Braves Journal, The House That Mac Built

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25 Jan

Eric Hinske

Had a rough year by his standards, but that was basically because some singles didn’t drop. He’s one of the more effective bench players in baseball, a four-corners guy with an average bat, most of his offensive value coming in secondary skills (power and walks) rather than batting average. Hinske has had 584 plate appearances in his two years with the Braves, which is more than I thought or would have expected. In that slightly-less-than-a-full-season of work, he’s had 21 homers, 31 doubles, and 78 RBI, with most of his work coming as an outfielder or pinch-hitter. Some of Hinske’s value has usually come from his ability to play third base (not well, but not a lot worse than Chipper) but he has played the position only once with the Braves, off the bench in 2010. If Prado is traded, that might change… Actually used to run pretty well, is now really slow, and has attempted only one stolen base and hit one triple with the Braves.

Eric Hinske Statistics and History – Baseball-Reference.com.

178 Responses to “Eric Hinske”

  1. 1
    c. shorter Says:

    from last thread…
    Sounds like we have the Tropicana Field of tv deals. (Is it really that bad?)

  2. 2
    spike Says:

    from the previous…

    Who on earth approve 25-year deals nowadays?

    That the deal was done when the Braves were still property of Time Warner/Turner is awfully implicative of why if not who.

  3. 3
    td Says:

    With Hinske and Diaz I really like our bench. I don’t know if they’ll be good or not (especially Diaz), but I really like them. If Diaz returns to form from 3 or 4 years ago and Hinske plays like 2010, our bench will be great. I can always dream can’t I?

  4. 4
    kc Says:

    Thanks Mac. Your analysis is always insightful and always provides me with new perspectives in understanding our players.

    @2 Thanks for reminding me why. Now the whole picture is completed and fully explained. So, we should actually blame Time Warner/Turner instead of Liberty Media.

  5. 5
    desert Says:

    25 years?

    You’re freaking kidding me. Sure, maybe the Braves don’t get enough love by Atlanta-area residents, but Atlanta is the 9th most populous Metro Area in the country and is 83% the size of the Dallas area, which is 4th most populous.

    These are the type of things that break a team. I hate to emulate Sam’s style, but whoever approved this in team management is out of their mind, and needs to be fired today. This team is going to be in payroll cellar of the NL East in a few years (I believe we’re already 4th behind Miami, Philly, and NY), and probably in the lower third in all of MLB. I don’t often criticize Wren and Co., but there is no way in the world that they are capable of doing what Tampa or Toronto is doing right now.

    I can understand the whole ‘media conglomerate’ ownership that doesn’t give a crap about the team, but I can’t understand giving completely sh****y networks like SS and Fox the right to broadcast games for pennies on the dollar over the next freaking 25 years. You don’t use the baseball team to make the network more valuable.

    Sorry, but this is just another middle finger to Braves fans, and these type of events seem to be occurring a lot more often these days.

  6. 6
    spike Says:

    The content provider (Time/Turner) owned the content producer (Atlanta Braves). Are you really shocked that somehow they got an amazing price, with the added benefit of being able to claim that low payroll is a function of the teams “non-profitability”?

  7. 7
    ryan c Says:

    MLB.com’s top 100 Prospects. Braves come in at 4, 36, 42, 65,and 91. Pretty good showing considering th young guys already on the squad.
    http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/prospects/watch/y2012/index.jsp

  8. 8
    ryan c Says:

    Like what they had to say about Simmons…
    “The Curacao native and junior-college product might be ready to play defense in the big leagues right now, with a plus arm and outstanding range. He can hit, too, with excellent bat speed and an innate ability to make consistent contact. He doesn’t strike out much, but he doesn’t walk, either, and is a little too aggressive at the plate. He has the same approach on the basepaths, and once he learns how to rein it in a bit, he could become a very good all-around shortstop.”

  9. 9
    desert Says:

    6,

    As I understand it, Time/Turner is the content provider. The content comes from networks such as Fox and SS, which film the Atlanta Braves and distribute the content. Fox and SS pay the Braves for the rights, and then turn around and sell the content to Time/Turner, which pays for the rights to broadcast Fox and SS events to its customers. Profit from commercials are split between Time/Turner and Fox and SS.

    Fox and SS are both owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, which has nothing to do with Time/Turner or Liberty Media. If Time/Turner gave them a discount, then it served to purely hurt Time/Turner, which wouldn’t be pulling in the additional revenue through the Braves. That makes absolutely no sense to me, actually. It does shock me. Similarly, Peachtree TV is owned by CBS.

    Some idiot up in team management approved it without going to Bud Selig and Co., who might have actually been helpful in this situation. It’s an absolute travesty.

  10. 10
    desert Says:

    7,

    I think that Julio Teheran bit is the first time I’ve heard MLB mention ‘FIP’.

  11. 11
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Well… isn’t Liberty Media the content provider, since they own the team and therefore control the rights to broadcast and distribution?

  12. 12
    desert Says:

    Alex,

    I was more talking about the circumstances under which the deal was originally signed, and I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know how the system works very well.

    Currently, yes, I guess the Braves/Liberty media would be the ‘content’. When I said content provider before, I meant ‘channel provider’.

  13. 13
    spike Says:

    @9, I was under the impression that WTBS owned the exclusive broadcast rights, not the Braves (as a result of the aforementioned contract) until 2008, and then made them available to local cable operators. In essence, TBS is reselling those rights, that it acquired during an apparently less than arms-length transaction, to Fox/SS. That income would not flow through to the Braves.

  14. 14
    Grst Says:

    @9 According to McGuirk from the interview it wasn’t a discount. He says the rights were sold for market value at the time, it’s just that market value has increased since then and the Braves are still locked into a contract for the next two decades.

  15. 15
    kc Says:

    @14 25-year deal. The duration is the killer.

  16. 16
    kc Says:

    @7 The weakness has been there for years, but this team lacks righthanded power hitting talents at both major and minor league levels.

  17. 17
    desert Says:

    @14,

    Well, I don’t know what inflation they’re projecting, but I guarantee you it’s not enough. 25 years is around 15 years too long, and this was a sport that was exploding in 2008 at a rate of 10% per year. Maybe the team thought that would be a high-water mark for revenue increase, but even then 25 years is absurdly long. I doubt they’re getting a yearly increase of 3% on that deal.

    Additionally, Terr McGuirk (and the organization as a whole) don’t tend to complain to the media. For him not to at least say, ‘Don’t worry, the team will be fine’ or something like that; and, instead straight up say that the team is not in a good situation, you know that the state of TV revenue in the organization is much, much worse than we thought.

    I’ll always love the Braves, and I’ll always cheer for them, but every team, at sometime or the other, goes through phases when they morph into the Royals or Athletics. They key is to get out of these phases as quickly as possible. They are most certainly not doomed, but the Braves are doing themselves absolutely no favors through this contract.

    And again, I’m very, very surprised nobody from the MLB stepped in on this.

  18. 18
    Scump Says:

    I love Eric Hinske. That doesn’t alter the fact that every time I see him I am reminded of a very large hamster. I have no idea why but the guy just screams hamster to me.

  19. 19
    Kevin Lee Says:

    @18
    There is no truth to the rumor that his off-season conditioning involves a very big wheel.

  20. 20
    Peter Says:

    Big damage.

  21. 21
    MikeM Says:

    @18
    No, it was Corky Miller who was the hamster. Ugh, I did not enjoy watching Corky Miller.

    This news of the 25-year TV deal depresses me greatly. I mean, crap. There is just no good way to read that article. We have the Bobby Bonilla deal of TV land.

  22. 22
    csg Says:

    #15 – Exactly. I was coming on here to discuss, but it looks like its been taken care of.

  23. 23
    csg Says:

    With the recent news, Im highly skeptical about the Braves offseason plans moving forward for next year. If they are operating at a “no profitability, no free cash flow” level then why would they not reduce the budget when the opportunity arrives? If the Braves spend $94 mil this season while missing the playoffs and continuing to hover around the 2.3-2.5 mil attendance then another payroll decrease is likely to happen. We may see that payroll budget figure dwindle.

