Quick Hits: Braves, Tanaka, Rangers

The Braves, who have lost Brian McCann and Tim Hudson and done little to replace them, but it's not too late for them to recover this offseason, Mike Petriello of ESPN.com writes (Insider-only). They can start by signing young players like Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman to extensions, Petriello suggests. Another fix might be acquiring a new second baseman to supplant Dan Uggla, and one possibility might be dealing for Howie Kendrick of the Angels, who need young pitching. Here's more from around the Majors.

  • A "perfect storm" of factors will allow Masahiro Tanaka to land a huge contract, MLB.com's Tracy Ringolsby writes. Those factors include the revamped posting system, which limits the amount of money a player's old team receive, along with a huge bump in national television revenue and limits on spending in the draft and on Latin American amateurs.
  • Tanaka's workload is a serious concern, writes Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated. Before even beginning his age-25 season, Tanaka has thrown 1,315 innings, a workload completely unlike those of most young big-league pitchers, at least in the last few decades. "Everyone is acting like it's a no-brainer all-in just because he's 25," said an executive for an MLB team. "He's still a pitcher and he's still got serious miles on him. [Tanaka is a] very attractive player nonetheless but a real risk … as with basically all pitchers."
  • Signing Shin-Soo Choo and acquiring Prince Fielder will only be decisive for the Rangers if they have a core of very productive players who are much cheaper, argues Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. "We’re a larger market team, and we’ve operated from a higher payroll for the last couple of years," says Rangers GM Jon Daniels. "But everybody has limits. … When you talk about making an investment of this nature, you don’t make it without confidence in your people and your system. We have a lot of confidence in that." The Rangers' rotation offers a template, Grant says — Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, Martin Perez and Alexi Ogando all at least began as cheap players, but the Rangers added to that group by making a big investment in Yu Darvish.

40 Responses to Quick Hits: Braves, Tanaka, Rangers Leave a Reply

  1. John 2 years ago

    So trade Uggla, and acquire Kendrick from the Angels? That’s almost $20M tied into the 2B position. It’s not like we took a step back anyway. We weren’t close to how good we could’ve been last year.

    • Zack Autry 2 years ago

      A Pastornicky/La Stella ST platoon would be nice to see who we want. Unfortunately, I dont see us moving Uggla, nor do I see him becoming what he used to be. I think they’ll be forced simply to demote him midseason

      • Will 2 years ago

        Im not big on Pastornicky but a LaStella/Pena/Uggla platoon sounds good to me.

        • Jeff 2 years ago

          Uggla should be given one last chance, until La Stella’s Super 2 date happens in early June. Bring La Stella up then if Uggla is sub-200. If La Stella can’t hack it, trade a prospect for a stopgap 2B. I don’t have much faith in Pastornicky, and Pena should be a utility guy not a starter.

  2. AmericanMovieFan 2 years ago

    Freddie Freeman is an obvious extension candidate. If I were the Braves and assuming Freeman was open to it, i’d go 3 years with a mutual option. It’d look something like this:

    2014: $5MM
    2015: $8MM
    2016: #11MM
    2017: $16MM club option w/ a $1MM buyout or a $11MM player option.

    • erm016 2 years ago

      I’d go longer than 3 years. Keep him around.

    • Mike Query 2 years ago

      That deal is fairly pointless. Wed have him for the same amount of time and about the same money as hed make through arbitration.

      • AmericanMovieFan 2 years ago

        That’s my point. I think it saves money in Arbitration for a budget conscious team.

    • Tim Bliss 2 years ago

      I would go 6 years for $75MM and not think twice about it. But Freeman has to be open to an extension and according to DOB Freeman and Heyward are both looking to hit free agency.

  3. Jeffy25 2 years ago

    The braves will be fine

    • Tim Bliss 2 years ago

      Yep. I honestly think the Braves have a chance to be even better this season despite losing Huddy and McCann.

