Here are a few stray notes from around the game …
- As I recently explored in my breakdown of the Braves’ offseason-to-come, Atlanta faces some decisions in the outfield. David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution goes into more detail on the situations of the disappointing B.J. Upton and corner outfielders Justin Upton and Jason Heyward, both of whom will become free agents at season’s end. The Braves “seem prepared” to take a bath on the elder Upton’s long-term deal to move him off the roster, according to O’Brien, and if the can manage it would probably utilize Heyward or a stop-gap in center. Dealing one of the other two players while trying to extend the other has long been discussed as a plausible option, and O’Brien indicates that it is a realistic option to slide Evan Gattis into a corner role to fill any resulting void.
- As far as extensions go, O’Brien says the Braves talked with Heyward’s representatives about a deal last winter. The team was interested in something that would have fallen well shy of Freddie Freeman’s $135MM pact, says O’Brien, and Heyward’s asking price was well out of Atlanta’s comfort zone. His number has, in all likelihood, only gone up in the meantime, as Heyward just turned 25 and continues to rack up production — even though he has not returned to the offensive power ceiling he showed earlier in his career.
- The Royals passed on a chance to sign Sergio Romo for a meager $1K bonus before the Giants eventually took a chance on the reliever, ESPN.com’s Keith Law tweets. While Kansas City certainly cannot be faulted for leaving the then-unheralded Romo behind, it surely would have been nice to have added him from the team’s perspective.
- On the other hand, the Royals were willing to pay righty Tim Hudson, who said that K.C. made him a “very good offer” of two years this past offseason, as Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports on Twitter. Like Romo, the veteran ended up with the Giants — in his case, by choice — and will square off against the Royals in the World Series.
Braves need to package BJ with a pitching asset, pay most of his salary, and just get a league average CF or 2B for him. Gotta move on.
This kind of trade scenario doesn’t seem realistic unless a really good arm is involved from the Braves’ side. If it’s a bounceback guy like Minor, then why would any trade partner give up even an average MLB asset when they are being asked to eat cash in the deal? Minor is obviously a guy that lots of teams would want, but at what price given the risk (he’s already a big arb cost)?
First question is whether any teams actually want to commit a roster spot to Upton even for one year. If teams aren’t ascribing any value to Upton in a deal, then Atlanta is doing nothing more than selling off the companion player and using Upton’s contract as cover (while technically trading him instead of releasing him, for whatever that’s worth).
Amen. The Braves’ middle relief and 4-5 rotation spots are all currently occupied by question marks, like Frank Gorshen’s Riddler costume on the old Batman show. They can’t afford any trade that doesn’t bring pitching back, much less one that gives up anything but the most marginal pitching talent. As a Braves fan who’s been living in Mariner country for the last 12 years, I’d like to see the Braves get creative by identifying teams who have needs that their available talent can address, and whose available talent can address theirs. The Mariners are able and willing to take on payroll, they have available pitching to deal, they have vacancies in the outfield, and they need a bona fide DH-type whose power can mitigate Safeco’s hitter-unfriendly park effects (Gattis). Maybe a mega-trade where they package BJ (plus no more than half his remaining salary) and Justin (if they can convince him to accept a trade to the Emerald City) together with Gattis to bring back pitching and some other piece, like a viable 2B. The Braves are at a point and a payroll where they have to get more dynamic with their lineup’s skill set, a la this year’s two World Series participants. With enough payroll freed up, they can address the needs such a trade would create in the outfield, maybe even revisit negotiations with Heyward.
The Braves don’t really need a 2B. They have La Stella ( will be ok with a decent hitting coach), Gosselin and Peraza. After Peraza they have a kid tearing up the minors named Ozhaino Albies. They need CF and 3B more than anything right now.
Ozhaino Albies is at least 5 years away from the Majors and probably has about a 5% shot of ever making the big leagues. He hasn’t even played at A-ball yet and is 17 years old. Let’s be reasonable.
I was just listing the depth that the Braves have at the 2B position. They have Peraza for 6 years and then Albies should be ready after that.
