Premature POWER RANKING Of The Offseason’s Biggest Winners (by Adam R.)

5) Strategic modernity

– Johan Camargo putting the “super” in “super-sub.” The prospect of shredding opposing lineups with a ‘pen loaded with talented prospects. It’ll be nice to see the Braves maybe catching up to other teams when it comes to getting the most out of the roster.

4) Family reunions

– I was feeling down about McCann and especially Markakis coming back, but Donny found the silver lining. Just think, an entire world of incest jokes to explore, should things go south with this team.

3) The Bringer of Rain

– From Pensacola, Florida…at a weight of 210 pounds…he is your former American League Most Valuable Player of the Yeeeeeeeear… … …JOOOOOOOOSHHHHHHHHH DONNNNNNALLLLLLLLLDDDDSOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN. Yes, I’m excited. If he stays healthy, he’s most likely going to be a lot of fun to watch.

2) Chief Nocahoma, gaz, DG et al

– A rebuild that failed to climax in an offseason payroll increase is the equivalent of a World Series ring for these guys. Whether you were right all along or if management/labor conflict just happened to cast a pall on this offseason, we’ll never know. But a win’s a win. Take a lap, boys.

1) Duh, POWER RANKINGS

– You missed them, and you know it.

Premature POWER RANKING of the offseason’s biggest losers:

5) Craig Mish

– I’m sure we’ve all learned our lesson and will never again put our faith in baseball Twitter “insiders,” am I right? Hello? Is this thing on?

4) To-do lists

– Upgrade RF, starting pitching, the relief corps? Nah, bro. Gonna just chill here at my local Tim Horton’s, politely sippin’ my Labatt Blue and listening to the Tragically Hip, eh?

3) Free agents and just stuff happening in general

– Good for Patrick Corbin and a few other guys. This tweet still holds true:

2) The no-politics rule

– Sorry, Mac. I get what you were going for. And to be fair, we’ve been able to have an ongoing discussion about the balance of power in MLB without it descending into thermonuclear partisan warfare, even despite Sam! Pretty good, Braves Journal! What I’m getting at here is something perhaps even darker: a lot of sports fandom is escape from reality. But it’s not just that there’s nowhere to run from the politics that saturates baseball’s offseason, it’s that Braves fans can’t even avoid the EXACT pitched battles, the EXACT stage dramas where U.S. politics today are happening. Fans want to think about what’s the next step after Josh Donaldson. But what they get to think about are taxpayer boondoggles, transit nightmares, fraught racial dynamics — the very stuff most normal people desperately want a break from having to think about when they turn on a ball game. Fans even get slick political ads on social media — let’s call them what they are — deploying poor Walter Banks as a human PR shield. LOL, what an offseason! At the end of day, you’ve got to acknowledge the truth. A no-politics rule is probably necessary to maintain order on a blog with even a small readership. But the biggest beneficiary of enforced silence on matters of politics is ALWAYS the status quo. And boy, can that come back to bite Braves fans. Which leads me to…

1) Baseball fans everywhere

– In order to do their part to rein in free agent spending — something that’s in the Braves management’s long-term interests — the Braves are willing to risk not keeping up with other NL East teams and missing the playoffs upon completing a rebuild. So, as a fan, what short-term loss are YOU willing to incur in order to ensure that YOUR long-term interests are protected? I am dead quasi-serious when I propose changing this website to (WHATEVER TEAM THAT SIGNS HARPER) Journal, just to do our part to realign owners’ incentives. Fans nationwide should do the same. Part of me wants to see millions upon millions of fans spend money on, like, the White Sox or the Padres or whoever wins the Harper sweepstakes for one season. Even the Phillies. Owners are breaking their obligation to fans. Fans should feel no obligation to stick with their hometown franchises. You’ve got power. Consider using it.

188 thoughts on “Premature POWER RANKING Of The Offseason’s Biggest Winners (by Adam R.)”

  1. When I load up the Braves Journal email account, and there’s a power ranking in there, then it’s a good morning. I think Adam goes on a bender, and voila.

  2. I was talking with a buddy a few days ago about NBA fandom. My hometown team is the Hornets who never have any chance of going deep in the playoffs, so I find myself latching onto different teams in different years, depending on which stars are on the roster. I kind of like the Kings right now, for example, because I like Bagley and Giles. 5 years from now, though, it may be completely different. The NBA has perfected the idea of following players rather than laundry, and the players now have so much control over where they play that they are essentially running the show. And that is FUN. It’s fun during the season, and it’s fun in the offseason.

    Baseball is rarely star-driven and more steeped in tradition, so there’s a stronger pull (at least for me) to root for laundry. Not sure I can break out of that. The Braves are pretty good. If they get some breaks they could be good enough to get in the playoffs, and if they happen to get hot during the playoffs, who knows? That’s not super-inspiring but it may just be the reality until the economic system changes.

  3. Well, that’s what you get for living in Charlotte.

    The Braves didn’t even make CBS Sports’ top five “worst offseasons.”

  4. What I’m getting at here is something perhaps even darker: a lot of sports fandom is escape from reality. But it’s not just that there’s nowhere to run from the politics that saturates baseball’s offseason, it’s that Braves fans can’t even avoid the EXACT pitched battles, the EXACT stage dramas where U.S. politics today are happening. Fans want to think about what’s the next step after Josh Donaldson. But what they get to think about are taxpayer boondoggles, transit nightmares, fraught racial dynamics — the very stuff most normal people desperately want a break from having to think about when they turn on a ball game. Fans even get slick political ads on social media

    I’m sure I’m not the only person getting pushed ads here for…politicians and causes I would rather burn the entire republic to the ground than support.

    You’re point is one that I’ve made a thousand times over the years, across various forums. If you are going to create a real community, you have to live in the real world. And to do that, you can’t just pretend other shit doesn’t exist.

  5. I am dead quasi-serious when I propose changing this website to (WHATEVER TEAM THAT SIGNS HARPER) Journal, just to do our part to realign owners’ incentives. Fans nationwide should do the same.

    – Adam R., “Premature POWER RANKING Of The Offseason’s Biggest Winners”

    — I said that I had lost the faith — Stephen answered — but not that I had lost selfrespect. What kind of liberation would that be to forsake an absurdity which is logical and coherent and to embrace one which is illogical and incoherent?

    — James Joyce, “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man”

    Hell, no, I won’t go root for another team.

    I’ll just ignore baseball.

  6. @7 — Same. I’m too set in my ways to root for another team, and I can’t get into sports without a strong rooting interest.

    If the Braves decide that the peak of the mountain is “90 wins and maybe we get lucky, now excuse me I’ve got a swimming pool of cash to attend to,” well, I’ve got other hobbies.

  7. Here’s a little pick-me-up for you guys. I’m pissed too, but there’s no way in hell I’m going to cut off my nose to spite my face and not watch a very exciting young team featuring the player that may become the best Brave of this generation. I was all aboard the Realmuto train because catcher was the most obvious position AA could have upgraded, and he went to a division rival for a 20 year pitcher with elbow problems. But I’ve moved past that disappointment. If we can shop in any aisle, we should sign Kimbrell while we’re paying Acuna and Ozzie 550k per and have a dirt cheap, super talented pitching staff. Those highlights should remind some of you that our closer situation is tenuous.

