What The Atlanta Braves Should Do

Overview

Behind one of the game’s better-looking rosters, the Braves have overcome a 9-14 April by winning nearly 70% of their games since. Turner Field has been a house of horrors for opposing teams, with the Braves winning nearly 80% of their games at home and outscoring their opponents by 51 runs (as opposed to a sub-.500 record on the road and only a +13 run differential). They are currently in first place.

Buy or Sell?

Undoubtedly the Braves’ record makes them candidates to acquire even more talent. They’re pretty much set at catcher with Brian McCann. At first base Troy Glaus has been a fantastic low-risk, high-reward signing (as has Eric Hinske) while Martin Prado is flashing power and on-base abilities along with being a human vuvuzela. The left side of the infield has a collective line of roughly .245/.367/.330, suggesting they can get on base, but can’t hit for power. It seems unlikely they add a new third baseman or shortstop, though.

The outfield definitely needs help. Nate McLouth is out after an outfield collision and Melky Cabrera is usually out when batting. Hinske and Jason Heyward are good, and Matt Diaz should return soon, but the Braves have had to turn to players like Brent Clevlen and Gregor Blanco to make ends meet. Someone like Luke Scott would fit in, as would David DeJesus, or hey, maybe Alex Gordon, which would give the Braves a Chipper Jones replacement for next year (if he does retire) and an outfielder this year.

Their pen is one of the three or four best in the game. The rotation features one elite starter in Tommy Hanson then a few guys closer to average. Kris Medlen has filled in admirably, but Jair Jurrjens should soon return from the disabled list which makes the unit stronger, even if it means Kenshin Kawakami sliding to the bullpen.

On The Farm

First base prospect Freddie Freeman and outfielder Jordan Schafer are the Braves’ hotter positional prospect names bound to rise in trade rumors. Pitching is the Braves’ oil, though, and they feature a number of intriguing and attractive arms. There’s Julio Teheran, a teenager with top of the rotation stuff but bullpen durability to date; Arodys Vizcaino, whom they acquired in the Javier Vazquez deal as well as Craig Kimbrel, Randall Delgado, and Ezekiel Spruill. Oh, and their top draft pick in 2008 is Mike Minor.

Budget

The Braves’ opening day payroll of ~84 million is their lowest since the 2000 season. Even last year they had a payroll over $95 million, which suggests an increase could be possible, particularly with the Bobby Cox’s ever-looming retirement occurring at season’s end.



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Mr. Sanchez
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Mr. Sanchez
6 years 1 month ago

Not bad, although I’d consider Tim Hudson closer to elite starter than average. Also, Mike Minor was the top pick last year, (2009) and Julio Teheran has shown much more than “bullpen durability”. He had an issue in 2008, as a 17 yr old playing in Danville, but hasn’t had any since and regularly works relatively deep into games.

MetsKnicksRutgers
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MetsKnicksRutgers
6 years 1 month ago

He has nearly a 1:1 k:bb last time I checked which was last week. In class right now so don’t have time to check but I don’t imagine it’s changed much. The gb is nice but that’s about it with Hudson. Granted, he is still pretty good but not elite

Mr. Sanchez
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Mr. Sanchez
6 years 1 month ago

So having a high strikeout rate is the only way to judge an effective P? And his rate has been improving since the early season when he struggled with a few high walk games (he had an Ok, 5bb game in April, and 1k, 6bb game in May). If you take out those two games, his K:BB goes from 41:34 to a much more respectable 40:23.

The walks have been a bit of a problem, but Hudson has never been a high strikeout guy, spending most seasons of his VERY successful career with a K/9 under 7 and a career mark of 6ks per 9.

Jason B
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Jason B
6 years 1 month ago

I don’t disagree with the Dirty Sanchez that Hudson has been a very good pitcher this year. Still, you can’t just exclude the two games that most negatively impact his K:BB ratio. No cherry-picking!

MetsKnicksRutgers
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MetsKnicksRutgers
6 years 1 month ago

234 babip. His career is 287 with a ros zips of 305. If we add 50 points to his obp against I am pretty sure his era is bound to edge closer to his fip

Anon21
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Anon21
6 years 1 month ago

Yes, the BABIP, even more so than the mediocre K/BB, is the big red flag looking at Hudson’s results this season. I don’t expect him to have a meltdown, but he’s not pitching as well as Hanson or Medlen. I would also place him behind Jurrjens in terms of reliability moving forward.

MetsKnicksRutgers
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MetsKnicksRutgers
6 years 1 month ago

I’m not even making the claim that were I a braves fan I would be worried about him. I just don’t agree with the idea that he is an elite pitcher. Pretty good yes. Would I take him on the mets? Oh hell yes. But I don’t put him in the top 15 to 20 starters in the nl

Mr. Sanchez
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Mr. Sanchez
6 years 1 month ago

I’d agree that he’s not elite anymore. But like you say, he’s still pretty good and far from average.

