Acuña Jr. Has Friends On the Way

Acuña Jr. Has Friends On the Way

April 25 was huge. But April 26 turned out to be even bigger. It was like a mixtape from Barney Stinson. Rather than rise-and-fall, it was all rise, baby. Just to be clear, that’s two How I Met Your Mother references in one week. You just don’t get that at Talking Chop or Tomahawk Take.

Ronald Acuña Jr.‘s debut on Wednesday night was a success. Oh, sure, some negative Nancys talked about how he struck out twice or didn’t have a big hit with runners on and I’ll get back to those people in a second, but Acuña Jr. flashed the kind of stuff that should make him a big-time performer in the majors even when he doesn’t get a big knock. His speed on the bases is unreal. Quietly, over the last couple of seasons, the Braves have added just crazy elite speed. I’ll also get back to that.

The outfielder from Venezuela was flawless in the field as well. He’s a true five-tool player who, even when two tools take the night off, his other tools will shine and shine ever so brightly.

But it was yesterday that we saw a bit more of the other two tools that too many people complained about that were missing in action on Wednesday. For the record, one person is “too many people” in my book. In the second inning, with the Braves already up, Acuña Jr. waited on a reeling Homer Bailey to make a mistake and on a 3-1 pitch, he did. First off, let’s take one moment to consider that the Reds starter not only went slider 2-1, but 3-1, against a rookie with less than a handful of at-bats in the majors. The slider was a hanger, but the respect there says something to me. The ball was crushed, landing in the sparsely occupied upper deck with a Braves fan making a nice catch on it.

In the sixth, Acuña Jr. got another base hit. On a 2-2 pitch, he pulled a pitch into the hole. Former Braves prospect Jose Peraza did well to keep it on the infield, but Acuña Jr. is pretty fast. And again, so are the Braves. According to Baseball Savant’s Sprint Speed, recently DFA’d Peter Bourjos had been the fastest Brave at 29.3 ft/sec – good for 13th overall – but Dansby Swanson isn’t far behind at 29.2 ft/sec. Nor is Ozzie Albies, who checks in at 29.1 ft/sec. While it’s a super small sample size, Statcast clocked Acuna Jr.’s sprint from first-to-third on Wednesday night at 30.3 ft/sec. To put it mildly – the boy got vroom.

Acuña Jr.’s third hit came two innings later and put the Braves on top. The Reds got the ball in on him, but Acuña Jr. fought it off and was strong enough to bloop it into no man’s land in right field. The young outfielder raced into second with an RBI double.

Two days. Four hits. A tape-measure homer. World-class speed. And again, there were people complaining about him on Wednesday night.

Can we have a moment to talk, Braves fans? Cool, thanks, hope you’re having a good morning. Also, if you said something about Acuña Jr.’s performance on Wednesday that was negative at all, please find a nice-sized rock. It doesn’t have to be pretty, but the kind of rock that feels a bit heavy in your hand. Did you get it? Good, thanks. Now bash yourself upside the head.

Honestly, you were a witness to the best prospect in baseball making his major league debut at 20-years-old. A year ago, he was playing in front of crowds in the FLORIDA STATE LEAGUE. Now, he’s playing in front of….well…likely smaller crowds because of the Reds’ continued ineptness, but it’s the friggin major leagues. Brandon Finnegan and Homer Bailey may not be Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer, but they are major league pitchers. It’s not easy to get to this level, let alone succeed immediately. That goes double for super-hyped prospects with a huge weight on their shoulders and only 20 years on this Earth. But Acuña Jr. still found a way to get on base, flash amazing speed, and score a big run.

I’m sure you guys that did have something ridiculous to say about Acuña Jr. on Wednesday night were quiet yesterday. After all, what could you possibly complain about? Home run was hit too far? Acuña Jr. was too fast? But if, and it’s okay for this to happen, Acuña Jr. has an 0-ffer today, I want to make one thing clear.

Ozzie Albies | Jeff Morris @JeffMorrisAB

Pipe down your complaints. I’m hardly one of those “rah rah, support your team, rah rah, don’t talk bad about things” guys. I am, though, someone who appreciates great things. You think I went after Albies for his mistakes the other night that helped to cost a game? Nah. He’s 21, he’s going to make mistakes. You think I called Swanson a bust after one subpar season? Nah. He was a rookie. That can happen. You think I’m ready to write off Sean Newcomb after 127.2 innings? Hell nah.

They’re all young, full of potential, and ready to contribute. You don’t know how their career will turn out. I don’t know. I do know it’s common to throw out a hot take, but you sound like a real jackass. Let these guys fail. Let them make mistakes. You think Tom Glavine was hitting a spot six inches off the plate and getting strikes in 1988? You think Greg Maddux was throwing a fastball wherever he wanted in 1987? Or, jeez, do you think Chipper Jones was one of the most feared bats in baseball in 1995? No. Or, better yet, hell nah.

They needed time to develop. But, like with the guys I’ve already mentioned, we saw glimpses of the future. These things don’t happen overnight and save yourself the need for the antacid by letting the bad roll off while waiting for some good. These young kids have shown that you won’t have to wait too long for the next amazing thing to happen.

That’s not to say all of the young guys will develop into All-Stars, let alone Hall of Famers. Many will fail. But you piping up every time they don’t have a huge game is frustrating. What is most frustrating is this is the funniest Braves team in five years. Albies, Swanson, and now Acuña Jr.? Freddie Freeman doing his thing while Kurt Suzuki continues to post absurd numbers? Yeah, yeah, the pen has issues, but every night, this team gives you something positive to take away from it. Sad that they lost, but Swanson laid off a slider he would have swung at last year. Yeah, they didn’t get the W, but Mike Foltynewicz was solid. Unfortunately, they came up on the losing side, but Dan Winkler and Shane Carle were money and kept the team in it.

And despite all of the amazing youth that is now on the 25-man roster, more is on the way. I started this column by saying, “April 25 was huge. But April 26 turned out to be even bigger.” I wasn’t just talking about Acuña Jr. or even the homer from Albies. In West Virginia, the Rome Braves fell 10-8 while the Florida Fire Frogs took care of Lakeland, 8-1. Three things happened in a span of roughly five minutes that you better not ignore. In the second inning of the Rome game, J.C. Encarnacion smacked a homer to left. A strikeout later, William Contreras did the same. Around this time in Lakeland, Cristian Pache hit a bomb to left-center field.

For all three players, it was their first professional home run. It won’t be the last for that trio. They represent the next wave and who knows? The next time Albies, Acuña Jr., Pache, Contreras, and Encarnacion all homer on the same day, it might be part of a blowout win for the Atlanta Braves. If that doesn’t get you excited, you don’t deserve what’s coming for the Braves.


Can we throw a few more players into that mix before we add a bunch more too? We should be saying the same about Gohara, Fried, Minter, Winkler, and Biddle. Even if some are not at the top of prospect lists, they are extremely good pitchers and need time to get in their groove. We know what they can do at their best and each game will get them closer to achieving that on a consistent basis. When we talk about the bullpen being bad; it’s generally from retreads and never-beens. The core is really really good.

Roger…part of the ineffectiveness, has come from pitching in ‘back to back’ games MULTIPLE TIMES (especially on days where guys threw 25-30 pitches in the previous day). Most relievers simply DO NOT have it in them to pitch effectively (either for more than one inning..OR…on back-to-back days where they threw 25-30 pitches the previous day).

Shane Carle looks to be ‘the exception’ to the above post, lol. Annibal Sanchez (before he was thrust into the starting role) looked like another multi-inning candidate.

If our starting pitchers could pitch more than 6 innings a start….our bullpen would be more effective. AA basically has no choice but to do that “AAA/10 day disabled list shuffle”…while searching for another reliever who can pitch multiple innings (Chase Whitley is the latest candidate).

The number of extra inning games early in the season have not helped things. If it wasnt for the 2 early rainouts…our bullpen would be even more taxed. However, we’re going to ‘pay’ for those rainouts later in May (when we have to play The Cubs on a previously scheduled day off in the middle of May….as well as host The Mets on a day-night double header later in May).

When Gohara and Sanchez come back….we’ll have the makings of a REALLY GOOD BULLPEN with several multi-inning relievers:

1. Vizcaino
2. Minter
3. Winkler
4. Carle
5. Freeman
6. Moylan
7. Sanchez
8. Whitley/Biddle/Fried (Fried may be kept down in AAA and given a chance to show that he’s a starting pitcher. However I just dont see him as having both the durability and effectiveness to be a 6-7 inning starting pitcher long term. I’ll keep saying this….Andrew Miller-type reliever written all over him).

Gohara is making a start for Gwinnett tonight. If it goes well, I’d SKIP Wisler’s next start (The Braves have an off day on Monday..meaning that they can skip Wisler on Tuesday and go with Newcomb, who’ll have his regular 4 days off come Tuesday, Teheran on Wednesday, Folty on Thursday and McCarthy on Friday at home against The Giants. Saturday, May 5th, should be a good time to give Gohara his 1st start of the season (unless The Braves wanted to keep Gohara on a 4 days of rest routine…giving him the start on Wednesday against The Mets..which would push back/give an extra day of rest for Teheran, Folty and McCarthy..which may not be a bad idea!).

Gohara has the ability to be a workhorse starter for The Braves. I like the lefty combo potential that Gohara and Newcomb provide. While Newcomb had a terrible 5th inning yesterday, he went after hitters/looked good the other 5 innings he pitched yesterday. He just has to buckle down and get hitters out when things arent going his way (like with CB Bucknor, one of THE WORST UMPIRES in MLB). My beef with his lack of consistency. If you’re going to call low or high it that way THE WHOLE GAME..FOR BOTH TEAMS! That way, pitchers and hitters can ‘adjust’. They may not like it..but consistency is what players want from umpires..NOT a ‘jumping strike zone’!

Tommy…..go back and look at my comments right before Acuna’s 1st game on Wednesday: I stated “regardless of whether Acuna goes 4 for 4 or 0 for 4…his defense/speed will be LIGHT YEARS better than Tucker’s”. Acuna can contribute on days where his bat isnt ‘lighting things up’!

Acuna ended up scoring the tying run on a ROPE SINGLE to left field by Kurt Suzuki (no way does Tucker score on that was hit HELLA HARD by Suzuki).

