Quick Hits: Astros, Braves, Indians, Choo, Marlins

The Braves beat the Mets at Citi Field tonight to remain atop the Wild Card chase in the National League.  Atlanta found their way into the playoff chase as expected, but with a different cast of characters than planned.  Here's today's look around the league..

  • The Astros announced that they have named Mike Elias their new amateur scouting director in a press release. Bobby Heck, who filled the same role since October 2007, will not have his contract renewed. Elias worked with Astros GM Jeff Luhnow in the Cardinals' front office.
  • David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution gives Braves GM Frank Wren credit for not only managing to plug the rotation's holes on the cheap, but making it as formidable as it was supposed to be when the season began.  While it's unknown how well free agent pickup Ben Sheets and recent acquisition Paul Maholm will hold up, both have looked strong through seven combined starts.  Regardless, both pitchers will cost the Braves less than $4MM in 2012.
  • Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer looks at how the Indians can position themselves to contend in 2013.  Hoynes suggests that the Tribe starts by parting ways with Travis Hafner and Grady Sizemore, who are both eligible for free agency at the end of the year.  Beyond that, he writes that trading Shin-Soo Choo could bring Cleveland some solid pieces in return.  So far, the rightfielder has rebuffed the club's efforts to keep him in the fold beyond next season.
  • Carlos Lee has done exactly what the Marlins hoped he would when they acquired him from the Astros last month, tweetsJuan Rodriguez of the Sun Sentinel.  In 32 games with Miami, Lee has a .291/.382/.355 slash line and an OPS not far off from what he posted in Houston earlier this year.

Mike Axisa contributed to this post.


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35 Comments on "Quick Hits: Astros, Braves, Indians, Choo, Marlins"


camerondatzker
3 years 20 days ago

I hope that The Giants could acquire Shin Soo Choo, He’s the type of player that can help our ballclub.

JacksTigers
3 years 20 days ago

That offense would start to look pretty good with a few guys with doubles power and a little speed.

1. Shin-Soo Choo RF
2. Melky Cabrera CF
3. Hunter Pence LF
4. Buster Posey C
5. Pablo Sandavol 3B/1B

Maybe they get a SS and a 3B (Push Sandavol to 1B) and you have the makings of a great team. I suggest Yunel Escobar and if at all possible, Chase Headley or Aramis Ramirez.

bigpat
3 years 20 days ago

Money, teams only have so much of it to pay their players. How do you propose a long term OF of those three plus someone like Headley or Aramis while keeping the expensive rotation in place?

NorCalTribeFan
3 years 20 days ago

Not sure the Giants have the players the Indians need for Choo. We would want some real AA/AAA level talent. Pitching and outfield.

$6592481
3 years 20 days ago

I would LOVE to see Choo re-signed, but I’m sure Dolan isn’t going to pay what Boras is going to demand :(

3 years 20 days ago

None of this Indians news is relevant anyways. The Indians will not get the help they need from ownership, nor do they have a modicum of talent in the upper level of the farm system. They can’t (make that WON’T) dish out the dollars to bring free agents in, and when they tried over last off-season they were spurned because they either didn’t want to take a chance (Willingham) or didn’t have a good overall outside perception by the free agents themselves (Beltran). It is painful because I love this team, but know it will never, ever get better because the status quo will never change as long as Dolan owns the team.

$6592481
3 years 20 days ago

Agreed, it is becoming very painful to watch them play, and see how ownership treats the team. Dolan keeps saying he isn’t interested in selling the team, but is open to small partners. To make matters worse, at least for me, I moved to Kansas City last year for work, so I get to watch two teams go through misery. The only difference being the Royals at least have a lot of young talent all throughout their system from A up through the MLB club.

NorCalTribeFan
3 years 20 days ago

I’m very skeptical that the Indians can contend next year unless Masterson and Jimenez do what they didn’t do this year – become consistent, dominant starters. Further, we really only have one year left in our “window” to contend because players like Cabrera, Choo, Masterson and Perez will start leaving. I hate to say it….in fact it pains me a great deal to say this…but we have no choice but to blow it up in an effort to bring in decent talent in the AA/AAA level. This in combination with our strong low minors will mean we will have a chance by 2015/16 .

TheLagooned
3 years 20 days ago

There is a lot of hating on Frank Wren in Atlanta – but 90% of the Braves trouble can be attributed to fan attendance. In my opinion, dude is executive of the year several seasons running. He is the Macguiver of MLB.

