Braves 6, Communist Hosiery 3

in 1953, The Braves left Boston. Now, with “interleague play” we get to return from time to time.

The Red Sox entered this game as a shell of their post 2000 selves. So, with that and Max Fried on the mound, you have to figure that we had a better chance than Lloyd Christmas with Mary Swanson.

Max was not the brilliant self he has been so far all season, but it was enough. 5 innings, 2 runs, 5 hits, 2 BB’s, 5 K’s. But those less than Maximus results exceed almost every other Braves start this season. Maybe we can get the rest of the spots churning that out on a regular basis. If so, this team would probably be playing 750 to 800 ball.

Well, the first inning went well offensively and could have easily gone a lot better. Dansby singled, FF hit a frozen rope, Mime had a hard time picking up those high altitude cutters, and then Markakis doubled in the left field corner about one foot fair and 5 feet from the Monster. Austin Riley then hit a single. I digress to remind the Riley skeptics that my scouting report of 4 years ago garnered from the Fire Frog haven in Kissimmee pointed out his likely ability to be a competent Big Leaguer. I think he is still in the battle of adjustments and counter adjustments. But, I also think he now has set a floor of close to average offensively and defensively. The question now is how much advancement on that can he make.

Well Med (short for mediocre) Fried let Boston get one back in the bottom half and then another in the third on a balk. I don’t think Bob Davidson was there, but County Joe West had first base, so you knew something screwy had to happen.

Adam Duvall homered to lead off the 4th to tie it. Then, the Braves did a Bum Phillips on the Red Sox (“kicked the damn door in”). FF walked, Mime doubled (without FF scoring), and Neck walked. then Austin Riley the Missippi Mauler scladed a ball to right that was a bases clearing triple.

Then, O’Day and Martin were dominant, but the Fresh Prince gave up 3 hits and one run, but struck out 3. His late start is probably his only problem. We will be glad we have him as we continue down the stretch. Then Melancon dominated the 9th.

Well, tonight it is my cousin Ian Anderson (my grandmother was an “Anderson” so I do recognize all members of Clan Anderson), goes up against former Brave Ryan Weber. Let’s continue the winning ways.

34 thoughts on “Braves 6, Communist Hosiery 3”

  1. This is a long, thoughtful piece, but it misses a lot of what I think are the key problems with Rob Manfred as a leader: https://theathletic.com/2027492/

    First, despite the fact that he spent decades negotiating with players, he has virtually no credibility. After the Astros scandal, the horrible negotiation this spring (where he, to his credit, acknowledges he didn’t do a great job), and the rabbit baseball last year, it’s very hard to trust anything that Rob Manfred says, whether you’re a fan or a player.

    Second, he’s inconsistent, just like his predecessor. Selig was famously inconsistent as he treated his friends among owners differently from his non-friends — just witness how he forced Frank McCourt to sell the Dodgers but let Fred Wilpon keep the Mets. Manfred treated the Astros and the Red Sox differently, punishing the Red Sox with a mere slap on the wrist for cheating and the Astros with a sentence that was only harsh when compared to the Red Sox punishment. Compared to the death penalty he threw at John Coppolella (which was also far harsher than the punishment he gave the Red Sox for their involvement in a similar scandal there, too), it’s hard to conclude that the punishment fits the crime — more like the punishment fits the friend.

    Third, he’s slow on the draw. Whatever your feelings on the positions that baseball should take with respect to current events, it’s been striking to watch the NBA steal a march on MLB — baseball has known for years that it has trouble attracting young fans, and not only has Manfred done nothing meaningful to address that, baseball has explicitly declined to market its marquee players. Rob Manfred literally criticized Mike Trout for not publicizing himself more, which was astonishing in two different ways: first, by going after Trout, whether he wins or loses, the game loses; and second, for a guy who calls himself the CEO of baseball, he seems astonishingly unaware of the fact that in product marketing, it’s the company’s job to market the product, it’s not the product’s job to market itself.

    He’s inherited a difficult portfolio, and he’s stumbled in his response to every single situation he’s faced. Baseball is not in a better position than it was in when Bud Selig retired, neither in absolute terms, nor relative to the other major sports. Manfred has been a poor executive. They won’t fire him, just like the football owners can’t bring themselves to fire Goodell — since he takes all the incoming on their behalf — but they should.

