Braves Good News Monday


Monday and the Braves postseason is WELL underway in Atlanta. Here’s what’s happened and it isn’t even noon yet.

Nate McLouth’s option declined, it cost a $1.5 million buy out but thank goodness that albatross is gone.

Following my post on a potential swap for Chone Figggins, the Braves as usual went a completely different way. John Kreger reports Derek Lowe reportedly traded to the Indians. We are paying about $10 million of the $15 million he was owed and the Tribe are sending us A Ball lefty Chris Jones who projects as a LOOGY according to Kevin_Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus. Tremendous plus for the team and for fan morale. Braves Twitter Critters are absolutely all a-tweet with joy.

Eric Hinske’s option picked up. I knew this would happen, the Diesel is an integral part of the bench team and clubhouse. Cost a measly $1.5 million.

Accords to COTS, the Braves commitments for 2012 so far look like this.

Chipper Jones $14,000,000
Derek Lowe $10,000,000 (paid to Cleveland)
Dan Uggla $13,200,000
Tim Hudson $  9,000,000
Brian McCann $  8,667,000
David Ross $  1,625,000
Eric Hinske $  1,500,000
Nate McClouth $  1,250,000 (buyout)
Sub Total $ 59,242,000
Arbitration Estimates
Jair Jurrjens $  5,100,000
Eric O’Flaherty $  2,400,000
Martin Prado $  4,400,000
Michael Bourn $  7,200,000
Peter Moylan $  2,000,000 (non-tender due to injury and resign perhaps)
Estimated Commitments $ 80,342,000
pre-arb minimum salary players existing est $   3.940,000
Sub total commitments $ 84,332,000
2011 Payroll $ estimated  2012 target $ 91,000,000
Available to fill 6 spots on 25 Man Roster $    6,668,000

Assuming we’ll be within spitting distance of the estimate we could sign a shortstop and perhaps a real right handed outfield bat.

I wrote about shortstop options earlier. As predicted Marco Scutaro is no longer in play because the Red Sox picked up his option and I still like Clint Barmes.  If the money is close to these projections we aren’t in Josh Willingham territory but perhaps in Carlos Quentin range as I discussed last week.

Official Elias Rankings out today have Willingham as a Type A free agent and Barmes as a type B. Signing Willingham would cost us a draft pick while Barmes would not.

This is the first step towards killing the nasty taste left by last year’s failure to launch. I’ve noted before that I felt the GM was under orders – or at least a string suggestion -to do better because John Schuerholz felt it necessary to write to fans and apologize, not something he wants to do again I’m sure.

I hope that the failed signings of Nate McLouth, Kenshin Kawakami, Scott Linebrink, Scott Proctor and over estimation of the value of Derek Lowe have been a learning experience for the GM. My research into his acquisitions shows he does very well choosing young pitching prospects but not so well with older pitchers or everyday players. That is down at least in part to the scouts and advisors but the final choice is his. So here’s some free advice worth exactly what’s being paid for it, young players are better investments than older ones. Thus Willingham at 32 is not a long term investment for a team without outfield depth in the minor leagues while there are younger comparable bats who might be available via trade. Here’s a list of those between 25 and 30, with 22 or more homers and 50 or more RBI (a left fielder needs those numbers to play every day), who are not as of today under contract and whose teams might well be willing to trade for a pitcher – as they are our best bargaining chips.

Player HR RBI Age G AB R H 2B 3B BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Nelson Cruz 29 87 30 124 475 64 125 28 1 33 116 .263 .312 .509 .821
Carlos Quentin 24 77 28 118 421 53 107 31 0 34 84 .254 .340 .499 .838
Alex Gordon 23 87 27 151 611 101 185 45 4 67 139 .303 .376 .502 .879
B.J. Upton 23 81 26 153 560 82 136 27 4 71 161 .243 .331 .429 .759
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/31/2011.

There may be others of course. I’ll look at the options other than Quentin, address concerns about inexperience in our rotation if we deal a pitcher and more issues as the hot stove heats up.

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Friday, Aug 2222 Aug7:10at Cincinnati RedsBuy Tickets

Tags: 2012 Derek Lowe Eric Hinske Nate Mclouth

  • BCinAlabama

    The players listed, all have issues.Most have strikeout issues.All have their good and bad points. Not sure the availability of most of them is.We shall see.

  • BCinAlabama

    The players listed, all have issues.Most have strikeout issues.All have their good and bad points. Not sure the availability of most of them is.We shall see.

