TOT – Braves Cut Salary This Time Last Year

TOT – Braves Cut Salary This Time Last Year

Transaction of Today…August 5, 2017 – The Atlanta Braves traded Sean Rodriguez to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Connor Joe.

I was just going to tweet about this, but all of the details of this small-time deal require a bit more investigation. I covered this deal in some depth exactly one year ago, but here’s the Cliff’s notes version. Rodriguez was signed by the Braves on Thanksgiving in 2016 for $11.5 million. At the time, the expectation was that Rodriguez would be a stopgap option at second base while Ozzie Albies developed. When Albies made it to the majors, Rodriguez would fall back into a super utility role.

The plan was solid considering Rodriguez’s success with the Pirates, but just before spring training, Rodriguez’s season – and potentially so much more – were threatened when a drunk man ran into his vehicle, sending not just Rodriguez but his wife and kids to the hospital. Rodriguez would require shoulder surgery and the Braves quickly added Brandon Phillips.

By the beginning of last July, Rodriguez was playing rehab games before making his Braves’ debut on July 17. Over 15 games, Rodriguez would hit just .162 over 47 PA, though he did hit a pair of pinch-hit home runs. With roughly $7 million left on his contract, the belief was that Atlanta would have to wait until 2018 to hopefully get the guy they had signed the previous winter. But that’s when the Pirates stepped in. Despite being three games under .500 and out of the Wild Card race, Pittsburgh was just 4.5 games out of the Central. It was still confusing why they made this deal, though. Their offense was one of the worst in baseball and with the way Rodriguez was hitting, adding him wouldn’t help.

But there was the hope that a return to the team he had been so productive with during 2016 might help. It didn’t. Rodriguez’s OPS, which was sitting at .677 at the time of the trade, fell a hundred points over the final two months. Meanwhile, the player the Braves acquired, Connor Joe, wasn’t doing much either.

The 39th overall pick of the 2014 draft was considered a bust. Well, first, he was a stretch as a borderline Top 100 draft prospect, but now he was a bust. After initially trying to teach him catching, the Pirates let Joe settle into a corner infielder/outfielder role and he wasn’t particularly good at it. The impressive raw power he flashed with the University of San Diego only translated into 11 career homers in the 250 or so games he played in before the trade. Hardly what you expect from a corner bat.

Joe would struggle with Mississippi after the trade, hitting .135 over 61 PA with one extra-base hit. Acquired as a salary dump, his time with the Braves seemed limited and on September 24, that time came to a close. He was traded to the Dodgers for $500,000 of international pool money. About a week later, John Coppolella resigned as General Manager of the Braves. Funny enough, two months later, the Braves traded that international pool money to the Angels in the Jim Johnson deal. Even funnier – they used it to sign Kevin Maitan. Is funny the right word?

Our story doesn’t end here and not because Rodriguez continues to play – poorly – for the Pirates. Despite Pittsburgh’s amazing recent success, Rodriguez continues to struggle to the tune of .164/.278/.315. He plays every position and has the respect of his teammates, but this is a results-driven business and Rodriguez isn’t having many positive results. The fans in Pittsburgh, many of whom were upset at their front office for letting him go to Atlanta in the first place, have turned against him. In a recent game, they serenaded him with chants of “D-F-A!” Ouch.

As bad as things have been for Rodriguez and the man who signed him and later dealt him (Coppolella), things have turned out pretty well for one Connor Kok-Wy Joe out of San Diego. He opened the year in Tulsa with a .304/.425/.554 run that included 11 home runs – tying his career total. In mid-June, he earned a promotion to Oklahoma City and he’s only hit .298/.369/.526 with them. Oh, and give him a handful of homers and a sweet sixteen for the year.

That’s a bit of a switch in hitting success, don’t you think? Joe’s line-drive rate has ballooned while his groundball rate has tanked. Who knew that making better contact would be so key? Now, to be fair, Joe went from a non-hitter’s league to one where hitting is a little easier in the Double-A switch from the Southern to Texas Leagues. He also went from Trustmark Park, a terrible park to try to hit homers in, to Tulsa where homers fly out on the regular. Now? He’s in the Pacific Coast League, which is as hitter-friendly as they come. So there is that, but Joe has made some tweaks with the Dodgers. As a result, L.A. has yet another hitter for them to find room for or trade for much more than the $500K in international money they gave up.

