Josh Donaldson

A long time ago, whenever Tim Hudson was having an Episode, Mac Thomason would say, “Never, never trust an Auburn Tiger.” You couldn’t quite take it literally — even though he did it enough that Mac literally added it to the Glossary, Huddy retired with 1573 innings pitched in a Braves uniform with an overall 115 ERA+, from age 29 to 37. That’s about as good as you can hope for from a pitcher you didn’t develop yourself.

Well, it’s time for the Bama fans on this blog to ignore ancient hatreds one more time, because the Braves picked themselves up a good ‘un. Joshua Adam Donaldson was born on December 8, 1985, so he just turned 33 a few days ago. He grew up in Mobile, where he was a pretty good prospect as a shortstop and pitcher; Perfect Game USA ranked him as the 145th best prospect in America.

Then he went to Auburn, where he got a whole lot better, playing third base and catcher; he was an All-Star at catcher in the Cape Cod summer league in 2006, and was ranked a preseason All-American going into 2007. Then the Cubs took him with the 48th overall pick in the first round in 2007… and it just… took… a while.

Only a year after drafting him, the Cubs traded him to the Athletics in a July deal for Rich Harden, as they geared up for a possible playoff run. Harden was great down the stretch but the Cubs got swept in the Division Series. And now Donaldson was in the high minors for the A’s, still mostly catching, but not really thrilling anybody. Heading into the 2011 season, two and a half years into his Oakland career, John Sickels called the 25-year-old a C+ prospect, just 13th-best in their system. He hit for middling averages and while he had good plate discipline he wasn’t hitting for much power.

In 2013, John Sickels wrote a long, useful retrospective on his prospect status which I’ll quote from sparingly, because you should go read the whole thing. (It’s a shame that MinorLeagueBall was shut down a few weeks ago. I hope Sickels gets a new baseball writing job soon.) Here’s Sickels’s narrative:

Donaldson was originally drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the second round out of Auburn in 2007. Highly respected for his bat, he hit .349/.444/.591 with 38 walks and just 27 strikeouts in 215 at-bats in college, then remained excellent in pro ball with a .346/.470/.605 run in 49 games through the Northwest League. He hit for power, hit for average, and controlled the strike zone very well. The main issue was defense: he was very rough behind the plate.

[In 2009,] I wrote the following scouting report after seeing him play for Midland: “Works the count well, but swing looks very level right now and cuts off his home run power. . .swing looks different than when I saw him before…I really like the way he works the count…swing is quick but flat, and most of his power is to the gaps not over the fences.”

In the 2012 book, I wrote:
“Sometimes you just like a guy, and I like Josh Donaldson. He always seems to do something good when I see him play. . .work the count well, hit a home run on a tough pitch, make a nifty defensive play. His Triple-A numbers are nothing special and scouts don’t drool over his tools, but he has some pop in his bat, will draw a few walks, and has worked hard to correct his defensive issues.. . .he’s 26 now, so if (the age 27-28 breaktrough) happens it will be soon. I will stick to my guns for another year.”

As it turns out, he was exactly right. In 2012, the A’s finally moved him out from behind the plate and he finally broke out, annihilating Triple-A pitching and earning the last promotion he’d ever need. And that was right when he started doing what Sickels had hoped for.

In 2013, Donaldson was 27, and it all came together. His hard work had paid off as he was simply good at everything: slick defense, hit for average and power while getting on base and maintaining a very healthy 76/110 BB/K ratio. He finished fourth in the MVP voting in his first full season in the major leagues. And it was no fluke, as he had another excellent season in 2014, though his average dipped and he only finished 8th in the MVP race.

Billy Beane may have figured that it was a good time to sell high on the soon-to-be 29-year-old, so he traded him to Toronto for a boatload of prospects: shortstop Franklin Barreto, pitchers Kendall Graveman and Sean Nolin, and the mercurial Brett Lawrie. But Alex Anthopoulos outthunk Beane on this one; Lawrie seemed like he could have been a star but he never put it all together, and while Barreto is still just 22 and could provide years of value to Oakland, the Blue Jays clearly got the better end of the deal.

In 2015, Josh Donaldson had the best year of his life, hitting 41 homers, playing a prime role in leading the Jays to win 10 more games in 2015 than they had in 2014, winning their division for the first time in 22 years — it was their first time making the playoffs since the last time they won the World Series in 1993. For his efforts, Donaldson won the MVP. After one disappointing year, Oakland shipped Lawrie to the White Sox; his one year in Chicago was his last year in the majors.

However, following the Jays’ quick exit from the playoffs, GM Alex Anthopoulos resigned, with many publicly speculating that management was planning to curtail some of his authority by hiring a team president over him. While Donaldson continued to play very well in 2016, finishing fourth in the MVP voting again — the third time in four years that he’d finished in the top four — the new management may not have regarded him with the same affection that Anthopoulos had.

The next year, 2017, was really the first hiccup. A spring training calf injury cost Donaldson a lot of playing time in April and May, but he hit brilliantly when he was healthy, and was still worth five wins in two-thirds of a season.

Of course, that brings us to Donaldson’s miserable 2018, which is pretty much the only reason that he’s a Brave, because if he was fully healthy in 2018 he may well have gotten more money than the Nationals gave Patrick Corbin. SB Nation’s Cleveland blog has a good rundown of the timeline:

April 13, 2018: Donaldson hits the DL again, this time for his right shoulder
May 3, 2018: Donaldson activated from DL again
June 1, 2018: Donaldson hits the DL again, this time for his left calf
June 26, 2018: Donaldson hits a setback

August 30, 2018: Rehab begins

Per a tweet that they mention, Donaldson apparently felt that the Jays mishandled his injury:

Right at the waiver deadline, Toronto put Donaldson on waivers and ended up trading him to Cleveland. The return was pitifully small, and it turns out that other teams cried foul because Toronto shouldn’t have been able to put Donaldson on waivers if he wasn’t healthy yet, and considering that Cleveland DL’ed him immediately after getting him, he surely wasn’t. Fangraphs’s Sheryl Ring investigated, and it’s a fascinating minutia.

Donaldson lost a tremendous amount of time in 2017 and 2018 due to calf injuries, but when he finally came back to the field in September, his hitting was right in line with his established performance. To wit: here’s what Josh Donaldson’s first five full major league seasons looked like, along with his final two weeks of 2018, following his trade to Cleveland (and ignoring his injury-plagued April and May, before he was shut down for the summer):


A few days into being a 33-year-old, Donaldson is probably not going to be MVP again, and that’s okay. His established level of performance was so high just two years ago that even with a normal decline, he’ll continue to be a very good player for the next couple of years, and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he could have another All-Star campaign.

