Alright, so what now?

There were a lot of eggs for a long time in the J.T. Realmuto basket. And those eggs were emptied out of said basket and smashed on the ground. So at this point, we’ve not been told we are in on anyone by the front office. I mean, have we? Payroll currently stands at around $114M, and if you care to read anything by Bill Shanks, you may appreciate this bite-sized cheat sheet on player payroll:

So who’s still out there?

Dallas Keuchel

He’s 31. He’s missed a little bit of time 2 out of the last 3 seasons, but he has been mostly durable in his career. Houston, realistically, needs him back, so I wouldn’t be surprised for him to go back there. But the Braves have already said they’re leaning again towards a six-man rotation, so you could add him and still not be denying a spot to a promising. MLBTR projected him to get 4YR/$82M. MLBTR has largely been over on every deal that has been signed, but they have been low on some. I would think that he’ll get somewhere in the $18-21M range, and he’ll probably get 4 years, even at this point of the offseason.

Gio Gonzalez

Hey, why not? If they’re going with a 6-man, why not get some depth? Also, it’s not my money. If he inks the 2YR/$24M deal MLBTR is throwing out there, do you have a problem letting him be another good lefty in the rotation? And listen, that’s a two-year deal, double the commitment we’ve come to expect from the Braves. There’s tremendous value in a guy you can pretty much guarantee will make you 30+ starts, something Gio has done 9 out of the last 10 years. Only 52 pitchers made 30 starts last year. 2 of them were Braves, by the way. How quickly we forget the times where Buddy Carlyle was thrown out there as a rotation member.

Craig Kimbrel

Just do the deal already. MLBTR had him at 4YR/$70M. I don’t think he gets that now, but I do think he gets at least 3YR/$48M. And if you can get him for that, I think you have to do it. We’ve gone from spending about a cumulative $6-7M on the pen to having around $16-17M committed, so that’s a step in the right direction. But Kimbrel would slide everybody down an inning in the pecking order, and that would help what is still a young and inexperienced pen. Plus, it’s wishful thinking to suggest that Arodys Vizcaino is going to spend 162 games healthy in the bullpen.

Corey Kluber

I could see a deal re-approached in March. If the Braves have 6-7 guys throwing really well in Spring Training, they may look to use that time to get better value out of our pitching prospects. There’s two issues: you’d really like to be able to use your pitching prospects if they’re ready to go, and you want to prove to teams that they’re ready to go to get max value. So if you get to Spring Training and that’s in place, then you’re a World Series contender. Bottom line. So get Kluber. I wouldn’t have done it for Realmuto, but if they want Wright, give them Wright. Ender is obviously not nailed down by any stretch of the imagination. Ender Inciarte, Kyle Wright, and Joey Wentz would be a painful but fair value for a guy like Kluber.

Nick Castellanos

I’m not giving up on this just because they signed Nicholas Markakis. Same deal as Kluber; if guys are throwing well in Spring Training, how about send one to Detroit? Castellanos is another guy I don’t think you owe 600 PAs to. If you can get him and pencil him in for 400 PAs between DH against AL teams and corner outfield, then he helps the team a lot. He’ll make $9.9M this year in his last year of arb, so it won’t cost much to get him.

Patience

The Braves need to trade for patience to give to their fans. Listen, the whole market is slow. Fans of teams all over baseball want this offseason to be done. 11 of MLBTR’s top 50 FAs have yet to be signed, and we’re less than a week away from pitchers and catchers. Guys that you would welcome onto your team that aren’t on the top 50 list are still available (Josh Harrison, Tony Sipp, Asdrubal Cabrera, Adam Warren). Two of those remaining free agents are the two best this offseason. That also has a ripple effect into the trade market. Until that happens, you’re seeing a huge chunk of the market not opening up. And until that happens, the Braves are, in some ways, just like every other team.

160 thoughts on “Alright, so what now?”

  1. Asdrubal’s a Ranger, but point taken.

    45% ownership
    45% cOLLuSiOn
    10% incompetence

    Also, this is correct:
    So get Kluber. I wouldn’t have done it for Realmuto, but if they want Wright, give them Wright.

  2. Kimbrel makes the most sense to me given the current roster construction.

    If you can get Kluber, sure, but I just don’t see how the Indians would do it.

    I’m not sure Gio is an upgrade, Castellanos’s performance worth the price, and even a minor degradation of stuff/command from Keuchel IMO, would have a massive impact on his on his effectiveness.

  3. Please get Kimbrel. I don’t think it’s going to happen, but he makes this team noticeably better, and they don’t even need to give up any of their dozen precious pitching prospects to acquire him.

  4. I really want Kimbrel. He is elite and should be paid accordingly. BMac, Donaldson, and Makasis are all older with more extensive injury histories yet we can give Kimbrel 4 years?

    I have resigned myself to the possibility the Braves will not only not make the playoffs, but finish 4th in the Division. This is not how it was supposed to go.

  5. I don’t want Gio or Keuchel. 6-man rotation and let the kids play: Soroka, Fried, Touki, Wright, Wilson, Gohara and heck, even Allard.

  6. They will do nothing. Maybe…maybe…they’ll sign Kimbrel on a hometown discount. Liberty told Alex at the Denver meeting to keep payroll in check. Terry McGuirk lied to the fans a year ago, and I’m tired of being lied to.

  7. I don’t like any of those players other than Kluber and he’s on the wrong side of 30 so at this point, since they’ve just decided to defy TINSTAAPP, they might as well just go through with that.

  8. @16 At this point, I’m inclined to believe in some sort of conspiracy story surrounding that meeting with Liberty Media that was so much more important than a Braves’ GM being at the “Winter Meetings.”

  9. Oh, they’ve been lying to us for a while. I’m still peeved about being lied to about the 2017 payroll and then Bowman and DOB refusing to acknowledge it. They didn’t necessarily disappoint last year when they picked up about $10M in payroll at the deadline.

    But at the end of the day, there’s two theories. One is of the conspiracy type, and one is the following conditions:

    1) Tons of teams are not contending. In other years, these guys are signing stopgap veterans to $30-40M deals. Nowadays, there are less teams doing that. Players are sellers, teams are buyers, and the supply and demand has shifted. Much less demand.

    2) There’s enough data now to show that a lot of the deals signed earlier this decade have been a debacle. Notable cost per WAR contracts from yesteryear:

    -Josh Hamilton – $36M
    -Prince Fielder – $32M
    -Carl Crawford – $27M
    -Matt Kemp – $25M
    -Hanley Ramirez – $110M
    -Pablo Sandoval – Incalculable (he had negative WAR)

    Teams just aren’t going to sign some of the deals they used to, and it’s just going to create a supply and demand crunch. I just don’t get why some people have such a big problem with this.