  • FredOwens

    @BCinAlabama Doesn’t everybody have strikeout issues these days? As a reference Willingham’s numbers are

    29(HR) 98(RBI) (32 years old) 136 (G) 563 (AB) 69(R) 120(H) 26(2b) 0(triples) 56(BB) 150(K) .246/ .332/ .477/.810

    His agent says he now wants three years and he’s a type A FA. That 3 year things makes me even less a fan. I suspect for a pitcher the first three are available. Upton – eh – not really a fan he just fit the demographic. Your right though, we shall see how it shakes out. I do know Matt Diaz isn’t an answer for 100+ games in any field.

  • FredOwens

    @BCinAlabama Doesn’t everybody have strikeout issues these days? As a reference Willingham’s numbers are

    29(HR) 98(RBI) (32 years old) 136 (G) 563 (AB) 69(R) 120(H) 26(2b) 0(triples) 56(BB) 150(K) .246/ .332/ .477/.810

    His agent says he now wants three years and he’s a type A FA. That 3 year things makes me even less a fan. I suspect for a pitcher the first three are available. Upton – eh – not really a fan he just fit the demographic. Your right though, we shall see how it shakes out. I do know Matt Diaz isn’t an answer for 100+ games in any field.

  • BCinAlabama

    Right now, its Prado, Bourn & Heyward in the outfield. I have read alot about the Braves going out to get another OFer. I am channelinjg my inner Bobby Cox and say I would expect Prado & Heyward to rebound.Of course, this will take some time to see.I just don’t get rid of Heyward, as some (lunatic fringe fans)have stated.As far as Prado goes, he could be a nice piece in a trade but I just don’t see the Braves trading him with fragile, aging future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones at 3rd base.Does anyone think the Braves will get a good return on investment in Jones? It sure would be nice if Chipper restructured his contract and gave the Braves more flexability(I know he has done it before, kudos to him for that).

  • BCinAlabama

    Right now, its Prado, Bourn & Heyward in the outfield. I have read alot about the Braves going out to get another OFer. I am channelinjg my inner Bobby Cox and say I would expect Prado & Heyward to rebound.Of course, this will take some time to see.I just don’t get rid of Heyward, as some (lunatic fringe fans)have stated.As far as Prado goes, he could be a nice piece in a trade but I just don’t see the Braves trading him with fragile, aging future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones at 3rd base.Does anyone think the Braves will get a good return on investment in Jones? It sure would be nice if Chipper restructured his contract and gave the Braves more flexability(I know he has done it before, kudos to him for that).

  • FredOwens

    @BCinAlabama I don’t see Chipper doing that (or batting second as all the sabermetrics folks liked) again. I keep hoping he’ll wake up one cold morning with his knees aching and every bone screaming for a hot tub and a beer and say Ya know, a personal services contract doesn’t sound bad…But he won’t.

    Prado is a below average outfielder and playing there hurts him at third, the reaction to the ball is much slower when he comes in after a few days out there and frankly he hates it. He won’t say that out loud but he was promised according to a story last season that he’d be back in the infield as quickly as possible. Wren said in an interview with DoB that his priorities were a SS, outfielder and utility infielder (who presumably could play ss). So I think the outfield bat id definitely on his list.

    Perhaps I’m reading something in that I want to see – I know, odd for me to be anything but objective isn’t it :-) – but he sounded a bit chastened or perhaps it was determined. I believe JS was horrified that he had to apologize to fans for the teams performance and blames the construction of the roster – in terms of the two Scotts. Lowe, KK sucking up money, the failed Mather thing – on Wren.

    The other thing I noted was – I’m way outside anything anyone’s said here and I am not recommending it but – taken logically if you get a Punto for example who plays 3 outfield spots and all the infield slots as well AND an outfield bat, where does Prado play unless Chipper breaks down completely?

    Prado’s value isn’t as high as it was after 2010 but it’s still good enough that teams want him to start at second base – not outfield or third – and that says something. So if the Tigers had a need at second and a similar to Prado outfield bat that’s a match. They don’t BTW but you can see the logic in it.. It wouldn’t happen before spring unless they were overwhelmed in any case.

    Dang there goes part of my next blog LPL

  • FredOwens

    @BCinAlabama I don’t see Chipper doing that (or batting second as all the sabermetrics folks liked) again. I keep hoping he’ll wake up one cold morning with his knees aching and every bone screaming for a hot tub and a beer and say Ya know, a personal services contract doesn’t sound bad…But he won’t.

    Prado is a below average outfielder and playing there hurts him at third, the reaction to the ball is much slower when he comes in after a few days out there and frankly he hates it. He won’t say that out loud but he was promised according to a story last season that he’d be back in the infield as quickly as possible. Wren said in an interview with DoB that his priorities were a SS, outfielder and utility infielder (who presumably could play ss). So I think the outfield bat id definitely on his list.