Adam
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Adam
6 years 1 month ago

DeJesus has to be considered a near perfect for the Braves. They’d be buying high, but he fills the gaping offensive hole they’ve had out of LF and CF thus far. I guess it’d really depend on how confident they are he can man CF. Hinske has proven he should get the starts in LF vs. RHP, so the Diaz/Melky combo would probably continue to platoon with him, making DeJesus the injured/terrible Nate McLouth’s replacement.

The question I guess is 1) does Dayton Moore realize he needs to trade him? And 2) Can the Braves get him without giving up a major prospect (which he would not be worth)?

Bronnt
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Bronnt
6 years 1 month ago

It would also depend on the kind of package that Moore wants for DeJesus. The Braves’ top 3 prospects (Teheran, Vizcaino, Freeman) are certainly off limits, and they’re probably not willing to give up guys like Minor or Delgado to get him, either.

Their best offer would probably be something like: JJ Hoover, Brett DeVall, and Cody Johnson-maybe toss in Zeke Spruill, even though he’s hurt.

Jason B
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Jason B
6 years 1 month ago

If I were Moore I would hold DeJesus rather than taking back a gaggle of B/C prospects. Then again, I hear he’s in a contest…

Bronnt
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Bronnt
6 years 1 month ago

If I’m Frank Wren, and I’m told that if I want DeJesus it’s going to take including a prospect like Minor or better, I’m fine not making the move. A season and a half of DeJesus isn’t getting quite the return I’d like for the top tier prospects in the Braves’ system. It’s possible that, as a Braves’ fan, I’m overrating them, but all 5 guys are likely to be in BA’s top 100 next year (barring injuries, knock on wood) and could all conceivably be in the top 50. Three were already top 70 and have done little to hurt their status this year.

Dayton Moore should realize that he’s going to have to move DeJesus at some point, because the Royals won’t be competitive next year. Hoping to extend him for 2012 and beyond seems rather hopeful too, to think they’ll be in contention at that point and to think that he can be productive heading into his mid 30s. The package I offered may not be the best offer, but Moore really should turn his trade chips into something.

Souldrummer
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6 years 1 month ago

I think the Royals may end up overvaluing DeJesus, though. From what I understand he’s beloved in KC. He’s the rare Royal draft pick who has stayed homegrown and been a part of the brand for an extended period of time. Parting with such a player can be demoralizing to the fanbase and the would want to have a prime prospect to get back in such a deal. I agree that they’re going to want at least a B/B+ prospect in return.

Eric22
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Eric22
6 years 1 month ago

As a Braves fan I would prefer DeJesus rather than Luke Scott. DeJesus is more versatile in that he can play basically any OF position if needed. Also, Scott is probably going to be limited to LF since Heyward plays RF basically every day and the thought of Scott playing center gives me the chills. Not to mention DeJesus is the better defender and provides enough offensive value to be worth what Scott is. DeJesus fits much better and it would be a good addition especially if McLouth can’t get his act together.

Bronnt
Member
Bronnt
6 years 1 month ago

The question you’d need to ask about Luke Scott is this: Is he more valuable in LF than Hinske? They’re almost exactly the same guy, on paper. Any gain would be VERY minimal, and he’d just sap playing time from Hinske. So what’s the point in giving up something to add a guy who is basically already on the roster?

RahulN
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RahulN
6 years 1 month ago

I like the idea of an Alex Gordon acquisition as well. Could be fairly cheap, especially given Moore’s penchant for picking up former braves players. It’s a fairly good upside play, and relatively inexpensive financially at that. I mean, if the royals are going to just stash him at AAA for no reason, he must be available right?

geo
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geo
6 years 1 month ago

Nope. Royals have already told every club that’s inquired on Gordon “not available.”

Corky
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Corky
6 years 1 month ago

Getting Yunel Escobar back on track would certainly boost the left side of the Atlanta infield.

Zach
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Zach
6 years 1 month ago

I’d say he’s already back. He’s hitting .345/.455/.405 since May 26th. Still no power but he and Chipper have both been producing lately.

Dominic
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Dominic
6 years 1 month ago

I think the Braves should stand pat. They should learn lessons from their recent past and know that they have to build a team through their farm system. DeJesus would be nice, but he’s a free agent, and a lefty. They have enough left handed bats. It would be nice if they could get a defense only CF, which shouldn’t cost them much, but not sure who that could be. Otherwise, stick it out and if Chipper retires then you’ll have some money to play with.

I also like the Alex Gordon idea, but now way do they get him without giving up one of their great arms, and again, no reason for that.

Zach
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Zach
6 years 1 month ago

I’m not sure what lessons they have to learn. They build through their farm system better than most teams and end up shipping out a lot of talent simply because they usually have a surplus of it. Nothing wrong with that. Now I agree they don’t need to be giving up anything of significant value for DeJesus which means they probably won’t get him. As far as a defensive only guy, they have one in AAA right now in Jordan Schafer.

Bronnt
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Bronnt
6 years 1 month ago

He’s almost certainly referring to the Mark Teixeira trade. Which, for all intents and purposes, should have worked out better for Atlanta than it did.

Zach
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Zach
6 years 1 month ago

Bronnt,
True but one trade that doesn’t work out shouldn’t shift an organization’s methods. Plus, that deal was slightly out of character and was probably Schuerholz’s last ditch effort for a World Series title as GM.

