Well…What ELSE IS THERE TO TALK ABOUT, KAREN?!

Image result for carl edwards jr baseball card

Well January sucked for the Braves. And with free agents being gobbled up by the dozens while Anthopoulos is on a spending cleanse, the Braves have made some signings. Well, at least Minor League ones. And they’ve made a few 40-man claims. As was with the Tyler Matzek signing, the Braves look to be attempting to catch lightning in a bottle with a few castoffs that have had promising numbers in the past.

The Candidates

Ehire Adrianza: While Adrianza isn’t known for his bat, his glove skills are elite. He’s a switch hitter that doesn’t kill you at the plate, but likely wouldn’t be used as a hitter unless absolutely necessary. If the Braves cut ties with Johan Camargo, or they feel like Johan cannot cover SS in a pinch off the bench, Adrianza could get a shot as the backup utility infielder.

Kyle Garlick– At 29, he’s no spring chicken, but he can still hit and has a career .881 OPS in the minors. In 2019, he combined for 26 HRs (23 at AAA, 3 in MLB) in 357 PAs. He’s heavy on launch angle and as a LHH, that could play well at Truist. He’s got a bit of a Joc Pederson vibe and maybe the Braves have picked up on it. He’s on the 40-man and still has an option, so maybe will see if he can make an impact at the MLB level.

Victor Arano– It was August of 2018 when Fangraphs dropped this piece dedicated to Arano and his slider and fastball combo. Unfortunately, 2019 wasn’t kind to Arano and he sat most of the year after non-TJ elbow surgery. 2020 didn’t bode well either and apparently his environment in his home country was not ideal for his recovery. Now, nearly 2 years removed from throwing a pitch in the MLB, he’ll be given a shot in spring to prove himself on the Braves squad after the Phillies DFA’d him in the early offseason.

Carl Edwards Jr.– There was a time when CEJ was one of the more exciting relievers in the game with 3 great years with the Cubs pitching a total of 154.1 innings of 3.03 ERA baseball with 4.9BB/9 and 12.4 K/9. A forearm strain limited his time in 2020, but reports on his stuff were good even with a lower velo. With the Braves lacking RH bullpen arms, both Edwards and Arano have a good chance of cracking the roster.

Jaycob Brugman– Let’s let Bob Melvin get the cliches out of the way: “he’s a gamer, sticks his nose in there, has tough at-bats, gets big hits, understands how to play center field”. Those were the words dropped on Brugman in spring training of 2017 with the Athletics. And while he didn’t get the call right away, he did in June and held his own, especially after adjusting to MLB pitching. Unfortunately his MLB time ended in 2017 and he’s spent the last few down in the minors. Like so many others, Brugman had a huge spike in power at AAA in 2019, drilling 24 HRs in 339 PAs. He’s a capable OFer that can play all OF positions. Is the power real? Did increasing launch angle unlock something for him that it did for others? Maybe. I wouldn’t bet on it…. but maybe.

Picks to Click

If I had to pick 2 players that I think could make the MLB club and make an impact, I think those 2 are Garlick and Edwards Jr. Both definitely have the potential to be Major Leaguers with sticking power, Garlick as a platoon partner in LF and Edwards Jr. as a 6th/7th inning bullpen arm.

Author: Ryan Cothran

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

63 thoughts on “Well…What ELSE IS THERE TO TALK ABOUT, KAREN?!”

  1. blazonsays:
    February 5, 2021 at 9:27 am

    Trevor Bauer
    O man, could he glower
    but for Ronald Acuna
    he praised his mighty oppo tonk, not later but sooner.

    do you remember, off his fellow starter for sure, but generous in the immediacy of a losing cause?

    an oppo tonk
    you first hear the bonk
    then follow the flight
    Oooos and aaaahs encrusted in the night.

  2. Thanks T!

    Braves appear to be back in the hunt for Ozuna, but extent is not fully know because of course it’s not.

  3. The Braves desperately need to sign a bat. That’s not news, of course, but the available options have rapidly decreased to almost nothing.
    Except for our friend the Mime. I’d be ecstatic if they sign him to play left this year. It will be a s—show out there in the field, but I think the need for his bat outweighs the crappy defense.
    Truth is, I expect the reason we haven’t signed him is not so much the defense in a non-DH season, but the unwillingness to commit the dollars and years. Ironically, the apparent fact that there won’t be a DH this year may have reduced his price a little in that the demand for him has got to be lower.
    The only other option to get excited about is a trade for Ramirez. That would be terrific—if they can go for it without trading Pache or Anderson. It will probably take both Waters and Riley to get him along with assorted younger pitching prospects.

  4. The drawn-out search for the needed bat(s) in the starting lineup has really overshadowed how poor the (current) bench depth is.

    I’ve read excuses for the 2019 & 2020 postseason exits basically saying Braves win both series if Chris Martin & Adam Duvall don’t get hurt. I don’t buy it. If losing one set-up guy or a platoon outfielder sinks your playoff chances, well then your depth sucks.

