Braves Notes: Freeman, Heyward, Kimbrel, Uggla

Dave Cameron of Fangraphs looks at Freddie Freeman's massive eight-year, $135MM extension and concludes that the contract continues the trend of teams paying for youth over track record. Cameron notes that we saw a similar gamble with the Yankees' investment in Masahiro Tanaka — a player with literally no track record in the Majors but the allure of his prime years being for sale. Cameron draws comparisons to Ryan Braun and Shin-Soo Choo (whose contracts run through their mid-30s) in stating that the prime years of a "good-not-great" player are more valuable than the decline years of a superstar who is rewarded for what he has done rather than what he will do in the future. More on Freeman's deal and the Braves…

  • In an Insider-only blog post (subscription recommended), ESPN's Buster Olney writes that the Freeman extension has plenty of meaning for his teammates. For one, Olney feels that the deal all but guarantees that Jason Heyward will be playing elsewhere in 2016. Heyward will likely be too spendy for the Braves as a 26-year-old free agent if he plays well for the next two seasons, as the team won't be able to afford both him and Freeman. If Heyward doesn't play well enough to land a massive free agent deal, the Braves likely won't be interested in retaining him anyhow.
  • Likewise, Olney continues, the Braves are unlikely to be able to afford Craig Kimbrel in the long-term, and the Freeman contract gives the front office with "a greater foundation on which to explain to the fan base that difficult choices have to be made." Olney opines that the Braves would be wise to shop Kimbrel as soon as this summer, even if they are contending, as his value will be at its apex, and history shows that teams pay more for relievers in midseason trades than in offseason trades.
  • David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote earlier in the week (prior to yesterday's extensions) that though the Braves did not make any significant upgrades to their 2014 roster, the team is still well-positioned to contend. O'Brien points out that Atlanta will get a full season of Brandon Beachy to help offset the loss of Tim Hudson, adding that the Braves' rotation already ranked sixth in the Majors in ERA last season. Similarly, the Braves can expect ace setup man Jonny Venters back in May, which should further bolster their pitching staff.
  • O'Brien also addresses the unlikely issue of a Dan Uggla trade, noting that even with a monster Spring Training that had scouts starting to believe, the Braves would need to eat as much as $16-18MM of the remaining $26MM on his contract to facilitate a trade. In the event that they're able to trade Uggla, Atlanta would be content to let Tyler Pastornicky, Tommy La Stella and Ramiro Pena handle second base.


61 Responses to Braves Notes: Freeman, Heyward, Kimbrel, Uggla Leave a Reply

  1. BraveCrowe 1 year ago

    I honestly have a harder time seeing Jason Heyward not playing his whole career in Atlanta.

    • erm016 1 year ago

      I don’t. I think we should trade him if he has a good year this year.

      • Jon429 1 year ago

        Totally agree. Two compensation draft picks in 2016 won’t replace our two corner outfielders walking to free agency. We need to at least trade one of them before then and get some return to revive the depleted farm system.

        • BraveCrowe 1 year ago

          I just have a hard time imagining that they let a player walk who is a home grown talent and a fan favorite at the same time we open a brand new stadium. Maybe I’m blinded by the emotional attachment to the player, but it seems like bad business to let him walk or to trade the guy IF he is performing at a high level.

          • Austin 1 year ago

            I feel the same way, but in reality I don’t think Heyward will be here long. Remember Homegrown talent with the last names of Francour and McCann? Or remember how mad fans were when the Braves let Smoltz walk a few years back?

          • NL_East_Rivalry 1 year ago

            Someone will give Heyward more money than he deserves and it wont be the Braves. The only way I see a deal getting done is if we are doing well and Heyward gets a 15 MM a year 2-3 year extension to stay with the team and hit FA at a time where he can play longer for more money in the sport. Seriously doubt that, however, as it’s a risk on his part.

        • BraveCrowe 1 year ago

          I just have a hard time imagining that they let a player walk who is a home grown talent and a fan favorite at the same time we open a brand new stadium. Maybe I’m blinded by the emotional attachment to the player, but it seems like bad business to let him walk or to trade the guy IF he is performing at a high level.

