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What what it's worth, I think Frank Wren's actually GMing for a day turned out a whole lot better than the proposed trade of Lowe would have.
The thing that doesn't make sense to me is that if Lowe's $15 million contract was going to be unloaded, I would think the Braves would spend a bit more of it than simply adding Cuddyer. The article also seems to undervalue the innings that Lowe has eaten for the Braves over the last couple of years. They do have many talented young pitchers in their system, but keeping a 200-inning guy like Lowe around allows the Braves to limit the exposure of those pitchers that don't have the experience to be counted on to contribute 180+ innings.
The current rumors have the Braves kicking the tires on Dan Uggla and Justin Upton, either of which would be a much better addition than Michael Cuddyer.
I'd be very suprised to see the Braves show any interest at all in Fielder. Frank Wren has already come out this offseason and said that the 1b job is Freedie Freeman's going into 2011, after he put up a great AAA season at age 20. Braves are much more interested in a right-handed power bat to play LF....Brewers have anyone that fits that description?
I imagine if the Cubs called the Braves and offered Marlon Byrd for Derek Lowe, they wouldn't even need a phone to hear Frank Wren yell "YES!" from Atlanta to Chicago.
Totally disagree with jsherman's comment. If MLB has a problem with how teams apply the rules, then change the rule to remove the loophole. But it'd be unfair for a team to think they were doing everything within the rule, only to have Selig deny the request because he thinks they are manipulating the system. A precedent has been set that MLB will allow these transactions, so to start denying them now would unfairly limit teams' abilities to manage their rosters.
Awesome title to this piece.
Also a good piece of writing.
One thing that I've noticed this season is that he trys to pull EVERYTHING. I don't have his batted ball distribution at hand, but based on the many games I've seen him play I would bet that it is extremely skewed to the right side of the field. It almost looks like he's swinging so early that he's pulling off of pitches, resulting in more swings and misses and weak contact off the end of the bat when he does make contact.
Thanks Kevin. Guess that'd be a mixed blessing type of pick for me...Braves gain an OF, but Georgia Tech loses a defensive back! I just hope he doesn't get drafted by the Yankees like Austin Jackson did....
No random guesses for the Braves at 35?
Like the new layout. Thanks guys!
So Cashner K's 10, and then DOESN'T strike out Cody Johnson?!
Thanks for the article Boog, and good luck with ESPN. We'll miss you on the SportsSouth broadcast.
Trade Javier Vazquez and Jordan Schafer/Freddie Freeman for Matt Kemp.
This one has shown up about 4 times today on the Braves blog on ajc.com.
One other error to fix. While Church is making less than Francoeur, the Braves sent cash to Mets in that deal to cover the difference in salaries, equtating to no payroll gain for either team. The rest of your points appear to be right on though.
However, I would say the Braves offseason plans should be:
A) Resign Adam LaRoche
B) Turn one of Vazquez, Kawakami, or Lowe into a left fielder (through trade, not practice). Lowe is the one I'd most like to move, and also the least likely to actually be moved. In concert with this move, try and sign Tim Hudson to a 2-year contract at a lower annual salary than his 2010 option.
C) Find 4 bullpen arms (free agents, trades, or minors), and convince Cox that he is allowed to use more than just the closer and 2 set-up men in games. One of the biggest reasons the Braves have fallen apart lately has been Cox's overuse of Soriano, Gonzalez, Moylan, and O'Flaherty over the first half of the season. While the Braves rotation has provided innings, the back-end of the Braves bullpen has been extremely overworked because Cox hasn't trusted the front-end of the bullpen in games where the Braves had a lead of 4+ runs.
While I agree in hindsight that the decision to go Anderson over Dunn cost the Braves, I'm not sure if that could have been said prior to the season. Obviously, Dunn was the more talented player, and hopefully Braves management realized that. However, they were given a number and told "Keep payroll below $X." Based on the events of the previous years, it was completely understandable why they chose to spend the lion's share of that money on completely rebuilding the starting rotation. And if they had spent some of the money on Dunn instead of pitching? Well, it's hard to say what would have happened, because we don't know which pitcher they would have been without. Dunn over Kawakami? Probably in the postseason. Dunn over Lowe? Unsure, although Dunn certainly seems to be the better bet. Dunn over Vazquez? Braves are in 4th place instead of 3rd in the East. In retrospect it's very easy to say, "The Braves would have EASILY made back Dunn's salary in postseason ticket sales!" And I don't disagree with that at all. However, when evaluating the team at the beginning of the season, I don't think it was a given that the extra $8 million spent on Dunn would have guaranteed a postseason berth, or that not spending it would have taken away that opportunity.
