Atlanta’s Hectic Week

Atlanta’s Hectic Week

Your Atlanta Braves have been busy over the last couple of days, but if you missed any of it or need these moves to be put into context, here’s a review of what has been an active week.

Braves Non-Tender Three

The non-tender deadline was last night at 8:00. This was the deadline for the Braves to tender a contract to any Atlanta Brave on the 40-man roster who didn’t already have a contract for next year. This list included pre-arbitration players, but we tend to focus more on the arbitration guys. Atlanta had seven entering the day and increased that by eight by acquiring Chase Whitley. I’ll get back to him in a second.

Matt Adams was the guy with most of the attention on him. Atlanta spent the last few weeks trying to find a team willing to deal for Adams, but teams weren’t biting. That’s less a result of an ultra-slow market and more a result of the many Adams-like players already available who probably would be cheaper than the $4.5-$5.0 million Adams stood to earn in the final year of arbitration. Atlanta could have kept Adams and may have been able to find a trading partner later when injuries or poor play opened up spots this spring, but that was too expensive of a bet to take for the Braves. It’s not impossible to see Adams return later at a cheaper rate, but his projected salary was just too much for Atlanta.

In addition, the Braves non-tendered Jace Peterson. Arbitration-eligible for the first time, Peterson played in the third most games and picked up the fourth-most plate appearances over the last three years, but had only 0.6 fWAR to show for it. While he has been completely inept against lefties, he’s only managed a career .298 wOBA against right-handed pitchers. He was a fan favorite and a hard worker who played all over the field, but the Braves weren’t interested in doubling his salary in arbitration.

They also passed on doubling Danny Santana‘s salary. Like Peterson, Santana was hitting arbitration for the first time. He had a spectacular rookie season for the Twins in 2014, aided significantly by an unsustainable .405 BABIP. He’s produced a .249 wOBA and 49 wRC+ since and wasn’t impressive with the Braves outside of one swing.

Atlanta did tender contracts to Mike Foltynewicz, Arodys Vizcaino, Sam Freeman, and Dan Winkler. They will now try to agree to a deal with each of them for the 2018 season. It seems unlikely that any will receive more than a one-year contract. Speaking of one-year contracts, the Braves avoided arbitration with Rex Brothers and the recently-acquired Whitley. Brothers, who has one option remaining, will get the prorated sum of $1.1 million while in the majors and $450,000 in the minors. The deal is non-guaranteed, which means the Braves would owe only termination pay rather than his full salary should they release him.

Atlanta Claims Whitley
By Keith Allison [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Mentioned this a couple of times already, but the Braves added Chase Whitley off waivers from the Rays. The two sides quickly hashed out a contract for 2018. Whitley will earn $800,000 in the majors and likely half-that if he’s in the minors. He does have an option left.

Whitley grew up in the Yankees’ organization and surprisingly started a dozen games for them in the big leagues in 2014 despite being mostly a reliever for them in the minors. Possibly unrelated, Whitley would miss most of the next two seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery. During that time, the Rays claimed him off waivers. Last year, he spent 41 games in the Rays’ bullpen as a long reliever, posting a 4.08/3.56/5.01 ERA/FIP/xFIP. Reports suggest that the Braves will give Whitley a shot to start this spring.

Depth-wise, Whitley’s a guy. He’s more effective against righties than he is lefties, but I worry his BABIP won’t stay in the .250s for long. He doesn’t invite much soft contact, though managed a 5.3% HR/FB ratio last year. He works steadily off a four-seam 90 mph fastball, 83 mph change, and 82 mph slider. The changeup is probably the most effective pitch in his arsenal.

In my opinion, some scout really likes Whitley. Might even be Anthopoulos. I see Lance Cormier. So…yeah.

Braves Trade Jim Johnson

Anthopoulos’s first trade mirrored John Coppolella’s…but in reverse. Coppolella’s (and John Hart‘s) first trade following Frank Wren’s dismissal was to trade for international money in the Arodys Vizcaino/Tommy La Stella swap. This time, Atlanta uses the international money to facilitate the trade of Johnson and his $4.5 million contract to the Angels. The Braves pick up Justin Kelly. Long story short on Kelly – he was a left-handed 33rd-round pick in 2016 who hasn’t looked that good.