      • rundmc1981 1 year ago

        Regardless, we’re already in the unfortunate place of having both JHey and JUp reaching FA at the same time (’16). With 2 decent seasons (not good), both are going to want to get paid. It’s hard to say whether JHey can stay healthy enough to produce, worthy of a sizable deal, but I would like to see what a full, healthy season of him at the top of the lineup would look like. If he can pull his OBP back up and continue strong base-running and fielding, he could be a great extension, but it’s looking like he really wants to test free agency.

      • RJDavis11 1 year ago

        Looking at the free agent OF’s listed for next year, one would guess the Braves could fetch an above average return for Heyward in trade. None of those names will light your world on fire.

        Maybe a fit with the M’s sending Franklin to cover 2B if they part ways with Uggla. Obviously that wouldn’t be a 1-for-1, perhaps a conversation starter to fill holes on each side.

        • rundmc1981 1 year ago

          I really don’t understand the appeal of Franklin, at least, when you compare him to some of the others we’ve got. Not worth the minor upgrade, and even then, we don’t know what La Stella is going to do. His OBP is insane – which is exactly what that lineup needs.

    • Kevin Sheets 1 year ago

      For me, its hard watching any young player start in Atlanta and move on. But we need to see what happens.

  2. WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

    Kimbrel is an amazing closer not doubt but arbitration will far overpay him. As good as he is no reliever is worth 15+ MM a year. I think he is one of the few, if not only player, that will receive more in arbitration than he would as a FA.

    • Defiancy 1 year ago

      I don’t know. He’s a 2-3 WAR reliever, there aren’t many of those around. So he’d be at least worth 14mil -21 mil a year on the market I am sure.

      • vtadave 1 year ago

        Not even the Dodgers will pay $21 million a year for a reliever. Most I see Kimbrel getting on the open market, assuming he continues to perform, is 5/75.

        • Defiancy 1 year ago

          We’ll see, I can see 15 million, but with the way salaries are going up, I could see north of 15 being realistic as well.

      • This is where the monetary value of WAR has its flaws. No one is going to pay Kimbrel 20 million of above to be a closer.

        • Lionel Bossman Craft 1 year ago

          Right Rivera didn’t get that and his track record is far longer then Kimbrel. No matter how elite someone maybe, relief pitchers in general aren’t consistent over the long term.

      • DaSpiderMonkeys 1 year ago

        Up to 21 million a year…for a closer…really…

  3. WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

    Uggla is declining no doubt but if the Braves will eat 18 MM of Uggla’s contract NYY and possibly the LAD would be interested. They can both afford to take an 8 MM bet on his OBP and power potential. Despite his horrendous AVG and K% Uggla still managed to post an fWAR of 2.0 or more every season except 2013.

    • Defiancy 1 year ago

      I’m sure the Braves would eat some of Uggla’s contract. Don’t know if it would be 18 million though. I could see them eating 10 million of the remaining 26.

    • vtadave 1 year ago

      Alex Guerrero would have to be awful this spring for the Dodgers to even consider Dan Uggla.

    • Guest 1 year ago

      2.0 fWAR is replacement level, which is what to expect from the average MLB player. I don’t know why they would pay 8MM when they have younger guys in their farm who can produce the same if not more.

      • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

        How is player that post 2 wins ABOVE replacement level a replacement level player?

        • Guest 1 year ago

          Replacement level is roughly 2.0 WAR I believe, not 0 WAR.

          He could be a league-average 2B in 2014, but every projection I’ve seen places him under 2 WAR.

          • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 1 year ago

            That is not how WAR works! 0=replacement level, you can read about the computation of WAR and definition of replacement level at fangraphs

          • alphabet_soup5 1 year ago

            On fangraphs WAR definition it says:
            0-1 WAR: Scrub
            1-2 WAR: Role Player
            2-3 WAR: Solid Starter

            Uggla falls within a role player, making him very replaceable. Can’t imagine any team paying Atlanta for him.