    His sole job is to grow the business. No one in their right mind could argue that he has done his job.

    They ought to fire his ass.

  2. JC’d from earlier this morning

    Blazon says:
    September 1, 2020 at 7:02 am
    You can’t get that mad with AA if you don’t know what was asked for Clevinger…and you don’t…it’s pointless, unfair to him and will keep you awake at night…until, if ever, you do find out, just stuff it, throw it away.

    Alternatively, ask Ryan if either of his two sources knows…or rather Bowman who has come out on Twitter and named four names split seemingly into almost any combination of two. No pairing seems acceptable in the cold light of the next morning…

    Finally, Riley was one of the names. Which one? The unhappy kid or the improved version who smiled, slugged and fielded his way through last night’s game like a tyro, loving every minute? What’s he worth now? What was he worth a month ago? Anderson too. When you talk to the other side do you have two aces in your hand or two tens? In whose opinion?

    Be happy. He did a good job. The market was silly. He had the sense and experience to recognize it.

    blazonsays:
    September 1, 2020 at 7:21 am
    There was a young guy pitching for Boston last night in the middle innings – name was Larde or something like that – who made me almost tear up he was so like Touki…but so much better than Touki is today who is becoming a marginal asset apparently. He was a tall, thin Black guy with a whippy, nasty delivery often in the second half of the nineties with a ton of movement and great location half the time. He was in his his very early twenties. A slinger was the word that came to mind. Yes, please, can we trade you Clevinger for him? You know, the guy who’s been ostracized by his own team mates. And now would be by ours.

  3. FOR MAX, who else is there?

    The very thought of you makes our hearts sing
    Like an April breeze on the wings next spring,
    Then you appear in all your splendor,
    Our one, our special glove.

    The shadows fall and spread their mystic charms
    In the hush of night if control alarms
    We’ll hear those tips, they’ll chase your bender
    Our one, our only glove.

  4. cliff…

    Please excuse interruptions, over now…delighted to hear Scots blood flows through your veins, special stuff! And thank you for your timely and highly relevant recap this morning.

  5. When AA says he doesn’t think the value is there for a trade or free agent cost, I can understand the theory. But I now believe that he’s either lying or (and this is my biggest fear) he does not believe that starting pitchers are ever a good value. I’ll explain:

    This Braves team got good in 2018. So let’s look at the best starting pitchers in the game since 2018 (I’m going by fWAR). More specifically, lets look at the 15 best pitchers in that span. I’d consider anybody from the top 15 a “frontline starter” who you would slot into Game 1 no problem – the exact need the Braves have had since Smoltz retired.

    Top 15 SP since 2018:
    Degrom
    Scherzer
    Cole
    Verlander
    Corbin
    Lynn
    Bieber
    Bauer
    Wheeler
    Nola
    Sale
    Grienke
    Morton
    Clevinger
    Hendricks

    Since the 2018 trade deadline, 3 of those aces have been traded: Bauer, Greinke, Clevinger.

    Since the 2018/2019 offseason, 5 of those aces were available as free agents: Cole, Corbin, Lynn, Wheeler, Morton.

    That’s 8 times since the Braves’ window opened that a legit ace SP was available. Each time AA & crew decided that the asking price – in dollars or prospects – was not a good value and passed. My only conclusion here is that AA does not value frontline starters the same as the rest of the league. I think this is a problem. You have to pay the going rate at some point.

  6. @7 – I don’t know if I can fully back this up, but I believe good bullpens are more important during this shortened season than ever. Since the rosters are expanded there are more bullpen arms available and less pressure for starters to go deep. Managers also don’t have the same concern about burning a reliever up over the shortened season.

    I can’t imagine Atlanta doing this well with such a dearth of starting pitchers in any other year. Otoh, the underperformers have seemed to have massive bullpen problems. I’m afraid this won’t hold out in the playoffs but who knows.

  7. @9 I’ve thought this too. I’m interested to see how things appear at the end of the season.

    For such an objectively good team, it feels like this is a team that is still very unsettled. Nevermind the well-documented rotation issues. We still have an outfield, third base, bench, and some relief roles that are still unsettled. All told, I think Snit has done a pretty good job making sense of the multitude of bodies we’ve thrown at so many key spots hoping for the best.