That’s okay, though, because this trade was about Johnson. Interestingly, the Braves received $1.25 million from the Reds last August for Randy Ventura. They traded $1.21 million, or their remaining pool, to the Angels. In a weird way, the Braves traded Randy Ventura in order to trade Johnson. With the current class lacking any significant prospects and Atlanta’s signing bonus restrictions ($300K max bonus), Anthopoulos saw an asset that was going to be wasted if he didn’t use it.

In the meantime, Anthopoulos found $4.5M in usable funds. This could be a big boost for the Braves should they need to cover salary while trying to trade Matt Kemp or Nick Markakis. After starting the week with a full 40-man roster, the Braves are now at 37.

Tinnish No More

Last night as the non-tenders flooded in, an odd story about Andrew Tinnish also came out. Anthopoulos and Tinnish were close in Toronto and in AA’s first high-profile front office shakeup, he brought Tinnish in to be his VP of Amateur and International Scouting. That was the role he had with the Blue Jays, but Tinnish, who is Canadian like Anthopoulos, had second thoughts. He will now be staying with the Blue Jays for personal/family reasons. Tinnish is a highly respected talent evaluator and getting him was a coup. However, it only lasted for a few days.

By Johnny Spasm [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
Atlanta is expected to bring two other front office types into the mix in yet-to-be-announced roles. Ed Lynch, 61, is the former General Manager for the Cubs from 1994 until 2000. He most recently worked under Anthopoulos with the Blue Jays as a professional scout, a role he filled until 2016. If you’d like to hear more about Lynch, here’s a clip from last winter with an interesting story involving what the Cubs would have done had Kerry Wood not been available for Chicago to select in the 1995 first round.

Dana Brown is another guy Anthopoulos worked with and is expected to join the Braves. In fact, he was the latter’s boss when Anthopoulos joined the Montreal Expos’ scouting department. Brown followed the Expos to Washington where he continued as their Director of Scouting. It was during that time that the Nationals drafted Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, and Ian Desmond. Brown was credited with “guiding the organization” for those selections. When Anthopoulos took over as the Jays’ GM, he added Brown as a special assistant. He’s since interviewed for open General Manager positions.

In Toronto, Brown, like Tinnish, was part of Anthopoulos’s trusted brain trust. While losing Tinnish hurts, adding Brown could soften the blow as Anthopoulos looks to make over the Braves’ front office.

What are your thoughts on the last few days? Any mistakes? Surprises? Let me know!

22 Comments

Tommy Poe…I know that this may seem like “a long shot”, however I’ve put some serious thought into this…and I feel that if Braves Management were to sell this JUST RIGHT, they could make a serious push to sign Shohei Ohtani!

Starting off, working in our favor is the fact that MONEY is not The Motivating Factor here (if it was, he’d wait until his age 25 Season where he’d command a $200 mil plus long term deal). The max that The Braves could offer him, is a $10k Signing Bonus (in addition to The MLB Minimum Salary for The 2018 Season).

Also, The Braves are probably not going to seriously contend for a playoff spot in 2018 (just trying to get the two main reasons why Ohtani may not be willing to sign with Atlanta out of the way…lack of a signing bonus and not making The Playoffs in 2018).

HOWEVER, if Ohtani is SERIOUS about wanting an opportunity to show that he can be a two way player…The Braves (at least over any other National League Team who has playoff aspirations past 2018 AND The Payroll Flexibility to add SIGNIFICANT money to improve the team come The 2018 Free Agency Offseason) are a team that he should SERIOUSLY consider!

1. Obviously we can sell Ohtani on an opportunity to build a HELLA YOUNG/High Upside pitching staff around HIM for years to come (we can explain to him how talented they are/what our expectations are concerning our AT LEAST 10 candidates like Gohara, Newcomb, Fried, Soraka, Allard, Wright, Tousiant, Wentz, Wilson and Weigel…and that’s not even counting Teheran and Folty)! With Ohtani being only 23 years old….he’ll have an opportunity to be a part of a VERY SPECIAL/TALENTED/YOUNG pitching staff that can compete for The Playoffs for potentially the next 10-15 years (The Braves have a prior track record with this….with the right pitchers we can replicate what we did from 1991-2005, abet with perhaps a few more World Series Titles, lol).