  8. You’re all no fun.

    I’m imagining an ad campaign rollout. A child standing in a field of green wearing a Braves cap slowly takes it off. Lens flare from the sun as it sets is visible in the shot. Strings swell as a middle aged African American man begins to unbutton his Chipper jersey in his basement man cave. Cut to a white suburban housewife in a sparkling white kitchen putting down her foam tomahawk on the table.

    Then cut to tight shot of a mumble-rap-looking multi-ethnic teenager in a urban setting. The teen looks directly into the camera and says, “Today, I declare myself a free agent.” Back to the middle aged man who looks at us and repeats, “Today, I declare myself a free agent.” The suburban housewife echoes sadly, “A free agent.” Cut to an aging war veteran on his couch with his ‘Nam hat who says deadpan, “I ain’t no captive. I’m free. Today, I declare myself a free agent.”

    Child in the field says, “If the Braves won’t play ball, I’ll go elsewhere. Who wants me?”

    Fade to black. Then in white text: #FreeYourself

    We’d go out and sign Harper that day, lol.

  9. And to be fair to Mish, he never guaranteed the Braves would get JTR, just that the Marlins preferred the Braves prospects and the Braves were in the best position to get it done. He qualified by saying it takes two to tango. Obviously we didn’t feel like dancing.

  10. I love me some power rankings. I think “strategic modernity” is too low though. We crushed the super-sub idea so hard, we’ve got one who’s better than 3 of our starters.

  11. @11, unfortunately, you’re a cynic who’s just a disappointed idealist. Our teams are just LBO opportunities to these billionaires. They don’t care about shedding fans. They just care about harvesting cash. Successfully arbitraging a managed decline is literally the single thing they know how to do best in the world.

  12. Well that interview really confirms that the suits strategy here is to continue to play the fan base for fools so they can pay down the billionaire’s debt while increasing their equity in the franchise. Not that anyone couldn’t see this five years ago, but holy shit these guys had some awful answers…

    – Arguing that because they got rid of dead money that means they increased the payroll?

    – “Did we promise we were going to spend more money, or did we promise we were going to have more flexibility? Nobody is ever going to say, “We have to spend ‘X’ amount.”

    Yikes… yes in fact the internet isn’t deleted and you can find where you said that dipshit.

    – If the price was too high on Realmuto then just say that… it’s harder to explain signing Nick Markakis, what’s the excuse there?

    – “The last thing you can do is follow our bouncing ball of economics, with debt. It costs a lot to build this edifice.”

    I just… can’t. Fuck these guys.

  13. Every last one of you will be back on the wagon if this team, with no one else at all, is winning and chasing the division in August.

    Every. Last. One of you.

  14. @16, well… yeah. We’ll all be happy if the team wins, with the qualifier that this is the internet so there will always be someone who is unhappy.

  15. Every last one of you will be back on the wagon if this team, with no one else at all, is winning and chasing the division in August.

    And that could very well happen.

    Our teams are just LBO opportunities to these billionaires. They don’t care about shedding fans. They just care about harvesting cash. Successfully arbitraging a managed decline is literally the single thing they know how to do best in the world.

    We’re at the point where baseball blogs need leveraged buyout explainers rather than player analyses.

    Hmm. So where’s the pressure point? My general assumption is that change is easier to make in the marketplace than in formal politics right now. But…

    The Braves didn’t even make CBS Sports’ top five “worst offseasons.”

    Sam, where did you find this list?

  16. @7…YES

    @16…YES !!!

    @14…’successfully arbitraging a managed decline’. This is the phrase of the week as far as I am concerned and I would like to hear of a few examples from our resident board economist, JF.

    Are we in Sears/Blockbuster/Mirimax territory here? Or rather a Marlin/an Oriole? Alex, that phrase called to me, flowed. Political as hell.

  17. @16

    Incorrect, I was not happy they won the division last year because I knew it would show them the path they’re taking can be successful enough they won’t ever have to meaningfully invest in the team. And here we are 4 months later and payroll is down and they’re making excuses for it just like I knew they would.

    So not Every. Single. One. Of. Us. Will be happy if they back their way into a division again. Last year’s team was obviously not that good and badly exposed in the playoffs, it’s unlikely they’re in the same position this year.

  18. in matters of cobbled expenses
    let’s ostensibly swing for the fences
    a giant bid here
    we were really so near
    and more till they come to their senses.

  19. Sam, where did you find this list?

    Nvm, found it.

    They go:
    5. Rays
    4. Angels
    3. Indians
    2. Cubs
    1. Dodgers

    I’m trying to envision a path to a few U.S. Senators — some who are vulnerable-ish and up in 2020 (e.g. Perdue), some with higher political aspirations (Brown, Harris), a few who’d like to stick it to MLB owners because of their personal politics (Brown again?), and critically, all of whom see an opportunity to respond to hometown fan anger — talking in public about MLB’s antitrust exemption or something.

    Seems rather hard.

  20. You defend this ridiculous subterfuge if you want, Sam. Yes, if the team is contending in August, I’ll be rooting for them…but it will be with the knowledge that it’s not likely to ever lead to a championship because ownership would rather pay down debt and be real estate tycoons than actually build a baseball team.

    @24, You can count on one hand the number of teams who haven’t had a ridiculously terrible offseason. That’s the whole point! Someone who laughs at the idea of collusion is going to have to explain why seemingly every team is willingly having a bad offseason.

  21. I’m trying to envision a path to a few U.S. Senators — some who are vulnerable-ish and up in 2020 (e.g. Perdue)

    Really, Perdue? Doug Jones is a thousand times more vulnerable, to the point I’d be stunned if he didn’t get tossed out next year.

  22. Really, Perdue? Doug Jones is a thousand times more vulnerable.

    Very fair, but perhaps vulnerable in an unhelpful direction. And the idea is still too challenging.

  23. I both appreciate and deserve the hat tip. Liberty Media just hopes to have enough thots from Chamblee in seats to keep up appearances.

    I celebrate your entire catalog of posts. Now who are you again?

  24. @27

    “Well we tired to offer Ozzie and Ronnie something well in a market value of climate factoring a living cost and blue.

    In the end it didn’t work out. But we are excited about the four (local pitchers) in the draft we were able sign under slot. Even though they are all in A ball, we feel they may be able to anchor the rotation late this summer and help us reach our goal of green.”

    – AA and Terry McLiar

  25. I’ve had this sickening suspicion that we didn’t sign Carter Stewart last year because of the dead money. That’s how much I don’t trust the front office these days…

    If you really want to effect a response from them, figure out the way to drag Liberty Media into the mud over the Braves. Turn an entire region against LM and have it rise to the national attention.

    However we could impact their business, apart from just the Braves, is the quickest and surest way to get them to try to undo the damage done and thusly get them unload this team to whomever wants to buy at the earliest juncture.

    I’m really serious. Make them infamous.

  26. I know I’m in the minority here, but the interview didn’t bother me at all. I particularly found AA to be rather forthcoming (as much as he could be without giving away the whole playbook).

    I will say again, we added a perennial MVP candidate to a division winning team with a top 3 farm system and tremendous youth and upside already in the majors. If you are asking which team I want to be for the next 5 years in the NL East, it’s Atlanta hands down.

    It could very well be that the best move is no move at the current moment. It doesn’t appear that Kluber or Haniger are available so most of the other names bandied about don’t move the needle enough to warrant trading top prospects. JTR was barely an upgrade over what we will have at C in 2019 when you factor framing.