JacksTigers
3 years 20 days ago

He’s an above average GM but he isn’t great.

rundmc1981
3 years 20 days ago

While Alex Anthopoulos keeps winning trades, Wren keeps winning games.

notsureifsrs
3 years 19 days ago

…in the NL East, with a braves team that had a winning record when he took it over, and has been under his control for 5 seasons

solid comparison though

rundmc1981
3 years 20 days ago

90%? Where did that number come from? I’m all for blaming a lot of Braves homer fans that never go to games, but Braves had one of the best farm systems 2-3 years ago and a mid-level budget to work with which means our young prospects are producing at the MLB level and we’re spending money wisely.

Wren started off on a bad note by having to deal with the repercussions of having his farm system taken a hit when his predecessor, John Schuerholz, traded for Mark Teixeira in his last season. As a reaction to trying to get pitching, he makes 2 bad signings, including Derek Lowe and Kawakami, not to mention trading for McLouth. We still haven’t gotten over the financial entanglements of Lowe’s contract. However, Wren has used that as motivation and built a strong team in spite of all that rather than using them as excuses. I don’t think 90% of ATL’s problems are with fan attendance, our farm system is too shallow at many positions aside from starting pitching. Another problem is the terrible TV deal that was signed by Time Warner that goes another decade and a half that won’t benefit ATL financially, unlike the lucrative TV deals are doing for LAD, LAA, SD, etc.

TheLagooned
3 years 20 days ago

Good points, Derek, you obviously are a fan and you know what you are talking about.

Obviously 90% isn’t a real number – but Liberty Media treats Braves as a long term investment – and as we’ve seen since ownership, whatever the Braves organization makes, Liberty allows them to immediately plug back into the organization (with the bonus of not getting in the way, like some owners). Derek Lowe was a necessary signing at the time and KK was a wiff. McLouth? Sure, he didn’t produce – but look at what we gave up for him. It didn’t hurt the organization.

The TV deal is the TV deal – and it will be for another 20 years. It wasn’t great even at the time – but that was before the insane boom. After you take these things into consideration, if Atlanta wants to spend more, they need more buts in the seats. TV deal isn’t going to change – and while a lot of fans kill Liberty ownership, it really isn’t as bad as a lot of the more… “doom and gloom” fans make it out to be.

One thing (just my opinion) that is great about our farm depth is that pitching is ALWAYS in style. With depth at RP/SP you don’t necessarily need depth at other positions began it is such a valuable commodity around the league when there is a need to restock.

Again, 90% is just a number, but the one, direct impact on the product that is “controllable” is butts-in-the-seats. There is no arguing about it.

rundmc1981
3 years 20 days ago

Agreed with your justifications, but I don’t think we’re that deep in pitching anymore. Yes, Delgado is still fidgeting and we have a lot of pitchers with more talent than their minor league numbers indicate, but I don’t think that makes us deep. And with Vizcaino deep, someone that’ll be a closer somewhere, I really don’t think we’re deep in RPs. I agree that pitching will always be in style, but Wren, like or not, hasn’t truly benefited from the surplus of talent in the organization by filling other needs. He’s managed to obtain Bourn, Reed Johnson, Paul Maholm by only trading 1 “untouchable” in Vizcaino. As much as I’d like to depend on ATL fans actually showing up, I really don’t think that’ll ever happen. I’d like to think differently if they start to get into the heat of a September playoff race, but it’s sickening to see the Phillies hold the 2012 attendance mark and they’re in last place.

Jeff
3 years 20 days ago

RP is something I don’t worry about when it comes to prospects.

ATL is hurt by the location of its park as well. Not as bad as the Rays, but still a bad spot.

It’s criminal how bad the TV deal is, when I’m sure the Braves are a better TV team than ballpark team. That’s what is going to kill the frranchise over the next 10-20 years.

As for Wren, his bad deals are often defensible, and he’s done a great job getting players on the scrap heap- I think he’s done a good job.

3 years 20 days ago

Agreed. The Cubs, Brewers, Twins, Rockies, Red Sox, and Mets all have two things in common: None of them are anywhere near playoff contention, and they’re all averaging more fans per game than the Braves. That’s sad, but it’s become a fact of life in Atlanta.

Seth
3 years 20 days ago

How does lack of fan attendance affect success?

TheLagooned
3 years 20 days ago

Lack of attendance directly equals the money the organization can reinvest into the on-field product. Current ownership has been clear that whatever Braves can make will be reinvested into the product as the organization (over time) continues to gain equity. With a substandard TV deal that is virtually locked in for the next two decades, one of the main things that can swing the Braves budget in either direction is game attendance.

Seth
3 years 20 days ago

Ah thanks for clearing that up for me.

3 years 20 days ago

I’m always amazed at attendance when I go to games. I live in TX, where watching the Rangers means enduring 100+ degree heat – and they sell out regularly. I think the Braves lack of attendance is due to long term success, and crazy high expectations (anything less than WS appearance is a failure). It is also due in part to horrible transportation services in downtown Atlanta. Anywho… they deserve better attendance.