2. We are the one National League team (with realistic playoff aspirations after The 2018 Season)..who can offer Ohtani the opportunity to play Left Field on a mostly everyday basis (we’ll need someone like Lane Adama, at least in 2018, to play Left on the days he pitches…or on days he may not be able to play in the field..such as if he throws well over 100 pitches on a night game before a day game kind of scenario).

Like it or not, Ohtani wants to attempt to see if he is The Modern Day Babe Ruth. His pitching prowess/ace like potential….makes accommodating this request of his to be reasonable, for both him and The Braves. Braves Management could sell him on this by saying that we will give him every opportunity to prove he can be a productive Left Field hitting MLB hitter.

If Ohtani turns out to be the next Babe Ruth, then great….we’ll be paying this AMAZING young talent The MLB Minimum from the 2018-2020 seasons (the same that we’ll be paying Albies and Acuna, lol) to play TWO POSITIONS! Given that we’ll have playoff aspirations starting in 2019, we may need to sign/trade for an upgrade over Lane Adams (a starting caliber/versatile outfielder type who is willing to take less money, perhaps in the $5-$7 mil range, in order to be on a serious playoff contending team. We’ll need someone to back up all three outfield spots, provide some pinch hitting pop, having some speed would help. Come to think of it, if Lane Adams continues to show that 2017 wasnt a fluke…if Adams even improves on 2017…maybe he can be ‘that guy’ for 2019).

However, if Ohtani flops/struggles at the plate in 2018, then Braves Management can HONESTLY sell Ohtani on the idea that we still want to build our young pitching staff around him…however that with a historic, talented, young Free Agent crop available during The 2018 Offseason Free Agency period….we’d have plenty of money to go after a one of the best available power hitters (they cant come out and say ‘Bryce Harper’, but they can somehow ‘insinuate’ their intentions to Ohtani’s people). While Ohtani may have a strong desire to be the next Babe Ruth….if he’s the real deal as a starting pitcher….I feel that at the end of the day, he wants to WIN/have hitters in our lineup who can help him win more games throughout the season. If he shows in 2018 that he cannot be that kind of hitter, I feel he can be sold on the idea of giving up the Babe Ruth dream IF Braves Management is willing to spend the money on a Left Fielder like Bryce Harper come 2018 Free Agency!

Regardless, we can offer Ohtani what he wants for 2018..an opportunity to both start AND get 450-500 at-bats as our left fielder/starting pitcher. As i stated before, Lane Adams will serve as Ohtani’s back-up…as well as giving Inciarte and Acuna both a day off when needed (which probably wont be a whole lot, both of those guys like to play everyday).

I know, I’ve stated in previous posts that The Braves should keep Kemp (at least for The 2018 Season)! However, that was because I felt that anyone we signed to replace Kemp would either cost a lot of money via Free Agency (Bryce Harper should be The Braves target AFTER The 2018 Season)…or cost us a lot in prospects should we target someone via a trade…not to mention the cost of virtually eating all/more of Kemp’s contract (no team is going to trade for him with two years/$37 mil left on his contract, especially what happened to Kemp after June 2017). I’ve maintained that it would be easier to possibly trade Kemp IF we gave him an opportunity to play/stay healthy in 2018.

However, if we were to convince Ohtani to sign with The Braves…then that TOTALLY CHANGES my position regarding Kemp. Ohtani would only be costing The Braves The MLB Minimum for 2018 to pitch for The Braves. We could cut Kemp (assuming we cannot even convince a team to pay a few mil of Kemp’s contract)….and use Ohtani as Kemp’s FREE REPLACEMENT (remember, we’d be paying Ohtani NOTHING as our Left Fielder…because long term, we view him as our potential ace). If Ohtani hits in 2018…great (he’d be better than Kemp, both offensively and defensively in 2018). However if he struggles hitting in 2018, then we’re only out whatever we ate of the last year of Kemp’s contract (in addition to being free to pursue a SERIOUS UPGRADE in Left Field after The 2018 Season ends…..and we have the ace of our staff at The MLB Minimum for 2019-2020!