Nevin
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Nevin
6 years 1 month ago

Dominic: DeJesus isn’t a free agent. There’s a (very reasonable) 6 million dollar option, with a 500K buyout.

I like the idea of a DeJesus acquisition to play CF, but then the Braves have to find a taker for Melky or McLouth, and neither would seem to offer enough of value to the Royals to include them in the deal. Just don’t make sense. If the Braves could move one of them– preferrably McLouth– and include some other pieces but can get Alex Gordon in the deal too, that would be amazing. (not Teheran, Delgado, Vizcaino, Freeman, Salcedo or Schafer. But maybe Kawakami with the Braves eating some cash and even Kimbrel or Minor, Spruill, Hoover, Jo-Jo. I’d even consider Medlen and a lesser quality set of throw ins for a deal like that, and I’m a Medlen fan. I wouldn’t mind overpaying if its in an attempt to win it all, and doesn’t crater the farm system).

CircleChange11
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CircleChange11
6 years 1 month ago

David DeJesus would be great for the Atlanta Braves.

Alex Gordon would be great for the Gwinnett Braves.

Right now the best thing about Gordon is he’s a below average player that can be had for replacement player value (presumably). WooHoo.

I wonder if teams have been trying to trade for Gordon? I ask because the sentiment seems to be that Gordon is league average, but the Royals are just too dumb to see his value, and are having him waste away in 3A learning a new position (he can hit MiLB pitching … but so can Brandon Wood … really well).

I haven’t really heard or read of teams’ interest in Gordon. Has anyone?

I always thought StL might make a move to acquire him to play 2B (or 3B if Freese’s DUIs were going to become an issue).

Doesn’t look like Jordan Schaefer is the answer.

Bronnt
Member
Bronnt
6 years 1 month ago

I’m sure the Braves wouldn’t mind having Gordon in the system somewhere, just because they don’t have many talented position prospects in the upper levels. He’d be great organization depth for them. But this year…even given the most generous projections, his bat doesn’t play in the Atlanta outfield. He’s not an upgrade over Hinske or Heyward at the corners.

Mr. Sanchez
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Mr. Sanchez
6 years 1 month ago

But he would give a possible 3B for 2011, and if his bat is back to showing the promise it had before this year and last, he could be a decent fit. While he’s not an “upgrade” over Hinske, he (or Hinske) would be an upgrade over the current end of the bench options and rebuild the depth that has carried this team.

But with him or Dejesus, it depends on the price. It’d be great to land either one for the package you describe above (Hoover, Cody Johnson and one more). I think Hoover is a pretty good prospect, and the Braves could include some MLB level players too if needed. Chris Resop or Jesse Chavez could help the Royals, or perhaps a guy like Jojo Reyes or Gregor Blanco, since we all know Moore will eventually sign them anyway once the Braves let them go as minor league fa’s. The problem is both are lefties, and the Braves would ideally add a right handed bat.

I’d be willing to improve a prospect package a shade if whoever the Braves got a CF from would take back McLouth. That leads me to perhaps the White Sox and Rios. He’s RH, Williams has worked with the Braves on multiple deals, and they might be willing to take McLouth as a stop gap since he’s a huge discount from Rios’ deal. Doubtful, but with the right prospect package maybe.

Mr. Sanchez
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Mr. Sanchez
6 years 1 month ago

“It’d be great to land either one for the package you describe above ” Should read, it’d be great to land BOTH, not either. I think Hoover + extra is too much for either one individually. He’s an underrated prospect that I’d be hesitant to part with alone for either guy, let alone with others added to him.

Adam
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Adam
6 years 1 month ago

Mr. Sanchez:

I like Hoover, too, but you are giving him way too much value. Despite his struggles in the majors, Gordon is a far better prospect than Hoover is even though Gordon is technically not a prospect anymore. And yeah, I would move Hoover for DeJesus as well. Yeah, DeJesus is a rental, but you move B prospects for rentals when you are going for it. As good as Hoover might be, he is, at best, the Braves 5th best pitching prospect (Teheran, Vizcaino, R. Delgado, Minor). You have to be able to give up your fifth best pitching prospect for a rental or a post-hype sleeper type.

(BTW, I am not the same Adam who posted earlier.)

Nevin
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Nevin
6 years 1 month ago

Sanchez: I like Hoover too, but he and some throw-ins may be barely enough to pry either one of them alone. The marginal value of a reasonably priced effective veteran CF on a short-term contract will be very high, as will be that of a low service time skilled positional player like Gordon, even though he’s struggled to put it together so far.

We have to be realistic about Hoover: he had a pretty solid 2009 in Rome. But he was 21 years old. He’s 22 at A+ now in one of the best parks for pitchers in the minors, and has put up a 4.14 ERA, 98 baserunners in 74.0 innings, and a 56K:21BB ratio.
The rose is off his bloom a bit, and we should temper our interpretations of his value.

I think it would take something like Hoover, Jo-Jo (or Kawakami with Braves eating money), Cody Johnson and another near-ready bullpenish arm or really low level guy with potential but not much track record to get both DeJesus and Gordon. And even that might not do it.

