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16 Jul

Off Day Open Thread: The Miracle (1914) Begins (by AtlCrackers Fan)

Ed. note: this continues the chronicle of the 1914 season begun in this post.

Sunday morning, July 5 found the Braves having lost both ends of a double-header to Brooklyn, extending the losing streak to 5 games.

The National League Standings looked like this:

  W L Pct. GB
New York Giants 40 24 0.625 -
Chicago Cubs 39 32 0.549 4.5
St. Louis Cardinals 37 35 0.514 7
Cincinnati Reds 34 36 0.486 9
Brooklyn Dodgers 31 33 0.484 9
Pittsburgh Pirates 31 34 0.477 9.5
Philadelphia Phillies 30 34 0.469 10
Boston Braves 26 40 0.394 15

Starting June 28, through the first two weeks of July, the Braves made a series of roster moves that significantly improved the teams hitting.

First, an “over the hill” Hub Perdue was traded to St. Louis for two outfielders, Ted Cather and Josh Devore. On July 3, back-up third baseman Jack Martin went to the Phillies for George “Possum” Whitted, a versatile infielder. Finally, a light hitting outfielder — a Vandy alum — named Wilson Collins was sent to Binghamton of the New York State League. Another outfielder, Jim Murray, was sold to St. Paul of the American Association.

Starting July 6, the Braves would go 7-3 over the next 10 games. After winning both ends of a double-header from Brooklyn on July 6, Boston hit the road, starting with the Cubs on July 8. The Braves would take three of four from the Cubs and then headed to St. Louis. The Cards would split the four game series. As the Braves left St. Louis for Cincinnati on the overnight train, the National League standings looked like this on the morning of July 16.

  W L Pct GB Change
New York Giants 44 31 0.587 - 4-7
Chicago Cubs 43 37 0.538 3.5 4-5
St. Louis Cardinals 42 39 0.519 5 5-4
Cincinnati Reds 39 40 0.494 7 5-4
Philadelphia Phillies 36 38 0.486 7.5 6-4
Pittsburgh Pirates 34 38 0.472 8.5 3-4
Brooklyn Dodgers 33 38 0.465 9 2-5
Boston Braves 33 43 0.434 11 7-3

While both the Giants and Cubs had losing records over the previous 11 days, with the race tightening slightly, no one could have predicted how the remainder of the season turned out.

86 Responses to “Off Day Open Thread: The Miracle (1914) Begins (by AtlCrackers Fan)”

  1. 1
    Edward Says:

    Love this. The Miracle on Dirt.

  2. 2
    Smitty Says:

    Back then Braves Journal was called Braves Pub-Crawl and they met at a saloon by Braves Field called, “Mac’s Place.”

    Gentlemen like Robert Cope, McSmitty, Alexander Remington, Justrabbit, Braves04, Peterson Orr, Joseph C. McMurty ,CS Gee and others would all get together with Sam and rave on about how Jack Martin was not a capable player.

  3. 3
    Edward Says:

    Can we start calling Shae Simmons “Possum”? I think it’s way cooler than ice whatever.

  4. 4
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    John Fullbright has a new album out. Just FYI.

  5. 5
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Responding to mavery @95 on the last thread: a couple of the guys you listed as RFs you’d take over Heyward aren’t RFs. Harper and Braun are LFs, and Charlie Blackmon has played almost as much center field as right field, as well as a fair amount of left. (In my opinion, Blackmon is basically a utility outfielder who’s having a career year at 27 thanks to playing half his games in Coors Field.)

  6. 6
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Also, Blackmon is basically an okay player who had an insanely good April.

    April: .374/.418/.616
    Rest of year: .279/.322/.426

    Are you sure you’d rather have him than Heyward?

  7. 7
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Taking Charlie Blackmon over Jason Heyward is just silly.

