Braves 2021 Player Review: Josh Tomlin

Josh Tomlin does not require a significant amount of commentary. Tomlin has been with us for 3 seasons now, if you can believe it. It started out fine. His 3.74 ERA across 79 IP in 2019, predominantly in mop-up duty, was a breath of fresh air from someone we were paying no money. But then a 4.76 ERA in 2020 and 6.57 ERA in 2021 meant that he really wasn’t fulfilling his role any further.

We can debate it, and it’s a great debate, but I think Tomlin had a really effective role: eat innings in white flag situations to save your bullpen. I fall on the side that it has tremendous roster construction value to have a rubber arm that can come in and get you to the end of the game. Unfortunately, the debate became quite moot when Tomlin could no longer effectively do that. Assuming his usage was identical, Tomlin successfully finished 41% of the games he entered in 2019. In 2021, he only finished 17% of the games in which he entered. If you look at the game logs, he was used as the next man after a starter got bombed quite a bit, so his usage was not identical. But it does appear there were quite a few games where the goal was for him to finish out a lost cause game, and he just couldn’t do it. So in that regard, he failed in that role.

He also had another role that I think can be overstated but was important: he appears to have been a strong mentor to a young staff. He’s well-liked by the team, it appears, and having a 36-year old grown-up out in the pen probably had a lot of value. Especially over the last 3 seasons, I think he’s had tremendous surplus value, and clearly the Braves agreed, keeping him on the roster once it was clear his professional skills had eroded. Hopefully there’s another fella like Tomlin ready to take on this role in the pen going forward.

I like him, he’s a good guy, and hopefully we have a spot for him in the org.

62 thoughts on “Braves 2021 Player Review: Josh Tomlin”

  1. well looks like baseball is crap and Braves arent gonna have Freeman anyway ..cheap ass Braves .. so if the Players who are making a helluva living cant get it together and realize that the Owners are the Owners to make decisions as a boss would … they own the team either play or get banned .. if the players want to make money then have them but their own team .. the owners have made the decisons to get into a position to own a team and be an employer .. dont want to play ..then dont .. anyway .. guess FF is gone ..never understand this .. face of franchise … who do we get to replace that production ??? I dont think Rosario has ever played 1B or Soler ..Joc is not a good enough hitter … Olsen from A’s trade we would never pull off ..so any ideas on a lineup without FF ???

  2. Let’s be clear….Braves have the $ to pay Freddie Freeman. We can now 100% see that. However, AA has said multiple times that a long contract usually isn’t very efficient for older players. I’m guessing he’s not willing to go more than 4 guaranteed years for Freddie, but is willing to provide multiple team options.

    If Freddie wants to stay, he’ll have to accept less in years and maybe in dollars. I’m 100% convinced of this.

  3. PAY THE MAN. The prospect cost of getting Matt Olson, plus an extension, will far exceed whatever Freddie will ask. I think deep down AA knows this. The story from Buster on Freddie is probably coming from his camp for leverage purposes, just like the story from Rosenthal on Olson was obviously from Atlanta.

    Finally, we have a new TV deal coming in 2027 just as Freddie’s contract is ending. The dead money concern should be moot when there’s a guaranteed increase in revenues coming by the end of the decade.

  4. Yeah, they won’t be getting a dime from me if they pass on Freddie and throw the ghost of Rico Brogna at first base.

  5. Yeah, I’m pretty nonplussed about the efficiency argument. You can use that 95% of the time and it’s fine, but this is the 5%. You pay him whatever it takes to keep him here. This penny-pinching is non-sensical. It’s especially non-sensical because there is almost zero chance that we’re going to pay the prospect capital that it actually takes to get Matt Olson. So if we don’t pay Freeman, what we’re going to be left with is the “meh whatever” choice.

    All of that having been said, it’s not gonna matter for awhile. This labor impasse is not gonna get resolved by Monday, and once they blow that deadline, they’re gonna retreat and stop negotiating again for awhile.

  6. I will add this:

    Anecdotal, of course. My father-in-law is from the Cleveland area and hasn’t turned on the Indians (oops, Guardians) or been to a game in over five years. Why? He’s specifically cited ownership’s (the very wealthy Dolans) refusal to spend to keep homegrown stars, i.e. Cliff Lee, Sabathia, Lindor, etc. The Braves can play this game too. I’m sure they’ll still turn a profit, but they’re risking sowing apathy in the fanbase, though the WS title will probably give them a long leash.

  7. The purpose of running a Major League Baseball is not to maintain maximum payroll agility. Financial flexibility is your servant, not your master.