    The problem wasn’t Martin and Duvall getting hurt. The problem was they were replaced with Teheran and Carmago.

  5. As always, IWOTM, but if they wind up with Bauer, I will be offically worried about the division this year. That’s a rotation full of aces (DeGrom, Bauer, Thor-when healthy, Stroman, Carasco). Yikes.

  6. Holy moly, Bauer to the Dodgers. I’m happy he’s not coming to NL East, but damn that’s even more talent to LA. I started the offseason hopeful Atlanta could close the gap with LA losing some free agents and the Braves finally cashing in. It’s…. not looking good on that front.

  7. Dodgers, gross…I guess at least it’s not the Mets and maybe he becomes the okay Bauer instead of the lights our Bauer, but that’s a tough team to beat.

  8. It’s definitely a positive for the Braves that Bauer is going to the Dodgers. I realize that you have to beat the Dodgers to get to the WS, but the playoffs really are a crapshoot. Winning the division just got a lot more feasible.

  9. I think the playoffs as a crapshoot thing is overblown. The better teams still win more often. And each time the Dodgers knock our Braves out in October, the line around here is more like “well, they were just the more talented team” not “we lost a crapshoot to an evenly-matched opponent again.”

  10. 3/$102M for Bauer, $34M AAV

    He gets $40M in ’21, $45M in, ’22, $17M in ’23, but can opt out after ’21 and ’22.

  11. Good signing for LA — it’s only money, and they’ve certainly got that.

  12. Bad leftfielders who nonetheless generated more that 4 WAR: https://stathead.com/tiny/GasCW
    Roy Sievers 1947 (team finished 8th)
    Carlos May 1972 (team finished 2nd)
    Brian Giles 2002 (team finished 4th)
    Gary Sheffield 2001 (team finished 3rd)
    Manny Ramirez 2005 (team finished 2nd)
    Harmon Killebrew 1964 (team finished 6th)
    Greg Luzinski 1977 (team finished 1st)

    Ozuna can’t play left field any more, but he’s way better than Greg Luzinski was out there.

  13. Does the money to Bauer make the Dodgers less likely to pay for Turner?
    Probably not;I think they spend what it takes.
    Even so, I’d like to have Turner.

  14. This sucks so, so much.

    According to Spotrac’s MLB team payroll tracker, Bauer’s $40 million salary for the 2021 season is higher than the projected 26-man payroll of the Pittsburgh Pirates ($30 million), Baltimore Orioles ($34.2 million) and Cleveland Indians ($36.5 million).

    Good for Trevor, and even gooder for the Dodgers. Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Cleveland are behaving utterly shamefully.

    https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/30837079/trevor-bauer-signing-los-angeles-dodgers-sources-say

  15. @20, I’m sure many of us on this board remember the 1970s, when the top teams were in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Oakland as well as New York and LA.

    I suppose the 1980s were somewhat like that, with different teams from all over winning divisions & championships, but (and I was out of the country then so didn’t follow things that closely) my impression is that there weren’t as many consistently good teams in that decade, just lots of teams from all over having a good year or two.

    I doubt it’ll get that bad, but this is starting to feel like Spanish soccer, where Barcelona and Real Madrid are the default top two teams unless they really botch things, with a changing cast of a few teams in the next tier.

  16. Alright — if the Braves actually pull this off and bring back the Mime, I’m gonna give AA back all the trust that I was prepared to be worried about having to no longer have in him.

    Maybe he kicks the ball all over the field this year, but there’s basically zero question that the DH will be here to stay before next year. And I sure don’t mind getting to watch him hit the cover off the ball for a few more years.

    Hot dog!

  17. I do honestly feel for Ozuna. The guy honestly deserves more money, especially after what he did last year. This feels like a steal.

  18. Pending passing the Furcal Rule complications, this news (on Ozuna) eases my worried mind almost as much as Duane Allman making an electric guitar sound like a violin.

  19. We’re past the Furcal Rule. Team announced it.

    Yes, agreed, it’s a steal. I hate to say it, but he should have taken another pillow deal.

  20. He’s had two winters to explore the market and this seems to have been his best offer. I don’t know if we heard if he had more money in hand last winter and thought he could do better.

  21. He wanted $100m and that wasn’t crazy. He just wanted that money during a time when the major league owners magically managed to shrink the average leaguewide salary three years running.

  22. Good! I wonder whether Ozuna’s decision was influenced by (apparently) having enjoyed being a Brave last year and by not wanting to go to his fourth team in four years. I’m a little leery of year four, but the cost is certainly team-friendly.

    I guess this means I have to hope the DH comes back after this season. As easy as he was to root for, it wasn’t much fun to watch last year’s Ozuna in the field, and I imagine four-years-older Ozuna would be even more of an adventure in left.

    I wonder if AA has been waiting to see how much getting another bat cost before working on an extension of Freeman.

  23. If I’d known the Braves were waiting for me to weigh in on the relative unimportance of left field defensive prowess, I’d have made that comment a month ago and saved everybody a lot of agita.