  24. 24
    PaulV Says:

    @18 You must be watching Grimm too much.

  25. 25
    justhank Says:

    25 years? Someone must die.

    You think we’re middle-of-the-pack now? Just wait five years.

    We’re the Freaking Expos. The Atlanta Freaking Expos.

    Someone must die.

  26. 26
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    That article is just brutal to the whole ‘team spirit from the fanbase’ thing. 25 years of being underpaid from the biggest cash stream in professional sports. If they’re hoping their going to goad the fan base into attending in the 3-mil per year range again just by player development, they’re crazy.

    This is just depressing.

    Eric Hinske is alright. He’s also had old player skills since he was 22, so he’s a prime candidate for implosion.

  27. 27
    zig Says:

    That TV deal is the worst news about the team I’ve heard in 40 years. It’s just an absolute dagger to the nutsack.

    I endured what I call the “Pat Rocket/Junior Moore years”–the 70’s and 80’s–and my abiding, secret fear has always been that somehow we as fans will have to re-live them. Well, we’ll see.

    Who… did… this?? I want a name!!!

  28. 28
    csg Says:

    Epic collapse, no acquisitions this offseason, announcement of that TV deal….a lot of buzz heading into Spring Training right?

    Just remember to get those 20 game season ticket packs so you can get 30% off your concession items (minus the beer of course)

  29. 29
    csg Says:

    Cant say I disagree

    http://capitolavenueclub.com/?p=5250

  30. 30
    desert Says:

    28,

    The assertion that we may become the A’s in 10 years is completely disheartening, and probably honest. Additional revenue allows you to cover up a lot of mistakes, and every team makes mistakes.

  31. 31
    Marc Schneider Says:

    Where is the McGuirk article, in the AJC?

  32. 32
    csg Says:

    First line of the CAC article has a link

  33. 33
    Marc Schneider Says:

    Read it. Not that I think they should necessarily be the Yankees in free agency but this is ridiculous. What kind of nitwit would sign 25 year deals unless there was some kind of self-dealing. This does not seem like an arms-length transaction.

    The Braves are being managed like many other corporation–do just enough to keep the product good enough to keep the customers from leaving but not enough to detract from ROI–of course, they argue there is no ROI right now. It is getting increasingly hard to root for a team whose ownership seems uninterested. The size of the payroll is not the issue or whether the Braves have good players–obviously, they have a solid farm system and should be pretty good for a number of years. But, if the owner doesn’t care, why should we?

  34. 34
    Adam M Says:

    Can someone clarify this point for me:

    “We will have to look elsewhere for the increases that we will need in revenue to continue to build this franchise. It’s what the owners at the time decided to do, so we have to live with it. … It’s nothing to be ashamed of, but it’s not going to be these newer deals where there is cash up front.”

    I’m not clear what McQuirk means by “look elsewhere.” Where else would a team find additional revenue?

    The size of the payroll is not the issue or whether the Braves have good players–obviously, they have a solid farm system and should be pretty good for a number of years.

    Well, it’s not the only issue, true. Teams like the Rays can build from within and stay competitive with excellent player development year in, year out. But for smaller-payroll teams, there is a much steeper cost for making a mistake–for having a bad draft, for instance, or for having an international signee fail to develop. Smaller-payroll teams also will never be able to have an Albert Pujols on their roster unless they develop him themselves. Indeed, I’d say that we all can at least agree that while the Rays and Braves have good players, the teams’ ceilings are just not as high as are those of the Rangers and Phillies.

  35. 35
    cliff Says:

    After only a little thought.

    I am about ready to start a tv boycott. Tell the advertisers that it is over until the ownership releases years 10 through 30. And don’t watch.

    If I know I am continuing in loyalty to a disaster 5 years or so down the road that will continue for 20, I might as well forget baseball now or pick a new team.

    I KNOW their advertisers aren’t locked in more than a year and probably have outs for non performance (ratings lower than a certain point).

    Boycott ends when the Peachtree TV debacle ends (ONE DAMN CARRIER, WHOLE DAMN SOUTHEAST ON EVERY POSSIBLE GAME) and the written amendment is released to the press.

  36. 36
    Boscoe Says:

    The news about the TV deal has got to be the biggest Braves story in a long time. It’s a huge disaster. I don’t think folks realize the implications, since it was snuck in at the end of an article about the 2012 payroll. There is a good chance that the Braves have 20 years of being the Royals.

  37. 37
    Smitty Says:

    However, the cost of the games lets regional networks pick them up and spread them to a larger population. That is why most of us 2 hours away can watch them.

    In return we buy more stuff. I would imagine the Braves are in the top 10 in merchandising sales.

  38. 38
    justhank Says:

    Smitty – four years of no playoffs with no hope in sight is not the way to move licensed merchandise.

    Wow. Just wow. That deal needs to be examined and publicized. AAR? You have your assignment.

    And maybe your Pulitzer.

  39. 39
    John Gaines Says:

    As a hardcore Braves fan, I guess it’s time I start paying for my hardcore porn.

  40. 40
    ububba Says:

    Another headline from the Offseason of Gloom: Hey, we’re the Twins!

    Guess we’ll just have to get accustomed to watching our “winning window” close faster than we’d like. Good thing, for the moment, that many of our better players are young & cheap. It’ll pain me greatly when Jonny Venters ends up in pinstripes. (And Jonny, if you think you racked up the innings last year…)

    So, if we can’t invest deeper into the veteran player pool, let’s at least invest deeper into scouting. We’re gonna need it.

  41. 41
    Bethany Says:

    @33 Merchandise is one (admittedly small) way. Why do you think the Braves just added a new uniform to the permanent rotation?

    And it wasn’t a 25 year deal, it was a 30 year deal with 25 years remaining.

  42. 42
    sansho1 Says:

    There is one way in which this fiasco could work to the Braves’ advantage — these mega-deals might end up being bad investments for the local TV stations. What if ad revenues end up coming in lower than expected? The next contract offer might not be so lucrative. Meanwhile, the newly monied franchises are taking on long-term liability like there’s no tomorrow.

    I guess what I’m saying is…if there’s another Great Depression, the Braves would be positioned pretty well indeed. Yeah!

  43. 43
    csg Says:

    Smitty and Bethany, DOB posted this earlier…

    Something that most folks don’t realize — I didn’t until recently — is that teams only get 1/30th of the revenues generated by the sale of jerseys, caps and other such licensed merchandise. It’s split evenly between all 30 teams (great for teams like the Rays and A’s, not so much for more popular teams like Yankees, Cubs, Red Sox and, yes, Braves). The exception is gear that’s sold in official team stores, which the team doesn’t have split evenly with the other 29 teams. The Braves only have one such store, at CNN center. The Yankees are smart to take advantage of their popularity by having multiple stores around the NYC area.

  44. 44
    justhank Says:

    How do you insert a jpg? There’s a Far Side cartoon I want to share.

  45. 45
    Mac Thomason Says:

    I’m afraid you can’t. Just hyperlink it.

  46. 46
    Bethany Says:

    @43 Well. Things just got more grim.

  47. 47
    PaulV Says:

    @42 no politics
    J/K

  48. 48
    sansho1 Says:

    Just some gallows humor.

  49. 49
    Stu Says:

    I’m laughing pretty hard at 39.

  50. 50
    justhank Says:

    sansho’s (sarcastic, I’m sure) optimistic post reminded me of this:

    http://tinyurl.com/6lkfzme

  51. 51
    justhank Says:

    @39 – yes, Stu. It’s the least we can do.

  52. 52
    mikemc Says:

    Another aspect to this dismal story is that the 25 year yoke around the Braves neck will also dissuade potential buyers when Liberty Mutual wants to sell. Something like owning a fantastic mansion located in an neighborhood that has become a Rio de Janeiro slum.

  53. 53
    Dan Says:

    Epic collapse, no acquisitions this offseason

    Why would any season ticket holder renew? The Braves completely collapsed and Wren spent the offseason twiddling his thumbs as a response. Meanwhile, the Marlins and Nationals actually appeared to be trying.

  54. 54
    justhank Says:

    A mighty ship has run out of fuel and is drifting to shore.

    Drydock awaits.

  55. 55
    Bethany Says:

    @53 I think it was be worse to hear about a half a dozen big players we failed to sign. I’m glad our hopes were never up in the first place.

  56. 56
    ububba Says:

    For the record, I still think we’ll be playing meaningful baseball in September. Hopefully, October, too…

  57. 57
    desert Says:

    So, just throwing another point out there. For the type of metropolitan area the team is in, attendance is certainly disappointing. The merchandise sales don’t matter. The TV contract is crap, and it’s not like the Stadium is great or anything.

    This town has already lost two NHL teams, and there have been recent rumors about the Hawks. Is it fair to say that the next guy that might buy the Braves may think about moving the team?

  58. 58
    csg Says:

    If someone buys the team and moves it, what does that do to the TV contract?

  59. 59
    ryan c Says:

    @57
    No way.

  60. 60
    jjschiller Says:

    I thought of that, too, when casting about for a way they could force a negotiation…. “Fine… you can pay us x dollars for broadcast in the Southeast…. how much will you pay to broadcast us in Eugene, OR, since that’s where we’ll actually be playing?

  61. 61
    ryan c Says:

    *I had surgery this morning, am a bit drugged, and the only position that doesn’t hurt is the upright position in front of my computer. I’m confined to my house and therefore you guys have to put up with my ramblings (or at least scroll past them).

    Here’s what I gathered from the article:
    1. I guess it’s fair to say that we’ll be hovering around 94-95 million in 2013 as well.
    2. The Braves, at least for the next 2 decades, will not be bidders on the 80+ million contract guys. I can live with that.
    3. The Braves will continue to try and trade players, when they get expensive, for prospects or to fill a hole.
    4. The Braves will continue to pursue 1 year cheap contracts on veterans.

    Using this logic, the Braves probably won’t try to lock up McCann until after 2013 (hoping that his value drops a bit), will probably exercise Hudson’s ’13 option of 9 million, and will likely want to do the same with Chipper (assuming Chipper still wants to play). Chipper’s contract would range in between 7-11 million depending on games played.

    So, there’s been speculation that the Braves will have serious money to spend in 2013. Let’s assume that Chipper’s healthy this year, maxes out his games played and decides to return in 2013…
    Uggla: 13.2
    Chipper: 11
    Hudson: 9
    McCann: 12

    Arb-eligibles: Jurrjens, Prado, O’Flaherty, Heyward, Hanson, Medlen, Venters, the Lisp- together, they’d make approx. 35 million.

    We’re already up to 77.2 for 11 players. Assuming that the Braves will pay 12 guys pre-arb numbers, that puts the total to 83 million for 23 players.

    I think the Braves, for the foreseeable future, are done with big named free agents. We can all kiss our Hamilton dreams goodbye. Big players will have to come via trade.

  62. 62
    csg Says:

    Ryan, Chipper can make $14.5 next year if he maxes out his incentives. Im very skeptical of what will happen if a lot of money comes off the books in the same offseason. If Liberty thinks they can swing a profit by reducing payroll then they will.

  63. 63
    DougM66 Says:

    Actually, if the TV/radio agreements are so bad, the Braves could go into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, repudiate the contracts, and enter into new contracts in the interest of business viability. You hear about this business strategy often in the context of companies going into Chapter 11 to repudiate union and pension agreements. It could probably work here too.

  64. 64
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    If Chipper maxes out his incentives he’s probably worth $14.5 mil.

  65. 65
    sansho1 Says:

    Except that the TV contract isn’t a liability, it’s an asset.

  66. 66
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Wanna know how we got Michael Bourn? Here’s how, say Ed Wade and Frank Wren.

  67. 67
    Stu Says:

    Yeah, I think that was linked back around the time it was published — I love how Wren just abused an apparently-very-desperate Wade. “A little.”…LOL.

  68. 68
    ryan c Says:

    @62
    You’re right. I read his contract on Cot’s wrong (I blame it on the drugs). Well, that makes 2013’s offseason all the more bleaker.

  69. 69
    urlhix Says:

    If we’d just put a strip club at Turner Field we could solve this whole problem with revenue. Halfway kidding. I mean, it is a perfect storm of fit.

  70. 70
    Dan Says:

    @69:

    Then the Braves could also sign Andruw Jones for the league minimum.

  71. 71
    Mark Grogan Says:

    I am aware that most of the posters here have a much deeper understanding of this situation than I do. However, I do not see the doom and gloom for the future that you see. We were not players in the 20 million dollar a year contract yesterday, and we are not today, and we won’t be for 20 years. I don’t have a problem with that. Would you like A-Rod’s contract right now? What about Teixeira’s? Do you think that will end well? A.J. Burnett anybody? Joe Mauer might be available in the right deal.

    My point is a shrewd GM who manages his assets well will keep a competitive team on the field. I am not despondent that neither Fielder nor Pujols is replacing poor Freddie Freeman next year. Nor would I want to overpay for a Josh Hamilton.

    If a roster with young pitching stacked like cord wood, young and producing position players, and the occasional Jack Wilson thrown in, is our fate, I’ll take my chances.

  72. 72
    Trace Says:

    And bring Melky back!

  73. 73
    urlhix Says:

    No “TV” contract is going to last another 20 years. Media is changing too fast these days, IMHO.

  74. 74
    Johnny Says:

    The tv contract does suck. But at the time I dont think that anyone could have foreseen the recent surge in dollars. At some point the stable revenue stream had tohave been seen as an asset.

    Other teams succeed with fewer dollars than the Braves. The team is hamstrung by the tv deal and the fact that for various reasons the local fan base seems stagnant. But good baseball people are running the team. I dont see us going the way of the way of the pirates anytime soon.

  75. 75
    kc Says:

    @74 Of course it can be managed around. Everything can be managed around. It’s just that this gives the Braves no room for mistakes, and everybody makes mistakes. If you are given a choice, you don’t want to operate like the Rays. The fact that someone locked the Braves into a 25-year TV deal is stupid. Contract duration of that length is only suitable for two things: Insurance and mortgage. Ok, maybe not only two, but tv deal certainly is NOT one of them. It’s stupid.

  76. 76
    desert Says:

    71,

    The issue isn’t free agency. You are completely right, we were never going to be major players in FA barring a new owner that is willing to go into the red every year. The inherent problem is resigning our players.

    Last year, we ranked 15th in Team payroll at 87 million.

    12 years ago, the 15th ranked team in baseball had a payroll of 46 million.

    In the last ten years (since 2001), our payroll has gone down by 7 million.

    If the cost of living increase in TV revenue (the vast majority of MLB revenue is through TV deals today) is roughly 2.5% to 3.0%, it is not entirely unfeasible that we will have a payroll of 100 million in 2021. And with that payroll, there is absolutely no way in the world that we could hold on to the Heywards, Hansons, Teherans, and Freemans that we develop. Imagine running a team with a 46 million dollar payroll today. There is no way that you could afford arb raises for the team, let alone resign them to long term contracts. Inherently, there is the larger issue.

    On TV rights: If the team gets moved, SS and Fox South still get to broadcast Braves games in the Southeastern area (their coverage area). The Braves could get another TV deal for the area into which they moved. Just like nationally broadcast games (such as ESPN) are blacked out in Atlanta, these new channels with which the Braves would partner (in their new area) would simply be blacked out in the Southeast. That’s how I understand it, anyway.

    75,

    Great response. There is the problem: it leaves the Braves with a razor-thin room of error. And, unfortunately, errors will always occur in the MLB. It doesn’t make us the Pirates, but it definitely increases the chance (by a significant amount) that we become like Pittsburgh.

    And, I’m sorry, but this management is exactly the type of group that’s going to give Kimbrel a 5 year/60 million dollar deal. I have loved the majority of their moves, but they have often demonstrated that cost efficient spending and player management are not their forte.

  77. 77
    kc Says:

    @76 Before long, we will start hearing trade rumor on Mac.

  78. 78
    Nick Says:

    Couldn’t we sell naming rights to the stadium? I don’t know what we can get for it, but it should be significant.

  79. 79
    kc Says:

    @78 I don’t think the Braves own the stadium. That’s the state’s asset I thought.

  80. 80
    Nick Says:

    No, the Braves own and operate it. The Georgia Dome is the only stadium in town owned by the state.

    Also, there is almost zero chance any other teams would move. Unlike the NHL, the NBA and MLB value the Atlanta market and would actually try to find a local buyer, which there would be plenty of if they thought the team was moving. Even the Thrashers would still be here if the NHL hadn’t been nearly criminally negligent and the ownership group hadn’t tried to intentionally sabotage the team.

  81. 81
    kc Says:

    @80 That’s good to know. But I don’t think now is a good time to sell as corporates are cutting costs.

  82. 82
    Nick Says:

    Excuse me. Philips Arena is owned by the city. That’s not technically the state, but, you know… It’s operated by Atlanta Spirit, but they probably couldn’t redo the naming rights without some say-so from the city. The fact remains, though, that the Braves both own and operate Turner Field, and could sell the naming rights in any way they want. The deal with Philips, incidentally, nets Atlanta Spirit/the city (I don’t know how they split it) $9.1 million a year.

  83. 83
    Johnny Says:

    The Braves have a small margin for error. But not razor thin. The team has done a pretty good job of absorbing the Kawakami mistake and the less than optimal return on investment from Lowe. McGuirk’s interview at least shed light why we were never in the running for second tier FA’s like Willingham and why the rumored trades never materialized.

    I appreciate that a stagnant revenue stream puts the team at a competitve disadvantage but 94 million is still a decent payroll. That the team is still a contender is a testament to the front office.

  84. 84
    braves14 Says:

    Some of Freddie Freeman’s top 10 most similar batters through age 21 include Eddie Murray, Willie Mays, and Carl Yastrzemski.

  85. 85
    kc Says:

    @84 As we have seen from Jason, second year can be a whole different thing. Let’s hope Freddie will survive.

  86. 86
    DowneasterJC Says:

    Isn’t this deal the sort of thing a living Commissioner should have stepped in on and said “Wait a minute..”?

    Maybe I don’t understand the role of the Commissioner, but I assumed it was to protect his product, and by extension, the teams.

  87. 87
    kc Says:

    @86 Bud doesn’t like the Braves.

  88. 88
    Grst Says:

    @41 That’s not entirely clear from the article, but I read it as 25 total, which we’re 4ish years into.

  89. 89
    Dusty Says:

    Finally some good news-Bill Hohn officially retires from umpiring. That’s got to be good for two Braves wins.

  90. 90
    sansho1 Says:

    Neither the courts nor the commissioner’s office are there to save the Braves from failing to fully maximize their revenue streams. They made a bad deal, we have to live with the consequences.

  91. 91
    Adam M Says:

    @83. It’s thin now, but will be razor thin in 5-10 years. The key point desert made was that the Braves will not be a mid-market team in a decade; they’ll be a small market team. That’s a big difference.

  92. 92
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    @91

    That presumes to know as much about future markets as TW seems to have presumed when they signed that TV deal. 10 years is a long time in market terms, and there’s no guarantee that ATL will be large, small or medium. We can be relatively certain we won’t be NYC, but there’s a lot of wiggle room between Texas (the current darlings who, 10 years ago, couldn’t compete for shooting themselves in the foot) and Pittsburgh.

  93. 93
    c. shorter Says:

    89 — That is good news for baseball. (Even better news if he was nudged in that direction.)

  94. 94
    Johnny Says:

    @91 – Desert’s point is based on the premise that every other team will experience an explosian in revenue and that Librty Media won’t adjust to compete. I don’t think so. Not every team exists in a market like LA or the Dallas/FW metroplex and it doesn’t behoove Liberty to just let the Braves whither on the vine if they want to get maximum return should they decide to sell the team.

    Just to be clear, I agree that the stagnant revenue stream sucks and makes competing in the future more difficult but I don’t buy into the doom and gloom scenario.

  95. 95
    Marc Schneider Says:

    It’s not that the Braves can’t be competitive; it’s that they can’t hope to build a great team. And that’s the difference between baseball and football. I’m not advocating a salary cap because I think players should get what they can get, but the fact is, the “parity” in baseball is strictly a function of the playoff format and the nature of the game. Very few teams in baseball can really put together great team, but you don’t necessarily need one to win the World Series as we have seen the last two years. In football, anyone can have a dominant team regardless of size of market and I think it makes the sport more interesting. The days of the Braves winning 100 games regularly are over, but that’s not to say they cannot win the World Series. Of course, that didn’t translate into WS championships, but, to me, the whole point of sports is to strive for greatness, not just pretty good. If you aren’t doing that, it’s pretty discouraging.

    I don’t think the Braves are going back to the 70s. But they will never be great again (and some of the 90s teams were great even if they didn’t win the WS).

  96. 96
    ryan c Says:

    We have a cheap core of good to great players for the next 4 years. After that, we’re going to be depending on Terdoslavich, Gilmartin, Bethancourt, Salcedo, Simmons, Beckwith, LaStella, Drury, Graham, Kubitza…

    I hope these guys can play because most experts think we’ve drafted poorly over the last 3 years.

  97. 97
    csg Says:

    Ryan, your comment reminded me of this from yesterday.

    Eric (CT)

    Given that the Braves drafts recently have been really bad, and the Latin Trio will no longer be eligible for prospects lists next year, is this the last of the Braves being in the top half of organizational rankings for a while? Thanks!

    Klaw (1:17 PM)

    That’s probably fair. I’m glad someone else has noticed that their drafts have been really poor of late.

  98. 98
    Adam M Says:

    Indeed. The one big missing follow up question in that piece was: if the Braves are eschewing free agency and buding through the draft, then why are they paying so little in the amateur draft and (more recently) international market? I suppose the new CBA will help a bit, but for a team building through the draft they currently have a wasteland of position player talent (though who knows? Maybe Simmons, Bethancourt, and Salcedo will all work out… we’ll know more in a year).

  99. 99
    Michael Says:

    @95 – “I don’t think the Braves are going back to the 70s. But they will never be great again (and some of the 90s teams were great even if they didn’t win the WS).”

    A little perspective, please. Baseball has been around for a long time, and franchises go through ups and downs. The Dodgers, Giants, Phillies, Pirates, hell even the Athletics have been great and not-great many times over. If you define great only as being able to win 14 division titles in a row, then you will be waiting a while b/c as Rick Pitino would say, Smoltz/Glavine/Maddux ain’t walking through that door.

    Someone said it earlier and they are exactly right: with the rate at which media, content, content value and content delivery are changing, there’s no way the Braves will still be held to the terms of their current TV contract in 25 years. If payrolls rise in MLB to the point that the Braves can no longer compete directly b/c of the TV deal, MLB will not let the Braves be held hostage by the contract.

  100. 100
    csg Says:

    Mark (Omaha)

    What is the ceiling for Andrelton Simmons?

    Klaw (1:26 PM)

    There’s really not much bat there at all. He doesn’t walk, doesn’t hit for power, so he’s a plus-plus fielder with minimal offense. That might actually be a starter right now, but not a great one.

  101. 101
    Stu Says:

    The thing is…he has huge shit out of the ‘pen.

  102. 102
    desert Says:

    92,

    Yup, that’s correct. But looking at the recent trend of a shrinking or stable (definitely not increasing) payroll, the lack of spending in International free agency and the draft, the fact that TV revenue streams seem to be expanding quite a bit, and this information that we are locked into a non-negotiable 25 year deal with minimal increase, it not entirely unreasonable to postulate that Atlanta will be a small to mid market team in a decade or so. I never said that it’s certainly going to happen, but I do say that as a result of this TV deal, there is a much higher chance it will occur.

    94,

    Nope, my point is not based on the premise that every other team will get an incredibly large revenue increase via TV deals. Even moderate increases to other teams’ revenue streams could make Atlanta less competitive.

    For example, let’s define ‘small market’ as being in the last ten teams in terms of payroll, ‘mid-market’ as being in the middle ten, and ‘large market’ as being in the top ten. Last year, the Braves were 15th. Here are a few teams behind us:

    Miami (substantial increases to payroll this year, could be higher than the Braves, play in a larger metropolitan market than Atlanta)
    Baltimore (larger market than Atlanta)
    Toronto (much, much larger market than Atlanta)
    Houston (larger market than Atlanta)
    Washington (ditto)
    Arizona (80% the size of Atlanta)

    And that doesn’t include Seattle and Milwaukee, which were 1-2 million in payroll behind us. I think it’s entirely conceivable that all of these teams could pass us in overall spending via moderate TV revenue increases, which would make Atlanta a small-market team.

    Your second point, I agree heartily with. It’s not a gloom-and-doom scenario in the next ten years, by any means. Teams with smaller revenue streams than Atlanta can still complete, but it is much, much more difficult to do so. However, if TV contracts stay as expensive as they are becoming (an entirely logical thought), then we may be in a whole bunch of trouble fifteen years down the road. It’s conceivable.

  103. 103
    desert Says:

    99,

    It’s a legal document. And yeah, if SS and Fox don’t want to pay the Braves more money out of the goodness of their hearts, they’re not going to have to. This line of thinking is akin to me taking out $200,000 for a Ferrari and then assuming that ten years down the road, I’m not going to be making a payment because it was ‘stupid of me to buy a $200,000 car’.

    97,

    Apparently (according to Dave Cameron and John Sickels), the man is incredibly humble and kind in real life. Snark or not, he is right quite often.

    98,

    I was thinking about that myself. At first, it didn’t make any sense. If you’ve got players clearly ranked 1,2,3,4,5,6 on a board, then with unlimited draft spending, the first round could go something like this:

    1. Player 1
    2. Player 5 (contract demands are less)
    3. Player 4
    4. Player 18
    5. Player 3
    6. Player 8

    leaving the team with the seventh pick the 2nd best player in the draft. That’s great for small payroll teams that build through the draft. However, now, teams are probably going to take players in terms of just talent, making drafts go like this:

    1. Player 1
    2. Player 3
    3. Player 2
    4. Player 4,
    etc.

    At first glance, it leaves small-market teams with less talent on the board, hurting them. However, the Braves are truly excellent at scouting talent. This meant they would often deviate outside the accepted norm for their best player, not who the public believed to be the best. For them, this means that they still may take the 18th best player with the 8th overall pick. Now, they’ll just be paying a lot less for the player than they would before. In that sense, it helps the team. That’s my line of thinking, anyway.

  104. 104
    sansho1 Says:

    Someone said it earlier and they are exactly right: with the rate at which media, content, content value and content delivery are changing, there’s no way the Braves will still be held to the terms of their current TV contract in 25 years. If payrolls rise in MLB to the point that the Braves can no longer compete directly b/c of the TV deal, MLB will not let the Braves be held hostage by the contract.

    This confuses the power of baseball with the laws of the land. In a mutually agreed upon contract negotiated in good faith, nobody is held hostage. Liberty acquired the Braves with the full knowledge of its assets and liabilities, and bought it anyway. The other party in the contract has full right to expect it will be honored, and any attempt at a breach will result in a suit for damages. The Braves have every right to ask for a renegotiation, but the other party can’t be compelled to do so. Do you really want to live in a world where a contract is only valid so long as everyone involved thinks they got a great deal, but otherwise can just walk away?

  105. 105
    sansho1 Says:

    Or what desert said….

  106. 106
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    I want to live in a world where absolutely all contracts are honored, except for the ones that hamper my baseball team’s ability to be better than other baseball teams. I want those to be declared null and void.

  107. 107
    MikeM Says:

    Here’s a question: Do the Braves have a superstar?

  108. 108
    ryan c Says:

    Serious question: Going on a decade, many members of this blog has poked serious, almost Francoeurian, fun at Juan Pierre. Yet, I look back at his statistics and I see a player with a rag arm but plays good defense, had good OBP skills, and has a 75% success rate at stealing bases. Last year, he was a poor player because the speed of the game finally caught up with him, but last year aside, he’s been a prototypical leadoff hitter spanning a decade.

    What am I missing? Was it due to other clubs overpaying for him or did you guys really think he was that overrated?

  109. 109
    Marc Schneider Says:

    My point is not that I expect the Braves to win 14 divisions in a row-clearly unrealistic–but that, under their current economic arrangements, will never try to put together teams like that but just try to be “good enough.” Frankly, I can see becoming a Nats fan if the Braves are aren’t really going to try. At least the Nats are in my hometown.

  110. 110
    csg Says:

    Define superstar? Shouldnt BMac be considered one?

    5X Silver Slugger
    6X Allstar
    .286/.358/.466
    averages 137 games behind the plate

  111. 111
    Adam M Says:

    @103 Basically, that’s my take on the new CBA: it helps teams like the Braves who depend on great scouting and are already spending around slot on players. It’s no coincidence, I’d suggest, that Schuerholz is the head of the rules committee that negotiated the change.

    The larger problem with the deal, as desert has eloquently pointed out, is that it makes the Braves likely to become a small market team. Over the past 5-10 years, they have gone from large to mid-market. If the trend continues at all, they’ll be in the bottom third of payroll sooner than many here realize.

    I’ve read through the comments over at CAC, and Franklin Rabon has responded to many of the comments/questions also posted here. I think this response hits the nail on the head:

    TV revenues have exploded exponentially since this deal was signed… Additionally, all indicators point towards this trend increasing. Sure, something unforeseen could happen and change everything. But when your argument is “we just can’t know for sure about the future” you’re probably losing the argument. Sure, we don’t know for certain that this deal will be bad 15 years from now, but it looks pretty darn likely to.

  112. 112
    Michael Says:

    @104 – “the other party can’t be compelled to do so”

    The other party most certainly can be compelled to do so….it’s called leverage.

    Don’t get me wrong, I understand what the word contract means. I simply believe that sometime in the next 25 years, the world of TV and media otherwise will have changed to the point that it will behoove neither the Braves nor Peachtree/FSS/FSN to continue under the current contract. Take that for what it is worth…probably not much.

    As far as MLB, I don’t think they have the power to bluntly declare a contract null and void. But I do think they have the leverage to change the confines of which the TV contracts exist in. For instance, you can watch any baseball game in the country on their website. They also have their own television network. Yes, they are re-broadcasting games covered by the cable companies, but they are not solely dependent on those companies to distribute their product. After all, MLB is actually the one creating the content (the actual game).

    Considering the rate at which media is changing, I would be shocked 10 years from now to see the Braves a) still owned by Liberty and b) still operating solely under the terms of this 25 year deal. Hopefully Braves Journal is still around then for us to argue about it.

  113. 113
    mikemc Says:

    I remember a year or two ago, some Braves player smashed up a camera that was placed in the dugout. Maybe he was pissed off at the contract also.

  114. 114
    sansho1 Says:

    Sorry for the imprecise language — by “compelled”, I meant legally compelled. They can certainly be convinced. I mean, I don’t know of a scenario where it would be advantageous for someone to agree to pay $2 instead of the $1 that had been fairly negotiated, but that may be a lack of imagination on my part.

    I have no idea whether the contract covers TV rights only as TV is currently understood. The fine print could cover, or not cover, any range of scenarios, I imagine.

    As for MLB’s position…at the moment anyway, they have to be absolutely thrilled at the amount of money coming in via these regional contracts. Again, this may be my lack of imagination, but I don’t know why they would purposely undercut the potential value of more such deals.

  115. 115
    spike Says:

    I don’t know of a scenario where it would be advantageous for someone to agree to pay $2 instead of the $1 that had been fairly negotiated,

    If all of the other companies you buy baseball content from refuse to do any further business with you unless you renegotiate, you’d have to consider the idea. Not saying that will or even should happen, but contracts get renegotiated all the time because of industry pressures. You just can’t consider these things as independent, discrete events, but a part of the larger relationship between baseball and the media. It’s in the interests of MLB to not allow their teams to get screwed over too badly, and they still have leverage, even after the contract is signed. Whether this will rise to the level of something MLB would try to mitigate remains to be seen of course.

  116. 116
    sansho1 Says:

    But there are no other companies for a local TV station to buy baseball content from. They buy it only from the local baseball team.

    Anyway, McGuirk seems resigned to it, so I’m guessing it is what it is.

  117. 117
    csg Says:

    108 – not sure, but Im sure he’ll find a way to piss off braves fans once again. Phils just signed Pierre.

    edit: Theriot signs with the Giants

  118. 118
    Smitty Says:

    @107

    Chipper and McCann. Heyward could be soon. Hudson and Uggla are fringe.

  119. 119
    desert Says:

    Did they give Pierre a 3 year/30 million contract? I sure hope so.

    He’s projected for a OBP in the low .330’s after a .329 last year. He has no power. I’m good with that signing.

  120. 120
    spike Says:

    But there are no other companies for a local TV station to buy baseball content from. They buy it only from the local baseball team.

    Not to belabor this, but there really aren’t “local TV stations” anymore – they pretty much all have affiliate relationships, and leverage against a parent would certainly have negative consequences for the local cable operator or a local network affiliate.

    Anyway, McGuirk seems resigned to it, so I’m guessing it is what it is.

    Agreed.

  121. 121
    justhank Says:

    Dammit, I was hoping I’d wake up and discover that this 25-year contract thing was just a paranoid delusion on my part.

    Here’s the problem: How did the Rangers go from bankruptcy to Yu Darvish in the blink of an eye? The renegotiated tv deals they were able to accomplish.

    We won’t have that chance probably in my lifetime.

    The Expos, I tellya. The Freaking Atlanta Expos.

  122. 122
    Smitty Says:

    I am glad to see the TV deal has replaced the Escobar trade as the reason we can’t win it all.

    Hopefully, we will find a new reason sometime in the next 21 years. This is getting old

  123. 123
    Michael Says:

    @122-

    Jake Taylor: [Jake stands up] Well then I guess there’s only one thing left to do.
    Roger Dorn: What’s that?
    Jake Taylor: Win the whole f***ing thing.

  124. 124
    John Adcox Says:

    Well, there IS another fairly obvious answer. SS And Fox Sports are both fairly low-priority assets. Liberty could swing another tax swap deal to make the package value of the broadcast and sports team asset more valuable collectively. There are dozens of ways that could benefit both sides tremendously, unless there is some other strategy here that we’re not privy to.

  125. 125
    csg Says:

    I think the Braves will field a competitive team next year, Im still doubting that it will be enough. However, this has been one of the most unexciting offseasons I can remember. Usually Im getting excited about the team reporting next month. Right now Ive got nothing.

  126. 126
    Michael Says:

    Well, if you can’t get excited about Jack Wilson, then I just don’t know what to tell you.

  127. 127
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Ryan, I think you and I are seeing two different Juan Pierres. When I look at Pierre, I see a guy whose career triple slash is .296/.345/.363. That doesn’t say “good OBP skills” to me. Moreover, while his range appears to have been good, his rag arm was so bad that it has sometimes canceled out the effects.

    TotalZone seems to think his arm was so bad that he’s been a barely above-average defender. UZR seems to think that his arm was bad, but his range was so good that he’s been a solidly above-average defender. You can see the difference by looking at his 13.6 rWAR in 12 seasons, compared to his 26.8 fWAR in 12 seasons.

    Basically, by rWAR, he has been a below-average but above-replacement player for his entire career. By fWAR, he has been an exactly average player for his entire career.

    Either way, it was analytically foolish to treat him as a star because he could hit for a high batting average in Coors Field, as Peter Gammons and some other writers did. I don’t hate the guy, but he has a middling OBP, zero power, he gets caught stealing a lot, and he doesn’t give you much in the way of defense. That sounds like a fourth outfielder to me.

  128. 128
    ryan c Says:

    @127
    Coors field effect on a non-power guy? I don’t buy it. His numbers were identical in Florida.

    At this point in Pierre’s career, he’s obviously a 4th OF. However, I’d take his numbers from last decade in CF any day. And if I recall correctly, Pierre has been taking a beating around here for 6-7 years.

    Dating back to 2002, Pierre’s been paid 54.5 million
    During that span of time, Fangraphs has his value at 83.8 million. That doesn’t sound like an average player. He’s been worth almost 30 million more than what he’s been paid.

    It seems that his reputation by some around here is a bit unjustified.

  129. 129
    Ethan Says:

    Frenchy doing Frenchy things

    That is pretty legit though.

  130. 130
    sansho1 Says:

    Well, life’s too short to hold a grudge forever. Good for him.

  131. 131
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Ryan, Coors Field is huge; its dimensions are much bigger than other parks. A lot more singles fall there than elsewhere. As you can see from ESPN’s Park Factors, Coors increased hits by more than any other park in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. (It was second only to Fenway in 2007.) Batting averages are higher in Denver.

    Pierre’s batting average in Colorado was .308, his average in Florida was .303. Not massive, but not negligible — there are a lot of guys who would do a lot of things to raise their career batting average by five points.

    Also, when I say “average,” what I mean is “league average” — which essentially means someone who is worth two wins above replacement in a full season. Fangraphs’ salary numbers are based on what it costs to buy a win on the free agent market, which is the most inefficient way to buy a win. Most of the performance you’re citing is performance that he gave when he was team-controlled, which by definition will be less than he would be worth on the open market. The real question is, was he worth the amount he was paid as a free agent? Generally not, especially if you use Baseball-Reference’s TotalZone stats rather than Fangraphs.

    But I really had to take issue with your calling him a good OBP guy. I simply disagree. His career walk rate is 5.7 percent, way below the major league average of eight to nine percent. His career OBP is .345, which isn’t awful, but it’s distinctly unimpressive. He’s had a much better career than that of Josh Anderson, or Gregor Blanco, or Jose Constanza, or Nate McLouth. But he’s nowhere near as good as Michael Bourn, who is a better defender and a better baserunner, AND is better at getting on base.

  132. 132
    ryan c Says:

    First, Bourn can’t get on base better than Pierre. At least, not yet when going by career numbers. Through the age of 28, Pierre has him beat in batting average, OBP, and slugging. He is a better baserunner though. If Bourn has Pierre’s 29 year old season, I think we’d all be satisfied.

    2nd, his OBP was 2 points higher at Coors than it was during his time with the Marlins. His OPS was actually higher with the Marlins (granted by only 4 points). I still believe that Coors had little to no effect on Pierre’s numbers. And getting on base is more than walking. Pierre has 196 bunt hits for his career which is almost an average of 20 a year. My words wasn’t that he was an OBP guy, rather a guy with good on base skills.

  133. 133
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Pierre is very good at bunt singles, no question.

    Bourn’s career walk rate is far higher than Pierre’s: 8.5 percent to 5.7 percent. You’re right, getting on base is more than walking — but walking is an incredibly important skill. Batting average fluctuates a great deal, while walk rate tends to remain pretty consistent.

    Bourn has been something of a late bloomer; he was atrocious in 2008, his first mostly full season. In the three seasons since then, he’s hit .283/.348/.373. On the surface, that looks similar to Pierre’s career line of .296/.345/.363.

    But the thing is, in addition to park effects, you have to remember era effects. Juan Pierre’s best seasons came in the steroid era; Bourn’s best seasons have come after the steroid era. So Pierre’s career totals are good for an OPS+ of 84. Bourn’s batting line from 2009-2011 is good for an OPS+ of 97. That’s a serious difference. Plus, Bourn steals at a higher percentage and plays better defense. All told, Bourn is a much better player, worth anywhere between 1-4 wins more per season than Pierre.

  134. 134
    ryan c Says:

    @133
    Steroid era when talking about Pierre’s numbers? Oh Lord…

    Now, explain to me how playing in the steroid era helps Pierre? I mean, wouldn’t it be logical to think that if everyone around him weren’t juicing, his OPS+ would have been higher?

  135. 135
    desert Says:

    I would be sorely disappointed if Bourn had Pierre’s age 29 season. He turned 29 in August 2006, so I’m not sure if you’re talking about his 2006 season (.292/.330.388) or his 2007 season (.293/.331/.353), but they both suck.

    Ryan does raise a great point though… Juan Pierre was a lot better than I gave him credit for. I thought he’d be a replacement level player for sure.

    Additionally, I read somewhere that of the players in recent years to attempt 160 SB or more, Juan Pierre’s rate of 72.7% ranks 95th. That’s horrendous.

  136. 136
    spike Says:

    Now, explain to me how playing in the steroid era helps Pierre?

    A rising tide lifts all boats. Playing in a higher offensive environment helps all hitters, by virtue of the effect on pitching.

  137. 137
    desert Says:

    I think that Alex was implying that the fact that Pierre’s accomplishments came in the steroid era mean that Bourn’s contributions mean more. In that, compared to his peers (at the MLB level, and therefore, the market) Bourn is a lot better than Pierre was compared to his peers. Which is, in essence, what wRC+ measures.

    Now… the steroid era argument is kinda like a chicken and egg environment. Was pitching bad because hitting was great, or was hitting great because pitching was bad? Either way, Bourn’s contributions in a 4.0 runs/game environment are superior in value to Pierre’s contributions in a 5.0 runs/game environment. Bourn will win you more games.

  138. 138
    ryan c Says:

    @137
    Understood, but it doesn’t make him a better/worse player if he wasn’t juicing.

  139. 139
    spike Says:

    The other thing (here we go down the rabbit hole) is that OPS+ really isn’t a great way to compare these guys since neither is really a slugger and it undervalues on-base percentage. Just eyeballing their raw OBP/lgAvg shows about the same number, but Pierre has roughly 50% of his career in decent parks, while Bourn has almost all of his in a poor one. His OBP+ if you will would be bigger, and multiplied by the usual 1.4 multiplier to get to a weighted OPS+ you’d see the gap widen.

  140. 140
    PaRanHaNul Says:

    steriod era argument haha thats funny haha~

  141. 141
    Rob Cope Says:

    You know it’s January when you’re arguing over Juan Pierre.

  142. 142
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Good point, Spike. Pierre’s career wOBA is .321. Bourn’s wOBA from 2009-2011 is .331. Moreover, Pierre’s career wRC+ is 89. Bourn’s wRC+ from 2009-2011 is 106.

    Bourn is a significantly better hitter. Not by leaps and bounds, but by an appreciable amount.

  143. 143
    ryan c Says:

    @135
    I was talking about the first line you put up. If you’d be disappointed with Bourn putting up that line with 60sb to boot, then we have different expectations of Bourn.

    @142
    Cherry picking Bourn’s 3 years and then turning and using Pierre’s career numbers is a very misleading way to prove a point.

    And when did this become a Bourn/Pierre comparison? My point was that Pierre, by almost everyone that studies advanced statistics (which is many here, me being one) has a bad rap and it seems undeserved.

    Also, I disagree that Bourn is a better hitter than Pierre of old. Measuring pure hitting, Pierre’s had several years better than Bourn’s best (’01, ’04, and ’09).

  144. 144
    ryan c Says:

    Casey Kotchman must be wondering what in the hell he has to do to get a job. He has his best year since ’07 and can’t find a job.

  145. 145
    spike Says:

    The thing about Pierre was never that he was so bad, but rather that his rep as a player was vastly overrated, as evidenced by the Dodgers signing him to a 5 year/44M dollar deal in ’06. Fangraphs has him at ~30M dollars in value for that period. Considering that the “value” universe includes a set of players with artificially low deals, that’s a pretty bad deal.

  146. 146
    ryan c Says:

    @145
    I agree.

  147. 147
    ububba Says:

    Greetings from Oahu…

    Imagine my surprise to check in & see an engaging conversation about Juan Pierre. But yeah, that’s the way this off-season’s gone… conversations about Juan Pierre.

    Anyway, I’ll hang onto the idea that we’ll be competitive and maybe pretty good this year.

    Braves open with the Mets in Queens—FWIW, incentive for Braves/Boss fans: Springsteen’s playing 4 NYC area dates that week, too—and there’s a whole season of baseball ahead. So, I’m looking forward, still. I refuse to be miserable about it.

    BTW, very nice story about Francouer. Those RF fans at the Oakland Coliseum certainly have their moments. I was at a game there when someone in RF hit Carl Everett in the back of the head with a cell phone (WTF?)

    He flipped out & the next time he came to the plate, he hit one halfway to the Naval Air Station. Took him a half-hour to round the bases.

    Anyway, nice to hear a nice story about Francouer… as an AL player.

  148. 148
    justhank Says:

    I have dog-cussed Joe Johnson in the past and will do so again, I’m sure, but DAMN that was a money shot.

  149. 149
    kc Says:

    @148 Seems like Joe is waking up…

  150. 150
    mravery Says:

    FWIW, I’ve seen other takes on Andarlton Simmons that were much more positive than Law’s review noted above. Everyone agrees on the defense, but some think he’ll be able to hit a little, too. Not for much power, not with a lot of walks, but fair chance he’s a ML starter at some point.

  151. 151
    ryan c Says:

    One last thing, unrelated to Pierre, but related to the argument: Where does it end? Park adjustments? Steroid era adjustments? Should we make adjustments for players that had to face the Braves pitching staff on a regular basis during the 14 year run? How about pitchers that have to regularly go into hitters’ parks to pitch, or on the contrary, hitters that have to hit in pitchers’ parks? Chances are their stats suffered. I’d hate to be Todd Helton when he comes eligible for the HOF. He’s one of the greatest hitters of his time yet probably won’t get a sniff because of the “Steroid Era” and the “Coors effect”. It’s a real shame. Does anyone else find this ridiculous?

    The Pierre argument showed me one thing: If you want to, you can neutralize almost anyone’s stats based on one thing or another. Pierre, a powerless speedster with good OF range is being argued against because of the time that he played in, with which he had nothing to do with, his weak arm, and his lower walk rate. His stats were good. He was facing pitchers that were juicing. He was playing in a league where most players were juicing, yet juicing probably wouldn’t have helped his game. He gets penalized nonetheless.

  152. 152
    RobBroad4th Says:

    Anyone going to Jupiter, FL for a Spring Training game against the Cardinals or Marlins? I just got a seat about four rows behind home plate for $38 for the Marlins game. Can’t complain.

  153. 153
    jjschiller Says:

    While I understand your general point, you can’t really say juicing wouldn’t have helped him when some of the biggest dopers in sports are sprinters and cyclists. The idea that ‘steroid era’ means home run hitters and strike out pitchers is selective history.

    Pierre would benefit from doping, and very well may have. You think amphetamines wouldn’t help his, or Bourn’s, game?

    And “era” isn’t as simple as did he cheat or did he not. Maybe Pierre wasn’t cheating, and maybe if he was reaching his prime in this current era instead of the last, he would put up the same raw numbers and would be seen as more valuable because of it.

    But maybe the offense in this era isn’t only suppressed because hitter’s can’t juice.. Maybe part of it is because all the Little League parents turned those great athletes in to pitchers, because they looked at TV and saw ‘Man, lots of competition for hitters. But they are dying for some pitching up there! Little Johnny’s best bet is to work on his slider.’

    The entire point of adjusting for era is that you can’t pinpoint one cause. If we knew it was “JUST-STEROIDS” we could determine the advantage brought about by “JUST-STEROIDS” and adjust only those numbers down. That’s obviously impossible. So we adjust against league averages for each season. And in the seasons that Pierre actually played in, he wasn’t all that valuable.

  154. 154
    sansho1 Says:

    Baseball would be a more enjoyable game if the skills Pierre possesses translated better to victory. But I agree with ryan that he’s so overrated he’s become underrated. If he hit at the bottom of the batting order instead of leadoff, I think he’d be more properly appreciated.

  155. 155
    ryan c Says:

    @153
    I see that. I understand that. Maybe it’s my stubbornness, I don’t know. I just choose not to believe in punishing guys for something not in their control Pierre’s never been linked to ‘roids or any other enhancement. In fact, on several occasions, he’s been linked to hard work and a “chip on his shoulder” because of the bashing his game has taken in an era where his style of game wasn’t appreciated. He was a lesser player because he was a clean player.