Btw, Albies has drawn comps to Jimmy Rollins and Bogaerts so he may make the majors sooner than most prospects.
Three or four years then? The point is it’s a real stretch to pencil a 17 year old into your future starting lineup. Once the guy rakes at AA, things get more realistic.
B.J. Upton’s pretty close to unconditional release territory by the sounds of it. It might interest a team like Toronto if Atlanta was willing to eat 70-80% of it, then offset all of his 2015’s salary by taking on Rickey Romero and what he is due to make. Jays do need a CF, and Upton did hit pretty well in the AL East before going to a league that suppresses power. Upton at $4-5M a season(2016-2017) in Toronto might be beneficial if he could put up 1-2WAR a season.
Either that or be stuck acquiring Edwin Jackson who’s not off the books until 2017.
I think they can do better than that, if they’re willing to package him. A $2-3m Upton plus a good young pitcher can get them a pretty decent outfielder or 2B. The other team can just cut BJ and keep the pitcher.
I’m not sure it’s that simple given the Braves were willing to trade him for a -3.6WAR pitcher(Jackson) over the last two seasons. They just want to get out of that contract any way they can without releasing him. Seeing how the Cubs didn’t want to do that, it’s assured Upton has negative value right now.
You can think throwing in a prospect would help a team take on any of Upton’s salary but unless the Braves are willing to give up their TOP prospects I don’t see anyone flinching at this.
It wasn’t so much that The Braves were reportedly willing to maybe take that deal as it was that the now unemployed Frank Wren was considering it. But even then, it was nixed because he didn’t think he was getting “fair value” in return. Gee, ya think, Frank?
If they pair BJ Upton with Gattis, and/or one of Justin Upton or Heyward, they can do much better not only in what they receive, but with the amount of money they’d have to send. This is nowhere near as dire as the Uggliness.
Sid, you just proposed trading 2/3 of the starting outfield with a catcher/back-up LF. It is a bad idea for the Braves to do such a trade given what their outfield would like post-trade.
Melvin Mendoza, Jr.
I definitely would not want Jackson. If BJ has been bad, Jackson has been flat out terrible. One step forward and two steps back.
But why would the Braves want to give up a pitcher who is good enough to return a decent OF or 2B just to save $2-3mm? You don’t trade the better player for the inferior one just to save chump change.
If they were interested in trading an arm for a bat, they could maximize their return by just trading the arm for the bat and leaving BJ out of it.
“O’Brien says the Braves talked with Heyward’s
representatives about a deal last winter. The team was interested in
something that would have fallen well shy of Freddie Freeman‘s $135MM pact”
More evidence that the different components of a players WAR are not valued equally by teams. If the average is 6million $/WAR, I would say bat comes in at 8 million.offensive WAR, defense at 4 million or less, and position valued based on a teams need. Just pulling those numbers out of a hat.
Yeah, nobody in baseball values defense as much as offense at the moment. Might change in the future, seeing how offense is on a decline because of infield shifting and better pitchers.
Might be a little more subtle than that. Atlanta surely didn’t give Simmons the largest 1+ service-year extension guarantee because of his bat.
So, I don’t think the club is afraid to pay for defensive value, though whether they’ll pay top dollar for it from a corner OF (or, specifically, from Heyward) is a different question.
I do feel that the financial moves the Brave’s have made recently, or might make this offseason, need to also be seen in the light of the coming revenue increases due to the new stadium. They seem to be trying to lock up as much young value as possible, and I’d anticipate them to use added revenue in the coming winters to sign talent with the relative cost control they have established.
It’s just seems so strange to see Atlanta with any kind of public front office shuffling whatsoever. They’ve been the model of a stable franchise since about 1988.
I really like the idea of the Mariners trying to pry away Jason Heyward in his walk year. Hopefully they can get an extension discussed and give themselves a reliable outfielder for the first time since 2009. I’ve always liked him and think his offense still has time to develop, on top of his already stellar defense.
