126 thoughts on “My Statement Regarding the Day’s Events”

  1. It’d be funny if you could insert an auto-correct into the blog so that any time someone typed Liberty Media it published as “Money & Porn”

    Just thinking about it, all things considered, is this the most bizarre offseason ever?

  2. “Sam Miller: From 2009 through 2014, the Phillies’ payroll was consistently $50 million to $70 million more than the league average. Then, as the crucial part of their rebuilding process, they cut it to $40 million below league average in each of the past three years. It’s not just that a team of Philadelphia’s market size can easily afford a player like Harper making $25 million to $30 million a year. It’s that the whole point of everything the Phillies just put their fans through was to clear payroll so they could sign Bryce Harper (or somebody like him). It’s not just a deal I like; this deal was something of an imperative.”

    I wonder what it would be like to have a front office that had this attitude.

  3. I can’t wait for the organization to blame pitching injuries for their lost 2019 and use that as the excuse for why they’re not going to make any effort to improve the 2020 team. That’ll be a fun winter. But 2021, that’s when the spending will really start.

  4. @5 – Wrong. That will be when The Battery Phase 4 of 13 is scheduled to start and the team will have to continue to subsidize real estate loans….but, in 2030 the real estate empire will be sufficient that we should be able to have a payroll on par with the Kansas City Royals, and if things break right, may even be able to shop in two aisles at the same time.

  5. Thanks Rob. I still have no idea how to embed video, but I started rewatching Band of Brothers the other day and it hit me…

    Liberty Media doesn’t hate Braves fans private Copenhaver, he just hates you.

  6. Phillies Projected Lineup:

    1 Andrew McCutchen
    2 Jean Segura
    3 Bryce Harper
    4 J.T. Realmuto
    5 Rhys Hoskins
    6 Maikel Franco
    7 Odubel Herrera
    8 Cesar Hernandez
    9 Anchored by Nola and Arrieta

    Look, if that lineup performs like it could or should, there’s your NL East champs.

  7. Rob, your video made me think of Mac impersonating Mike Hampton.
    Anyone remeber his “Mike Hampton helicopter crash” video?

  8. ‘Mama, don’t let your children grow up to be cowboys.’

    Send them to a school that uses wooden bats.

  9. @10, yea but we’ve got financial flexibility and we don’t have to pay Bryce Harper $22 million in 2031 so, y’know, we’ve got that going for us.

    Which is nice.

    Also probably something about debt ratios.

  10. BH will be good to great for six(?) years and get booed for another seven. We got that going for us.

  11. @10 – Given that lineup, I still think Phillies’ success will begin and end with their pitching staff. I think Atlanta is in a similar situation, only they don’t have as much room for error with their pitchers. I agree that the Phillies should be the favorites, but a few injuries to their pitching staff or a flop or two will make them beatable.

  12. Here’s one for you all. Career stats:
    Player 1: 33.1 war, .293/ .378 .497, 137 OPS+
    Player 2: 27.4 war, .279/ .388/ .512, 139 OPS+

  13. a precocious young hitter called Harper
    said now that I’ve got it I’ll scarper
    my defense is in question
    but please will you mention
    the Papelbon fight, I was sharper.

  14. All told, I think my favorite take yesterday was when DOB described the Braves’ 7-6 ST loss (after Lugbauer hit a two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth) as “respectable.” Man, if that is not a metaphor for the whole season, I don’t know what is.

    “Respectable losses — the new slogan of your 2019 Atlanta Braves!”

  15. @21 correct. Freddie is 29 and Bryce is 26. I can’t help but think, if Freddie was a free agent this year how many people would be adamant about signing him to a 10 year/ $240 million dollar deal?

  16. said Miggy to Albert I wonder
    these records he’s just broke asunder
    we’re now off the hook
    a few lines in a book
    he’s the one in the Zoo, what a blunder.

  17. There’s an interesring article at 538 suggesting that Harper may already have peaked at 25.

  18. @29 Hey, look who is on that list of guys who’ve out-hit Harper since 2015…

    Josh Donaldson.

    He’s a Brave.