  8. 8
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Charlie Blackmon, career, at Coors: .347/.386/.527 (913)
    Charlie Blackmon, career, sans Coors: .247/.280/.359 (639)

  9. 9
    krussell Says:

    My position, which is subject to change, is that I’d rather have the pitching that 150M+ can buy in 2016. I’ve never said “gosh I wish we could put Hunter Pence in RF”.

  10. 10
    Marc Schneider Says:

    On another note, read Alex’s article about the Commissioner at The Hardball Times. It’s excellent. Great job Alex.

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/the-problems-baseballs-next-commissioner-will-face/#comment-58889

  11. 11
    Hap Says:

    And a guy named Happenstance would fix the beer taps when they broke ;-)

  12. 12
    Rob Cope Says:

    I was going by Bob back then.

  13. 13
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    @10, thanks!

  14. 14
    jjschiller Says:

    Well in mavery’s defense, while Braun has played exclusively LF for 6 seasons or so, he has played exclusively in RF this season, except for 3 innings in CF.

    An argument could be made for Harper, as he’s in LF in deference to the more senior player in Werth.

    But the problem with taking Harper this season is, you’d be taking 300 extra plate appearances of Jordan Schafer, as Harper’s been unable to stay on the field. The team would be decidedly worse this season if we owned Harper instead of Heyward.

    As for Alex Rios(?), his wRC+ of 105 doesn’t exactly eclipse Heyward’s 104… And rather than saving 16 runs in the field, he’s given back 5.

    Five runs, by the way, is the number that Justin Upton has given back in LF. That’s roughly the same performance Hunter Pence has given this season (-4.8) and amazingly, is better than the performance Jayson Werth has turned in (-6.8).

    Heyward has saved 16 runs in RF. Last season, that’s exactly the number Justin Upton gave back. For some context, the Braves run differential this season is +12. Last season’s division winning Braves team: +140. If there was ever a team that needed to catch the ball, this is it.

  15. 15
    Rusty S. Says:

    @2 – Justrabbit,heh. I will take “Shiny S.”.

  16. 16
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    My bad on Braun — somehow I’d completely forgotten he moved to RF for Khris Davis, but of course you’re right. Harper isn’t an RF, though.

  17. 17
    Rob Cope Says:

    Blackmon is a great “platoon” player in fantasy: start him at home, sit him on the road.

  18. 18
    Nick Says:

    @’Rissa last thread

    They spent five minutes when Kimbrel came into the game talking about how great he was. Obviously, the Jeter stuff was overdone, but it’s not like they ignored Craig Kimbrel. I did not see the MLB tweets you were talking about, but FOX talked about how it’s literally impossible to hit him when he’s throwing his breaking ball for strikes and several other things.

    My opinion on Heyward I think is somewhat similar to Marc’s opinion. I like him and am glad he’s on this team for right now, but you guys need to chill. I don’t need constant commentary about how he’s about to break out and become the best player ever whenever he has a good week and about how he’s the unluckiest player ever whenever he has a bad week. The fact is that he is currently having one of the worst years of his career at the plate and that if he doesn’t seriously shape up in the next year and a half, he’ll be gone. His regression this year is extremely concerning, and I don’t buy that he’s still recovering from breaking his jaw almost a year ago now. Speculative commentary about whether or not he would make catches in the All-Star Game are absurd. (For the record, he wouldn’t have caught either of those balls because he wouldn’t be throwing himself into the wall during a freaking All-Star Game, which is the primary reason neither of those balls were caught.) We are not going to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a defense-first right fielder. It wouldn’t make any sense. I’m not saying that’s what he is, but I am saying that he has a year and half to prove that he isn’t. There are plenty of defense-first outfielders we could have for much less money than it would take to re-sign Jason Heyward.

  19. 19
    Hap Says:

    Because I’m too lazy to go through the comment process over at Hardball Times… re technology and umpires: I think eventually the technology will get to the point of being able to call accurate balls and strikes in real time (if it’s not already there) but we will also have perfected the “google glass” type technology so to placate the umpires we will still have them behind home plate and they will “indicate” whether the pitch was a ball or strike but the “call” will be made by machine and relayed to the umpire via something like google glass. Besides we still need the ump back there for plays at the plate, right? I think this solution should be a relative win-win for everyone… we finally get near 100% accurate balls and strikes and the umpires get to keep their jobs and dignity.