The best-case scenario for the Braves is that Donaldson performs so well in 2018 that the Braves have no chance of re-signing him, reestablishing his value as a top-flight free agent and setting himself up for a handsome payday. Austin Riley is clearly close — so close that it’s also not out of the realm of possibility that the Braves could trade Donaldson at the deadline to give Riley a job, if Riley starts hitting like a certain somebody did last year, virtually demanding a promotion to a starting position.

The Braves don’t need Donaldson to be Mr. Right. They just need him to be Mr. Right Now. Truly, I don’t think they could have done any better.

159 thoughts on “Josh Donaldson”

  1. “The best-case scenario for the Braves is that Donaldson performs so well in 2018 that the Braves have no chance of re-signing him”

    You see, it’s not just Bowman and DOB who are so conditioned to the Braves’ terrible ownership and budget situation. This crap permeates everything written about this team. We’re already in the mode of downplaying resigning Donaldson should he have a comeback season.

    Big eyeroll.

  2. @2

    If the end result is that Donaldson has a year more reflective of 2015-2017, then he’ll be looking for a multi-year deal at age-34, probably at a $25M AAV or more. Let’s just say that’s as short as a 3-year deal. A 37-year old player with lovable but non-elite tools making $25M+, regardless of your payroll budget, is not going to be the best use of resources. And that’s just a 3 year deal.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with acquiring a 33-year old who missed out on his long-term deal due to a calf injury so you can get one of the best probabilities of a career walk year in this year’s FA class. And then, sure, evaluate his market after the year is done.

    Also keep in mind we plan on giving Ronald Acuna Jr. probably $150M+ whenever he’s ready to accept it.

  3. And so as to not just come across as irrationally negative, I’m referring to the fact that we were all told there wasn’t a player in free agency we couldn’t sign this offseason. We instead opted to sign Donaldson on a short 1-year contract, and therefore technically haven’t locked up any of next offseason’s budget. The thought of Donaldson being priced out of our reach after this season seems implausible even if you dismiss an almost certain budget increase after this year.

    @3 The point isn’t whether he would be a good investment or a good use of money. The point is that statement literally states “no chance of re-signing him.” The Braves sure better have the funds to have a chance, but of course we’d all understand if they didn’t, of course. Like, “Nah, we’re not paying him $25 million a year for 4 years because we’re paying this other guy $30 million a year on that 6-year deal.”

    I’m just saying that the mindset of being priced out of reach is there, in Alex’s words. We’re already downplaying. It’s a sentiment I wish we in Braves fandom would rid ourselves of.

  4. I’d be shocked if anybody hands out a 5-year contract to a 34-year old player no matter how good a season he has. Maybe, if he was an elite starting pitcher with a long consistent history, I could see it. As one whose value also depends on his 3B defense, it ain’t happening, methinks.

  5. @2 You’re over-interpreting. The reason we wouldn’t have a chance to re-sign him is because we would have a ready-made replacement and can use the money elsewhere. Since AA has come on board, he has shown no resistance to spending money. His stated goal is to spend money wisely. The Braves took on many millions last year to dump Kemp and have already spent $23M on Donaldson. How can you or anyone infer that they are not willing to spend money when it makes sense? They just added a player that will top the payroll this year.

  6. I agree with what Rob posted in the last thread when he said that we need to wait until the end of the offseason before we go nuts about not spending money.

    However: 1) What we’ve done so far will not qualify as enough; and 2) “Spend money wisely” tends to be code for spend just enough so that people can’t complain that we’re not spending money, but not enough to compete with the top teams in the league.

    And there’s no doubt that almost all of Braves media, from blogs to traditional news sources, are in the team’s back pocket on this idea that they can’t be expected to actually spend big. And whenever you ask why, you get an avalanche of lame excuses, some of which contradict the lame excuses that somebody else has given.

  7. @7 Fair enough. I recognize that my mood has swayed after reading some other fan thought regarding the Braves approach the offseason.

    @8 It certainly feels like the same song and dance until proven differently.

    Ultimately, March is not when we can really judge this front office but a couple of years from now when we can look back and decide whether this was a truly effective approach. This corporate owner is going to have to prove that they really have plans to expand this team’s revenue streams and its payroll, because that’s the bill of goods they sold the community in order to get STP.

  8. @2, the whole point of that paragraph was about Austin Riley. I don’t want the Braves committing to a long-term contract for a free agent third baseman. That’s the kind of idiocy that the Phillies did back when signing David Bell meant they had to move Placido Polanco to second, blocking Chase Utley, and signing Jim Thome meant they were blocking Ryan Howard, so their two best prospects were wasted for an extra year in Triple-A. (Frankly, if Utley had been able to come up a year or two earlier, he’d have a better Hall of Fame case.)

    It was a horrendous use of resources. Let’s not do that. Donaldson on a one-year rental is perfect.

  9. I’ve been critical in the past two offseasons, especially when we were told we had $X to spend, and it ended up being considerably less. I know I wasn’t the only person to tweet at Bowman asking why the Braves decided to not spend what they said they had to spend. But you just have to wait for the painting to finish until you decide whether you like the work of art.

  10. They should see this coming, though. Mid-market teams are simply tapping out on these huge contracts. The mid-market team, like the middle class, might be falling. Frankly, I think it’s gross that the top spending teams are spending close to $80 million more than our Braves.

  11. Few thoughts here, after reading…

    Personally, just a gut feeling, but I don’t believe Anthopoulos is totally sold on Austin Riley as a “can’t miss” type of prospect yet. The fact that they signed Donaldson, identifying him as their primary target, while also including Riley’s name in trade conversations, is my supporting argument here.

    If they’re in the playoff race, there’s absolutely no way you trade a Josh Donaldson in July, even if Riley is hitting .400 at AAA. Assuming Markakis isn’t asked back, Donaldson will be a part of the veteran leadership you need.

    I wouldn’t have an issue, if he proves healthy, if they resigned Donaldson for a few years; so long as it’s not crazy, like 4 or 5 years. I like what he brings to the table as a leader, from what I’ve read.

    I don’t see Riley as “can’t miss”, however. He strikes out in almost 1/3 of his ABs pretty much everywhere he’s been, so he could easily be a 3B version of Adam Dunn; or he could be a future all-star. I’d rather they not trade him until they give him a full year at AAA to find out though.

  12. Speaking of Tim Hudson, today is the 14th anniversary of his acquisition from Oakland for the legendary trio of Juan Cruz, Dan Meyer and Charles Thomas.