Just imagine a 2020 rotation of the following:

1. Shohei Ohtani
2. Mike Soroka
3. Luis Gohara
4. Kyle Wright
5. Bryce Wilson/Kolby Allard (I’m torn on these two, Wilson could be a John Smoltz clone, while Allard could be a Tom Glavine clone! Wilson, if he’s able to keep the walks down as a starting pitcher, could be a TOR candidate. Allard needs to stay healthy/locate his stuff like Glavine did, given the reports of his velocity not being ‘top notch’).

Pushing that rotation/itching to bump one of those guys…will be the likes of Sean Newcomb (he needs to develop a 3rd pitch to get hitters out..especially when he’s going through the batting order a 3rd/4th time, Max Fried (who I feel may end up being more suited to fill an Andrew Miller-like role in our bullpen…given his issues with blisters/his back), Tooki Tousiant (his control is the issue here), Joey Wentz (I think of Steve Avery’s early years when I see Wentz pitch…I struggled between him and Wright as our the #4 man in our rotation), Kyle Muller (a very talented starting arm who is a few years away), as well as Patrick Weigel (coming off TJS, he may either come back even stronger…or with his 100mph fastball, be a candidate to be our next great closer)!

What a SICK number of young/high upside arms to choose from! The ones who dont ‘cut it’/make it in our rotation…can either transition to the bullpen to be potentially DOMINANT late inning high leverage bullpen arms…or be trade bait as starting pitchers who can bring The Braves a nice return (either to improve our team OR get back a plethora of lower level Minor League Talent to replenish/restock our system).

I know, a longwinded ‘take’ on how we can potentially sell Ohtani on signing with The Braves…especially given the max bonus we can offer Ohtani is $10,000! However, as I’ve clearly stated….The Braves can offer Ohtani what he really wants: 1. an opportunity to be an ace/build our pitching staff around him. 2. an opportunity to get 450-500 at-bats playing Left Field in 2018! The Braves are uniquely positioned with A PLETHORA of young talent to build around…AS WELL as positioned to have a lot of financial flexibility to be serious players during The 2018 Free Agency Offseason!

If Ohtani can be ok with probably not making The Playoffs in 2018 (and be sold on the vision of The Braves being SERIOUS Playoff Contenders for the next 10-15 years, starting with The 2019 Season)…then The Braves may have a shot at Ohtani! The question is…can BOTH The Braves SELL This Vision…..AS WELL as can Ohtani BUY into This Vision?

I’d love to hear any of your “take” on this! Do any of you think that these ‘selling points’ are logical/make The Braves stand out…in ways that other teams may not?

As much as I would like to have Ohtani, I seriously believe that other clubs would be offering the same opportunity to pitch and play the field. Then, where would the Braves stand? We can’t match the payroll of the Yanks, Red Sox, Dodgers, etc. We can’t offer top dollar or guarantee that we would have the payroll flexability to go after the star caliber athletes that would keep us perpetually at the top. Would Ohtani pass up an opportunity to reach free agency where he could make $40M or more, each year, simply because the Braves are willing to pay $30M and they gave him a chance to live his dream? Even youngsters recognize the importance of an extra $10M a year. As I said, I would love to have Ohtani, and the Braves should persue the opportunity to get him. I simply do not believe that it will happen.

Bob Long….Have you even looked at The Payroll for 2019? We’re going to have LOT OF MONEY (with A LOT OF cheap/pre-arbitration players on the roster) to address 3rd base, left field and a closer! I’ve already stated how The Braves can afford to pay $35 mil a year EACH to Manny Machado and Bryce Harper…as well as $18 mil to Craig Kimbrel during The 2018 Free Agency Offseason (we’d have a $150 mil payroll for 2019). Given that we had $130 mil in 2017….we can afford $150 mil on a playoff team in 2019, especially given the added revenues that Sun Trust Field and the surrounding properties are bringing in The Braves.

