NL Notes: Braves, Mets, Cubs, Willis

The Braves don't get as much attention as the Cardinals, Athletics or Rays for being well-run teams, but perhaps they should, the New York Post's Joel Sherman suggests. The Braves' relative lack of postseason success may be one factor, says Sherman, but they've made the postseason three times in the past five seasons. Consistency may be one secret to their success. "They have had strikingly little turnover on the baseball side and their philosophy has been consistent throughout," says one NL scout. "They are very clear about the type of player they are looking for and acquire those types." The Braves are off to a great start this season despite losing Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy to Tommy John surgery, and Sherman contrasts the Braves' decision-making heading into the season with that of the Mets. When Medlen and Beachy went down, the Braves acted decisively to replace them, quickly signing Ervin Santana even though he had declined a qualifying offer. The Mets, meanwhile, still have a need at shortstop, and Stephen Drew is still available on the free-agent market. Here are more notes from throughout the National League.

  • Cubs GM Theo Epstein will watch NC State pitcher Carlos Rodon pitch on Friday,'s Bruce Levine tweets. Rodon currently appears highly likely to be the first overall pick in the draft in June, and the Cubs pick fourth. Much can change between now and then, however, and it makes sense for the Cubs to do due diligence.
  • Dontrelle Willis, who was recently released by the Giants, is considering becoming a pitching coach, Jon Heyman of tweets. That might seem a little surprising, given Willis' own unorthodox mechanics (as's Alden Gonzalez joked), but coaching isn't merely teaching what one used to do, so there's no reason a pitcher with an idiosyncratic delivery couldn't teach pitchers whose deliveries are more typical.

23 Responses to NL Notes: Braves, Mets, Cubs, Willis Leave a Reply

  1. wbz41 1 year ago

    Theo must have got demoted.

    • BlueCatuli 1 year ago

      Or he’s a hands on President of Baseball Operations. Why would a trip to watch your number one draft pick, number four overall, be considered a demotion?

      • wbz41 1 year ago

        calm it down francis, just saying the posting listed him as GM and not be his actual title.

  2. jb226 1 year ago

    I don’t have a problem with Willis as a pitching coach because of his own delivery — I have a problem with it because of his inconsistency. I think one of the most important parts of a pitching coach’s job is to figure out why a guy is off and help him get back to the things that led him to be successful. Willis got off and never found his way back to success over the next seven years. He’s the textbook example of a guy who couldn’t make the adjustments to be a successful major-leaguer long-term, and I don’t think that bodes well for a coach.

    Does that mean he would be bad? Not at all — he might be fantastic; a lot of players who weren’t very good have turned out to be very good coaches and managers. It does mean I would look elsewhere first though.

  3. James Pedigo 1 year ago

    The 2 remaining free agents are still out there because 1. they were greedy and declined 14.1 million dollars, and 2. their agent badly misplayed their hand. I don’t know why I haven’t heard anyone say this before, but this is about as bad a job as I’ve ever seen an agent do. If it was anybody but Scott Boras people would say he’s terrible and in over his head. Boras has to take a major hit for this botch job. Being the greediest shouldn’t mean the best and now we can see why.

    • SCarton12 1 year ago

      Agree, writers like Sherman are owned by Boras, he feeds them stories and they pay him back with good press.

      • Marc_from_Brooklyn 1 year ago

        Sherman is a tabloid columnist with his face next to his writing who needs to get attention and stir up controversy to sell papers. It’s not journalism by a long stretch, but it is in the long tradition of Dick Young, who helped run Tom Seaver out of town.

  4. bravesnjays 1 year ago

    It is quite incredible how adept the Braves FO is at “small” acquisitions (Ben Sheets, Aaron Harang, David Carpenter are recent examples of what I mean), player development/drafting, and for the most part, making making trades (the name Teixeira need not be spoken), but has struggled so mightily when trying to make big impact signings (Uggla, BJ, KK, and Derek Lowe are the big ones to most fans).

    Does Wren and co. do everything perfectly? No. But it is hard to complain when the Braves have had a winning product for the better part of 2 straight decades.

  5. Tigers72 1 year ago

    I think it’s pretty easy to know why the Braves lack success in the Postseason, they strike out too much and when you are going up against the best of the best in terms of pitching you are not going to succeed. Like last year against the Dodgers do you think your going to succeed striking out against Kershaw, Greinke, and Ryu?

  6. ShaneRedsFan 1 year ago

    I wonder where the D-Train would be today if he made the transition to a hitter say 4-5 years ago. He is a great hitting pitcher. Enjoyed his short stint with the Reds back in 2011. He always had a smile on his face!

    • Hills of Glenallen 1 year ago

      He’d be hanging out with Carlos Zambrano in the independents out of a job, regardless.

  7. Derpy 1 year ago

    Just imagine how good the braves would be if they hadn’t signed BJ Upton or Dan Uggla. That franchise is far from perfect, they have made quite a few pretty significant errors of judgement that are holding the team back. Just imagine, they could have kept McCann and signed someone like Shane Victorino if they hadn’t wasted resources on Upton and Uggla. That would be a huge improvement over their current roster, probably 3-4 wins.

  8. Captain America 1 year ago

    Ervin Santana was open to sign a below market deal to build market value for next year.

    Drew is not.

    There is your “story”

  9. NL_East_Rivalry 1 year ago

    But would they have Justin Upton?

    • Mike Query 1 year ago

      Why wouldnt they?

      • NL_East_Rivalry 1 year ago

        Common belief he declined the trade to Seattle for the chance that the Braves would make a deal for him so he could play with his brother. Other factors in there I’m sure, but there’s a chance he would have accepted if BJ was on another team.

        • Mike Query 1 year ago

          But he couldnt block a trade to Atlanta so that wouldnt matter at all.

          • NL_East_Rivalry 1 year ago

            True, my belief was that he would have accepted the trade to Seattle.

    • Bravesfan1991 1 year ago

      Who cares? We’d still have Prado to play 3rd if they couldn’t have gotten Justin and wouldn’t have needed to give up near as much to get Johnson if the Braves still wanted him. There were plenty of other OF free agents or trades to be had. Five years of watching BJ struggle at the plate is not worth three years of Justin being streaky.

      • NL_East_Rivalry 1 year ago

        They wouldn’t have gotten Johnson, they would have had Prado who hasn’t been anything great for Arizona. Assuming the money would be spent appropriately and not on one of the other speedsters or to retain Bourn after he couldn’t get a deal isn’t a bright assumption.

        I am in no way defending the Upton signing, but I find it hard to just assume that the team would be better without that signing and the trade.

  10. Norrtron 1 year ago

    Do you have any idea who the Braves owner is?

  11. MetsEventually 1 year ago

    Doesn’t matter, it’s not the Wilpons.

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