaining and enlightening than I would have thought.

Tim Hudson and Joe Simpson are the newest inductees in the Braves Hall of Fame. OK, I had heard that before, but I had not seen their speeches at the ceremony. Joe Simpson said that productive outs are far more valuable than hits or walks. A ground ball to second base that moves a runner to third is the single most important play in all of baseball; he waxed eloquent as he insisted that it is more thrilling to see and difficult to perform than a liner to the gap.

OK, I don’t know for sure that he said that, because by that time I had switched the TV off, but Joe has said words to that effect in all the other thousand times I have heard him talk about baseball, so I could not imagine him talking for more than five minutes without saying it again.

Tim Hudson finally admitted that his devastating sinker was really a spitball. He revealed that at an early age he began to study in secret under Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry. OK, I wasn’t really watching the ceremony, but he may have said that. My son always insisted that when he needed it most, in the highest leverage situations, Huddy could make that ball sink and dart in a way that defied physics. My son doesn’t remember Perry, but I do, and the similarities are striking. (Seriously, though, Huddy is one of my favorite pitchers ever, and I’m pleased for him to get this honor.)

Speaking of Braves’ pitchers and honors, I learned that Glavine and Smoltz like to play golf. OK, I knew that already. I switched the TV back on at some point to check on the status of the game, and there they were at some country club hitting golf balls and waxing nostalgic. In fact, is there anything we don’t know about those two? Still, in the brief moment I had them on, they were discussing the 1991 season. I never tire of being reminded of that magical time. So I left it on for a few more minutes, and you know what? Morris pitched a ten inning shutout in game seven. I did not really need to be reminded of that.

Three game series with the Fish starts Friday, good Lord willing and the creeks don’t rise.

84 thoughts on “Rain–Lots, Braves and Cubs–Nothing”

  1. @Last Thread

    On Valencia: No…I do not love Danny Valencia like I love Luis Valbuena. Actually think he’s not a good ballplayer and spelled it out a bit in the piece.

    On Suarez: The reason Braves don’t go after Eugenio Suarez and empty the talent bucket out for him is because it would be a foolish use of resources for a team that’s trying to build a run for longevity. In my opinion, they HAVE to see what Austin Riley has for a year before making any big moves on the infield. If he works out, their infield is set for half a decade internally and that’s frickin’ awesome.

    On trading. I did the piece but at this point, I don’t want the Braves to make a big trade this year and stated that in the wrap-up. I merely laid out the information.

  2. I hope this is allowed, but I’ve got two tickets to the Friday night and Sunday games against the red sox in Boston next weekend. My girlfriend and I were going to fly up for the weekend but we broke up. Fun times. Anyway, I’m going to sell them if any of you guys want dibs.

  3. For what it’s worth, FiveThirtyEight.com’s projections have the Braves up to 87 wins now, fighting with a bunch of NL Central teams (Brewers, Cards, Pirates) and the Phillies for Wild Card spots. That sounds like a pretty reasonable prediction to me – the only team of that bunch aside from the Braves that seems a legitimate threat to put it together and win, say, 92+ games is the Cardinals.

    Also, I’m looking at the Nationals’ roster / payroll obligations and it sure looks to me like their time as the dominant force in the NL East is coming to a close. They’ll have Scherzer and Strasburg for at least a few more years, but Gio Gonzalez’s contract is up after this year and they don’t have much SP depth. On the offensive side, Zimmerman is old and fragile, Murphy is often hurt (and his contract is is up after this year), and Rendon will be in his last year of team control and relatively expensive ($15-16M) next season. Eaton is an excellent player in CF under team control for several more years but he’s turning out to be snakebit health-wise. As everyone knows, Bryce Harper becomes a free agent this offseason and seems likely to leave the Nats. Trea Turner will still be around – and he’s a very good player – but that just isn’t enough to power an offense. Frankly, at this point I would bet on both the Braves and Phils finishing ahead of the Nats in 2019.

  4. @1 ryanc, I read your piece, but what are some reasons why you don’t want the Braves to make a big trade? Is it primarily the desire to wait and see with Austin Riley? Do you believe the Braves are likely to fade as the season progresses (hence, no need to buy this year)?

    I’m more in favor of making the most of this season if the Braves remain in first place heading into July. Sometimes magic is fleeting from one season to the next (said almost every World Series team).

  5. @1 This all comes down to what you consider to be a “big trade”. I presume what you mean is that a “big trade” is one that uses significant assets (top 10) to bring in a multi-year roster addition or two. If so, I agree that we should not make any “big trades”.