Mariners need right-handed bats, and Heyward is barely replacement level against lefties for his career.
The Mariners don’t need right handed bats. They need good players. Heyward posted a .351 OBP in 2014, and a .349 in 2013. That would have ranked 2nd on the team in 2014, and 1st in 2013. I don’t care about Heyward’s platoon splits.
The Mariners have gotten 1.1 WAR out of the right field position from 2012-2014. Heyward has been worth 14.8 by himself. I don’t care that it’s mostly defensive value. Outfield defense is something the Mariners have struggled with ever since 2009.
Heyward would be a perfect fit on this roster should we acquire and extend him. He hasn’t even entered the age at which hitters usually start their prime.
Exactly – the Mariners would take a lineup of 9 Robinson Canós if they could, despite them all being left-handed bats. Heyward’s a great player and he’s not even reached his peak yet. To be 25 and already have 5 strong Major League seasons under your belt is a huge accomplishment.
heyward is a left handed bat not a right handed one ….
Heyward also fits the White Sox suspected m.o. Of course, they’d have to work out a trade rather than flash cash in the way they would need to in the case of Markakis.
Royals have the best bullpen, why would they want Romo?
I’m inferring that the 1K offer was made to Romo as either a minor league free agent or as an amateur.
Melvin Mendoza, Jr.
I like Jason, but he is a prime example of how WAR can be so flawed sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, he had a solid/above average year, but according to WAR’s scale and the history of the award vs. WAR his 6.3 should have him as a legitimate MVP contender, which is absurd.
Depends how good you think his defense really was. But yeah, it’s REALLY hard to imagine a right-fielder with defense SO good it turns a decent hitter into an MVP level guy. Maybe a SS, C, or CF.
Melvin Mendoza, Jr.
Same with Simmons, I like him a lot and hes a superb defender at one of the most valuable positions, but is he really a good enough one to overcome his near .600 OPS and make him a 3.5 win player?
Watching the games, you could definitely say yes. Those two (Simmons and Heyward) are major reasons why ATL pitching did as well as they did.
Melvin Mendoza, Jr.
Looking at their record, I can definitely say no. Let’s keep building teams around “solid defense and veteran leadership” and see how far that gets us.
Heyward and Simmons aren’t why the Braves were a sub .500 ball club. Uggla, Upton, Doumit, and Johnson are your guys to blame. Simmons definitely had a down year but he’s got contact skills, latent power, and elite defense – the contract was premature but he still has plenty of time to explode.
Melvin Mendoza, Jr.
That wasn’t my point at all. All I’m saying is that I do not believe Jason Heyward singlehandedly adds 6 wins more than a AAA replacement to his club a year by being a below average hitter and running down pop flies in right field.
Heyward hit .160 against lefties and that isn’t going to cut it for an everyday player. And Gattis is a defensive liability. Both of them are injury prone and neither is the long term answer.
Heyward being injury prone is a misconception. He’s averaged 130+ games, and would have likely played in 20-30 more last year had he not been hit in the face by a pitch.
Don’t bait the trolls, friend. If Tom doesn’t believe a guy with 21+ WAR at age 25 with two 5+ WAR seasons isn’t an “everyday player”, then let him think that.
Exactly!!! In 2011 hurt his shoulder and “only” played in 128 games. In 2012 he played in 158 games. In 2013 he had an appendectomy and had his face crushed by a fastball that left him with 2 steel plates in his jaw. Last season he played in 149 games. That hardly qualifies as being injury prone.
