RIP The J.T. Realmuto Saga

As you know, JT Realmuto has been traded to the Phillies. Thank the Lord. I’m so sick of hearing about him. And for what the Phillies gave up for him, they better get two really good years out of him, especially in their stadium.

But I’m supposed to be led to believe that the NL East teams are VASTLY improved. That the Braves have been asleep at the wheel while quality squads have added huge pieces. I mean, LOOK AT THESE IMPROVEMENTS:

I know that tweet is meant to tell me that the Braves have not improved enough, but the NL East is still not that good. I can’t get over that point. Three teams that won 82, 80, and 77 games have all gotten better. But the team that won 82 games also lost Bryce Harper. We won 90 games, our entire roster (rotation, lineup, bench, pen) is on average 4-5 years younger than all 3 of those teams. And we added best player from that list. By far the best player from that group.

They’re not done. Relax. If they were done, I’d be with you with the pitchforks. If they’re done, then we all have been bamboozled. And even if being “not done” means they add their final pieces at ::gasp:: the deadline (so far away!), are you really concerned the Nationals, Phillies, or Mets will have ran away from the division that quickly. Look at these 2018 rosters and then add the players from that tweet in:

https://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/NYM/2018.shtml

https://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/WSN/2018.shtml

https://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/PHI/2018.shtml

Can you honestly tell me any of those teams scare you? The Dodgers scare me. The Astros scare me. The Red Sox and Yankees scare me. And their ability to add the same pieces we can at the deadline scare me even further. But can you tell me with a straight face that you’d put your hard-earned cashola down on any of those 3 East teams?

166 thoughts on “RIP The J.T. Realmuto Saga”

  1. I’m gonna pretend I didn’t read the part in the previous thread where Rob said that he’d rather have Flowers and Riley this year than Realmuto.

    That having been said, I find myself less than wound up about this. What I’ll be wound up about is when this team goes into the season without having done anything else worthwhile from this point.

  2. The Nats haven’t lost Bryce Harper yet. Every week that goes by is another week closer to him resigning with Washington. As far as I know, they’re the only team with 10-year, 300-milllion offer on the table.

  3. @1 I did also say that including a legit pitching prospect in there that could help in 2019 would make us worse. If the deal was Flowers, Riley, and Fried, which side of the deal makes you better in 2019? Realmuto’s .850 OPS (which would be a career high) vs. Tyler Flower’s .750 OPS (splitting the difference of the last two years), Realmuto’s throwing vs. Flower’s framing, Austin Riley’s bat doing something in 2019, and what Max Fried could do in the pen or as a spot starter. We don’t have anyone to match Sixto, so that’s what I’d think we’d had to have given up to match Sixto, Alfaro, Stewart, and international $$.

    Then keep in mind this:

    Of course, the simple response to that is that Flowers probably couldn’t keep that up over the 500+ PAs Realmuto gives you, but that still has to be taken into consideration.

  4. What is fairly infuriating is that Mark Bowman piece linked on the previous thread. I’m starting to think AA’s obsession with value is blinding him to the fact that he could be driving this year’s team straight into a telephone pole.

  5. It’s not merely what players the other NL East teams added. It’s what those new players are replacing.

    I don’t want to think about the Segura trade anymore.

    Patrick Corbin was a 6 WAR player last year — about as good as we can expect Josh Donaldson to be. At just half of last year’s productivity, he replaces Harper’s floor. Victor Robles should also be pretty good. He might replace Harper’s floor. Harper might still replace Harper’s floor.

    But can you tell me with a straight face that you’d put your hard-earned cashola down on any of those 3 East teams?

    I wanted to be able to put my money on the Braves after this offseason. Now it’s anybody’s game.

  6. I disagreed with Adam R about pretty much everything last offseason and agree with him about pretty much everything this offseason (I do remember him saying that if we continued to sit on our thumbs this offseason he’d be less than pleased, and here we are…)

  7. If a team in the NL East winds up signing Harper or Machado, that team is a prohibitive favorite in the division BTW. (If both wind up signing with different NL East teams, then you’d have to re-evaluate.)

    And for the record, I don’t see any good reason why we shouldn’t be in on those conversations…but for a series of bad reasons, we’re not. So we’d damn well better hope that none of the others sign one or both of them, because if they do, we’re pretty much boned (as far as the division is concerned, at least).

  8. I think AA decided to move on after we signed Mac. Knowing our luck, Realmuto will probably be another Uggla even if we get him.

  9. Characterizing the Nationals as an 82-win team is pretty disingenuous. They had the run differential of a 90-win team last year, and their rotation is excellent regardless of what happens with Harper. I wouldn’t bet against them.

    Moreover, the Braves (who had the worst record of all postseason teams in 2018) largely got that record by beating up on NL East teams. I don’t think those easy wins will be there for them anymore. The Phillies aren’t shooting themselves in the foot by not bothering to field a defense anymore. The Mets are too obsessed with names for my taste, but they’ve done a good job of clearing the useless chaff from their roster.

    If this was a team that absolutely dominated in 2018, I’d be more comfortable with them standing pat. But they weren’t. They were a good-ish team that concealed its weaknesses by playing in a weak division (and were promptly exposed in the postseason, where they looked absolutely outclassed). They needed real improvements to set themselves apart from the division.

  10. @13: And this team is going to have SO. MUCH. MONEY. to be able to do nothing with. The Braves deleted my comment on their LinkedIn page asking Alex if we needed to do a GoFundMe to sign some free agents. And if, as I’ve read, Ian Anderson was the reason we didn’t trade for Realmuto, then that’s just stupid. I hope they enjoy having all of these prospects when they’re home watching the playoffs in October. I remember when Andy Marte was supposed to be sliced bread, and how did that turn out? You know, some folks were upset at the way the Marlins did things in 1997 and 2003, but I sure do wish I could point to two championships after 1995. They’re going to sign Kimbrel for a hometown discount (yay collusion!) and call it done.

  11. @14 That’s not stupid. There are three pitchers not currently in the rotation who aren’t going anywhere (most likely): Soroka, Wright, and Anderson. These guys aren’t going as part of a package of prospects, so yes, you can forget about Riley + Anderson as that’s just stupid.

  12. @7

    What is all this? You assign all this positivity to Washington’s young players developing and assign no risk to their own set of volatile situations. Now do the same for Ronald Acuna’s full season, the 21-year old 2B’s, the 25-year old SS’s, and the 20 (!!!!!!) pitchers on the 40-man 27 and under, 9 of which are 25 and under.

    What is all this? Do we not have the most talented young team in all of baseball? Is there another team with nearly as much upside as our team does? There needs to be another move, but it’s like every team is getting helium with their young players and no risk with their veterans in some of your minds, and every Braves pitcher will become Matt Wisler and every position player will become Reggie Sanders.

    This is peculiar.

  13. I wouldn’t be shocked if we finish 3rd.

    I wouldn’t be either, but for different reasons, of course. As I just said, young players can do funny things, though on the aggregate, they’re a good bet. And if they don’t make another move, then I really won’t be shocked if they finish 3rd. But you can’t tell me we don’t have the most talented roster in the NL East on February 7th, even after the JTR trade. No chance.

  14. Rob, the specific argument you were making is that the Nationals didn’t replace Bryce Harper, so we can expect them to be worse.

    But Patrick Corbin — who is not too young to be projected — replaces Harper.

    Corbin + Victor Robles just adds more certainty to the equation, or Robles with just defense and playing a full season replaces 2018 Gio, if you want.

    But if I head over to where you moved the goalpost…

    What is all this? You assign all this positivity to Washington’s young players developing and assign no risk to their own set of volatile situations. Now do the same for Ronald Acuna’s full season, the 21-year old 2B’s, the 25-year old SS’s, and the 20 (!!!!!!) pitchers on the 40-man 27 and under, 9 of which are 25 and under.