Bronnt
Member
Bronnt
6 years 1 month ago

Several question marks with the article. First is whether Alex Gordon is even a reasonable trade piece to acquire-there’s no reason for Kansas City to trade him, certainly not right now when his value is surely as low as it has ever been, unless the entire purpose of re-routing him to AAA to play the OF was to convince a team that he’s useful as a fourth outfielder.

The problem with adding an outfielder for Atlanta is that, once everyone is healthy, they’d need to dump someone off the 25 man roster. It’s not going to be Heyward, but I’m fairly certain that Melky, McLouth, and Diaz have used up all of their options already. Plenty of Braves fans would love to just DFA Nate McLouth, but the Braves would hate to risk losing a player who is certainly more talented than his numbers this season would indicate.

In fact, there’s no reason to believe that McLouth’s problems this year are due to anything but bad luck and a high strike-out rate. The K-rate is very enigmatic as well, since the plate discipline is very much in line with his career averages prior to this year-swinging at the same number of pitches both in and out of the zone, while not taking an inordinately higher number of strikes. The only thing that begins to explain the strike-outs is that he’s getting more strikes called as a result of foul balls than ever before. Getting rid of a 28 year old outfielder who has had decent power in the past seems to be begging to be second guessed.

Certainly, DeJesus would look great in CF for them, so that Melky can go back to being a fourth OF or platoon mate. All the Braves need in LF is someone to bat against left handed pitchers, which is exactly where Diaz will slot in once he gets back. Unless he continues to hit as poorly as he was behind his injury, there’s no reason for the Braves to upgrade anything other than CF-they have the NL’s highest scoring offense. Adding Luke Scott, or any other corner OF (but especially lefty batters), is just reducing Eric Hinske’s playing time at this point, and they certainly don’t want to do that as well as he has been hitting. At the very least, any trade you make has to avoid making your team WORSE

As for what the Braves would use for trade chips, I can almost certainly say that Freeman, Teheran, and Vizcaino are untouchable. They’ve got too much future hope vested in those three, and the hope is to see Freeman possibly starting as soon as next year. Likewise, I wouldn’t see them dealing Schafer because they’re too well run to sell at a low point for a player who’s a former top prospect for them, still trying to get his career back in line following a tough injury that he tried to play through.

I just don’t see what the Braves could add other than a player like DeJesus-they need someone who can play CF to keep Hinske and Heyward on the corners, and they need to make sure that his defense isn’t bad enough to counter whatever offensive gains he provides.

Nevin
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Nevin
6 years 1 month ago

Yep.
For this year, has to be CF, rotation or 3B, and those last two aint happening.
Hinske/Diaz could be a stellar platoon with Matt gets back (one of my favorite descriptions of Matt Diaz, from Mac Thomason: “He’s Rogers Hornsby against lefties, but more Roger Cedeno against regular people”).
They have great depth across the whole team, except at RF. A better secondary option there would be welcome, but don’t see how it fits with the rest of the roster. If something happened to Heyward, there’s not a great replacement plan. Just have to cobble something from the guys they have. But I suppose that’s true for all teams.

Skid
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Skid
6 years 1 month ago

The braves need to look at guys who bat from the right side of the plate not left.

Cory Hart
Jose Bautista

those are the 2 names the braves should look into.

Anon21
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Anon21
6 years 1 month ago

Looks to me like Bautista probably can’t play CF. Fewer than 500 innings out there, and he’s been a disaster when he has played. Hart has even less playing time in CF, but hasn’t been as bad in the limited opportunities he’s had. Still, neither inspires confidence as an everyday choice at the toughest OF position…

To be fair, McLouth isn’t a star fielder himself, but he’s played CF a lot and has been respectable, if not outstanding.

Hizouse
Member
Hizouse
6 years 1 month ago

Yes, this is disappointing coming from RJ, who I think follows the Braves. The Braves need a righty much more than a lefty. As a team, 241/334/346 (680) vs LHP, compared to 273/360/419 (779) vs RHP; that’s 99 points of OPS better vs RHP. Are you happy hoping Yunel, Chipper, and Diaz turn it around, knowing that Johan, Hamels, or J.Garcia are likely waiting in the playoffs?

The problem regardless of which side you trade for, as Bronnt points out, is that there’s no space on the roster if everyone is healthy. There are only 5 spots for OF, and 2 of them are Heyward and Hinske (good point by Bronnt that Hinske = Luke Scott) . You have to get rid of Melky, McLouth, or Diaz if you add a bat. The Braves aren’t ready to eat McLouth’s salary, and Bobby likes Diaz, so that leaves Melky as the odd man out, and he’s probably the best defender of all of them.

Anyways, Cody Ross is the guy I’d target. He’ll be entering his 3d year of arbitration next year, which might make him available.

ajones2522
Member
ajones2522
6 years 1 month ago

I’m not saying another RH bat in the outfield wouldn’t help but let’s not overstate the problems. Chipper and Yunel are already turning it around and as far as those lefties go, Johan pitches well against us (and everyone else) but never wins and we pound Hamels so those guys shouldn’t strike fear into anyone.