  8. @7,

    On the untreaded ones, who knows what anybody offered and how that went. As to Clevinger, the Indians seemed to want at least some return for the “win now”because some of what they got from Padres wasn’t too hot, but at least had potential to help them now. to me, Adam Duvall is better than Naylor, by far. Also, we could have sent a better for now bullpen option than Quantrill. On this one, maybe AA should have gone higher.

    As to the general proposition, yes, I believe partly AA doesn’t value starting pitching as highly. The variance, the injury risk, the total collapse risk are all real. And, another issue is that the team can’t afford more than one expensive dead contract. So, if an acquisition on a multi year tanks, then the FA market is almost impossible to navigate. But the other thing that I believe is in play (and I partially agree with this), is that despite all of the current shortcomings in our vast pitcher grouping in AAAA land, there really MAY be as much chance of one of them being a 2 or 3 soon that it is hard to pull the trigger.

    This approach has a way to achieve post season results. But it requires a more direct intervention on Snit: openers and bullpen games. This team can make mincemeat of good lineups if you send out O’Day on righties and Minter, Greene, Smith, and Melancon on about anybody.

  9. Does it change anyone’s opinion that Lance Lynn just didn’t get traded at all? It’s one thing to lose out to another buyer who is More Serious About Winning(TM), and another thing all together for a team to just not trade the players because no team offered them something they liked.

  10. @7

    Agree 100%. If you’re not going to compete in free agency beyond one year deals then you’ve painted yourself into a corner. Either you overpay in prospects or you overpay in dollars during a period in which you’re contending. If you want a young, cost controlled pitcher then you have to pay a prospect premium; if you sign a free agent you’re probably paying for past performance. I get not wanting to carry dead money, but that’s probably the cost of doing business if the goal is to win a World Series. To my knowledge, there are no lowest dead money or best ROI championships.

  11. Soroka, Fried. Hopefully, Anderson. Three for ten is a good average; and who knows, one or two of the others may give value this year.

    Some folk are more patient with the Swansons and Reillys of Braves world. I am impatient with everybody, a true egalitarian: produce now or hit the street.

  12. I have enjoyed all the recaps and discussions. Thank you all for the prayers, thoughts and kind words. One more operation to go after yesterday’s day without end. God bless you each and everyone. Love your people now. Tomorrow is not promised.

  13. I think it’s pretty clear that the org has thought for a while that they had 3-4 aces in the system. And it’s not like it’s unfounded. If I had told you that Ian Anderson was going to pitch well, would you have thought we’d only have 2 good SPs right now? I doubt you’d have bet that we’d have gotten 2 total good starts out of Soroka, Folty, Wright, and Newcomb, and that might continue to be true at the end of the year. This has been a disaster that Lance Lynn or even Clevinger would have fixed.

    It’s basically 2014 all over again.

  14. Braves didn’t have to do anything big to satisfy me. Truly, I would’ve been happy with grabbing Tommy La Stella (yes, I know he had already been traded, but a steady LH infield bat was just what the Braves needed) and maybe Kevin Gausman and not giving up much. To do nothing because the best guys on the market required MLB talent is a poor excuse from someone that was able to grab 3 great relievers at the 2019 deadline without breaking the system.

    All of the trades seemed reasonable with reasonable prices (with exception of 2 Padre trades) yet AA did nothing. It’s frustrating…but if Albies and Hamels can come back, Acuña can stay healthy, one of the young pitchers can solidify a rotation spot, and AA can finally admit that Ender sucks and Pache should start in CF, we should be fine.

    However, for the playoffs, outside of Fried, I want to see bullpen games

    To blazon…I had 2 great sources last year, but not anymore. I can’t get into detail on the why, but that’s the story.

  15. I still wonder if the Braves may bring up Davidson or Weigel, even if Anderson continues to impress. I’m afraid they’ve gotten just about all they can get from Erlin and Tomlin.

  16. This is off topic, but… can anyone explain to me what the whole thing is with Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona? I’ve been reading ESPN but it turns out that you can’t just go from knowing nothing about European soccer to learning what you want to know from a single column, because they’re writing for people who already follow the league.