    I did all that. And right now, it looks like the regular season is a wash between these teams.

    More importantly, the projections agree.

    That’s not where I wanted to be. It’s February 7.

    What is all this? Do we not have the most talented young team in all of baseball? Is there another team with nearly as much upside as our team does?

    We all know you’re going to find some angle, some way to squint until the glass looks half full. It’s whatever. Years ago, it was lineup constructions that magically generate more WAR. Today, it’s that you just can’t say what young players will do! Not exactly what I want to be hanging my hat on.

    There needs to be another move, but it’s like every team is getting helium with their young players and no risk with their veterans in some of your minds, and every Braves pitcher will become Matt Wisler and every position player will become Reggie Sanders.

    Yeah, so, no one here is making a claim you could even begin to exaggerate into what you just said. I personally don’t think Sean Newcomb will become Matt Wisler. But he kind of needs to take a step forward and get in the neighborhood of Stephen Strasburg for us to be clear-cut favorites.

    You don’t have to take it from me…

    “This is a division that the up-and-coming Braves just won. They might seriously now end up in fourth place.”

  15. And no, standing pat the way we are now with a vague notion that we’ll spend money at the trade deadline isn’t acceptable. The deadline is two-thirds of the way through the season…it is a really long way away, and it is way too late to do something that’s gonna have a major effect on this season when the ability to do that is right in front of us now.

    We need a major deal before the season starts, or this offseason is a borderline joke.

    Besides, why in hell would I believe that this team is ever going to spend money again if they let this offseason go with a Josh Donaldson one-year, show-me deal as the only thing they deem worthy of doing?

  16. Rob, the specific argument you were making is that the Nationals didn’t replace Bryce Harper, so we can expect them to be worse.

    I never said that. I’ve said they haven’t made up the 8 games they finished behind us plus the improvements we’re made. They also traded off a lot of pieces at the deadline they have to replace. They finished 8 games behind us while playing 2/3 of the season with Gonzalez and Murphy, who they also have to replace. Corbin may replace Harper, but who is replacing Murphy and Gonzalez? They’re replacing Tanner Roark with Anibal Sanchez.

    More importantly, the projections agree.

    You mean like last year’s? Projections are really difficult when 90% of your 25-man roster is younger than 25. We beat them last year, and we’ll probably continue to beat them until the average age of the squad gets a little closer to their projectability comfort zones. The projections love veterans and often aren’t willing to project young players.

    Yeah, so, no one here is making a claim you could even begin to exaggerate into what you just said. I personally don’t think Sean Newcomb will become Matt Wisler.

    The point is that if you’re willing to give Victor Robles a bode of confidence, then you’d need to be giving a lot of players on Atlanta’s roster the same benefit. If you’re giving Patrick Corbin 30 starts — something he’s done twice in the last 5 years — then you should be giving Josh Donaldson 150 games. You also seem to be suggesting that Anibal will give the 30+ starts that Tanner Roark has given them 3 years in a row.

    Let’s also not forget that Strasburg hasn’t made 30 starts since 2014. And for all of the things our rotation wasn’t in 2018, it was pretty durable; 4 guys made 30 starts. And even if they don’t, we have a lot better guys than the Nationals do to bridge the gap. Something called an Erik Fedde made 11 starts for them last year. I don’t know who that is, but I think it’s Italian for “Joel De La Cruz”.

    With that said, it seems that both the Phils and the Nationals have enough money to sign Harper or Machado, and if they can’t (or won’t, for all of you collusion truthers), then they’ll probably spend that elsewhere. So their rosters will probably continue to get better by the end of the offseason, if not the end of the season. But I’m also consistent in saying that the Braves need to make another move themselves.

    You don’t get trophies for winning the offseason. The Nationals, Phillies, and Mets have to make up 8-12 game gaps, more once you consider the improvements we’ve made. Those could easily become 14-16 game gaps if Donaldson, Gausman, Acuna, etc. etc. etc. put in full seasons.

    Plus, you can’t have it both ways; some of you said last year “where are we going to bridge a 20+ game gap” and then turn around and say that the Nationals, Mets, and Phillies have all done it while nominally improving the incumbents in a lot of cases.

  17. The deadline is two-thirds of the way through the season…it is a really long way away, and it is way too late to do something that’s gonna have a major effect on this season when the ability to do that is right in front of us now.

    It’s all rate and term, financially speaking. In theory, that $30M player is a $10M player if you trade for him 2/3 of the way through the season. One could argue we don’t win the division last year if AA isn’t financially able to take on O’Day, Gausman, Duda, Rivera, etc. at the deadline. AA seems to like holding out money to make big moves at the deadline (2015, 2018) whether you like it or not.

    Remember, the guy’s done this before.

  18. Yeah, but the situations are really different. Last year, he didn’t know what he had, so it made some sense to wait and see and then pounce at the trade deadline.

    This year, though, a couple moves could vault us into World Series contention, so what is the point of punting two-thirds of the season just so you can have options at the deadline? It’s actively making us worse, if that’s what he’s doing.

  19. While we’re waiting for the big move to add wins that AA is totally gonna make and not too late, let’s think of happier times.

    What Braves trades of years past had you most jazzed at the time of the trade? Not how it turned out, but the moment you heard about it.

    Here are mine*

    1. Tim Hudson for Charles Thomas and some pitchers. I loved Hudson from afar and this team badly needed arms at the time.

    2. Mark Texiera for a boatload of prospects. This was a move for a big bat to fill a giant hole in the lineup. This was 2007 when everyone except the Braves seemed to have two or three 1st basemen who could roll out of bed and swat 35 homers. Showed the Braves were in it to win and really made a potent lineup until some injuries torpedoed them down the stretch.

    3. Dan Uggla. No joke I was really happy about this one. He mashed at the time and the Braves lineup was punchless. I thought it was a great trade. Then…. then I later found out that they also extended him for four years. Not so happy about that part as his game aged predictably fast.

    *I was too young to remember the Fred McGriff trade or that would have been #1.

  20. Welp, my comments are getting marked as spam. Let’s see if I break them up…

    I’ve said they haven’t made up the 8 games they finished behind us plus the improvements we’re made.

    Use baseruns or even a basic differential, not regular season records.

  21. Brian Dozier replaces (the not-good-last-year) Daniel Murphy. Victor Robles replaces Gio. And, sure, Anibal can replace Tanner Roark’s 2 WAR.

    At the end of the day, it’s the Nats… they can always underperform again, they seem like they have some profound problems in their franchise, but I wouldn’t bet on it the way the Braves apparently are.

  22. Projections are really difficult when 90% of your 25-man roster is younger than 25. We beat them last year, and we’ll probably continue to beat them until the average age of the squad gets a little closer to their projectability comfort zones. The projections love veterans and often aren’t willing to project young players.

    I don’t know… projections are the best tools we have. Without them, all you have are your own biases.

    In any case, yes, you can’t win the offseason, but…call me crazy, but you can use the offseason to set your team up for success during the season! Insane, I know! I would have liked to look at the projections and see a 90+ winner. I didn’t have my heart set on Realmuto or Harper. But we all agree, something needs to happen to separate us from the pack.

  23. RE: the trade deadline…

    It’s all rate and term, financially speaking. In theory, that $30M player is a $10M player if you trade for him 2/3 of the way through the season.

    I have to say, it’s mind-blowing to me that your way of mollifying the concern here is to go down the road of “yeah, but the Braves are being financial wizards!” when what everyone else is saying is something along the lines of “who gives a single, solitary sh*t how thrifty this front office is?”

    We’ve all seen enough baseball to know that deadline deals sometimes go bust. You’re getting a small sample. If you’re lucky, just maybe you can get more than 1/3 of the player’s WAR for the season. Maybe. “Wait several months to see if you’re in it and then try to take a small, calculated gamble” isn’t where we should be at right now.