    I think we can improve this year’s team with a smaller trade or couple of trades. We could bring in temporary help without using any top 15 assets or at least should try. Historically, rentals do not require top assets. I looked at the history of mid-season rental trades for about 10 years and they usually include a couple of lower ranked prospects (20-30 range for the team) and rarely do they stick long term on their new team. The exceptions to this are for nearly HOF talent in their prime. Making a trade like the one I’ve suggested for Moose and Kelvin should not cost anything that resembles a necessary future asset. It will cost even less if the Braves decide they can throw in some cash and/or the Royals want replacement major league talent.

    While I am adamantly opposed to “going all in” and doing something, anything, “big”, there is no reason that some incremental help can’t be brought in to try a fill a few gaps. Unless some other team is willing to break the bank for Moose and/or Kelvin, then the Braves have the depth to be able to get a deal done.

  6. @4 Donny, I don’t think anyone should value one season over sustained success. That is what’s at stake when you’re talking about a big trade. This team looks great now, but, as several folks have said, there’s a lot of uncertainty because experience is lacking. It’s more reasonable to try for the positive side of that uncertainty without trying to push it. After these guys have a year under their belt, there will be good reason to make significant additions over the winter. Especially ones that do not require forfeiting prospect capital. Better to ride the wave than crash on the shore.

    I sure don’t want to be the Flrorida Marlins type of WS team. Buy a winner and then break it up. We are looking for sustained success even dominance.

  7. Re Smoltz and golf. It is my understanding that when they were neighbors in Florida, Smoltz and Tiger Woods played a lot, with Smoltz getting 3 or 4 strokes. Tiger Woods’ nickname for Smoltz: ATM.

  8. There are 2 things that someone is potentially searching for in making a deal to get better this year. 1. making a wild card spot more likely and 2. increasing the chances of going deep, making the World Series, winning the World Series.

    For 1, with a young roster and a deep farm system, yes making such a move could and probably would be effective and a good idea. Also, a 40 man crunch is coming this fall, so parting with some of the “protectees” in trade is better than losing them to Rule 5. With all of the arms in the system, I think the only reliever you go after is a near elite reliever. A 3B would help. We don’t really need depth moves. You might be forced to make a move to cover an injury.

    For 2, the young pitching leaves us too far from that to be able to have a high degree of certainty that a move or series of moves can get you there. I think that would require a couple of relievers (one elite), a near elite 3B, and a #2 or better starting pitcher. The usual rule in prospect for veteran trades is the “buyer” of the prospects tries to get 4 WAR for every one they give and actually gets 2 WAR. Half season WAR bundle for above 4 possible players is about 1 plus .5 plus 2 plus 2 for a total of 5.5. So, we would have to give projected possible 22 WAR over the next 6 to 8 years to get that. That is too high of a price.

  9. @6 I don’t disagree with you, roger. I’m not going into specifics of trade sizes yet. I’m not in favor of gambling the future. This team may not have huge needs. They should seek to make the team better this year, though, especially if they are in 1st place entering July. The old saying goes: a bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush. Next season is a big unknown. This year is less unknown.

    Btw, the Marlins won 2 championships during that Braves run. Sad but true. Play the hot hand when you’ve got it. Just don’t bet the farm.

  10. It’s endlessly shameful to me that the Marlins have more WS championships than the (Atlanta) Braves. Like, saying the Braves are worse than the Marlins and bringing up that they have won it all twice is IMO the worst talking point of all time.

    Whether I would actually favor some kind of all-in-on-2018 deal depends on our record and the specific trade in question.

    I think it’s unlikely that we find ourselves in that place, but I wouldn’t rule it out right now. That’s mainly because *inhales* WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE IF YOU CAN’T WORK UP THE COURAGE TO SAY “GO FOR IT” WHEN YOU’VE GOT THE CHANCE?

    See: Florida Marlins’ World Series Championships.

    Like, you’re at the bar and Scarlett Johansson sits down next to you, makes eye contact, asks you what time it is, and you’re all like, “I was planning to start dating next month after I get a tan and exercise…then I’ll be ready to date sustainably!” Sometimes, opportunity knocks, and that opportunity may not come again.

    Ahem. Also, the core of this team is already so young that I don’t think it makes much sense to worry about not being able to sustain success because we traded prospects. As time proceeds, it’s much more sensible to me to worry about AA not doing enough to add more certainty to a competitive team, or maybe AA not tying up a few of these guys with long and generous extensions.

  11. There are basically three kinds of big trades.

    1) Rebuilding trades. These are the ones where you trade good major leaguers for prospects. Been there, done that.

    2) Blockbuster rentals. You trade a bunch of prospects for a guy who’s about to be a free agent, because you need the 2-3 wins a half season of him could get you. This ain’t us yet. (Occasionally, of course, there is very good reason to believe that you could extend the guy immediately — which is exactly what happened with Tim Hudson. Still, you can’t bank on that.)

    3) Blockbuster deals. You trade a MOTHERLODE of prospects for a guy who’s both very good and under contract for a while. Alex Anthopoulos’s Josh Donaldson trade fits this bill. Unfortunately, so does the Angels getting Simmons from us.