    Perhaps I’m reading something in that I want to see – I know, odd for me to be anything but objective isn’t it :-) – but he sounded a bit chastened or perhaps it was determined. I believe JS was horrified that he had to apologize to fans for the teams performance and blames the construction of the roster – in terms of the two Scotts. Lowe, KK sucking up money, the failed Mather thing – on Wren.

    The other thing I noted was – I’m way outside anything anyone’s said here and I am not recommending it but – taken logically if you get a Punto for example who plays 3 outfield spots and all the infield slots as well AND an outfield bat, where does Prado play unless Chipper breaks down completely?

    Prado’s value isn’t as high as it was after 2010 but it’s still good enough that teams want him to start at second base – not outfield or third – and that says something. So if the Tigers had a need at second and a similar to Prado outfield bat that’s a match. They don’t BTW but you can see the logic in it.. It wouldn’t happen before spring unless they were overwhelmed in any case.

    Dang there goes part of my next blog LPL

  • BCinAlabama

    How many games was Punto available for this year? I think you are reading something in that you want to see as far as JS toward Wren. JS knows he had to sign off on all contracts. I guess as someone higher on the food chain and future Hall of fame executive himself he gets the “Chipper Treatment” by some followers,not by me. For all his good moves in the 1990s, he had a boss who had to sign off on trades and signings.Granted, he had a better ownership in the 90s as well.It was not the 2 Scotts that lost the playoff birth.To me it was the hitters and a certain overpaid starting pitcher who as Jon Heyman has said is pretty much done.

    I could see a Barmes or Jamey Carroll type coming in. I would not be surprised the Braves take a flyer on Grady Sizemore, but I am sure the line is long for his services with an incentive laden contract. Of course this is just talk. I can’t wait for the Winter Meetings.

  • BCinAlabama

    How many games was Punto available for this year? I think you are reading something in that you want to see as far as JS toward Wren. JS knows he had to sign off on all contracts. I guess as someone higher on the food chain and future Hall of fame executive himself he gets the “Chipper Treatment” by some followers,not by me. For all his good moves in the 1990s, he had a boss who had to sign off on trades and signings.Granted, he had a better ownership in the 90s as well.It was not the 2 Scotts that lost the playoff birth.To me it was the hitters and a certain overpaid starting pitcher who as Jon Heyman has said is pretty much done.

    I could see a Barmes or Jamey Carroll type coming in. I would not be surprised the Braves take a flyer on Grady Sizemore, but I am sure the line is long for his services with an incentive laden contract. Of course this is just talk. I can’t wait for the Winter Meetings.

  • FredOwens

    @BCinAlabama It doesn’t have to be Punto (63 games) it was just an example. Jamey Carrol works too. I too blame hitters who didn’t hit but the two Scotts lost about a half dozen games that could have been won. I never said JS was perfect, in fact a while back I said something like he hadn;t made a good deal since 2003. I did say he was embarrassed at the collapse. If you’re generally bad all year losing is easier than if your 10 up and lose in September. Wren sounded like a man pissed off when I heard him speak. He usually has that soft diplomatic tone but it was noticeably harder. I don;t think that was an act. I like Barmes as I’ve said before but likely that won’t happen because I want it too and it would cause the opening of the 4th seal :-)

    Sizemore isn’t a player because of is injury history and because the Red Sox will give him more.

    All I hope as I said somewhere is that he spends wisely and for the long term rather than a Sizemore who may break down again. Read somewhere that DeRosa was on the radar as the utility guy. He’s broken too and older. I may visit Dallas and just hang out to see who I can see. Maybe FW will give me an autograph, ya think?

  • FredOwens

    @BCinAlabama It doesn’t have to be Punto (63 games) it was just an example. Jamey Carrol works too. I too blame hitters who didn’t hit but the two Scotts lost about a half dozen games that could have been won. I never said JS was perfect, in fact a while back I said something like he hadn;t made a good deal since 2003. I did say he was embarrassed at the collapse. If you’re generally bad all year losing is easier than if your 10 up and lose in September. Wren sounded like a man pissed off when I heard him speak. He usually has that soft diplomatic tone but it was noticeably harder. I don;t think that was an act. I like Barmes as I’ve said before but likely that won’t happen because I want it too and it would cause the opening of the 4th seal :-)

    Sizemore isn’t a player because of is injury history and because the Red Sox will give him more.

    All I hope as I said somewhere is that he spends wisely and for the long term rather than a Sizemore who may break down again. Read somewhere that DeRosa was on the radar as the utility guy. He’s broken too and older. I may visit Dallas and just hang out to see who I can see. Maybe FW will give me an autograph, ya think?