  24. So:

    Am I overvaluing the team’s prospects, or did the Marlins get a worse package here with some already injury-prone Phillie pitcher?

    I loathe that team for this whole saga. I hope a few years from now, we get a melancholy article on MLB.com/marlins about what a bust Sixto Sánchez was, and a quote from the Marlins’ GM about how they could have had Braves’ superstar slugger Austin Riley and blew it.

  25. What Braves trades of years past had you most jazzed at the time of the trade?

    One day, I’ll share the story of when I heard that we traded Francoeur.

  26. @27

    Please don’t mistake my intent. I don’t find any satisfaction in them saving money. But I disagree that a deadline pick-up can’t be better than an off-season pickup.

    Take the same $10M, assuming that budgets are finite and it’s only ever going to be $10M. In the offseason, you can sign notable $10M AAV players like Matt Harvey, Trevor Cahill, Brian Dozier, Jed Lowrie, Kelvin Herrera, Anibal Sanchez. Good players, no getting around it. Or at the deadline, you really need a starting pitcher, so you can trade for Zach Greinke by trading a prospect and taking back $30M of his salary. Or you need an outfielder and the Mets are out of it but Cespedes is having a great year, so you go get Cespedes. Or Nolan Arenado since the Rockies aren’t contending and he’ll be a FA anyway. If you signed Matt Harvey for that $10M (he actually signed for $11M), then you can’t do that.

    Yes, I do find satisfaction in our GM having the foresight to do that. Since you still have decisions to make with prospects, let Gohara, Soroka, Wilson, whomever have the first 20 starts, then you can go get Greinke at the deadline. You can’t do that if you signed Kelvin Herrera because some dude on the internet wanted you to Win The Offseason(TM) because the Phillies traded for Jean Segura and the Mets signed Jed Lowrie and your fans are having a wicked case of FOMO. Yes, I find satisfaction in my GM being above that.

    And that’s just $10M. The Braves have more to spend, so I hope they do a balance of everything and sign a guy now (though I do recognize they are clearly running out of opportunities to do that), trade for a guy now, then do what I just described as needs develop. While other teams ran on fumes in August, we kicked it into overdrive by getting Gausman, Brach, Duvall, Duda, Rivera, etc., and AA deserves a lot of credit for that.

    I swear, some of you guys have really short memories.

  27. With all that said, I’m in complete agreement that it’s frustrating to not know what the gameplan is. What are we doing? Is it going to happen at the deadline? Is it going to be this offseason? Otherwise, the fear is just that AA is looking for value, he’s always going to be at 90 cents on the dollar on every offer, and we’re going to end up with a $110M payroll and a crappy team. The not knowing is indeed very frustrating.

  28. There is a wide freaking gap between Nolan Arenado and Lucas Duda/Adam Duvall!

    AA has never seemed close to making the type of trade you’re talking about him maybe making at the trade deadline, and that actually seems like something there’s no way he’d do as he’d too busy talking about how we’re not gonna give up prospects for two months of Arenado.

    And even if we live in your fantasy land of trading for Arenado or Greinke at the deadline — which would require those teams to be terrible for the first four months and us to be in the thick of the pennant race, in addition to AA doing something he’s so far constantly said he’s not gonna do — someone who’s better with stats than I is gonna have to weigh in on whether or not two months of an Arenado type are better in the long run than a full season of a Brian Dozier type, because I’m skeptical.

    And even if we grant that two months of the Arenado type are better, you’d still have the fact that the payroll constraints are artificial BS that they keep lying about, and that based on what they told us last season, we should have already signed either Harper or Machado by now, as they swore they could and it would’ve been the most obvious way to make this team better.

    So I basically don’t buy any part of your construct where I should sit and wait for AA to make super awesome moves 5-6 months from now. I was told to wait until this offseason last year, and what’s happened? Nothing! (Except for a one-year, show-me deal for Donaldson that happened what seem like 18 months ago, so that Sam doesn’t get super crabby about this post.)

  29. I’m not happy with Neck in right or Julio still being a Brave (I don’t believe we need to upgrade catcher or the bullpen) but I want to ask 1 question to all the doomsayers: taking current rosters into consideration, which NL East team has the best chance to win 100 games in 2019?

    I can make a case the Mets pitchers stay healthy and… no, I really can’t do that, sorry

    The Nats are serious old now. They may hit their projection and get 90-92 wins but no more.

    The Phillies with Harper AND Manny are a 90 win team managed by an idiot.

    And Atlanta has all that young talent. Of all the teams, they are the only one capable of becoming a juggernaut. They likely wont without some tweeks, but they might be giants.

  30. You might as well save for the deadline at this point, because it doesn’t look like there’s anyone left who the Braves are actually willing to invest in and would meaningfully improve the team, but AA’s going to feel awfully silly if the deadline comes around and he’s looking at a fourth-place team on a 78-win pace.

    (For the record, I think they’re better than that, but it’s not inconceivable that waiting around could put them in an insurmountable hole. What if we’re the 2018 Twins?)

    Man, Tim Hudson. If that guy became available today we’d have people declaring that he was overrated, he’s almost thirty so we’d be getting his decline, there’s no need to spend prospect capital on a rental, in a year Dan Meyer will probably definitely be every bit as good, so why bother? Still fine with that particular roll of the dice.

  31. @31

    My biggest fear on this is that AA always was a 90 cents on the dollar guy, as you put it, but other teams would let him get away with it and still strike deals with him before.

    But now that every single GM in the game is almost as concerned about value as AA is, it means that nobody is gonna let him get away with trading them 90 cents to our dollar. And so we’ll be stuck here not doing any deals that really push us forward unless AA decides to recalibrate.

    Don’t know how close to the mark I am with that, as it could just as likely be Liberty Media or Terry McGuirk or whatever…but I am worried about it.

  32. From Donaldson to David Price to Troy Tulowitzki to Buehrle/Reyes to R.A. Dickey, AA has a track record of blockbuster trades. Gausman is the closest he’s come with us, but I loved that trade.

    Anthopoulos has been the Braves GM for a year and a half, and I’ve enthusiastically supported him. He hasn’t done a lot just yet, with the Gausman and Donaldson signings on the positive side of the ledger, the failure to draft Carter Stewart on the negative side, and a whole lot of wait and see in the middle. And, hell, the team won the division earlier than I thought it would, and it did it in his first full year as GM — that’s on his watch, and he gets some credit.

    My pitchfork is still locked in my shed. But pitchers and catchers report in a week, and our team has a whole lot of holes, and Anthopoulos is publicly indicating that he’s about ready to turn off his cell phone and wait for the All-Star Break. I’ve been patient, but to, quote Cyrus from The Warriors:

    “That’s crap, brothers. The turf is ours by right because it’s our turn.”

  33. There is a wide freaking gap between Nolan Arenado and Lucas Duda/Adam Duvall!

    He did, though, trade for a 3 WAR pitcher (Gausman).

    You’re not wrong on the rest of your points, but I think

    deal for Donaldson that happened what seem like 18 months ago

    Is really probably the key point that the frustrated fans are hoping to express. As the offseason seems to have, I dunno, “stalled”, we should have been making a deal in calendar year 2019 that’s better than Nicholas Markakis.

  34. What is fairly infuriating is that Mark Bowman piece linked on the previous thread.

    Is that Bowman acts like McCann and Markakis were big signings.

    At the end of the year, if the team finishes in fourth place in the NL East after receiving little value from right field and experiencing a bunch of blown saves, he’ll probably write about how the team’s lack of success showed Anthopoulos was right to sit on his hands this offseason because the 2019 regular season results proved the Braves are not a team that’s ready to contend.

  35. someone who’s better with stats than I is gonna have to weigh in on whether or not two months of an Arenado type are better in the long run than a full season of a Brian Dozier type, because I’m skeptical.

    Guess what, it’s a wash until (hopefully) the playoffs. Do you want your 1-2 WAR spread throughout the regular season, or concentrated at the end?