  4. chris german 2 years ago

    The Japanese mentality regarding workload is different than here. Pitchers there are fine and have no problem with the workload… until they come here. There they constantly pitch, there is no real offseason, just a series of fall and winter camps and personal training on the side. The problem is that they then come here, are rested more than they are used to and they break down. Whoever gets Tanaka needs to transition him away from that, the same way the Rangers did with Darvish a few years back. You can’t expect him to instantly throw 6 innings every fifth day and rest all winter, when he’s used to pitching for 7-8 innings, throwing 120 pitches every 7th day and never resting his arm. That is a huge reason Japanese pitchers have been known to break down in the past. Nobody is really right here, it is just a different philosophy.

    • Tko11 2 years ago

      Extended rest does not cause a pitcher to break down. Pitching more frequently than he is used to might (as you said every 5th day instead of every 7th). The offseason break is irrelevant as I’m sure they do some type of work during that time to stay in shape. Extended rest cannot cause injury, lack of time (or shortened rest) for muscles to recover can (like pitching every 5th day).

  5. jury_rigger 2 years ago

    The first sentence is so awkward

  6. Joe Valenti 2 years ago

    They fail to mention Doumit. They really just replaced McCann with Gattis and Gattis with Doumit. In terms of Hudson, they have good young pitching and internal options. There are also still options in free agency that could replace him

  7. bjsguess 2 years ago

    Don’t see the Angels moving Kendrick now. Any team that wanted him lost their window once Infante signed. The Angels could have moved Kendrick and gone after Infante. Now there are no adequate replacements for Kendrick either on the market or in FA.

    Unless the starting pitcher was amazing this would be a rob Peter to pay Paul type scenario.

    • Rusty_Arcadia 2 years ago

      The Angels have in-house options to replace Kendrick if they decided to. Grant Green could potentially do the job adequately and Taylor Lindsey has looked good. Still, I don’t think the Angels would choose to move Kendrick and Trumbo in the same offseason. They’ve had quite a bit of clubhouse turnover the past few years and it hasn’t panned out. I think they want to see a core group of guys gel together… Or so I’ve read.

      • bjsguess 2 years ago

        There is so much risk going with Grant Green. A guy was a career league average hitter in the minors. He screams AAAA or bench role player – not every day starting 2B. Lindsey could be an option (especially down the road) but there is no way that I trust him or a combination of Green/Lindsey as my 2nd baseman.

        • Rusty_Arcadia 2 years ago

          I’d argue, that kind of logic would never allow rookies not named Harper or Trout (touted as “sure things”) a chance to show what they have at the big league level. You have to give the young guys a chance to play at some point.

    • BK 2 years ago

      Id argue the problem is that with the Skaggs and Santiago acquisition that moving Kendrick became a luxury and not a necessity. So he has become more expensive and that would be what really changed the market.

      My guess now is that the ask starts at least at Tehran + a B or above pitching prospect. I know thats expensive, but I think the Angels would demand that seeing as they dont feel the same dire need to improve their staff now.

      • Matt Talbert 2 years ago

        Teheran maybe Salcedo and Northcraft would be pretty expensive for a slightly above avg 2b. Though I might could see it happening to replace Trumbo’s power in the lineup….it could happen…or Graham Uggla and another B+/A- prospect which Atlanta has about six of.

      • brothermonster 2 years ago

        It is laughable to imply the Braves would even consider dealing Tehran for any second baseman with 18 million dollars remaining on his contract.

        • bjsguess 2 years ago

          What is laughable is to dismiss the surplus value that a guy like Kendrick has. He’s a 3 WAR player. Over 2 years that is $36M or so in value (using a conservative $6M/WAR). With $18M owed he has a surplus of approximately $18M. That’s pretty valuable.

          Not suggesting that Tehran is worth less than that – just that a surplus of $18M is nothing to sneeze at.

      • bjsguess 2 years ago

        I do agree with your assessment that the Angels don’t NEED to move Kendrick now. Between Bourjos/Trumbo/Kendrick/Aybar they needed to get 2 starting pitchers and a 3rd baseman. Now that those holes have been filled they can be much more selective. With no viable 2nd options (IMO) they shouldn’t be thinking about trading Kendrick unless the deal was overwhelmingly in their favor.