  27. @30 Maybe, when I go to McDonalds near STP, I could order a Terry McLiar w/ cheese. They could print his face on the wrapper. :)

  28. You would like to think if a few very bright, aggressive gals can stop Amazon and force them into a major 180 and regroup this morning, then some clever guys could maybe make LM equally uncomfortable.

    ‘Or like stout Cortez, when with eagle eye
    she looked at the specifics
    never silent, she’ll speak and scare the men.’

    Occasio, now move your gaze south.

  29. I also appreciate the h/t, but I really don’t want to be “right” on this. That just means that the team I’ve invested so much of my life in has become something I hate and won’t seriously compete. I also don’t like being lied to or used. I pull for labor, and right now I see management screwing over both labor and the consumers in favor of a bottom line that only matters to the corporation.

  30. 32—I’m with you. That interview was not nearly as REVEALING and HORRIBLE as several on here seem to think.

  31. @36 I’m sure those two sides will be fine in a week. Heck, they probably are now. Bauer got his money, and the Indians will have him pitching for them.

    The arbitration process is such a weird thing, though. It’s really unwinnable on either side, even if you “win” the case.

  32. @41 I feel as if the writer is over-reacting a bit here.

    Anthopolous probably should’ve chosen his wording better on his quote about “financial flexibility,” because I can see how that could ruffle some feathers. It’s an interview though, so also sort of had to spit that out on the fly.

    All he’s essentially saying though is they’re not going to spend money simply to spend it. I mean, flip it around, and let’s say he went out tomorrow and set the market on Keuchel, inking him to a 5 year and 125 million dollar deal- and tell me if that’s better?

    He’s saying they have the ability to make a move, which is a nice bit of transparency. Some GMs would hide those details, because if nothing materialized, it’s easy to say, “we just didn’t have the budget”…

  33. @44

    Except he can’t say that because he’s already repeatedly said they have the money to sign whoever they want. So this is the best he can do to slither his way out of the question. I don’t see any transparency at all here.

  34. For the record, Craig lurks here and almost certainly got the idea for that column from the general antipathy of the posts here.

  35. @46: Sam, I thought the same thing when I saw that Craig titled his article eerily similar to something I wrote this morning about 3.5 hours before he posted it.

  36. The surest way to ensure a losing strategy is to focus on paying every roster spot at or below value. The point of having players at below value is so that you can afford to go above value on guys like Kuechel, Harper, Machado, who put you over the top.

    This is based on a set of assumptions, mainly that you are in fact trying to win championships.

  37. King, there’s really no need for anybody to defend these two. You’re talking in literal circles to excuse anything Anthopolous said. The literal fact is that AA said what he said and it wasn’t received well by many. End of the story. Those two could not have stirred up the hornets nest anymore than they did with those remarks.

    Honestly, they know the fans aren’t feeling well about the off-season, and this is how they’ve chosen their words. They’re not consoling or reassuring. They’ve doubled down on the way they’re running things.

  38. @16: “Every last one of you will be back on the wagon if this team, with no one else at all, is winning and chasing the division in August. Every. Last. One of you.

    Yes, but I think the Braves finishing in first place is a lot less likely to happen now because of the general manager’s direct actions (or lack thereof.) This has been a questionable offseason regardless of the results in 2019.

    I mean, let’s pretend the Marlins are our 2019 NL East champions, would that mean they made all the right moves to win that title these past few months?

  39. I don’t think anybody posting here is off the Braves wagon. They’re more likely off the Alex Anthopolous/Liberty Media wagon, which I can’t see why anybody wouldn’t be. Until we see a payroll approaching $140 million, they’re just saying anything to convince us to keep watching and keep going to the games, and more importantly stopping by the Battery.

    Sorry, Alex, I’m only interested in “value” right now, but I have a lot of flexibility going forward. Things can change, and I’ll be able to shop in any aisle. You’d just better hope it’s at the Battery instead of the Bass Pro Shops.

  40. @50 You have to judge the work upon it’s completion, though. If the Braves don’t sign Kimbrel, or don’t add anything of significance during the season via trade, then he’s lied, and it’s savings, and not flexibility.

    Right now some are trying to grade a half finished term paper.

    I’d rather Anthopolous’ approach than be an M’s fan, stuck with a guy like trader Jerry, and no real plan other than to flip over half the roster in an offseason, and see what happens. That’s just me.

  41. @49

    Orlando… hmmm….

    Seriously, this offseason has been a rollercoaster as it is. Don’t play games with me, Kimbrel.

  42. @57

    It’s definitely half-finished. You may think the Braves are finished, and you would be justified in thinking that, but there are still tons of FAs left unsigned, and considering that will have a ripple effect on the trade market, then the offseason is far from finished.

    If you were an unsigned player, man, you’d be pissed. And you’re starting to see more publicly negative statements. Though Pat Neshek came out and admitted that they signed a bad CBA. He said “probably”, to be fair, but the players only have themselves to blame, and pride could set in and a strike could easily occur. They gotta get it figured out.

  43. …The Mariners’ plan makes sense to me.

    The Braves’ plan made sense to me too, right up until we didn’t follow through this offseason.

  44. By the way, Anibal Sanchez signed as a free agent March 16th. Of course, he had just been released by the Twins, and you can largely say the Braves got lucky with how well he performed. But you have to look at stuff the Braves are doing like outbidding several teams for Mike Fast, and you at least have to think that the Braves are working very diligently to be ahead of the league analytically. So when you have largely all of your players either meeting their perceived performance levels or exceeding them, you have to at least give a wink to the scouting and development department that AA is putting together.

    Down year:
    Dansby

    Up year:
    Anibal
    Charlie
    Suzuki
    Nick (even including his slump)
    Folty
    Basically the entire pen except for Minter (who, with a 2.72 FIP, was merely just shy of what we hoped he would be)

    Everybody else played up to their talent level it would seem. And speaking of plans, they have said this is part of their plan. And it’s working. Really well.

    But Kimbrel. Listen, I just want him. He’s not a Honda. He’s an Aston Martin. And Aston Martin is my dream car, and if it’s someone else’s money, I’m gonna ask for an Aston Martin, not a Honda.

    Give me the pitching DB10. Give. Me. Kimbrel.

  45. Yeah, the thing with Aníbal Sánchez is no one expected much from the 2018 Atlanta Braves.

    One would have thought the team’s season that year would have motivated its general manager and front office to more proactively build it to compete the next year (i.e., here in 2019.)

  46. Give me the pitching DB10. Give. Me. Kimbrel.

    And the stage is now set for Rob to be disappointed too. Join us, brother.

    So when you have largely all of your players either meeting their perceived performance levels or exceeding them, you have to at least give a wink to the scouting and development department that AA is putting together.

    Obviously, this is a good thing, but the goalposts really need to stay at making sure this is at least a 90-win team. Everybody beating their personal goals is great, but it all needs to add up to 90+.

  47. (In other news, it’s been 28 years since 1991. Twenty-eight years since Greg Olson leapt into Smoltzie’s arms. Twenty-eight years since Gorby broke up the USSR. Twenty-eight years since Terminator 2. Elvis is dead, and I don’t feel so good myself.)

  48. Where is the practice facility the union runs for unsigned free agents to get into shape. Near Orlando perhaps.

  49. Back from a Valentine movie/restaurant combo i was awed to see…the presentation of a long stemmed rose to each couple in line.

    What made it really classy was the rose was handed to the man, to present to his lady when they reached their table.

    100 bucks – we know how to whoop it up in Appalachia.