  10. @19 I can think of a couple of reasons why. As baseball revenue is at an all time high, player pay has begun to decrease. At the same time, quite a few teams have begun exhibiting noncompetitive behavior while their ticket prices remain flat or even increase. It all amounts to baseball generating large profits for team owners while the product on the field stagnates or even degrades in some cases. It’s crazy to think that revenue and profit increases while both the players and the fans get the rough end of the deal.

    I can’t see any reason why the Braves should allow themselves to risk not winning this year. That for me is enough reason to have a big problem with the above.

  11. It sounds like most people are in the boat that if we can’t get an elite starting pitcher or reliever, let’s ride with the kids. And I’d agree with that. And if you get to the end of Spring Training and the kids aren’t showing up, then there might be an Anibal out there once again.

    Plus, a lot of the analysts think the FA market will go all the way into Spring Training. So pitchers and catchers will report, and they’ll get a good look at the arms before they would need to decide on signing a FA pitcher.

    Craig Kimbrel, though, will not be around, and they’re running out of opportunities to improve the team.

  12. I wouldn’t be mad if they signed Gio Gonzalez, but in the same breath, I also don’t really see the point to doing so.

    According to Jon Paul Morosi, a Kluber deal is also increasingly unlikely.

    Pass on Keuchel.

    Honestly, I just want the Braves to sign Kimbrel, and let’s see what they’ve got. Signing him improves the entire pen. Even if he’s not the Kimbrel of old, with the ERA hovering around 1, he’s still a lockdown closer. That’ll allow Snit to mix and match O’Day, Viz and Minter, and play match ups in the late innings. If you convert Fried to the pen, now you’re really talking some depth, with weapons from the left and right side.

  13. @22 — I read it more as a “If you’ve already jumped out of a hundred-floor building, you might as well flap your arms on the way down” sentiment. It’s a little too late in the process to decide that you want to build around young bats.

  14. Peanut with the “Are you not entertained?” column. I assume Terry McGuirk wrote it.

    Mark Bowman18h
    Before missing most of last year, Donaldson enjoyed a six-season stretch trumped only by Trout. He now has a chance to become the Braves’ best free agent acquisition since Maddux https://t.co/xJqfuYZ03f

  15. He now has a chance to become the Braves’ best free agent acquisition since Maddux

    And then promptly leave after the 2019 season if he succeeds in rebounding.

  16. -Josh Hamilton – $36M
    -Prince Fielder – $32M
    -Carl Crawford – $27M
    -Matt Kemp – $25M
    -Hanley Ramirez – $110M
    -Pablo Sandoval – Incalculable (he had negative WAR)

    I don’t see why Bryce Harper and Manny Machado should have to pay for the mistakes of the stupid GMs who signed this glaringly flawed bunch to long-term deals.

  17. @21 Craig Kimbrel, though, will not be around, and they’re running out of opportunities to improve the team.

    And this is where I think Alex Anthopolous could really be graded harshly once this season has gotten underway. Not that anyone cares at all what the fans think, but the offseason theme for the Braves has and continues to be “running out of opportunities to improve the team” while the Phillies may not have any such issues at all if they go on to sign Machado

  18. @22, No.

    I just think that the Braves do believe in them to a disproportionately unhealthy degree.

    I believe that, as always, most of these ‘guys’ will fail or get injured.

    Allard, fail 1.

    Many more to come…

    And this isn’t meant as a dickish statement but I’ve seen posts saying that I’m never right.

    I, more than anyone else on this forum have contended from Day 1 that ownership is the worst part of this franchise, that until it changes, that really not much of any of these micro-discussions matter. I believe last season was a fluke, and I believe that given Liberty Media, we’re likely to finish closer to the bottom of the NL East year in and year out than toward the top.

    I’ve not been wrong about THAT. Our ownership is disgusting. They are liars and they do not care about winning. What other ownership do you ever see in other stories about potential player acquisitions continually mention peripheral real estate deals. When is the last time you heard or read a Mets article where the Wilpons say, man once we build XYZ building we’ll really be players in the market. I cannot even remember.

  19. @27 It’d be interesting to know exactly what type of offers are out there for Machado and Harper, which I know we’ll never, until they sign.

    I do support the fact that there’s zero reason for any GM to be backing off on AAV for a mid 20’s superstar, in their prime.

    If Harper and Machado are holding firm, and looking for 10 years or more, I can somewhat understand the market- or rather, lack of- however. That’s a long commitment.

    Just an aside- man, did Hamilton ever fall off a cliff fast, though?

  20. Bring back Kimbrel, if only for the chance to pair with Venters & O’Day for a second coming of O’Ventbrel

  21. @30 I wouldn’t totally write Allard off as a “failure” yet, although I do admit it’s not ideal to be drafting guys with a mid-ish 1st round pick that likely have the ceiling of being a decent 4th or 5th starter.

    I do agree the ownership is a problem in Atlanta, though. Corporate ownership in general isn’t great for a sport’s franchise. A lot of times, they’re generally not fans, so they’re not as emotionally invested. When you have a baseball guy that wants to win, like Ted Turner, or George Steinbrenner, it’s just so much better for the sport.

  22. @33 Is there a more dysfunctional sports ownership city than NY?

    Imagine being a Mets, Knicks, and/or Jets fan?

  23. @33 That’s correct, I could have picked any of the other 29 ownerships as well.

    I’m tired of hearing about The Battery. I’m tired of hearing about a dumb hotel, a dumb mixed use project. These projects are a dime a dozen in big cities all across America. It’s a mixed use development. Big deal.

  24. @36 The thing that strikes me about the ownership is that they could just ignore the construction projects and having to lay down promises of increased payroll and just keep it all separated and tell us payroll isn’t increasing for the foreseeable future. Do you see that they have created the problem? We didn’t have to believe payroll was increasing. We would have just accepted it as truth while waiting for a new TV deal.

    I come closer to believing a conspiracy. Even now they’ve got one foot in the grave with a promise of $140 million payroll next winter.

  25. @31: “Just an aside- man, did Hamilton ever fall off a cliff fast, though?”

    To sign Hamilton, who had well established substance abuse problems, to a long-term deal of any type was pure folly. If anything, he should’ve been signed to multiple one-year deals.

    It is truly unfair to see a talented guy like Harper go unsigned who will never even touch booze because of his religion.