3 years 20 days ago

Frank Wren continues to be a genius with the financial constraints in which he has to work. He gets criticized left and right, but continues to put a competitive team on the field. KUDOS Mr. Wren. The Nats will become conscious at some point. Then we can move on past them.

HalfSt
3 years 20 days ago

I am so glad that the trade for Carlos Lee was done in vain. Whatever he has done for the Marlins, their incredibly arrogant pre-season has landed them nothing whatsoever.

bigpat
3 years 20 days ago

Parting ways with Sizemore and Hafner would have been smart 3 seasons ago, now it’s just common sense.

3 years 20 days ago

Love.

Nelson Brana
3 years 20 days ago

we can not blame wren’s take on the poor attendance at the stadium, the fans of Atlanta should learn how Cubs fans of which gain nothing every year and fill the stadium. is to be faithful to the franchise.

Seth
3 years 20 days ago

Wren has set the Braves up really nice for a postseason run. Sheets and Maholm are really going to help us down the stretch. Medlen hasn’t been too shabby either. And Maholm is under team control for another year too. It’s a great time to be a Brave!

3 years 20 days ago

Very surprised Bobby Heck is being let go. But I guess it makes sense since GM’s go after their “own” guys.

nschneid
3 years 19 days ago

completely agree. Heck has done a tremendous job in the role and i was really hoping he & Luhnow would continue working together. like you said, i completely understand Luhnow wanting his own guy, but it’s a shame they couldn’t find a way to keep Heck with the organization.

3 years 19 days ago

Yah, i dont think it has anything to do with Heck’s performance. He has drafted pretty well considering McClane limited him with spending. This is just Lunhow bringing in his own people. Seems like Elias comes from more of the deeply analytical scouting style that Lunhow prefers

Hal Haney
3 years 20 days ago

The Braves fanbase is concentrated regionally, not locally, so if it makes you feel any better, the only two teams more baseball fans pay to see nationwide are the Yankees and Cubs. I think we are doing pretty well to be middle of the pack in home attendance at just under 30,000 per game considering the traffic/parking problems and lack of transit options to get to Turner Field and the hangover the Braves left the fans with last September. Business is actually UP this year if you can believe it. I live about a mile from the stadium, so it’s not a problem for me to go to games, but it’s pretty difficult for your average suburbanite. Turner Field is the ONLY thing going on in that neighborhood. It’s not like Wrigley, where the park itself is a tourist attraction and the entire neighborhood is dedicated to all things Cubs baseball, and it’s not like Philadelphia, where all four major sports are played within walking distance of each other and there are numerous transit options to get to and from the sports complex. Atlanta has to change some things around and the Braves need to try and attract commercial investors to that neighborhood if they are going to get more people down there. How about a real Braves bar near the stadium? (Don’t tell me about the Bullpen either. That place BLOWS) How about something like a Dave and Buster’s even? Or some Little League fields? Batting cages? SOMETHING that will make the fans want to come down there more often and think about nothing but how much they love BASEBALL? Better yet, how about a MARTA rail spur or a streetcar from Downtown? It’s only about a mile or so from the Georgia State University/ State Capitol transit station. BUILD A DAMN TRAIN TRACK!!!

johnsilver
3 years 19 days ago

The old Fulton County Stadium.. AKA “the Launching Pad” was pretty easy to get to and used to go there kind of often the short time was stationed at Charleston and had weekend liberty. Ship was a relic and generally never left port, so we could drive to Atlanta, catch a cpl braves games when they were home sometimes if felt like it.

That stadium was easy to get to, tho admit no idea where the new stadium is.
Seeing Niekro go up against Candelaria and watching a HOF like Stargel pound a couple out in 1 game at that place..

Bob Hulsey
3 years 19 days ago

They built Turner Field next to Fulton County Stadium. Can’t imagine the traffic issues are much different.

johnsilver
3 years 19 days ago

Cheers and Thx.. shows how long been in that area.

Guess some didn’t like my rehashing of seeing stargell pound 2 off of Niekro in one game from the “dislike”. FWIW: Remember that 1 game vividly all these years later.. Candy man still blew it and Atlanta came back to win.. It was on a July 4th…

Hal Haney
3 years 19 days ago

I’m just saying more people would go to games more often if they didn’t have to drive. The shuttle bus from the Five Points station is okay I guess, but a dedicated streetcar line that went from the Capitol, down Capitol Avenue to Turner Field, east on Georgia Ave to Grant Park/Zoo Atlanta, north on Cherokee to Oakland Cemetary at Memorial, and then west back to the Capitol would be an idea that would connect a lot of tourist attractions.