  50. @67

    Bingo!

    And even if it’s not that, Orlando is also a huge, well-traveled airport smack dab in the center of the state. Half the players in the Grapefruit League probably fly into there.

  51. Sarasota is a small airport. If anything, Tampa or even St. Pete/Clearwater might be better if you were headed to Bradenton, but Orlando is becoming a more popular airport.

    Ah, hell, what’s the point of speculating? He could have flown into Orlando, Tampa, St. Pete/Clearwater, Sarasota, or even Fort Myers depending on what he was doing with those golf clubs. As for me, I’d like to think he’s got a tee time with Alex Anthopoulos tomorrow.

    And if Garth Brooks and Kimbrel are in Bradenton next week, and we have Nick Markakis in our Spring Training, then the wheels have come off the bus of this rebuild in record time.

  52. I still say we should demand a better signing than Kimbrel, but I guess I’d take it at this point. At least it would alleviate the feeling that we’re never going to do a major signing or trade again.

  53. At this point with the Braves, it isn’t as much about $ as it is roster spots. Any position player you sign means Duvall isn’t making the team. A second means Culbertson is gone. With the Realmuto trade, the infield is pretty much locked.

    They’re not going to make Neck a true bench player at this point, so the question is can you find an OF better than Duvall who can be potentially a part time player with Markakis/Ender? Even if you do, how much better will it make the overall team?

    Pending a dump of Julio, there’s basically one rotation spot open between Soroka, Gohara, Touissaint, Fried, Wilson, and Wright. The Kluber trade seems unrealistic, and I question the wisdom of signing a lefty who can barely crack 90 mph into his mid-30’s (Keuchel).

    Assuming AA doesn’t pull a rabbit in the trade market, letting one of the young guys earn/strive for a rotation spot seems a smarter play…both for the team as well as for the young guys development.

    That leaves the bullpen as the biggest area to improve, and Kimbrel the guy capable of having the largest marginal impact relative to worst guy who would be slotted there now.

    Is this most optimal way to allocate resources when constructing a roster? Probably not, but the roster decisions up to this point have kind of set the paradigm. If they don’t sign Kimbrel, I’d almost rather have one of the younger arms in there than sign one of the Tony Sipp, Tyler Clippard, etc types left on the market.

  54. That was longer than I anticipated, but the summary is: absent signing Kimbrel, I view it more likely than not that the Braves are pretty much done unless someone’s game goes to hell or gets hurt.

  55. @75

    Barring a separate trade to free up a spot somewhere, you may be right…at least about position players. They’re not gonna bench Markakis full-time or shove somebody out of the way at this late date without clearing space.

  56. @76 – Yeah…rotation-wise, maybe they do something, but if you look at all the starters who put up more than 3 wins last year, the only ones who seem even possibly available are Bauer, Kluber, and Keuchel.

    I don’t think AA would go 4 years with Keuchel, and on a deal less than 4 years, I have trouble seeing how Keuchel doesn’t end up back in Houston. The fact that Houston hasn’t seemed overly eager to resign him in and of itself is a pretty big red flag to me as well.

    Regarding Kluber/Bauer: Cleveland is looking to contend and both those guys are awesome. Why would they trade them unless someone overpays? Correspondingly, if there’s been one defining characteristic of AA to be gleaned from this offseason, it’s that he doesn’t want to overpay.

    If we’re not going to get at least a 3 WAR guy back, it just seems to me to be smarter to let one of the young guys emerge. I could see them signing a veteran or two to a minor league deal, but unless he pulls an Anabal in spring training, they already have a lack of rotation spots in the high minors to the extent I doubt they use one on a retread.

  57. And there it is again…. roster. Trade trade, trade. We will not likely sign any ML FA until a trade is made to relieve the roster crunch. There is a little wiggle room – Parsons, Luke Jackson, Raffy Lopez could be DFA’d and possibly make it through waivers. And there are so many players with options that the 25-man is probably not a concern. Even Duvall, Inciarte, Folty, and Gausman have options……

    There are not very many 3+ WAR players to trade for. Most teams need a few to be able to win. After Castellanos and the D’Backs players, there really aren’t many trades to be made out there.

  58. Spending money just for the sake of spending money to satisfy the fan base: See Lowe, Derek and Kawakami, Kenshin.

    Now Kimbrel I can see but it’s not about the money you’re spending. It’s about what makes you competitive now, adjust in summer to fill the holes and needs and make sure to have this team set up for the long-term.

    I am absolutely fine with what AA said in the interview. And again, it should not have been shocking to anyone who’s following the Braves closely.

    Go Braves.

  59. Prediction: Braves sign Kimbrel today.

    Don’t know why, especially given how pusillanimous the Braves have been throughout this offseason, but I sense it’s coming.

  60. I’m cool with rolling with Duvall as the 4th OF. He’s not as bad as he looked with us last year, because no one is that bad. It would be nice to have a little more OF depth in case of injury, but I suppose they are counting on Culberson, Camargo and/or Riley to pick up any slack that needs picking.

  61. One-year contracts would be bad for the over 35 superstar that cashed in with a ten-year, nine-figure contract, wouldn’t it?

  62. If one-year contracts were adopted across the board, it would be utterly disastrous for players. Every player would compete against each other every year, driving down prices without any need for collusion in a total buyer’s market.

    Marvin Miller realized that:

    In the wake of the Messersmith decision it dawned on me, as a terrifying possibility, that the owners might suddenly wake up one day and realize that yearly free agency was the best possible thing for them; that is, if all players became free agents at the end of the year, the market would be flooded, and salaries would be held down. It wouldn’t so much be a matter of the teams bidding against one another for one player as of players competing against each other. … What would we do, I wondered, if just one of the owners was smart enough to figure out the money they would save if all players became free agents every year?

    https://blogs.fangraphs.com/marvin-millers-legacy-and-the-decline-of-labor/

  63. #85

    I would think so, but my concern is that owners would revert to the so-called “plantation system” of signing players to one-year contracts, which prompted Curt Flood to declare himself a free agent.

    What Alex said at #86.

  64. Pushing pre-arb and arb itself back to 2 year windows, rather than three each, and eliminating the “super two” shenanigans that allow for the manipulation of service time, would be a huge win for the union. Then have membership come to terms with the fact that 10+ year deals are not a thing much any more unless you’re Mike Trout.

  65. @79 – timo,

    The Derek Lowe/Kenshin Kawakami signings weren’t , to me, a lesson about spending too much money. They were a lesson about being too cheap.

    The top 3 free agents that offseason were CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett & Mark Teixeira (still a douche).

    The Yankees needing pitching and a bat, spent big money, signed all 3 of the above, and won the World Series.

    The Braves needed pitching and a bat, spent less money, singed Lowe, Kawakami & Garret Anderson (ACHE) and finished 3rd in a crappy division.

    Follow the money.

  66. @89, right. And that’s my point. We won’t -and IMO shouldn’t- pay 300/10 or possibly even more for Harper.
    So don’t spend money on the likes of KK and ACHE just to shut up the fanbase.

  67. @87

    I’m pretty sure not even him, though he will be used as the league-wide excuse for not spending money until he becomes an FA. At that point, though, everyone will back away, just like this offseason.

  68. Yeah, Craig Calcaterra getting worked up about something the Braves are or aren’t doing is…not going to get me worked up.

    I still think a trade is coming. And maybe a Kimbrel signing, but I doubt it.