Tommy, I’ve been saying this all along….about how Acuna can lengthen out this well as have Tucker strengthen the bench (BYE BYE Burjouis). However, with The Super Two status being a financial issue…The Braves either had to call up Acuna SOON (which they did)..or leave him in AAA until June 4th.

Well…I know that it’s only 2 games in…but it looks like Acuna is here to stay…and that he’ll GET HELLA PAID as a Super 2 in 2021. Acuna’s skill set is so great…(allowing Inciarte to play more over towards right to help compensate for Markakis not exactly being ‘fleet of foot’ in right field)…he doesnt have to rake at the plate in order to help The Braves win games!

I just wish that Snitker WOULD NOT put a lineup out where lefties have 3 of the first 4 spots of the batting order against lefty starters…followed by 3 righties, lol. Dropping Inciarte to the #7 spot of the order….would EASILY allow Snitker to put out a lefty-righty balance lineup that is HELLA PRODUCTIVE!

1. Albies…2nd
2. Acuna…left field
3. Freeman…1st
4. Flowers/Suzuki…catcher
5. Markakis…right field
6. Swanson…short
7. Inciarte….center field
8. Carmago….3rd base

I know that a Flaherty/Bautista platoon has been visualized by our GM, AA. However, Carmago just ‘makes things happen’. He has a strong arm in the infield…and he has GOOD at-bats. He has more pop in his bat than Flaherty…..and he’s a switch hitter.

I’ve been in the ‘Carmago’ is a really good super utility hitter to have on the bench. However if Bautista flops once he’s called up to platoon with Flaherty….I’d give the job full time to Carmago.

As each day passes….why is Charlie Culberson still on The Braves? I just hope that it’s AA waiting for Bautista to be ‘ready’! Culberson simply is USELESS as a pinch hitter (no threat whatsover). Carmago’s versatility when it comes to playing all the infield positions makes Culberson’s ‘defense’ expendable!

After seeing Perez make ANOTHER defensive blunder in the 5th inning of Wisler’s start…..I cannot wait for Flowers to come back…and see Perez’s NO HITTING BAT demoted for assignment (what point is it to have two pinch hitters available, Culberson and Perez…who CANNOT PINCH HIT?)!

Meanwhile, the next 6 games should be exciting (against The Phillies and Mets). The Braves can make a move towards 1st place….during these next 6 games! However…HELLA IMPORTANT that we win AT LEAST 1 game in each series! Cannot get swept (sure, I’d like to win at least 2 of 3 games in each series…however I’m a realist about how hard it is to win games on the road against good teams. What’s important…is that we DO NOT get swept in either of these 2 upcoming series. These 2 are our division rivals).

I’m sure that The Phillies ARE NOT THRILLED to face a Braves lineup with Acuna in it!

Tommy….perhaps you can do an article about what The Braves 1-25 will look like when all is said and done…as well as what you think of how competitive/hard to beat they will be when that 1-25 is ‘finalized’ (assuming that no new injuries come about..I know, a hard thing to wish for…however just speaking hypothetically).

I know a lot of people will say…’the 24th/25 man on the roster isnt that important’. I say BS (especially in The National League)! The Braves (while having some really good young talent that have OODLES of potential) have only one superstar right now (Freddie Freeman)..along with a starting rotation that really lacks (as of now) a ‘true ace’ (5 good starters, with Gohara coming back, but no one who absolutely ‘scares’ of now).

I contend that having a flexible/power hitting bench…along with a strong 1-8 man bullpen (cant have ‘dead weight’ on a bullpen in The National League..especially when your starters are not consistently going 7-8 innings a night)…will give The Braves an edge over our opponents (some of who may have more ‘superstars’ in their lineup/’aces’ in their rotation..than we do).

I feel that AA has to given some credit for ‘possibly visualizing’ how our season would go. While many (including myself) were saying this offseason that this season would be ‘a losing/non playoff possibility season’……remember, I ‘changed my tune’ at the end of Spring Training (when I saw some ‘possibilities’ shape up that ‘inspired’ me to predict that The Braves would win 86 games in 2018).

Tommy…I will ‘be bold’ and predict the following possibilities: 1. The Braves will NO DOUBT come up short when it comes to winning The NL East (because Washington will make GO FOR IT TRADES by The July Trade Deadline that totally give them an INFUSION of talent that carries them towards the division title..unless they suffer from some horrific injuries to Harper, Scherzer and Strasberg, for example). I love this Braves team…however Washington is simply TOO TALENTED to stay around their current 11-14 record (still, they are only 5 games out of 1st).

I LOVE how The Braves are competing…however AA would be TOTALLY FOOLISH/SHORT SIGHTED to make the kind of trades that would help us compete with Washington later this year! This Braves team is built for THE LONG TERM! Sure, AA will look to make some trades (more likely to shore up The Bullpen…but nothing that gives up any of our BEST PROSPECTS).

If we get in, it will be via The Wild Card….and it will be WITH THIS TEAM (for the most part) as it is…any significant improvements will come from within the organization (like from Soroka, Allard and/or Wright)…along with Gohara, Flowers, Sanchez and Bautista all coming up by early May. A one game playoff (while exciting..when compared to how much we’ve SUCKED the past 4 years)…IS NOT worth sacrificing significant prospects to take a shot at. Remember…if injuries start plaguing us…we lack the depth (this year) to overcome serious injuries.

Sure, I’d love to see this team get in The Playoffs in 2018…BUT ONLY if we keep the prospects who will continue to INFUSE The Braves the next few years.

This offseason…The Braves will be THE ENVY of all of MLB! By the end of this season…our YOUNG TALENT (Albies, Acuna, Gohara, Newcomb, Minter, Soroka, Wright, Allard and Swanson, all pre-arbitration players…along with Folty and Winkler, both eligible for arbitration and a few years away from Free Agency) will be the talk of MLB! In addition….AA will have APPROXIMATELY $100 mil to play with in Free Agency.

And we still have the likes of Tousiant, Weigel, Wentz, Anderson, Wilson, Pache and Riley as potentially high ceiling prospects who are slated to possibly make The Majors in the next few years (not even including who we pick with the #8 pick in the upcoming draft…a pick that AA has to ABSOLUTELY NAIL..among other picks, lol).

Those prospects…should be kept to provide competition/insurance in case some of our current young players get injured/become ineffective! All these ‘let’s trade some of these guys because we have TOO MANY OF THEM/NOT ENOUGH roster spots for them’ NONSENSE PROPOSALS that fill the internet (like those TC Clowns have an affliction for, lol)…..should be IGNORED by AA!

Most teams do overrate their prospects…because they simply SUCK at drafting (since 2011, the only Marlins draftee that did anything of note in The Majors…was Jose Fernandez! That’s TERRIBLE). However, say what you want about Coppy…but dude COULD DRAFT (as I’ve stated before, The 2015-2017 Drafts could go down as HISTORIC IN NATURE for The Braves). Either trust your scouts/GM’s ability to draft..or FIRE THEM/HIM and find someone who can replace them/him!

Tommy….just saw that The Braves called up Whitley and Flowers (BYE BYE Wisler and Perez) in time for tonight’s game against The Phillies!

NICE!!!!!!!!!!! With Acuna’s promotion..we now have pinch hitting options of Carmago, Tucker, Flowers………and Culberson (just a matter of time before Bautista SENDS YOU PACKING DUDE)! Regardless, I LOVE having a power, pinch hitting option from the right side of the plate (Flowers), left side (Tucker) and a switch hitter who battles and finds a way to get on base (Carmago)!

With The Braves apparently skipping the 5th starter’s spot with Monday’s off looks like we’ll have a 9 man bullpen for until we need a 5th starter on May 5th:

1. Vizcaino
2. Minter
3. Winkler
4. Carle
5. Freeman
6. Moylan
7. Biddle
8. Fried
9. Whitley

4 lefties and 5 righties. Interesting to see how Snitker works the bullpen. Perhaps some sort of ‘rotation’ (depending on matchups/whether the game goes into extra innings) that tries not to pitch any of our pitchers more than 2 days in a row.

Roger…it looks like The Braves are going to skip the 5th starter’s spot. I dont see Sanchez activated..until he makes a rehab appearance in The Minors. Fried pitched 3 innings tonight.

I’m not going to dog Teheran for what happened tonight (some nights, a pitcher’s body wont cooperate with them…like with his shoulder tightening up tonight). Fried (other than a MEATBALL HANGING CURVE BALL that went for a homer) pitched decent in his 3 innings.

However, for the life of me, I simply DO NOT understand why Snitker brought in Chase Whitley to pitch in A ONE RUN GAME. 1st appearance of the year (he was released by Tampa last year….dude isnt exactly ‘a game changer’)..and he basically RUINS any chance of The Braves coming back!

The Phillies are a good ball club. If we dont buckle down and find a way to grind out a win either tomorrow or Sunday..we could very well get swept this weekend. The good news…is that our BEST bullpen pitchers are rested (Minter, Vizcaino, Winkler and Carle all had the day off today) for tomorrow. Folty needs to PITCH HIS ASS OFF tomorrow…and hopefully our offense will score some runs.

Acuna’s speed puts SO MUCH PRESSURE on their defense. There is NO WAY that Tucker makes that catch that Acuna dove for in the 5th inning. Acuna hitting 6th makes LITTLE SENSE!

While Gohara didnt exactly pitch great in AAA tonight…you have to remember that it’s basically a Spring Training start for him (working on his pitches…trying to ‘get his work in’. He didnt get a chance to do this in Spring Training). He’ll be fine.

When Gohara and Sanchez come BYE BYE Whitely and either Fried/Biddle gets sent to The Minors (my guess, it’s Fried, because The Braves want him to stay stretched out as a Starting Pitcher).

On a future/summer note….I feel that Moylan and Freeman may be candidates in The Bullpen to be replaced (Moylan is basically useless against lefties….Freeman simply walks too many hitters) via trades by The July Trade Deadline OR from the likes of Soroka and Wright (Allard isnt a reliever type pitcher). While I’d rather see Soroka and Wright kept as starters….if The Braves keep all our current starters and no one gets injured…then Soroka and Wright could do The Bullpen thing later in The 2018 Season when they make their MLB debuts!

Hopefully our guys can grind out a win tomorrow….only winning 1 of 3 wont be the end of the world (sweeps HAVE to be avoided at all costs).

OK, now with Gohara activated and optioned, I guess it will be either Fried or Sanchez or Gohara to pitch in the next 5-spot. If Teheran goes to the DL then Fried gets his spot and Gohara or Sanchez or Wisler will pitch in the 5-spot.