  13. So, if I’m reading this correctly, it’s horrible that evil empire programs like LA and NYY are spending upwards of 200 million on payroll, and it’s also horrible that ATL is not also spending upwards of 200 million on payroll. Could we please make up our minds?

    I mean, look. I get it. You wan the big splash signing. You want to “win the offseason.” But 1) that’s not how championship rosters are constructed, and 2) winning the offseason doesn’t raise any banners.

    Can we please wait until we see what we have, and how that lines up against the competition, before we go straight to seppuku?

  14. Juan Cruz, Dan Meyer and Charles Thomas.

    Dan Meyer through the age of 22 was a better pitching prospect than Max Fried.

  15. K rate is a pretty big flag. It’s super hard to be a really high level player without making contact. If you hit the ball really hard every time you DO make contact, you can ride a high k-rate through. But if you don’t…

    The king of k-rate at the MLB level is probably Chris Davis. 1696 K’s over 5223 plate appearances, for a MLB k-rate of 0.325.

    Riley’s minor league career is 465 K’s/1792 PA’s. Minor league k-rate of .259. So Riley IN THE MINORS is a bit better than Davis. But he’s still a big swing and miss guy, and he’s going to have to translate his raw power into real game power consistently to stick in the bigs.

    EDIT: Josh Donaldson’s MLB k-rate is 0.191. Wes Helms’ MLB k-rate was 0.227. Helms feels like a solid comp for Riley to me.

  16. @20 Finally, someone who gets me!

    No, seriously, I find it gross that the Braves can’t spend as much as they should be able to, and that teams are spending that much more than the Braves.

    Of course, we’ll wait to see the rest of the offseason play out. I’m not indicating any lack of patience. It’s just that other fans are also writing about how the Braves were immediately out of the market for players they had just weeks earlier claimed to be able to go after.

  17. Riley isn’t a literal can’t miss prospect. Nobody in the sub-Acuña class of prospect is.

    But there are two important things:

    1) Riley’s K-rate has always been high and always been a concern that’s been baked into his prospect status. One reason that he’s risen up the prospect rankings so much over the past year is that he’s kept hitting. (Unlike, say, Travis Demeritte, whose power has been completely neutralized in the high minors because he can’t put the bat on the ball.)

    2) Do not ever mistake rumors and Anthopoulos public pronouncements for actually indicating how AA feels about a player. AA has absolutely zero incentive to let anyone else know who he regards as prospects he believes in, versus who he thinks is overrated. All we know is that public prospectors think that Riley has answered a lot of the questions that used to be raised about him — e.g., whether the hole in his bat would prevent him from succeeding in the upper minors. As this point, he’s a good bet to hit in the majors, albeit with a low average.

    Does that mean that AA won’t trade him? Of course not — his track record in Toronto shows that he has no problem trading blue chips for major league prizes, especially when he sees a playoff opening. It just means that you shouldn’t take a trade rumor as evidence that the Braves don’t believe in Riley.

  18. @29 I think that’s the first FA deal that’s come in under what was predicted. All the others have signed for more than predicted. Seems like the Braves could have offered Brantley two years…..

  19. He might have taken less to play for a team that won 103 games last year. That’s what punches a hole in my theory that there is objective valuation of players. Brantley might have really wanted to win a WS in maybe his last couple years of viability.

  20. The Braves’ coupon clipping coming after all the articles at the start of the offseason talking about how much money they have to spend and how they’re eager to spend to make their NL East-winning team a real contender in 2019 is a little frustrating.

    It would be nice if they’d acquire a player whose accompanying article didn’t include the phrase “if healthy, he can…”

  21. I’ve filtered out guys over 30 that had negative WAR last year that seem destined for minor league deals. These are the remaining OFs:

    Left fielders
    Marwin Gonzalez (30, 1.6)
    Denard Span (35, 1.5)
    Curtis Granderson (38, 0.9)
    Derek Dietrich (29, 0.8)
    Craig Gentry (35, 0.6)
    Cameron Maybin (32, 0.5)
    Matt Joyce (34, 0.2)
    Matt Holliday (39, 0.1)
    Gerardo Parra (32, 0.0)

    Center fielders
    A.J. Pollock (31 years old, 2.5 WAR)
    Adam Jones (33, 0.5)
    Eric Young Jr. (34, -0.3)

    Right fielders
    Bryce Harper (26 years old, 3.5 WAR)
    Nick Markakis (35, 2.6)
    Carlos Gonzalez (33, 1.7)
    Jose Bautista (38, 1.0)
    Jon Jay (33, 0.8)
    Robbie Grossman (29, 0.7) — non-tendered
    Melky Cabrera (34, 0.4)
    Brandon Guyer (33, 0.1)
    Avisail Garcia (28, 0.0) — non-tendered
    Aristides Aquino (24, -0.1) — non-tendered
    Carlos Gomez (33, -0.5)

  22. For me, I think it’s pretty simple that you need to do one of the three:

    -JTR & Kakes
    -JTR & Pollock
    -Haniger and a pitcher

    There could be all sorts of other players acquired, but that would seem to be the wishlists for me.

  23. @27 Am I reading that article correct that their valuation of JTR leads them to thinking that Soroka, Riley, and Muller is a fair offer?

  24. Fans always over value their own prospects and players. Realmuto is the only catcher in the bigs who doesn’t suck offensively. He is valuable. Prospects are less so.

  25. I’d rather have Haniger + a pitcher than JTR and Kakes. I’d rather have a 140 game Pollock than a 120 game JTR. Both? Heck yes.

  26. The Brantley deal leads me to believe that the Braves are not prioritizing the OF and may believe that Duvall and a platoon partner will be best.

    @33 If you further filter out everyone over 30 then you come down to Harper, Dietrich, Grossman, and, maybe, A. Garcia. Sign a LH Dietrich to platoon with Duvall and COF is done. If we trade for JTR then a smaller trade for a pitcher (Alex Wood would be a great target – I also like the idea of a Porcello for Teheran trade) then pickup a reliever with what’s left (say $4-$5M) and the post season is done.

    I think that Riley is not on the table. One year of Donaldson does not a future make. The JTR trade should include one or two top pitching prospects and Pache (or Inciarte) along with Flowers. We won’t pick up the SP, RP or Dietrich until we have cleared a couple of more roster spots (say, through a JTR trade). The next thing that happens will be a trade of some sort before any more FA signings.

  27. Note that having a Porcello and a Donaldson with one year of control leaves open the possibility of two QO’s and 2 draft choices to add.