  20. 20
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    @19, that’s only an interim solution, not a permanent one. If the umpires’ only job is ceremonial, then sooner or later, that will be taken away, too.

    John Henry always dies in the end.

  21. 21
    krussell Says:

    @19, am I crazy for thinking that might already be happening? It doesn’t require very much high-tech to put a buzzer in the umpire’s pocket that goes off if the pitch is a strike.

  22. 22
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Yeah, that isn’t happening. The delayed reaction time would be noticeable.

  23. 23
    Edward Says:

    @18

    Well, when the argument is about the relative value of offense versus defense from the corner outfielders and, by a stroke of providence, we see the effects of batted balls hit to corner outfielders not being turned into outs on the outcome of a game, speculative commentary about making those catches is not absurd. On the contrary, it’s appropriate. But you may be right that he wouldn’t have gone all out for the All-Star game.

  24. 24
    Edward Says:

    An opinion on the umpire thing: it’s totally cool that a machine does not call balls and strikes. Alex, you did a great job in your article relating the growth of MLB to past and future labor relations. It seems like perfecting strike-ball calls will give MLB a labor headache–so why do it? How does it grow the game? Are ball-strike calls one of the factors that will stoke general fan interest? Younger fan interest? Fan interest abroad?

    Edit: Same thing with the DH in the NL. When somebody convinces me that it makes the game better or more marketable, I’ll maybe agree it’s worth the trouble.

  25. 25
    Hap Says:

    Edward, I totally agree. I am one of the folks who appreciates the human element the umpires provide but technology marches on. I am not advocating for the system I mentioned above but I think something like that might be on the horizon (like it or not).

  26. 26
    justhank Says:

    I’m not sure what formula they’re using to calculate how many runs Justin has given back, but whatever it is it’s useless. He gave up five runs the other day to the Cubs alone.

    I think part of the flaw in the formula is that it has no way to calculate balls that he has misjudged so completely that they land untouched – hence, no quantifiable trigger.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Justin Upton – on offense. He’s just clueless out there on defense.

    Btw, shouldn’t we make a run at Marlon Byrd?

  27. 27
    Marc Schneider Says:

    @18,

    Nick,

    I’m not sure I agree with your comment that if Heyward doesn’t “shape up” in the next year or two he will be gone. My feeling is that if Heyward stays the same player he is in 2014 (superior defense, average to slightly above average offense) he probably would not command the kind of huge contract that would make him unsignable for the Braves. I don’t know how Heyward is viewed around baseball. Do teams consider him a player worth breaking the bank for? Obviously, if his offense improves over the next couple of years, his value on the open market will go way up. Despite my reservations about Heyward, there is no reason for the Braves not to keep him if he is affordable.

  28. 28
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Marlon Byrd would be fantastic, but he’s a starting player right now and he’d be a bench player for us. I think the price might be higher than we’d want to pay.

  29. 29
    Smitty Says:

    This will make you happy.

    http://www.talkingchop.com/2014/7/16/5909443/david-price-said-to-want-trade-to-braves

    @26

    Justin has been prety good out there this year.

  30. 30
    Nick Says:

    @21

    Yeah, there’s no way that’s happening. In addition to what Alex said, there’s also the fact that there are still a bunch of calls that the umpires are getting wrong according to MLB’s Pitchf/x system, particularly at the top and bottom of the strike zone. I’m assuming that’s the system MLB would use if they were going to go automated with balls and strikes.

    EDIT: For the record, I’m totally for a machine calling balls and strikes if they can get a system that works.

  31. 31
    krussell Says:

    I’ve always been curious about whether robo-strike-zone would help or hinder offense. I feel like most umpires are pretty awful at calling breaking-pitch strikes, and that they usually miss by calling them balls when they should’ve been strikes. We might get severely depressed offense if we move to robo-zone. They’ll want to know the consequences before they move to any automated system.