Roger….from the looks of it, Teheran will probably make his next start. If I had to guess…what happened on Friday with Teheran, was him just waking up and simply ‘didnt have it’.

Unless he has problems getting up to 90 on the radar gun in his next start on Wednesday against The Mets…..I wouldnt worry about Teheran.

The next time that the Braves need a 5th starter…will be May 5th against The Giants. Gohara just needs a few starts to ‘get back in the groove’..after which he’ll be back in The Braves rotation.

BIG WIN by The Braves tonight! Folty came through with 6 innings (not sure why he didnt come out for the bottom of the 7th inning..when he only had thrown 91 pitches). However, Carle got out of a jam in the bottom of the 7th unscathed!

AJ Minter HAS to start going after hitters more! Dude has GREAT STUFF…yet, at times, is HELLA FRUSTRATING to watch pitch! He walked the 1st 2 batters in the bottom of the 8th..then got a LUCKY line out to Acuna…before Snitker had the sense to pull him in favor of Winkler….who did what Winkler has done ALL YEAR: put out the smoke/get hitters out!

While Acuna went 0 for 3 tonight, I still LOVE having him play left field. The Phillies pitched him tough tonight (although he had a hanging curve ball that he should have deposited in the cheap seats when he struck out in the top of the 5th with runners on 1st and 2nd to end the inning).

With Monday being an off day for The Braves..I’d like to see Snitker manage tomorrow’s game ‘kind’ of like it’s ‘The 7th Game of The World Series’! McCarthy, at max, will hopefully go 6 ‘effective’ innings (giving up only 2-3 runs). The way our offense has been going….that would put us in a position to win the game/series before heading to New York.

Freeman hasnt pitched in a couple of days…Winkler only threw 8 pitches tonight….Vizcaino threw 16 pitches tonight (after having a day off on Friday)….even Minter threw 17 pitches tonight (perhaps he’ll be itching to be ‘more effective’ if he pitches tomorrow). Carle threw 19 pitches tonight…he doesnt seem to be fazed with pitching in back-to-back games.

While it wouldnt be the end of the world if we lose tomorrow (again, it’s tough to win series on the road against good teams)….it would be HELLA NICE to have a 6-3 record against The Phils (with only 9 games left against them the rest of the year) with a win tomorrow!

The Phillies will be a team that will give The Braves FITS in future years! They seemingly have the pitching to compete against The Braves/give us fits..for years to come.

To close, I’m starting to ‘warm up’ to the idea of not being ‘so against’ having Inciarte hit leadoff. Sure, he’s basically a singles hitter. However, he seems to have a knack for stealing bases. He has 12 of them so far this year. As long as he doesnt go into a prolonged slump…I guess that there are ‘worse things’ that Snitker can do…than keep Inciarte in the leadoff spot. We all know that Snitler is DEAD SET against making any moves that demote Inciarte/Markakis when it comes to how the lineup is set.

The Phillies are 3-7 against The Braves and Mets combined. While sweeping a 4 game series against a Pirates team that has a 16-11 record looks impressive….they did lose 2 of 3 against Arizona.

However, The Phillies have beat up on the bad teams (3 game sweeps against both The Reds and Tampa…as well as taking 2 of 3 against The Marlins). While The Braves play at The Mets early next week….The Phillies will be playing at The Marlins for 3 games, then 3 more against a struggling 11-16 Washington team.

While The Braves are holding their own against ‘the tough teams’….it is ESSENTIAL that we BEAT UP ON ‘the bad teams’. We got LUCKY to leave Cincy with a 2-2 split. I’m hoping that what happened in Cincy was just ‘one of those things that happen’ (in other words, it IS NOT a pattern that we can look forward to all season).

Coming up, The Braves will be playing The Giants, Tampa and Florida for the next 9 games after we play The Mets. We HAVE to beat up on those teams! If The Braves are going to be LEGIT come summer…..these are WINNABLE GAMES that WE HAVE TO WIN! Just pointing that out.

But first….let’s take care of business tomorrow against The Phils….then the guys can enjoy/rest up on their off day on Monday….then go BATTLE The Mets. However it looks like that The Mets have Synderguard, deGroom and Matz lined up to face us during the 3 game series in New York. Never easy, lol!

Tommy…..WOW! Did you check out the lineup that Snitker has for The Braves today:

1. Albies…2nd
2. Acuna…left field
3. Freeman..1st
4. Markakis..right field
5. Suzuki…catcher
6. Carmago….3rd
7. Swanson…SS
8. McCarthy…P
9. Inciarte….center field

While I have been PUSHING for Albies and Acuna to be INSERTED into the #1-#2 spots of the order (in front of Freddie)…while dropping Inciarte to the #7 spot of the order…..I NEVER thought that Snitker would NOT ONLY put Albies and Acuna THIS SOON at the top of the order…BUT ALSO drop Inciarte all the way down to the #9 spot of the order.

The only change I would make…would be to have Suzuki switch spots with Markakis. I’m not a fan of having Freeman and Markakis (2 lefties) hitting back to back (allowing the opposing manager to bring in a tough lefty to face both of them (without a righty hitting in between them).

Otherwise…WOW! I’m SHOCKED (in a good way)!

I’ll take a ‘wait and see’ approach when it comes to having Inciarte bat 9th. Let’s see how having the pitcher bat 8th works.

Meanwhile, just read that Mike Soroka was pulled from his start today in AAA. He may be in line to start later this week IF Teheran and Sanchez (whose getting close to getting back on The Roster) arent ready to make a start.

I’m not saying I’d put Snitker in the upper echelons of managers, but I don’t think he’s too bad. I think this move shows that he’ll make some adjustments when given more, or in this case, better pieces to work with. Plus players seem to like him, which I personally feel is important. If the club continues to perform the way it has, I wouldn’t mind seeing him extended. I think he’d really help some of the young players coming up acclimate to the Majors with his calm demeanor.

King….I’m sure that it was our GM, AA, who ‘encourage’ Snitker to promote Acuna and Albies to the #1-#2 spots of the batting order….NOT something that Snitker would ‘do on his own’! Remember, this move required DROPPING Inciarte to the #9 slot of the batting order (with the pitcher hitting in front of him).

Yesterday’s double and triple by Inciarte notwithstanding, the harsh reality is that Inciarte is A SINGLES HITTER. Dropping him to #9, in effect, makes him a leadoff hitter (once the lineup has going through once). However what this new lineup give our 3 best hitters (Albies, Acuna and Freeman) THE MOST at-bats throughout the course of the season. In other words, no more Inciarte getting 700 plate appearances in a season, lol!

I’m not trying to bash Inciarte….I’m just THRILLED that we have a combo of players at the top of the order who all can MASH the baseball (in addition to having two SPEEDSTERS hitting in front of Freeman….guys who can FLY ACROSS THE BASES when Freddie RIPS a double).

I’ll give you an example of how I feel that Snitker ‘blew any chance of The Braves coming back to win Friday’s game’: In the bottom of the 7th inning…the score was 4-3 Phillies (Teheran gave up 3 runs in 3 innings…Fried gave up one run in his 3 innings). The Braves offense has been scoring runs periodically late in games. I would have brought in Winkler to pitch the bottom of the 7th. Instead, Snitker brings in Chase Whitley (making his 2018 debut). IMMEDIATELY he gets rocked for 2 runs without recording an out, lol! Then when Moylan gave up a run in the bottom of the 8th to make it 7-3….BALLGAME!

There is A BIG DIFFERENCE between how Kapler would have managed that top of the 8th inning (where, ironically, The Braves had ‘2 rallies’ with a chance to score. 1. Swanson hit an absolute ROPE that was caught and turned into a double play. 2. However 2 runners get on base with Acuna coming up that resulted in him hitting into a force out that ended the inning)…IF the game was 4-3 instead of 6-3.

For the life of me, I simply cannot understand any RATIONAL reason why Snitker would bring in, basically, the 9th man in the bullpen (with The Braves going with a 4 man rotation until next weekend against The Mets….Whitley is the 9th man in the bullpen) who had yet to make his 2018 debut!

From what I’ve seen of Whitley last year (he played with Tampa) and watching some of his relief appearances when he was at Triple A this year (I was mainly watching games where Acuna played and that Soroka and Allard started)….I’ve YET to see why AA is ‘counting’ on Whitley to be anything other than ‘an innings eater’ who can pitch in games that are already decided either way (like in yesterday’s game when The Braves were up 10-1 with 2 innings left. Instead Snitker decided to go with Biddle, who did a decent job).

I’m not saying that The Braves would have ‘for sure’ came back and won Friday night…I’m saying that his decision to bring in Whitley in the bottom of the 7th in a 4-3 game…simply WAS NOT the right one to make (and warrants criticism). It’s a legit gripe that SHOULD have been addressed by the local media after the game (which I’m sure WAS NOT, because we all know that The Local Atlanta Media WILL NEVER be mistaken with The New York Media…who rightfully or wrongly/fairly or unfairly…WILL DEFINITELY ask questions that pointedly challenge a manager to DEFEND decisions he made in critical points of the ballgame).

So King….how would you ‘defend’ Snitker’s decision to bring in Whitley in the bottom of the 7th of a 4-3 game? Remember, in Thursday’s day game in Cincy….Newcomb went 6 innings…then Freeman pitched 1 1/3 innings (25 pitches)….Carle went 2/3rd of an inning (12 pitches)….Vizcaino went 1 inning (24 pitches). Minter, Winkler and Moylan all had the day off.

Let’s say that Snitker used Winkler to pitch the 7th and Minter the 8th…yet The Braves dont come back. Of course we dont have to burn a pitcher to pitch the bottom of the 9th (game over). However, at least The Braves would have had 2 innings to ‘work their magic’ (in addition to putting pressure on Kapler when it came to how he managed the last 2 innings).

When I saw Whitley warming up on the mound when the telecast resumed in the bottom of the 7th..I was like ‘we just gave a one run game with 2 at-bats to go’! I just hope that when all is said and done next weekend (with Teheran being healthy in his start on Wednesday and Sanchez ready to start on Saturday…along with Gohara ‘eventually’ showing that he’s ready to resume being in Atlanta’s rotation by mid-May)…that the likes of Chase Whitley are LONG GONE from The Braves roster (in other words, he needs to get his act together in Triple A before I EVER see him wearing an Atlanta Braves uniform).