  26. 34-At the time of the draft, I know KLaw had Allard as the #6 prospect in the draft and Atl got him at 14th (I think). Law also had Allard as a top 25 prospect in baseball in 2017. His stock has fallen.

  27. @39 Right, he didn’t have that ceiling at the time. The loss in velocity is what has turned him into Sean Gilmartin. Could he get it back? Can his really good curveball and solid changeup allow him to live at that MPH?

    With that said, though, what does it say about their job drafting and trading for pitchers when a guy is considered a “bust” at 21 because he “only” has 4th or 5th starter potential. 5th starters are making $8-10M per right now, so I definitely wouldn’t mind having him in the quiver.

    @24 That’s how I read it too, but I did some psychoanalyses of Chief in that moment that it was a very, very subtle admission of defeat. Or perhaps I’ve convinced myself that anything short of a downright dismissal of the fact that, on the aggregate, pitching prospects are projectable that I’ve gone cross-eyed.

  28. No one has really mentioned the Anibal signing. Is there a feeling of missed opportunity with not giving him somewhere around the 2YR/$19M he got?

  29. @38 Except it wasn’t substance abuse that ultimately did his career in. It’s just what the market was at the time. If the team that gave all those deals didn’t, another time would have done something at least close.

  30. His three ERAs prior to ATL last year were 6.41, 5.87 and 4.99. He’s 34. His FIP was MUCH higher than his ERA last year but he was very good for the Braves.

  31. No feeling of missed opportunity with Anibal here. He was great last year and I hope that he was able to impart some wisdom on the young arms of the Braves’ staff before he left. That said – the Nats would be lucky to get 150 IP of 4 ERA ball out of Anibal next season. That’s worthwhile as a back-end rotation guy but the Braves already have something like that with Teheran. I’d prefer to spend those $19M on a higher-ceiling FA target (or absorbing salary of a veteran acquisition, e.g. Greinke).

  32. It’s just what the market was at the time. If the team that gave all those deals didn’t, another team would have done something at least close.

    So? Let them. If you think teams are overvaluing a player, you’re under no obligation to outbid those teams.

    We don’t know what deals are on the table, but turning around and penalizing Harper and Machado for Josh Hamilton’s contract only compounds the mistake.

  33. There will be a feeling of missed opportunity if Teheran pitches another 170+ innings for the Braves this season.

  34. but turning around and penalizing Harper and Machado for Josh Hamilton’s contract only compounds the mistake.

    I mean, I hear what you’re saying. Don’t not throw good money at Harper because you threw bad money at Hamilton. But if there is a genuine concern that Harper won’t be a 5-WAR player at age-36, then don’t give that deal. If you pay him $35M per year for 10 years — shoot, MLBTR speculated he’d get $450M; lolz – then that’s what you’re betting. Inflation, etc., there are those components to look at, but look at the list below. Who is worth their AAV right now? How confident are you that Bryce won’t look like that by the time he gets into the 7th or 8th year of his deal?

  35. OK, let’s introduce some pollyanna-ish optimism into this discussion. The following was a pretty decent interview with Soroka and I was interested in the part where his new exercises leave him feeling more loose than he was before.

    https://www.talkingchop.com/2019/2/11/18220105/interview-with-atlanta-braves-pitcher-mike-soroka-2019-edition

    What if he comes back actually better than he was before? The most disappointing part of this offseason for me is that we haven’t created enough opportunities for some of our guys – especially ones that showed out very well last year like Soroka, Touki, and Fried. These guys need to have some full time ML exposure.

    One of the reasons to consolidate our prospects and/or ML-ers is to create opportunity for our great farm system to produce. Why are we still hanging on to Teheran when he has already hit his ceiling. I can’t believe there aren’t at least 10 teams for which he’d be an improvement in their rotation at a reasonable salary. And he’s only 28 still. One open spot for competition in the rotation – especially the 5th spot that will have fewer than 32 starts – is just not enough.

    Starting them in the bullpen is not so great as we are already talking about stashing some of our better relievers at AAA (e.g. Winkler, Carle, Sobotka) because others have no options left. Having Kimbrel or Fried or Wilson in the bullpen further winnows relievers that are not so bad. I suppose we should put Luke Jackson to bed at some point and Sam Freeman, but there is a huge crowd on the pitching staff.

    Hey @46 and @47, I guess you guys made my point while I was typing….

  36. I have seen several indications that the team intends to utilize a 6 man rotation for at least part of the season, an interesting decision given that our expected horses — Folty and Gaus — only pitched 183 innings apiece last year. In this scenario I’d expect the front 3 to get 29-30 starts each with some mix of Soroka, Touki, Fried, Wilson and Teheran (and maybe Wright) to get the other 70. Maybe Snit even learns to skip Teheran’s starts in Philly and Chicago…

    As for going with the kids, it has to be done. It’s not just the young pitching either, as we all have lingering concerns about Dans, Albies and Camargo as well, with Riley needing MLB time on the horizon.

    As for the bust potential of the young pitchers, what constitutes a bust? I may be a dreamer but I am willing to predict that at least 3 of 4 from Soroka, Touki, Wright and Anderson end up delivering 12+ fWAR in their team control years. I’m less sanguine on some of the others.

  37. @49 I’d sure like to take a shot at seeing Greinke or Lester prove their AAV worth in a Braves uniform. One of the good things about someone on such an egregious contract should be the ability to split the difference with a trade partner and get some excess value by trading the bad contract for prospects or something. As long as the player can produce enough WAR to justify 75% of that AAV then there’s a way for everyone to get value there.

  38. I’ve just got this feeling that Teheran won’t be on this team on opening day.

    I wish I could say that we’ll get a notable piece in return, but I won’t be shocked if it does more to clear salary than it does to add to the talent pile.

    But you know it will be for the possible deadline deal!

  39. If folks want an actually researched piece of biz of baseball wonkery regarding MLB, the MLBPA, salaries and the last two free agent markets, my buddy Maury Brown has a superb article up at Forbes today.

    Through industry insiders and the league, two sets of verified numbers have come into my possession. The numbers from industry insiders offer additional details specific to just MLB player compensation while the data from the league is more extensive and overlaps with the industry insider data set but has the MLB salary masked within other salary info.

    The owners see total player compensation differently than the MLBPA and its players. MLB pays not only for the players in the big leagues but for those in the minor leagues, as well as the bonus money paid to amateurs in the draft. For the owners, player compensation looks like this:

    Major League Player Compensation + Benefit Plan Costs + Postseason Share Payments + Minor League Signing Bonuses (not including associated tax) + Minor League Salaries And Benefits

    The MLBPA is focused just on this:

    Major League Player Compensation + Benefit Plan Costs + Postseason

  40. I wish I could say that we’ll get a notable piece in return, but I won’t be shocked if it does more to clear salary than it does to add to the talent pile.

