The Braves Rebuild: Outgoing vs. Incoming Value, Part 7: 2017-18 Offseason

The final chapter, The Braves Rebuild: 2017 Offseason, likely came a little early for Braves fans at the time, as most thought the Braves would have one more season in the rebuild before climbing out of the gutter. However, the 2018 team grabbed the division with a 90-72 record led by Ronald Acuna Jr., Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies, Johan Camargo, Nick Markakis, Ender Inciarte, and Mike Foltynewicz. If you’re new to the series, catch up here:

Braves Rebuild, 2017-18 Offseason Trades

Braves Rebuild, 2017-18 Offseason Trades: Value Outgoing

Outgoing Production Value: 1.4 fWAR, 11.2 MM value

Total Cost: 49 MM

37.8 MM of “gained” production

Braves Rebuild, 2017-18 Offseason Trades: Value Incoming

Incoming Production Value: 1.4 fWAR, 11.2 MM value

Total Cost: 51.28 MM

40.08 MM of lost production

Final Recap and Tally

At the end of piece 6, the Braves had stayed slightly above the line in overall incoming production. Today’s piece shows a loss, albeit a much smaller one than most anticipated, and that is due, in large part, to the Braves keeping the 10.5 MM owed to Kemp in the trade, and sending his entire salary for for 2018 and 19 to the Dodgers. Even the 10.5 MM, as small as that is over the course of the entire rebuild, would’ve changed everything. Here’s the final total:

  • +59.03 MM of gained production in Part 1
  • -79.5 MM of gained production in Part 2
  • +27.9 MM of gained production in Part 3
  • -2.975 of gained production in Part 4
  • -11.85 MM of gained production in Part 5
  • +11.2 MM of gained production in Part 6
  • -2.28 MM of gained production in Part 7

Final Total: +1.525 MM of gained production

The rebuild started in the 2014-15 Offseason and ended in the 2017-18 offseason and while the journey had highs (Dansby/Ender heist) and lows (Olivera/Andrelton) the team ended with +1.525 MM of gained production.

  • Overall, the Braves traded north of 450 million dollars in contracts
  • Overall, the Braves took on north of 240 million dollars in contracts
  • Overall, the Braves gained 40.2 fWAR of production, a $322 MM value
  • Overall, the Braves lost 66.5 fWAR of production, a $532 MM value
  • The difference in traded dollars and contracts taken on, $210 MM
  • The difference in fWAR value gained and fWAR value lost, $210MM

In doing this study, I can’t emphasize enough how fascinated I am but the above 6 bullets.

Just looking at these final numbers, it suggests the Braves gained no value in the rebuild, but we all know that this conversation is bigger than those 6 bullets. As there are players no longer with the Braves that will add or subtract to the above numbers:

However, the Braves rebuilt a core via trade to go with their core of in-house talent, and that was the sole purpose of this rebuild:

Looking at the gap and analyzing our guys, we won’t definitively know for years, but I’ve got faith in this list of players enough to confidently say that the Braves will come out on top in this rebuild.

Thank you for reading today’s piece, “Braves Rebuild, 2017 Offseason” and this entire series. It was a labor of love…mixed with torture. If you enjoyed this series, check out our entire Braves Rebuild section here.

Author: Ryan Cothran

Ryan is the site editor and manager of Braves Journal. Follow him on Twitter.

22 thoughts on “The Braves Rebuild: Outgoing vs. Incoming Value, Part 7: 2017-18 Offseason”

  1. To Cliff from the last thread:

    That MSN piece is sort of getting at something similar from this Will Leitch piece, which I really liked: https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/06/mlbs-disastrous-spring-feels-like-an-existential-crisis.html

    Ultimately, the part that’s impossible to know, which both of these pieces are really about is: what happens to baseball fans? When — if — the games resume, will the sport have the fanbase it had in 2019? Will the same number of people check ESPN.com every day and click on the “MLB” tab? Will the same number of people ask their parents to let them stay up late to watch the 9th inning? Or will even the diehard fans like us find that we have something else to do in the evening and we’ll just check the recap in the morning?

    In 15 years, how many 15-year-old baseball fans will there be?