  8. The Braves financial statements sort of give lie to the whole argument in this dispute from MLB that baseball isn’t a profitable business. Also that the Braves can’t throw money at whatever Freeman wants.

  9. The Braves really don’t have a choice. The moment Freddie became a FA, they were set to pay market rate for his production. So whether they pay it in dollars or prospects for Olsen, they’re going to pay something similar to market rate. So unless they’re looking at Olsen for what they feel is below market rate prospects and Freddie for above market rate, then I don’t see the incentive for letting Freddie walk since I would think they would prefer the known commodity and fan favorite.

  10. @17 It’s nice to see Ynoa get some love. Ynoa has done more by 23 than, say, Kyle Wright, but he’s never quite gotten the prospect love.

    Ronald is going to need to stay healthy. He’s missed action in 2018, 2020, and now 2021. He’s played 4 seasons, and he’s only played in 80+% of his team’s games (adjusting for his Super 2 manipulation in 2018) once. Missed a month in 2018, a quarter of the season in 2020, and 1/3 of the season in 2021. By contrast, Soto has done a better job of staying healthy. I get it.

  11. @17–and Ozzie just turned 25 last month.
    For that matter, Soroka is still just 24. I realize he may never pitch again and understandably is not on the list. But his body of work in the big leagues before his injury would have him pretty high on the list.

  12. I’m a little surprised we haven’t gotten an update from Soroka, like even directly from him. If things were normal, pitchers and catchers would have already reported and we’d at least know something.

  13. See ya next year …..maybe …im over the players …. buy a team then you make the money you want …players get payed plenty … owners own the team … so they entitled to what they make …. tired of players acting they get nothing…pitiful ….needs a arbitrator .. but … im done ..

  14. Greetings from Aruba, home of Chadwick Tromp. Any guesses when he’ll surpass Xander Bogaerts and Sidney Ponson as the best players from Aruba? https://www.baseball-reference.com/bio/Aruba_born.shtml

    That said, I feel I’m already better off having surveyed the guy with the best name in Aruban baseball history: Radhames Dyckoff, who pitched only one inning in the bigs, for the Orioles against Atlanta, on June 7, 1998. In his one inning of work, he gave up a double to Andruw Jones, who was 1-14 against Ponson, making him, in his career 2-15 against pitchers from the sister island of Aruba.

  15. I can’t read the CBA negotiations as anything other than the owners demanding total capitulation. The revised deals the players have proposed, unless there’s a poison pill in the fine print, still wildly favor ownership. (I wonder if Manfred is feeling pressure to get an absolute blowout win here.)

    I’m not sure how we get baseball under those circumstances.

  16. The MLBPA going from 75 to 35 on the Super-2 status and then ownership unwilling to move an inch from 22 says a lot about ownership’s mindset.

  17. The biggest flaw in the news coverage of this lockout is that they’re trying to tie negotiation progress to perceive deadlines. I guess there’s some some perceived deadline of tomorrow? Why? Who said that? There are no deadlines! They don’t have to ever play baseball ever again, therefore there are no deadlines. They don’t have to have a season, and they sure as hell don’t have to have a 162-game season. I’m in full “wake me up with this is over” mode, and I find no value in watching the proceedings as they unfold. It’s all hot air.

    I really feel sorry for the employees of the organizations and employees of the periphery businesses. I have recently made friends with someone who’s pretty high up in the scouting & development for one of the teams with Spring Training sites here in Tampa Bay. She says she was one of the deciding voices in one of their recent first round picks who got ROY votes this past year, so that’s pretty cool. But she’s at her wit’s end. Are the MLB players coming, are they not coming? I told her that I don’t think they’re coming any time soon. She doesn’t want to believe it. That’s frustrating.

  18. Terrible conflicts like what we’re seeing here in Europe, puts things like the CBA in perspective and may lead to getting it agreed on quicker than anticipated.

  19. I’m actually okay with no baseball for a while. I’m still living off the Braves post-season run, and am not in any particular hurry to see Freddie in another uniform (which seems, if not inevitable, very likely at this point).

    Maybe I’ll feel differently come April . . .

  20. In actual on-field baseball news, an interesting development from the college game. New this season, the NCAA is allowing “one-way electronic communication devices” from the dugout to the field – either an earpiece for the catcher, which some conferences have allowed the past few years; or what Vanderbilt has been doing this year – the pitcher, catcher, and infielders all wear what basically looks like a smart watch (NCAA calls it an “electronic display board”) on their glove hand, and the pitching coach sends in the pitch type and location for each pitch. Since most college teams call pitches from the dugout anyway, it’s seemed (to me, at least) to speed the game up a little. And of course — no chance of the other team stealing signs. Previously, the catcher would have to relay the pitch call from the coach to the pitcher using traditional signs. Which could really take forever sometimes.