    Dozier in particular kind of skews the argument because he could go back to being a 4+ WAR player on us (or, sadly, the Nats IRL). Full-season of healthy Kelvin Herrera vs deadline Nolan Arenado is closer to a wash, though Arenado is good enough to get the edge.

    Arguably, if you go get your WAR upgrade at the beginning of the season, you force the other teams in your division to fall back on deadline deals that you don’t have to make. “War is not meant to be you dying for your country. It’s making the other bastard die for his.”

    You guys did a good job getting to the crux of the matter here. Waiting until the deadline entails taking on more risk than seems necessary for a fringy playoff team:
    – Is your team still going to be in it by then?
    – Will the assets that you’d be willing to trade (your Bryce Wilsons) depreciate in value by the deadline?
    – Will the players that can help you still be available, because we already have a couple guys standing at 3B and Nolan Arenado isn’t going to play anywhere else? It also seems like the Rockies may extend Arenado.
    – Are you going to be willing to win the trade your team needs no matter what?

    And WHY would you take on all this risk with a projected 82-win team when you supposedly have more money to spend now?

  36. I forgot one… it’s a small sample, so what if your deadline deal ends up being a bust? What if most of your acquisition’s goodness was concentrated in the first half? With a larger sample, things are more likely to even out and you’re more likely to get what you paid for.

  37. @36 I’m still with Alex on this. I would have loved to see a big trade to consolidate some value to the ML roster, but I guess life has not ended. I’m just going to wait until playing begins again to get excited about anything.

    What the Braves need is a couple more 4+ WAR players. We’ve got a lineup full of 2+ WAR players and a few that will or could exceed that. Looking at Fangraphs projections, honestly, it’s the pitching that needs to improve. However, if Folty becomes a 4 WAR pitcher and Newcomb/Gausman get to 3+ and Acuna gets to 5+ WAR along with Freeman/Donaldson and Albies gets to 4 WAR then this team will be championship caliber. And, of course, the bullpen has to be worth 4-5 WAR total. What adding a TOR SP or top closer or 4 WAR catcher would do is to make some of those requirements easier to get to. Without any additions, you’re stuck relying on a lot of players to significantly exceed their current projections.

    I’ll be cheering for the team to do just that while knowing the FO could have done better. We could have had Paxton. We could have had Realmuto. We could have had Puig/Wood (why not take Kemp back and just release him?). We could still have Kimbrel or Harper or Machado. Teams that are too risk averse ultimately don’t win the big prize.

    Further, with regards to Realmuto, I was never in favor of trading Riley but would have traded a higher grade of pitching talent (the Braves could have beaten the Sixto/Stewart combo w/two top 100s). Maybe that never would have been enough, but that would have been on the Marlins not AA.

  38. The crux of the matter is that the front office could have done better if we enter the season as is.

  39. And remember, as of today we’re no longer disabled we’re injured.

    Very PC but totally correct, the proper thing to do.

    Frank Robinson gets one farewell here. Guys, how parochial is that?

  40. I spent several minutes yesterday in awe of Frank Robinson’s stats page. He was an absolute monster.

  41. From MTBTR Poll:

    Which of the NL East teams is best positioned to win the division in 2019?

    Atlanta Braves 26%

    Washington Nationals 27%

    Philadelphia Phillies 27%

    New York Mets 16%

    Miami Marlins 3%

    Posted 11 hours.

    That actually seems about right. Well, except the Marlins.

  42. The Phillies should be lower and the Mets higher.

    This poll has a bias of occurring right after a splashy Phillies trade, and it’s tilting the numbers. Do the poll again the day after the Phillies sign Harper or Machado (if they do) and they’re probably well in first in the results, but I don’t think that is reality.

  43. @46 A lot of those polls are basically “vote for your favorite team”. Otherwise there’s no explanation for how the Marlins get 3%. I do think it’s representative of how tight the teams seem.

  44. Alternate reality: What would Anthopoulos have done had Markakis signed with another team? Do you think he would have finally been motivated to trade for someone or what?

  45. My first reaction to hearing the Realmuto news was one of relief.

    We have kept Contreras. He would have been the first name up. Then they would have piled on with Riley and/or the young arms.

    We appear to have little to be excited about if we had lost him.

  46. Anthopoulos is really good at this. He has a track record that proves it. Even I am getting antsy, but I’m still expecting something big to happen before the season starts.

    (I also don’t think the Carter Stewart thing is a strike against him. They didn’t get his medicals until after drafting him. The grievance failed. Not sure what they were supposed to do differently.)

    If you want to see a GM in whom I am NOT AT ALL confident, look to the Atlanta Hawks. Schlenk is an excellent talent evaluator, but it’s not at all clear he has any idea what he’s doing in the top spot.

  47. There are several eras of baseball history in which Frank Robinson would have been the greatest player of his time. He happened to be a slightly younger contemporary of Aaron, Mays, and Mantle, which makes him somewhat underrated when folks think of all time greats.
    I became a baseball fan in the early to mid sixties. I know I’m biased but I don’t believe there has ever been an era with so many great players who sustained their excellence for such a long time.

  48. 52—Young is really, really good. And they got an extra first round pick out of that. I wasn’t wild about the move, but I think the jury’s still very much out on whether that trade was good or bad.

  49. @49 A combination of Adam Duvall (acquired late last season) and Johan Camargo.

    Just like Kevin Gausman (acquired late last season) was the intended replacement for Anibal Sanchez.

  50. It’s hard for me to be too critical of AA for moves he hasn’t made since we don’t know what the offers were. And there may yet be a surprise in the next few weeks (although thats becoming more and more doubtful).
    The one move that drives me crazy is the Markakis signing. I’ve got to believe there are better corner outfielders who were and are still available.

  51. And it’s not that it’s a bad thing to have Markakis on your roster. It’s the possibility that he will get 140 plus starts.

  52. MLB Network Radio “dudes” were discussing Adam Jones’ FA situation the other day. They compared him to the FAs that have already signed: Brantley, McCutchen, Pollock, Markakis. They actually mentioned Markakis in that group. Why not, Kakes had just as much WAR as all of those guys except Brantley. They said that based on the first three and their deals, Jones should be looking at a solid 2-year deal. But then they said, “But Jones’ former teammate Markakis kinda screwed him,” or something to that effect, that Markakis’ deal was stupidly team-friendly. And then because they’re just talking and talking, they go into a rabbit-trail that maybe Markakis’ contract will set Jones’ market, and that was the end.

    If there was trust that we won’t end up with a $110M payroll, bottom third in the league as it sits, you’d look at Markakis and say, “He’s not the 2.6 WAR player he was last year, but regardless, 1YR, $6M guaranteed is a heck of a deal. Saddle up.”

    Problem is just there’s not a lot of trust right now from a huge portion of the fanbase. There’s a genuine concern we’re going to have a bottom third payroll. Until that changes, I don’t see fans having much better to say than, “We’re running out of ways to improve the team.” I know that’s worst thing I can say, but some people look at things differently.

  53. I am not going to hold my breath for a significant late season acquisition who is primarily meant to boost us into the playoffs. I expect if we are movers at the deadline it will strictly be for players with control who make sense for us in the long term and not just for the remainder of the season.

    We sat at last season’s deadline and watched multiple opportunities to improve that team pass by until finally we struck a trade for players who will help this season more than last.

  54. @56 GMs are measured side-by-side with what their peers do, though. It is a competition, and as such deals that are made elsewhere are reflected as deals not made here. If some other GM is getting better offers, then we want that GM.

    We all sort of suspected, feared even, that Realmuto was going to go to a rival for seemingly less than we thought the Braves were in for. It’s eye-opening because a lot of trades for players we coveted (Paxton, Diaz) were for what we felt were reasonable prices (ie. couldn’t we have offered them a better deal??).

