Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

I don’t want them forget Ruth; I just want them to remember me. -Hank Aaron

03 Feb

Saturday Links

Braves eyeing ways to boost power in 2018

“With those offseason departures, Atlanta is staring at a power shortage. The Braves ranked 28th in the Majors last year with 165 home runs. Thirty-five percent of that total was provided by players who are no longer with the organization, namely the aforementioned duo and Brandon Phillips, whose 11 homers made him one of the seven Atlanta players with a double-digit total.”

As nice as it is to have a “youth movement” and to be calling up the prized prospects, Braves veterans hit a large portion of our home runs. Ronald Acuna may be able to replace Matt Kemp’s 19 home runs, and Johan Camargo should provide a similar amount of power at 3B. Preston Tucker and Lane Adams should provide more power from the backup outfield spots than Emilio Bonifacio, Danny Santana, and Jace Peterson. Dansby Swanson should also have a power rebound. Remember, he didn’t hit a home run after June 7th, a span of 326 PAs. Crazy.

Braves delay spring training departure from Walt Disney World until 2019

“The move was made to ensure there is enough time to complete their new facility in West Villages in the City of North Port, Sarasota County,” the team and Disney said in a news release. “The Braves will play their final 2019 Spring Training game in the new ballpark. The complex will officially open in April 2019 with the team’s Florida operations moving in at that time.”

The Braves tack on an extra year at Walt Disney. They have a deal in place to go to North Port, which is south of Sarasota. Not a big deal that they’re switching Spring Training sites, in my opinion, but this area of Florida has much more franchises, and new facilities will probably help. Me personally, it takes my trip to their home Spring Training from an hour and 45 minutes down to about an hour. They’ll also play more games against the franchises on the west coast of Florida, which is just fine with this west coaster.

Rosenthal: Mets can’t make a decision; Brewers think Cain is improving; Realmuto for Taylor?; more notes

The Mets are weighing four players for those spots, according to major league sources—free agents Eduardo Nunez, Todd Frazier and Neil Walker, plus a trade candidate, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Josh Harrison.

Club officials see the four as mostly similar—all produced between 2.1 and 3.0 Wins Above Replacement last season, and all project to be between 1.2 and 2.2 this season, according to Fangraphs’ version of the measure.

Some of the competition for the available third basemen is right here in the division. The article, which is behind the paywall of The Athletic (sorry…), drills down on the third base candidates quite well. For the one hole the Braves have, there are certainly plenty of options to fill it.

101 Things to Do at SunTrust Park

Sort of a sales-y article, but if you’re planning to go to STP this year, this list might provide some good inspiration.

If you can see yourself watching a 51 minute YouTube video, this will take you back to better times…

28 Responses to “Saturday Links”

  1. 1
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    From last thread:

    ryan c Says:
    My current plan to make the Braves a contender:

    Trade: Teheran for Domingo Santana
    Trade Markakis for salary dump, eat 6MM
    Sign Neil Walker: 2/18MM
    Sign Alex Cobb: 3/36MM

    Ultimately, you’re trading Teheran’s upside and surplus value for an upgrade from Markakis to Santana, which is about as good of an idea as any. I do really like the idea of signing CarGo to a pillow deal at this stage of the offseason, and he strikes me as exactly the player to have a bounceback year. And even if he doesn’t, he’s still better than Kakes.

    I just want a team of upside in 2018. Santana would be great, but in a non-contending year (or whatever this is called), putting a team of unpredictable guys with the ability to be much better would give us hooooooope. You know what you have with Markakis, and it’s never going to be enough. Teheran still just has so much upside that I’d hate to trade him. We’re not going anywhere, so if he returns to a 3 WAR pitcher, then he should be trying to do it for us. CarGo could be as valuable as Santana for just the money you’d pay to dump Kakes most likely. The All-Upside team would include Teheran and the kids in the rotation (no McCarthy past June or July), the bullpen as currently constructed (no veteran signings, of which there aren’t many at this point anyway), someone like CarGo in RF, Adams/Tucker in LF until Acuna gets here, and Ruiz/Camargo at 3B. As a fan, you can sell that to me a lot better than Markakis, McCarthy, Kazmir (if healthy), some $2M middle reliever, and a non-Moustakis/Frazier FA at 3B.

    Man, can baseball just get here already?

  2. 2
    timo Says:

    Thanks for sharing the video. Fun to watch.

  3. 3
    coop Says:

    I have no problem with that either, Rob. Since I’m at the age where I don’t even buy green bananas, I just want AA to DO SOMETHING.