  28. I recently learned that Donaldson played for a rival HS as a sophomore when I was a senior. Not only did I likely play against him, but it’s possible I pitched to him.

  29. @42 I agree with you.

    I’d be especially happy if this somehow leads to Josh Reddick being traded to the Braves, to platoon with Duvall. I’m trying to will this trade into existence. Lol.

  30. Realmuto is the only catcher in the bigs who doesn’t suck offensively

    Gary Sanchez and Willson Contreras are still alive. But Realmuto is also turning 28 in March. I think he’ll stay great for the next two years but when he hits the free agent market I’d be very worried about the potential for him to turn into Jonathan Lucroy.

  31. We’ve fallen a long way when Duvall suddenly emerges as really [our] best option for a COF spot because no one else is good enough value.

  32. Take a break.

    You will have noted a week or so ago the successful full dress rehearsal of the Virgin Galactica space ship. One hour, climb to 80 miles up at 3500 mph. Shut down, just float in deep space. Return. $250K, nearly sold out.

    Now say ML Baseball for whatever reason required each club, one game per month, to give a start to a member of the general public quite regardless of his ability or lack of it. He must be guaranteed a minimum of three at bats from a position of seventh or better in the order. Defensively, 6 innings equally divided infield/outfield/ not catcher. He must also get to pitch one innings. Your cost also $250K.

    You have come into some money but your uncle’s lawyers inform you it must be spent within a year on one thing, suddenly, outrageously, all at once. Both the above qualify.

    So which one?

  33. @47: I’m a terra firma kind of person. The firma the terra the betta. I’d show my posterior on the diamond.

    @48: I worry about the long term impact of paying one player $35 mil/year for an extended period of time. If Josh D is not done, he might look favorably on a 2-3 year deal with old buddy AA. Add his $25 mil per to Freddie’s increasing salary, Acuna and/or Ozzie’s likely(?) extension(s), and that doesn’t leave much to fill out the roster. I’ll pass on Bryce and Manny.

  34. It’d be nice if Harper would just sign with the Dodgers already like everyone knows he’s going to, so we can stop hearing about him already.

  35. Things to consider before you throw all the knives at ownership and management for not signing everyone to 30 year contracts that include Bobby Bonilla’s car rentals:

    1. Free agents sign with the teams they want to play for. They make this decision based on a multitude of factors, including annual contract value, lifestyle and quality of living in their new working locale, how far away they would have to be from their families, and how likely they are to win a championship while there, among others. It is stupid and dumb to blame ownership and management for every option that goes unsigned.

    2. Just because you’ve gone two weeks between jack rabbiting to the internet to talk about the guy we acquired to help our team doesn’t mean ownership and management are not working angles and deals continually. Stahp. Slow down. Be patient. Games start in late March.

  36. @53, that seems like a good bet to me.

    Blazon, I like this thought experiment, but as I am excessively focused on rules and structures even at the best of times, can you provide more parameters for this?

    When I auditioned for Jeopardy, they specifically asked all of us what we would want to spend the money on and specifically asked us not to say anything boring like “paying down loans,” even if that’s what many of us would actually do. Instead they encouraged us to talk about taking a trip.

    So I’m thinking that I would like to:

    • Take a trip across Scotland and find a distillery that was willing to sell me a private cask. (I have been eyeballing this for some time.) Set aside some money for storing that cask and provide for bottling and shipping and tariffs when the witching hour struck and the lovely amber juice was ready for bibulation.

    And with the rest of the money, because I’m boring, I’d want to pay down debt and give to charity.

  37. krussel at #48: It tells us he has Scott Boras for an agent. Harper will be the last major free agent to sign.

  38. @54


    Do the further parameters you seek relate just to the specific terms and rules of this inheritance?

    As opposed to the rules you and the Braves would face taking the field for the first and only time as a Major League starter?

    Onward and upward.

    What fun it would be.

  39. @47: In this hypothetical, it depends. Does the MLBPA honor the one day of service for a lifetime of health insurance benefits? Even after paying the $250K, do you then receive one day’s salary at league minimum and per diem? Are you allowed to sign wacky endorsement deals as the “guy off the street who played in the majors?”

  40. @47

    Insurance benefits for the day in question only. Accidental death benefit particularly welcomed.

    Yes, one days pay at the minimum plus per diem.

    As many wacky endorsements as you can generate are encouraged. Helpful in getting some of your 250K back

  41. To get a Haniger and a JTR, we’re looking at giving up a total of Riley, Pache, Wright, Touki, Anderson, and maybe even more. Would we be the odds-on favorite to win the NL? Sure, especially with what the remaining money would buy us on the pitching side. But man, that’d be hard to give up that much. There’s something to be said about not worshipping the farm system, but there’s something also to be said about not gutting it.

  42. Haniger as a 25-27 year old: 278/356/483 // 839

    Freddie as a 25-27 year old: 296/392/546 // 938

    Freddie is better, but only by a click or two. How much of our farm system would you trade for 85% of Freddie with solid OF defense and a super cheap contract?

  43. The Braves shouldn’t sign someone just to spend money. Spending money to demonstrate your “commitment” to winning, without spending it wisely, is a poor use of resources.

    I’m not saying Acuna is Trout-esque, but just comparing the LA/ATL situations here… LA has been a team with good, young arms in the past, projecting as big league 2s or 3, without an ace, similar to ATL. IF Atlanta signed Harper, it’d be a payroll clog, similar to what LA did with Pujols. (Caveat here, not comparing the players, because of age- just percentage of the pie they take.) LA also dealt from it’s farm, with our beloved Braves, in one instance, for Simba, to bolster it’s MLB club. Now, on a larger budget, they’ve got a bloated payroll, an inability to really bolster the club much around Trout, and facing the possibility of potentially losing the best player in the game to FA on the horizon.

    I don’t want that to be Atlanta, with Acuna.

    The Braves needed more power in the order, and they got that with Donaldson. They do need a COF, but they don’t **need** a star. To me, they also need a closer, but that’s because I like the KC model of shortening a game, with all the young pitchers coming. If they don’t get one, I trust they’ll be alright, however. Everything else is luxury.

  44. Acuna/Donaldson/Freddie/Camargo/Albies/McCann/Swanson/Inciarte is better than last year’s lineup with Kakes at cleanup and Albies in the 2 hole.

  45. It’s a huge assumption that Kakes or Duvall won’t be sitting in that cleanup spot.

    Albies, Swanson, and Inciarte are probable locks, but all three of them have got to learn to hit or that’s going to be an ugly half of a batting order.

