Morning Chop: A Summary of Atlanta Braves’ News
Atlanta Braves Need Brandon Phillips
Yes, you read that right. The Atlanta Braves need to acquire Brandon Phillips. He is the missing link that this team needs. Assuming BJ Upton actually plays like a baseball player this year, the second base position is the biggest hole in the lineup. I know that is a big assumption considering how poorly B-UP played last season. Point is, second base is a huge hole for the Braves. Dan Uggla is a beloved Brave. He is a good guy as far as the eye can see. However, he is getting paid too much to walk to the plate, flex and strike out four times a game. Let’s not forget money is always an issue. Especially for a team like the Braves who don’t just give it away or blow it most of the time. If the Braves are going to pay big money to a guy, at least make it worth the price. Phillips is worth it.
So here’s the plan. Either get Uggla to take a pay-cut and remain a Brave as a pinch-hitter and an infield relief. He would play when guys needed a day off or in case of an injury. Or, it is time for Uggla to go? Let some other team take his contract off the books and use that money on a player who hits, fields and doesn’t hurt the team but actually helps it.
It’s obvious to see, the player the Braves desperately need this upcoming season could be and should be Brandon Phillips, the second baseman for the Cincinnati Reds.
Quick Hits: Braves, Tanaka, Rangers
MLB Trade Rumors
[Editorial Note: Scoffed at our own Jeff's Schafer's article, did you? Ha! :)]
The Braves, who have lost Brian McCann and Tim Hudson and done little to replace them, but it’s not too late for them to recover this offseason, Mike Petriello of ESPN.com writes (Insider-only). They can start by signing young players like Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman to extensions, Petriello suggests. Another fix might be acquiring a new second baseman to supplant Dan Uggla, and one possibility might be dealing for Howie Kendrick of the Angels, who need young pitching. Here’s more from around the Majors.
Jose Constanza, Tyler Pastornicky, Christian Bethancourt, Joey Terdoslavich, Jonny Venters (by JonathanF)
So last year I got assigned Jose Constanza, Tyler Pastornicky and J.C. Boscan. My editor, AAR, was so pleased with my ability to wrench some manner of amusement out of barely serviceable parts that this year I have been allocated Constanza, Pastornicky, Joey Terdoslavich, Jonny Venters, and Christian Bethancourt. (I think I may have been allocated Pena as well… communication with editors is not my strong suit… but let’s just assume somebody else has him.)
Let’s start with Koko. Just about everybody predicted him as the 25th man on the team last year. Then we got Jupton… that made him the 26th man. Those of you new to this sport may not know that 25 is pretty much the limit. So he got 31 AB in 21 games from which you can learn exactly nothing. I would note, however, that he has a career postseason OPS of 3.000. That doesn’t mean anything either, but when you’re asked what Brave has the highest career postseason OPS in at least 2 plate appearances (and, by the way, in AT MOST two plate appearances) it is none other than Jose. Somewhat more worrisome is the fact that he is now 30, and he managed an OPS of 646, his lowest of his minor career. He is no longer, in my opinion, the Braves 25th player, but he’s definitely in the top 30. That said, when the Braves make the playoffs and are out of players to actually play the game, he’ll probably be pinch hitting in a crucial spot – he’s got Experience.
Now to the Rev. I was considerably higher on the Rev than most of you, but that was before I saw, all too briefly, Ramiro Pena. If Pena is healthy, then I think Pastornicky might be the 26th player. Pastornicky had 30 meaningless at bats in the regular season, and was on the same playoff team as Dan Uggla. He’s still only 23, and put up a respectable 747 OPS in Gwinnett.
Atlanta Braves: The Best and Worst of 2013
[Editorial Note: You may have missed this one. I did. Though a few days old, it's still interesting.]
COMMENTARY | The Atlanta Braves will gladly welcome the singing of “Auld Lang Syne” this New Years as they try to repress the memory of a bittersweet 2013 season. Let’s countdown the list of the very best and worst 2013 had to offer, and then raise a glass to the possibility that 2014 will be better.
The Best of 2013
When the 2013 season began, no one knew just how important a couple of no name players would become. Chris Johnson was a throw-in the Arizona Diamondbacks gave the Braves in the Justin Upton trade, yet, the 29-year-old third baseman actually turned out to have the better season of the two. Johnson hit .321 with 12 home runs and 68 RBIs, and was even vying for a batting title through the final week of season.
The other surprising bright spot was “El Oso Blanco” who erupted onto the scene in his rookie season. Gattis’ odd journey to the majors made him a national story as this one-time janitor pounded 21 homers and led all National League catchers in slugging percent (.480). Gattis hit .357 in the postseason and will now take over as the everyday catcher in 2014.