Under your scenario though, what happens in 2021 or 2022… when the Braves have four or five guys locked into massive contracts, and it comes time to think about trying to lock up Ohtani, Acuna, Albies and Swanson as they reach their arb years… and there’s little to no help coming from the farm because of these MLB penalties?

I mean…it’s worth a try, but I don’t think the Braves really can offer much that Ohtani can’t get elsewhere. You can play up the amount of young talent, but the Braves haven’t been good in four years and haven’t won a playoff series in over 15. I think that’s going to play more on Ohtani than the chance to play with a bunch of potential talent on a team that could still be a couple of years away from realizing its potential. Remember that the Royals were “playoff sleepers” for 2-3 years before they turned the corner. Just having all of this talent in place doesn’t mean they will “get it” until they are in the league for a little while.

Certainly, the Braves should put together a pitch just to make sure they covered all their bases, but I don’t see their pitch being that convincing even if Anthopoulos is the best salesman in the league.

Tommy Poe…If our GM is the salesman that he is purported to be…then he should be able to ‘sell’ to Ohtani that while 2018 may not be a playoff team for The Braves…Ohtani will be able to both start in the rotation AND start in Left Field (remember, pitching in The National League is better than The AL).

Do you really think that The Dodgers are going to let Ohtani play in left field for them? The Yankees, Red Sox and Angels all are loaded with outfielders/DH types!

AA should sell on 2018 being a ‘proving year’ for Ohtani when it comes to his hopes of being a 2-way, modern day Babe Ruth (without the pressure of contending for The Playoffs should Ohtani prove to ‘struggle’ as a hitter).

The Braves have shown that our youngsters are ‘fast risers’. If Alibes and Acuna both excel as hitters in 2018…then The Braves would be HELLA WISE to use Free Agency to get the one thing that our system lacks: POWER HITTERS to hit behind Freddie Freeman (which Machado and Harper provide)! Then we sign Kimbrel to solidify the back end of the bullpen (slotting AJ Minter and Adroys Vizcaino as the 7th/8th inning guys, along with Dan Winkler and others)!

While not a slam dunk….there’s something to be pitched to/sold to Ohtani!

It’s hard for me to see the Braves getting much more than a courteous glance from Ohtani’s camp, either. Yes, money isn’t supposed to be a driving factor of his- but there’s a lot of other boxes on his rumored checklist that the Braves just won’t meet. For instance, how will he be assimilated culturally to the city of Atlanta? That’s not to say that every effort probably wouldn’t be made, but there are other cities that will likely have a stronger bid there. Also, how much would you wager that his camp isn’t counting on being able to make up some of the lost income he’ll be forfeiting by signing some lucrative endorsement deals? New York and LA will both offer better opportunities there. Plus this has been a bad team, which is now surrounded by a cloud of controversy. I can’t see him leaving money on the table to play for a bad team on the promise alone of young prospects. It’s unlikely, but there’s a chance none of these guys pan out.

I see the Yankees as the favorite, and that’s how I’d bet my cash. The Angels might be a nice dark-horse.

King….you’re only looking at what appears to be ‘the obvious’! What happened in ‘the past’ is only relevant if there is no hope/expectation of the future being any better. I’m not basing ‘selling to Ohtani’ only on our prospects.

1. Our PLETHORA of high upside prospects (most years, a team with ‘prospects’ may have, at most, a couple of prospects who pan out. However The Braves legitimately have 3-4 guys in EACH of the next couple of years who could be LONG TERM STARS for The Braves).
2. The increased revenues that Sun Trust Field and the surrounding properties are bringing in (in excess of $100 mil a year)
3. The Payroll flexibility that we’ll have come The 2018 Free Agent Offseason.
4. The opportunity that we can give Ohtani to start in the rotation AND start in Left Field on days he isnt pitching.
5. Ohtani himself would be playing a big role in our ability to start being long term playoff contenders starting in 2019.