It doesn't matter that it was true....legally, the information should have never become public. From a practical standpoint however, I don't think there is any legal recourse for players, as a lawsuit would bring even more bad PR and likely cost even more in enodorsements. The only reason anyone would sue is if the principle was more important to them than the money....and good luck on that.
For the other owner, getting hung up on the "small stuff" (in this case Zorbist) ended up saving him in the end. So the point of this article should really be that luck happens, both good and bad. Or in the words of Nuke Laloosh, "Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes it rains."
One thing that bothered me was making the connection between "fewer HR" to "fewer ground-ball outs" while neglecting to consider the possibility that the GO/AO ratio could have changed due to balls that used to be home runs becoming fly-ball outs. It's not to say that there isn't come correlation here, but ignoring what to me appears to be the most obvious explanation makes this appear to be "playing with numbers" instead of sound statistical analysis.
I find it hilarious that people are upset about a "front office" guy managing a team when you look back at an example from the start of the 90's. A consistently medicroe team hired a new GM, sending their former GM down to the dugout to manage the team. If it happened today you'd have writers coming out of the woodwork to criticise the decision, but I'd say things worked out pretty well for Bobby Cox and the Braves.
"Gwinnett" is a county in the north suburbs of Atlanta. Depending on the traffic, the Braves' new AAA park is between 20 minutes to 3 hours from Turner Field (about 20 miles up Interstate I-85).
Looks like the depth chart was right on Jo-Jo Reyes...getting at least a spot start in place of a still ailing Tom Glavine.
In that last comment I realized I typed "Cameron, Maybin"....that should be read as "Mike Cameron, Cameron Maybin".
Instead of punting batting avg, I'd suggest getting a couple of batting avg. anchors, and then target guys who provide good 4 category stats but are cheaper due to low batting avgs (Young, Dunn, Weeks, Cameron, Maybin, etc).
I don't know if there is a way around this, but using the payroll for each team may not adequately account for the internal accounting of the team. For instance, the Braves payroll last year is listed at just north or $102 million, but a large portion of this was Mike Hampton's 2008 salary, which was not reflective of the amoritzation that was done on Hampton's salary when the Braves acquired him. Based on that, the team was amortizing the contract for about $8 million a year, including the years that the Rockies and Marlins were paying most of his salary. With this method, his entire $15 million shows up for 2008, not the $8 million the Braves were actually accounting for. Not to mention the insurance money that was received for the times he was on the disabled list. This is still an informative chart, I just don't think enough information is available to make it an accurate representation, unless it's done over a 3-5 year period (offsetting the some of the internal accounting effects).
Zaxby\'s throughout GA. Best chicken fingers you\'ll find, and the Zax sauce is incredible.
I have also been watching \"Hot Stove\" as much as possible since the network started. While in the past I have been annoyed by Harold Reynolds\' Morgan-like tendencies, I\'ve been extremely impressed with him on \"Hot Stove\". He really does a great job of getting the other hosts and guests on the show to explain the game in a way the casual fan can understand, and is able to do it without dumbing down the broadcast or being condesending (unlike 95% of football announcers, and Tim McCarver). On last night\'s episode they were asking Justin Upton to describe his swing and at one point Upton said he \"loads up\" in his stance. Reynolds stopped him and asked him to explain what he means by then in case some \"younger viewers\" at home didn\'t understand what he meant and wanted to learn. It was a very subtle touch, but one I appeciated knowing that most fans probably don\'t know as much about the game as we all do (by \"we\" I mean BP readers).
Braves: Find 2 pitchers, one outfielder. Don\'t rely upon older pitchers. Spend wisely, don\'t mortgage the future by trading top prospects.
McCarver\'s rant is simply another example of a member of mainstream \"media\" (sports or other) spouting a misinformed opinion and presenting it to the American public as fact. It is very sad to me that things like journalistic integrity and fact checking have given way to sensationalism and the \"creation\" of stories with so many members of the mainstream media. It\'s refreshing to find that these qualities still exist at places like BP, but it\'s very sad that a reader has to get away from \"popular\" media to find the truth anymore. Thanks for your hard work Joe.
That\'s the same comment I was going to make...excellent idea, even if the tools grades are just A-F instead of numbers.
Nice format. Well done to everyone who helped implement this