    I guess they pretty much already have all the data they need from Pitchf/x. Where they go from here will be interesting.

  32. 32
    AtlCrackersFan Says:

    Seems like the last time we got a player off a team in Florida who wanted to be closer to home in Tennessee it didn’t go so well !

    Lightening doesn’t strike twice right?

  33. 33
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Remember when people were all aghast at the idea of trading Kris Medlen for David Price?

    Yeah.

  34. 34
    krussell Says:

    At this point I’m gonna assume his arm will just fall off after the second game with us.

  35. 35
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    In fairness, Dan Uggla is from Kentucky, which is way different.

  36. 36
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Since I know quite a few of you are fans, I thought I’d mention that I caught Jason Isbell last night. Never, ever thought I’d say it, but it was better than the DBT shows I saw a decade ago.

  37. 37
    ububba Says:

    #36
    His latest album is terrific & the DBT material he still does (“Outfit,” “Goddamn Lonely Love,” etc.) certainly stands the test of time. Saw his Austin City Limits show & it was great.

    But yeah, those “Decoration Day”/”Dirty South”-era DBT shows were lean & mean & tough to beat.

    Also, on the rock tip: Saw one of my old favorites, Guided By Voices, this past weekend. Now, I am the most forgiving GBV fan in the world—they can be sloppy, let’s just say. But their singer was so tanked, it was kinda ridiculous (even more than usual). They did 53 songs & he didn’t hit a note all night. Of course, if off-key & raspy is your thing…

  38. 38
    el_gato_grande Says:

    @35 – As a Kentuckian, I can vouch for that. Though I didn’t realize Dan was one of our’n.

  39. 39
    krussell Says:

    Gattis starts rehab stint in Gwinnett tomorrow.

  40. 40
    salty Says:

    So, Gosselin was optioned back to Gwinnett, and Dan Uggla was activated. Seriously, I thought we would be hearing about Uggla being DFA at this point. There are several things that could be done to make our team better, but our most glaring problem is the fact that Uggla is still on the roster. Laird can catch, Doumit can switch hit sort of, Pena can kind of play several positions and switch hit, and Schafer is fast. They aren’t great or even average, but they are still light years more valuable to this team than Uggla.

  41. 41
    Big D Says:

    @35 – I guess it depends on your definition of “from”. Uggla was born in Louisville, but moved to Columbia, TN (home of Mule Day!) as a kid. Grew up there and still owns a house there, I believe.

  42. 42
    Rob Cope Says:

    I understand that Uggla is the worst player on the team, but how would you use his roster spot? Unless we had a really good pinch-hitter available, I don’t see what removing Uggla really does. Who would we call up from AAA? Probably someone who could run as well at Schafer, pinch-hit as poorly as Doumit, or can play some combination of the positions that our bench currently does. Does our team actually get much better if someone if Gosselin is on the roster instead of Uggla?

  43. 43
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    There was a blurb in a DOB piece that said Uggla was still around because cutting him would negatively impact other loan conditions. He’s here for 2014 barring trade. His contract is apparently linked financial with other accounting line items such that eating it is not an option.

  44. 44
    salty Says:

    @42

    Uggla has had minimal at bats since hitting the bench with almost no results. Yes, putting someone like Gosselin or whoever else we have would be better. We can try several players from Triple AAA. Uggla has basically turned us into a 24 man roster. So to emphasize this again, giving any other player a chance we have would be more benefit than having Uggla holding down a spot at the end of the dugout. We have Elmer Reyes and Tyler Pastornicky that have been playing all over the place on the 40 man roster. Gosselin who has been on a tear and can play a couple of positions. We have Constanza, Cunningham, and Terdoslavich who are all outfielders on the 40 man roster. They might not be great, but we could at least give a few of them a chance to see what they do if we didn’t have Uggla. We know what we get with Uggla. At least with those other guys, we might get a surprise.