Again, I’m not saying that it’s a slam dunk. However it isnt a total pipe dream either. At least try…and see if Ohtani is intrigued!

I don’t disagree that they shouldn’t try, and those are all good selling points. I just can’t see it coming to fruition. If I’m the GM of the Yankees, I could counter…

1)A chance to play with the reigning AL MVP.
2)Opportunities for endorsement deals in a city of over 8 million people.
3)The opportunity to play in a city with the largest Asian American population in the nation.
4)The ability to start as a pitcher, DH and LF. Matt Holliday’s leaving, and I don’t believe Ellsbury would stand in the way of any of their plans.
5)You’d be stepping right into a club that almost made the WS last season, and could potentially be the missing piece.

That’s why I think they’ll win out.

King….you may very well be right about The Yankees having the best chance to sway Ohtani. However, I feel that The Yankees have BIG HOLES in their rotation. Their bullpen cannot keep going 3-4 innings every single night.

Sure, The Yankees have prospects as well, however I do not think that they are on par with the upside that The Braves top prospects have!

If I had to bet, sure, I’d probably take him going to The Yankees. However, if our GM were to go all out trying to sell Ohtani on going to The Braves (we’d need our GM to virtually guarantee that Ohtani would be our everyday Left Fielder on the days that he didnt pitch in 2018…by saying that Matt Kemp is traded/cut the day that Ohtani signs with The Braves)….it would force Ohtani to at least think about The Braves.

Otani to Mariners. Mariners have had 9 Japanese players and Yankees 7. But Yankees are trying to reduce payroll so the big contract will go to the Mariners.

Hey Roger….not to burst your sassy bubble, but….(HA…buttle butt. *Awkward pause* Ok. Fine. Moving on.)

What do Hideo Nomo, Takashi Kashiwada, Masato Yoshii, Tsuyoshi Shinjo, Satoru Komiyama, Kazuhisa Ishii, Kazuo Matsui, Shingo Takatsu, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Ken Takahashi, Hisanori Takahashi, Ryota Igarashi and Norichika Aoki have in common? You know. Besides being Japanese-born baseball players who came over to the US?

I’ll give you two hints. It has to do with New York. And it’s not the Yankees.

So…by your logic of strictly counting which teams had the most Japanese players. I guess Otani’s signing with the Mets. =D

On a serious discussion note, though. I don’t think you can narrow this thing down to Seattle and the Yankees just yet. While Seattle is likely desperate for some much-needed young star power and the Yankees are likely the front runners…well, because they’re the Yankees and they have all the Yankee-ness things that come with being the Yankees, you just can’t count out most franchises except a select few at this junction. While those two plan to make strong pushes, you just can’t count out teams like Boston, the Astros, perhaps the Cubs and Dodgers and maybe even an unlikely suitor that comes out of nowhere like the Rockies or, hell, the Braves.

Perhaps we don’t need to discuss Machado and Harper (I agree), but I’d say let please continue discussing Otani. That topic is still up for discussion. But…you know. Next time in a more relevant blog post. lol

Otani to Mariners, Machado stays in Balto (maybe Miami), and Harper goes out west (he’s from Las Vegas and so is his wife). Can we stop talking about this now?

“The opportunity to play…(in front of the)…largest Asian American population in the nation.”

Just out of curiosity, and this is for everyone to answer and not just King who originally referenced it.. I hear the category “Asian American” used often when talking about primarily Japanese players, but also the Korean league players, that try to make the jump over. It’s not wrong when describing them, but a vast generalization that I feel is incorrect when assuming a Japanese player will be comfortable in a certain town because there are a lot of “Asians”.

I mean, I get it. Asian is a broad category that covers said ethnicities….but in covering a broad spectrum of ethnicities, it covers a whole lot of ethnicities not pertinent to the Otani discussion. In fact, without looking at numbers, the Japanese are probably a minority within the Asian American category itself as the group is likely made up of mostly Chinese and Indian. Maybe even the Filipino population as well, if the Philippines are considered part of Asia. The Japanese may be no higher than 3rd or 4th, maybe even 5th if I’ve overlooked an “Asian” country with a large population (Korea? Though, I doubt it, since the northern half isn’t really allowed to leave. Moving on, though…). That said, if we’re using Asian population as a pitch, it needs to be broken down further, because while it is true that New York has the most Asian American population in the US, the percentage of that which is Japanese is relatively small compared to the west coast cities.