  2. “In 15 years, how many 15-year-old baseball fans will there be?”

    That’s a really hard question to answer. Among other things, will football exist, for example? To take a highly elitist answer, opera has been asking this question for over fifty years (well, not about 15-year-olds, but about 50-year-olds.) There’s always a tendency to say that things kids aren’t interested in are things they won’t be interested in in later life. And occasionally they are right, which is why bowling is no longer a huge TV sport. But while baseball can kill itself, without much problem actually, there has never been a generation in the last 100 years that gave up baseball. You can find individuals who gave up baseball, and they will be interviewed for articles on “trends,” but the labor strife and cheating scandals and money squabbling are epiphenomena. Come back to me when a franchise goes bust, or even when one sells for less than it did the last time, and we can reassess.

  3. Jonathan, actually, I think the opera comparison is a good one. There are a lot of good opera companies in mid-sized old industrial cities in the United States, and I’d guess that some of them will not return at full strength post-COVID. There are a number of industries in America that employ a number of performers whose job is subsidized by the attendance revenues of people with disposable income, and I don’t think we can assume that they’ll all snap back.

    For example, just over the past few decades, traditional circuses like Ringling Bros. were disrupted by Cirque du Soleil, which is able to operate profitably with a smaller number of performers; all the more so, I think we can imagine that many symphony orchestras and lyric opera companies will likewise seek to cut their numbers. Opera benefited from a sort of moment-in-time anomaly where industrialists subsidized quality high art in the Rust Belt. I don’t think opera is necessarily self-renewing.

    Will we continue to have tackle football in America? I think that will depend on how well the sport can regulate itself. The kickoff distance changes are an interesting halting first step; I wouldn’t be shocked if some of the other XFL innovations trickled back into the senior league. But indoor concerts are a canary in the coal mine for outdoor sports; anything whose economic health relies on live, in-person attendance in capacity-limited rooms, arenas, and stadiums is suffer years’ worth of deep losses from their previously projected revenues, and if they were carrying a lot of debt, say, from recent construction, they could be perilously close to underwater. (Like, say, the XFL.)

    Historically, baseball’s strength was because of its young fans. It wasn’t that long ago that baseball was the most popular sport among young people. It now lags the other major sports. And it is not clear that kids who imprint on basketball when they’re 12 grow up to be baseball fans. (I’d guess that when this happens at all, it generally happens when their kids became baseball fans, which merely restates the problem.)

    Baseball’s already in for a world of COVID-related hurt. If it doesn’t appeal to young kids, though, that hurt is even deeper.

  4. I more-or-less agree with Jonathan @4, and I would completely agree with him if this were just a normal labor dispute without the COVID-19 backdrop.

    Things aren’t quite as certain with the virus backdrop, but in response to Alex’s point @5, I think baseball and the rest of the significant sports entities in this country (sports with national TV contracts, let’s say) are pretty far down the list of entertainment enterprises that would go bust due to the pandemic. Could they eventually do so if the pandemic lasted for long enough or if the economic recession was bad enough? Sure. But I don’t think baseball is on the same level as opera or symphony orchestras or small-to-mid-sized concert venues when it comes to existential concerns regarding the coronavirus.

  5. Oh, baseball won’t go bust. Neither will most municipal operas. But what MLB is trying to do to MiLB is a case in point: they are terrified that operating revenues will be down for years and they’re trying to cut wherever they can get away with it. That’s also what’s driving their catastrophic negotiations with the players.

    Baseball won’t go out of business, but those lucrative TV deals are never coming back, gate and in-stadium revenue is probably going to remain relatively depressed for the next few years compared with the expected growth trajectory from the last few years, and it’s possible that fans are going to spend more time following other sports than they’re going to spend following baseball, even relative to normal expectations where at any given time, half the teams appear to be tanking and artificially depressing their own fanbase.

    To Jonathan’s point, the ultimate question is whether any of this will actually result in the next team sale price being lower than we would have expected. So, I agree — it’s an empirical question.