    There has never been much sense in the taking the thought “Julio Teheran is mediocre-to-terrible and isn’t worth a fifth starter spot on a competitive team” and then following it up immediately “so we should trade him for this super valuable guy that would make us so much better.”

  41. He’s only 66, so one assumes he’ll find a new broadcast partner somewhere. MLB Network wouldn’t be the worst fit for him.

  42. Bob Costas
    one of the most likely to accost us
    the scrambled brain
    uncomfortable, the sports fan split in twain.

    @58 yes, hopefully, with that voice you always felt baseball was his home.

  43. @55 So, obviously, the ‘notable piece’ that I mentioned must fall somewhere between ‘basically nothing’ and ‘super valuable guy that would make us so much better.’ I’d settle for ‘valuable guy who could possibly become a late-innings reliever.’

  44. I don’t understand the desire to trade for a “guy who could possibly become a late-innings reliever” any more than I understand the driving need to spend Bryce Harper’s money on Craig Kimbrel*. Actually, I understand that even less than the Kimbrel reunion party. “Late innings relievers” is literally what failed starting pitchers become. Go look at Mike Minor’s last couple of seasons.

    We have approximately 7000 guys who could flame out to the standard of “late innings reliever.”

    *I understand that the Kimbrel talk is premised, fundamentally, on the notion that he’s the “affordable guy” that we could possible land, where Harper/Machado are too expensive for Liberty/AA. And I get the “he’s famous and good!” thing too. But I still don’t like burning cash on a damned fungible resource.

  45. I understand that the Kimbrel talk is premised, fundamentally, on the notion that he’s the “affordable guy” that we could possible land, where Harper/Machado are too expensive for Liberty/AA. And I get the “he’s famous and good!” thing too.

    Then why can’t you wrap your head around that idea that the Vizcaíno/Minter show will probably not be ideal? Were you watching the Braves mid-to-late 2018, did you really think that was a great bullpen situation they had going?

    There is a reason Anthopoulos himself said back in November that obtaining a closer was his biggest priority.

  46. I think Sam is just being disagreeable for the sake of it. So far as I understand, expecting to trade Teheran for anything at all but a salary dump is just an unreasonable expectation. On top of that, trading for a young reliever who has the right stuff to pitch in late innings is a waste because apparently failed starting pitchers are universally excellent for the 8th and 9th innings. I mean, literally anybody can do it now.

    Mike Minor is 100% evidence of this.

  47. If it makes you feel any better, I had this same argument with people about John Smoltz when he moved to the closer role, back when you boys were pooping yourselves.

  48. I think one reason AA hasn’t gotten anyone for the bullpen is he plans to start a lot of the kids in the pen. Wilson and Allard could probably really benefit from it, as they were pretty badly exposed over 5-6 innings. I do wonder if we’ll start grooming any of them for permanent “bullpenning,” e.g., 3-4 inning stints.

  49. If we have money to spend (which we should), and if Kimbrel is signable for an amount that doesn’t bankrupt us this season (which he almost certainly is), why the heck wouldn’t we do it? Is there any doubt whatsoever that signing him would make the team better?

    If signing him to a 3-4 year deal at somewhere between 15-20 mil per cripples us financially, we will never, ever be able to sign a marquee FA to a long-term deal, including our young guys once they get to that point.

  50. @65 You’re not that old, but you do seem that senile. John Smoltz always had the stuff to be a closer.

    This notion, however, of any failed starting pitcher being a good candidate to work relief sounds overly simplistic. I’m thinking of a trade for someone like Rafael Soriano where a team wants a dependable starting pitcher who is going to survive 175 innings.

    Mind you, the only reason I started thinking in this direction is because we already have a bench that includes Charlie Culberson and Johan Camargo. Also, there’s Adam Duvall.

    Trading Teheran to remove salary feels like a loss if it happens.

  51. We could trade Teheran for some high-upside/high-variance prospect in low-A or whatever if necessary (but really, it will be for salary relief for the reasons Sam laid out).

    I do wonder if we’ll start grooming any of them for permanent “bullpenning,” e.g., 3-4 inning stints.

    The idea of this makes me as excited as Donaldson-Freeman-Acuna in the lineup. I imagine something like what Milwaukee did last year, except even less predictable and even more capable of sawing through opposing lineups.

  52. From Snowshine:

    As for the bust potential of the young pitchers, what constitutes a bust? I may be a dreamer but I am willing to predict that at least 3 of 4 from Soroka, Touki, Wright and Anderson end up delivering 12+ fWAR in their team control years. I’m less sanguine on some of the others.

    From Alex:

    I think one reason AA hasn’t gotten anyone for the bullpen is he plans to start a lot of the kids in the pen. Wilson and Allard could probably really benefit from it, as they were pretty badly exposed over 5-6 innings. I do wonder if we’ll start grooming any of them for permanent “bullpenning,” e.g., 3-4 inning stints.

    I think this is definitely the way to get full value out of your pitching prospects. 12 WAR out of those 4 with 5-7 WAR out of the “lesser” prospects in a bullpen role would be a ton of production for not much money.

    Last year we were still throwing guys that didn’t have the talent the real wave has. McCarthy and Wisler got 18 starts last year. Jose Ramirez, Sims, and Moylan got a lot of innings out of the pen. Socolovich got on the mound 4 times. Biddle and Winkler were used past their comfort level. This all adds up pretty quickly.

  53. Allard looks like a LOOGY long term to me due to lack of velocity.

    Gohara has 2 strong pitches (fastball, slider) and a fringe changeup, so I think he becomes a reliever due to lack of arsenal.

    Could be the same issue with Fried (decent fastball, great curve, averageish changeup).

    I think Wilson plays most of the season in the minors due to lack of upper minor league experience.

    Soroka, Touissaint, and Wright are the best starter candidates IMO of the MLB ready guys. (Wright could use more time at Gwinnett.)

  54. My problem wasn’t using Smoltz as a closer. My problem was dumping $12 mil per year – a gold mine at the time; starter money – into a guy that pitches 70 innings per year max.

  55. I don’t necessarily disagree with Sam. This goes back to the closer role arguably being the most overrated position on the team. I do think that adding Kimbrel moves our relievers down in the pecking order and should help the entire bullpen. Otoh, 70 innings is probably not worth 20 million dollars per year for who knows how long.