Let’s call a spade a spade and recognize that Heyward is 25 years old with over 20 career WAR. In 5 seasons, he’s been great in 2 and All-Star level in 2. That is exactly what a “long-term” answer looks like. His batting floor is high, his batting ceiling is extremely high, and his defensive value is elite. He’s a better, younger version of Alex Gordon – so once again – he’s exactly the type of player you sign to a long-term deal. He’s low-risk, high-reward.
sorry but i dont trust anything dave o’brien says anymore…hes been wrong far more lately than he’s been right about the braves…and i can assure you even though heyward’s asking price might have been way out of atlanta’s comfort zone..there is absolutely no way humanly possible they are going let heyward sign anywhere else for less than a 1st or second round pick..which inevitably means he wont be traded…he might not get the full amount he is asking for,but i can promise you the braves will indeed resign him and or/justin upton because we all know evan gattis as great a hitter as he is power wise is not anywhere close to justin and jason defensively….trust me neither heyward nor justin will be dealt
I wonder if the Braves would be interested in trading Heyward for a package of Jon Niese, Daniel Murphy, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and $7 Million to make up for 2015 salary differences. Gets the Braves a real 2B, a long-term replacement for Ervin Santana, and a solid platoon piece for Gattis in the outfield (allowing Gattis to catch against righties) all for one year of a player that they won’t be able to afford anyway.
Mets would most certainly have to overpay to get Heyward, even on on a one year rental. I assume the Braves would ask for one of Nimmo or Herrera to start, and go form there.
I’d trade even more than that if Heyward were willing to sign a contract extension. Keep in mind, though, that the Mets could just not trade any of those guys and sign Heyward in free agency since the Braves aren’t giving him what he deserves.
with the braves new stadium deal and the large copius amounts of revenue coming in from it and cobb county it wouldnt surprise me at all if the braves found a way to sign gattis justin upton and heyward to long term deals
and the braves certainly would never even remotely entertain the idea of trading heyward to a division rival that they’d have to play 18 times a year
No, not close to what it would take to get him. The Braves don’t need a 2B either.
Would the braves and mets make a deal together how about murp/den deckker for justin upton mets need a power hitting OF the braves need a 2b than the mets can sign asbdrubal cabrera for ss and save their young pitching
Murph is only under contract for another season and Den Dekker is still relatively unproven. I think the Braves want to give La Stella a shot at 2B, although keep in mind that Murphy also plays 3B. I think this is one of those proposals that seems less and less realistic the more you look at it.
Braves have Jose Peraza and Tommy La Stella who will be competing for 2B next year. They have no need for a 2B. I
I’m just gonna throw my two cents in there but how about a trade of bad contracts and under performing outfielders BJ Upton for Josh Hamilton. I’m just thinking out loud here that maybe a change of scenery will help both of them.
Jason Heyward’s a lot like Alex Gordon – one of the better outfielders in the game. He plays elite defense, walks a bunch, has some power, and is still very young. And he looks like he could put up MVP-caliber seasons if he ever completely figures it out. He will get paid and he will deserve it. And if I were the Braves deciding between JUpton and Heyward, Heyward would be the obvious choice.
still say the braves will try to find a way to sign both long term…with the money coming off the books this season with venters,,doumit,santana,harang,walden etc plus the new revenue stream from the new stadium they have more than enough cash to sign both to long term deals ….besides as we all know the braves never ever make their intentions in terms of contracts and free agency public until after the deals are already done….trust me when i say neither heyward or justin are going anywhere nor gattis either…
Minor point but Walden will be returning next year. He is still under arbitration.
ok my bad i thought his contract was up i apologize
It would be a smart move to lock up both Upton and Heyward. Heyward’s floor is a 4 WAR player and Upton hits as well as nearly anyone in the game and is still only 27.
100% agree. I like Justin but his contact in the strike zone has been decreasing each year. He has also put on a LOT of weight which isn’t good for an NL outfielder who can’t DH.
Another reason why it’s a good thing Frank Wren is gone. How do you not lock down Jason Heyward before he becomes a free agent? Here you have easily one of the best defensive right fielders in the game, yet you’re going to allow him to go to the free agent market? You see, if they hadn’t made that atrocious deal with BJ Upton, they could afford to give him Freeman money. Heyward has stated that he wants to be in Atlanta, he wants to be a Brave, yet the Braves are pretty much giving him the finger. People want to know why he wasn’t the offensive threat this year? Because he got shafted by the Braves. In all honesty, I don’t blame Tim Hudson one bit for making the comments he made at the start of this year.