    It’s becoming a recurring theme with this GM of ours. Lots and lots of potential upgrades to be had, but other teams will win for less than we fans would be willing to pay.

  55. With 1,902 victories as a manager under his belt, who is the winningest skipper to never win a pennant?

  56. @58 No transparency deserves no trust. Until or unless they show payroll savings rolling over to future budgets, they don’t deserve any benefit of the doubt concerning how this baseball team is being funded. I mean, they’re letting the story tell itself so far. It seems perfectly reasonable to assume that revenues from the Battery and from the new ballpark are being collected by Liberty Media and parts of that are being used to pay construction debt while the remainder stays with the parent company. I don’t see any increase in payroll as a result of these endeavors. I think they alluded to a payroll of $130 million this year with rumored increase to $140 million next year. What this is based on doesn’t even resemble revenue increases from increased attendance or money from the Battery — so what are we to assume or expect?

  57. @47

    If they sign one or both of those two, that’ll absolutely be reality. Gabe Kapler is an idiot, but he’s not gonna cost the team like 10 wins, and if he has the best team in the division on paper, it seems likely that he’d at least somewhat cool it with the crazy crap and let his team play.

  58. @61: I think what it boils down to, and this was discussed a few threads back, is that the fans believe in this team, but I don’t think Anthopoulos does, that 2018 was a fluke, and he’s going to wait another year to see what they look like before attempting to acquire the pieces necessary to build a serious World Series contender.

    He’s gone all offseason without signing a single free agent to a multiyear deal, or trading any prospects for proven players. If it wasn’t for Donaldson, this would look like a typical Marlins/Orioles-tier rebuilding offseason. As you said, it’s especially grating because a lot of good players Braves fans coveted got traded to division or NL rivals for reasonable, not-outrageous-at-all prices, so the idea that he’s simply “just trying not to overpay” is ridiculous. At some point he needs to do his job and improve this team to contend and stop hording onto a thousand pitching prospects.

  59. No transparency deserves no trust.

    I don’t agree with this, but I can see why some fans would feel that way. AA doesn’t owe us a blueprint for several reasons. He owes us a winner; how he does it is his business. I think he deserves trust based on what has been done so far.

    Plus, how do you think Jays fans thought of AA circa 2017? They’d be confused about how you’re talking. We’re saying, “Why won’t he do anything big?!?!” Jays fans might have been saying, “How can we get him to stop doing big things?”

  60. not-outrageous-at-all prices

    We don’t have a single prospect rated as highly as Sixto Sanchez, so I don’t know how you can say that with any kind of certainty.

  61. I think there are plenty of reasons to act clandestinely rather than transparently. But transparency mollifies the critics, and it’s generally a good idea when you can. (That’s why the #AskCoppy sessions were so great.)

    I don’t mistrust AA so much as I mistrust all 30 owners in baseball right now. I’m not saying his hands are tied, but I’m saying that the stagnation in the market is insane.

    Alex Rodriguez signed his $250 million contract nearly 20 years ago. In general, you’d expect and want some level of single-digit inflation in any healthy growing economy. But what we’re seeing in baseball over the last couple of years is a sharp deflationary market correction engineered by the owners.

    And that both scares and infuriates me — scares me because it feels tremendously harmful to the sport, and infuriates me because it’s just a handful of billionaires trying to game the system and pocket their revenues without actually trying to spend any money on the field.

  62. I love how we have the “best farm system in all of baseball,” yet every deal that comes up is just too rich for us. If we have such a great farm system, then we can afford to throw in an extra prospect to get a deal done, and yes, we should be willing to do so.

  63. @68 Dan above you says what I’ve been thinking but didn’t want to repeat myself on (since I’d said it before).

    We don’t owe them any trust, either. Payroll increases deferred never seem to equal more money to spend next year. Or else we’d be sitting on, maybe, a hundred million extra from all the payroll cuts we made in the past.

  64. @36 – I’ve been regularly visiting this site for two decades now. Never thought I’d see a quote from The Warriors. Well played, Alex.

  65. There are always reasons to act clandestinely, but I think that when it comes to budget room there’s less reason to be ultra secretive. A team can either afford to make some moves or it can’t. It’s not like keeping the actual cap figure a secret is a negotiating tactic that will work on a free agent (ie. yours is either the best offer or it’s not). Therefore, who are they hiding the information from? I feel like it’s us they’re hiding it from, and that makes me feel like they’re being dishonest in this process. It’s not AA who I believe is being actively dishonest but his bosses and then by extension AA is forced into being dodgy. I deal with people like this pretty frequently when they aren’t the ones who actually set a cap or dollar amount and aren’t comfortable making that decision public, and so I tend to know when I’m being given the company lines instead of the cold hard details. (ie. when they won’t say what something literally is, then it’s usually so little that avoiding specifics is better)

  66. @74

    As a mark in favor of your theory, remember that we signed Donaldson early in the offseason, but then AA left the winter meetings to fly to Denver (presumably for some sort of meeting with Liberty Media). Since then, we have done precisely squat, outside of re-signing Markakis to a cut-rate contract.

  67. We don’t have a single prospect rated as highly as Sixto Sanchez, so I don’t know how you can say that with any kind of certainty.

    I wasn’t talking about that trade specifically, but all the trades in general throughout the offseason.

    Ignoring that, and focusing specifically on Realmuto, the Braves supposedly have the #2-ranked farm system in all of baseball, behind only the Padres. You’re asserting they couldn’t have beat the Phillies in a prospect bidding war if motivated?

  68. It’s also worth mentioning that the Phillies only reengaged the Marlins a week ago about Realmuto. It makes one wonder if the Braves had the opportunity to acquire him in December or January and failed to do so because they were busy haggling over whether the final prospect would be a B- or a C+ one, and were trying to wait the Marlins out.

    Really curious if Realmuto was that “70% done” trade Anthopoulos infamously talked about a few weeks ago.

  69. Heyman:
    Most others in on Realmuto were willing to surrender 1 big piece but not a 2nd big piece. Marlins sought 2 of May, Lux, Ruiz and Smith from LA (after it was clear Bellinger was going nowhere) and 2 of Riley, Pache and a big pitching prospect (ie Wright, Wilson, Anderson) from ATL

  70. If I can believe Bowman, the Braves were lacking in a significant major league piece to return for Realmuto, and it’s believed that the Marlins wanted Ozzie Albies and a pitching prospect.

    I’m not upset that the Braves didn’t get Realmuto. I’m upset that we re-signed Nick Markakis to complete the OF.

  71. @80: For what it’s worth, the Marlins dispute that:

    Also, I just noticed they changed the name of “disabled list” to the “injured list.” How stupid.

  72. I just watched some Austin Riley videos, and I can see why the Braves wanted to keep him – he’s got easy power at the plate and defensively he has soft hands and a very strong throwing arm. Riley isn’t the next Arenado but I could certainly see him becoming a mainstay in the middle of the lineup as early as mid-2019.

    It’s a shame the Braves couldn’t pull off a trade for James Paxton – he’s the kind of shutdown, high-K arm that really could make a difference in the playoffs (if we can get back there).

  73. His home run power starts at 50 seconds. The 30% K rate at AAA is very scary though. None of the top hitting prospects are striking out like that, even nowadays. Tatis Jr. seems to be the lone exception from what I can see.

  74. I’ve decided that after missing easy, easy opportunities to get Acuna’s and Pache’s autographs at the minor league stadium 5 minutes from my house, this year I will get the autographs of prospects who come through high-A Florida. If William Contreras, Joey Wentz, Freddy Tarnok, Slugbauer, Tristan Beck, or Greyson Jenista make their way through A+ this year, who is most worth going out of my way to get an autograph? Drew Waters is a given, by the way.