ShawnG
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ShawnG
6 years 1 month ago

A plus about Dejesus…He would be a Type-A FA in the NL if the Braves acquire him.

Nevin
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Nevin
6 years 1 month ago

Shawn: We don’t know that. I think its just as likely that he’s a Type B. And I think its most likely that the Braves would exercise his reasonable $6 mil option and take things slowly with Schafer.

Kyle
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Kyle
6 years 1 month ago

I have to question a couple of things in this article.

To suggest that the Braves have only one “elite” pitcher and everyone else is just average is just not true. Sure you can argue k’s/bb’s all day, but I’ve watched every game the guy has pitched, he’s as dominant as any pitcher in baseball right now. Brandon Webb was obviously an “elite” pitcher just a couple of years ago (just look at how my Cy Young trophies he won) and he was not a strike out pitcher, but a ground ball guy.

Also, Derek Lowe has been pretty good for most of the year as well, certainly above average. When JJ comes back you’ve got to believe that we’ll have one of the best rotations in the game, especially if bobby moves Kawakami to the pen and leaves up Medlen. If you’ve watched Medlen pitch, you know that he has been well above average this year, just ask the Twins hitters who were raving about him after that game he pitched there.

I agree that we could use some more production out of our CF position, but it’s not worth getting rid of any young talent for a rental. We’re in 1st place even with the struggles of Nate. If he comes around then that’s just a bonus.

Anon21
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Anon21
6 years 1 month ago

Look, I’m sorry, but Hudon’s K/BB ratio IS terrible, even if you think that doesn’t matter, and his .235 BABIP is completely unsustainable. He is not an elite pitcher at this point in his career; he’s just getting very lucky.

As for Lowe, he’s basically been pitching at the level of a league-average starter or maybe a little worse. His results have been worse than his performance, but his performance has been mediocre. There is value in league average starts which take you deep into the ballgame, but it’s frustrating that he’s getting paid much more than anyone else on the team to be mediocre. Nonetheless, I agree that Lowe isn’t a top area of concern going forward. I just wish we didn’t have a lot of wasted salary in that slot constraining our options.

And finally, I would not be so sanguine about our OF problems. Yeah, we’re in first place, but the Mets are breathing down our necks, and once you fall out of the division league there’s some very stiff competition coming out of the West for the wild card slot. It’s pretty obvious we’ve got a hole, and it should be possible to fill it. I say go for it, and bury the rest of the division before we regret it.

Jason B
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Jason B
6 years 1 month ago

Derek Lowe is “above average” in salary at this point in his career. Certainly not in performance.

Adam
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Adam
6 years 1 month ago

I am going to have to defend Hudson here, but Kyle, you are definitely on your own when you argue that Lowe has been better than average. While Hudson’s K/BB numbers scream trouble and the BABIP and LOB% seem unsustainably low/high, I don’t think he is getting enough credit for his GB%. It is not just high. It is best in the majors high, with only one pitcher (Masterson, who knew?) even close. That extra high GB% can mask a lot of sins–I’d love to see what Hudson’s SIERA is now and how that compares to his FIP and xFIP. (SIERA is BP’s new attempt at improving FIP and xFIP; one difference is it gives additional credit to groundball pitchers for more ground balls because those pitchers are more likely to have runners on first for double plays.) Hudson’s stat line (with the K/BB still being a little low) is actually pretty similar to Derek Lowe’s very good 2002 season with Boston.

It is hard to say how the year will turn out for Hudson (he is surely due for some regression), but I think there is a little more than pure luck involved here. If he lowers the walks, I think he can have a very good season; there are plenty of examples of guys without huge K numbers who do well with low BB totals if they have a GB% of 66. I don’t know if Hudson is elite, nor do I care, because elite is a little to vague a term to have any real meaning at all.

Kevin S.
Member
Kevin S.
6 years 1 month ago

tERA, which considers batted ball types, still has Hudson at almost a run and a half above his ERA. If Hudson knocked that BB rate down a bit, I wouldn’t even care about the strikeouts, but the thought is you need to be good in two of the three true outcomes to be a good pitcher. Hudson’s elite in one and decent in another, so it’s hard to call him elite. Nobody’s denying that he’s pitching well.

Kyle
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Kyle
6 years 1 month ago

That first paragraph was about Tim Hudson obviously, got a little ahead of myself there.

Skid
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Skid
6 years 1 month ago

The braves are not getting a CF’er unless they can trade Nate. At this point no team is going to take him.

Get an upgrade to Diaz is the best thing the braves can do.

Anon21
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Anon21
6 years 1 month ago

That seems a little emphatic. You don’t think there’s a single club out there which (1) has already fallen out of contention and (2) has the ability to replace their CF with an adequate prospect? I don’t have a good sense of what the options are, but surely the Braves have enough minor league chips to incline SOME GM from a losing team to seriously consider an offer for a good CF.

Bronnt
Member
Bronnt
6 years 1 month ago

Yes, but you have to make sure that any CF the Braves might get isn’t going to inexplicably make the team worse for having made the trade. Whoever you trade for has to be at least better than Melky (who is doing a superb job when he plays in CF, and ZIPS has him at a .321 wOBA for the rest of the year) and hopefully is much better than Diaz or McLouth, who would end up released. For the record, ZIPS has McLouth with a .340 wOBA for the rest of the year.

Kevin S.
Member
Kevin S.
6 years 1 month ago

Melky’s not really a good center fielder, though. He’s the classic tweener, with a CF’s bat and a CO’s glove. An above-average CO’s glove, but below average in CF.

Nevin
Guest
Nevin
6 years 1 month ago

Diaz vs LHP = Albert Pujols vs RHP.
Diaz isn’t going to supplant Hinske and take over the every day LF job, and deployed correctly, together they’re awesome. Something along the lines of Matt Holliday, but for only $4 mil.
The Braves aren’t upgrading there.
They’re probably not going to make any moves whatsoever provided there’s not an injury
But if they were, either a CF, a longer-term 3B option or a very good AA LF makes the most sense.

Jon
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Jon
6 years 1 month ago

Am I crazy for saying I think the Braves would benefit more by acquiring a Roy Oswalt or a Cliff Lee?

Anon21
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Anon21
6 years 1 month ago

Not CRAZY, certainly. The Braves have two starters who are easily replaceable. But the rotation frankly isn’t a big weak spot for this team, whereas the LF/OF situation is. I can see the argument for really piling on in terms of pitching, since good starters can really make up for a lot of deficiencies. But I do object to having to run out a replacement-level OF hitter every day. So if I were setting the trading priorities, I think adding another elite SP would fall towards the bottom, especially given the likely price.

Benholio
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Benholio
6 years 1 month ago

Yes, you are a little bit crazy. The Braves are already about to send a SP to the bullpen. Sure, Oswalt or Lee would be an increase over someone, but they would both be temporary and expensive.

Brian
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Brian
6 years 1 month ago

Yes, you’re absolutely crazy.

The two teams you would be trading with, would surely ask for major pitching prospects in return, and while you have Oswalt under control for a few more years, you’d probably have to give up one of Teharen, Delgado or Minor for either one.

All three of them COULD turn into top of the rotation starters.

For Lee, a half year rental, that’s pretty ridiculous, considering what you already have in the rotation.

For Oswalt, who has been good but not great for a couple years now, it just makes no sense at all to try to put together a trade like that.

Bronnt
Member
Bronnt
6 years 1 month ago

Roy Oswalt = crazy. We’re already shackled to Derek Lowe’s bad contract, and Oswalt’s has the potential to become an albatroos fairly soon. In three years, it’s probably he wouldn’t deserve a rotation spot ahead of Julio Teheran, but he’ll still be making more money than the Braves can afford to pay him. He’s at best a very marginal upgrade to a rotation which already has 6 or 7 legitimate starters. There’s no reason to give up anything of worth to acquire the nearly minimal added value he brings.

Cliff Lee is slightly less crazy, but the price for him is going to be really high in trade, and there’s no sense getting into a bidding war for his services when you probably still have better pitching than most of your opponents. The only reason you’d make a move like this is out of fear-you’re afraid of a short series where you’re potentially facing something like Lee + Jimenez or something, and it’s stupid to make moves out of fear. That’s how we got Derek Lowe in the first place.

BX
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BX
6 years 1 month ago

“Oswalt’s has the potential to become an albatroos fairly soon. In three years, it’s probably he wouldn’t deserve a rotation spot ahead of Julio Teheran, but he’ll still be making more money than the Braves can afford to pay him.”

Oswalt’s only under contract through the 2011 season, with a 2012 option. He’s not going to be on the payroll in 3 years unless someone extends him.

But your point still stands, Oswalt is a marginal upgrade.

I agree with you on Cliff Lee though, to an extent, He’ll be an awesome improvement, but he’s not worth nearly as much when he’s replacing Medlen or Kawakami as he would if he’s replacing some replacement level AAA fodder.

But then, the Braves are in position to pay extra for marginal win, but there are other teams that need him more and should be willing to give up more than the Braves should be.

However, another counterpoint would be if it blocks the Phillies/Mets from getting him, AND if the improvement Lee represents over Medlen/KK is more than any available position player would represent over the guy he’d be replacing.

I still like acquiring a DeJesus or Luke Scott better though.

Richard
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Richard
6 years 1 month ago

It was kind of implied in this article that the braves have ~$10 million to spend. That’s not really the case as over the last few years they have had a pitcher Hudson, Hampton) on the DL most of the year which insurance paid for, which gave them more flexibility. I think it’s more likely they have 2-3 mil to play with.

Bronnt
Member
Bronnt
6 years 1 month ago

Attendance is seriously on the uptick, though, so that might convince the Braves to go slightly beyond their spending bubble. No team besides the Twins (with the new ballpark) has seen a high increase in attendance over last year, to date.

Mike S.
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Mike S.
6 years 1 month ago

I kind of like the Oswalt idea. Unlike Lee, he has a year left on his contract, plus a team option for another year at a $2M byout. A prorated half year plus next year plus the buyout is about a push for the $25M they’ll save when/if Chipper retires after this year.

I understand that this insn’t an area of great need, and one could argue that the “mistake” the Braves made during their 14 year run that cost them more WS wins was having a pitching heavy/hitting light mentality. Contrary to conventional wisdom, you can have too much pitching if it comes at the cost of an anemic offense. However, that would be a pretty nice rotation. Too bad the Astros don’t have an outfielder that makes sense to throw into a trade for Osswalt to sweeten the deal.

Also, I’ve heard that the Astros are overvaluing Oswalt from a return perspective and will ask for too much to move him to a saavy team liek the Braves.

Rob
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Rob
6 years 1 month ago

I think if the Braves traded for Lee even if its just for the rest of the year it would be the best thing they can do. Not only would it keep him off the Mets or Phillies but it would give us something we dont have – a LEFTY starter – and a great one at that. If i never saw KK pitch again i would be happy and Medlen would really fortify the bullpen. It is unlikely but it would be beneficial.

Andrew
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Andrew
6 years 1 month ago

I think all of these suggestions are trying to force moves that aren’t likely necessary. Oswalt is good, but is his marginal value to the Braves worth what they’ll have to give up? I don’t think so.

Wouldn’t David Dejesus just be Nate McLouth v2.0? I think the internal option of Jordan Schafer is a better option (given his superior defensive skills), with the hopes of McLouth returning to form.

Alex Gordon would be an excellent addition because of the oft-injured #10.

I think the key addition for this team is a second Omar Infante–someone who can play both infield and outfield, although I would prefer a more solid infielder.

Anon21
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Anon21
6 years 1 month ago

I was coming in here all ready to rip you a new one on that “Wouldn’t David Dejesus just be Nate McLouth v2.0?” line, but then I went and checked their respective career wOBAs, and it’s DeJesus .344, McLouth… .344. DeJesus’s career ISO is .141, and McLouth’s is .186. DeJesus is sporting a career 109 OPS+, and McLouth is on only 90, but get this…during McLouth’s 5 much-heralded season in Pittsburgh, his OPS+ was…109!

Geez, that’s a little scary. McLouth v2.0 indeed. I am suddenly very soured on this move.

Bronnt
Member
Bronnt
6 years 1 month ago

Well, Anon, McLouth really is struggling this year but, like I posted above, there’s little justification in the peripherals for it. However, the question worth asking is whether DeJesus is going to be better than McLouth for the rest of this year. ZIPS has their respective wOBAs for the rest of the season thusly:

McLouth: .340, DeJesus: .359.

That’s enough of an upgrade to justify making the move, I believe, and then you factor in that DeJesus might be a bit better in CF. You’re certainly not losing much, unless McLouth regains his form from last year.

Of course, if McLouth’s numbers begin to normalize (and the really should-28 year olds don’t suddenly see their power dry up), you’re just trading away prospect to improve on the NL’s top scoring offense.

JakeR
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JakeR
6 years 1 month ago

One name that could be available that no one is talking about is Chris Young in Arizona. They have basically said that everyone but Ian Kennedy and Justin Upton could be available…

Mr. Sanchez
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Mr. Sanchez
6 years 1 month ago

Good year this year, but after the last two, would anyone be willing to take Chris Young given what he’s owed going forward?

Bobby Hill
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Bobby Hill
6 years 1 month ago

Frank Wren should have acquired an outfield bat in the 2008 off season. He didn’t, and had to trade for McLouth a year ago to try and cover for that mistake. The McLouth trade was itself a disaster, and Wren again had the opportunity to add an outfield bat this winter and passed. Now there’s a huge hole. I think that a small incremental improvement, however, no not make enough of a difference to justify the trade.

The Braves have great pitching depth in the rotation, but don’t confuse that for elite pitching. With Jurrjens on the shelf the Braves would likely be starting Lowe in the playoffs. The way Bobby favors veterans he may get a start even if Jurrjens is health. Lets face it, and this point Lowe has no business pitching in a playoff game.

In the end I think a front of the rotation stater would be more useful in the playoffs than any outfielder the Braves could add, but I’m not sure the Braves make the playoffs without an upgrade in the outfield.

DJ
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DJ
6 years 1 month ago

I would say that Delgado is more untouchable than Vizcaino. He should be anyway, if the guys running things have any sense.

As for “building a team through the farm system” and “not trading young arms”.. It helps tremendously on both of those points if your farm has a mix of pitching and position prospects. The Braves’ farm system is overloaded with pitching, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The problem arises when you have a need and then are unwilling to part with those prospects to fill that need because “you don’t trade away young arms.” The Braves have a need, and they should, if the right deal comes along, consider trading one of those “young arms” to fill that need. I’m not saying trade them for a DeJesus or Gordon, but if a package centered around one of those guys gets you what you need to complete your team for a WS push, then you at least have to consider it long and hard.

The Braves are in no way a lock to win the division, and the WC will be just as hard to win as the division this year. Lots of teams (including the Braves) are looking a lot better than anyone expected this year, and there will be lots of fighting at the end of the season. I have a feeling the Braves will need all the help they can get, especially if they want to go for the division.