  6. Eduardo Perez today touted selling ad space on uniforms either on an MLB wide basis or as individual teams. He also thought that it was time to open the books (good luck with that!) and instituting a profit sharing plan. The effects this would have on individual player salaries was not discussed as far as I know, but Eduardo seemed determined that some new approach to the MLB labor-management mess was needed.

  7. Great series, Ryan. Thank you.

    Also: why does MLB still have special status among professional sports?

  8. @10

    Advertising on jerseys just doesn’t bother me at all. And since I’m sure we’re going for a more NBA feel (with a small corporate logo on the shoulder) than a soccer feel (with the corporate logo front and center, dwarfing the actual team logo), I really don’t see the issue. I honestly don’t really even notice it when watching soccer at this point. Has no effect on the enjoyment of the game for me.

    Of course, I had no problem when Bud Selig wanted to put a Spider-Man logo on the bases (the summer that either Spider-Man 2 or 3 came out, I forget which one), and that caused a gigantic freakout, so maybe I’m not the person to ask about this.

  9. Does everyone have to wear the same logo, or can it be customized to the player?
    Lenny Dykstra for Moe’s Bail Bonds
    Barry Bonds for Dupont (“Better Living Through Chemistry”)
    Hank Aaron for Craftsman
    Bartolo Colon for Miralax
    Pete Rose for DraftKings
    Rico Carty for Shoney’s
    Dale Murphy for The Book of Mormon
    Pascual Perez for NASCAR
    The possibilities are endless…

  10. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. This will be my 4th Father’s Day and apparently my near 5-year old daughter, Murphy Jo, has it “ALL PLANNED OUT!” I can’t wait!

    Manfred=lemons
    Murphy=lemonade

    Have a great day, guys and gals!

  11. Happy Father’s Day to every dad, and to every child of a dad!

    If you’re really interested in wading through the minutiae, Eugene Freedman has reviewed the March agreement and has a number of interesting points to make:

    https://blogs.fangraphs.com/the-threat-of-a-grievance-likely-spurred-mlbs-latest-offer-to-the-players/

    But the biggest key appears to be this: MLB is clearly afraid of a players’ grievance, and it seems likely that “it’s not the fear of liability that scares MLB; it’s the fear of disclosure.”

    In other words, the grievance process would require MLB to open their books in order to make their case about the economic infeasibility of playing more games. And that would require them to disclose all the accounting games that they play in their books. Freedman surmises that that’s the reason they came back to the table a few days ago.

  12. @15

    Makes sense. That does bring up the question of what the last month of screwing around and sending the same lowball offer packaged in three different ways was about.

    I can see them initially thinking the players would cave, but it became obvious that they wouldn’t when they crapped on the offer designed to drive a wedge down the middle of the union (the one that would give low-salary players a much higher percentage of their prorated salary than high-salary players). The league sent that offer like a week in.

  13. @16, my general belief around that is that the owners themselves are divided, and some of them are more intransigent than others. I’d bet that there’s never been a true consensus among the owners, but as a direct result of all of the mucking around from the league, there is a true consensus among the players.

  14. Ehhh, I don’t know if there’s a true consensus amongst the players. You read Chipper’s book, and it’s clear that there are players that are all about the greenbacks, and there are at least some guys that are simply not looking for every last dollar out of the game. I do plan on reading more modern-day baseball players’ books to get inside their minds a little more.

    I think the problem is that there’s a LOUD minority amongst baseball players that feel like they need to provide their live thoughts on every ebb and flow in this process, and I feel like some people could make the mistake of thinking that a Trevor Bauer or Jack Flaherty or Sean Dolittle speaks for everyone.

    Let’s keep in mind that if the players were willing to drop pro rata, they could have made more gross money by playing more games. I’m confident some players would have been willing to do that. After all, that’s basically how the playoffs work; you don’t make pro rata once you go past 162.

  15. By the way, what are people’s thoughts about David P. Samson, the former Marlins president who now has his own podcast called Nothing Personal? The guy is a complete blowhard and clearly still a shill for the owners, but I think he’s entertaining and informative.

  16. @18, oh I agree that in general the players are fractious. But from all the reporting, it sounds like the owners’ unreasonableness during this process has basically pushed all the players together. At least for now, on this matter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *