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15 Jan

Peanut Doesn’t Think We’ll Get Upton

Mark Bowman, in a mailbag published Jan. 14:

As much as the Braves understand how beneficial it would be to add a second Upton to their outfield mix, general manager Frank Wren will not jeopardize the club’s future with a Mark Teixeira-type package. In fact, it seems safe to assume he would not necessarily give up as much as the Mariners would have if Justin Upton had not rejected their trade offer with the D-backs last week.

Piece for piece, the Braves could not match that [Mariners] package.

But as intriguing as it would be to add another Upton to a deep lineup, it still seems a little too early to be excited about the possibility of the trade. Even with the understanding that Justin Upton has become increasingly disgruntled by the fact he is being shopped, Arizona general manager Kevin Towers will continue to look for a significant return. There are also some evaluators who believe he would like to avoid trading Upton to a National League team.

There are two possibilities here: 1) The Braves are still in the mix for Upton and want to maximize their leverage by acting nonchalant, or 2) The Braves probably won’t be getting Upton and want to manage fan expectations.

I think that the second is a lot more likely than the first. Sorry, guys.

155 Responses to “Peanut Doesn’t Think We’ll Get Upton”

  1. 1
    Dan Says:

    Guess the Braves are replacing Chipper’s bat with Gattis/Constanza/Francisco. Exciting.

  2. 2
    Smitty Says:

    This would be a change. Usually the team uses their boy DOB for stuff like this.

    We will know the deal is off when DOB puts out the article:

    “Having two Upton’s is stupid, the Braves have the good one already. McCann hopes to play in the first spring game and looks great in the cage”

    Then McCann misses the season.

  3. 3
    Brian J. Says:

    Gattis/ Constanza/ Francisco will be exciting in the field, too. The way the Titanic’s voyage was exciting.

  4. 4
    Bethany Says:

    Excuse me, I have some teeth to gnash.

  5. 5
    Stu Says:

    Eh, not sure why you think the second is more likely, Alex. This is exactly the sort of thing they’d put out there if they were playing the leverage game, too. I think this Peanut chatter tells us precisely nothing.

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

    On a textual level, I think the second is more likely than the first because there are actually two separate arguments that Bowman is making. First, Wren doesn’t want to give up the farm for Upton, which may or may not be true. But second, Wren couldn’t match the M’s package if he wanted to, and I think that actually possibly is true. At least at the moment, Walker is more highly regarded than Teheran, and we don’t have anyone close to matching up with Franklin.

    If the Braves really were trying to get a deal, they wouldn’t be pooh-poohing their own system.

  7. 7
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Beyond that, I don’t think that the money works out. Moreover, while Bowman’s argument that Towers might not trade Upton within the league is strange, I don’t see how putting that out there improves the Braves’s leverage, either. If Towers trades Upton to the Braves, he’ll be taking a significant discount, which will look like a PR disaster following the Seattle no-deal. It’s in his interest to hold onto Upton for a while, hope that Upton mashes in the first two months, and then wait for a desperate team to come calling in June or July.

  8. 8
    Stu Says:

    Only if you assume that “could not” means “don’t have the players in their system to be able to.”

    Because certainly they *could*, if they included Simmons, for example. Or Mike Minor. I read “could not” as “aren’t willing to.”

    All this bit from Bowman tells us is that the Braves want this info public — it doesn’t tell us why they want it public.

  9. 9
    Jeff K Says:

    I have no idea if we have (or should have) a realistic shot to get J. Upton, but Bowman’s second argument doesn’t seem relevant. I don’t think anyone will match the package Seattle offered, nor should they need to in order to land Justin. Fine idea for Towers to go out and negotiate a great package with a team he was recently told Justin would not accept a trade, but that leverage only gets Towers so far if he really wants to make a deal. The more time goes by the less likely Towers gets anything even approaching the Seattle package.

  10. 10
    sansho1 Says:

    I’ve never heard of a GM eliminating an entire league while shopping a player. We go to Arizona once a year.

  11. 11
    Stu Says:

    7—The money works out if Eric O’Flaherty, for example, is in the deal.

    Putting it out there that Towers doesn’t want to trade him within the league does nothing to improve or hurt the Braves’ leverage. It’s part of his writing a story.

    Does anyone in America not think Towers will have to take a discount from what the M’s offered, now that that rejected trade is out there? As for “significant” and “disaster,” well, I guess we define those words differently.

    Maybe Towers holds on to Upton, hoping to build his value. But that doesn’t mean the Braves aren’t trying to position themselves as best they can via public statements.

    I just hope Towers hasn’t read that report on how Wren played Ed Wade into getting Michael Bourn for a bucket of meh.

  12. 12
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    They don’t have the prospects to match the deal. They can only match with players who have graduated to the majors, which they obviously don’t want to do.

    But there are four separate points.

    1) The Braves don’t have a very strong farm system right now and couldn’t match the Mariners’ package (they also don’t have a prospect as strong as Mike Olt from Texas)

    2) The Braves don’t want to sell the farm, and it appears at the moment that graduated talent like Minor and Simmons are off the table

    3) Towers looks bad right now and if he’s perceived to sell Upton for less than the Upton package then it’ll be horrible for PR

    4) According to Bowman, Towers would prefer to move Upton outside the NL altogether

    Any one of those isn’t necessarily insurmountable, particularly the fourth point. But the four together will be awfully hard to get past. That’s why I think it ain’t happening. I’d love to be wrong, obviously.

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

    Does anyone in America not think Towers will have to take a discount from what the M’s offered, now that that rejected trade is out there?

    Dave Cameron, for one: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/justin-uptons-trade-value/

  14. 14
    Stu Says:

    I’ve read and now skimmed that piece again, and I don’t think Cameron is making the argument you think he’s making. He’s saying the M’s wouldn’t have been overpaying. Because the M’s are a dumpster fire in desperate need of bats.

    And, anyway, Dave Cameron would not be one of the first places I’d go for objective Mariners analysis.

  15. 15
    Smitty Says:

    Mike Olt is mentioned in every possible deal with the Rangers and is never moved. This makes me think he is not as good as the rankings say he is.

  16. 16
    Stu Says:

    Olt looks pretty good. The thing about him is, it’s not clear that Upton is going to be tons better than he’ll be, particularly when you factor in salary. So the Rangers aren’t all that motivated to deal Olt+ for Upton. At least, that’s how I read it. I know that if I were a Rangers fan, I wouldn’t wanna do Olt+ much else for Upton.

    Maybe the Braves could get the Hawks to send Josh Smith to the Suns to get this thing done.

  17. 17
    spike Says:

    I’m not sure how a deal that didn’t get made sets the market value for Upton. Towers may not trade him for less, but that’s no reason for anyone to offer as much as the M’s did. IOW, just because Hicks was willing to pay 250M for Arod doesn’t mean anyone else was going to.

  18. 18
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Why would Towers make the deal for less than that now? Why wouldn’t he just hold on to Upton?

    Cameron’s making a couple arguments in that piece. One is that it wasn’t a huge overpay. The other is that Upton was trying to use the M’s for leverage — he wasn’t rejecting Seattle because he didn’t want to go to Seattle, he was rejected Seattle because he wanted a better deal for himself. (Like a contract year converted to a player option, for example.) The implication is that the no-deal is not irrelevant to the price for Upton.

  19. 19
    Stu Says:

    He’s writing in response to the claims that the Ms were crazy for offering what they offered. Yes, he adds other commentary, but I find that other stuff much less convincing because he’s obviously less interested in talking about it.

    And, again, it’s Dave Cameron on the Mariners.

    Anyway, I don’t think we’re that far apart in our take on the likelihood of a deal — I agree that there are roadblocks, although I think I have more belief in Wren’s ability to pull a rabbit out of a hat than you do. Still think Bowman’s piece is at least as much about leverage as it is about managing fan expectations, though.

  20. 20
    Nick Says:

    @18

    Hence the biased Mariners analysis. If he wasn’t rejecting a deal becasue he didn’t want to go to Seattle, why would he have them on his no-trade list beforehand?

  21. 21
    Smitty Says:

    I don’t think Towers has to make a deal for at least a few weeks, if not more.

    I think the cost of Upton is at a low point and will probably only get higher the closer to the season we get.

  22. 22
    Stu Says:

    Well, it’s a smart move by a player/agent to put teams who would most covet you, not necessarily teams you don’t wanna play for, on the no-trade list. That way, in order to get a trade done, the player would have to get something extra, like a contract extension, in order to sign off on a deal.

  23. 23
    Seat Painter Says:

    Peanut’s article is the Schrodinger’s Cat of Hot Stove League news. Until the Upton trade is or isn’t made it is, at the same time, both leverage for Wren to use on Towers and fan expectation management.

    I think we should start calling Wren Frank ‘Sheldon’ Wren.

  24. 24
    Nick Says:

    And I still ask what the hell we’re going to do with Teheran or Delgado if we’re not gonna trade them. Leave them in Triple-A for the rest of time? Long relief? We can’t leave them down there indefinitely. At some point, their growth will be seriously stunted. I fear we’re already pushing it with Teheran. Waiting until Hudson retires just doesn’t seem like a viable option to me, and if we’re that concerned about keeping them, why on earth did we re-sign Paul Maholm?

  25. 25
    spike Says:

    Why would Towers make the deal for less than that now? Why wouldn’t he just hold on to Upton?

    No reason they HAVE to trade him, I suppose – but you are really counting on Upton to just shrug all this off. Who the heck wants to play where the GM has made it his mission to get rid of you? It’s not like they can cut his pay. And why make the deal for less? Because that’s the only deal that’s out there and if you like it, you take it if it makes you better. The deal that never happened ain’t coming back.

  26. 26
    JonathanF Says:

    Hot Stove League: Waiting for Towers to find a deal he likes; waiting for Scott Boras to answer the Michael Bourn hotline. Either way, it’s just waiting., until as Seat Paineter implies, the wave function collapses. Or I do.

  27. 27
    Bethany Says:

    Well, my chairs are finally being delivered today, which means no Upton, because I can’t have too many nice things.

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

    The GM hasn’t just made it his mission to get rid of Upton. The owner badmouthed him last year while he was struggling through an injury. And they’ve seemingly had him on the trading block for the past three years, at least since his injury-plagued 2010. But after hitting .269/.358/.396 through July last year, he hit .298/.350/.486 from August through October. Upton’s in an awful situation, but he’s been in it for a while.

    Anyway, I’m seeing the same information as you are, and like Stu says, we’re probably not that far apart on the analysis. I agree — the team uses Bowman for public leverage as much as for managing fan expectations.

    Basically, I think that Wren is pursuing a strategy to try to get Upton, and he’s in as good a position as he possibly could be to do so, and he’s pulled some very nice rabbits out of hats before.

    Kevin Towers appears to have received less value than he got back when he traded Jarrod Parker, Chris Young, or Trevor Bauer.

    But as Geoff Young has documented, Towers actually had a very good record with the Padres, far beyond just Adam Eaton-for-Adrian Gonzalez or Jon Adkins-for-Heath Bell. He should not be underestimated.

    http://ducksnorts.com/blog/2008/01/towers-signs-through-2010.html
    http://ducksnorts.com/blog/2011/06/do-the-padres-trade-away-their-stars.html

  29. 29
    csg Says:

    Apparently Teams aren’t lining up with deals that match up to the M’s offer. Why do they need to at this point. Towers FO are the folks that keep talking about Upton not living up to expectations. They are the ones who have Cody Ross a Terrible deal that created the log jam in the OF, someone recently thought it was wise to bring down the Upton billboards around town.

    DOB and Bowman have created the fans interest in having both Uptons and it started with DOB leaking quotes from his family and the org wanting to make this happen. Are they back peddling now and telling us that Constanta and Schafer are realistic options?

  30. 30
    csg Says:

    I hate posting from an IPhone that thinks it knows how to spell better than I do

  31. 31
    Bethany Says:

    Everything the DBacks have done suggests they want to unload Upton, but as has been said, they don’t HAVE to. But it does seem to me that they’ve done all they can to facilitate their being able to deal him.

  32. 32
    Stu Says:

    The Cody Ross deal was just strange.

  33. 33
    Jeff K Says:

    Towers would be a collossal idiot to create a logjam in the OF and be this public about dealing Upton if he didn’t plan to trade him, even for something less than an ideal haul of prospects in return.

  34. 34
    Jeff K Says:

    Ack … “colossal.”

  35. 35
    Smitty Says:

    Something else to consider. When have you ever felt Wren or anyone in the front office cares what the fans think?

  36. 36
    Jeff K Says:

    I don’t get the impression that Wren (or the FO more generally) doesn’t care what fans think. But that factor alone has not stopped Wren, or Schuerholtz before him, from making potentially unpopular decisions (Francoeur, Glavine).

  37. 37
    Adam R Says:

    Teheran damn well better be the next Pedro Martinez.

  38. 38
    csg Says:

    Do the Braves really feel that Delgado, Ahmed, Venters, and Spruill is another Teixeira type package? It’s not close

  39. 39
    spike Says:

    I’ll settle for Ramon Martinez

  40. 40
    spike Says:

    Upton isn’t particularly close to 2007 Teixeira.

  41. 41
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    It’s a lot closer than you think.

    Basically, Upton is a reasonably good defender at a much more important defensive position; Teixeira is a very good defender at a much less important defensive position. Teixeira put up monster stats, but he did it in Arlington in the mid-2000s, where literally anyone could do that. Hell, Gary Matthews Jr. put up big stats in Arlington in the mid-2000s, and he did that a year after the Braves cut him in spring training.

    Teixeira’s best years were 2005 (when he was 25) and 2008 (when he was 28), when he was worth something like 6-7 wins; his other years, he’s been worth 3-4 wins. Upton’s best years are 2009 (when he was 21) and 2011 (when he was 23), when he’s been worth 5-6 wins. Unfortunately, because he’s been inconsistent, the other years he’s been worth something like 1-3 wins.

    Still, it’s not like Tex blows him out of the water. Tex was slightly more valuable when he was a couple of years older. That’s it.

  42. 42
    Stu Says:

    Teixeira was 1.5 years closer to free agency, too.

  43. 43
    Stu Says:

    But since “Teixeira trade” is now the industry term for a severe overpay in prospects, I doubt Towers is counting on that type of haul to move Upton.

  44. 44
    Jeff K Says:

    The Tex trade was at the trade deadline, for a team trying to make a playoff push, for 1.5 years of a very good player no one expected the Braves to sign as a FA. Hard to compare that to an off-season trade for 3 years of a very good player not represented by Boras. There are too many factors running in counter-directions to compare these trades. But Stu’s point is right — if anyone in the Braves org said that Wren won’t do a Tex-type trade (and that’s a really big IF), I think that just means Wren won’t give up a bunch of top prospects.

  45. 45
    spike Says:

    Tex in 2007 – 15.1 WAR, 4.3 per season over 3.5 years, best year 5.7
    Upton, last 4 years – 13 WAR, 3.25 per season, best year 4.7

    1 WAR/yr is pretty significant to me, but YMMV. Teix was on a pretty cheap contract too.

  46. 46
    justhank Says:

    I’ll be shocked if the Braves do anything before mid-season.

    It’s just so Wren-like to see how the Gattis / Francisco / Prado polka turns out. Not sure I disagree with that, btw.

    And, yeah, we can’t delay the MLB arrival of Teheran and Delgado forever, but we can play that hand up to the trading deadline.

    And with ONLY $8million (damn you, tv deal!) to manage contingencies, I think Wren is forced to keep his powder dry.

  47. 47
    csg Says:

    Enjoy these last few cheap years of Kimbrel. Soriano just got 2/$28 with the Nats. Don’t worry I’m sure Juan/Schafer/ or Constanza can handle him

  48. 48
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    It would have been awesome if Soriano had gone for a multiyear deal in 2010, so we could have gotten draft compensation rather than having to trade him for Jesse Chavez. Still annoyed with him about that.

    Spike, you’re right, 1 WAR/yr is pretty significant, but Tex was two years older, so it’s not exactly apples to apples. In 2007, Tex was 27, and hence at his offensive peak; Upton’s still two years away from that. Anyhow, I’m just arguing at this point, so I’ll stop.

  49. 49
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    The Soriano deal takes care of what I thought was certain to be the Nats’ greatest weakness. If they also manage to sign Vazquez they are pretty much bullet proof.

  50. 50
    Bethany Says:

    Meanwhile, WHERE THE HECK IS THE OTHER UPTON, WREN!?

  51. 51
    jjschiller Says:

    McGuirk told DOB today that he hopes to have a payroll around $98 million.

    DOB estimates current commitments add up to $82m.

    Not saying there’s $16m left (DOB would have to have arb numbers on the money) but implies there’s more than $8m.

  52. 52
    Smitty Says:

    $98 million would be an increase. Time to lock up Heyward

  53. 53
    Jeff K Says:

    Ack, Nats get Soriano. That should help improve a glaringly weak bullpen. Nats look stacked, especially if they can get some decent middle relief or setup pitching for Morse.

  54. 54
    mravery Says:

    I guess that’s what happens when you suck for so long that you end up with two once-in-a-generation talents on your roster for basically free.

  55. 55
    Smitty Says:

    Scott Hairston may sign somewhere this week. We may be in on him, per MLB Trade Rumors

  56. 56
    mravery Says:

    On the other hand, the Royals.

  57. 57
    Tom Says:

    Soriano just got 2/$28 with the Nats.

    We got EOF and Everyday Jonny for a fraction of that. Unless, of course, we throw them away for J. Upton and his .250/.325/.406 line. Them and Teheran and Gearrin and Ahmed and 38 million. I can’t tell you how glad I am that at least our GM appears to be in his right mind.

  58. 58
    csg Says:

    They will get something valuable for Morse.

  59. 59
    csg Says:

    Tom, The dollars are ridiculous no doubt. However, they are stacked in Washington and Soriano makes them better.

  60. 60
    Smitty Says:

    I think Soriano is a good pick up for them. They are a 100 win team with him last year.

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

    Lots of teams have sucked like the Natspos and didn’t wind up turning into juggernauts. The Nats haven’t always been a well run organization, but they are now.

  62. 62
    Jeff K Says:

    Well, last year some of their guys played out of their minds (e.g., LaRoche) and it isn’t unusual for the league to catch up to superstar rookies in their sophomore year. But, a full year of Strasburg, Werth, an improved OF defense, and now a reputable closer will make the really, really hard to catch. I might need to get my Nats season tix again.

  63. 63
    justhank Says:

    Did Kasten leaving have anything to do with that?

  64. 64
    MikeM Says:

    @54 – The Nats were unbelievably lucky. I mean, #1 picks are usually considered “can’t miss” but Harper and Strasburg were so clearly A+++ players. Nats got lucky.

  65. 65
    Jeff K Says:

    It’s good to be lucky.

  66. 66
    MikeM Says:

    Just to clarify, I absolutely agree that the management is doing a very nice job in Washington. Wasn’t trying to downplay their intelligence or ability. But Harper and Strasburg were gifts.

  67. 67
    Seat Painter Says:

    @65 I have to agree with that. In fact, one can argue that the Braves sustained run of excellence was luck-inspired. I mean, back in 1991, who ever would have though Pendleton and Bream would be the foundation for two pennants in a row, and that the Braves would be lucky to have Todd Van Poppel tell them he’d go to college rather than sign with them, which led directly to Atlanta drafting Chipper Jones.

  68. 68
    Jeff K Says:

    @63 – I think it has more to do with Lerner dumping in the cash and Rizzo replacing Bowden. Kasten is good, IMHO, and we’ll get to see with the Dodgers over the next few years.

  69. 69
    spike Says:

    Welllll – I have nothing but love for Sid Bream. I would have a hard time characterizing his performance here as “foundational” (OPS+103/1.8WAR over 3yrs). Having Gant/Justice hit their stride over those same three years was really handy though.

  70. 70
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    WAR hates Bream’s Atlanta tenure, but it’s curious that his fielding stats fell off a cliff as soon as he arrived in Atlanta. For what it’s worth, the people who were watching seem to believe that he was an important anchor for Atlanta’s improved infield defense.

  71. 71
    spike Says:

    I was one of those people – I had a season ticket in 107 right over his shoulder. Justice/Gregg/Cabrera had played 1st the year before – Bream didn’t seem that much different, but maybe a little, I guess. Not like Freeman with all the crazy stretchess in any event

  72. 72
    spike Says:

    And in re Soriano, anybody still doubt Boras will come up with something good for Bourn? 28M is a mighty big slice.

  73. 73
    Smitty Says:

    Sid slid. That is all you need to know about him.

  74. 74
    Jeff K Says:

    @ 72 – Hmm, but Soriano had a year remaining with the Yankees at $14M. He added 1/14, which would have been something like that next year. Of course, the overall message will be that Soriano gets to close. I still have doubts about Bourn this year. Remember the bidding was supposed to be 5/75.

  75. 75
    jjschiller Says:

    Can someone tell me, briefly, how positional value is determined in stats such as WAR? Is it some weighing “average number of batted balls, against the cost of them not being converted, therefor outs are more valuable there” or some arbitrary “difficulty to play?” or “scarcity of talent?”

    I ask, in part, because in my mind, we’re entering a period of strength for CF, with many young, talented players coming into stardom at once. (Much like, as the narrative goes, anyway, we saw with SS in the 90s and 3B a few years back.)

    If CF is crowded with talent, does CF receive less of a positional-value boost? Not likely, I’d guess.

    And if its “difficulty to play,” based on what? Conventional wisdom? If the guys good in CF it stands to reason he’d be even better in LF, so he gets a bump over all LFers?

    I mostly ask because, I see 1B defense as a little undervalued. Physical requirements of the position DO exist, its not simply a position of last resort. And, it may be crazy, but I see a stellar 1B as about equal in importance to a stellar 3B. Both are saving extra basehits down the lines, and singles in the hole. (Maybe more rightys in baseball means 3Bs save more doubles?) And the importance of arm strength of a 3B is, in my mind, evened a bit by scooping ability by 1Bs, the fact that the throws the DO make ate harder (around runners to second) by the added complication of holding runners, and fielding their position after holding a runner, and by sheer numbers, ie, their involvement on every infield putout.

    Just wondering if there was a short answer why I’m so far off base.

  76. 76
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    One traditional answer is that third base is the “hot corner” because there are more right-handed hitters pulling the ball down the line than there are left-handed hitters pulling the ball down the other line. So, at least on ground balls, 3Bs will field more chances than 1Bs. Plus, obviously, you need more arm strength to play 3B than 1B; the old 4-6-4 double play requires a bit of fancy footwork but it doesn’t necessarily take a cannon to pull it off.

    As to scoops, I don’t see anything on that on either of the usual sites, but apparently Bill James tracks some of that stuff on his website, which I used to subscribe to but I no longer do. According to this post, Freeman was second overall in the majors behind Carlos Pena in scooping bad throws out of the dirt: http://www.billjamesonline.com/first_baseman_scoops/

    Unfortunately, I can’t tell exactly how many runs he’s saved, but he has numbers for a couple of the other 1Bs on the list, and it looks like they saved something like 2-3 runs over the course of a year, which is something like 0.2 WAR. So while Freeman’s ability is nice, that doesn’t mean that it moves the needle all that much.

    Anyone else have access to billjamesonline.com to see if there’s anything else there?

  77. 77
    Stu Says:

    MLB First basemen, sorted by Scoops | FanGraphs

  78. 78
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Awesome, thanks! Anyway, DRS saw Freeman as being worth +3 runs in 2012, while UZR saw him being worth -4 runs, and I’m guessing that DRS incorporates Scoops, since John Dewan (the proprietor of DRS) wrote that article on Bill James’s site. That’s a reasonably sizeable difference, but It’s nothing compared to 2011, when DRS had him at -2 and UZR had him at -12.6.

    jjschiller, you’re right that Fangraphs apparently has static positional adjustments: “+12.5 for C, +7.5 for SS, +2.5 for 2B/3B/CF, -7.5 for RF/LF, -12.5 for 1B, -17.5 for DH,” prorated for playing time, and there probably is a bit of variance year to year.

  79. 79
    Jeff K Says:

    So what “scoops” tells me is that I should watch Pena because he is super better than every other 1B at digging balls out of the dirt. Does this mean the left side of the Rays IF sucks?

  80. 80
    jjschiller Says:

    My larger question is about the positional boosts in WAR. Don’t CF’s get a nudge upward just by virtue of playing CF? Wouldn’t the same player be worth more WAR (I’m thinking of Matt Kemp here) because he’s run out in CF, than if he was on a team with a real ace CF, and thus he was run out there in RF? I mean, before you look at the specifics and see he’d presumably make more of the plays he’s supposed to in RF than in CF.

    I can understand if it’s based mathematically on some algorithm of how many bases the average hit to a certain zone is (How badly unconverted outs would hurt you there) weighed against how many total batted balls to that zone (how much work he does for you) and whatever other factors.

    But if it’s on conventional wisdom, that a CF should get a boost because, duh, someone saw fit to run him out to CF 150 times, he must have a higher value than this other guy that some other person saw fit to run out to RF 150 times, then you’re not really close to an objective number. You’ve got the presumptions of unknown players mucking up your numbers.

    If it WERE based on the other, then, just by virtue of standing in CF I guess you’d have more value than the guy standing in RF, because you’d have more balls hit at you that would hurt your team more if you didn’t catch them.

  81. 81
    jjschiller Says:

    Oh, you (Alex) answered some of my query while I was typing.

  82. 82
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    So, yeah. If you look at Fangraphs WAR, for example: there’s Replacement and Positional, which are purely plate-appearance based: you get 20 “replacement” runs per 600 plate appearances, and the positional adjustments I pasted above. Those get added to the stuff you actually did, hitting (mostly based on wOBA), baserunning, and defense (UZR).

  83. 83
    Adam R Says:

    Now I’m starting to feel like:
    -When Towers realizes that every GM knows how badly he screwed himself by adding Cody Ross, he’ll have to lower his price.
    -When he does, he’ll be looking to acquire not Teheran (or Zack Wheeler), but Mike Olt. And this will all have been for naught.

  84. 84
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    Olt is a 24 year old, 25 in August, who probably still needs a season in AAA. He could end up a solid player but I don’t think Towers particularly wants Olt as the centerpiece of an Upton deal. If he did, Upton would have been in Texas already. But he definitely needs Atlanta to believe he wants Olt.

  85. 85
    spike Says:

    Shameless vanity – here’s my latest country western project

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTHnJOAQlDU

  86. 86
    c. shorter Says:

    Love the tone on your telecaster, spike. Sounds great.

  87. 87
    urlhix Says:

    Very cool stuff. That’s some tasty guitar, spike. And I love, love her voice.

  88. 88
    spike Says:

    She’s a pistol.

  89. 89
    urlhix Says:

    I’ll bet. Anybody that sings “Get Behind Me Satan And Push” like that is my kind of woman.

  90. 90
    jjschiller Says:

    Great stuff spike!

  91. 91
    mravery Says:

    Strange. I always pictured your voice as lower, Spike.

  92. 92
    spike Says:

    With a rack like that? Please.

  93. 93
    Adam R Says:

    @84, I don’t think Towers wants Olt either, but I think that’s what he’ll end up settling for. I don’t see why he’d need us to believe anything about Olt — probably worse for us if he gets us to think he wants Martin Perez (which he probably does) — and at this point, I don’t really think Towers and co. are capable of much in the way of misdirection, chicanery, etc.

  94. 94
    zig Says:

    Ah, Leon…! Nothing better than good live music, Spike.

  95. 95
    Stu Says:

    …but what if we were willing to include Jose Constanza?

  96. 96
    c. shorter Says:

    we’ll throw in Jose and effing success.
    both of ‘em. count it.

  97. 97
    Adam R Says:

    Alright, Towers, you twisted my arm…Constanza, Schafer, and Avilan.

  98. 98
    Bethany Says:

    Not Avilan!!!!

  99. 99
    csg Says:

    Chip Kelly to the Eagles

  100. 100
    Rob Cope Says:

    I was dooped. I figured Kelly would stay at Oregon. I guess I won’t understand why a college coach who has everything would want to go to the NFL, but that’s probably why I’m not a college football coach to begin with.

  101. 101
    csg Says:

    Oregon probably got another phone call from the NCAA

  102. 102
    mravery Says:

    The NCAA did call, but they were just hoping to score some free Nike gear.

  103. 103
    Sam Hutcheson Says:

    @100 – Money. Prestige. Power. The same reason men do pretty much everything they do. Power, prestige and pussy.

  104. 104
    Rob Cope Says:

    Money – Top college coaches are paid about 75% of what NFL coaches make. In return for that additional money, there are considerably higher expectations, you work tons more hours, and your leash is significantly shorter. Which takes us into prestige…

    Prestige – In college, you can be a legend, you can be beloved by an entire institution, and you can have a long time to get your program together. In the NFL, you have typically two or three seasons to build a winning team. Often times a new college coach is going to one of the worst teams in the league and expected to turn it around immediately. When it doesn’t happen, they can get canned. Same thing with coordinators; it seems the logical is “if you can run a side of the ball, you can lead an organization.” When many of them fail, they go back to being a coordinator.

    Power – Who has more power than a college football coach in sports? In many of these programs, the football coach has as much power as the AD. Sure, in the NFL, you can have an opportunity to be an acting GM and have full roster control, but almost every college already has that! I feel like a college football coach (especially one who is an exceptional recruiter) can have more power than any NFL head coach short of Bellichik, Coughlin, Tomlin, or McCarthy.

    I just don’t see why coaching a failing Eagles team (with some huge personnel issues AND NO QUARTERBACK) is a better job than Oregon, but I guess the lure of the challenge is enough to leave all that. I do respect it, though.

  105. 105
    Smitty Says:

    Vick seems like he would be a perfect fit in a Chip Kelly system

  106. 106
    Johnny Says:

    Maybe a younger Vick.

    Did Kelly run the spread option at Oregon? Does anyone in the NFL run it more than just a few plays? I really don’t know so an answer would satisfy my curiosity about whether the defacto standard college offense has translated to the next level.

    Has Justin Upton been traded yet?

  107. 107
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Well, the merry go round keeps going. Here’s Olney:

    There is an expectation that sometime in the next 11 months, two of the sport’s great young stars will be available on the trade market. David Price has three seasons remaining before he reaches free agency, and rival officials believe that the Tampa Bay Rays will trade him in the forthcoming summer or next winter to get the maximum return. And the Miami Marlins have already sent signals that they are open to offers for Giancarlo Stanton, who has 93 home runs in his first 373 games in the big leagues and is only 23 years old.

    So as teams like the Texas Rangers consider their alternatives, they must also weigh their desire to participate in the Price and Stanton sweepstakes down the road. The Rangers and other teams will consider this question: If they trade some of their better prospects for Upton now, would that undercut their chances of getting Price and Stanton later?

    One evaluator believes that this is a factor in the current Upton sweepstakes….

    If Texas holds back, the Braves may be in the best position to land Upton, giving their ability to build an offer around their pitching, and given that they appear to have the payroll flexibility to add another chunk of salary.

  108. 108
    Smitty Says:

    @106

    The Redskins do somewhat and so do the Seahawks.

  109. 109
    Stu Says:

    Get Upton; get Stanton traded out of the division and into the other league. Win-win.

  110. 110
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    But then we wouldn’t have any room in our outfield for Andrew McCutchen.

  111. 111
    justhank Says:

    Would the (trade) price for Stanton be significantly higher than the price for Upton?

    D-Backs and Marlins are in a relatively weakened bargaining position. Might be time to take advantage.

  112. 112
    Stu Says:

    The price for Stanton should be significantly higher. Better, younger, cheaper, more years of team control…

  113. 113
    justhank Says:

    McCutchen is to justhank as Upton is to Bethany.

    This unrequited love thing is no fun. Sigh.
    ——————–

    Was kinda disappointed when Rob ended his analysis somewhat incomplete.

  114. 114
    csg Says:

    If Stanton was traded if would be a Teixeira +++ type package. Of course I hope Miami gives him away.

  115. 115
    csg Says:

    I wouldn’t want to face Perez, Profar, Oly and others

  116. 116
    csg Says:

    Olt, dangit

  117. 117
    ububba Says:

    #85
    That’s bad-ass, Spike. Well done.

    #100
    As a head coach, would you rather draft players or recruit them?

    Also, there’s a salary cap in the NFL & you don’t have to worry about people finding out how much you’re paying them.

  118. 118
    mravery Says:

    “Respect of one’s peers” is another important factor, and on that score, NFL coaches are the clear winners. It’s just a bigger deal to have been to/succeeded in the professional ranks. It’s also a lot easier to get a gig as a talking head on ESPN if you’ve done stuff in the pro’s.

  119. 119
    Bethany Says:

    Fredi G. Says both Delgado and Teheran will be a part of the staff. One in the rotation and one in the ‘pen. #Braves

    *facepalm*

  120. 120
    mhr Says:

    Hopefully that goes the same way as “Fredi G. says that the entire coaching staff will be back next year.”

  121. 121
    Dusty Says:

    Wow. Head over to deadspin and read the account of the hoax possibly perpetrated by Manti Te’o. Shocking stuff.

    http://goo.gl/EhCW2

  122. 122
    JonathanF Says:

    Fredi G. sez: “Sometimes you just have to tip your cap.”
    Fredi G. sez: “Pressure on the defense.”
    Fredi G. sez: “Home runs kill rallies.” No… wait, that Frenchy.

  123. 123
    Dusty Says:

    Apparently the girlfriend who died right after his grandmother did never really existed.

  124. 124
    Bethany Says:

    @121 Just finished reading that, Dusty. That’s some weird stuff right there. His family seems to be big into the PR aspect of his life, so maybe he was fooled by a fake long distance thing at first and his family tried to turn it into positive PR.

  125. 125
    Smitty Says:

    @121

    Wow. Just Wow!

  126. 126
    Dusty Says:

    Admittedly I didn’t read every word of the article but the only possible explanation other than a hoax is that they we using a fake persona just to ensure his actual girlfriend some privacy, but that seems to really not be the case. Very thorough account.

  127. 127
    PaulV Says:

    Imaginary girl friends die all the time

  128. 128
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    The problem with putting Teheran in the bullpen is that, right now, he only has two pitches. He needs a third to be a starter, but he could get by in the pen with just two. So if they put him there, then they’re pretty much sealing his fate. On the other hand, I wouldn’t mind putting Delgado there, just to reinforce the need to throw strikes at the big-league level, and bolster his confidence. It should be a short-term thing, but both of them need to learn how to get major leaguers out, and the only place to learn that is in the Show.

  129. 129
    Bethany Says:

    Our bullpen is already full, it’s inane to put either one of them in the pen at this point.

  130. 130
    Jay Says:

    This is just hot stove talk. Fredi’s telling Towers, “hey, we don’t need to trade any of our guys, you’re the one whose got too many players for your outfield.”

  131. 131
    jjschiller Says:

    To hell with LF, we’ll just run Upton and Heyward out in the alleys, and carry a 16 man pen.

  132. 132
    sansho1 Says:

    Jarvis Jones just sent the namesake of the Butkus Award to Te’o’s house to retrieve something.

  133. 133
    fm Says:

    Bowman reports that Moylan has signed with the Dodgers.

  134. 134
    Grst Says:

    Fredi is the manager, whose job is to manage the players he has. He doesn’t manage hypothetical rosters that don’t exist. How can anyone be surprised that he’s talking about what they are going to do with the players they got, and not the players some are hoping they are going to have?

  135. 135
    Dan Says:

    Fredi G. sez: “Constanza could be an everyday player.”

  136. 136
    jjschiller Says:

    Yeah, you’re right Grst. Man, I was really worried there. Thanks for making some sense of all this.

  137. 137
    c. shorter Says:

    And now Cougar fans aren’t as upset that Te’o spurned BYU 4 years ago.

    Ok, they would have loved the tackles, just regretted the PR fiasco.

    What a crazy story.

  138. 138
    ububba Says:

    Or the missed tackles?

    Rough week for the Te’o family:

    http://tinyurl.com/aaby63a

  139. 139
    ryan c Says:

    Morse to the Mariners for…not much.

  140. 140
    Dan Says:

    The Mariners did well. Morse will give them Upton’s production without killing their farm system. The Mariners GM is as lucky as Wren.

  141. 141
    Adam R Says:

    John Jaso ain’t nothing, and Morse ain’t Justin Upton. I don’t know that the Mariners did much besides shift the deck chairs.

    I guess it depends if you think Jesus Montero is ready to break out.

    @127 FTW

  142. 142
    Nick Says:

    Holy crap! That Te’o story is some crazy stuff! Either he’s a complete imbecile or he had to be in on it. And if he wasn’t in on it, where did the BS stories about him meeting her at Stanford and them seeing each other in Hawaii and so forth come from? So yeah, I’m gonna go with he had to be in on it.

    Incidentally, good on Deadspin for breaking this story. It’s really pretty lame that the mainstream sports media, who were slupring this story up for weeks, and therefore had to notice the weird, incongruous bits about it, never questioned it at all. You wouldn’t even really have to be a jackass cynical local news type I-team reporter to come across it, either. I mean, each news outlet had a slightly different version of the story. ESPN especially sent seasoned reporters out to cover the story. You’re telling me none of them noticed anything that would give them the slightest bit of pause?

  143. 143
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Definitely depends on what Smoak, Montero, and now Morse can do with the fences moved in. We’ll see. I think that a lot of the hitters over there have just gotten their confidence shot by having to hit in that ballpark.

  144. 144
    Smitty Says:

    Oh, I think Te’o knew.

  145. 145
    JoeCraigMcMurtry Says:

    @128 – From what I saw of Teheran’s last winter league start (or maybe the second to last, whichever one was streamed on ESPN) he definitely has a curveball now to go with his fastball and change, and he was throwing it for strikes. You are right, though, he might not work on it much in the pen.

    Nats got market value for Morse. Not much.

  146. 146
    csg Says:

    Constanza could be an everyday player. For the Houston Astros.

  147. 147
    csg Says:

    No chance Teheran is in the pen to start the season.

  148. 148
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    Looks like Jo-Jo Reyes is going to Korea.

  149. 149
    John Gaines Says:

    Fredi G. sez: “Tandem Harley rides with beat writers are definitely not douchey.”

  150. 150
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    On the Morse trade, I just emailed this to a friend who’s a casual Nats fan. Figured it was worth posting somewhere.

    Here’s the thing: Michael Morse is making $6.75 million next year, and it’s not clear that salary is a discount. He’s a good power hitter but he doesn’t get on base enough and he plays poor defense. The Nats had to either trade Morse or bench him, because the outfield was full after they traded for Denard Span, and the infield was full after they re-signed Adam LaRoche. Morse could be a nice bench player, but he could start for a team like Seattle. So they got a three-player package back for him, which doesn’t seem like a bad return.

    A.J. Cole is a former Nationals prospect whom they sent to the Athletics in the Gio Gonzalez trade. Clearly, they still like him. He had a very uneven year in the minors last year — terrific in low-A, awful in high-A — but part of the bad results in high-A may have been driven by bad luck, and he’s still seen as a very high-upside arm. He’s seen as having the talent to be a #2 starter, with all the usual caveats considering that he’s just 20 years old and hasn’t yet reached the high minors.

    The other named player, Blake Treinen, is a sort of oldish pitching prospect who may have a chance to make it as a middle reliever. The A’s tried to turn him into a starter last year in high-A, but it didn’t work. He apparently can throw in the low 90s, but he’ll turn 25 next summer, so it’s not like he’s a spring chicken. (He was drafted after four years of college.) It’s worth having guys who can throw in the 90s in your minor leagues as emergency injury callups. If it all clicks together and he starts blowing guys away in Double-A and Triple-A, great, but otherwise he’s just organizational fodder. Limited upside, but it’s not unreasonable to think that he could appear in the 6th or 7th inning for some team some day.

    I haven’t seen anything about who the PTBNL may be, and my guess is that he’ll probably be similarly crappy. Still, warm bodies have value, too. Morse’s contract is up after 2013, and he’s basically being paid market value as it is, since he’s sort of a one-and-a-half-dimensional slugger, so it’s not a terrible idea to try to get a high-upside pitching prospect and two other warm bodies for a one-year rental of Morse’s services.

  151. 151
    Dan Says:

    Fredi G. sez: “there’s never a bad time for a bunt.”

  152. 152
    Parish Says:

    Matt Harrison got $55M from the Rangers!!

  153. 153
    kc Says:

    @152 I never thought Harrison would be any good…unbelievable. Tells you how good I am with judging minor league talents…and an example how you don’t just trade away pitching prospects thinking very few of them will work out.

    @150 This trade makes me think…did we get too little in return for Hanson?

  154. 154
    PaulV Says:

    @153 Addition by substraction

  155. 155
    Alex Remington (Another Alex R.) Says:

    New thread.

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