  24. Y’all remember that rumor AL dropped about a week back? Looks like it has some legs.

  25. I like it. It’s the right thing to do now, and if you’re going to sign any free agent to a 4 year deal, it might as well be a 30 year old one. Eventually you’re going to have to sign some of these kinds of deals to compete at the top level.

    Before we get too crazy though, let’s not forget that Marcell is coming off the best 228 at bats of his life. He should continue to hit for power, but don’t pencil him in for .338.

    I think Marcell was smart to lock in now. He’s coming off his best season, and owners seem to be getting smarter about signing hitters through their mid-30’s. I don’t think he was likely to get a better deal at 31.

  26. I love AA’s game. I do, he is aggressive and patient at the same time, 2 pitchers in a blink, then played the long game and got bat we needed. Now bring back Duvall for depth and2 more relievers

  27. I don’t want to step on the Mime news; it’s terrific and just what the team needed. And somehow AA got him for a lot less than anyone predicted. I feel very relieved and excited.

    But I can really get pumped about also adding Ramirez. I’d do that trade in a heartbeat. He would give the Braves as strong a lineup top to bottom as I ever remember in our laundry.

  28. So the Braves core is mostly intact for the next four years. Other than d’arnaud, who will be the first to hit free agency (assuming we extend Freddie)? Dansby?

  29. DOB’s article on the signing compares Ozuna to Martin Prado as a teammate, which causes me to wonder…what is Martin Prado up to this season? A cursory search didn’t turn up anything. Somebody somewhere is going to start grooming him to be a manager soon, and I would very much like for the Braves to be that somebody.

  30. @48 True enough, but if he struck me as a couch-sitter I wouldn’t want him managing my team. Few players I’ve watched have conveyed as great a sense of consistent alertness and engagement with his environment as Prado did, and he accomplished a lot given his lack of pedigree or obvious physical gifts. I just know in my bones he’d be a good manager.

  31. @41 Ramirez has potentially three years of control left so some deal like that would be truly fantastic. I’d like to see the Braves trade more from pitching depth than the player pool. I think Ozuna pretty much makes Waters expendable as does Ramirez makes Riley. However, I’d like to see us keep Langeliers. We have been pretty much gap-filling at catcher for a while. And I’d like our chances better for a long term solution if we had both Contreras and Langeliers. Can’t we put up either Wilson or Wright instead of Langeliers? I realize that Morton and Smyly are one year gap-fillers but the system has to have enough pitching to cover that – not to mention future FA options.

  32. @53: Why do I expect that the words Ender and late-inning-lf-substitute are now inextricably linked?

  33. AA said they may add another OF and reliever. Sounds like they may bring back Duvall and/or Melancon.

  34. @52, I’m not sure Ozuna makes Waters expendable beyond this year, and I would regret losing him more than Langeliers. Seems like if we’re convinced Contreras is the long-term answer at catcher, we can replace what Langeliers would’ve provided in the post-d’Arnaud years fairly easily with a generic backup catcher and not lose too much. Assuming the DH is in place after this year, we’ll need a LF. I’m not sure we have anyone in the system but Waters that we’re confident would be even decent (unless Ozuna stays in LF so Ball can DH?), and I expect a decent LF would cost a lot more and be more difficult to get than a generic backup catcher. I’d rather throw in two more non-Anderson pitching prospects instead of Waters, though I doubt Cleveland would go for it.

    All that said, if we can get Ramirez (and resign Duvall & Melancon or reasonable facsimiles), I guess we can worry about LF next year.

  35. On Ozuna – I remain skeptical of his talents in the field, but I tend to agree with others that he brings more to the offense (and team chemistry) than he causes trouble on defense. Plus, I think we all know the DH is coming. If not this year, then next. Kudos to AA for not only biting the bullet, but getting Ozuna under what many assumed he would get on the open market. (If the Dodgers really wanted him, they would have…see Bauer, Trevor.) [EDIT – I should also remind that we signed Ozuna last year before we ever knew the DH was coming, so clearly that doesn’t/didn’t scare AA off.]

    On Ramirez – I should make clear that the rumor I heard was nothing more than what was reported on 680 The Fan here in Atlanta. And they made point of saying that if we knew any of the particulars, it likely was not full of veracity given AA’s operating philosophy/practices. (On this, see the Ozuna deal which was pretty silent until it happened.) That said, if true I am still up for that specific trade regardless of what we give up. It’s 3 years of control for a major proven piece as opposed to whatever may become of Waters and/or Riley. With Ramirez, we won’t be looking for a bat from our catcher in immediate terms, but rather defensive skills and I liked what I saw from Contreras on both sides, frankly.

    To get both Ozuna and Ramirez would be a coup like nothing else. It balances the Mets move with Lindor (perhaps more than) and keeps us up with the Dodgers on offense. Do both and then resign Melancon or Greene and I think we’re set to pop in 2021.

Leave a Reply

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