  4. 4
    Mikemc Says:

    Trade a pitching prospect for either Aaron Altheer or Nick Williams. They can catch the ball as well as hit it. They also can run. Eat some salary to make a deal for Markakis. Suddenly you have a good outfield.

  5. 5
    ryan c Says:

    @1
    Cobb and Teheran are near identical pitchers and if Cobb were to sign for 3/36MM, it’s only 5MM more than what Teheran’s going to get paid through same amount of years. So what you’re getting is a pitcher that can mirror Teheran’s production and a man child that can destroy baseballs for 4 years.

    I think it’s a fairly good estimate that the Braves have approximately 16MM to spend where they currently sit. If…

    1. Teheran’s traded +8MM (24MM left)
    2. Sign Cobb -12MM (12MM left)
    3. Sign Walker -9MM (3MM left) or Sign Frazier -12MM (0MM left)
    4. Deal Kakes, eat 6MM +5MM (3MM or 8MM left).

    There’s still room to add a reliever if AA would prefer.

    On CarGo…sure, why not, if the above doesn’t happen.

    Real debate: I keep hearing about Teheran’s upside, but no one has really laid out what that upside is. What made 2016 Teheran and what broke 2015 and 2017 Teheran?

  6. 6
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    Cobb has never produced a WAR season that matches Teheran’s two best seasons. Teheran is 27. Cobb is 30. Teheran will cost less the next 3 seasons by a total of $8M if Cobb signs at 3YR/$36M. Teheran, despite his down year this past year, is entering his peak and could easily repeat the 3+ fWAR seasons of his early seasons IF (and this answers your last question) he keeps the ball down and improves his walk rate. His HR/9 went from 1.05 to 1.48 between ’16 and ’17. His walk rate nearly doubled from 1.96 to 3.44 during the same period. His BABIP jumped a little, and his K/9 fell a little, but those two damned his season. There’s no reason to think that he can’t return just based on bad season in a new ballpark.

    Trading Teheran right now would be selling low unquestioned. The question is whether or not Teheran can recover. At $8M, $11M, and $12M these next 3 seasons, his salary probably has the Braves really wanting to hold onto him. With that said, if you can trade him for a pre-arb guy like Santana, like you said, then that definitely makes sense. But if Teheran returns to 2016, at $8M, there is some serious surplus value and more track record than Santana.

    While there are a lot of things AA can do, I agree with coop to just do something. Going into this year with the way the roster is constructed is just lazy for a guy who’s been on the job for almost 3 months now and was able to retain a sizable portion of the staff. I don’t think that’s impatience; that’s expecting the FO to not just take an offseason off regardless of whether you make a change at the GM chair.

  7. 7
    ryan c Says:

    Here’s how we do math, Rob

    36-(8+11+12)=
    36-(19+12)=
    36-31=5.

    I was going on projections for Cobb and Teheran, not past performance. Also, it’s within reason to expect Cobb’s ERA to drop a sizable amount swapping leagues.

  8. 8
    Rob Cope Says:

    Dang it. Math is so hard.

  9. 9
    ryan c Says:

    @8
    It’s ok, Rob. Even my 3rd graders forget how to add and subtract.

  10. 10
    Ethan Says:

    Agreed. If the current 40 man + NRI’s is what we go into the season with, I’m going to be annoyed. I understand the reticence to trade prospects, but the major league free agent pool should be known variables. Additionally, there should be plenty of options for one-year deals at this point. Lack of familiarity with the farm system is irrelevant in this context.

  11. 11
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    There’s nothing we’re hearing from players to suggest they’re cratering to the point of taking one year deals. Just the opposite.

  12. 12
    Ethan Says:

    Not the top guys, but there are players available who would be accretive to the overall performance of the big league club that would seem to be reasonable candidates.

    The larger point was that the market seems to be such that there are alternatives even if you’re fearful of blocking a prospect by executing a longer term deal.

  13. 13
    Smitty Says:

    I like the article Rob

  14. 14
    blazon Says:

    CarGo? Yes, the best of the bunch. Upside, as quoted.

    Do we know Atlanta’s elevation?

  15. 15
    blazon Says:

    AA
    the first critiques appear and have their say
    it’s language some believe, Hellenic french
    makes it hard for him to move beyond the bench.

  16. 16
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Again. What we’re hearing from player agents points to a spring training player boycott. That requires coordinated action from all of the mlbpa members, including the second tier types you’re interested in. I see nothing to suggest they’re interested in those pillow deals were all talking about from Atlanta.

  17. 17
    Adam R Says:

    If “not the top guys” could’ve been had on a one-year deal, don’t you think some team would have figured that out and signed one of them, any of them, already?