  56. Yeah, Wilson only has 18 starts above A-ball, so I think he’ll spend the majority of the season in AAA. But a second half reliever shouldn’t be out of the question. I think we definitely get something out of him for his years of control. Wright is in the same boat; 24 starts above A-ball. Touki’s got 31, Soroka 36, Gohara 38, Fried 45.

    I am still in the Gohara boat. Lefty, 98 MPH with movement, good slider. Let him figure out a third pitch at the big league level. And if he’s in good shape as was mentioned, then he’s easily the highest upside pitcher for 2019. I can’t imagine giving anyone else starts over him, especially if you’re going with a 6-man and Soroka is assured a spot.

    I’m not sure Allard is anything more than a long reliever, but I hope I’m wrong. I don’t see how he plays as a LOOGY with his lack of velocity. You can still provide a lot of value chewing up large chunks of innings in relief.

    But once again, there is something to be said about getting 150 innings of 5th starter production for a few years out of any of the non-elite pitching prospects.

    This kind of talk makes me remember how much I enjoyed watching these guys get their feet wet in 2018.

  57. @73 and everyone else – remember that one of the reasons for using Smoltz as a closer was limiting his innings after TJS. Everyone expected him to be good but maybe not THAT good. It was more than about finding a good closer. Smoltz had three really good years as a SP after his closer stint.

  58. Yeah, I don’t think the Braves were really interested in making Smoltz take a paycut considering what he meant to Atlanta and his future as a potential SP. I think that’s a little harsh on Atlanta for saying he was overpaid for his years as a closer.

  59. @61 & @74 More than any fan, Braves fans should understand the value of a reliable closer. How many more World Series might the Braves had won in the 90s had they not been trotting out a closer of the month every season?

    Closers are not a fungible resource. It takes a certain mentality.

    And yes, maybe they might only pitch 70 innings a year, but those 70 innings a year are darned important if you’d like to win ball games.

  60. @75 I am still all in the Fried camp. He looked like the most polished pitcher of all the prospects any time he got a chance. He has not even had the chance that Soroka had before he got injured – like 5 straight starts and the ability to get comfortable in the SP routine. He’s only pitched more than 87 pitches one time in the majors (6.2 shutout innings, 101 pitches @STL).

    You really must let Soroka, Fried, and Touki have some regular starts at the major league level. That’s why one slot even with a six-man rotation is just not enough. Gohara, Allard, Wright, and Wilson all have more to prove at AAA.

  61. @75 I’m much higher on Wright than I am on Gohara, and would prefer he get those starts.

    Ideally, they’d move Tehran though for the roster spot, and roll with…

    1) Folty
    2) Gausman
    3) Newcomb
    4) Sororka
    5) Wright

    If they really want to go 6 man, I guess Gohara could get some starts then. I don’t love the 6 man rotation idea, though. It’s better than using openers or tandems though, for sure!

  62. How many more World Series might the Braves had won in the 90s had they not been trotting out a closer of the month every season?

    None. First, they didn’t “trot out a closer of the month every season,” and second, they didn’t lose playoff series because of bad bullpens terribly often. The one that does come to mind is the year Bobby reflexively went to his famous “veteran closer” despite the fact that he’d been lit up by AL teams all year (Jeff Reardon.)

  63. @79 Fried’s future is a RP, ala Andrew Miller. It’s not that he’s not talented, it’s just a durability issue. I can’t see him ever throwing 180 innings in a season at the ML level.

  64. That final three has a LOT of potential to flame out. Rookies are fickle. Even super prospect rookies.

  65. @81 Reardon is exactly the first one that came to mind.

    So you’re saying Berenguer, Pena, Reitsma and Kolb were all pretty good though, Sam?

    You don’t need your closer to blow a playoff series directly to cost you a World Series. Blown saves in season cost wins, and wins can cost seeding position, and home park advantage.

  66. they didn’t lose playoff series because of bad bullpens terribly often.

    How often should you lose a playoff series due to a bad bullpen to nullify King’s point?

  67. Listen, I don’t care what you call him, you need a lights-out reliever who can come in and get the hardest outs of the game. That has an exponential value-add to those innings. How much, I do not know.

  68. Assuming Kimbrel’s market is as robust as I think it is, it’s worth seeing if we have a relief ace in-house before spending on or trading for one right now. That’s something that we can actually wait on.

  69. @86 Great relievers add far more wins to a team’s W/L record than their raw WAR numbers would suggest, usually due to the fact that they compile their pitching stats in high-leverage situations.

    A good measure of the “exponential value-add” is Win Probability Added (WPA). In the last five years, there have been 15 instances of relievers registering seasons with WPA of 4+. Craig Kimbrel has the second highest total WPA among relievers over that time span, averaging about 3 per season (behind only Andrew Miller).

  70. @84: Jeff Reardon, Juan Berenguer, and Alejandro Pena were all top tier closers/relievers of their day. They were acquisitions, mostly in season, akin to going out and buying an age-30 Craig Kimbrel. Aside from Reardon’s implosion, none of them cost the Braves a WS trophy. None of them won them one either. That’s kind of the point.

    @86: That’s all fine and good, but we’re not really talking about going out and getting ” a lights-out reliever who can come in and get the hardest outs of the game.” We’re talking about going out and getting Craig Kimbrel standing unused in the pen at Chavez Ravine.

  71. @90 By that logic, any starting pitcher that doesn’t get used that day, or any pinch hitter… they’re all worthless then. So why fill those positions either?

    Baseball is a team game, and everyone’s going to contribute at times, and there will be days when someone doesn’t. It doesn’t make that position any less important, or any less worth spending resources on.

  72. Good lord. The point is simple. If your team has a limited budget – and I think we’re all in agreement that Los Bravos are not kicking the tires on a $200 million payroll any time soon – you have to pick and choose where you spend funds. And while spending on a famous, expensive reliever/closer is all fine and good in the generic case, if it eats up funds that could be spent on someone who is going to impact more than 70 FREAKING INNINGS, that’s far smarter.

  73. Wait, how “robust” is it? Seems like only the Braves and Red Sox sort of want him.

    If that’s the case and he can be had for cheap, then go get him.

    Craig Kimbrel standing unused in the pen at Chavez Ravine

    One way to solve your problem would’ve been to have Kimbrel start that game. I’m never letting it go.

  74. You know what? If Kimbrel will come back to the Braves for 2 -3 years at $15-16M per, I would say yes to that. It’s not like the Braves are choosing between one of Kimbrel or Harper (or Manny) anyhow.