  8. jmcbosox 2 years ago

    Man, the more I read about Tanaka the more I pray he doesn’t end up in Boston. The hype surrounding this guy may be impossible to live up to, let alone the annual salary he will inevitably command. I don’t mean to be pessimistic, and I certainly don’t wish ill will upon anybody but this just has major let-down written all over it.

    • Curt Green 2 years ago

      I agree. He is not a lock. Which is why I hope the Yankees get him and he busts. (hee hee hee)

      • jmcbosox 2 years ago

        like I said, I don’t wish failure on him. But maybe, just maybe, if he does bust, and the cano/ellsbury/choo deals flop, it will curb some of the exorbitant spending we’ve seen. Something has to slow down these contracts…

        • Bubbav2488 2 years ago

          If Hamilton, Pujols, Howard deals didn’t slow spending no reason to believe anything will.

  9. Matt Talbert 2 years ago

    Atlanta is not in big trouble I mean we have Gattis to easily replace McCann’s production in the starting lineup, Huddy was replaced by an equivilent option that comes way cheaper (or we have plenty of young arms that can compete for that spot easily)….I say maybe intangibly we did lose a bit, but we are in an amicable and enviable position of having so many good young players.

    • Atlanta is in the bad position of having a ton of those young players set to get big arbitration raises while the dead weight of BJ Upton and Dan Uggla hampers them from being a truly great team. They’ve got basically one more year with that team before they need to trade some of those players. Not exactly an enviable position.

      • CT 2 years ago

        As a Braves fan, I hate thinking about Uggla and BJ getting money that would be better going to the young guys. I keep hoping Liberty Media will recognize the importance of keeping Heyward, Freeman, and Simmons long-term, and spend the money to keep them.

      • Matt Talbert 2 years ago

        We’ll be out from under Uggla soon before it hurts us too bad.

        • You sort of won’t. Uggla’s under contract for two more years. Most of the young un’s will be close to free agency or expensive in arbitration.

      • jury_rigger 2 years ago

        You’re assuming BJ doesn’t round into form. He can’t possibly be as bad going forward as he was last season (can he?!)

  10. Stevil 2 years ago

    The concern about his innings pitched is legit, but kind of ridiculous to worry about right now. Any deal struck will require a physical. If anything alarming is found, that team will have their chance to bail. Felix Hernandez had thrown a lot of innings for his age as well, before signing a 7 year extension–after passing a physical/examination.

    • BlueSkyLA
      BlueSkyLA 2 years ago

      I don’t see the legitimacy of the concern. It wasn’t so long ago that MLB pitchers routinely threw 300+ innings a season, and did it for twenty or more years without going all to pieces. Typical starting pitcher workloads during the ’60s and before were 250 innings a season. It’s only relief specialization that changed all of that.

  11. bjsguess 2 years ago

    The big question for me is what Tanaka is worth? To justify a 5/$120 type commitment ($100M contract + $20M posting fee) you are talking about a 4 WAR pitcher. That puts him in the company of guys like Iwakuma, Hamels, Price, etc. Basically front line starters. He would need to replicate the career of someone like Greinke who has averaged just under 4 WAR/season for his career.

    I don’t know. At times if felt like everyone was so worried about whether they would get the right to bid on him that they didn’t stop to ask the question of whether they SHOULD bid on him. Especially at a price tag that requires him to pitch like a front line starter.

    • Kyle 2 years ago

      Completely agree. He would have to do so much to live up to the contract he’s going to get. On the plus side, it’s just money, and doesn’t cost your team a chunk of farm players.

  12. hiflyer000 2 years ago

    I don’t see why his workload should be concerning. It’s no secret that arm injuries have gone up significantly since teams started limiting young pitchers workloads, so there is a good chance that all the innings he’s logged will actually help keep him healthy.

    • Joel Zamora 2 years ago

      Clayton kershaws innings are at 1,180 and he is about to sign the biggest contract for a pitcher in MLB history

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