  19. I was sitting in my local Taco Mac last night and of course half the TVs had talking heads going on about Harper. I couldn’t hear what was being said but at one point one of the TVs had Mark Teixeira on and he apparently had the Braves picked to win 90+ games and the division with the Phillies behind us even after signing Harper. Maybe it was nothing more than one douche disrespecting another douche…

  20. @10 Sure, that lineup looks impressive. If the Phillies stay healthy, they’re going to score some runs. They’ll also need those runs, though. Once you get past Nola and Arrieta, you’ve got a pitching staff with a whole lot of questions, and a manager that can’t get out of his own way.

    I wouldn’t crown anyone just yet.

  21. @24 I’m not sure how to word this in a way where it doesn’t come off as me saying Bryce Harper’s not good, because he is.

    Freddie Freeman is a more complete player in almost every way, though. The only thing you get with Harper, that you don’t with Freeman, is more of a threat of the stolen base. Freeman was worth almost a full 5 more WAR last season, too.

    If we’re talking who you’d want to have signed to a big money deal in their age 37 season, well ideally neither. Harper’s only advantage over Freeman isn’t a skill that ages well, however, as speed is always the first thing to go. So Freeman would probably be a safer bet.

  22. @30 Well apparently Donaldson is re-learning how to run so I’m not sure that’s something to crow about.

    Hot take: Braves finish 4th.

    Phillies
    Nationals
    Mets
    Braves

    Marlins

  23. @35 They’re not going to trade Donaldson, because they’re not going to have a bad year. This isn’t a 90 loss club, y’all. The Braves are going to be fine.

    In fact, I think they’ll be buyers come July 31st- and they’ll add Starling Marte and Madison Bumgarner.

  24. Maybe instead of trying to be “fine” they should have patched obvious holes in the roster and put themselves in a position to be frontrunners while the roster is still cheap. Instead we get another season of “hope for the best” where even the best is unlikely to result in a World Series title.

    Declaring that they will get Marte and Bumgarner in July is blind optimism based on nothing. There’s absolutely no indication they have the ability or will to do something like that and even then the season may be gone anyway. Pitchers are already dropping 2 weeks into camp and we’re assuming everything will be there in July? If they’re serious about winning they’d get it done now.

  25. I honestly cannot look at this offseason and envision a scenario where the Braves add meaningful payroll. They’ve made it clear where their priorities lie and it’s not putting the best possible team on the field. If they win, fine, but it’ll have to be with what they have. And if an excuse presents itself whereby they could potentially save some dough, they’ll take it.

    They’ve shown us what they are.

  26. We’ve seen this movie before!

    In the Japanese prefecture of Okinawa, locals practice a unique kind of diet. It’s called hara hachi bu, which roughly means, “eat until you’re 80 percent full.” Sounds both logical and awful, right? Okinawans eat less than people in Western societies, and also live longer. And forget 100 percent — we slam two helpings of turkey smothered in gravy, three plates of stuffing and sweet potatoes, and four kinds of pie every Thanksgiving, then feel like garbage afterwards. But dammit, it tastes good, and it’s our right to stuff ourselves silly and destroy our health and waist lines. Hara hachi bu might make sense on paper, but it hasn’t caught on in most other first-world nations.

    The Braves are the Okinawans of Major League Baseball. Sure, plenty of teams run much lower payrolls and keep draft spending in check. But those teams do so because they’re poor by MLB standards. The Braves are not. They’re a mid-market team not far removed from one of the greatest runs of success any team has seen in half a century. But where previous owner Time Warner bankrolled one of the top payrolls in the game, Liberty Media has clamped down on spending, with the Braves ranking a modest 15th at $87 million last season. They could probably spend more money and still turn a profit. They choose not to. Meanwhile, the new collective bargaining agreement’s restrictions on draft spending should have zero effect on the Braves. They were one of very few teams that stuck to slot recommendations every year. In fact, Braves president John Schuerholz was a driving force behind the new spending caps and the penalties that result from going over those caps. The Braves continue to pump out great players, using superior scouting in the draft and on the international market to bring in new generations of exciting talent. But in a division that features a new, big-spending superpower in the Phillies, that hasn’t been enough, with just one playoff berth and no division titles for Atlanta in the past six years.