  69. I actually just signed up for The Athletic and read the interview. (Ron Shandler just put a 50% promo code in his email list, since he’s joining The Atlantic.)

    It was just a bunch of really unexciting stonewalling.

    Both of these things are simultaneously true:

    • The front office has no incentive to be truthful about their strategy and every incentive to lie.
    • The fanbase has no incentive to trust them.

    McGuirk is just a suit; his answers were not even worth publishing. Anthopoulos’s answers, though, strain some belief.

    Specifically: “The market is the market.”

    There is an unprecedented number of marquee free agents still on the board, after an unprecedentedly slow offseason with a highly suspect level of disinterest in players like Machado and Harper, with even less interest in Keuchel. This is one of the most lopsided buyers’ markets there could be.

    Anthopoulos’s comment would make perfect sense in a seller’s market, with hugely inflated prices, where waiting the market out is the right move. But it makes very little sense in this one.

  70. The owners are screwing up a great game. But we shouldn’t expect anything different from them—they will always (with a few exceptions—thanks Ted!) favor more profits over winning. It will take better advocacy by the players. So, thanks for the reminder @86, Alex; what MLB needs more than anything is someone like Marvin Miller. And Sam’s suggestions @87 would be a bigstep in the right direction.

  71. 93—It makes plenty of sense, and it’s pretty simple: The Braves have determined what they are willing to pay for various players, and none of those players, at present, are willing to accept what the Braves have offered. That — what the players cost to acquire — is literally “the market.”

    Now, you and I may disagree with what the Braves are willing to pay, but his reference to “the market” is pretty straightforward.

  72. However you choose to read into their responses to the questions, remember that the overwhelming consensus among fans who’ve read the interview came away frustrated and feeling lied to.

    It also doesn’t help that a portion of the fan base is actually supportive of the tight wad strategy and is all into evangelizing “good value” acquisitions and building a low-cost marginal powerhouse baseball team. Those guys all need to just shut up and listen to what the rest of the fan base is actually upset about.

    It may not be my money or tax dollars getting leeched by this corporation, but it’s my team that has been languishing on a starved vine for most of this decade. That this team seems willing to go 3 jumps but not 4 or 5 to make the key acquisitions is exactly how we ended up mired in a full rebuild. Who would want to pay money for this? Why should people flock to the games? Worst of all, look at all the time we’re wasting on this team. A majority of us don’t get hyped for low-cost marginal powerhouse teams. We long for the days of the Big 3.

    Mark it down: we could end up in another rebuild in 5 or 6 years following this formula. I don’t want to be reading about the inevitable departure of Ronny Acuna to free agency because “will cost way too much to retain for small-to-mid market team.” I don’t give a crap about what the wise money decision is. By that time, our payroll ought to be around $180M, folks. If we can’t retain the nucleus of the team by that point because payroll hasn’t advanced far enough to support it, then the problem is clearly ownership.

  73. @95, I half-agree with you and half-disagree with you.

    What they believe players are worth is far lower than the market price for those players. But his reference to “the market is the market” implies that he believes that the market price will eventually come closer to his desired price.

    That defies reason.

    Look, I WANT Anthopoulos to lie to me about who he’s pursuing in order to be able to get a better deal, so long as I believe that he and the suits are actively looking to add external talent to the team to make the team better.

    But there has been so little action that it’s harder to believe that. They haven’t been taking fliers on aging veterans for a million here and a million there. They haven’t been handing out minor league free agent contracts to talented head case busts from other teams. They haven’t been kicking the tires on middle reliever challenge trades. They haven’t done anything. So while I wish I had your faith that another trade is coming, I don’t have anything much to base it on.

  74. No. The offered price is different from the LIST price. They have not found a compromise number that will define what the MARKET price is.

    This isn’t the local supermarket where there’s a tag and you either pay that or you don’t get avocados. This is a bizarre where you and two other guys are haggling the vendor down while trying to keep the other guys from stealing your papaya.

  75. @96, yea that’s the crux of it. I see a lot on the interwebs about how free agency is a suckers bet etc, and that may be true, but every team still has to play in that market, if not to get other team’s players, then to retain our own. You either play in that market, or you are the Marlins.

  76. It really isn’t a bazaar — there is no central clearinghouse. The market price is entirely theoretical, as is any ZOPA (Zone of Potential Agreement; a negotiation term for the range of prices where the buyer’s Willingness to Pay and the seller’s Willingness to Accept may overlap). Indeed, many teams appear to have privately concluded that there is no ZOPA for them and Harper, which is why they haven’t even made him an offer, assuming he won’t accept.

    But even though most of the information about negotiations is secret, except for what has been strategically leaked, we know that the apparent market price right now is lower than the apparent market price in October, when Bryce Harper apparently turned down $300 million.

  77. @82 @83 Really the point with Duvall is that he could be optioned to Gwinnett to begin the year to get his hitting straightened out. If he gets going in the minors, he can be brought back up. Either Culby or Camargo could be a 4th OF in the meantime. Heck, you could keep 9 pitchers that way. We could trade for Castellanos and Markakis could be the 4th OF.

    I don’t understand why no one’s signed Dietrich. He is essentially the LH version of Culby.

    Further, our lineup is littered with 3+ WAR players (probably 6 of 8 positions not including Camargo on the bench), but our pitching staff has one (Folty). Without Sanchez, we didn’t have any pitcher over 2 WAR except Folty. Unless we have 2-3 SP and a couple of relievers just totally break out as stars (not impossible) then the main goal should be to upgrade from Teheran while using his contract to offset the cost of such an upgrade. This is not rocket science – just obvious needs. Bumgarner, Greinke, Indians SP, we should be throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks. Missing out on Paxton was an enormous mistake, if for no other reason than he was actually traded. Same thing with Puig/Wood – they would have filled TWO holes at the time. It’s insane from a baseball standpoint that the Braves didn’t make one of these two deals.

  78. Part of me wonders if the owners KNOW they will be paying up after the next CBA, given the amount of profit that MLB has generated in the last few years. The players will have no trouble tying their contribution to a profit dollar value when it comes to bargaining time. So the owners are holding the line until then. This isn’t an endorsement of said strategy – I am on the side of labor all day long in all matters – but it probably isn’t a bad idea in a bargained environment.

    I recommend the book Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari. The relevant premise being that there is no such thing as the “Braves” (or any company or enterprise) beyond a stack of papers some lawyers drew up. The “Braves” cannot feel pain therefore they don’t really exist in the way you or I do.

    Beyond the sense of community it engenders among fan bases or being able to appreciate impressive athletic feats, the “Braves” provide no value beyond that which you assign to it. Rooting for them to make money is like rooting for a stack of papers or a balance sheet. We root for them to win. The players should be fairly compensated.

    Sorry for the ramble but it helps me keep my own career in perspective.

  79. Considering that trades are happening and many are revenue neutral, there is zero reason the Braves shouldn’t be able to make a decent trade like other clubs have this season.

    If you want to be cheap with the dollars then you ought to be a little looser with prospect assets. You hoard both and you’ll never win.

  80. This is pretty interesting:

  81. we know that the apparent market price right now is lower than the apparent market price in October, when Bryce Harper apparently turned down $300 million.