    Plus, if we’re going to punish inflated numbers due to steroids by not letting those guys in the HOF, wouldn’t it be prudent to elect those with lesser numbers, but clean numbers, such as Helton?

    Your 4th paragraph I just don’t see.

  156. 156
    ryan c Says:

    I’d like to go on the record as saying that I never thought I’d be so passionately defending Juan Pierre’s numbers. Kinda hysterical.

  157. 157
    jjschiller Says:

    All I was getting at in the 4th paragraph is the cyclical nature of the sport. Like 10 years ago when teams were in love with getting offense out of SS, and stuck a lot of players there who in other times might have been 3b or 2b.. kind of what might be on the horizon with the catching position. The same thing goes on with pitching vs hitting. Parents, players, and player development systems respond to needs at the big league level.

    A lot of big league hitters could have been big league pitchers, and vice versa, if not for a choice they made, or had made for them, in their teens. Achieving either requires you to be part of the most athletic 1% of the population. To imagine it was all based on what was more fun for them is naive. Part is decided for them by natural aptitude, part is decided by longevity concerns, and part is pragmatic: what gives me the best chance to get there.

    A prolonged offensive era could conceivably cause more athletes to choose pitching, as it presents the surest route to the bigs. Enough athletes make that choice, and in 10 years, offense is suppressed, and then more youngsters start choosing to be hitters.

    Just a theory, but that’s what I was getting at.

  158. 158
    Bethany Says:

    I would like to point out that my prediction that the Giants would go to the Super Bowl (because they defeated the Falcons and every team that has beaten the Falcons in the playoffs has gone to the Super Bowl since Mike Smith took over) came true.

    I want a cookie.

  159. 159
    ryan c Says:

    Alex’s old stomping grounds is up and at ‘em again. Joe Lucia has taken over and he’s doing player reviews for every guy on the 40-man, NRI’s, and the top 30 prospects. Check him out and get this guy some views. He deserves it. But it goes without saying to keep that Braves’ blog at a distant #2 behind this one. :)
    http://chop-n-change.com/

  160. 160
    PaulV Says:

    OPS+ is based on league average. Someone not on PEDs would see his OPS+ at lower level during the Droid era and higher when offense dropped. Still do not think Pierre is the answer.

  161. 161
    spike Says:

    That’s not entirely accurate, even presuming that PEDs are a significant contributor to offensive performance, which is very much a contested point. A higher offensive environment increases stress on pitchers, so that even non-using players would see better hitting conditions, i.e. men on base, starter gone earlier/more pitches thrown, relievers burned through quicker, etc, that would improve their raw numbers.

  162. 162
    sansho1 Says:

    Yeah, there’s probably a far greater variance in performance within the groups of PED users and non-PED users than there is between the two groups, so without specific evidence it’s hard to draw any conclusions.

  163. 163
    ryan c Says:

    I’d like to know if what spike is saying is true. Were the average innings a starter went into a game less during the steroid era?

  164. 164
    sansho1 Says:

    Complete games declined about 75% from 1987 to 2005. Not an exact answer, but it was quick to check and surely strongly correlated with starter innings pitched overall. Of course, there are other factors involved, like specialization and a move away from starters “saving their best stuff” for late in the game. Every pitch is now fretted over like it’s Game 7, so that’s bound to cause fatigue, and maybe injury.

  165. 165
    jjschiller Says:

    Isn’t it easy to contend that specialization, in itself, may be a result of the offensive environment? IE, if every hitter 1-9 can hurt you, you need to pitch to matchups.

  166. 166
    Smitty Says:

    @163

    I don’t care that Bonds and Sosa hit a ton of home runs while on HGH, becasue they hit the homers off guys that were on HGH

  167. 167
    ryan c Says:

    So, since I had my little surgery I got to catch up on some movie watching. A few things…

    Heaven’s Gate: What in the hell was the director thinking when he made this atrocity? That was a star-studded turd of a movie. I got halfway through the movie before I wiki’d it to see if there were anyone on the planet that actually liked it. I found it humorous that it made many Top 10s on worst movies of all time. It was made in 1980 and went 20 million dollars over budget. That’s unreal!

    Cowboys & Aliens- fun, enjoyable, braindead movie. Didn’t hate it. very Independence Dayish…

    Cedar Rapids- Best comedy I’ve watched in a while. I think it helped that I grew up in a very small town and actually knew quite a bit of people that: a) gave promise rings b) are that naive c)hide their skeletons in their closets away at work conventions. John C. Reilly is best when he’s obnoxious and cursing. Ed Helms is best when he’s the opposite. The pool scene was hysterical. Thumbs up to Brown Star Insurance!

    Another Earth- Really enjoyed it. Read up on the actress and found she actually wrote the screenplay for the movie because she was tired of being typecasted as the “dumb blonde bimbo” in horror movies. Thought the premise of the movie was believable and well-grounded even though it had an out of this world concept. Very well-acted. Tried to pinpoint the male actor, took a while…Ethan from Lost. What would you say to yourself if you met yourself?

    Hanna- My favorite of all the movies I watched over the last 3 days. I thought it was brilliantly creepy shooting the last 30 minutes of the movie in an abandoned theme park. The music in the flick wasn’t to my taste but fit the pace of the movie quite well. Saoirse Ronan is the best teen actress in the business right now.

  168. 168
    Bethany Says:

    @167 I had to write a paper on Heaven’s Gate and its critical reception when I was at Auburn. Not many people liked it. We watched clips from the film, but not enough to get any sense of the whole thing. It’s really mortifying to hear about someone sinking so much into something that failed that badly.

  169. 169
    ryan c Says:

    Great article by Gammons on Heyward.
    http://m.mlb.com/atl/news/article/2012012826497902/

  170. 170
    sansho1 Says:

    Ya’ll should check out “Final Cut” by Steven Bach (Bethany might have already). It’s all about the fiasco of the making of Heaven’s Gate. It’s kind of hilarious and horrifying, the enormous egos and the money that got thrown around on the set of that movie. It bankrupted a studio, and more or less ended the great ’70s Hollywood era when major studios would fund director-driven character dramas.

  171. 171
    Marc Schneider Says:

    It’s a great article about Heyward. I really do hope he comes back; I think the future of the Braves rests to a large extent on him. When I saw him in spring training a few years ago and then here in DC his rookie year, his power and ability to drive the ball were awesome. Baseball is such a damn hard game to play and, unlike football, it’s much harder to play when you are injured.

  172. 172
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    Thirded on the Gammo article.

  173. 173
    Bethany Says:

    @170 I haven’t seen that! I will definitely hunt it down.

  174. 174
    sansho1 Says:

    By the way, how can anyone watch men’s tennis these days and not think it’s a contest between steroid/blood doping labs? Djokovic would routinely retire from long matches only two years ago, and now he plays 11 hours of incredibly high-impact tennis in two days, and then runs around the court in full roid rage. He looks like a crazy person.

  175. 175
    Rob Cope Says:

    Kawakami signed in Japan. I guess we weren’t the only MLB team that wasn’t interested.

    What the heck happened there?

    Want to combat poor TV revenue? Don’t sign Kenshin Kawakami.

  176. 176
    Marc Schneider Says:

    @174,

    You are probably right. Tennis is a totally different sport than it was during the Borg/McEnroe/Connors era. In part, the new rackets turned it into more of a power game, which in turn, required greater strength and conditioning–whether or not drug-enhanced. A couple of years ago, I was watching a replay of a Connors-Borg match-playing with the old rackets- and it looked like a couple of weekend hackers compared to how hard they hit the ball now.

  177. 177
    Mac Thomason Says:

    New post.

  178. 178
    Johnny Says:

    Thx for the gammons article. So how hurt is too hurt too play? I do remember Chipper saying that 80% of Heyward is better than than than most. So Heyward was at < 80%?

    Are the Braves wrong to push the kid when apparently all the medical tests came out negative?

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