Sure, it was nice to take 2 of 3 against The Phillies. However we should have SWEPT THEM! That game on Friday was ‘a winnable game’…that our manager basically BLEW any chance of our offense of mounting a comeback (a one run deficit with 2 innings to go…….isnt exactly ‘insurmountable’, lol).

Well let’s not forget that Gabe Kapler also called for a pitching change earlier this year without having a pitcher ready to go, so I mean it’s fair to say that all of these guys make mistakes. And that’s arguably a worse gaffe than any in-game strategic decision.

More to your point though, Paul- it’s entirely possible AA encouraged Snit to shuffle the batting order a bit. If he did, kudos to him. It’s also entirely possible he’s encouraging Snit to use Whitley, too. We don’t know. If you’re going under the assumption AA is a general manager who’ll give heavy input into line-up construction, you also have to assume the same for the pitching side of things though. You just can’t praise AA for every good thing the Braves do, and then criticize Snit for every bad thing they do. It is AA, after all, who put Whitley on this roster.

Now I’m not a Whitley guy. Like you, I think he should be down in AAA. You can’t run Winkler and Minter out there every night though. Winkler, Minter and Viz have seen action in more than half the games the club has played this season. At the pace they’re on, they’ll see 90-95 appearances. At some point the low men in the bullpen have to step up and produce. And the Phils aren’t an offensive juggernaut, so that’s as good as spot as any to give Whitley a go.

And I understand your point of view, and Minter and Winkler did get some much needed rest Thursday. Saturday saw McCarthy take the hill, though. And I like the guy as a SP. I think he was a great add. He’s also pretty consistently a 5 inning SP, however. So maybe Snit was also looking ahead and anticipating a heavy bullpen use day there?

Sorry, got my dates crossed… McCarthy took the rubber Sunday. It was Folty Saturday. Looking at the game logs though, it’s the same issue. The Braves SP pretty consistently churns out 5 innings a night, which has to put the thought in a manager’s head of bullpen preservation.

King….I ‘understand’ about Snitker possibly ‘looking ahead’ to Saturday (when trying to ‘justify’ using Whitley). However, you have to try to win the WINNABLE GAMES on the day that is at hand! We’ve scored runs LATE against The Phillies this year! The situation simply DID NOT call for a pitcher like Whitley to be used in that 7th inning! Seeing that made me SICK (if I had known that Snitker was going to manage like that…I’d have spent my time watching The NBA Playoffs on TNT during those hours, lol…because it was GUARANTEED to lead to a Braves loss)!

I’m not trying to imply that ‘every’ move that Snitker makes SUCKS or that every move that AA makes is FANTASTIC, lol! However, if you pay attention to Snitker’s post game interview yesterday…it’s pretty clear that it ‘was not’ his idea to trot out that lineup!

While AA promoted Whitley to the roster on Friday…I seriously doubt that AA ‘specifically asked’ for Whitley to be used in a 1 run game like what we saw on Friday night. Fried was only used in The Reds game that went to the 12th inning last week…because The Braves ran out of pitchers, lol!

Tommy…after seeing Albies hit his National League tying 9th homer of the year (tied with Charlie Blackmon of The Rockies)..I decided to check’s WAR leaders in each league (I wanted to see how Albies’ war checked out).

Loh and behold…the two leaders in The National League in WAR…are Freddie Freeman at 1.7..and Nick Freaking Markakis at 1.6!

WOW, Markakis is 2nd in The NL in WAR, lol.

I know that it’s only the bottom of the 3rd, but The Braves are already up 6-0..with this new lineup! As long as Markakis keeps hitting (if you go back to my preseason Braves win prediction…I did state that with this being Markakis walk/free agent year….he may be in line for a good offensive year. It’s not an uncommon thing, seeing a hitter PRODUCE in his free agent/walk year)…I guess that it’s ‘ok’ that Snitker keeps trotting him out as our cleanup hitter, lol!

Meanwhile, Carmago is making a case to be our everyday 3rd baseman! He CRUSHED a 3 run homer from Velesquez to make it 6-0.

McCarthy HAS to go out and NOT WALK ANYONE with a 6-0 lead. While it would be nice for him to go 6..he’s at 54 pitches through 3 innings. Perhaps with a 6-0 lead, McCarthy will quit NIBBLING like he did in that 30 pitch 1st inning (HELLA LUCKY to escape that baseloaded one out jam, where he walked the 1st two batters of the game) and go after The Phillies hitters.

Man if we can get this win…AND if The Padres can somehow win today. We’d be tied with The Phillies and only 1/2 game behind The Mets….with a day off tomorrow AND a 3-game series coming up at New York!

After 4 years of is A PLEASANT SURPRISE that The Braves are playing MEANINGFUL/EXCITING baseball in late April (a year earlier than I anticipated). I’m ok with being wrong, lol!

However, let’s see how the health of this team holds up (Teheran’s shoulder is a concern…McCarthy has never pitched a full year without getting hurt….Gohara is out of shape/needs more time to ‘get his pitching timing’ down….I really DO NOT want to see Soroka called up until later in the year. I LOVE his stuff/demeanor….just would like to see him get another 8-10 starts in AAA to ‘solidify’ his readiness for MLB).

GREAT WIN by The Braves today! This game could not have worked out better than I anticipated (other than Freddie going 0 for 4 and Swanson going 0 for 5, lol). Not only do we BEAT UP on The Phillies 10-1…but DESPITE McCarthy only going 5 1/3 innings…..other than Moylan throwing 17 pitches in his 1 1/3 innings…Freeman only three 4 pitches in his 1/3 inning. The big lead allowed Biddle to pitch the last 2 innings of the game (SAVING the important pitchers of our bullpen/giving them AN EXTRA DAY OF REST to go with tomorrow’s off day).

I would be REALLY DISAPPOINTED if Snitker DID NOT keep the same lineup for Tuesday’s game against Synderguard (Flowers will probably play if Suzuki is sore from getting hit by that pitch in the top of the 9th today). Having Inciarte hit 9th..really lengthens the lineup once the pitcher’s spot is passed (when he’s hitting 8th).

While Jose Bautista isnt the Bautista of old…I would LOVE to see AA call up Bautista in time for Tuesday’s game (and say BYE BYE to Culberson…whose basically DEAD WEIGHT on our bench). Having a bench of Carmago, Flaherty/Bautista, Flowers/Suzuki and Tucker….WOW….talk about NO ONE being ‘an easy out’ when called upon to pinch hit!

If Biddle turns out to be legit…WOW, lol! A lefty who can go MULTIPLE INNINGS at the back of the bullpen, lol!

Again, health (especially when it comes to the the rotation) will play A HUGE ROLE in how far into The Season that The Braves can remain SERIOUS CONTENDERS!

16-11 to end The Month of April! NICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now if only The Padres can come back and beat The Mets today (they are down 4-0 in the bottom of the 3rd).

Tommy…..I have a couple of things I’d like to run by you and see what you think regarding The Braves:

1. The possibility/is it a prudent thing to consider….re-signing BOTH Flowers and Suzuki to similar multi-year contracts (one year, 5 mil guaranteed/one year team option for $4 mil….for both of them)? I feel like AA can make ‘an argument’ that the careers of BOTH Flowers and Suzuki can be extend possibly a number of years IF they BOTH accept a platoon role that they both enjoyed in 2017 and are trying to replicate in 2018 (assuming that Flowers can stay healthy for the rest of 2018).

A scenario where one makes 85-90 starts while the other one makes 70-75 starts (and where BOTH get PLENTY of pinch hitting opportunities on days they dont start). Re-signing BOTH for 2019 (with team options for 2020) would not only SOLIDIFY the catching position for the next 2 season…BUT ALSO allow prospects such as Alex Jackson and Wilson Contreras to develop (as well as others like Lugbauer, Cumberland and Herbert). I’m not A HUGE FAN of spending SIGNIFICANT Free Agent Money trying to sign a catcher…NOR do I want to see AA spend SIGNIFICANT prospect capital swinging a trade for a starting catcher.

I know that fans/management seems to like ‘certainity’ when it comes to project a position long term. However, for the time being, I feel that Flowers/Suzuki can work (if we can keep them healthy) for another 5-6 years (remember, The Braves WILL NOT be running EITHER OF THEM ‘into the ground’).

2. Despite how I feel about NOT having Inciarte hit leadoff…I still LOVE him playing center field for The Braves! AA/whoever AA hires to replace Snitker going into The 2019 Season….are going to have to convince Inciarte that him moving down to the bottom of the order will be for the betterment of the team! Inciarte, ALbies, Acuna all give Freddie 3 SPEEDSTERS to potentially getting on base in front of him…ON A CONSISTENT BASIS (once the lineup has turned over the 1st time).

The question is: Can Inciarte’s ‘ego’ handle a demotion like that?.The Math dictates having the best hitters of your lineup (Albies, Acuna and Freeman getting THE MOST at-bats over the course of a season).

3. While I’m not ‘a huge fan’ of having Freeman/Markakis hitting #3-#4 (2 lefties hitting back to back) in our lineup, I ‘guess’ I can ‘live’ with it, IF Markakis continues to ‘produce’! He’s second in WAR, behind Freddie Freeman in The National League (at 1.6…Freddie is 1.7).

When all is said and done, the following is what I’d like to see (once Bautista is called up):

1. Albies…..2nd
2. Acuna….left field
3. Freeman….1st
4. Flowers/Suzuki…catcher
5. Markakis….right field
6. Swanson….short
7. Bautista/Flaherty…3rd
8. Pitcher’s spot
9. Inciarte….center

That would leave The Braves with a 4 man bench of Carmago, Tucker…and Flowers/Suzuki and Bautista/Flaherty!

Swanson and Albies CANNOT play 162 games this year! Both are still HELLA YOUNG….and are HUMAN (meaning that they will need some REGULARLY SCHEDULED DAYS OFF!!!!). Carmago versatility will allow The Braves to rest Swanson and Albies one day a week or so…while giving Carmago plenty of playing time (he’ll still get plenty of pinch hitting opportunities).

Tucker not only can spell any of the outfielders who may need a day off..but he can also spell Freddie at 1st on occasion.