    As far as I can tell, this would basically be like if Mike Trout got so annoyed with how terrible the Angels have been for his entire career that he demanded that Arte Moreno release him immediately. Is that about it?

  17. AAR,

    The analogy you make doesn’t do justice to the situation.

    Messi has been playing for Barcelona for 17+ years (20+ if you count their minors) and they’ve been competing for the top prizes (and winning most years in the Spanish League) for all of them.

    The 8-2 loss they’ve recently had with Bayern Munich is an outlier, really, as they felt they had a fighting chance of beating Bayern Munich and fighting for the Champions League.

    So, no, I wouldn’t ascribe the demand to leave the team with the field related aspect, although it is true that Barcelona’s better years do seem behind them and the team is thinner than what it was during their glory years (what team isn’t?).

    He is leaving mostly for reasons brewing underneath the surface for many years, mostly his relationship with the board, as there have been some scuffles between them throughout the relationship. So much so, that Messi, only signs one year contracts with the possibility of leaving every year. This year, he decided to take the option, the thing is, that with the Covid situation, he didn’t trigger the clause on time and therefore they have a battle going on, as to what will be the prize to pay for his desire to go someplace else.

  18. This is a cool website. I’m not sure I’ve read Roberto’s comments before. That was a darn good one. Thanks, Roberto.

  19. (Warning: Wall of text about European soccer…feel free to ignore if you’re so inclined)

    @21

    Kinda, but the first thing to realize is that European soccer is different from baseball in that, instead of one be-all, end-all league that everyone is trying to get to, it has four leagues that are roughly on equal footing (English, Spanish, German, Italian) and a few teams from otherwise second-tier leagues that see themselves as swimming in the same waters even though their leagues are a small step down on a general level (UEFA Champions League runner-up Paris-Saint Germain [out of France, obviously] being the prime current example). So in pretty much all the North American sports (the Russian league provides a small amount of competition to the NHL in signing Eastern European players occasionally), there’s nowhere else for a player to go. A loosely confederated group of teams in the same league is not gonna allow players to outright force their way out of situations they don’t like. They can hold out in the NFL, they can demand trades in multiple sports (though the teams don’t have to oblige them), and they can wait until they’re out-of-contract and go where they want.

    In European soccer, though, with all of these teams and all of these leagues on a roughly equal footing, the biggest stars have much more power. If Mike Trout just threatened to refuse to play for the Angels anymore, there are rules among teams to keep them from trying to grab him. If the Japanese leagues and the Korean league were on a relative par with MLB, though, to the point where Trout could see himself playing there, it might be a different story.

    All of that to say that if a player with the clout of Messi really wants to force his way out of his current situation, he can almost certainly do so. It almost never takes the form of trades, though. It really involves the team the under-contract player wants to go to offering the player’s current team enough money via transfer fee to pry him loose. This works similarly to how it used to work when a Japanese player wanted to come to an MLB team. The MLB team had to negotiate a fee with the Japanese team to pry him loose, then had to work out a separate contract with the player in question to sign him.

    A player could play out his contract with his current team and then sign what’s known as a “free transfer” (which basically just means signing a free agent contract…it’s a “free transfer” in that the signing team doesn’t have to pay another team a transfer fee) with another team, in theory, but this almost never happens with players the caliber of Messi, because if a team knows that a player is going to leave when their contract is up, they will more than likely attempt to sell them via transfer fee so that they can get a large sum of money back with which to replace him or further build their team rather than just to let him go for free.

    But now the plot thickens. The problem in this situation is that Messi’s contract with Barcelona is apparently…well, messy. To the point that nobody knows how to interpret it. It seems that his overall contract ends after next season, but Messi has a release clause that would allow him to leave on a free transfer if he wants to leave at the end of any season, but that has to be activated by June if he wants to take advantage of it, as Roberto explains above. This is further complicated, though, by the fact that this season didn’t end in May like it normally would have. Due to COVID-19, it ended in July. Barcelona is claiming that that clause is not available now, and that Messi is under contract through next season, and that if any team wants him, they have to meet his buyout clause (basically a set transfer fee) of the equivalent of $834 million (and yes, that’s just the transfer fee…Manchester City is apparently talking about signing him to an actual contract with a total value of even more than that). But Messi’s side is apparently now arguing that that buyout clause is no longer active (I’m not clear on the basis for that argument, if any). Apparently this contract is just a complete cluster, made even more unintelligible by the effects of the coronavirus.