    1) and 2) aren’t for us, but 3) absolutely should be.

  12. @10 I hope you didn’t mistake that as my talking point. Besides, I wouldn’t trade what the Braves did for what the Marlins did. There’s a whole other topic as to why the Braves didn’t win more championships, which has been talked to death too. So I’ll leave it.

    Main thing is I’m seeing a lot of people gauging where they think the Braves are actually at based on projections, player growth curves, and really supposed-to-be’s, as I’ll call them. I just hope that when July gets here that we don’t look past what’s actually in front of us. I fully believe in AA’s decision making, though. If we stay put, I’ll believe it’s because what we have is worth more than what was available to us.

  13. FWIW, I really appreciate how bright everyone is here. You guys make a lot of detailed comments that I only wish I had the time to make. We’re all really nerdy though. I can see we all have solid backgrounds and are educated. That’s why I see fit to remind us not to look past these guys. They have surpassed all projections thus far.

    And it’s possible they won’t do it again next year (ie. sophomore slumps, regression, etc).

  14. @15 While I also very much appreciate the thoughtful and insightful nature of the posts on here, I will also point out that it’s a whole lot easier to do so when the Braves are doing well – at this stage, we’re all dreaming of the details of a bright future.

    When things were going poorly, it was all just grousing about the terrible new stadium location, the rebuild timeline is a joke, plus lots of pithy Tad-posts.

    Bravesjournal is a whole lot more fun in 2018 than it was in 2015-17. I have to admit that I spent a lot less time here and more time reading about the progress of our prospects on Talkingchop back then.

  15. @11

    I’m back to the drawing board for a little bit. I listened to the Executive Access podcast on Super 2, and it was about 40 minutes. You can cover Super 2 and its mechanics in about 10 minutes, and the rest was on projecting young players specifically as it relates to how to handle them financially. It was an interesting listen.

    I think I’m still requiring a lot of onus on the internal staff, but this has been an interesting study. Since I’m playing FFB for the first time in years as well, this plays a lot into how to pick up players as the season goes along as well.

  16. Bravesjournal is a whole lot more fun in 2018 than it was in 2015-17.

    Indeed, winning helps.

    Plus, don’t forget gaz. Though I do get Tad and gaz mixed up.

  17. I mean, I’ll still make WFF quips if you guys want. No need to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  18. Sorry to hear, Hambone. Break ups suck. You should consider flying to the game after all. Just saying.

  19. Some Braves Journalists like prospects more than they like winning. This is absolutely true. I’d rather win with 35 year olds than sit around extolling the virtues of the launch velocity of a kid in A ball.

  20. 23—Name one. Surely, if it’s “absolutely true,” you can name a single Braves Journal commenter who likes prospects more than s/he likes winning.

  21. Matt Wisler has been named tonight’s starter. Max Fired optioned. Looking past the Wisler vs. Fried issue, I really hope this is just to give Newcomb an extra day of rest rather than a result of an injury. That would be too cruel.

  22. Getting back to the Fried vs Wisler issue…. WTF. Wouldn’t we rather see Fried get a chance?? I don’t get it.

  23. Frick, Alex, I was going to make a Jason Shiell’s wife joke earlier, but I couldn’t remember who the pitcher was.

    Chief, you’re wrong. There’s no one here that likes prospects more than winning. That’s hyperbole, and even you are better than that.

    Burn.

  24. Based on current landscapes, Chief would much prefer being a Giants or Orioles fan. Mark Trumbo and Chris Davis are a couple of Chief’s guys all day.

  25. Not sure who takes the ball in AAA now, but A+ to MLB lineup of SPs is strong:

    A+ – Tucker Davidson
    AA – Bryse Wilson
    AAA – (It was Wisler)
    MLB – Wisler

    Could have had Wisler at AAA and Fried/Newcomb at MLB, and that would have been stout.

  26. @33 Donny, I had that thought myself – really only thing that makes sense. And I hope you’re correct.

  27. Along those lines, I think it was DOB saying that Gohara might get a start tomorrow, but they won’t have a six man rotation. Interesting.

  28. Bowman said that Gohara could start Wednesday, when Soroka’s turn would come up again.

  29. I’d be on board with trading prospects if more were here and proven…but they’re not yet. It just doesn’t make sense to me to go trade for 1 difference maker this season without seeing if there’s a difference maker already here. IMO, Alex’s suggestion should go into effect this coming offseason, not in the 1st successful year of the rebuild. Who knows? Braves could have studs at 6 of the 8 positions, re-sign Flowzuki, and go get 1 thumper, then start working on keeping that core together for a decade with extensions. After that occurs, no holds barred on the trade front.