    I don’t think it’ll make it to the pro game since catchers call the pitches there, though it wouldn’t surprise me to see a progressive team try it out were something similar to be approved, either to eliminate sign stealing or because they think they can call a better game than the catcher. Then, it’s probably not too futuristic to see it evolving from a coach calling the game to an algorithm using real-time Statcast data to call the next pitch. Personally, I have no problem with how it’s being used currently in the college game. But I don’t think I want Skynet taking over pitch-calling duties.

  21. A quick followup in the small world category. I just got out of a cab here in Aruba, discussing Aruban baseball. First, I was informed, very demonstratively, that Andruw Jones’ father is Aruban. He only grew up in Curacao because his mother is from Curacao. Second, he (the cabby) actually knows Rhadames Dyckhoff (how was I going to forget that name) very well, and he’s now driving a cab in Aruba. Third, Aruban cabdrivers and I agree that the Yankees are God’s revenge on moral probity. Finally, Chadwick Tromp is going to be a star. My cabby is the Aruban equivalent of Smitty’s barber.

  22. I heard the same thing about Andruw from a cabbie while visiting Aruba about 20 years ago. They must loooove sharing that tidbit with tourists.

    Sidney Ponson was NOT popular on the island.

  23. @34

    I think we need to everything humanly possible to keep JonathanF’s Aruban cabby and Smitty’s barber from meeting. I fear the universe would implode into a black hole if they did.

  24. On Curmudgeon William James’ blog, I read an article that a contributor there made where he takes the BREF similarity scores and attempts to improve upon them by parsing them down to per 162 game totals as opposed to just raw data which the current model does.

    Any guesses as to who FF’s comp was in this endeavor? His current BREF #1 comp is Paul Goldschmidt but the /162 game comp is in that list’s top 10. Don’t look before you guess.

    I got a kick out of the fact that my pupil Daniel Murphy’s #2 comp is…

    Jackie Robinson https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/r/robinja02.shtml

  25. Similar Batters
    Paul Goldschmidt (948.8)
    Ted Kluszewski (916.4)
    Prince Fielder (913.0)
    Ryan Klesko (909.1)
    Justin Morneau (907.8)
    Tim Salmon (905.7)
    Kent Hrbek (901.2)
    Mo Vaughn (897.7)
    David Justice (886.7)
    Hal Trosky (883.1)

    Similar Batters through 31
    Eddie Murray (926.2) *
    Rafael Palmeiro (913.8)
    Prince Fielder (912.3)
    Carl Yastrzemski (909.2) *
    Shawn Green (904.3)
    Orlando Cepeda (901.4) *
    Jeff Bagwell (894.6) *
    Greg Luzinski (891.6)
    John Olerud (885.5)
    Mark Teixeira (885.1)
    * – Signifies Hall of Famer

    Most Similar by Ages
    Eddie Murray (965.7) * 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 C
    Eddie Murray (956.7) * 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 C
    Eddie Murray (976.2) * 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 C
    Eddie Murray (954.4) * 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 C
    Eddie Murray (944.8) * 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 C
    Eddie Murray (944.3) * 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 C
    Eddie Murray (934.6) * 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 C
    Eddie Murray (930.3) * 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 C
    Eddie Murray (936.7) * 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 C
    Eddie Murray (919.9) * 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 C
    Eddie Murray (926.2) * 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 C
    * – Signifies Hall of Famer

    Looks like we’re both right…

    The /162 Similarity that the writer came up with in that piece was Will Clark.

    https://www.billjamesonline.com/seasonal_notation_similarity_scores/

  26. Clark came up in the comments in my older piece, too. He got hurt and started playing WAY fewer games after he turned 30, so his counting stats fell off a cliff. That’s obviously a danger.

  27. @38 He just wasn’t a nice person.

    I’m trying to decide how I’m going to react if the lockout persists through the season. I love my baseball. But the owners are so rotten it makes me want to do anything BUT support them.

  28. #43
    I’m afraid they already have my money for ’22 — when it re-starts, I’ll be back at the ballpark(s). But this year, maybe, I’ll be rocking Braves gear a little more prominently.

    And… it’s not every day that you can use this description: “The avowed racist, who hit .247 in Double A…”

    https://tinyurl.com/Double-A-Schmuck

  29. If you had to assign percentage of blame to owners and players, how would you do it? I’d say it’s 70% owners, 30% players.