That said, the state with the great number of Japanese American population is probably California. Or Hawaii. I’d be shocked if it was Hawaii, though. It’s just a matter of size, really. So many more people in Cali gives it a greater chance to outnumber Hawaii’s Japanese population. Anyway. That’s tangent level stuff. Cali it is, especially since Hawaii doesn’t have a baseball team. If comfort level due to being around people of his own ethnic background is the argument, it’s probably California. Southern California, most likely.

I’m not sure why writers, and subsequently fans, for years, have argued New York is the premier destination for Japanese stars because of the Asian population. It’s made no sense to me. If anything, it’s premier because they were willing to pay you, they’re willing to win at almost all costs, and the media spotlight is so huge that it will reach back home in Japan.

Anyway. How about them non-tenders and transactions from this hectic week, huh? Way to stay relevant to the topic. =D lol

I’ll admit, you raise a fair point. I referenced it because it is a factual statement, even if it is a bit broad. Baseball writers do it frequently, too. It’s difficult to find numbers detailing specific demographics within the Asian American population, though. I did find a graph supporting what you had said, Bryce, about California leading the nation in Japanese born citizens. New York was listed third on it. No idea how accurate that is.

I think we’re at the point of the off-season where the speculative transactions are way more exciting than the real ones, though. Most of ours seem to be front office related these days. Glad to see Jim Johnson go, and a bit disappointed Matt Adams didn’t get tendered. Would’ve been a good bench bat. I’m relieved I didn’t invest in that Adams jersey last season. Lol.

Thanks for the reply, King. This is just a general question I’ve always kind of thought to myself whenever I’ve read about players being posted or coming over as free agents. Seems even that every team/city’s writers/fans claims they are a great fit for a particular Japanese or Korean player due to the “large” population in their area and while I’ve never truly fact checked any of those claims, I find it hard to believe that there are “large” populations of Japanese or Koreans, or even general Asians, in a lot of these areas being claimed to be hot beds of ethnic diversity.

For example, I recall once reading from fans at the time (albeit, perhaps homerish fans) saying how Kenshin Kawakami was going to be quite comfortable in Atlanta due to the big Japanese community in the area. How big? A couple of thousand? Surely it can’t be larger than 10,000. Out of what? Several hundred thousand people in the Atlanta area or maybe even more? Kind of made me feel like some guy went to China town in their area, saw a bunch of Chinese people and was like “Wow….these Japanese folk are everywhere!” then decided to take that observation and apply it to a post in an online baseball forum. lol

Anyway, the point wasn’t to entirely discredit New York as a player for Otani. It absolutely is a big threat in the sweepstakes to land his services and the Japanese population is quite big there just because of sheer volume of overall population in general and having whatever small percentage of that being Japanese still representing a large number. But yeah…I generally agree that the Braves, even with the best salesmen in the world, won’t have as much to pitch to Otani as maybe even both New York teams, most west coast teams and probably even some central division teams. I think I said it somewhere once…we don’t have the worst chance to sign Otani, but we definitely don’t have a great chance either. The only teams I might put below us in odds to sign Otani are the Tigers, Marlins, Rays, Padres and maybe even the Pirates (because I’m not sure they can point to their roster and say they’re on the cusp of a sustained run of success). Arguments could be made for other teams, but as many cons for those teams to rank below the Braves could probably be equaled by the amount of cons the Braves have as well.

Perhaps this weeks moves was in an effort to create roster space for Otani!

Or…you know. To save some money in an effort to go along with the grand scheme I proposed to you of absorbing several crappy 1-year remaining contracts in order to shed the entirety of Matt Kemp’s 2019 salary. If the Braves can manage to dump Markakis’ salary, the money is there to do it. It’s still there even if you don’t.

….just saying.