  30. I’m at SunTrust tonight. The monument garden is the best of its type I’ve seen–much better than Yankee Stadium.

  31. In regards to Fried, I think AA and Chuck Hernandez are managing with both the Atlanta and Gwinett rotations in mind. I suspect Fried threw a hard bullpen after the rain last night to keep him on rotation while Wisler stays on his rotation tonight. Newk has got the extra days rest 5 times already this year so that seems to be a thing with him as well.

    The Dodgers (with AA as AGM) played similar games with their MLB and AAA rotations and the DL last year.

  32. I wonder if this level of precision with how to game the staffs and DL is having a tangible impact on won/loss. If so, that’s just not something you could have predicted would have been a strength of AA’s unless you were really dialed in on LAD last year.

  33. Another possibility is that they wanted a righty instead of a lefty. Could it be that simple?

  34. @39 Ryan, I don’t think it’s that black and white. There has to be a way to make incremental improvements for this year without sacrificing the whole concept. I am honestly in the middle from what a lot of you guys are saying. I agree that you have to promote winning in any season where you are actually winning. I also think there is a real plan here for sustained success and we shouldn’t change that. I have to believe a really good GM can navigate the path between the extremes of doing nothing and doing everything. AA should be exploring both internal and external options to improve the team. If he can trade for Moustakas and/or Herrera or Beltre or someone we haven’t considered (although Ryan considered the market as it currently is) using lesser assets like Wisler or guys rated 20-30 or unrated. Is anybody really going to complain about trading a Demeritte or Peterson that have already been available for Rule 5? The Braves picked up assets just like these (actually including these) at the early stage of the rebuild. Guys like Wisler and Jace Peterson and Mallex and and Maybin and several others the Braves traded for were major leaguers during the rebuild and continue to be contributors on major league teams. When you all say no one wants to trade for Markakis or McCarthy at the beginning of a rebuild, the Braves took Maybin to play in the OF in Justin’s place. They took Aybar to play in place of Simmons (yeah, I know, but still). Back of the 40-man roster pieces end up being important to balance trades. Maybe AA can make everyone happy by adding a few pieces to help the team and not doing anything to even remotely sacrifice the future.

  35. I don’t know if Fried threw a bullpen last night or not. Maybe they like the Wisler matchup better. He has a great walk rate this year.

  36. @44 Edward, don’t you think I use enough words to explain my thoughts without being two people???

  37. In Bowman’s article on the subject, he says the Marlins have hit LHP better than RHP.

  38. We acquired guys like Jaime Garcia, Matt Adams, and Brandon Phillips for almost nothing – don’t think anyone we traded for those three is in the majors.

  39. That was a great play by Anderson in RF. But with 2 outs and the pitcher due up next, Camargo should have stayed at first just to clear him.

  40. Wisler seems to have more deception in his delivery. He is hiding the ball behind him for a long time.

  41. Damn. It’s got to tell you something when they intentionally walk Ender to get Bautista to kill a rally.

  42. Yeah, I’m not a big Culberson fan, but to me there are only 2 options and both involve keeping Charlie. Either cut ties with Bautista when Dansby gets back or send Camargo down to play everyday and start hitting so we can give Bautista another few weeks to prove that he’s really this bad. I’m hoping for the former.

  43. I know they are playing Joey Bats to see if he can contribute. I think we’ve seen all we need to see.

  44. I thought Gohara was pitching in the upper 90s. He hasn’t thrown anything over 94 yet.

  45. That was one of the least impressive 7 inning 3 hit shut outs by Straley I’ve ever seen. We pounded him all night long. It is also nice to see that we continue to lose appeals that are obviously bad calls. As someone said, Coppy’s additional punishment for cheating.

  46. I’m at the park. The replay they showed in the big screen showed Acuña clearly safe. Was there some other angle that showed otherwise?

  47. @69

    Nope, it was another BS ruling where the umpires in New York refused to acknowledge what “clear and convincing evidence” means.

  48. Hard to blame Wisler if we lose this game. Made a spot start on short notice, and only gave up 2 R on 5 H, 2 BB, and 5 K.

  49. I think Wisler kind of pulled a Folty in the 6th. He didn’t throw many strikes in that inning – almost none with the FB. Seems like he just kinda lost it.

    We shoulda had at least a couple of runs. All we needed was a couple of sac flies or RBI ground outs. We could’ve used Dansby tonight and Flaherty would have been better than Bautista.

  50. I’m sorry for Bautista, but it seems that his time is up; the offense has definitely not been clicking since dansbys injury and bautistas call up

  51. Same. Leave no stone unturned, but if there’s nothing there, move on.

    With that said, we earlier had 3 guys we liked for third base — Bats, Camargo, and Flaherty. Do we even have confidence in one now?

  52. I’m sure there are deals out there. Just depends on the deal.

    And good for Wisler. At some point, he’s gotta be asking how he can get out of here.

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