4. Next on the agenda, is getting the back of the bullpen ‘settled’. Biddle’s performance the past few times..has shown that he’s a possible candidate to SEIZE the lefty/back of the bullpen/multi-inning reliever who can pitch in back to bak games. While Carle also has that ablilty from the right side of the mound…it appears that Snitker wants Carle to fill a high leverage/late inning relief role (along with Minter, Winkler and Freeman).

1. Vizcaino
2. Minter
3. Winkler
4. Carle
5. Freeman
6. Moylan
7. Fried
8. Biddle
9. Whitley

When Sanchez gets called up to start Saturday’s game against The Giants in Atlanta (May 5th)…it will probably be Fried who gets sent down (to get Fried stretched out with the hope that he’ll compete for a starting job come 2019). However, I feel that Whitley should be the one sent down (I’m just not ‘seeing it’/not feeling that he has what it takes to be the kind of consistent/long term reliever that The Braves need (whereas I feel that if given a chance to GROW into the role, Max Fried has ‘Andrew Miller’ written ALL OVER HIM!).

When Sanchez gets activiated (and inserted into the rotation)…I’d simply drop Whitely from the Roster. And go with the following 8 man bullpen:

1. Vizcaino
2. Minter
3. Winkler
4. Carle
5. Freeman
6. Moylan
7. Biddle
8. Fried

That’s the making of A DANGEROUS BULLPEN! Vizcaino is the main closer..while Minter is ‘waiting in the wings’/can close on days where Vizcaino has been overworked. Winkler and Carle are the 6th-7th inning right handed guys…while Freeman is the 6th-7th inning lefty. Moylan basically comes in to face the tough righty/try and induce a double play.

That leaves Fried and Biddle as potentially 2 lefties who can go multiple innings! What a luxury for Snitker if Fried and Biddle both can NAIL DOWN the last 2 positions of the bullpen.

16-11…..1 1/2 games behind The Mets…going into a 3 game series against The Mets. With Gohara, Soroka, Allard and Wright all potentially coming up during the next month/couple of months to provide some ‘relief’ to BOTH our bullpen AND starting rotation…The Braves will indeed be one DANGEROUS TEAM/VERY TOUGH TO BEAT! This new lineup of Snitker’s (should he stay with it) will score LOTS OF RUNS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Nationals will sure be HELLA ACTIVE on The Trade Market. The question becomes…how does AA respond? My take…by STAYING PAT! As much as I would LOVE to see our Braves win The Division and make The Playoffs…..I am more concerned with how we prepare for getting our players ready for The 2019 Season (AND BEYOND)! In other words, NO making any ‘sacrificing for the future’ type trades!

Tommy—what I hear you saying is, ‘this is a possible once every 20’years thing’ enjoy it. I agreeded with alou that ‘every time Maddox pitched everyone on the field and in the stands should be required to wear a tux.’ It is a special thing that might not come along again for a while.

(If it’s okay to ask a question)

Biddle and lindgren were one wave that I thought would be here this year to help the pen. It seems to me a lot of the best bull pen arms are in AA to work with the pitching coach Dennis L. Along with touki and wright. What in your opinion would be the ‘next wave’ of bull pen we could see this year?

Tommy…while I was walking my dog yesterday, I listened to one of the hosts on MLB Radio ask a Braves fan to ‘play GM for a day at The July Trade Deadline’. He asked ‘do you make any significant moves to improve the team IF The Braves are a couple of games out/in front’? The ‘fan’ said ‘heck yes’.

Dude, my position is this: HELL NO (other than ‘maybe’ a couple of ‘non-prospects for middle relief help IF the price is right’)! Any help for the fall stretch..HAS to come from WITHIN!

Sure, the ‘unexpected’ start to The 2018 Season is NICE! However, a lot has to CONTINUE HAPPENING for The Braves to continue contending in 2018. Also, I would be DEAD SET AGAINST making any moves that went against making 2019’s team (and future Braves teams) AS STRONG AS POSSIBLE!

While it’s nice to see The Braves compete in 2018, I’ve stated all along that The 2018 Season should be about giving Albies and Acuna AS MANY AT-BATS AS POSSIBLE hitting #1-#2 in the order (which Snitker has apparently ‘succumbed to’, lol)…AS WELL as giving Soroka, Allard and Wright their ‘cups of coffee’ starts later in the year (which will help all three better prepare to contribute as Starting Pitcher for The Braves in 2019).

Well…it looks like The Mike Soroka Era has ‘officially’ begun! He’s getting the start tonight…against THOR, lol! The Braves officially have the three youngest players in all of MLB..and all three will be starting tonight’s game! HOW KOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

While I would have rather The Braves waited to call up Soroka until post ASB….we’re going to see what AA has in mind when it comes to possibly opening up a rotation spot for Soroka (IF he pitches like we all think he’s capable of pitching). Could McCarthy be on the move? There are contenders who need quality veteran starting pitching.

AA would be FOOLISH to start trading any of our best starting pitching prospects. I would like to see a Starting Rotation built FIRST (a long term one)…because any ‘trading of surplus talent’ is considered! While I have a vision (which I’ve shared a number of times with you guys, lol) of who I think will be The Long Term Starting 5….I’m a realist! Variance, injuries, unexpected inability to make adjustments at The MLB Level, etc. all have doomed many a MLB pitching career. Let’s see how these prospects develop/earn their spots in the rotation down the line…before we ‘make moves’ (most people are simply MORONIC when it comes to their ‘notion’ of ‘making moves’, lol).

Tommy….excited to see this 3 game series with The Mets. While we all would love to see a Braves sweep…it’s HELLA IMPORTANT that we win AT LEAST 1 game from this series (remember, it’s not easy to win series on the road against good teams..ESPECIALLY when in the 1st two games The Braves have to face Synderguard and deGroom). Sweeps are tough to overcome!

However, The Mets have to FACE US/CONTEND with our offense! If The Braves can get BOTH Synderguard and deGroom out by the 6th inning and into The Mets bullpen…we’ll have a really good chance to win each of these games (I expect our offense to KNOCK AROUND Vargas in Thursday’s early day game).


Tommy….I’ve been reading on other ‘so called’ Braves blogs/sites (those TC Clowns crack me up)…who are raving on Soroka (rightfully so)….who are making post after post saying that the following:

1. The Braves have too many pitchers/not enough spots for them.
2. The Braves need to start trading ‘the surplus’
3. The Braves should start trading some of our prospects before they ‘lose value’.
4. The Braves need to trade our prospects for ‘a real ace’, lol!

People who forget history…are bound to REPEAT HISTORY!

Translation: Back in 2011-2012, The Braves had NOT ONLY a rotation that consisted of Jair Jurrjens, Tommy Hanson, Kris Medlen, Mike Minor and Brandon Beachy….BUT ALSO a bullpen that consisted of Craig Kimbrel, Johnny Venters and Eric O’Flaherty!

Our rotation and bullpen were all YOUNG and TALENTED. Of that group…ONLY Craig Kimbrel DID NOT develop arm problems!

By 2014….The Braves were FORCED to REBUILD…because ONLY Craig Kimbrel was left (only 2 years later)..and we had to trade him in order to unload Melvin Upton’s $50 mil contract (kind of pointless to have a quality closer…when you’re rebuilding).

Here’s a News Flash for those MORONS who want to see AA start trading from our ‘surplus’ of starting pitching prospects: GO STUDY SOME HISTORY…YOU A.D.D. AFFLICTED IMBECILES, LOL!

If anyone gets traded in 2018, it will be the likes of Brandon McCarthy and Julio Teheran (and that is ONLY when Soroka, Allard and Wright have EARNED the right to join The Rotation).

Beyond 2018….we build our rotation and bullpen FROM WITHIN (except for re-signing Kimbrel….who is simply too good to NOT go after, lol. Re-signing Kimbrel would slot Minter and Winkler to the 8th inning high leverage role. Vizcaino IS NOT someone I want closing playoff games…and he’ll get rewarded with too much via Arbitration after The 2018 Season to warrant getting 8th inning money).

Spring Training 2019, The Braves should have some SERIOUS COMPETITION for both The Starting Rotation AND Bullpen! No need to spend turn to Free Agency or spend prospect capital to acquire any pitching (other than, like I stated previous, signing Kimbrel to a 4 year/$17-$18 mil a year deal).

A big reason why The Braves will be able to be SERIOUS PLAYERS via Free Agency (going after Kimbrel, Machado and Harper)…will be because of the surplus of pre-arbitration players making SIGNIFICANT contributions (especially in relation to their cost PER W.A.R).

A team can NEVER NEVER NEVER have too much pitching, lol! I’m excited to see how THE PLETHORA of competition plays out the next few years when it comes to our ‘Young Guns’!

BIG WIN by The Braves here! Soroka only needed 80 pitches to get through 6 innings (no walks, 5 strikeouts). Yet Snitker cannot help but take Soroka out, lol! It wasnt like Soroka threw a lot of stressful pitches!

Inciarte made a BONEHEADED base running play in the top of the 4th inning that killed a potential scoring chance (allowing Synderguard to settle down).

I’m not sure what happened to Carle in the top of the bottom of the 7th inning…but it cant be good the way he shook his fingers (the word is that he lost feeling in his fingers). Losing Carle for any length of time, would be a blow to our bullpen.

Despite The Braves trying to give The Mets several opportunities to come back in the 9th inning…..Vizcaino was able to CLOSE THE DOOR and get A VERY IMPORTANT 1st win in this series. The WORST that can happen is that 1. we lose 2 of 3 in this series….2. That we finish the road trip 5-5. 3. We go home 2 1/2 games out of 1st.

HOWEVER, we have an opportunity the next two days to EITHER get a split of the next two games OR sweep The Mets! Hopefully we’ll get ‘the good Newcomb’ who throws strikes/goes after hitter/doesnt DICK AROUND when he gets 0-2/1-2 on a hitter.

Soroka WENT AFTER hitters once he got them 0-2/1-2. He DID NOT waste hardly any pitches tonight! He pitched like Greg Maddux tonight! He worked fast/didnt break a sweat/went after hitters! When you DO NOT walk hitters…you can give up a solo homer and it DOES NOT really hurt you! It’s only ONE FREAKING RUN! Hopefully watching A ROOKIE go after hitters tonight…will ‘rub off’ on our WHOLE PITCHING STAFF!