    — Jonah Keri, December 13, 2011

    http://grantland.com/features/national-league/

  27. So now it’s not that the Braves missed out on Harper, but he’s just not that good anyway?

    How many of your work email addresses end in “braves.com?”

  28. I think it’s fair to give management the benefit of the doubt for not signing Harper to a 13 year deal. It’s more difficult to overlook passing on someone like Michael Brantley, who signed for an affordable $32 mil. Signing Markasis instead looks like a cheapskate move unless we go out and spend the money elsewhere, which we haven’t done. RF and C were the two obvious opportunities to improve on offense, and the Braves did not upgrade either position.

  29. Right they could have signed Brantley and Grandal and gotten solid improvements at both positions and all it would cost was money and virtually no long term commitment. They’d still need to add another starter and likely another bullpen piece but it was pretty low hanging fruit to grab some decent improvements rather than run it back with Markakis and take a home town discount flier on McCann.

  30. You think they pump their fists in Liberty’s boardroom every time somebody gets shut down with an injury? It’s gotta be the ideal situation for them. “Not only can we dump salary at the deadline without raising eyebrows, when people ask next offseason why we aren’t trying to improve, we can claim that we’ll be much better without so many injuries, so there’s no need to spend any money! We’ve got ’em coming and going!”

  31. Just, like, don’t live and die on injury reports this early until the severity is clear. Especially in places where the team has depth.

  32. Well, right, do we even know who’s actually injured? I know it’s fun to cry “DOOOOOOMED” whether you’re serious or not, but… who is actually injured right now? I legit don’t even know.

  33. I’ve already said that Dansby won’t be the same this year. I’m going a step further and say that we’ll be lucky to see him play in 2/3 of the games.

  34. @37 Neither the Giants, nor Pirates, look to be good; and I believe the Braves will be. So it’s a fit. Is it optimistic? Maybe. Is there anymore reason to believe the Braves will finish 4th than go out and make those moves? No. Game 1 isn’t even in the books yet, everyone is 0-0.

  35. Maybe instead of trying to be “fine” they should have patched obvious holes in the roster

    Besides a pitcher who has had multiple seasons of top-30 WAR, or however you want to articulate what a top of the rotation starter looks like, where are the obvious holes? Genuine question, not sarcasm.

  36. RF’s not a hole; the clean-up is a hole. SS is not a holy; the #7 spot in the order is a hole. Same with CF and where he’ll hit in the order. You can have 3 of Kakes, Dansby, Ender, and the catchers. You can’t have 4. That’s how I would describe that hole. With that said, and I’m going to do some more research and do a series of “Braves vs. each individual East rival”, I think you can ride with Camargo, Ender, Kakes, and the catchers, but even that is pushing it. But like I said, the hole is not necessarily Kakes, it’s the lack of a 4th elite hitter however you order Acuna, Donaldson, and Freeman. That’s where they failed.

  37. Hey BravesJournal,

    I might not have Bryce Harper’s cash, but….

    …my wife and I are expecting a baby girl in mid-August.

    :)

  38. Spring is indeed upon us.

  39. This season the Nats will have a better W-L record without Harper. The Phillies will have a better record with Harper. The Mets will also have a better W-L record. The Braves will probably lose more games than they did last year. The division will be a dog fight with 4 pretty solid teams. Getting Harper doesn’t guarantee the Phillies anything. It will be a very interesting season.

  40. @60 Congrats, sdp, that’s wonderful news for you!

    @62 Seriously now, what the heck is going on?

  41. @59 I agree. I don’t see all of the holes on the team that some others see. Could they use another guy who is able to consistently put the ball over the wall? Absolutely. Does that make this team awful? No.

    The division will probably be tight this year because the other clubs made moves. They made those moves to try and catch the Braves though, and every one of those teams still has their own holes.

  42. @62 If they don’t sign Kimbrell I’m going to be one angry Hambone. It is absolutely a position of need.