  46. Albies definitely had his ups and downs, but the talent is there, he’s only 21, and he still was above league average last year.

    Ender is fine in that slot. Agreed about Swanson. It’s really Swanson that has the heat. Plus, Dansby will be 25 at the beginning of the season. He’s not as young as the others.

  47. Yes, Swanson would make me hesitant to pencil Camargo into the OF. Moreover, if we can add Realmuto or someone of similar stature at the plate, it goes a long way to avoiding a terrible 4-8 in the order. But 1-3 is going to be fun, I guess…

  48. At this point I think there’s an internal competition between Swanson and Duvall for playing time. I think Albies and Camargo are starters at some position more often than not.

  49. I have nothing negative to say about signing Josh Donaldson, however the indications are that they view this as their major move which is quite troubling. Donaldson may be great or he may be rough coming back from his injury or maybe he gets injured again. Whatever the scenario that happens this is a continuation of the decade plus long strategy of “hoping for the best”. IF Donaldson is healthy, IF the young pitching develops, IF Albies and Swanson take a step forward, IF when they inevitably resign Markakis he doesn’t fall off a cliff, IF they figure something out for the bullpen and IF the NL East is just as shitty as it was last year… that’s a lot of IFs.

    The suits told us the stadium would let the Braves shop in the big aisles now but payroll is lower now than it was in 2014 (not accounting for anymore activity this offseason but even then relative to league wide it’s in the bottom 10). Can we all just admit they were lying the whole time and have never had any plans to adequately invest in the team? The plan is the same as it’s always been which is do as little as possible to pretend you’re creating a winning club while never committing to going all in.

    What’s the point of having a bunch of the same pitching prospect if not to package them for a guy like JTR? Why did we trade Kimbrel for spare parts in order to get BJ’s contract off the books if not to save money for a shot at the 2018 free agent class? Maybe they trade for Realmuto and back the truck up for Harper in the next month… I’m skeptical though. If not, then what are we waiting for?

  50. I’m more confident than not that the Braves have got the Marlins cornered for Realmuto. We just have to wait and see.

    I’m not ready to say they were lying, but I do have this nagging feeling that they’re not all the way bought in on this team yet. It’s wait and see before putting all the chips on the table — which may benefit Liberty if the Braves don’t, in fact, spend as much on payroll as they could. I just don’t know if that’s truly the case.

    I think a lot of us are expecting Markakis and Realmuto to complete the lineup. If Realmuto doesn’t happen and they still sign Markakis, then yeah there will be a lot of disappointment. It’s still a better lineup depending on how much Donaldson returns to form.

  51. If we don’t get JTR or other top-flight bat, Ozzie is the X factor. I still think he can be a superstar.

  52. If the Astros are really “in” on Realmuto and they are willing to trade Tucker then the Braves end up in second place. Honestly, Tucker and Riley are pretty even in my book. Riley K’s a bit more but Tucker’s stats come from the PCL. Tucker didn’t show nearly as well in the AFL as Riley and didn’t look good in the majors either. I’m betting if they do trade for Tucker, he’ll play about as well as Brinson did last year. I think the Braves should offer something like Pache/Wilson or Wright or such and the Marlins would be better off with that deal.

    The Braves have one big deal in them. How that turns out is when we can start judging the offseason. I don’t think they will go big on an OF – maybe spend about $8M. That should be enough for Castellanos or Adam Jones or Markakis – any of which would make a good #5/#6 hitter with Realmuto/Donaldson at #2/#4 should that happen. I’d still be happy with a Duvall/Dietrich platoon which would have significant upside and improve the bench.

    Need to improve the pitching by trading up from Teheran and then leftover money for a reliever.

  53. @47
    I don’t see any rule that implies that I would have to be playing for the beloved home time here. I would like to pitch one inning for the New York Metropolitans, ideally in October against the Braves, and just lob meatballs (Or let’s be real, my fastball) over the plate as long as they are contractually obligated to let me.

  54. @72

    I must confess to being the sole Branson vote here , apparently. I could not resist the unique sensual experiences on offer. 3500mph straight up for 80 miles and a silent float out of this world and into another would be hard to turn down. And, rather weakly, I wouldn’t have to do anything myself, just watch.

    The baseball gig is exciting though and much more from us would be required. I had thought of some refinements.The new schedule each year would asterisk each teams turn each month. A clever computer would ensure you would always be playing another similarly afflicted.

    If it took off it might be increased to twice a month which would gross 90 million throughout the leagues which my original plan called for being all awarded to the Braves for each of the first 5 years, it was their idea, and thus boosting our purchasing power at this absurd time of the year.

  55. I’m I’m going to space, I’m not coming back. My wife sees no benefit in transferring to a post-human android body to live forever, but if I do after she’s gone, I’m going to Mars or further and any of you people follow me, it’s murderfest 3000 all day, erh’day.

  56. I’d like to see AA go after Domingo Santana. The Brewers don’t have an opening for him in their outfield, he has a great OBP, and hits for power. He’s also young and can run. He’s not a good fielder. He shouldn’t cost much. Go get him.

  57. I would generally complain about people treating 17 year olds choosing a college as a spectator sport, but if it saves us a day of “OH NOES WE HAVEN’T SIGNED A 12 YEAR CONTRACT YET” run with it.

  58. These kids are getting paid. Not legally of course. They’re well taken care of. Would I like to know how someone like Trey Sanders finally decides on Bama between Texas, Georgia, and Florida ON THE DAY OF SIGNING? Sure. It’s not like he was finding out anything new about the programs or the full scholarship being offered. It’s obvious each team is figuring out how much money they can offer him based on whether other players are going to take other monies being offered. Only way to explain how a 5-star top player at his position doesn’t know where he’s going an hour before he’s going there.

  59. Alternatively, 17 year old boys are idiots who rarely know what they’re doing five minutes from now, much less four years from now.

  60. @80

    I dunno, I was 18 once… I feel like I can understand how a kid can be indecisive even without assuming everything is just whoever the highest bidder is. A school like Alabama doesn’t need to pay Sanders anything. Why risk everything they’ve built being struck down for one running back? Why would Sanders risk getting suspended and losing his NFL track for a few thousand dollars? Surely there are circumstances where that happens but it’s usually not done in an official capacity and the blue blood programs like Bama, UGA, OSU, etc really really really don’t have to do it because the best players know that’s the best way to make it to the NFL anyway.

    This is just a lazy take on college recruiting. Surely there are issues with it but just proclaiming that they’re only going where the most money is offered is wrong.

  61. The kids should at least not get penalized for making money off their notoriety. That’s not to say that the university should pay them but they should have avenues to be compensated otherwise.