1/2 a game out of 1st! Phillies lost to the freaking Marlins AGAIN! If we win tomorrow…..1st PLACE BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tommy…..I would love Soroka in as the 5th starter..and move Annibal Sanchez to the bullpen (he can be the long relief/multi-inning specialist). If Gohara shows in his next 3-4 AAA starts that he’s ready…I would like to see The Braves GM, AA, open up a spot for him by trading Brandon McCarthy (lots of contenders need starting pitching….McCarthy is a 32 year old Free Agent at the end of 2018..not in The Braves long term plans).

A summer rotation of 1. Teheran. 2. Folty. 3. Newcomb. 4. Soroka and 5. Gohara…..VERY NICE! If Kolby Allard continues to shine in Triple A…I would like to see AA explore trading Teheran by The July Trade Deadline (opening a spot for Allard in the rotation).

Look, I understand that many Braves fans CRAVE LIKE CRACK seeing The Braves make a push for The Playoffs in 2018. However, I’m a Braves fan FOR THE LONG HAUL…meaning that I’m looking at 2019 as the year that we ‘not just’ push for The Playoffs…BUT push for A WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP!

In order to make that happen…two things need to happen:

1. Soroka, Allard and Kyle Wright HAVE to get their ‘cups of coffee’ starts after The July Trade Deadline! For The Braves to be SERIOUS COMPETITORS in 2019…we need Soroka, Allard and Wright to all get AT LEAST 8-10 starts to end the season. While it looks like Soroka will get WAY MORE than 8-10 starts…..spots for Allard and Wright WILL NOT OPEN until McCarthy and Teheran are dealt.

2. Our GM, AA, spends what it takes during The 2018 Free Agent Offseason…to sign Machado, Harper AND Kimbrel! I’ve done the payroll projections (for 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 AND beyond)….The Braves can afford to sign BOTH Machado and Harper to a 10 year/$350-$400 mil-ish type deals…FOR EACH OF THEM…AS WELL as sign Kimbrel to a 4 year/$17-$18 mil a year-ish type deal. Those 3 contracts can fit into current and future payrolls!

Doing those two things….will make The Braves SERIOUS WORLD SERIES CONTENDERS…FOR YEARS TO COME! The Braves have A BOATLOAD of young/pre-arbitration talent…..coming in WAVES to our roster (in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021)! The Braves are THE ENVY of all of MLB!

I love our current lineup….however, Imagine a 2019 lineup of the following:

1. Albies….2nd
2. Acuna….RF
3. Freeman….1st
4. Machado…3rd
5. Harper……LF
6. Flowers/Suzuki….C
7. Swanson…..SS
8. Pitcher’s…..P
9. Inciarte…CF

How do you PITCH to that LETHAL LINEUP?

2019 Rotation:

1. Folty
2. Newcomb
3. Soroka
4. Gohara
5. Allard

With the likes of Kyle Wright, Patrick Weigel, Ian Anderson, Bryce Wilson, Joey Wentz and Tooki Tousiant all slated to push their way into contention for a rotation spot!

Some of those arms could very well make Folty and Newcomb trade bait….while others may have to go to the bullpen and serve as high leverage/multi-inning out-getters (for a bit..until their time to start comes).

I love Folty and Newcomb…however if our young guys show that they can throw strikes and consistently pitch 7 innings a night EFFECTIVELY……then the two of them may not be in The Braves Long Term Plans.

Your thoughts Tommy?

paul you tend to make some good points. i do believe that there are moves that can be made for a playoff push this year if we are in the picture that do not sacrifice prospects nor hurt our 2019 season. being able to score machado, harper and kimbrel is ideal. sounds great, looks great, would be great.. but according to mark bowman (whom i know isnt always correct) our money to spend wont exactly be what we are all hoping/anticipating. and machado has made it clear he only wants to play shortstop. yes, we are a team on the rise but i think we need to start looking into some extensions to entice some of these players a little more to get them to come to atl. to show them that we dont just want to win a world series. we want several. we have the assets. like i said, i love the idea of it. and im not a fan of sacrificing the farm. i just think we need to do something to become the most appealing option to each guy we go after in free agency.

I saw that Bowman piece too, Brandon. If the budget is indeed in the 30-50 million range, the Braves might be able to play in the market for one of Harper or Machado. Kimbrel’s out if they go for the bat, I’d imagine. As a mid-market team though, it’s probably best if they don’t try to set the market for RP.

I think with what the Braves have coming, it’ll present an interesting choice. If they believe Riley’s the real deal, I’d say you probably go for the LH bat in Harper. If they’re iffy, the RH Pollock might make the most sense. I’d wager a Coke that Machado ends up in NY though. So while he might listen to the Braves offer, I doubt he signs.

You bring up a great point about the extensions, however. At some point, it might be a good idea to set some cash aside to extend Freddie. And it’s probably not too soon to start thinking about locking up Albies and Acuna long term.

Brandon…Having players like Freeman (only owed $21 mil a year until the end of The 2021 Season) and Inciarte (only owed $5 mil in 2019, $7 mil in 2020, $8 mil in 2021 and a team option $9 mil in 2022) under VERY AFFORDABLE long term contracts….AS WELL as having pre-arbitration players slated to make SIGNIFICANT contributions like Albies, Acuna, Swanson, Carmago, Newcomb, Soroka and Minter…as well as prospects like Gohara, Allard, Wright, Tousiant, Weigel, Wentz, Wilson, Anderson, Pache and Riley who should be making their way up to The Braves in the next couple of years (not to mention arbitration players with 3 plus years left with The Braves like Folty and Winkler)….makes The Braves a very attractive team to play for (along with A FANTASTIC NEW BALLPARK).

The only real holes on this team…..are 3rd, left field (Acuna will move to right field AFTER The 2018 Season ends, when Markakis leaves as a Free Agent) and closer (Vizcaino IS NOT someone I want closing games in The Post-Season).

I’ve posted in the past a projected Braves lineup/payroll that can fit in the signings of Machado, Harper and Kimbrel! The lineup/bullpen would be LETHAL! Our young pitching staff would have an offense that can score runs and a defense that can glove it! In other words, our young starting pitching (Folty, Newcomb, Soroka, Gohara and Allard/Wright) wouldnt have to DOMINATE every night out (just throw strikes and trust their stuff).

If Machado wanted to stay at short…then I’m sure that Dansby can be convinced to switch to 3rd (or we can trade Dansby IF Austin Riley shows he’s ready to play 3rd at The MLB Level come 2019).

The Braves are in A UNIQUE position come The 2018 Free Agent Offseason! Think about it…if The Braves were to spend the money to sign Harper, Machado and Kimbrel…how do you think the fan base would respond? Ticket sales would GO THROUGH THE ROOF! Sun Trust Field would be THE PLACE TO BE (especially with the printing press that surrounds Sun Trust Field that is called The Battery)!

The Braves can sign those 3 players AND offer our young prospects ‘long term contracts’. However it takes two to tango! The question is…do our young prospects want to gamble on themselves and wait arbitration and Free Agency out?

exactly. although i’m sure kimbrel would love to come back for the braves while they are possible contenders. i think the safest/best option is harper due to whatever our funds situation actually is. machado will sign elsewhere. i read another article about how the braves revenue actually has to be a certain amount due to the new park (and apparently north port also) or the mlb will have to intervene, which is a partial reason for projected payroll not to be as high as we had anticipated. but i think we could use what we do have to try to lock down one star from the upcoming class and try to reward the guys we do have with the money they deserve at a fairly cost friendly price while they dont cost us an arm and a leg like they will when their walk year comes. i actually believe we have a solid talent in austin riley. he may not be a perennial all star but definitely more than solid. and i think that camargo has the potential to become a javy baez type. maybe not quite as good but its possible. we have a lot to be excited about.

I agree that Harper is the best bet. There was an article someone posted way back that said Harper had friends that thought he might like playing in Atlanta. Signing Harper, of course, has the double benefit of whacking the Nats as well as improving the Braves. I think there are more sensible relief prospects than Kimbrel who will be overpriced. And Machado is not signing to play 3B anywhere least of all Atlanta.

Of course, I like the idea of pursuing Kershaw too. Either Kershaw or Harper would be mighty fine.

Roger….I am DEAD SET against paying a soon to be 31 year old Clayton Kershaw $35-$40 mil a year deal! Greg Maddux was only 26 when The Braves signed him to that initial 5 year deal! Kershaw is going to want more than a 5 year deal.

Kershaw is on the WRONG SIDE of 30. PASS! No brainer!

The Braves can build our rotation FROM WITHIN! I’d rather they OVERPAY for either Harper and/or Machado (both of whom will be 26 going into 2019)….than Kershaw! Position players who get hurt, come back WAY QUICKER from injuries than pitchers!

Its is possible Strasburg will opt out at the end of the season–could you imagine if the Nats lose Harper and Strasburg in the same off season? Wow. That would be painful. Paul for your sake i hope the Braves sign Machado and Harper–I also really hope we stop killing the bees….but I dont think its gonna happen. Best of luck to you on it–and I know by the time they sign you will have talked about it daily. So for your sake i hope you are right. With the debt structure of the braves–I dont see it at all. The Braves can still load up on some great free agents….just not..well, sorry. Go Braves!

Andy…The Debt structure will be paid off with no problem! Do you understand how much money The Braves are making off the LOADS of people who come and visit The Battery Properties that surround Sun Trust Field?

Also, think about it….a Sun Trust Field that is SOLD OUT REGULARLY…will increase profits EVEN MORE (not just at Sun Trust Field, but at the surrounding businesses that The Braves have a financial interest in). Signing Machado, Harper and Kimbrel would entice MANY more to buy season tickets (in addition to game day tickets). Also, making deep runs in The Playoffs would increase revenues BY MILLIONS!

Andy, I’m pretty much against going after any EXPENSIVE starting pitchers…because 1. if they get hurt, they take MUCH LONGER to recover than hitters. 2. The Braves have PLENTY of high upside pitching prospects to build a quality rotation from (we have potential aces in our system).

I will say this….the question that our GM, AA, will have to answer by season’s end is this: Is Austin Riley ‘the long term answer’ at 3rd for The Braves? If he is….then is Dansby Swanson ‘the long term answer’ at short for The Braves?

I ask…because if both Swanson and Riley are viewed as ‘long term answers’..then that kind of eliminates the need to go after Machado. However, if either isnt, then why not go after Machado? Both Machado and Harper will be 26 years old going into The 2019 Season. Kimbrel will be 30 years old. A 4 year/$17-$18 mil a year deal for a closer of his caliber (he’s been durable and effective throughout his career…whereas both Kershaw and Strasberg have had elbow issues in the past).