  43. @57

    RF and catcher were the low hanging fruit to improve. Maybe Markakis is some combination of her first and second halves with more rest but it’s highly unlikely he replicates his first half again and it’s more likely his numbers regress to where they were 2015-17 or worse the second half of 18. Suzuki was likely hitting over his head most of the time but whatever McCann still has left it’s not likely to replicate that.

    The problems with the pitching staff are well documented and not addressing it is a complete failure. This is only being exacerbated as these guys keep dropping in ST.

  44. Last night United stormed back in their home leg of the CCL first round series to win 4-0, taking the series 5-3 on aggregate. They are on to face Mexican titans Monterrey FC in the next round. In Monterrey next Wednesday for game 1.

  45. Besides a pitcher who has had multiple seasons of top-30 WAR, or however you want to articulate what a top of the rotation starter looks like, where are the obvious holes? Genuine question, not sarcasm.

    The GM of the team literally made a to-do list in public and then proceeded to do NONE of it.

    Braves fans’ collective frustration frustrates me. It’s getting expressed in terms of spending, why no Harper, etc. Well…the Braves have an obvious response to that. It’s insane to give him 13 years and a full no-trade (IMO it’s not the $330 million that’s the issue). People on here behave like free agents are the only way to solidify contention, but making that the specific issue allows the Braves to slip off the hook with an easy response. Naturally, that’s what they’re doing.

    But the Braves didn’t necessarily have to spend in order to cross off the to-do list items. The problem should be framed as: they said the team has needs and they failed to find a way to do anything about them.

  46. I was visiting my barber today and was starring at the barber’s pole outside. I went into a trance and could read Mark Bowman’s columns from the future.

    Here is what I read:

    July 11, 2019

    While many pundits have indicated the Braves would be sellers after falling 13.5 games back of the Phillies and sit 10 back of the Mets for the second wild card, Alex Anthopoulos made a move today to squash those rumors.

    The Braves made a deal with the Cleveland Indians today sending Darren O’Day and Charlie Culberson to Cleveland for Tyler Olsen and young fire-baller Nick Sandlin.

    “We feel this deal will settle our bullpen in and also give us two arms we can build around,” said Anthopoulos. “I think this will inject new life in the club and really give a us strong second half push.”

    The Braves season has been marred by freak injuries. It was unrealistic to consider this team in the wild card hunt after former MVP Josh Donaldson, Dansby Swanson and Brave legend Brian McCann have combined to play 38 games.

    However, the Braves have silenced their critics led by Julio Tehran’s resurgence (4.10 ERA) and Nick Markakis’s league leading .300 (3 for 10) batting average with runners in scoring position with one out in the fourth inning of day games.

    Look for the Braves to continue to search for cost efficient moves which will benefit the club both short and long term.

    There continue to be rumors the Braves are interested in Baltimore’s Alex Cobb, who has been tied to the Braves previously. Even though Cobb is 2-15 with a 6.30 ERA, there is speculation Cobb would benefit from a switch to the Braves similar to the one Kevin Gausman did last season.

  47. And when you have a team projected to win 83 games, doing nothing on your to-do list to add wins should get a GM into grounds-for-termination territory, depending on how the season plays out.

    AA does have a track record. It’s at least possible that he just caught a lot of bad breaks* or something this offseason, so with more time, things might even out for him. He has vastly more information than we have about guys like Austin Riley and Kyle Wright, who could impact the whole division — perhaps our biggest moves are already made. So he gets the benefit of the doubt through the trade deadline.

    *An example of a bad break would be: Michael Brantley and Yasmani Grandal just didn’t want to play in Atlanta no matter what.

  48. Congrats, Anthopoulos, on an astounding 0-for-3.

  49. @76 — I mean, it’s not like fans are mad because they were expecting the ’98 Yankees or whatever. The team publicly said they had pieces they wanted to add, went on record as saying they had the resources to make at least some of that happen… and did none of it! We didn’t invent any of that; they did.

    If you set a target, maybe we can forgive you for not hitting the bullseye, but we can’t forgive you for deciding not to shoot.

    It’s going to be infuriating when they blame injuries and evade responsibility.

  50. @60: now that is a life-altering contract. Congratulations. God bless you, the missus and the princess.