  62. @82

    Well, the commonly-held opinion is that it’s not just a couple grand. It’s $50K, $100K, even bigger numbers.

    I’m not going to puff up Florida since I’m a fan, but we’ve sent lots of players to the NFL from every position. So has Texas, Bama, and Georgia, who Sanders was deciding between. I just can’t process what he could possibly be considering, and saying, “Bah, 17 year olds are impulsive” doesn’t really sit with me. I’m a little too skeptical, I guess. These kids are waiting to see if Texas can come up with the $75K offer to match the other offer. Can’t? So sad. Off to ::insert blue blood::.

    I’m not saying this is true for the 3-star at the local high school. I’m talking about the top 5 players in the class.

  63. I agree that big time programs can’t be involved in paying players and get away with it in the long run. The rumor mill and the cut throat competition make it almost impossible to make payments without getting found out. What would happen if Sanders got a payment offer and chose Georgia anyway? I’m not saying big schools are squeaky clean. They attract players by NFL connections, multi million dollar facilities, and state of the art medical and recovery. Small programs can’t compete.

    Short term I would watch the up and coming schools and the lower tier schools from big conferences. The NFL connections are the biggest reason players switch at the last minute in my opinion.

  64. I’m not saying big schools are squeaky clean.

    What do you mean by that? Not clean, but not financially unclean?

  65. Am I missing something here but aren’t the kids getting free education out of this deal? University education and boarding and meals have significant value I believe.

  66. And, of course, they could always simply choose not to play. No one forces them. Obviously they think it’s worth their time to do so.

  67. Big schools do everything they can to find every possible loophole. They get as close to the edge as possible without breaking the rules. Sometimes they cross the line. If they do it consistently they’ll get caught. They cross the line by boosters giving jobs to family members and very indirect payments.

    I actually think universities are cleaner than they were 20 years ago. The highly publicized recruiting process, and believe it or not, the NCAA relaxing rules has helped. Rules used to be so ridiculous that it was impossible not to break the rules. Very highly visible compliance staffs have also helped.

  68. @89, I’d find that easier to believe if not for all the scandals (UNC and elsewhere) about the schools fraudulently falsifying their grades through phantom classes to ensure the kids stay on the field and out of the classroom.

    They aren’t “student-athletes”; they’re teenaged professional athletes, and they spend their time at their universities doing what professional athletes do: training and exercising most of the time that they’re not practicing or playing. Some of them actually wind up with an education, but that is emphatically not what they’re there to do, and most of their coaches have very little interest in seeing them do it.

  69. I’m not going to sit here and say that the NCAA is without blame for the way student athletes are governed. They’re taking some punches that, in all honesty, the NFL should be taking though. The NFL, in their typical, tyrannical ways, decided that at eighteen years old, you can’t play in their league, even though these athletes are men now. Why? They like to hide behind the guise that they’re doing it for the good of the league, but that’s garbage. Plus, if they really wanted to do what’s good for the league, they’d run a developmental league, same as any other sport, that pays these young men **while** they’re honing their craft.

    The NFL is a Teflon, dictatorship, that I honestly detest, though.

  70. NFL for sure is the league that treats its athletes the worst among the big three sports. It takes advantage of the universities which in essence is the league’s minor league system. It allows NCAA to rip off the kids so NFL does not need to pay for the “minor league” infrastructure.

    I agree with you AAR. The universities can surely do a lot better to give the kids a much better university experience but they decide that they want to help the NFL instead. They are not performing the role of education which they are supposed to do.

    It’s really sad honestly. And I haven’t even talked about the non guarantee contracts which only NFL has. NFL needs its Scott Boras to fight for the athletes. It is light years behind MLB and NBA.

  71. @89, I’d find that easier to believe if not for all the scandals (UNC and elsewhere) about the schools fraudulently falsifying their grades through phantom classes to ensure the kids stay on the field and out of the classroom.

    Rick Pitino was fired for bribing a commitment with 100k *this year.*

    As for the NFL, if you put Tua Tagovailoaon an NFL field last year, he would have been killed. 18 year old boys are not “grown men.” Khalil Mack is a grown man. Josh Fields is a supremely talented athletic teenager.

    The NFL is ranked fourth in my lists of horrible, no good, very bad athletics governing entities. Tied for first is FIFA and the IOC. Then the NCAA. Then the NFL. None are good.

  72. FIFA and IOC by default should not be designed to govern anything. It’s hard enough to govern one nation, you are talking about more than 100 jurisdictions. It’s set up to fail.

  73. FIFA is designed to suck money out of national soccer federations and build billion dollar real estate boondoggles in third world countries every four years.

    IOC is designed for th real estate boondoggles exclusively.

  74. @95 If Tua was on an NFL field this year, you might be right? He also might be sitting, learning as a back up? I don’t know, same as anyone else. Shouldn’t that be his decision to make, however, and not the NFL’s? After all, at eighteen, you’re deemed old enough to decide if you want to risk taking a bullet, in a war. The former sounds nowhere near as dangerous to me as the latter. Hence, I use the term “grown men”, because it’s about mindset (and there will be varying levels of maturity there), and not size.

    By the way, size-wise, as a comparison, LSU’s line is on the left, and the Saints’ is on the right…

    LT 6’5″ 321lbs vs. 6’4″ 306lbs
    LG 6’3″ 299lbs vs. 6’7″ 316lbs
    C 6’4″ 316lbs vs. 6’5″ 306lbs
    RG 6’3″ 326lbs vs. 6’3″ 333lbs
    RT 6’6″ 324lbs vs. 6’6″ 310lbs

    So, again, that’s somewhat individualized.

  75. The most underrated, under reported factor in all the hot stove hoohah here is the friendship between Bryce Harper and Freddie Freeman.

    Have you been paying any attention to this at all?

  76. Trey Sanders is not weighing up which competing cash offer to take, I’m sorry. If he has 5 different offers on the table how many people do you think know about that and how is it possible no one finds out? Even the time that Bama did get caught and put on probation in the early 2000s it was because a booster paid some kid who never played for Bama and the program was penalized for lack of institutional control. You think Saban doesn’t have institutional control? Saban’s pitch to Sanders is the helmets on the wall of the practice facility showing how many guys they have playing in the NFL right now. If Sanders wants money then he can fuck right off, Alabama has 4 other blue chip running backs.