    @43

    If that is true, the Braves did a horrible job with working that contract. Basically, you are telling me we will be working with a 24 man roster the next year and half. It might not seem like that big of a deal to some people, but the fact that we play in the National League makes that a big issue.

  45. 45
    spike Says:

    @ 43 If so, presumably that means dropping Uggla would be a capital expense rather than an operational expense. I’ve dealt with this frequently in business, but never thought that player salaries could be commodified like that. It’s sort of a distinction without a difference in this context.

  46. 46
    salty Says:

    I just read this article on tomahawktake.com about Uggla:

    http://tomahawktake.com/2014/07/13/dan-uggla-situation/

    It was very well written. It was a dose of reality as well as talking about what is fair to Uggla. It even discusses that the MLBPA could get involved in forcing the Braves’ hand to DFA Uggla so that he could have a chance elsewhere.

  47. 47
    Marc Schneider Says:

    This is my reaction to the article:

    H’m not sure it’s fair to criticize Wren for the situation without knowing the circumstances. For all we know, Wren would like to do the right thing but is being prevented by the organization for some reason. Wren undoubtedly has his issues but impugning his character by relying on Peter Angelos is rather ridiculous. And, whatever his issues, Wren has managed to put together a competitive, contending team while working within pretty strict financial limitations imposed by ownership. To simply throw Wren under the bus, as people here seem to be doing, is just as unfair as what is happening to Uggla.

    And, let’s not make Uggla the complete martyr here. What has he done to deserve to play? He is making a lot of money for almost no production so for him to say “play me or trade me” (especially when it’s obvious to anyone but him that no one wants him) is the height of whining. Yes, he deserves to be treated with dignity but he also needs to acknowledge how poorly he has played; the Braves didn’t bench him out of pique but because he became possibly the worst player in baseball.

  48. 48
    jjschiller Says:

    http://mediadownloads.mlb.com/mlbam/2013/07/10/images/mlbf_28747949_th_35.jpg

    Booyah. The “trade me” shirt is a Photoshop job.

  49. 49
    salty Says:

    @47

    I agree with most of what you said. I, by no means, think Wren has the final say so in all decisions. I’m sure the whole organization is at ends about what to do about Uggla. The guy obviously does not deserve to play, and I have no idea what the argument was about he should have gotten to be on the playoff roster last year. This is simply not the truth.

    The part I found interesting in the article was that it brought up that the MLBPA can get involved in the situation. I kind of wish they would to kind of force all involved into releasing Uggla. I do think if it is the MLBPA calling to release him that some of the money owed should be taken off the table because the Braves have seemed more than willing to hold onto Uggla so far. I think if he wants off the team so bad, he should have to fork over some cash.

    @48

    You can tell that shirt on him is a total fake in that article. There was never any question about that. I thought it was kind of funny because it really didn’t come off as Uggla. From my understanding, he has been frustrated but taken it in stride. I was so surprised about his suspension the other day.

  50. 50
    justhank Says:

    You have got to be kidding. Uggla is still here? I guess I don’t have any understanding of how to run a baseball team.

    I can’t imagine Fredi is happy about this. If I could discern a plan that found a way to prompt Uggla to contribute, I may not be happy about it, but at least it would be a plan.

    And, yes, I think we’d be better off with Gossselin in place of Uggla, if only for the clubhouse aesthetics alone. Perhaps he’s just here until El Oso returns?

    Paul Simon says there must be 50 ways to dump your Uggla. Here’s one (drastic though it is):

    Contact the Yankees and their well-heeled competitors, and tell them that (other than Teheran) they can have any player on the starting pitching staff (and Carpenter or Avilan) for some distant draft pick or a signed album of John Sterling’s greatest calls but they’ve got to take Uggla’s or BJ’s salary in full.

    If money is no object and here’s some team willing to give me a front line starter and the only thing it costs me is money, I’m all in. The Braves, on the other hand, could use that Uggla or BJ money to truly enhance the team.