    Anyway, if he leaves for free, Barcelona gets nothing while potentially the greatest player of all-time (though an admittedly slightly aging version of him, perhaps) walks. If he’s under contract, Barcelona gets $834 million with which to buy some semblance of a replacement for him and to purchase other players and to throw into youth development, etc. (though a team that wants him could probably negotiate that fee down somewhat if Messi makes it clear that he will absolutely not play for Barcelona this season under any circumstances). So uh…the stakes are high.

  20. Alex…
    To compare, if Trout was Messi he’d have to be hitting 75 home runs every year plus 200 RBI’s. For more than a decade. Do that and millions round the world worship you, chant your name. It’s football. The people’s game.

    He joined at age 13, debuted 17.After a few years he was bigger than the club, as modest as he personally was. Ultimately he became the club in people’s eyes, the best player in the world, by a margin.

    And that’s where it all started to sour. The corrupt board who ran the club meant it was always bedeviled by internal politics. Finally, Messi had enough and told them he was gone, shocked them. It will likely end up in court with a $700 million release clause in issue. The whole thing is Homeric.

  21. @24: Two observations
    a) Players even in MLB and the NFL have a lot more power than they have under your otherwise impeccable reasoning even though there are no economically comparable leagues. If Trout really didn’t want to play for the Angels, it would take only a mild amount of malingering and trash-talking until he was sent elsewhere. Any player performing up to the level of his contract salary can pretty freely move if they really wanted to. The team that loses him saves his salary and there are few non-cost-controlled players who are worth multiples of their arbitration of free agent salary. Admittedly, this is a trickier situation than European transfers: see Bell, Le’Veon.
    b) There’s a counterintuitive result here if the Japanese League could pay Trout anywhere near his MLB salary. If that were generally available, long term contracts in the MLB would come down a lot. The reasoning is simple: if I sign a contract for $30MM/yr for 10 years, I can break my contract and jump to Japan if I become worth more than $30MM, but if I become worthless, I still get my $30MM. So the expected value of a contract over its life drops a lot. MLB contracts, by taking away the upside from the player, can only be in equilibrium if no one else can pay for the ex post upside.

  22. DOB claims on his podcast that teams were demanding three of either Waters, Pache, Anderson, and Riley in trade talks for starters re: Clevinger, Lance Lynn.

  23. @28

    On your second point, I’m not an economist or anything, but that makes sense in theory. But if that’s the case, I’m curious how to explain the fact that the contracts for the top soccer players in the world are every bit as gaudy as those for the top baseball players, if not moreso, even with four top-class leagues and a handful of other potentially acceptable destinations for their services.

    Numbers are different in all of these reports (and a lot of them are very tabloidy), but Manchester City is said to be offering something in the neighborhood of a five-year, $800 million deal for Messi, which would come out to $160 million a year. Is that actually down from what it would be if Messi were de facto restricted to just one league?

  24. JonathanF, with respect to @28(b), isn’t that what we’ve seen with the opt-out clauses (or Borasian “swellopts”) — player contract is a guaranteed floor, with the upside of being able to rip up the contract and go elsewhere if still playing well?

  25. @ 27,

    Source?

    I am usually not the antagonist or the complete skeptic with respect to AA and the FO (that is front office, not “frozen orange”), but I figured the talk about all of those that might be doing better and might come back was post “no move deadline” BS.

  26. While we’re doubting the veracity of deadline-fallout related news nuggets, I’d like to push back on @29 a bit, if I may. (With any ire directed at DOB or the Braves front office rather than you, sdp, for the record).

    We seem to go through this every now and then, and I just don’t buy that these teams are all refusing to deal with us unless we give them our three best MLB-readyish prospects or two of them and a prospecty major leaguer, then when we refuse, go to some other team across the way and take a package highlighted by their seventh-best prospect. If you think you can squint in such a way to see that as making any kind of sense, you do you…but I don’t see how it does.

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