  75. The “we’re not going to spend on a real improvement, so we should spend on a minor improvement instead” logic at least holds together. I still say call Harper every day and tell him “we have $50 million for a “pillow deal” buddy.”

  76. If there is a real chance that the NL will bring in the DH on the next few seasons they should absolutely go all in on Harper.

  77. @96

    They should absolutely go all in on Harper even if they know for a fact that the DH will never come to the NL. That should’ve been the plan for the offseason.

  78. I’m logging off of the internet for a week if Harper signs with the Phillies. I’m unplugging my computer and putting my phone in the closet. This place is going to be lit.

  79. 75 — There are plenty of guys who didn’t throw all that hard and became cromulent LOOGYs. Remember when Chris Hammond came out of nowhere to have below a 1 ERA in 2002? Mike Myers had a long career and he threw in the 80s.

    Also, I think Allard would throw harder in a shorter stint than trying to conserve energy during a start.

  80. The Phillies going to sign one of Harper or Machado.

    I would say their offseason has been written in the stars as clearly as ours has been since we shed Matt Kemp’s contract. Except, you know…

  81. Could we have an update from someone on the current thinking of the Baseball establishment on last summer’s ‘one pitcher per innings’ – to oversimplify- as pioneered by the Rays mid-season and then the Brewers when it really mattered?

    I forget the terminology that soon came into play but it certainly had its moments, often when there was much at stake – e.g Hader. Memory seems to suggest it was more useful than not.

    Have the powers that be now dismissed it as sheer frippery? Too radical? Might it not make perfect sense for a club blessed with an overabundance of young arms who will never agree, at this stage, who is better than who, in what role, and who can handle the public stage and who not. And AAA a taxi ride away.

    Not exclusively of course, we are not going to start Allard for Folty. Great skill and some courage would be needed to blood this system, say, 60 games a year. Much trial and error to start with but none of us can guess the individual outcomes – what fun, the Braves on the cutting edge. Let the league itself do our final cuts/trades.

    One inning start
    be still my heart
    tonight I follow Folty
    his comments spry but salty.

  82. They call it “bullpening.” Folks have theorized it as a valid strategy to use our 700 pitching prospects going forward.

  83. Well, it’s simple math. Barring a trade, there are 21 pitchers who logged innings for the Braves last year, and there’s no clear reason why any of them except for Wilson, Allard, and Wright shouldn’t be on the roster. We also will probably pick up We obviously won’t have openers or bullpen days, but I think they’re trying to perfect the strategy that LA was trying by rotating pitchers in and out based on who has options and protecting SP inning totals. And our pitching staff is better this year on the aggregate than it was last year, so why not?

  84. I think bullpenning can work for a game here or there – it’s not really all that different from what we did in the mid 90’s when Terrell Wade became an emergency starter and wasn’t stretched out.

    I don’t see it as a viable regular strategy unless you’re planning to give a LOT of innings to those AAAA guys.

  85. You’d have to define AAAA guy. There are probably only 4-5 of the 26 pitchers on the 40-man that fit that description.

  86. Looking at the 40-man, there are 4-5 guys I have never heard of, so not sure whether they’d count. Also: Peter Moylan is on our 40-man roster? Is that a mistake?

    In general I’d say AAAA guys are guys with options, who are not good enough to stick in our regular rotation or who are not useful in high-leverage bullpen situations. Wisler was a classic AAAA guy. Allard may be that as well.

  87. We have a lot of guys who are knocking on the door. Only way to figure out which of them can reliably get major league hitters out is to put them in front of major league hitters, and just using a rotating 6th-man position to get them spot starts every few weeks isn’t good enough.

    Lots of great pitchers worked their way into the rotation from the bullpen. The bullpenning strategy may be even better because it allows you to stretch them out a bit rather than just making them 6th and 7th inning guys.

    And, look — if Soroka can actually get 21 outs in a single evening, awesome! Maybe Wright can, too. Or Anderson! Or maybe they can really only reliably get 9-12 outs before completely losing it. That’s cool too. Only way to find out is to try it.

  88. Interesting news today from the WSJ: “Sinclair is also pursuing 21st Century Fox ’s 22 regional sports networks, people familiar with the matter said. The government is requiring Walt Disney Co. to sell them as a condition for approving Disney’s acquisition of most of Fox’s assets….

    Besides Sinclair, other bidders for the channels include Liberty Media Corp. and Major League Baseball, people close to the matter said.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/chicago-cubs-sinclair-create-new-cable-channel-to-carry-games-11550059203

  89. I’m not opposed to a 6 or 7 man rotation. I actually kind of want to see what it would look like in practice. I don’t like the Rays’ “opener” gambit at all. It feels like a gimmick that will eventually fail miserably. But having your “#4” and “#5” starter actually be two kids who are tasked with getting 7-8 innings that day? I’m pretty keen on that. That would even be a slight justification for a Kimbrel buy, going on the theory that one of those relief slots are actually going into a planned half-starter package, so you’d need a lock down “last three” from the actual pen.

  90. I’m fine with Liberty getting regional sports in exchange for getting the X’s into the MCU. Everything has a trade off.

  91. AAAA guys (based on current talent, not upside):

    Allard
    Parsons
    Webb
    Weigel
    Ynoa
    Jackson

    Actual major leaguers:
    Biddle
    Carle
    Dayton – career 3.42 ERA in 50 IP, injured last year, unless you want to argue that his injury risk means he’s “AAAA”
    Folty
    Freeman (like him or not, but he’s a perfectly cromulent middle reliever with a 3.61 career ERA/3.91 FIP and has thrown 226 big league innings)
    Fried
    Gausman
    Gohara
    Minter
    Newcomb
    O’Day
    Sobotka
    Soroka
    Teheran
    Touki
    Venters
    Vizzy
    Wilson
    Winkler
    Wright

    That’s actually 20 names. Wright and Wilson are easy that they’ll be in AAA, so that’s 18. The 6th spot will rove between AAA and the bullpen until it’s consistently needed in May. But you’re going to have to find a spot for the rest of the guys, and saving SP innings early on and giving these guys additional looks is a great use of resources.

    See, the counter punch to not trading your prospects is that they actually get to help you and play for you. Is Phillies Journal or Talking Mutts out there exciting about just how much dang pitching they have? No.

  92. I hate this line of thinking with a searing passion.

    Yeah, it’s great that we’ve refused to make ourselves better because now we can throw a bunch of young pitchers, most of whom we have no idea what to expect from, against the wall and see who sticks! Instead of doing our best to contend! Doesn’t that sound exciting?