    Eh, not so fast. The elite players that have not had the issue of a QO have gotten their money this offseason. Corbin did really well, pretty much beat all predictions. Pollock did well, McCutchen did well, and I think Britton and Robertson did well (especially Britton). And just because their original asking prices won’t be met (no shocker there), Kimbrel probably ends up being the 2nd- or 3rd-highest paid reliever on a AAV scale. Keuchel probably gets a 4-year deal at a solid AAV, and Harper and Machado will end up signing one of the top 3 or 4 highest total guaranteed dollar deals in the history of baseball. I just simply don’t see what the problem is.

    Plus, we don’t know what the details of the Nationals’ $300M offer in September actually was. Did it have some nice player benefits like some early opt-outs, but did it also have a couple club options on the back end, making that $300M offer less in terms of guaranteed money? We don’t know what we don’t know, and that’s the problem.

    I think Bryce ends up getting Giancarlo’s contract. And if it doesn’t, then all hell will probably break loose. And Machado just has some serious knucklehead tendencies, so I just don’t know what to make of his situation. Smarter people than I can.

  82. One possibility with both Harper and Machado is that they also have offers in hand with the AAV they’re hoping for, but not the years, so they’re holding out. Players have always said Spring Training is too long, so why not? Maybe you cut 2-3 weeks off of the Spring, and then you take the shorter deal. The Giants appear fairly willing to step out for Harper on a shorter length of contract.

  83. @96 Your quote: “Mark it down: we could end up in another rebuild in 5 or 6 years following this formula. I don’t want to be reading about the inevitable departure of Ronny Acuna to free agency because “will cost way too much to retain for small-to-mid market team.””

    This is precisely why they can’t, and shouldn’t sign Harper or Machado to a market setting deal. In 5 or 6 years, Acuna will most likely be looking for a market setting deal, which at that point will surely exceed Harper or Machado’s ask. Freeman will also need an extension. That’d be 3 contracts alone, totaling over 100 million in payroll. Even **if** they pushed the payroll to 180 million, you’re waving bye to Albies at that point, and some of the pitching. How excited would you be to have 34 year old Bryce Harper trying to roam the Atlanta OF then?

  84. Just putting it out there: despite some of the irrational both positivity and negativity, I think these last two threads have had some really good discussions on baseball economics. Thanks

  85. @105 The Nationals love to defer money, too. That’s another big unknown with that 300 million dollar offer, because no one has said if it came with any deferrals.

  86. @111 Yep, would be easy to imagine (referencing the Scherzer and Strasburg deals) that the Nationals’ offer to Harper could actually have been more like $200M paid over the next 10 years plus $100M deferred without interest, and the last couple years could have been team options too.

  87. Fun fact: the Nationals are paying Max Scherzer $0 salary 2019 – 2021*!
    * because that money is deferred until 2022 – 2028
    Source: Cots Contracts

    Max Scherzer rhp
    7 years/$210M (2015-21) – signed by Washington as a free agent 1/21/15
    $50M signing bonus
    $5M in 2015 and $15M each in 2019, 2020, 2021
    payments in equal semiannual installments, April-September
    salaries: 15:$10M, 16-18:$15M annually. 19-21:$35M annually
    2019-21 salaries ($105M) deferred without interest, to be paid in seven $15M installments each July 1 from 2022 to 2028

  88. In 5 or 6 years, Acuna will most likely be looking for a market setting deal, which at that point will surely exceed Harper or Machado’s ask. Freeman will also need an extension. That’d be 3 contracts alone, totaling over 100 million in payroll. Even **if** they pushed the payroll to 180 million, you’re waving bye to Albies at that point, and some of the pitching. How excited would you be to have 34 year old Bryce Harper trying to roam the Atlanta OF then?

    If we won the World Series even once in that 5-6 year window, I’d feel fine.

    If you wanted, let Freddie walk and put Harper at 1B — because the issue is, they’re both old at that point, right? Give Acuna Freddie’s money. Perhaps you extended Albies, so you can keep him another year.

    But most importantly: if we won the World Series even once in that 5-6 year window, I’d feel fine.

  89. Realistically, you’re trading at least one of our superstars for high-ceiling/low-variance prospects that hopefully could replace others among them before they reach free agency.

    Like, if you signed Machado, you could trade Dansby in a package for players in the minors that might one day succeed Acuna or Albies.

  90. @117 Personally, there’s no way I’d let Freeman go. You can argue who’s the most talented member of the club, but Freeman’s the heart of it. That wouldn’t be a move I’d make.

    Even under your scenario, however, you’re still potentially letting a lot of pitching walk when the time comes.

    You’re also assuming Dansby nets a package of players of a high caliber, which I’m not sure he ever does, barring a huge leap offensively.

    The thought of the Braves signing Harper or Machado just makes me look at the LA Angels, and think that’s what they’ll become. LA hasn’t gotten that World Series ring, either.

  91. First Stream Feb. 22nd

    pitchers and catchers
    first greeted with raptures
    will be soon superseded
    it’s boppers who’re needed.

  92. @109 I feel this is a fairly often cited fallacy in defense of not spending. The argument is if we don’t spend now then in 5 years we will have the budget room to resign our young stars. The truth is, the budget may fail to change much at all, and the Braves may still have to part ways with Acuna. I would rather have some combination of [good] acquisitions to go with Acuna and Albies (and Donaldson!) over the next few seasons than to stay pat waiting for that rainy day to arrive where we may have to bid farewell to our heroes.

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Look, the Braves have seen their revenues increase by an amount currently greater than the current payroll as of today. In how many ways can I tell you that Liberty Media has the money and power to increase the budget right this moment? It wouldn’t kill the Braves to sign Machado or Harper, especially if the term is reduced, but even moreso we could have signed other, better players this offseason (Grandal, Brantley).

  93. Personally, there’s no way I’d let Freeman go. You can argue who’s the most talented member of the club, but Freeman’s the heart of it. That wouldn’t be a move I’d make.

    When Harper’s 34, Freddie will be 37. Someday he’s not gonna be good anymore. It’s a fact of life.

    Even under your scenario, however, you’re still potentially letting a lot of pitching walk when the time comes.

    Or just trade them for cheaper players who can replace them before they walk! It’s not hard.

    This is partly why we rebuilt in the first place. To establish a pipeline of talent. When you amass enough valuable assets, you can try to manage things so you don’t ever have to go “full rebuild.”

    You’re also assuming Dansby nets a package of players of a high caliber, which I’m not sure he ever does, barring a huge leap offensively.

    I said: “Like, if you signed Machado, you could trade Dansby in a package for players in the minors that might one day succeed Acuna or Albies.”

    The thought of the Braves signing Harper or Machado just makes me look at the LA Angels, and think that’s what they’ll become. LA hasn’t gotten that World Series ring, either.

    Look, you’re entitled to your opinion however wrong it may be! Our supporting cast is way better than what Trout, Ohtani, and Andrelton have to work with.

  94. It’s the most used story line of any spring training, ever; he’s in the best shape of his life.

    Now granted, like, an even moderately professional cardio and gym program in the off season would almost inevitably have Luiz Gohara in the best shape of his life, because I’m pretty sure he’s never done a wind sprint ever before that.

  95. I hope he can keep his velocity with all that weight lost. It will certainly help him repeat his mechanics. But a thin Gohara who is throwing 98 with that slider is an exciting, exciting pitcher.

    Gohara was born 3 days after the Braves signed Wilson Betemit as an amateur free agent.

  96. Gaz’s brother and former site contributor checking in, glad to see my bro made it to the front page. Like a wise man once said, he’s not wrong, he’s just an asshole.

