Now that pitchers and catchers have reported to Orlando, Braves’ news has started to pop up all day long. Some of this is from the your regular sources while others you may have missed. To let you see at least what I get a chance to see, I put together a compilation of Braves related quotes and keep some watch on the Hub and you’ll miss less Braves news.
On the 12th Jim Bowden’s GM’s office blog over at ESPN (insider Required) ranked the off season moves of all 30 teams. The Braves were ranked fourth on his list.
“. . . Wren did a terrific job in replacing (Michael Bourn and Chipper Jones) in the lineup. B.J. Upton is a comparable defender to Bourn and provides more power, with the capability for a 30/30 year. . . (Justin Upton) should at least replace Jones’ production. . . Walden is a health risk but adds depth to . . .one of the league’s best bullpens. “
In a comment on a post I’ll link later one gentleman pointed out that replacing Prado with Justin and Bourn with B.J. resulted in a worse defensive outfield based on runs saved. According to Bill James Handbook Prado had a plus 13 , Bourn plus 35 while Justin was plus 8 in right field and his brother minus 6 in center for a net loss of 46 runs. Offensively Bj had 71 runs created and his brother 82 while Prado had 96 and Bourn 102 so apparently we lost another another 45 there. Overall the team should be 91 runs worse off this year than last. Time will tell how that works out on the field.
Speaking of Bourn, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweeted that his four year $48M contract actually breaks out as $7 million 2013; $13.5 million 2014; $13.5 million 2015 and $14 million 2016. This makes one wonder what exactly Scott Boras said to Cleveland. To me it looks like a deal crafted to get him traded to a contender. The Tribe are chocked full of outfielders and Bourn is an aging if very productive star. Could his sales have been something like this?
“Think of it this way, Bourn gives you a the best leadoff man and center fielder in baseball for less that you pay Chris Perez and the same as you’ll pay Brett Myers. It also gives you the opportunity to restock your system because you can trade his very affordable contract for three or four good prospects What have you got to lose, a third round pick?”
In any event the man who was determined to get his big payday – 5 years at 75M or more – and could surely have got a four at $48M contract from the Braves is with a a team that will finish behind the Tigers and a long way from either wild card spot.
Today Dave O’Brien at the AJC put out a three short posts. The first I’ll mention is about Brandon Beachy’s progress. Beachy said he hoped to be back around the one year anniversary of his surgery – 21 June – but, “ “I’m not going to get hung up on an actual date.”
Finally he posted a piece about Andrelton Simmons being ready to prove to doubters he can be a leadoff man. It also touched on how excited he is to play for the Netherlands in the WBC. Simmons told him that there wasn’t a “huge” difference from his point of vie in hitting eighth and hitting leadoff. “It’s still see the ball, hit the ball.” Lots of insight into the mind of a future star.
Tim Hudson told Mark Bowman he wants to pitch for a few more years and end his career in Atlanta. “Hopefully, I’ll play a while longer, and hopefully it’s here. I think when the day comes when I’m not a Brave or not playing for anybody, it’s going to be a sad day around the Hudson house.”
On the 12th Ben Lindbergh over at Baseball Prospectus (membership required) wrote about spring training position battles and highlighted the Braves third base duel between Juan Francisco and Chris Johnson that I wrote about last week. I predicted the job would be Francisco’s to lose even if no one said that publicly. He predicted “ Francisco is the better defender, but his extreme strikeout issues last season coupled with Johnson’s experience make Johnson more likely to get the bulk of the at-bats.”
Finally in Wednesday’s Lineup Card they listed nine breakout candidates for 2013. Mike Minor was number four on the list. Daniel Rathman concluded that because the “. . .Brave’s brotherly offseason figures to give Gonzalez’s squad one of the best defensive outfields in the league. . .” it would help Minor because of his 35.4% fly ball rate. He concluded that although “. . . (Minor) was barely a replacement-level pitcher on the aggregate in 2012, amassing just 0.1 WARP, but a 2.5-win effort could very well be on the way.”
I recounted the discussion on our outfield earlier. I’m not sure what the effect will be but it is an interesting take on the coming year.
That’s A Wrap
Remember that aside from the comments I added the opinions aren’t mine. I think Minor will have a good year and while I am not a B.J. Upton fan I’ll wait and see what happens in center away from the tin can in St Petersburg. I believe Justin Upton will have a big year and prove to be a superior left fielder. Simmons will shine in the leadoff spot and Francisco will be the starting third baseman. What say you?