  51. 51
    Grst Says:

    @49 I’d have found the MLBPA comment more interesting if the article provided any basis whatsoever for their involvement. Instead it seemed like a baseless throw-in by the author. Myself, I can’t conjure any justification for their involvement in such a matter. Dan Uggla is no more special than any other player who finds himself lacking playing time due to a failure to perform.

    You could argue that a less well paid player would have been cut loose and perhaps free to pursue opportunities already, but I find nothing unfair about that given the tremendous benefit the contract is to Uggla given his level of performance. That’s also the sort of downside a player is free to consider before signing such a deal. I doubt any would find it outweighs to benefits.

  52. 52
    salty Says:

    @51

    I found it interesting because it implied that they can get involved. I know there have been several occasions over the years where the player’s representatives have gotten involved in NFL disputes. I just figure the MLBPA has some of the same liberties. I have never really read up on it and don’t care to, but I can see where they would have some ways of getting into the deal when it involves a veteran player. I do not really know what their argument would be, but it would be an interesting thing to see.

  53. 53
    jjschiller Says:

    49 – I knew it was fake because the first I saw it, it was fakedanuggla’s twitter avatar. Then there’s the fact that there’s a McCann jersey in the background, and Dan wasn’t benched last year.

    I just wanted to find the original.

  54. 54
    Edward Says:

    @33

    Yeah, I remember that. I remember it because it was when some people were convinced that Mike Minor was the staff ace and not Aaron Harang’s equipment boy.

  55. 55
    Adam R Says:

    I was pro-trading Medlen for Price and not bullish on Minor.

    What do I win? Nothing, because I was relatively down on TLS? Oh…

  56. 56
    mavery Says:

    @5-

    To be fair to me, I said I “could make a case for [a bunch of guys] … and I guess Blackmon”. So no one is saying “Blackmon >> Heyward” in this scenario. My point was only it isn’t too hard to find guys capable of playing RF (Harper would be fine in RF, and he’s played half a season there over his career, albeit just once in 2014) that one could reasonable prefer to Heyward. Blackmon was my last, (9th when I promised only 5) grudging admission to the list, so pointing out that he’s a stretch is unsurprisingly easy.

    I also was only talking about the context of this year, so if folks want to get all, “career year” whatever, that’s fine; I’m only talking about this year. Blackmon’s MLB career has thus far been one of steady improvement. Is it really that outlandish to think he can keep up his 2014 first-half numbers in his age 27 year?

    Truth be told, I probably take Heyward for the rest of the season. But that’s as much emotional attachment as anything else. Heyward’s struggled a lot, and Blackmon’s been really good this year.

  57. 57
    Dusty Says:

    KLaw moves Peraza up to 39th in his midseason top 50 propsects list (he didn’t appear on BA’s 50 or Sickels 75). KLaw seems to be pretty high on him.

  58. 58
    Adam R Says:

    Great, so let’s trade Peraza for Price. And Kubitza. Give them all of our ‘za.

  59. 59
    cliff Says:

    krussell @ 9,

    It is interesting on how people view pitching versus offense and defense as to where to look for value.

    Apparently, Theo Epstein has taken the view of building a massive juggernaut of position players, and then injecting the money to get the pitching, rather than trying to develop pitchers.

    The Braves, meanwhile, seem to scout for pitching talent and develop that talent better than most organizations. Several times in the past few years, the Braves have let potential back end starters and mid level relievers go for nothing or nearly nothing because they were so far down the list the Braves have in the minors.

    Because of the high probability that a long term FA pitching contract will be a bad deal because of decline or injury, I would rather have an approach where my FA dollars went into position players and I developed pitchers, for the most part.

    Particularly with where the Braves are in their actual minor league system, to play it from the hand that has been dealt, it is better to let the minors produce the pitchers. Then, from time to time, you might FA or trade in a true number 1 type pitcher, but figure the rest will be covered internally.