    I still poke my head around here every now and again but I adopted that “former” label almost three summers ago, walking off on this bit:

    Things You Can Do On A Warm Summer Night: Braves 5, Giants 4

    and I thought of it again when I read Adam’s #1 POWER RANKING loser. What are you willing to do in the short term to protect your own long-term interests? In my case, the answer was, and is: go do other stuff. Being a fan of anything involves sinking your free time and discretionary income into it, and if the thing you’re investing your money in isn’t itself investing your money into improving the product, you’re just being played.

    Where I split with my brother is I quit going on the internet to protest their skinflint ways; in the attention economy, that’s still brain-hours on the product. I still like you guys, and I do miss hanging out here, but since I’m checked out on this organization until and unless they change their entire operating philosophy, (which likely requires an ownership change) I’ll spare you the rants.

    I figure that’s the only thing that will get the sport’s ownership’s attention in the long run (and it will take some time, what with the TV deals and MLBAM money and stadium subsidies flowing on long-term deals). In the meantime… Roll Tide, #MFFL, Hail United, and you’ll be happy to know I did finally master that stick shift. See y’all on the flip side.

  97. Why must Bowman immediately quash any smidgen of hope Braves fans get this offseason?

  98. If we can’t upgrade the ML roster, maybe it’s time to think about changing the mix among the prospects. For example, trade a couple of near-ML ready prospect pitchers for a top hitting prospect further down in the minors – like a Royce Lewis or Wander Franco. That would still clear 40-man slots while bolstering weaker areas of the farm. Maybe a two for one deal. You can’t tell me that the Twinkies or Rays wouldn’t jump at the chance for high level near-ML ready pitching.

    It wouldn’t hurt to bolster the lower minors considering our ongoing penalties – especially middle infield.

  99. I can totally tell you they wouldn’t do that. Franco and Lewis will be top ten prospects in all of baseball by the end of the year — teams aren’t going to trade them for bulk pitching.

    Converting some of the excess pitching into offensive prospects is a good idea, but the return would likely be some 17-year-old you’ve never heard of, not someone who is already a high-rising prospect.

  100. I’d rather have the gossip shot down than have people turn it into the next interminable Realmuto saga just to go apoplectic when it doesn’t happen.

  101. The gossip gets shot down to preserve the Braves’ leverage.

    I just wish the Braves would throw me any kind of bone. It’s like the root of all customer service: even more than I want them to give me stuff, I just want them to look me in the eye, and tell me they care in a sincere tone of voice.

  102. @138

    Pretty sure that tournament’s gonna have to be picked up by an actual English language TV network for casual fans to become even the slightest bit interested, Sam.

  103. @133 Of course they would if the price were right. It all depends upon if they want assets for now or assets for the future. The Twinkies are planning on competing now and they could easily trade Lewis for Wright/Wilson/Allard or something like that to improve their pitching staff now. They just extended Polanco so they won’t need a SS for a while. Lewis may be expendable for the right return.

    Heck, they don’t have any big contracts on the books – all of their highest paid players are on 1 year deals. They might take Teheran, too.

    The point is that there is a lot AA could be doing to improve the team without spending money. Any way to consolidate performance or exchange arms for bats would be an improvement.

  104. Yes. All day. $15 per for Kimbrel is right there. O’Day will come off the books at the end of next year. You setup 2020 as the year you start paying Minter, Winkler, Biddle, etc. as you start getting nickel and dimed.

    And shoot, just trade off Vizzy and his $4.8M and get yourself back some middling prospect. So then for 2019, you’re only up $10M, and you go from Vizzy and his 45 innings spread out across 3 DL trips to Kimbrel.

    All day, man. All day.

  105. Lewis is not nailed to short. They could easily play him at any infield position or center. His bat will play.

    Would you rather have Ronald Acuna or two or three lesser players of equivalent value? Exactly. Quality is better than quantity.

    Prospect-for-prospect trades just aren’t all that common… Something like the Smith/Gohara trade is more representative, where each side has internal doubts about their guy and thinks they’re selling high. The last major top prospect challenge trade I can think of is, like, Delmon Young for Matt Garza.

  106. @143 It also depends upon what your team needs are. This is exactly the kind of trade the Braves should do with a team that has a highly rated but lower minors position prospect but needs pitching on the major league team. What it’s really about is finding a trading partner that fits – not necessarily who the individual prospects are. Wright is as good a prospect as Lewis – both were #1s. If the Braves send two top 100s then the Twins might think they’re getting more surplus value. Someone out there has to be in need of near-ML ready starting pitching. Unless, I guess, everyone’s pitching is so good they don’t need anyone else.

  107. I would have prioritized the offseason this way:

    Harper (obviously not going to happen)
    Realmuto
    Kimbrel
    Castellanos

    Those are really the 4 players that would make the most sense for the Braves. With Harper and Realmuto no longer options, it’s Kimbrel and Castellanos.

  108. @143 is 100% right, you’re almost 99.9% guaranteed not to see a prospect for prospect type deal. Teams value their own prospects, and that belief is why they draft them.

    @144 If Wright and Lewis are of equal value (which I don’t disagree on, btw), why throw in extra prospects, though? The Braves lose that deal then.

    I can’t see a team such as the Twins taking on Tehran, either. Tehran’s not without value, for sure. I think though, had they wanted to move him, they’d have been looking at a deal early in the offseason where you’re swapping him for someone like Kole Calhoun- both ML players, both with flaws, both making about the same money.

    Now I think they either have to give Tehran away, with the return being the savings; or they pay part of the contract for a decent prospect return.

  109. @145 Prioritizing, I would’ve gone…

    1) Donaldson (I love this fit.)
    2) Castellanos
    3) Kimbrel
    4) Wilson Ramos
    5) Robinson Chirinos

    I’d have wanted to play almost entirely in Free Agency, aside from Castellanos, who I believe goes cheap. I want power, and I want a closer. I also want guys I believe I can get for less than four years, which at the start of FA, applies to all these except Kimbrel, who I’m negotiating down, hopefully.

  110. FWIW my #1 priority would have been James Paxton, or another league ace.

    This team badly needs a frontline starter. I like Folty, but I don’t think I’m overly bearish in saying that he outperformed his peripherals last year and is more likely to have a 3.50+ ERA than sub-3.00 again. And, boy, did he not look prepared to lead off a playoff series.

  111. I wouldn’t have outbid the Yankees for Paxton. I’m not prepared to top Justus Sheffield for a guy who is all but certain to get injured. It’s a move that makes more sense for a team that’s already at 90 wins and still has to roll the dice with the Red Sox in their division.

  112. @151 – He and Corbin were the two really “available” top-of-the-rotation guys this year. I’d certainly take 2 years of Paxton over 6 of Corbin.

    I’d also argue the Braves are better poised than most to handle a starter who might make 28 starts instead of 35, what with all these young arms in the minors ready to spot start.

    I’ll admit I really just pine for an ace. The last time the Braves had a top-10 season from a pitcher was… Javier Vazquez in 2009. Fucking hell.

  113. @149 Is Paxton really an ace, though? He’s a good pitcher, to be sure. Most years he’s had an ERA hovering just below 4, however; and the oft-injured Paxton has never won 15 games.

    I’d agree with @151, it’d be steep to outbid the Yankees for that.

    Now Kluber, if he was ever truly available, would’ve been the guy to go all-in on. I’m not convinced the Indians ever really wanted to trade a starter, though. I think that was more of a “break glass in case of emergency” type plan, in the event they couldn’t off-load some money.

