Morning Chop: A Summary of Braves’ News
Murray Chass Comes Out From The Crypt To Make Salient Hall Argument
If he is to be taken at his word, this is the final year that blog-hating blogger Murray Chass will be voting for baseball’s Hall of Fame; few, at least in these parts, will be sad to see him bid that responsibility adieu. His reasoning behind this decision is predictably loony – he wants nothing to do with the steroid era, yet desperately wants Jack Morris in the Hall, so he’s just gonna vote until Morris is no longer on eligible, then call it quits.
In revealing his 2013 ballot, Chass has graciously deigned to include Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine alongside Morris as worthy of baseball immortality. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll feel Frank Thomas is a viable candidate, but he needs a little more time to think about that one. Setting aside for a second the absurdity of a ballot that includes Glavine but not Mike Mussina or Curt Schilling, and a ballot that might include Thomas but not Jeff Bagwell, his PED carpet-bombing (which Leitch highlighted, with a little help from the always-great Craig Calcaterra) actually helps shine a bit of the spotlight onto the managers who benefitted from the Steroid Era as much as the users themselves.
What’s Left To Do This Offseason?
It’s been a slow offseason around these parts. We should have expected such as this is a young team that returned much of its roster from last season. Brian McCann and Tim Hudson were tough but expected (somewhat) losses, and with the arbitration cases holding the payroll hostage and the farm system preventing big trades, there really wasn’t much the Braves could do. There are certainly hopes that the Braves could still have a big move left – prices begin to fall around this time of the offseason, and the Braves, while not necessarily having the best prospects, might be offering the best prospects – but let’s take a moment to look over the entire team.
NL Top Players: No. 20 Freddie Freeman
Counting down the top 50 players in the National League:
NO. 20 FREDDIE FREEMAN
Team: Atlanta Braves
Lowdown: Outside of Braves country, Freeman was essentially booed for being voted into the All-Star Game over Yasiel Puig. The backlash obscured the fact that Freeman was deserving of the honor. An above-average fielder, Freeman took the next step at the plate in 2013, becoming one of the game’s best run producers. With runners in scoring position, he absolutely blasted opposing pitchers, hitting .443/.541/.695 in 131 at-bats. A repeat of those lofty numbers, which were aided by an unsustainable BABIP, is unlikely, but at just 24, Freeman is already one of the more mature power hitters in the league.
Otherwise known as the guy they gave up on Sean Gilmartin for. Gilmartin was immediately seen as an overdraft in 2011, who hurt his shoulder in 2013, and who was traded for a utilityman/backup catcher frequently rated as the worst catcher in Major League Baseball.
Mac often complained that the easiest way for a backup catcher to acquire a reputation for good defense was to be a terrible hitter. Ryan Doumit is the opposite: a decent hitter for a backstop with an appallingly bad defensive reputation. Come to think of it, that basically makes him the Chris Johnson of catchers. Or, if you go back a few years, as a guy with a serviceable bat and defensive flexibility who you probably wouldn’t want to play exclusively at catcher, it makes him a lot like Eli Marrero.
Doumit was a Pittsburgh Pirate from 2005-2011, where he was mostly just a guy, but he had an awesome year in 2008 — .318/.357/.501 with 15 homers in 465 at-bats. That is not something he is likely to repeat.
Braves have money to make run at Tanaka, but likely won’t
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Sometime after the Braves and a small handful of Mr. Potters fleeced Cobb County taxpayers of $300 million and gift-wrapped it for a multi-billion-dollar corporation, and about the time a baseball team signed a career 70-70 pitcher to fix their starting rotation, a thought occurred: When does it become about competing?