  60. 60
    Dusty Says:

    I was actually wondering if a package of Bethancourt, Peraza and Sims would get it done (and whether we would actually want to do that for 1.5 seasons of Price at close to market rate salary). Full disclosure I have been against a Price acquisition for a while but am starting to come around.

  61. 61
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Sam @43, can you link to that DOB article? I hadn’t seen that and that’s fascinating.

  62. 62
    spike Says:

    http://www.ajc.com/news/sports/baseball/gosselin-recalled-from-triple-a-whither-uggla/ngd9Q/

    “Internally, there have been discussions of the complications that absorbing the remainder of Uggla’s contract could have on the Braves’ financial situation as it pertains to their planned new ballpark in Cobb County in 2017. If the Braves decide to keep Uggla on the roster for the remainder of the season, that would likely be the reason.”

    I think there was a tweet too.

  63. 63
    Smitty Says:

    @59

    I think the Braves are not great at developing hitters and getting a lot out of pitchers. Pitchers cost more on the market, so it is a better plan, IMO.

    @60

    If the Rays would pull the trigger on that deal and we could get a widnow to try and lock up Price (may be for a discount) I would do it. I think the Rays will want more than we can offer.

  64. 64
    Adam R Says:

    Apparently, Theo Epstein has taken the view of building a massive juggernaut of position players, and then injecting the money to get the pitching, rather than trying to develop pitchers.

    The Cubs have a couple OK pitching prospects that are flying under the radar. And they don’t have to go the FA route because they can trade excess position players for established pitchers who might even be cost-controlled. With a lineup that could include Rizzo, Castro, Bryant, Schwarber, Baez, Russell, Soler, and on and on and on…they can afford to deal for pitchers who they can project and who have proven to be reasonably healthy.

    I’d rather be them than us. There’s a high probability that pitchers who haven’t make it to FA get hurt and decline too. But I agree that the Braves are stuck where they are.

  65. 65
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I think you have to play to your strengths as an organization. Three different NL pitchers in this year’s All-Star Game were drafted, signed, and largely developed by the Braves: Teheran, Kimbrel, and Wainwright, the same year that a Braves draftee is going into the Hall of Fame. We develop pitching better than basically any organization in baseball, and you can take that to the bank: everyone wants to trade for pitching, and we’ve traded our pitching remarkably effectively, Wainwright notwithstanding.

    We haven’t been nearly as good at developing hitters, but all the same, five of our eight starting position players (including Gattis) are homegrown, and Gattis, Freeman, and La Stella are all above-average for their position. Over the last couple of decades, the Cubs have done a much poorer job at developing their hot prospects into successful major leaguers, as Roosevelt Brown, Corey Patterson, Felix Pie, Angel Guzman, and Juan Cruz could tell you. Theo and Jed Hoyer will probably do a better job than their predecessors, but hitting prospects are no sure thing either. They’re banking on the notion that hitting commodities have become more valuable than pitching commodities and so they are stockpiling the more valuable asset. Historically, pitching assets have been more valuable. We’ll see who is right.

  66. 66
    Nick Says:

    How is it that every time a long-term signing really sucks for awhile and then does something stupid to get in the doghouse that we have fans coming out of the woodwork to say that, in fact, the Braves organization is evil and the guy who won’t earn his contract and won’t even have the decency to keep his mouth shut while he’s sitting there getting millions of dollars for free is unfairly trodden upon? If we have to keep Uggla for the rest of the year and Uggla has to sit there and be relegated to once-a-week pinch-hitting duties, he’s earned nothing less. Maybe he should shut up. At least we don’t have anybody claiming that we have it all wrong and, in fact, Uggla should actually be in the lineup, like we did with Kawakami. Well, not outside of last year’s NLDS anyway.

  67. 67
    Edward Says:

    @65

    And worth noting that the other 2 of those 5 were above average hitters at their position as recently as last year.

  68. 68
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    @66, what are you talking about? What has Uggla said? As far as I can tell, he hasn’t said much of anything.