Isnt the point in having a PLETHORA of young, cheap, productive, pre-arbitration eligible players on your roster….is having the payroll flexibility to ADD expensive/productive players who can help The Braves make a deep playoff run/be yearly World Series Contenders?

I seriously doubt that The Braves would not be able to afford a payroll of $150-$160 mil in 2019! The Braves basically paid $42 mil for Brandon McCarthy in 2018 (in The Matt Kemp Trade, The Braves took on $16 mil that are owed to EACH of Scott Kazmir AND Adrian Gonzalez…both of whom were released…as well as McCarthy’s $10 mil 2018 salary. Charlie Culberson, I guess, is earning his $575k salary. Still, if he wasnt getting paid that $575k, someone else would be). If ‘the debt’ thing was really a big deal…I seriously doubt that The Commissioner would have allowed The Matt Kemp Trade to be made!

I think that there are some ‘worried’ teams out there afraid of/jealous of the possibilities that lie ahead for The Braves! Some journalists who are in ‘the pockets’ of certain teams…put pieces out there to ‘start shit’, lol!

As far as Mark Bowman is concerned….the stuff he says should be taken with a grain of salt. Perhaps The Braves dont want agents to ‘use them’ as leverage to ‘drive up’ the prices for their Free Agents. Regardless, our GM, AA, did not take this job just to ‘pinch pennies’ come 2019 and beyond! The Matt Kemp Trade was done PRECISELY to position The Braves to be SERIOUS PLAYERS come The 2018 Free Agent Offseason!

The success that The Braves are currently having…is a big pleasant surprise! However, that does not mean that we should re-sign Nick Markakis to another 4 year contract to play right field…NOR does it mean that Ryan Flaherty is our future 3rd baseman…NOR does it mean that Vizcaino is our LONG TERM Closer!

I’ll be rooting for our team to continue winning….however I feel that Washington is going to win this division….because they will SACRIFICE their prospects in order to GO FOR IT this year! Washington, with the team they have (they are simply too talented), will have no choice but to GO FOR IT. They will be SERIOUS PLAYERS during The July Trade Deadline!

Knowing that…AA would be FOOLISH to try and ‘compete’ against that! If we are able to get in The Playoffs via The Wild Card with WHAT WE HAVE (any improvements will have to come from within our system…NOT via any big trades come July). I DID NOT endure this 4 year Rebuild….just to see 3, 4 or 5 of our best prospects SACRIFICED, chasing a one game playoff bid!

Dude, if The Braves just STAND PAT (and keep our prospects)….we will be positioned to DOMINATE, starting in 2019 AND beyond! DOMINATE! I’m ok with playing out 2018 with WHAT WE HAVE! AA should wait until The 2018 Free Agent Offseason to DRASTICALLY improve our team via Free Agency (and we get to keep our prospects, who will be IMPORTANT to our future)!

Maybe. I hope so. What they are saying about mlb rules and debt and with bowman saying 30
-50 million next year. I hope
Your right—but we might get not have the capital within the rules to spend more than. 30-50 which would end all big ticket free agent talk. But you could be absolutely correct—i truly hope so as a braves fan.

Andy, I think your numbers are going to end up being correct. Everything McGuirk and Liberty says comes out to be about a $120-$130M including about $30M-$50M to spend on FA. I figure that could corral one big FA, hopefully Harper, or maybe Kershaw. After that it’ll be just low level signings like this year. But, then again, we don’t need much at this point. I don’t support signing a FA closer – these days they are paid more than they’re worth. Between Minter, Winkler, and Biddle and others coming up (Clouse, Watts, Burrows, etc..), the back of the bullpen should be fine. If we can get short term relievers on the trade market, that might be a better way to go (e.g. Herrera is a good target this year). The Braves are in a prime position to add one legitimate generational talent in the FA market next winter. I think that is what the FO is telling everyone by what their saying in the media.

Roger…THE ONLY WAY that Kershaw is going to opt out of his Dodgers if he feels he can get $40 mil a year. NO WAY do I want to see The Braves pay a 31 year old Kershaw (whose had a history of elbow problems) that kind of cheese!

Dude, we have potential aces IN OUR SYSTEM! Mike Soroka, Sean Newcomb and Luiz Gohara (as soon as he gets finished with his ‘Spring Training’ in Gwinnett) are going to lead The Braves staff FOR YEARS TO COME! SCREW Kershaw, lol! Maddux was only 26 years old when we signed him….big difference!

If The Braves stay competitive this year….Sun Trust Field could draw 2.5-2.8 million people (raising revenues SIGNIFICANTLY). Imagine what The Braves could charge for season tickets in 2019/how many sellouts Sun Trust Field (not to mention the money spent around The Battery Properties that The Braves have a financial interest in)…..IF they were to sign Machado, Harper and Kimbrel? Easy over 3 million fans! This Braves team would be STACKED/LOADED! We’d score lots of run/play great defense….our young starting pitching WOULD NOT have to dominate…just settle down/throw strikes!

Andy…..If The Braves end up starting 2019 with a rotation of 1. Folty. 2. Newcomb. 3. Soroka. 4. Gohara. 5. Kolby Allard/Kyle Wright…then that means that Julio Teheran will be traded (either by The July Trade Deadline..or during The 2018 Free Agent Offseason). Remember, Teheran will be owed only $11 mil in 2019 and a team option $12 mil in 2020 (with a $1 mil buyout). That’s only $23 mil over two years (or $12 mil for one year if Teheran were to blow his elbow out in 2019 or somehow ‘totally lose it’…giving a team who acquires him ‘the best of both worlds’ when it comes to BOTH the decent dollar signs AND a cheap buyout should things not work out).

I feel that there’s a good chance that BOTH Teheran AND Vizcaino (who’ll be due a very decent raise via his last year of Arbitration after The 2018 Season) will be traded before The 2019 Season begins. If I’m correct, that would leave the following salaries that are ‘pretty much’ set in stone for 2019 for The Braves:

1. Freddie Freeman ($21 mil).
2. Ender Inciarte ($5 mil).
3. Mike Folty (approximately $7-$8 mil via arbitration IF he continues to do well in 2018).
4. Dan Winkler (approximately $2-$3 mil via arbitration).
5. Sam Freeman (approximately $2 mil via arbitration).

5 total players at approximately $36-$38 mil in salaries for 2019.

Here are the pre-arbitration players slated to open 2019 on The Opening Day Roster:

6. Ozzie Albies ($600k)
7. Ronald Acuna ($600k)
8. Dansby Swanson ($700k)
9. Johan Carmago ($600k)
10. Preston Tucker ($600k)
11. Sean Newcomb ($600k)
12. Mike Soroka ($600k)
13. Kolby Allard ($600k)
14. Kyle Wright ($600k)
15. Luis Gohara ($600k)
16. Max Fried ($600k). I think he’ll be pitching in an Andrew Miller-like role for The Bullpen come 2019.
17. Jesse Biddle ($600k).
18. Shane Carle ($600k)
19. AJ Minter ($600k).

That is FOURTEEN pre-arbitration players slated to make SIGNIFICANT contributions in 2019. Dude….look at those 14 names! That’s a STACKED LIST! NO SCRUBS on that list!

Those 14 players add up to $8.4 mil in salaries. Total that up with the salaries that we have for the 1st five pretty much ‘guaranteed’ salaries that The Braves have….and you have ONLY $44.4-$46.4 mil ALLOCATED for 19 players in 2019! That is HELLA SICK!

Here is what I would do to fill the OTHER 6 spots on the roster:

1. Re-sign BOTH Tyler Flowers AND Kurt Suzuki to 2 year/$10-$12 mil-ish deals! AA should be able to see both Flowers and Suzuki on the concept that sharing the catching duties will extend both of their careers by a couple of years (in addition to them being HELLA PRODUCTIVE when NEITHER is worn out by having to catch 110-120 games a year).

That would give The Braves 21 players…totaling $54.4-$58.4 mil in salaries!

Now you all know what I would do next:

22. Sign Manny Machado to a 10 year/$350-$400 mil-ish contract ($35-$40 mil a year).
23. Sign Bryce Harper to a 10 year/$350-$400 mil-ish contract ($35-$40 mil a year)
24. Sign Craig Kimbrel to a 4 year/$17-$18 mil a year-ish deal.

Those three players would total between $87-$98 mil for 2019.

Adding those three players and their hypothetical salaries would give The Braves 24 players with salaries of $131.4-$146.4 in salaries for The 2019 Season.

Our Starting 5 Rotation would be:

1. Folty
2. Newcomb
3. Soroka
4. Gohara
5. Allard

Bullpen would be

1. Kimbrel
2. Minter
3. Winkler
4. Carle
5. Freeman
6. Kyle Wright
7. Biddle
8. Fried

Starting 8 Position Players:

1. Ozzie Albies…2nd
2. Ronald Acuna…RF
3. Freddie Freeman…1st
4. Manny Manchado…SS/3rd
5. Bryce Harper…LF
6. Flowers/Suzuki…C
7. Dansby Swanson…SS/3rd
8. Starting Pitcher…P
9. Ender Inciarte…CF

4 Man Bench:

1. Preston Tucker
2. Flowers/Suzuki
3. Johan Carmago
4. (got to give our GM, AA, something to do, lol).

So depending on how much it would cost to sign Machado and Harper (I feel that my hypothetical salaries are on ‘the high side’…no way do either get over $40 mil. I just went ‘high’….because I wanted to show that The Braves have some ‘margin for error’ when it comes to FITTING the salaries for Machado, Harper AND Kimbrel into The 2019 Payroll…AND beyond).

So unless AA were to spend CRAZY acquiring a player to fill the 4th role on the bench…..the above roster that I have set…will fall under $150 mil for 2019 (like I said….$40 mil a year each for Machado and Harper…is on the high side).

The above roster….is A BEAST! Sure, our rotation would be “HELLA YOUNG”…however our offense will SCORE LOTS OF RUNS…and the defense is STACKED. Our rotation will not feel pressure to pitch ‘lights out’. They can just settle in and ‘do their thing/throw strikes’……and our offense is going to ROUTINELY give them 5-6 runs a night to work with, lol!