  114. @147 I never said Lewis and Wright had equal value. I said that Wright and Wilson are not “bulk pitching” and are valuable assets in their own right. The point is that there’s more than one way to make an equal value. We have too much pitching and too many players that should be getting a ML shot on the 40-man roster. If a team like the Twins don’t have enough pitching (both Wright and Wilson may be higher rated than their top pitching prospect). And they have an excess of MI (not only Polanco but Schoop and Gordon too with Sano at 3B). Win-win for both sides. Plus I have no problem with the Braves essentially “losing” the trade if we get some true value back in an area of need while also relieving the pressure on the 40-man to sign a couple of FAs. I am all onboard with an overpay if multiple goals are achieved by doing so. Before we signed Markakis, everyone around here was onboard with trying for Kirilloff, but we already have top rated OFs in the system. Lewis is not ready for the 40-man so we get relief there. The Twins even have more MI prospects than what’s on the ML roster – an area of excess for them. I can’t believe that two top 100 pitching prospects wouldn’t get their attention (especially a top 10 RH pitcher).

    Also, I disagree with everyone here that Castellanos is a reasonable pickup and I also disagree that he’d be cheap. DET has indicated over and over that they want a top return. And Castellanos is only meaningful on an AL team as a DH.

    The Braves could have and should have had one of the Paxton. Puig/Wood, Gray, or Realmuto deals. We’d all be happy and they might have also signed Kimbrel by now too. The excessive caution is much worse than the reluctance to spend payroll dollars.

  115. And Castellanos was like 60th on MLB’s top 100. He’s JD Martinez-lite. He’s a really good player. He’s only cheap if you think trading Luiz Gohara is cheap.

  116. If we’re going to pick up a FA pitcher to be our next Anibal then we should try for Gio. He is only one season removed from a 3+ WAR season. Keuchel is not that much better and he costs a draft pick.

  117. @155 Your Quote: “What it’s really about is finding a trading partner that fits – not necessarily who the individual prospects are. Wright is as good a prospect as Lewis – both were #1s.”

    How are they not equal value then, in your eyes, because now I’m confused?

    I mean I guess it doesn’t matter, if you’re fine with an overpay. I just don’t see that as a win-win, and would be beyond upset if the Braves traded Wright+ for another prospect. Wright’s got too much potential for that.

  118. @156 He’s a really good hitter, but he’s lacking a bit of a market as well. I’ve hardly seen a peep about him.

    I wouldn’t start the negotiations with Gohara, but I’d certainly do it. Gohara’s a tier below some of these other pitching prospects, I think. If they wanted Gohara, there’d just be no “and…”

  119. @160 DET has repeatedly said they want top dollar or not trade. That’s why he’s in DET camp right now. Plus we don’t need him any more with Markakis onboard.

    @159 You’re confusing semantics with intent. Wright is as good a prospect (meaning high on prospect lists and a #1 draft pick) but not as valuable as a player (Lewis was #1 overall in 2017 and Wright was #5). Apparently, the market is valuing position players over pitchers. And Wright may not be as good a player overall as Lewis which is why the Braves have to offer more. If the Twins need pitching and are willing to deal from their MI excess then that’s what makes it a win-win. The Braves get to consolidate value while the Twins get more depth in the same or greater overall value. That’s another reason an overpay would be well worth it and still be a win for the Braves. Man, if you can’t get one top position player for 2-3 top pitchers then pitching really does have little value.

    Maybe Wander Franco is a better target. The Rays have mostly position prospects and few pitching prospects with their best recovering from TJS.

    Of course, the Braves are one of 15 teams not on Greinke’s no trade list.

  120. TOR. Available?

    Age 30, current Cy Young, last year of contract, just had 10 million raise to 17M, has repeatedly and openly said he wants to stay where he is and will sign a long term contract. His GM, who was his agent, has given no indication to this point that he is responsive to that.

    It doesn’t make much sense, for anybody. Could we step in? Any 3 pitchers plus Ozzie. Do it AA then hire me.

    Camargo at second
    by this time you’ve probably reckoned.

    can’t stand the supersub trope. Play him.

    Meanwhile, Jacob, welcome.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/14/sports/jacob-degrom-mets-contract.html

  121. Ozzie is a serious overpay for Degrom. At the deadline Allard and Weigel might get it done.

    Blazon, your deal makes sense for Thor.

  122. The Mets are not going to trade DeGrom. They are definitely not going to trade him within the division — Mets ownership cares more about optics and what the media will say than any in the sport. Even if the Mets collapse and decide to sell, there wil be plenty of AL teams interested.

  123. @162 Yeah, I was speaking about Castellanos as someone I would’ve targeted early in the offseason. With Nick in the fold, and guaranteed to be a starter, it’s moot now.

    As it relates to Lewis, I understand where you’re coming from with that statement now. I still wouldn’t do that trade though. Some boards had Wright ranked higher than Lewis that year, and I love Wright’s potential. Lewis also seems to get low marks for his power, and his arm, on quite a few scouting reports.

    I’m not trading Wright unless I’m getting a ML ace, with a pedigree.

    Or Trout. Or Betts. Those are two names surely not happening, but it’s just how highly I think of Wright. Wright, Anderson and Waters are my favorite prospects in the Braves system right now, and guys I think will be good.

  124. I’ve always preferred Syndergaard over DeGrom, if the Braves were to trade for one. I’d be ecstatic to see either in a Braves uniform, though. As has been mentioned, likely not happening though. The Mets see themselves as contenders, and probably are.

  125. I wonder if the Braves have been waiting to sign another FA until the 60 day IL was made available again. With Dayton now on the 60 day IL, there is a spot available on the 40-man roster.

  126. Let’s work Contreras hard in ST, keep him up for April and make it clear to him the position’s his now if he can earn it. No more of this next year, maybe 2 years nonsense. The DNA is there. We are wasting him.

    Our two veterans will soon be down to one(see Flowers, Tyler) and he can slot in nicely with 3/4 starts a week. He will learn a lot from them, we will applaud from our couches. We didn’t need RM after all.

  127. Sounds like Harper will be a Philly in less than 24 hours…

  128. Regardless of whether the Braves should or should not be in on Harper, Harper and Philly seems like a match made in hell. Can’t imagine that relationship ending harmoniously.

  129. Minter’s loudest tool seems to be his mouth. Get out there and do it, then you can talk about it, my man.

  130. Uh oh

  131. You’re right. I read the stat line wrong.

    So which one is it? Should we sign multi-year deals, which will always lead to paying a player into his 30’s, or no? Bryce appears to be headed for being paid for his age 33-36 seasons based on his current production. Bryce has averaged only 132 games in his prime physical years.

    And even while Donaldson only played 111 games in 2017, he accumulated 5.1 fWAR, hit 33 home runs, and had a .944 OPS. So, ya know, could be worse…

  132. For $300 million, I’d be willing to dress up like Santa and let them throw ice and batteries at me every home game.

  133. There’s no sense at all to focusing on Donaldson’s injury that sidelined him for the end of 2017 and most of 2018. He could likely play in more games than Harper, so there’s that.

    Hey Braves fans, how are we going to feel when the Phillies sign Kimbrel after Harper?
    Get ready for it.

  134. You have to click the post to comment. I’ll add more to the post so the “continue reading” will pop up, which is how I think most people know to get to the comments.

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