    Regarding Kawakami, that horse is long dead and buried, but he was somewhere between mediocre and average other than the catastrophic won-loss record, which obviously wasn’t his fault. He was basically Buddy Carlyle or Jorge Campillo. I never understood why they made him an unperson.

  69. 69
    Nick Says:

    @68

    He obviously said or did something. Why else would they suspend him for a game?

  70. 70
    jjschiller Says:

    He showed up an hour before game time on Saturday in Chicago.

  71. 71
    Smitty Says:

    @64

    I would never rather be the Cubs.

  72. 72
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    “He obviously said or did something” is a rather slender thread on which to hang an attack.

  73. 73
    Seat Painter Says:

    I think the suspension was just so the Braves could save 13million/162 dollars of Uggla’s salary. Maybe if we toss in that along with Bethancourt, Sims, and Peraza we can get Price….

  74. 74
    Marc Schneider Says:

    You can’t say the Braves way doesn’t work, especially in light of the first 25 years of the team’s existence in Atlanta when they really only had one good pitcher (Niekro, of course) and were rarely competitive. They have been competitive ever since. On the other hand, the inability to produce hitters might have cost them championships. Plus, it makes them an awfully dull team to watch-except when they are winning.

  75. 75
    cliff Says:

    @ 62 on the Uggla contract.

    Liberty Media has gobs of cash. They got 2 billion WITH the Braves. Now, that has probably been “dividended” out to the parent by now, but that should not be an issue.

    They apparently are borrowing money to keep from using big capital. There may be an “operating revenue” covenant (like must be 10 mill per year on the Braves Corp ledger) or an expense covenant (like payroll not to exceed x $ or X % of revenue) that would be ACCELERATED if Uggla were released with next year’s salary counting into this year.

    BUT any lender with half a brain would understand that the value of the franchise is not hurt by this and is probably helped by releasing Uggla. So, maybe that is some smoke and mirrors that can be fixed.

  76. 76
    Marc Schneider Says:

    @62,

    In any event, that seems to be an issue above Wren’s pay grade.

  77. 77
    JonathanF Says:

    I learned my accounting from Enron and Worldcom, but why would DFAing Uggla accelerate his accounting treatment into 2014? If anything, it might be a capitalized loss which would affect capital covenants, but as long as Uggla is replaced by someone making the major league minimum (as seems VERY likely) then the only actual hit is the extra MLB minimum payment.

    More realistically, John Malone runs what is probably the single most complicated business in the world from a pure tax accounting perspective. I suspect that DFAing Uggla would upset a very carefully planned player amortization schedule. The fact that Uggla is already morted doesn’t matter to accountants, but to us economists Liberty probably should have already reserved his whole salary as a loss.

  78. 78
    Rob Cope Says:

    I think because of Dan Uggla’s status as a sex symbol in the porn industry, they’re anticipating a loss in revenue from adult entertainment by DFAing him.

  79. 79
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I believe that you’re thinking of Tommy Hansen.

  80. 80
    oldtimer? Says:

    I hate the all-star break.
    It is such a perfect night here in North Jersey and all i wanted was to watch a baseball game on my deck, in the fresh air with a Founders All Day IPA in my hand.
    damned break.

  81. 81
    salty Says:

    I agree on the fact that the All-Star break sucks.

    I was at least expecting some breaking news that the Braves have done something roster wise over the break. This has been a painful few days.

  82. 82
    spike Says:

    I too agree. It’s been a spectacular couple of evenings in Atlanta wasted.

  83. 83
    oldtimer? Says:

    Well, at least watching Star Trek Into Darkness was a solid substitute tonight.

  84. 84
    ububba Says:

    Greetings from Denver…

    The 4-day All-Star break especially sucks, and to make it a little bit worse, the Rockies are in Pittsburgh this weekend.

    Btw, this town is hysterical now. Doing its best to be the US Amsterdam. Folks in downtown cafes burning it down like they’re at a Dead show.

  85. 85
    JonathanF Says:

    @79 Or Rico “the Beeg Boy” Carty.

  86. 86
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Game thread is up.

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