  51. I’m okay with the Braves saying that SS isn’t a hole right now because they have Swanson with Camargo available as a backup. If Swanson can’t claim the job this year, then he’s out of chances.

    But RF and C are thin. Nick Markakis is not a league-average RF, especially not when the fourth outfielder is Duvall. I’m as big a McCann fan as there is, but he and Flowers are old for their age and even if their lefty-righty platoon is league average — because catching is incredibly thin across all of baseball — it’s going to be another real hole on the roster.

    The bench is thin. Charlie Culberson seems like a great guy, but he can’t hit. Even with a dead-cat bounce, it’s hard to have much confidence that Duvall can hit, either. Austin Riley isn’t ready. Camargo’s great but he can’t play everywhere — and odds are decent that due to injury or ineffectiveness, he’ll have a starting spot somewhere on the field by May.

    The bullpen is thinner than you’d like, unless the Braves decide to move some of their young starters to the pen. This would be a reasonable choice, but it’s not something they’ve done a lot recently — they’ve typically preferred to call them up for spot starts and then send them back to Gwinnett to keep them stretched out as starters.

  52. And there are really really low-cost things they could do to address the bench and pen: like signing Ryan Madson, bringing on Matt Holliday as a pinch hitter, bringing in Fernando Salas as an extra arm. Even burnishing around the edges and pretending everything else was in hand would be better than this nothing.

  53. @82 Matt Holliday is an interesting suggestion for the bench. I hadn’t thought about it, but I kinda like it.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing them take a shot at Adam Jones as a bench piece, either.

  54. @79

    gaz = W.C.G. bro. W.C.G. has given up on the Braves as an entity… I have mostly as well but they still annoy me and I need to vent. Don’t know Tad.

  55. Bowman says with Minter ailing the Braves may pony up for Kimbrel. So that’s something.

  56. @79

    Ok, that clarifies. Thank you.

    Well, we’d sure love to have WCG back if Liberty Media ever gives a darn about the Braves.

  57. Jones is better than Duvall and almost certainly also better than Markakis. So is Carlos Gonzalez. But clearly they preferred to go with the weaker player who would give them a hometown discount, just like John Schuerholz always wanted.

  58. As if this offseason could get any worse. So I live real close to the St. Pete/Clearwater airport. Neighbor’s kids are playing in the cul de sac, so my dogs are barking. I can’t work on the phone. So I go outside. Then there’s a helicopter flying really low to the ground with a camera trained towards the airport. So I get off the phone because it’s too loud everywhere I’m going.

    The helicopter is filming Bruce Hooper getting off the Phillies’ private plane for him to go to the Spring Training complex a few miles away.

    I HATE THIS OFFSEASON!!!!!!!!!

  59. Bowman says with Minter ailing the Braves may pony up for Kimbrel.

    Isn’t that piece weird, by the way? It basically boils down to “with Minter’s injury, the Braves have a much bigger need for Kimbrel, but will now draw the exact same line in the sand they had before said injury and won’t go past a two-year deal.”

    Gee, thanks.

  60. Notice today’s starting lineup

    Acuna LF
    Marte SS
    Freeman 1B
    McCann C
    Camargo 3B
    LaMarre CF
    Ortega RF
    Blanco 2B
    Wilson SP

    Given our injury problems, that may be your 2019 Atlanta Braves opening day lineup. (-; I’ve never heard of a few of those guys.

  61. The absence of any pitcher on the Braves staff is no reason to go after Kimbrel or Keuchel, because the presence of any Braves pitcher was no reason not to go after Kimbrel or Keuchel in the first place.

  62. I’m not worried yet, but I feel like we’re kinda due for one of those injury laden disaster seasons.

  63. @77 – Well played; I had forgotten about Bravda.

    Dumping Duvall and signing Adam Jones to a one year deal seems to fall in the middle of the Venn Diagram of good moves that are Liberty viable.

  64. We do not have to drop Adam Duvall to add an OF. Duvall still has an option left. He needs full time in AAA to get his hitting stroke back. Signing Adam Jones would be a great signing. He’s better than CarGo. I’ve watched him hit for years; he is a great hitter and a great bad-ball hitter. And he’s very clutch – perfect for a PH role. He’d be a great platoon for Kakes (ironic since they used to play side-by-side). He would double the energy and fun in the clubhouse.