  93. Is there something wrong with having an elite rotation for the next 5-6 years for the cost of one to two elite FAs?

    I mean, sure, trade Teheran to clear his $11M and take back Greinke and close to his entire salary. No one is arguing against that. That would be tremendous. But very rarely — Houston last year being one of the lone examples this decade — do you have 5 SPs start all of your team’s games and your pen stay largely in tact. You need depth across 162 games, especially if you’re trying to win a tough division.

    It all just goes back to fan resentment at having a $113M payroll on February 13th.

  94. @115

    That, plus the fact that I think this is a dumb plan. The solution is and has always been to trade some of these pitchers, not to try to MacGyver a way for them all to be able to pitch for the Braves at the same time.

  95. No one saying they should do that. You can still trade one or two from the list, Anderson, Wentz, Muller, Ynoa, Allard, Weigel, Tarnok, etc. No one is saying all of them. It’s frustrating there’s been no deal on February 13th, but that’s the long and short of the frustration. I’ll join you in a few weeks. I think a lot of fans aren’t ready now because we didn’t trade a 60 FV prospect + + + for JT Realmuto, and that’s really where the tide turned this offseason.

  96. @117 No, I believe the fans aren’t ready now because we’re not anywhere in the mix for either of the top two free agents nor were we even in the mix for any of the good players traded this off-season. The tide turned when it became evident that we waited a long time on a trade to materialize while a lot of other opportunities passed by.

  97. Still plenty of guys out there. I’m more frustrated than the FO won’t tell us who they’re after. I’m not even reading Bowman’s crap anymore.

  98. I think a Phillies free agent signing is becoming imminent. They just extended Nola. Seems like that could be a bid to sign Harper.

  99. I don’t envy Baghdad Bowman having to write what he does, I’m sure he knows this Braves offseason has been pretty lame.

  100. @115: An elite rotation is the plan now? How has this group of liars and charlatans (yes, I also include our former GM Lord Voldemort) convinced most of the fans that the things they do or fail to do are “all part of the plan.” I swear, the media guide this year should be titled “Gaslighting the Braves Way.” As some have said, we may finish fourth in the division, but we’ll have the BEST PROSPECTS according to some dude’s online guide…or something. There’s always next year…or five years from now I guess.

  101. Can we at least see what the roster is on opening day before passing judgment on the offseason? I mean we won the division just last year and we have an incredible farm system and an enviable amount of youth already in the majors. The negativity is quite tiresome around here at times.

    I admit that I want Bryce as much as anyone and I’m half delusional enough to think it could happen still, but frankly, there is just an outstanding chance that whoever signs Manny or Bryce will regret it by the 3rd year if not sooner. As has been said many times here, the top dollar FA contracts rarely work out and I’d say more than 50% wind up being outright catastrophes.

  102. One assumes Folty, Newcomb, Teheran, Gausman, Minter, Vizciano and Venters are all slotted for “permanent” spots on the roster, to the extent there is such a thing.

    O’Day can’t be optioned due to his length of service.

    I believe Biddle, Dayton & Freeman are all out of options. It’s possible one or more of those guys simply doesn’t make the team, but they’d have to DFAd.

    That’s 11 spots out of a 12 or 13 man staff, and said staff does not include Carle, Sobotka or Winkler, two of whom were used heavily last year and one of whom impressed in a limited stint.

    Even accounting for injuries or ineffectiveness, I’m not sure the idea of shuffling 5-6 guys between 1-2 spots is going to be particularly valuable. We have an excess of pitching prospects. We can either trade some now to address other positions of need, or keep them all and eventually just have to dump the ones that don’t work out for nothing while not addressing other positions of need.

  103. One can assume that the Braves actions (or lack thereof) to date are part of their plan because otherwise, you’d have to assume they have no plan. I’m willing to entertain the never ending wailing and rending of garments because people don’t *like* management’s plan, but I’m not willing to float through “they don’t even have one.”

    They have a plan. Thus, their actions are guided by that plan. For better or worse.

    As for Bowman, you guys are still working in the old world of Braves management by house organ media outlets. Alex Anthopoulos does not leak his moves. And he’s generally the only guy working the angles. Unlike most GM’s, he doesn’t have a couple of “assistants to the GM” taking calls and replying to texts for him. It’s him, his phone, and his contacts list. You will know what we are going to do after it is reported as done. This is not the Johns feeding hype to DOB.

  104. Also, I want to go on record as wanting the Phils to sign Machado. I think he will be a franchise killer sooner rather than later.

  105. @125 Of course there’s a plan. But plans are also subject to change. The plan we started with at the beginning of the off-season may not be the plan that was discussed in Denver during the Winter Meetings. The plan may not involve amassing the most talent possible as its priority. It would still be a plan while not being one that suits the best interest of Braves’ fans.

    So, no, I don’t trust them to have a plan that aligns with what we would want. Winning a world series or even optimally running a baseball team may actually be further down on their list of priorities, behind things like maximize margin of profit, and I’m not okay with that.

  106. @123 The negativity is quite tiresome around here at times.

    That’s the reason why I’m trying to post less right now. I still have some sliver of hope before the season starts, but overall I’ve got very little positive to say about the way this team is being organized and assembled.

    I want everyone who can be hyped and happy about the team to be able to have that. Our guys can still surpass all expectations and predictions. They will have to in order to get back to the playoffs again (barring a major acquisition).

  107. I was hoping we’d get someone with a little more punch in RF this offseason, such as Castellanos; but I’m largely fine with the way this offseason has gone. I’m excited for the season. Although, I’d still like to see them add Kimbrel, which there’s still time for.

    When they came out and said there’d be more money to spend this offseason, I don’t think that was ever an indication that they were going to jump into the Harper or Machado markets. There was never going to be Harper or Machado money. So maybe they set themselves up to fail in some fans eyes there.

    I detest the “opener” garbage that TB is doing, I’d just like to add. It’s a blight on the game of baseball, and quite literally cheapens everything it means to be a starting pitcher.

  108. Yea I’m sure there is a plan. I’m just worried it’s something along the lines of “build a pretty good and relatively inexpensive team and hope to catch lightning in a bottle in the postseason”, as opposed to “put the best possible team on the field.”

  109. @130 When they came out and said there’d be more money to spend this offseason, I don’t think that was ever an indication that they were going to jump into the Harper or Machado markets. There was never going to be Harper or Machado money. So maybe they set themselves up to fail in some fans eyes there.