  75. I’m glad the Braves didn’t acquire Realmuto, because the Phillies overpaid. You don’t trade that type of pitching prospect for two years of any catcher, regardless of if they the “best in the league” or not. If I were the Phillies GM, I’d have balked at the ask. They made the deal though, so the Phillies fans can enjoy the day, and cry tomorrow.

    Anthopolous made the smart play here, so my hat is off to him. I wouldn’t trade Anderson or Wright for a single player in baseball, other than Mike Trout. I’d almost put Sororka in that category, but with the shoulder, I wouldn’t not trade him for the right deal. Two years of Realmuto isn’t the right type of deal to move him either, though.

  76. @71 Nick, remember the JD Drew trade? We traded Adam Wainwright, Jason Marquis and Ray King for JD Drew and Eli Marrero.

    In the long run, that didn’t work out so well for Atlanta.

    That’s why I’m staunchly against throwing in extra prospects of that level to get a deal done.

  77. I feel very differently. We’ve got a million pitching prospects, and I’d like to see us push our chips to the middle of the table. It doesn’t have to be Realmuto — I’d love to see a trade for Greinke, or Marcell Ozuna, or even Hunter Renfroe (he’s a righty, so at the very least he could platoon with Neck). Or perhaps the mercurial Gregory Polanco.

    If we can get the guys we need by trading Bazooka Joe wrappers instead of ballplayers, I’m all for it. But we’ve got a team full of too many prospects and not enough major leaguers.

  78. J.D. Drew is the reason the Braves won the division in 2004 — our 13th in a row. The reason it’s tough to take now is that Wainwright is one of only three Braves pitching prospects who had great careers after being traded away from Atlanta; Jason Schmidt and Neftali Feliz are the others.

    (Plenty of others carved out adequate careers, from Matt Belisle to Bruce Chen to Odalis Perez to Matt Harrison to Jason Marquis. And a lot of them just broke immediately, like Dan Meyer and Jose Capellan. Remember him? But Wainwright is the one who really bit us.)

  79. Rob,

    My one experience with that league was at the Frogs stadium a couple of years ago. I saw Riley hit and play third. He and Alex Jackson and Brett Cumberland were batting 3, 4, and 5. THUNDER!!

    I guess this summer the Frogs are supposed to be in Northport, right?

    Contreras and Waters sure seem like they could be special.

  80. @90 Drew did play a huge part in that 04 Division title. However, I’d have traded that division title in 04 for Wainwright’s career being played in a Braves uniform.

    I look at it this way- given the Braves payroll, there will be plenty of positions that they can upgrade in free agency. They’ll never be able to play in that ace market, though. They’re just not going to pay 30 million for a guy. So if you have some lotto tickets in hand there, best just to hang onto them.

    I feel as if the Braves have a good team, and a legit division title shot this year. If they finish 4th, so be it. I don’t want to see them sell the farm for one season.

  81. @89 I can’t see Ozuna or Polanco getting dealt, because I believe both clubs see themselves as contenders.

    Greinke or Renfroe I’d be fine with, only because I believe the cost would be cheap, trade-wise. I also wouldn’t mind Joey Gallo.

  82. They’ll never be able to play in that ace market, though. They’re just not going to pay 30 million for a guy. So if you have some lotto tickets in hand there, best just to hang onto them.

    They’d better plan on it, or this has all been a waste. Acuna’s clock is ticking, and he’s likely to cost that to retain, too. We’ve got just a few years to get it all together, so punting on a season or two on some lotto tickets is also risky behavior.

    It’s conversations like these that make me wonder if my Braves fandom ended when Ted Turner lost the team. If this isn’t a team that is prepared to pay Acuna and a top flight TOR starter $30 million each, then I may be rooting for the wrong baseball team and just haven’t realized it yet.

  83. If your feeling on the Braves finishing 4th is “so be it,” then I don’t understand where you’re coming from as a fan. You wouldn’t want to give up one or two of our massive number of high-end pitching prospects, if it won us the division?

    I mean… isn’t that ultimately what we’re rooting for?

  84. I surmise some fans want to win the World Series, and others just want a team to stay competitive until football starts.

    Life’s too short to worry about the Braves in five years if they trade these year-or-two-away prospects for that proven star.

  85. Manfred said NL DH won’t even be considered until the next collective bargaining agreement, which means at least 2022 before we see it.

  86. @96 I’d prefer to see the Braves win the division, versus finishing fourth, of course. I don’t want that to come at the expense of potentially trading away components that could help them be World Series contenders for the next 5-7 years, though.

    I see this team as somewhat similar to the 2015 Astros, in that they made a leap, but they’re still growing. The Astros were disciplined enough to stay the course, even when they took a small step back in 2016. The end result was they eventually got their World Series, and they’re going to be perennial contenders for awhile.

  87. I don’t understand the rationale that you can’t be a fan if you care anything at all about long-term planning. That’s crazy to me. If you’re playing poker, you don’t push every chip you have into the center of the table every time, right?

  88. @102 Out of those 6-8 highly regarded prospects, attrition says that probably at least 4 of them will fail, or end up in the pen. In actuality, that number may be much higher. Now some might say all the more reason to trade them, but here’s the thing- if you had to bet your house, today, on which of those guys will hit, would you feel comfortable doing so? A ML GM is essentially staking everything he has, and the franchise’s future, on every trade he makes. It’s a high stakes game.

  89. The Astros are an interesting example of a team to emulate. They took a step back in 2016, then won it all in 2017… after spending money (Reddick, Beltran, Morton) and trading prospects for veterans (McCann, Verlander, Giles). Funny, that. They identified that their young core wasn’t sufficient on its own and were proactive in filling holes, instead of just crossing fingers and hoping it all worked out.

    So yeah, do that.

  90. So now the discussion is that we can’t trade prospects who have never played a single out in MLB, but AA also won’t even sign free agents that cost only money. What gives, then? This is why I’m so pissed. One year of Josh Donaldson and re-signing Markakis is not enough to fill the gaps that were heavily exposed against the Dodgers. And they keep raising ticket prices for this after being gifted a stadium.

  91. @105 basically said this, but if we don’t trade prospects and we aren’t willing to sign anybody, then we’re going precisely nowhere. Never trading prospects is not a tenable strategy for anything except being a mediocre baseball team.

  92. @104 They let their young core play out before they made those decisions, though. Verlander was a deadline deal, McCann was basically a salary offload; and the exception, being the Giles deal, never should’ve been made.

    The Braves should be spending money, and not major prospects at this juncture.

    In fairness though, they have spent some. The offseason isn’t over, either. I feel like the Donaldson signing is being looked at in a vacuum, when the effects will be wide reaching.

  93. Not being willing to sign FAs on other than prove it deals and also being unwilling to trade from a position of strength is definitely something else. Not sure what you’d call that strategy.

  94. You know that the best thing that could still happen is signing Machado and optioning Dansby to AAA to work on his hitting then next year moving Machado to third with Dansby back at SS. Riley can then play RF in place of Markakis. That would make the offseason a success.

    Beyond that, maybe we can trade Teheran and recover his $11M (to help cover for Machado). Then we’ll have two rotation spots to see if we can find an unexpected ace like Soroka or Fried or Touki.

    What I’d really like is to be able to find our own “Max Muncy” – that guy that comes out of nowhere to produce 5 WAR. It could be a pitcher or a position player.

  95. Via MLBTradeRumors:

    …the team needed only to surrender two of Austin Riley, Cristian Pache, and one top pitching prospect (of which Atlanta has several: each of Mike Soroka, Ian Anderson, Touki Toussaint, Bryse Wilson, Kyle Wright, and Joey Wentz are top 100 prospects in at least one major outlet). Though certainly a substantial return, it’s a package that can’t be said, by any reasonable analysis, to be one that would have stripped the farm of the suddenly-conservative Braves to the bone.

    I feel like we’re going to regret this trade in 2019, especially if it’s September and the Phillies are a game in first and Realmuto is clobbering the ball.

  96. It’s cute that Bowman has written four damage-control articles since the Realmuto trade. My favorite excuse so far has been “Well, the fourth-best team in the NL East might well be the fifth-best team in the NL!” Yeah, that’s comforting. Good to know we’re reaching for the stars, here.

  97. @114 So Miami **only** wanted two of Riley, Pache and one of the elite pitching prospects for two years of a catcher. So if you figure Realmuto plays about 125 games a season, for two seasons, they wanted 14 seasons of controllable assets for 250 games of a solid hitting, non-elite defensive catcher.

    Whoever wrote that article over there should’ve reassessed that statement before it went to up on the page, because it just makes them look bad.

  98. So Miami **only** wanted two of Riley, Pache and one of the elite pitching prospects for two years of a catcher.

    Austin Riley = Jarrod Saltalamacchia
    Christian Pache = Elvis Andrus
    “an elite pitching prospect” = Matt Harrison

    There’s not an easy match for throwing in Neftali Perez as a lottery ticket sweetener, but then again, JT Realmuto isn’t nearly as impactful a bat as Mark Teixeira was.

  99. I believe the plan is to largely go into the season with the position players group as is, and see how Donaldson holds up. If he plays well early, for a sustained period, with good health, I think they’ll extend him to match up with CJ Alexander’s ML timeline. If he falters, they’ll use Riley at 3B, having delayed his arb clock.

    They’ll also have more time to evaluate the roster this way. Will Nick perform? How will Ozzie do in his second season? Does Dansby hit, like at all? If Donaldson is playing well, you can use Riley in some way to address these needs either directly, or via trade. If the answer to most of these questions is negative, Realmuto wouldn’t have mattered anyway.

    If the Braves make another addition before the season, I think it’ll either be Kimbrel or a SP.

    I’m cool with the patience here. This is only Acuna’s first season. It’s not as if he’s two years from FA, and the window’s closing.

  100. @117 I believe there’s a huge difference between Riley and Salty, Sam.

    If Miami had taken Pache, plus either Allard or Gohara, I’d say maybe Atlanta should’ve done the deal. Otherwise, I’m glad they walked away.

  101. I think Riley is a far higher upside prospect than Saltalamacchia ever was. I think the list of pitching prospects thrown about as a third player are all far higher ceilings than Matt Harrison. I think Mark Teixeira was a far better addition to the 2008 squad than JT Realmuto will be in 2019-2020.

    My point here is that an audience – the general “gestalt” commentariat at this website – has spent years lambasting that Teixeira deal as horrific, short sighted, and a massive loss for the Atlanta franchise, and seem to have turned on a dime on that reasoning for a much less sparkly “get” in Realmuto.

  102. @120 – I don’t think you are far off. Doesn’t Realmuto have an extra year of team control? I definitely don’t think Realmuto will demand what Tex did in comparable compensation when his contract is up.

  103. Some points here:

    1) You’d get Realmuto for two seasons as opposed to Teixeira for one and change. Realmuto probably gets you something like 7 WAR over those two years. Teixeira could do that in one season. But you’re not paying as much for Realmuto — and, again, you get him for two years!

    2) Any permutation of the above deal would not have gutted our farm system the way the Teixeira deal did.

    3) Context matters. The Teixeira trade helped boost our record roughly to where we’re already projected to finish this season. Meaning we’re actually at a place on the win curve right now where the value of each additional win is such that it’s worth paying more for us — the closer you get to 90-ish wins, the more “overpaying” makes sense. Worth noting that we’re not quite in all-in territory yet, but adding Realmuto would put us there.

    I would’ve traded Riley/Pache + a pitcher that’s not Soroka/Wright/Anderson.

  104. @120 Apologies, Sam. I misunderstood the comparison you were making there. I think you’re spot on though, the Texeira trade is very comparable.

  105. @114 I read that and the Braves should have jumped at that. The idea of sending Pache and Wentz and getting Realmuto is really a no brainer. It really pisses me off that it could have been that easy.

    @120 No third player – just two total. I would have kept Riley but Pache would have been a good inclusion along with one of Wilson, Wright, or Wentz would have been a good trade. The obvious third player to throw in would have been either Flowers or Jackson. Realmuto could have been a key cog on both offense and defense for two years and we might have had a decent shot at extending him if everything went well. And it wouldn’t have diminished the farm much at all. Without Sanchez, the Phils’ farm drops deep into the 20’s in rank.

    And, for the record, I jumped for joy at the Texeira trade. I thought he would be the second coming of McGriff and would propel the Braves to multiple division titles.

  106. @123 Do you feel, had the Braves gotten Realmuto, they’re better today than the Red Sox, Astros or Yankees?

    To me, if you can’t say yes to that question, you never overpay. You only overpay for a ring, not for a playoff appearance.

  107. @125 Any deal where Wright would’ve went out for Realmuto would’ve been awful. I’d have had torches and pitchforks on the ready.

    I feel like if Realmuto played any position, aside from catcher, no one would’ve been so anxious to make a trade.

    McCann and Flowers are a perfectly capable tandem.

  108. I have offered lukewarm defenses of the Tex trade just about every time it’s been brought up over the years, so I’ll do it again.

    I want my team to offer two highly valued prospects for a short-term rental as they gear up for a playoff push — I want them to be willing to do this every time. We’re at a place on the win curve where additional marginal wins have outsize value.

    The problem with the Tex trade was that we gave up SO MANY PROSPECTS. The fact that Jon Daniels nearly reneged on the deal to force Schuerholz to toss in Beau Jones illustrates that pretty well. It’s not just that we gave up Salty and Andrus. It’s that we also gave up Harrison and Feliz and were STILL willing to toss one more guy in there.

    The trade is famously lopsided because Feliz, Andrus, and Harrison all became All-Stars, but frankly, I don’t think that affects the retrospective analysis — some prospects hit their potential, and most don’t. You should be willing to give up some of your prospects to acquire established major league talent. I want the Braves to be willing to give up two of their prospects to make the team better, and this self-enforced penury is risible.

  109. @123 Absolutely agree, Adam. It’s hard to believe that anyone (i.e. Braves) would pass that up. We have like 15 pitchers vying for 5 spots right now and you can add to that in the next couple of years. Pache is redundant with Waters in the system. And Pache may never be more than Billy Hamilton redux. The Braves would have scored big making this trade.

  110. Well, Realmuto does play catcher, so that’s the world we live in.

    I mean, I just don’t have the same hang-up. I would “overpay” — not that I would even lose much sleep over trading Pache/Bryse — to feel relatively certain we could make the playoffs. Obviously, Realmuto wouldn’t have been the finishing touch. But that’s fine with me, I’d just keep working to improve the team.

  111. There’s a lot of assumptions going on, to the effect that last year’s performance (131 OPS+) was a new level, and that his career to date (105 OPS+) is not his level going forward.

    I think it’s worth noting that aside from 2018, JT Realmuto’s bat has been…

    …wait for it…

    …Nick Markakis.

  112. There has still got to be a Greinke trade that might be possible out there. We could send over Teheran (and maybe O’Day) to offset cost this year and the D’Backs could throw in $30M over the next two years. And then the Braves could add a prospect or two as sweetener – especially if the D’Backs would include Bradley in the return.

  113. Nick Markakis is an interesting example of offensive arrested development. If you look at first-round draftees who have the kind of major league season that he did as a 24-year-old, you’d expect them to have tremendous careers, with an offensive peak around age 26 with even more power.

    Instead he basically just hit a little bit worse and stayed consistent for the next decade. The last time Markakis hit 20 home runs, he was 24. That ain’t normal.

    THAT SAID, the defensive spectrum exists for a reason, and any time there’s a catcher who can hit like a corner outfielder, he’s one of the most valuable commodities in all of baseball.