    • DMiles5149 1 year ago

      As a Yankees fan, if they traded for Uggla, even if they didn’t pay him a dime it’d be an awful move. I don’t care what his WAR says, he’s just plain awful and his type of strikeout ratio’s mean he’d probably even worse in the Postseason.

  4. Kevin Sheets 1 year ago

    I’m hoping, hoping being the keyword, that the Braves new stadium and say a deep playoff run will increase payroll. But for that to happen Atlanta has to get passed the first round.

  5. Cobby_Box 1 year ago

    Every time Olney says to trade Kimbrel, drink.

    • Jon429 1 year ago

      Seriously. He’s just overly anxious to see Kimbrel in pinstripes. Fact is Braves won’t trade him during the season if they are contending, don’t see it happening.

      • rundmc1981 1 year ago

        Even Olney knows The Pinstripers don’t have what it will take to get Kimbrel, unless they want to fork over some money for Uggla. LAD might be another story. Their farm has some nice pieces that could easily get Kimbrel…and they could pay him. Downside is that he wouldn’t have a farmer’s tan in Cali.

        • Anonymous 1 year ago

          What pieces in LAD farm system are you referring to?

          • rundmc1981 1 year ago

            Pedersen, Zach Lee – yes, that might be a reach, but there’s a been a couple of articles making their rounds predicting decent trades and one had both Lee/Pedersen going to ATL for Kimbrel.

          • Anonymous 1 year ago

            Wow ok, I didn’t think Zach Lee was an option, but Kimbrel’s special.

  6. formerdraftpick 1 year ago

    Not sure if anyone noticed, but Uggla just put up is condo for sale two days ago. Is there a correlation of him doing that and trade talks?

    • alphabet_soup5 1 year ago

      Ask Jose Reyes about the home he bought in Miami…

    • NYBravosFan10 1 year ago

      Maybe having just got married may have something to do with it? Not sure though.

    • Mike LaRose 1 year ago

      His condo wasn’t big enough for his arms

      • bigb69 1 year ago

        Baby T-rex does indeed need a bigger pad for the gun show

  7. NYBravosFan10 1 year ago

    Why am I not remotely surprised that ESPN is trying to say so many negative things about the Braves and their future? Meanwhile I’m watching the press conference for Freddie Freeman and Frank Wren literally just said that the plan they’ve been developing is to keep the team together not just keep freddie in atlanta.

    • It’s not negative necessarily, it’s business. Unless the Braves expand payroll, they can’t keep their core together. It’s hard to be too optimistic about a team that has a short window to compete with its current roster and is hampered by a bad TV deal and 2 albatross contracts in B.J. and Uggla.

      • NYBravosFan10 1 year ago

        Good point so maybe negativity is the wrong word. Maybe “pessimism” is a better one to use. If he were optimistic, he’d say that the Braves will surprise us and will find the money from somewhere.

        • Why would he say that? The Braves haven’t given any indication of plans to expand payroll. It’s not his job to speculate on revenue streams.

          • NYBravosFan10 1 year ago

            The Braves never give any indication of any kind about anything, which is why I don’t understand why journalists even bother writing about them in the first place.

    • It’s not negative necessarily, it’s business. Unless the Braves expand payroll, they can’t keep their core together. It’s hard to be too optimistic about a team that has a short window to compete with its current roster and is hampered by a bad TV deal and 2 albatross contracts in B.J. and Uggla.

  8. PaganIdolCow 1 year ago

    Freddie Freeman fits the mold of a franchise player for a team playing in Cobb County.

  9. J.R. 1 year ago

    I’ll agree that it’s unlikely that Freeman, Heyward and Kimbrel are all retained long-term. But I can’t see them losing two of the 3. If anything, Kimbrel is traded next offseason, Heyward re-signs in 2016 and they’re forced to let Justin Upton walk that same summer (if he isn’t traded before then).