    It’s hard for many 18 year olds to figure out where to go to college, much less guys who have to announce on tv at a specified time. There’s not much difference for him going to Georgia or Alabama and maybe in a vacuum he would have taken Georgia but he knew his path to playing time is easier at Bama due to the attrition at the position this year so that’s probably why he did it. How is it that hard to figure out? Why go completely cynical and assume it’s because he got a few thousand dollars more? That’s just not a plausible explanation at all, come on.

  77. @103: I haven’t been paying attention because they will be able to Skype with each other every day from Atlanta and wherever Harper goes.

  78. Borassic Park
    the omens may be dark
    the dinosaurs still bully
    but Bryce and Fred, they don’t understand them fully.

    @104 cynic!

  79. @102

    If AA/ownership has decided that we shouldn’t be in on Harper, it doesn’t matter to what degree he and Freeman are bros, it’s not gonna happen.

  80. Pitino getting popped, players getting busted for taking gifts, etc., it’s all an attempt to just keep it from getting out of hand and too public. The speed limit is 70, you’re going 75, everybody else is going 75-80, but the guy that gets popped is going 90. They’re fine with athletes getting paid, taking gifts, etc., especially since that is by far an easier system than creating a full on compensation system in NCAA sports, which would be completely anarchy.

  81. Disregarding the continued implausibility of your scenario what incentive does the press have for keeping silent on such obvious malfeasance?

  82. All of you people talking about college athlete compensation need to take a breath.

    If you are FOR compensation, then you are either (a) against Title IX and should boldly state so or (b) too incompetent at math to pass a high school exit exam.

  83. Also, there was more athlete pay shenanigans when my father was at UGA in 39 – 41 than now, by far. The Atlanta Coca Cola Bottling Co. used to hire the coal mine kids for the summer and pay them 3 times any usual summer job. When the movie was 10 cents, Frank Sinkwich used to tip my daddy a nickel as the usher. Don’t know how they did it at other places, but most of them had a way.

  84. Well, with Pitino we are talking basketball where the NBA has also decreed that 18 year-olds are not fit to sully their league. As a result, young men who have no desire to attend college are forced to choose between peonage ball and Spain/Italy/China. Since not many choose overseas, they need to play somewhere which leads to all kinds of perverse incentives, including selling one’s services to the highest bidder.

    Football is not structured the same way in that a far lesser percentage of the top high school prospects actually become top college prospects. The NBA used to let high school players be drafted and an amazing percentage of them ended up as stars. Those 18 year year old kids could step into the NBA and actually produce in meaningful minutes right away. Other than the occasional Clowney or Cam Newton none of the 5 star kids are within 2 years of a starting gig in the pros.

    Thus, it makes sense that basketball programs would have more problems with payments to players: the players have paying options (overseas) and have millions just out of reach. The footballers have neither.

  85. Look. I’m all for the NFL and NBA having to pay for their own minor leagues, rather than being subsidized by massive outlays of state taxes for “university” programs.

  86. Alex @ 114,

    You might be happy with that, but previous interpretations of a federal statute say you have to create a pile just as beneficial to female athletes as any pile you create for male athletes. That is true even if the female athletes as a group pay 10% of their way (tickets, merchandise, TV, whatever) and the male athletes as a group pay 150% of their way. It is the law which prevents compensating the 2 big revenue college sports of football (85 scholarships) and men’s basketball (15 scholarships).

    The “true cost to attend” made a minor positive adjustment to athletes finances (and had to be consistent under Title IX). Reasonably, they could add the modern inflation adjusted number for Bear Bryant’s “laundry money” (approved by NCAA, since eliminated). Even paying at minimum wage for actual hours in the training room and on the field for practice and games probably couldn’t be paid out.

  87. A radical approach would be for the institutions to cut formal ties with their athletic departments. The teams could then act in any way they want (no Title IX!) and still pay tuition for the players. Bayern Munich has a similar arrangement.

  88. @199 Ha. And he specifically avoids mentioning JTR or catching in his offseason needs. Wish Olney had asked (maybe told not to?).

  89. Any argument against compensating college athletes fairly for their labor by claiming

    a) they are getting a free education and that is worth something or
    b) if we compensate the men then we have to compensate the women and that might mean bad things

    is disingenuous. College basketball and football coaches, athletics administrators, shoe companies, broadcast and cable companies, etc, etc are making millions (billions in some cases) off of the labor provided by these kids and they should be fairly compensated for it.

    Ask yourself if your child had a skill that was worth $20 million/yr if you would advise them to accept a job offer where the compensation was 10% of that. As far as Title IX the ends don’t justify the means and if that means no more college football then I’ll find something else to spend my time on.

  90. He was arguably our 2nd best pitcher last season. I don’t believe AA is going to roll into 2019 with a staff full of young pups. There is a big move coming with respect to starting pitching.

    And we still need to sign Harper or this whole thing is a fail.

  91. Let’s just get Harper, Kluber and Kimbrel to get this offseason over with. It’s so easy. What is taking AA so long?

  92. We need to get Kluber without trading [names of best prospects]. Teams love trading away their best players for table scraps.

    Get it done, Wren Anthopoulos.


    Pardon the interruption but something special is happening around the country Dec 27th for the first time and there is no way of knowing when and where it will happen again.

    Peter Jackson has restored 100 hours of original, grainy, jerky. B/White WW1 trench footage into a 2 hour color documentary, They shall not Grow Old. The process of doing so has been, by all accounts, astonishingly realistic/modern…see links below. HD too!

    I had a grandfather in those trenches, maybe you did too.The only date you can be sure to see it at your local cinema is December 27. Tickets $15.

  94. Steven Smith
    the man, the myth
    to shut him up at General Hospital
    they froze him when they discovered he was not defrostable.

  95. I think Machado is the next to sign, after Christmas. Hopefully it’ll be with the White Sox, but I expect it’ll be in Philly.

    I’m not too worried about the Braves recent inactivity, though. Now if Philadelphia lands Machado, and goes out and gets another big time SP to pair with Nola and Arrieta, my concern meter for the Braves goes up to about a 9.

  96. Does it strike anyone odd that for all the pitching prospects the Braves have that all anyone wants to talk about are position player prospects in trades? I thought everyone needed more pitching. Although I’m not sure why AA can’t close a deal like Paxton for Sheffield – we should have been able to make that happen. I don’t think the Braves’ prospects are worse than others but I’m curious why no one seems to be interested.

  97. @134 I’ve read from numerous places that report heavily on scouting, and the minors, that position prospects have more value, because they’re considered “safer” than pitching. I remember that being a big thing when the Cubs did their rebuild, because they largely passed on trying to develop any pitching prospects whatsoever.

    So if the Braves make a big trade, I expect Riley will be the “headliner” in it; or at least the 1A, with a pitcher being the 1B.