    As long as there’s more than one team that could use him, it’s in Carlos Gonzalez’s interests to wait until he’s the best player freely available and let them bid against each other for his services. The players are still calculating that demand exceeds supply.

    Acuna is going to come up early in the season. If you want to see CarGo wearing a tomahawk, then come to terms with the fact that it’s going to take…a while…before teams see Markakis as an improvement over whatever else they’ve got in-house, at any price.

  18. 18
    Adam R Says:

    Let’s be real. In this offseason, AA freed us of Matt Kemp by using his insider knowledge of the Dodgers’ desire to get under the luxury tax — and he got back a fairly good starter in the deal.

    Maybe things will change, the market will open up, and then we’ll see. But for now, at the risk of appealing to authority, you, commenter on a baseball blog, are probably not going to come up with an idea that hasn’t crossed his mind.

  19. 19
    Adam R Says:

    Going for the triple… like, why would Carlos Gonzalez sign with the Braves right now? It certainly looks like they want to call up Acuna as soon as they can while maximizing years of control. It doesn’t look like they’re prepared to bench Markakis if they can’t trade him. If you’re resigning yourself to signing a one-year deal, don’t you want to sign with a team that has, you know, an opening at a starting position all year along? If the point is to re-establish your value, why sign with a team that doesn’t give you a clear chance to do that?

    This is why the Markakis deal was a stupid deal in the first place. I don’t want to hear about WAR/$. A rebuilding team maybe could luck into getting 1 WAR out of RF with their farm system, and that’s way cheaper. A contender almost by definition has better options. So, who wants this guy at this price? We’re waiting until contenders want to solidify their bench for the postseason in the last year of the contract?

    Meanwhile, we could have saved money every year on similarly (un)productive OFs and spent it elsewhere. Or we could have spent more every year gambling on OFs with more upside. But no. We needed to lock ourselves in for four years of blah. Because Two-Time-Gold-Glove Georgia Boy With Veteran Presents.

  20. 20
    Adam R Says:

    The elusive four-bagger: my deepest, darkest fear is that Markakis has a fluky BABIP season, contends for the batting title, and we extend him.

  21. 21
    Smitty Says:

    @20
    I think we could trade him in July

  22. 22
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    Yeah, I really don’t see a scenario where the players are going to settle for one-year deals. I think they strike before they do that, so I’m in agreement with Sam. The players currently under contract have plenty of reasons to strike too. If the owners will do it to these FAs, they’ll do it to them when they’re FAs. I would imagine 50-60% of players are within a few years of FA, so if you let the owners win now, they’ll win again when Bryce Harper gets $25M instead of $30M and 6 years instead of 10 years, and that will trickle down to the rest of the market.

    Ultimately, I think there has to continue to be a stalemate. The owners have a legitimate hesitance to avoid the mega deals, and Braves fans can certainly see that. Kawakami, Lowe, BUpton, Uggla, and Johnson were all busts. The Braves would much, much rather pay guys bigger numbers in arbitration across a shorter term than rather than commit to the multi-year deal to the veteran. That’s probably why they’re playing hardball with Folty with their $100K difference. It’s setting a tone for the next 15-20 players that will inevitably go through arb in the next few years that they want to keep salaries from escalating and they will pound you in an arbitration hearing to keep salaries lower. That may scare a couple guys away from taking it to arb and will probably encourage a few guys to take an extension in their first couple years to avoid the arb process. And considering MLB has the most arb cases this year since 1993 (dun, dun, dun…), we’re just seeing a system-wide push back of player salaries. Start them lower, keep them lower, keep them shorter. And on the player side, these guys just got out of the arb system that suppressed their salaries (in their opinion) to now be in another situation where their salaries are being suppressed, or so they think. My only problem with the player’s thought process is THEY JUST AGREED TO A CBA. But I completely understand both sides so… who compromises?

  23. 23
    Rob Copenhaver Says:

    My fear is that the only basic principle in negotiations is about to play out: your willingness to walk away from the table. If they already signed a CBA, then what do you do? Not play. That’s the only thing I can come up with for what the players can do about the present predicament.

  24. 24
    Rob Cope Says:

    Pats or Eagles?

  25. 25
    Braves14 Says:

    I think NE will win, but then again I’ve picked against the Eagles the entire playoffs.

  26. 26
    blazon Says:

    First game of football i’ve watched all season. Contrary to all my expectations it was fabulous.

    A question from the depths of my ignorance. Is the Eagles owner, Lurie I believe his name is, the same guy who screwed the Marlins over when they had won the WS, stripped the team?

  27. 27
    Rob Cope Says:

    No, that’s Jeffrey Loria.

  28. 28
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    New thread.

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