  10. J.R. 1 year ago

    I’ll agree that it’s unlikely that Freeman, Heyward and Kimbrel are all retained long-term. But I can’t see them losing two of the 3. If anything, Kimbrel is traded next offseason, Heyward re-signs in 2016 and they’re forced to let Justin Upton walk that same summer (if he isn’t traded before then).

  11. bravo_84 1 year ago

    I’ll repeat what I’ve said before about the Freeman deal. It is pretty much market value for his free agent years, and unless Liberty Media is going to let go of the purse strings it is a bad contract fro the Braves. I’ve honestly felt like they’ve had the wherewithal to go another 15-20 Mil since they bought the team. The question is do they spend what is necessary to stay competitive or keep playing the TV contract card.

    • Joseph Wilson 1 year ago

      That TV deal is the main reason we got a new stadium.. To offset that excuse so we cant use it anymore.

    • Joseph Wilson 1 year ago

      That TV deal is the main reason we got a new stadium.. To offset that excuse so we cant use it anymore.

  12. Chad Johnson 1 year ago

    Trust me with John Hart running the show now, our farm system will be brimming very soon, if we could just get a bit more steady financial backing (meaning non-corrupt corporate ownership, get out of the TV deal and hope that the new stadium and media blitz will help our future)

    • bravesnjays 1 year ago

      Yeah, that TV deal ain’t going nowhere unfortunately.

    • bravesnjays 1 year ago

      Yeah, that TV deal ain’t going nowhere unfortunately.

  13. Mil8Ball 1 year ago

    The comparison of Freeman to Braun is pretty bad if you ask me.

    While Freeman’s contract only goes to age 32 a Braun at 36 will likely have similar production to Freeman at 32(or pretty close either way…this is just an educated assumption). Even when Braun is declining he will continue to hit .300 and mash 20+ homers.

    Also Braun got 5/105 for an AVG. of 21mil a year. Freeman is only getting an AVG. of 17mil. So not sure where they are getting an unproven Freeman is getting paid more.

    • Joseph Wilson 1 year ago

      This is wrong in so many ways… First you assume Braun will still be productive… Assuming not being on PED’s he is going to be as productive as he was to begin with.. That’s a pretty big jump to assume he’ll be mashing 20hr’s and hitting .300 in his late 30’s, when we don’t even know how he is going to perform not being allowed to cheat for the first time as is… Freeman is getting paid what is going to be a bargain when you look at his production in 5 years compared to what Market value will be then… Not to mention we are paying for his meat and potatoes years.. ( His Prime) not his late 30’s..

      • Mil8Ball 1 year ago

        Even production aside the Brewers are paying Braun 21million at 36 when Freeman is getting 17mil at 32. The article states not so great players prime years are valued more than a superstars later years…which clearly isn’t treue in this case.

    • Joseph Wilson 1 year ago

      This is wrong in so many ways… First you assume Braun will still be productive… Assuming not being on PED’s he is going to be as productive as he was to begin with.. That’s a pretty big jump to assume he’ll be mashing 20hr’s and hitting .300 in his late 30’s, when we don’t even know how he is going to perform not being allowed to cheat for the first time as is… Freeman is getting paid what is going to be a bargain when you look at his production in 5 years compared to what Market value will be then… Not to mention we are paying for his meat and potatoes years.. ( His Prime) not his late 30’s..

  14. Mil8Ball 1 year ago

    The comparison of Freeman to Braun is pretty bad if you ask me.

    While Freeman’s contract only goes to age 32 a Braun at 36 will likely have similar production to Freeman at 32(or pretty close either way…this is just an educated assumption). Even when Braun is declining he will continue to hit .300 and mash 20+ homers.

    Also Braun got 5/105 for an AVG. of 21mil a year. Freeman is only getting an AVG. of 17mil. So not sure where they are getting an unproven Freeman is getting paid more.

  15. NYBravosFan10 1 year ago

    His writing skills are good. The guy can use good words and knows his way around a punctuation mark. His journalism skills though…

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