    I just don’t want to see the Braves cave to the Marlins’ demands for Realmuto, though. Jeter is way overplaying his hand; and in a way I almost hope they don’t trade him now, so they eventually get 50 cents on the dollar for him.

    Plus, I’m not sure Realmuto is **that** big of an upgrade? Flowers has been pretty solid, and I think McCann will bounce back to an extent. If Realmuto had more control, I’d get it. You don’t really solve anything long term by dealing for him either though, because he surely bolts after next year. Or, maybe worse, they hand out a massive multi-year deal to what will eventually be an aging catcher.

    I feel like the cost would be cheaper to chase adding some wins in RF, and on the bench.

  98. What if the hold up in the Realmuto deal is not that Riley must be included but that the Marlins want Contreras included in the deal?

  99. I guess not, but if the Braves walk away from the offseason having balked at trading Wright and Soroka, I will understand.

    It’s the same sort of proposition with signing a free agent. We won’t just spend to spend — I get that. There’s little benefit to locking up payroll for years to come if the player signed isn’t an obvious upgrade.

  100. @136 The Marlins might be asking for Contreras, you never know. They drafted Will Banfield last year, but he’s a long way off from the ML. They have a ton of OF depth in their system, and some pitching. So it would seem as if Riley and Contreras would be logical asks, especially if they believe they can move Brian Anderson to RF, or somewhere else on the diamond.

    I think the deal the Mets were trying to work was telling though, if you believe the reports. Miami tried for Syndergaard, and then Conforto and Rosario. So they’re apparently looking for young ML talent, or guys on the cusp.

    That’s why I’m convinced, if it happens, it’ll be Riley and something?…

  101. @138, considering that literally everyone in baseball considers the Braves to have the best farm system in baseball when it comes to pitching, I think it’s hard to say that the strategy flopped.

    Rumors are strategic disinformation campaign committed by all 30 teams. Remember the Furcal Rule.

  102. Matt Kemp is apparently involved in another salary swap. says that the Dodgers are trading Kemp, Puig, and Alex Wood to the Reds. Homer Bailey and others are going back to the Dodgers.

    Wow, this is the third bad contract swap Kemp has been in?

  103. @144 The details make it even more interesting.

    They article is wrong about the cash going to the Reds making it even. It offsets about half the cash exchange so the Reds are absorbing about $7M more total.

    The interesting part is that Kyle Farmer (from GA) was included. The fact that this trade specifically includes Kemp, Puig, and Wood leads me to believe the Reds may have more trading to do with these assets. Puig and Wood might look awfully good in Braves uniforms and Farmer would be good catching depth if Flowers is traded.

    With the Reds sending two good prospects to the Dodgers, I wonder if they plan on getting prospects back if they make further trades with someone else like ATL. The Braves should willingly take Puig, Wood, and Farmer and $7M for a couple of good prospects and maybe Teheran. The Reds end up ditching Bailey, playing Kemp in the OF, a decent SP in Teheran, and getting better prospects than they gave up with little cash consequence.

  104. Interestingly, Puig hits RH much better than LH making him a decent option for an occasional platoon with Duvall.

  105. Don’t the Reds view themselves in “win now” mode, though? Supposedly they were/are in on Kuechel and Kluber. They have some OF depth, so I imagine the right offer could net Puig. Wood though? I don’t know, but I can’t say I’d want Tehran over Wood.

    Harper to LA surely won’t be long to follow this though.

  106. Domingo Santana to Seattle.

  107. @149 Just caught that. No knock on Gamel, because the guy does have some value. If that’s the going rate though, why didn’t the Braves jump in there? I don’t get that.

  108. The Reds have been linked to all sorts of weird deals, including Keuchel and Kluber. But I think I read they’re open to trading Scooter Gennett, so I don’t know what to make of that. That might be the only “sell off” move as they’re also linked to JTR.

  109. @148 They don’t need Puig and his salary. They are stuck with Kemp and they have Schebler and Winker. Kemp essentially replaces Hamilton (not literally). If they trade Puig and Wood for Teheran they could eliminate another $9M in salary (before I mentioned using the $7M to go to the Braves but they don’t have to give anything). Also, I’m assuming the Braves would add one near ready starter. With Teheran and another starter, the Reds would get two rotation pieces for one (Wood). If the Reds get two prospects from the Braves, it would replace the two they gave to the Dodgers and they still get a MLB SP and OF (Teheran and Kemp). Win-win.

    The combination of personnel in this trade just seems way too convenient/comfortable to what the Braves need and coming from AA’s old Dodgers. This trade could use up $10M of the Braves’ remaining dollars and still leave $10M for a reliever……. or……. the Reds could include Iglesias in the trade and get more back from the Braves.

    And this could still leave the Braves “in” on JTR.

    Or….. with Hamilton gone now, maybe the Reds need a good CF…… What the Reds do NOT need is a 3B….. so, no Riley.

  110. The Reds, Dodgers, Braves are pretty common trading partners….. We have Duvall. The Reds have Peraza. It’s just been a common occurrence in recent years. Right after we traded for Olivera, the Dodgers turned around and sent part of the bounty to the Reds – six months later albeit.

    Also, that whole Olivera trade got us a Comp pick from MIA so no one should be able to say the Marlins won’t trade with the Braves. As that comp pick turned into Wentz, maybe we should include him in the JTR trade….. LOL

  111. @151. The Reds are indeed having a strange off season. They may think that they can actually be competitive this season?

  112. @154 They still need more pitching. Alex Wood and Tanner Roark do not a pitching staff make. Although, taking out Bailey and adding either Roark or Wood could be as much as an eight game improvement considering Bailey had an ERA over 6 and was 1-14. The Reds were already a very dangerous offensive team with about the worst pitching staff in baseball. Getting rid of their worst hitter (Hamilton) and their worst pitcher (Bailey) likely gets them out of the basement but it doesn’t get them near the Cubs/Brewers/Cards.

    And getting rid of Hamilton’s defense in place of Kemp is not going to make their pitching staff any better.

  113. If the Dodgers are looking to unload OFs to make room for Harper, I wouldn’t mind taking Joc Peterson off their hands.

  114. @156 As much as the Dodgers move guys around, it’s tough to tell if they have a full OF or not. I’d assume it’s Pederson, Cody Bellinger and Alex Verdugo in their OF right now. If they sign Harper, they could make Bellinger their FT 1B, since he played more there than anywhere last year; and platoon Muncy and Hernandez at 2B.

    I’m with you though, Pederson would be a nice fit in the Atlanta OF.

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