    Considering how spring is going so far, both Keuchel and Kimbrel should be signed. Signing all three would actually address all three issues AA said he was going to address (TOR, closer, and RF). Plus, since there aren’t three spots on the 40-man roster, the Braves STILL need to make the big trade. At this point I’d trade top prospects from the 40-man for similar top prospects in the lower majors. Or trading for someone like Franmil as opposed to signing Jones.

    As far as I can tell, virtually the entire offseason is still in front of us. The only thing we’ve really missed on – apparently – are Diaz and Realmuto. No one else was really on the table. I guess it’s time to begin wheeling and dealing.

  65. It occurs to me that one strategy might have been to have lots of pitchers pitching great in ST and have other teams breaking down the door to make a trade because “the Braves have no idea how they will properly use all the top performing pitching they have this spring”.

    Guess that strategy is out the window.

  66. I guess all my hopes are pinned on Fried coming out blasting tomorrow. One hint of a blister and I think I may have to buy some prayer beads. Or find a new sport to love.

  67. It’s really too bad about that new MLB rule stipulating that if any pitcher comes out of a spring training game with an injury that that pitcher’s team has to forfeit the season.

    I guess we’ll just have to wallow in misery.

  68. Yeah, not so fast on the undoomed proclamation. No word on Gausman or Swanson and Folty’s bone spurs could lead to bigger problems.

  69. I’m at the game. Fried didn’t have it. That’s so concerning to hear that it’s blisters. Man, whaaaaaaat is going on?

  70. Not sure how you can keep getting blisters over and over again. At some point the skin toughens up and gets callused, right? Very weird.

  71. Hm. Have to admit. BH sounds like a decent guy at the press conference there right now. Certainly says all the right things.

  72. I am so farmisht. Fried really can get it done if he can keep his damn fingers healthy. He looked better in the 2nd inning. We will need to have 10-11 healthy pitchers by opening day. Sobotka and Webb just gave up 2-run HRs. It seems like all the hits are coming from the minor leaguers. No Donaldson; no Swanson. This is really depressing.

  73. @112 Rich Hill has had them for years, and for some guys it’s a reoccurring thing. I’ve read theories that it’s due to the changes they’ve made with the baseballs, and more specifically, going to thicker laces.

    Luckily Fried has just got a cut.

  74. @110 I 100% agree.

    It’s nothing to do with talent, and everything to do with his durability, and what might be best for keeping him on the field.

  75. @102 I wish AA would spend less time minimizing the injuries and risks and come out and say ” yeah, we haven’t done much so far, bit it looks like we need to go out and get some insurance and we’re working on that.”

  76. Does anyone know why they waited to do wrist surgery on Swanson until November? Wasn’t it early September when they shut him down and they knew he had the problem most of the year?

  77. He’s worked with them for, what, two weeks? I’d say that’s a big “no.” Even the worst pitching coach in the world can’t shred an arm in two weeks.

    Pitching is inherently unreliable. Honestly, they were due for some bad health luck — they had almost no injury problems on the pitching staff last year, with Vizcaino (and Soroka, I guess, although they weren’t exactly counting on him) being the only important guy who missed significant time.

  78. Agree that Kranitz can’t be blamed for any pitching injuries at this point, either minor or significant.

    However, whatever you think of Mazzone, I have to give him credit for a lack of pitching injuries over several years. I wish at least something like “Camp Leo” would become part of the Braves’ Way.

  79. However, whatever you think of Mazzone, I have to give him credit for a lack of pitching injuries over several years.

    Sam (I believe?) bringing up Smoltz and Avery to balance out Glavine and Maddux made me wonder whether anyone has ever looked into whether or not this is true.

  80. So if it’s true what they’re saying: Fried will be ready for his next turn (cut is on the top of the finger), Folty feels okay and would have pitched if this was the regular season, Minter’s shoulder is fine just stiff from a fender bender, Swanson’s wrist is better but he was at a point last year where he couldn’t put on his shirt properly. Haven’t really read anything about Gausman.

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