That…is how you GO FOR IT when you have a roster full of cheap, young, high ceiling talent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

With the revenues that are generated by Sun Trust Field and the surrounding Battery Properties that The Braves have a financial interest in….not only should The Braves be able to EASILY afford a 2019 payroll of $150-$160 mil….but when you factor in DEEP Playoff Runs every year….The Braves will be able to EASILY AFFORD yearly bumps in the $10-$15 mil range (most of these pre-arbitration players WILL NOT be eligible for arbitration until after The 2020 Season…Dansby is the only one who will be arbitration eligible after The 2019 Season).

While some of you may think that potentially paying Machado and Harper $35-$40 mil a year is STEEP….wait until Mike Trout becomes a Free Agent after 2020…and Carlos Correa becomes one after 2021! $50 mil a year PLUS for those guys, lol! We’d be getting off ‘cheap’, relatively speaking!

The Braves are in a UNIQUE position to GO FOR IT/CEMENT our roster FOR YEARS TO COME! Signing Machado…would allow another year of development for Austin Riley in Triple A. If Dansby doesnt show by the end of The 2019 Season that he’s worthy of being in our long range plans (and Riley tears up AAA pitching in 2019)…then instead of paying Swanson ‘arbitration money’ for The 2020 Season…I suggest that we trade Swanson and open The 2020 Season with Riley as our 3rd baseman (saving payroll dollars that would otherwise go to Swanson getting a bump in the $5-$6 mil range…when Riley could be more productive making $600k in each in 2020, 2021 and 2022).

That’s why I DO NOT want to see AA make any SIGNIFICANT Trades come The Trade Deadline this year. I have a vision of Riley possibly replacing Swanson on the roster…as well as Christian Pache possibly replacing Inciarte come 2021 or so! As good as I think our 2019 Rotation of Folty, Newomb, Soroka, Gohara and Allard will be….one NEVER knows what can happen when it comes to injuries/simply not being able to make adjustment or throw strikes! That’s why The Braves need to hang on to the likes of Tooki Tousiant, Patrick Weigel, Joey Wentz, Ian Anderson, Bryce Wilson and Kyle Muller! As much as I like Folty….he’ll be eligible for Free Agency after The 2021 Season. He’ll be 30 years old going into The 2022 Season. AA will have a TOUGH DECISION regarding whether to re-sign Folty (or even possibly trading Folty a year or two BEFORE he becomes a Free Agent). If any one of our YOUNG GUNS who are a year or two away are ready to be a younger/cheaper version of Folty….then one way to keep the payroll down (and afford paying MULTIPLE SUPERSTARS…remember The Braves will have to re-sign Freddie Freeman after The 2021 Season) is to BE HELLA SMART when it comes to replacing ‘expendable players’ when they get to become ‘expensive’. Folty and Swanson are two players I feel may fall into the category (as well as Teheran and Vizcaino).

That is why HOARDING our young talent is ESSENTIAL..along with AA doing his best to NAIL The 2018 June Draft. Also, instead of being BUYERS at the upcoming July Trade Deadline…AA should take advantage of THE DESPERATION of the other contenders..and be A SELLER (so we can STACK the lower levels of The Minors..which took a hit with The Latin Sanctions from Coppy’s misdeeds). I feel that AA can be a seller (like trading Teheran and McCarthy this summer…I’d wait until the offseason before trading Vizcaino) WITHOUT hurting The Braves chances to stay competitive this year!

Sure, Teheran and McCarthy have been mostly ‘dependable’ in 2018. However, even if The Braves were to make The Playoffs in 2018….would The Braves have a chance to go deep in The Playoffs…with Teheran and McCarthy starting Games 1 and 3 of any Playoff Series?

The move is to BUILD towards 2019 being the year that we start DOMINATING! If we can get into The 2018 Playoffs from any improvements being made FROM WITHIN our organization…great, I’ll be rooting for us to win! However if we fall short… problem! Once AA is done adding the finishing touches via The 2018 Free Agent Offseason to The Braves…the rest of MLB will come to FEAR The Braves….FOR YEARS TO COME!

Paul, the problem with “the braves being able” to afford to shell out those contracts is entirely up to whether liberty media allows the braves to afford them. thats the issue. we are a money making team right now. you are right about that. we are greatly debted right now. yea, like you i dont think we will have a problem clearing that debt. all the latest payroll speculations are probably not anticipating sellout games for the rest of the season. truthfully, i do think your hopes of what we do this offseason sound great. would love to see it happen. but i do trust an mlb writers speculated payroll over your projection. and i firmly believe that it is up to liberty media what our payroll will be. the past few years our free agency has summed up to “taking fliers”. oh lets see how this guy turns out. at the very worst…. this year we can at least get guys that are good. may not be the best, but have proven to be good players. i do hope for the best. but we cannot assume that just because we have the ability to spend say, 80 mil in free agency that liberty media will give the go ahead

Brandon…please scroll up and read my THOROUGH post about how I would fit the signings of Machado, Harper and Kimbrel into The 2019 Braves payroll/25 man roster!

If you disagree with any of my projections..please point them out and explain why I’m wrong. However if I’m right…I see NO REASON why The Braves SHOULD NOT go after those three! A 2019 Payroll of $150-$160 mil IS NOT ‘unreasonable’…especially for a team expected to contend for The Playoffs!

Paul, like Brandon said, what you think or analyze is totally irrelevant. If Liberty Media says the payroll will be between $120-$130M and they’re not going to spend more than $30-$50M in FA then that is that. We can analyze to death and it won’t make them spend more. The only potential difference is if they trade Teheran and Viz and don’t acquire any salary in return – a possibility which is highly unlikely, no matter what you say. Further, AA has never signed an elite FA in his life. We’ll be lucky to get one. He may prefer to trade for a star next year via blockbuster; that is more his style.

Further, Machado is 100% out – no chance, no possibility. Dansby is not moving to 3B and will not be traded – period, no discussion. Statistically, Dansby is currently our best defender and he’s showing he can hit plenty. Also, the vast majority of teams prefer to develop a closer rather than pay for one. Relief pitcher salaries are through the roof so I think you can pretty much write off any chance of signing Kimbrel. Trading for Kelvin Herrera and his option for 2019 is a much better risk and better possibility. I wouldn’t have thought so back in the winter, but, now, Harper is looking like a good bet and the best bang for the buck. He’s probably worth the high end of your projection. And if the Braves have $30-$50M to play with, I’m guessing that paying $30-$40M for Harper would pretty much be it – not only the biggest but also the only FA signing for 2019. That is still a good thing as the Braves have lots of talent to trade (other than anyone you listed). Riley isn’t going to need another year in AAA. He’ll be the starter next April.

Further, Teheran will stay because McCarthy will not be here next year. Even if Soroka sticks in the rotation this year, you can probably only count on one of Gohara, Allard, and Wright for next year and none of them look ready yet although Allard and Wright are getting close and Gohara may yet turn it around. I think Allard might make some noise in September and claim McCarthy’s spot next year. You can’t count Fried out yet – he has been lights out as a starter.

Roger…Fried HAS NOT been ‘lights out’ as a starter. Sure, he can hold an opponent to 1 or 2 runs through 5 innings. However it takes him 90-100 pitches to do so! That’s why I feel that Fried will eventually settle in an Andrew Miller-like role. A starting pitcher on GOOD TEAMS…have to be able to go 6-7 innings a start!

Also, I NEVER stated that The Braves ‘would’ sign Harper, Machado and Kimbrel. I have repeatedly stated that they SHOULD sign them! I made my case for how fitting those three into The 2019 well as future payrolls…is possible. It’s up to Braves Management as to whether they will even try or not.

Gohara IS NOT going to need the rest of the year to ‘get into form’. I dont look at his 3 starts in Gwinnett as being anything other than ‘Spring Training Starts’. Gohara getting knocked around doesnt faze me one bit. I’m sure that by the end of May (when he’s had 3-4 more starts) Gohara will be pitching 6-7 innings a start, while holding the competition in AAA to 1-2 runs. By then….he’ll be more than ready for AA to create a spot in the rotation for him.

Kolby Allard is also getting close to being ready. Because of the current log jam in our rotation…he’ll probably stay in AAA until at least The July Trade Deadline.

Again, I never stated that The Braves ‘will’ trade both Teheran and McCarthy by The July Trade Deadline. I made a case that AA SHOULD trade both (in order to open spots for both Gohara and Allard in the rotation).

Regardless of how The Braves play this summer……the goal should be 2019. Giving Gohara, Soroka and Allard at least 8-10 starts the rest of the year…will prepare all three to be more than ready for 2019. Chasing a pipe dream 2018 Wild Card spot…..should be IGNORED (especially if it involves sacrificing prospects who are vital to our future).

I want NO PART of Kelvin Herrera (KC is going to want THE MOON for him). I’d rather have AA use Kyle Wright in the bullpen…than get Herrera!

Dansby Swanson is really struggling right now. He’s striking out a lot and resorting to swinging at sliders in the dirt/on the outside of the plate. I’m not sold on him being a long term piece right now. He’s going to have to show that he can continue making adjustments….before I re-examine my position that he should possibly be traded when he’s eligible for arbitration after The 2019 Season.

By the way…NO WAY does Soroka ‘not stick’ in the rotation. Dude is probably our best starting pitcher right now (not based on one start..Soroka is ‘no Wisler’, lol). Dude THROWS STRIKES (has done so THROUGHOUT his MILB career). He’s got NASTY pitches that hitters swing and miss at. Plus he has the ability to pitch 6-7-even 8 innings a start (he only threw 79 pitches against The Mets in 6 innings on Tuesday…for the life of me, I’m not sure why Snitker took him out. Soroka could have pitched the 7th inning).

Paul, one point to consider is while your math might add up, the Braves may not intend on allocating all of that money to player payroll. If Bowman is saying the payroll will be 120-130, and the Braves will have somewhere between 30-50 million to spend, I’d be inclined to trust those figures are close. Maybe they could squeeze out a few more millions for the right player, but who knows.

I feel like Harper aligns the best with the Braves needs, and the Braves might somewhat fit what he would want- if they’re willing to be the high bidder. So as Roger said, it’s probably Harper and little else; outside of maybe a cheap stopgap 3B option. Or they could probably push for a guy like Pollock and sign an expensive pen piece. And I’d love to see Kimbrel back in Atlanta, but I don’t want to see the Braves try and beat the market on any closers. I feel like position players are more impactful.

King….My projections make TOO MUCH SENSE! Still, I never said that The Braves ‘would’ do what I suggested….I stated that they SHOULD!

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