Tommy, I’d have rather seen the international million go against a Kemp or Markakis trade, but the JJ trade to Angels was at least moving in the right direction. Not sure why they want to tout Whitley as a SP candidate when there are so many prospects to try out. I also thought they might have wanted to tender Adams and continue to try and trade him. I can’t imagine that the strategy of “trade or non-tender” EVER works. The only way that would work is if the non-tender candidate is so valuable that some team that wants him won’t want to get in a bidding war. But that kind of runs counter to the whole non-tender candidate idea. Still waiting on a Kemp/Markakis resolution, though. As far as I can tell, the Braves haven’t traded away any prospects or semi-prospects so there’s still lots of wiggle room for more activity. Let’s hope it’s good stuff. A trade for Yelich or Kyle Seager might still be out there.

Sure, Matt Adams would have been nice insurance to have around in case something happened to Freddie Freeman, however at the end of the day, The Braves didnt want to risk being stuck with Adams’ $4-$5 mil price tag. He’s a free agent after 2018..not in The Braves long term plans. Time to move on from him.

Even if The Braves can convince Ohtani to sign with them (after which they would immediately move to cut/trade Kemp ASAP)….I see them going in the direction to move Markakis and his $10.5 mil salary (probably eating $2-$4 mil of it) sometime this week..to finally clear a spot for Acuna in Right Field.

I know that many of you would like to see Kemp dumped/have his contract off the books…however I just dont see Atlanta willing to eat most of his contract right now, given the amount of money owed/given that we do not have a replacement lined up for him/given that when it comes down to it Kemp’s presence isnt going to cost us a playoff spot (we’re simply not ready to seriously compete for a playoff spot in 2018..this year is about giving our youngsters as much playing time as possible, to evaluate who shows us they can be a part of a long term, playoff contending team). I still feel that there’s a possibility that Kemp can hit for power/stay reasonably healthy in 2018 (just quit diving for meaningless bloop hits AND quit going all out trying to run down long line drive hits….it isnt like trying to make a great defensive play is going to be the difference maker in whether we make The Playoffs or not in 2018! What will help us be a playoff contender in 2019..is Kemp raking at the plate in 2018/staying relatively healthy in 2018…so an AL team will be convinced to trade for Kemp to be their DH in 2019, with The Braves only eating $6-$8 mil of the last year of his $18.5 mil contract! A healthy/power hitting Kemp should be worth around $10 mil to an AL team. But he has to stay healthy/hit for power in 2018 for that to happen..which WILL NOT happen if STUPID/Weakminded Braves fans in the stands yell at Kemp for not diving/running all out on ‘in the long run’ meaningless outfield plays. What’s more important is that Kemp keeps those hamstrings healthy AND not pull any muscles while running!)!

Once we can trade Kemp, we’ll be rid of the last bad contract on our payroll, setting up The 2018 Free Agency Offseason as THE TIME where Braves management makes moves to shore up our ability to compete LONG TERM for a playoff spot for years to come! Just look at how many pre-arb players we’ll probably have BOTH in 2019 and 2020 on our roster!

The signing of the Whitley kid from The Rays, was a head scratcher (especially the note about giving him an opportunity to start in 2018) because his stuff/makeup IS NOT someone I vision being a part of a Starting 5 that can help us be playoff contenders long term! I dont want Whitley take away starts from any of our youngsters. The ONLY way this move makes sense..is if AA has a trade lined up that involves Teheran and/or Folty this week…which would make Whitely a candidate to be a ‘fill-in starter’ the 1st part of the season while the Mike Soroka and Kolby Allard put their time in Triple A (dont want to rush either to The Majors UNTIL they are ready).

Other than a trade/injury before Opening Day 2018, I dont see how Whitley can crack the probable rotation of 1. Teheran 2. Folty 3. Gohara 4. Newcomb 5. Fried…with Lucas Sims waiting in the wings to fill in should something come up (with the talent we have in AAA, AA and High A rotations…Sims’ usefulness long term is either trade bait or The Braves bullpen. In the meantime, we keep him around in case something comes up in 2018).

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