  114. @126 — If that’s your standard, you’ll never make a move. It would be nearly impossible for any one team to have the kind of offseason that puts them into elite territory unless they’re already there, or close. The Red Sox and Yankees and Astros didn’t get there all in one offseason either — they got there by accumulating talent over the course of multiple seasons.

    Realmuto alone doesn’t get you there, but Realmuto + whatever you do at the deadline + whatever you do next offseason + prospect development might. The cumulative effect of collecting good players when you can is what does it.

    The Red Sox won 93 games in 2016 — fine, but hardly elite. That offseason they traded the best position prospect in the game and a high-end pitching prospect for three years of Chris Sale. Think they regret it? Should they not have done that because the Cubs were better? Those same Cubs signed Jon Lester the offseason after winning 73 games. Bad move?

  115. https://www.ajc.com/sports/braves-mcguirk-not-yet-time-for-payroll-increase/6EXS793HWowKbMeZYFzI9K/

    “He said the Braves will be in position to spend more freely next offseason, at which time they will have shed the contracts they took on to unload Matt Kemp and at which time the mixed-use development adjacent to SunTrust Park will be more established. “There will be very few teams that have as much to spend in the marketplace next winter as the Atlanta Braves,” McGuirk said. “The opportunity to spend is there, but it’s going to be done judiciously and sequentially when (general manager Alex Anthopoulos) says it’s time. If we were to bring in a raft of veteran players and stick them in the position-player positions today, Alex would be blocked from bringing (young) guys along. ”

    – March 2018

  116. No one else has signed Harper or Machado yet either.

    If I had to divide up the pie chart of blame for this offseason right now, I’d have to say:
    – 45% Braves ownership is terrible
    – 45% we are hamstrung by cOLLuSiOn
    – 10% AA is incompetent

    But when Harper and Machado do eventually sign — or if AA has some other trick up his sleeve — it’s all going to change one way or another.

  117. DOB told me on Twitter he will ask about it if they don’t spend money money.
    I’m sure it’ll be a puff piece

  118. And if we trading for 3 years of Chris Sale I give up Riley, Pache and, say, Bryse Wilson without batting an eye. Realmuto ain’t no Chris Sale.

  119. Right. Realmuto is a nice piece, certainly. But he’s benefiting incredibly from being the “low cost” option when two free agents world’s better than him are asking for 300 million dollars.

    I’d also note that Braves fans, of all people, should know the *down side* of having a big chunk of your offense tied up in the C position.

  120. Sam, your mockery of people not wanting to make out with the homecoming queen anyway is starting to look a little like projection to me.

    Realmuto was a 4 WAR player in 2016 and 2017 too. Not terribly different than Harper and Machado over the same time frame. He wouldn’t have been a “big chunk” of our offense either.

  121. @140 This!

    @141 And this!

    +1000!!!

    If I’m trading for Sale, I don’t need to worry about potentially trading an ace, because I’m getting an ace. Elite pitching is also always pricier to acquire than hitting. And, as snowshine so well put it, Realmuto is not Chris Sale.

    In addition, as Sam pointed out, anyone remember the days when McCann used to bat 4th, and he was out of the line up? For a Catcher, that’s a lot of games.

    Not so much on here, but many places I’ve seen people say well Realmuto hits well for a catcher, or he runs well for a catcher. That’s why I say if he played any other position, I don’t feel as if anyone would care about the non-move here.

  122. …But in baseball, every team’s got to have a catcher…and that catcher has to run…and hit…so it generally helps when your catcher is, you know, significantly better at all those things than every other catcher there is.

    In a lineup with Donaldson, Freeman, and Acuna, Realmuto wouldn’t have needed to shoulder the load that McCann did. But it’s nice to know that, having averaged over 130 games the past four seasons, Realmuto could have done so if necessary!

    There’s a lot of room between the likes of Chris Sale and some of the guys on our team who will get a lot of playing time. Realmuto’s not Chris Sale, but McCann and Flowers aren’t Realmuto. And on a team with playoff aspirations that will also put Markakis, Inciarte, and Dansby in its lineup, it’s not an especially comfortable situation.

  123. I’m 100% for making out with the homecoming queen. Light that shit up, bruh.

    I’m generally less interested in making out with the homecoming queen’s uglier sister just cause they have similar facial features.

  124. Someone earlier said that Flowcann/McFlowers was a perfectly acceptable catching combo.

    Acceptable to whom?

  125. @146 To probably half the teams in baseball. Remember, Kurt Suzuki is considered the 7th-best catcher “right now” on MLB Network’s special. There really aren’t many good, let alone great, catchers. Shoot, even the catcher Philly sent back (Alfaro), is a top half catcher. This is based on McCann having a slight rebound. I’m not saying he’s going to, but obviously the Braves do.

  126. @136: Yeah, I gave up on the whole “lots to spend this offseason” thing years ago. I almost feel like every year, the Braves say they’re a year away from being able to spend, and then it never happens. I’m not being ‘Lucy-footballed’ on that again, I don’t care how many articles I see saying “Teheran, O’Day, Markakis, etc., etc. are coming off the books and Liberty Media may be raising payroll!”

  127. @141 No, for sure, I never want to have Javy Lopez or Johnny Bench or Mike Piazza or God knows who else on my team. What a horror.

  128. @147 I saw that on MLB but I don’t believe it even so. It’s ludicrous to say he’s the 7th best catcher in baseball. Especially as he’s not so good defensively.

    If the catching position is so bad, doesn’t that elevate the potential of having an Alex Jackson who might be able to really bang the ball around if he can get it all together? What he did the year before and in the AFL was equal to a corner IF or corner OF. Last year both Camargo and Flowers started the year on the DL. Which guys are gonna start on the DL this year?

  129. Enough of JTR already. He’s gone and I don’t really mind too much. He had a great market being the only decent catcher available this offseason. We’ll be fine, or average, with our guys.

    Let’s play baseball already.

  130. You know that the best thing that could still happen is signing Machado and optioning Dansby to AAA to work on his hitting then next year moving Machado to third with Dansby back at SS.

    I am glad you have the energy to do this, Roger. Somebody needs to.

    AA may have had 70 percent of a deal done? Well, great, I could be 70 percent of the way towards caring.

  131. To be fair, I don’t want JTR unless he just costs money. Catcher is not a reliable spot and at best he gets 80% of the ABs that a good OF would. The gestalt here comes from the fact that we’re not spending money when this is the absolute best year to spend money. Thus, one must conclude that we won’t ever be spending the money.

    Land Harper next week and all is forgiven.

  132. @153
    Well, he will want an two year deal and it wouldn’t make economic sense.
    The goal is to win the Forbes Roster Construction award

    We should be more focused on the draft. How many 17 year old pitchers can we draft under slot?!?!?

  133. Elizabeth Prann’s husband is our newest pitcher actually pitching for us in relief this season.

    She’s actually currently live anchoring on HLN this morning. Just sayin.

  134. I had a dream that we signed Harper and traded Inciarte, Teheran, Bryse Wilson and a couple million for Kluber.

  135. @136: McGuirk’s out for that statement is that he couldn’t have reasonably known that STP is probably going to have to be renamed. The extra signage costs alone consume all the money that would have been spent on Harper.

  136. It’s a shame it can’t be named something that sounds like a proper baseball stadium name, like old Fulton County Stadium or Fenway Park. I know it’s a money grab though.

  137. @157 Great idea. Please tell AA.

    @158 If necessary, you’re right. We should offer more, maybe another top pitching prospect. Considering the inclusion of both Inciarte and Teheran largely cancels out Kulber’s salary, we could leave out the money and include two more pitching prospects. Or maybe Inciarte, Teheran Wilson, and Pache. That should get it done.

  138. Naming it the equivalent of “Fenway Park” would result in something akin to “Cumberland Mall Park.”

  139. The SunTrust logo/colors/signage are very unappealing to me, so not gonna miss it when it’s gone. That’s an important win I guess.

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