  30. @46 — It’s clearly somewhere above 90% owners. The only question I have is whether the players accepting bad deals in previous CBA negotiations to avoid a fight is something they should be blamed for in the current negotiations. If it is, give ’em maybe 5% blame for the last CBA and 5% more for the one before that.

    Other than that, this is all owners. The owners have made it clear that the only thing they’ll accept from the players is complete submission to their demands (which are uniformly awful both for players and for fans assuming they’re being accurately reported), and I can’t blame the players even a little for balking at that. It’s their job to play baseball, not their holy duty.

  31. I’ll go 65-35 owners, but isn’t the player’s struggle everyone’s struggle? We all want more money and benefits from our employer, and that’s what this is mostly about from the MLBPA – money. At the same time, shouldn’t there be a massive benefit to ownership of a resource like an MLB team? Or any business entity? The players deserve a win and gains in several areas, but any deal, in reality, should always tilt towards the favor of ownership.

  32. @47 I don’t even know if I hate the Georgia Bulldogs as much as you hate the owners. Probably not since I’ve only seen Georgia win one national championship in my lifetime, like Tennessee. Anyway, I think 90% will be towards the top of the bell curve. I don’t know if there’s anyone that think the players deserve more blame the owners, so the low point is probably 50-60% blame for the owners.

  33. @49

    The only purportedly “blame the players” folks I see are the Twitter trolls saying that it’s the players’ fault for not accepting whatever crappy deal the owners deign to present them. So yeah, nobody serious thinks this is really on the players.

    For my part, I can find a few things to quibble with the players on, mainly process stuff and how they handled the fact that owners are still not really trying to negotiate. They could’ve done more during the month and a half where the owners weren’t even negotiating to highlight the fact that the owners weren’t even negotiating. But really, there’s not much you can do when the other side is demanding that you come 97% of the way to them and then maybe they’ll think about bridging the 3% gap. So yeah, I’m pretty close to 90%.

    As for the “the owners own the teams and should therefore be able to do whatever they want” crowd, it’s not a Burger King franchise with a bunch of at-will employees. When you have to collectively bargain with your employees, you don’t really get to screw them over and tell them that if they don’t like it they can scram.

  34. They want to expand the playoffs, put ads on the uniforms, move the salary cap (err I mean luxury tax) up slower than inflation and refuse to make any concessions. All the while dragging their feet during negotiations so that they can cancel games.

    I’m going with 98% owners.

  35. The players are not refusing to play. The owners locked them out.

    The players are not refusing to negotiate. The owners refused to even discuss terms until the players started feeling the pinch of missing games.

    The players are not asking for anything particularly outrageous. Their asks have been well within the norms for CBA negotiations, and if anything are too generous to the owners. The owners have demanded substantial concessions for everything on the table, even things like the universal DH that both sides want, and have gone after previously sacrosanct things like the pension.

    The players are not asking for anything that would be detrimental to the game — at least, not anything more detrimental than the usual arc of history. The owners want to make it easier and more profitable to tank, and easier and less expensive to back into the playoffs, in addition to their usual garbage roster manipulation. Under the owners’ vision for the game, both good players and good management will mean less.

    The players have repeatedly softened their demands. The owners have held firm to all of theirs.

    This is the owners’ fault. The only thing the players could have done differently is, again, to concede to all the owners’ terms without any backtalk, at which point why even have a union. It’s the owners’ legal right to lock out the players, but it’s also their responsibility to own the consequences. I’m not going to sit here and pretend the players could have fixed this if only [insert naive fantasy proposal here].

  36. Seeems pretty reasonable!

  37. If the owners had offered @53, which is on the low end of reasonable, a week ago, we probably would’ve had a deal by tonight. It’s almost certainly too late now, though.

  38. @53

    Unless there’s significant movement by the owners on the CBT (their current one is worse that the previous agreement), then there’ll be no deal. A paltry $1 mill increase on the previous offer is an insult to the players. It has to be near $10 mill before I know they’re serious.

  39. The sides negotiated until about 2am this morning. It seems there’s still significant disagreements but there appears to be significant momentum towards a deal. There’s a new 5pm “deadline” in order to avoid cancelling games.

  40. @55 Did President Ronald Reagan congratulate you guys like with the last championship?

  41. @57 It really seems like the owners have moved a lot.

    I hope I’m wrong and they care about missing games. These last 24 hours suggest they don’t want to miss games.

  42. They’ve certainly moved more in the past 24 hours than in the previous three months of lockout. To me, it somewhat undercuts any of what they had claimed to be “off the table.” But we’ll see what happens.

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