    I believe there is and was enough money for either Harper or Machado. They said there was no aisle we couldn’t shop in. Whether or not it makes sense to commit long term to either of them shouldn’t have prevented us from making other good acquisitions besides signing Donaldson.

    Re-signing Nick Markakis was insult to injury, I think. We let Kurt Suzuki leave, replaced him with McCann, and then brought back the one guy we were sure we could upgrade over. It’s hard to see that as anything more than breaking even when, in fact, it could be a step back at both positions.

    Most pundits estimate the Braves have a budget cap of $130 million, but this team doesn’t act like it does.

  110. FWIW

  111. I will repeat myself from a few days ago: the Braves are the only team in the NL East with the possibility of winning 100 games. Yes, preseason forecasts have us 3rd or 4th in the standings, but, historically, all the teams to beat their forecasts by 17+ games have been chock full of youngsters with more stocked away in the minors. Other teams have the hope of catching Charlie Culberson’s best 2 months of his life as part of the season while we have the hope of getting TOR production from Touki and Soroka, or Josh Hader production from Fried or Gohara.

    There are just more ways for Atlanta’s season to go right than the other teams in the division but unfortunately the only way to achieve that possibility is to let the kids play. And that makes this offseason look planless and boring, and will likely lead to fewer wins in 2019 than we had last year. But if they succeed! Then we get a chance for something special. And even if they fail the foundation is laid for 2020 and beyond.

  112. @133 Right, and Bowman has already stated in writing that they expect the budget by season’s end or next off-season to rise to $140M.

  113. Fangrpahs updated top 100. Sixto at 17; Pache at 19. Total top 100 prospects for PHL and MIA combined = 1. Total top 100 prospects for ATL = 10.

    https://blogs.fangraphs.com/2019-top-100-prospects/

    Someone please tell me how it would not be easy for the Braves to give up Pache and another top 100 (or two) and top the Phillies deal for Realmuto???? Why couldn’t we trade for Puig/Wood? Paxton?

    After Realmuto, Puig/Wood would have been the perfect trade for the Braves even if it meant taking Kemp.

  114. @133

    What that’s worth is precisely nothing, except that they’re now not going to even give us a targeted figure for this year so that we can’t come back at them next year and say that they’ve lied when they again haven’t raised payroll at all.

  115. @131 — This is my feeling as well. My impression is that someone high up has come to the conclusion that a good team with a chance to get lucky is better for the money than going the extra mile to build a great one that has a chance to be unlucky.

    Speaking as someone who has not seen the Braves win a playoff series in his adult life, such a philosophy would be super-disappointing. Just because the playoffs are random doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try and stack the deck.

  116. I would like to point out that this team has more pitching depth than just about any other team right now. That is a good thing.

    If, God forbid, someone goes down with Tommy John (more likely than not), someone else can fill in without much drop off.

  117. It is interesting to look back a year. The payroll is almost exactly the same, but last year we had about $35M in dead contracts.

  118. @144

    They… did not look good there. Yikes. There are a lot of pissed off fans. They might have stirred the hornet’s nest one too many times.

  119. They’d better hope this team doesn’t fall off in any significant way this season, because if it does, the shit is going to hit the fan.

  120. I guess it was the same ol’ song and dance around the questions. People are saying Schultz and DOB were basically stone-walled.

    Listen, friends: we all love this team, but this is war. Against LM and against a guy I’ve been suspicious of for a very long time, McGuirk. They don’t want or need a city to turn against its team. A lot of fans are unhappy right now. Fans I know in Alabama are just as aware as us about the lack of spending. That stadium may not be full this season…

    We need to help make them infamous…

  121. My favorite part was when AA kinda sorta claimed that our payroll is actually higher right now than it was at this point last year because we shouldn’t be counting all of the dead money from Adrian Gonzalez and whatnot against last year’s Opening Day payroll.

    It doesn’t get much better or less disingenuous from there. There’s a bunch of stuff about how we could make any move we wanted financially, but AA hasn’t seen anything worth doing (you’ve seen that before)…and about how Liberty Media has no control over the payroll of the baseball team they own (you’ve seen that before, too, and I have no doubt the knuckleheads at Talking Chop will nod dutifully over that one).

  122. I don’t care if the front office is honest with fans — for the millionth time, they have lots of incentives not to be, if they are trying in good faith to improve the team. I don’t even necessarily care if we add payroll per se — hey, if they want to improve the team the hard way, fine, so be it.

    But they have to deliver. It’s malpractice to have a team in this position and not find a way to do more to improve it. That’s the bottom line. You’ve got to get the job done, and they haven’t — AA apparently getting Realmuto’s age wrong is just insult to injury.

    As things stand, the Braves will be just as competitive as the division’s other competitive teams, and maybe things will break their way again. If they don’t, then it’s on fans to make them suffer the consequences.

    I will say, deploying Walter Banks as a sort of human shield in the wake of this interview is hilarious.

  123. AA thinks we’re all idiots. In reference to JTR, “If you’re trading for a 30-year-old player, how long are you going to extend him?” Well, JTR is 27, and I guess we’ve never signed or extended a catcher over the age of 30, right?

  124. I know I’m in the absolute minority but I am fine with how things have been going this offseason.
    I am fine with our pitching going into the season.
    Sure, I would have loved to have anyone but Kakes out there and have Julio traded but I’m happy to go into the season like this and make necessary adjustments as needed in summer.

    Everything AA and McGuirk said in The Athletic interview was exactly what was to be expected.

    I for one am happy to get the season started with the roster as is. And I’m excited to see what Soroka, Firied, Gohara et al can do. I believe we’ll have one of the better pitching in the NL.

    Go Braves.

  125. It’s hard to keep rehashing the same frustrations, but I really feel Anthopoulos has been AWOL this offseason, has been derelict in his duties as the general manager of the 2019 Atlanta Braves. Anthopoulos himself said back in November that he wanted to add a “closer, top of the rotation starter and a corner outfield bat” this offseason, and said he’d probably only be able “to add two of those three things.”

    Well, pitchers and catchers are about to report, and he’s done a grand total of zero of those three things. It’s just inexcusable, I’m sorry.

  126. I’m quite positive AA got his start at a car or boat dealership. He just has that look.

    Well I don’t want to buy it anymore. Liberty media may not be dictating payroll, but they sure as hell have incentivised McGuirk to prioritize debt over building the team up. Or something. I always found it incredibly odd that a team in the midst of a retool would slash payroll and dump contracts. Why did we do that? Sometimes we got little in return as opposed to prospects. Those years with sub 80M payroll… Put that towards the debt. Not our revenue.

    I meant it… Make them infamous.

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