PJ
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PJ
6 years 1 month ago

What does the Bobby Cox retirement have to do with increasing the Braves’ payroll? That’s puzzling.

Anon21
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Anon21
6 years 1 month ago

The implication is that the owners will be willing to spend more to win during Bobby’s final season. It’s possible, I guess, although the fact that the Braves are under corporate ownership makes it less likely.

I suppose in a business sense, you could see some very high attendance figures down the stretch if the storyline of Bobby’s last season and a run at a postseason berth converge.

BX
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BX
6 years 1 month ago

Bobby’s a HOF manager. Chipper might retire and is 1st ballot HOF when he does.

The two faces of the franchise might leave, and the team’s already pretty good.

It’s going to be a media story. Chipper’s retirement has already become one.

Beer me!
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Beer me!
6 years 1 month ago

Out of all the players available, Cliff Lee will probably provide the most WARB (Wins Above Replacement Brave) from August 1 through October. He’s the best lefthanded pitcher in baseball, coming off one of the most dominant postseason pitching performances in history, he’d only be owed about $3-4m, and he’d net a first-round and a supplemental-round draft pick in the 2011 class–one of the strongest draft classes ever, according to scouts.

How many wins more than Melky Cabrera would David Dejesus’ August-October provide? Probably less than 1, right? Including the postseason, Cliff Lee could be worth as many as 5 more wins than Kenshin Kawakami to the Braves. My vote is for Lee.

Anon21
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Anon21
6 years 1 month ago

Including the postseason, Cliff Lee could be worth as many as 5 more wins than Kenshin Kawakami to the Braves.

This seems like an wild overestimate. Through 3 months so far, Lee has compiled 3.4 WAR. Kenshin Kawakami is not replacement-level; rather, he’s been playing 0.7 WAR so far. So Lee’s lead thus far is 2.7 WAK. What on earth makes you think he could nearly double that mark in about two weeks’ less playing time down the stretch?

Bronnt
Member
Bronnt
6 years 1 month ago

Duh! Kenshin Kawakami is 0-9. Cliff Lee is 5-3. There’s 5 wins right there, dude!

At any rate, there’s no reason to think that Lee will continue to pitch as well as he has right now-I’m going to go ahead and call his BB/rate bull-shit, in terms of his ability to maintain. Greg Maddux, the great control pitcher of this generation, never had a walk rate as low as Lee is right now, and was only below 1.0 BB/9 two different times. Lee’s HR/FB is due for a serious regression as well, especially if he’s traded out of Safeco. I don’t see him accruing 7 WAR this year.

In addition, whenever Jair Jurrjens (CHON:3.78 FIP for him, ZiPS 3.60) returns, you’re probably getting KK out of the rotation anyway, so Cliff Lee would need to be a significant improvement over Medlen and his 3.70 FIP over 13 starts.

Personally, I don’t think there’s an easy way for this Braves’ team to make upgrades. Despite having a fiasco in the OF up until May 18th, the Braves still lead the NL in runs scored. They may not maintain this pace, but it’s hard to say that they’re desperate for a bat. They could be better in CF, but guys who hit well and play decent defense in center are pretty damn hard to come by.

Beer me!
Guest
Beer me!
6 years 1 month ago

You’re right that five WAR is too high for Lee for August-October, you got me there. But I do think 3-4 is totally doable for him.

As for him not being worth 7 WAR over the season, he was worth over 7 last year not even including the postseason, when he pitched lights out for the entire month of October. Is he a lock to do that again? No. Would he anchor the staff and pitch exceptionally well in the playoffs for the Braves at a pretty cheap price, and bring back essentially two first-round picks in arguably the strongest draft class in history? Yes.

Bobby Hill
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Bobby Hill
6 years 1 month ago

I’m not sure there’s a bat available that would be a huge upgrade for the Braves. It would be really nice if McLouth could just start hitting a bit. I would love for them to find a team desperate enough for pitching at the deadline to take Lowe. Not likely to happen.

I think its too early to accurately predict what to expect from Jurrjens the rest of the year. He really wouldn’t have to pitch all that well to displace Kawakami, but that doesn’t mean you want him starting games in the playoffs. Kawakami is a poor candidate for the bullpen, while Medlen has proven he can succeed in any role. In fact he may be more valuable in the pen than as a starter. Acquiring a guy like Lee would allow the Braves to move Medlen to the pen and Kawakami to the concession stand. But the real benefit would be in the playoffs where the Braves could use a playoff rotation of Lee, Hanson, Hudson. Not having to rely upon an injured Jurrjens, and ineffective Lowe, or an awful Kawakami in the playoffs could be huge.

bvillebaron
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bvillebaron
6 years 1 month ago

Anon21:

Stop with the overemphasis on the statistcal analysis. Anyone who claims that Hudson is only an average pitcher is clueless.

TONY DFKER
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TONY DFKER
6 years 1 month ago

what about andrew jones he is hitting well, and we can get him cheap…….i don want coco crisp, i prefer juan pier, like in the old times wen we have kenny lofton

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