So, to sum up, the Braves saved money and helped to make their trade offer of Jim Johnson more appealing to the Angels. The Pirates got an expensive utility player their fans now hate. And the Dodgers got a post-hype sleeper prospect.

I don’t know if Alex Anthopoulos had anything to do with this trade with the Dodgers, but if he did, I am pretty glad he’s on the Braves’ side now. Hell, even if he didn’t, I’m still damn glad.

Recent TOT’s
TOT – The Time Jim Thorpe Was a Brave 
TOT – Braves Let Casey Stengel Start His Epic Journey 
TOT – The Trevor Cahill Trade(s)

More Atlanta-Era TOT’s
TOT – Braves Deal Torre, Acquire Cepeda
TOT – Braves Deal for Salary Relief…but in 1978 
TOT – Braves Add Sheffield


Bases full, tying run at the plate – high leverage situation – and Snit is giving the ball to Luuuuk.

He should be fired right at the spot, am I correct?

VERY disappointed with how Snitker managed this game today! No Bryce Harper today in the lineup…so instead of TAKING ADVANTAGE of that, Snitker decides to NOT insert Adam Duval in place of Inciarte (who SUCKS against Lefties)…decides to bench Carmago (who RAKES against lefties).

While losing Annibal Sanchez to injury was some bad luck….deciding to go with BOTH Wes Parsons (The Braves were up 1-0 going into the bottom of the 3rd inning) for 5 innings AND Adam McCreevy (when the score was 4-2 in the bottom of the 8th inning against A SHAKY Nationals bullpen) was A FIREABLE OFFENSE!

Playing Swanson and Inciarte against lefty starting pitchers (instead of Duval and Carmago)…..I must be HELLA STUPID to think that trying to win a game that would put The Braves in a tie for 1st…is something that a manager should aspire for!

How about we WIN THE WINABLE GAMES 1st….THEN, if we need to, pick games where we ‘rest our best bullpen guys’?

I know one thing….Parsons and McCreevy DO NOT have ‘swing and miss’ stuff! If The Braves want to win some of these mid-late August games…going with Parsons and McCreevy WILL NOT do the job!

AA needs to call up Tooki Tousiant and Kyle Wright to fill those two spots! BOTH have ‘swing and miss’ stuff! They dont have to pitch 5-6 innings of ‘precise’ baseball…just an inning or two where they can LIGHT UP the radar gun/throw their best stuff (only going through the batting order ONCE per appearance)!

Sure, while we’re only one game out of 1st….it’s disappointing that we gave this game away! Freaking Snitker! Hopefully AA will get a new manager after the season is over (and BEFORE he uses The 2018 Free Agent Offseason to retool this team)!

The Braves have 11 home games in the next 10 days (3 against Milwaukee, 4 against The Marlins, 4 against The Rockies). If we dont got MINIMUM 8-3 in those games….we’re going to have a difficult time winning the division. The Phillies have a MUCH EASIER schedule the rest of the way (6 left against The Marlins, 10 left against The Mets).

It looks like The Nationals foolishly decided not to PONY UP to get JT Realmuto and a top flight starting pitcher to help them until Strasburg gets back.

I’m a little confused as to why The Braves didnt put in a claim on Justin Bour….letting Philly get him in a trade from The Marlins today.

Also, calling up two BUMS (Chad Bell and Chad Sobotka) to replace two BUMS (Wes Parsons and Adam McCreevy) isnt exactly going to help us the rest of the way.

It’s been awhile since Freddie Freeman has been on a tear. Now is the time for Freddie to put The Braves on his shoulder and carry The Braves (with Acuna and Albies getting on base in front of him, he’ll have PLENTY of RBI opportunities).

While The Phillies have their flaws, UNLESS The Braves get some sort of “Herculean Effort” from Freddie the rest of the way, I dont see The Braves being able to pull out the division title from The Phillies. Our bullpen lacks depth (Snitker just GIVING AWAY yesterday’s game this late in the season, playoff teams dont do that!)….Snitker insists on play Inciarte AND Swanson on the same day (ESPECIALLY against lefties).

As much as I’d love to see The Braves pull it out, when it comes down to it, we simply dont have enough ‘bullets’ to fire.

I hope that AA has a plan this offseason (probably the most important offseason in YEARS for The Braves…with the amount of money coming off the books AND THE PLETHORA of young starting pitching talent on the cusp of joining The Braves Rotation/Bullpen in 2019). The 2018 Free Agent Offseason should be HELLA EXCITING for Braves fans.

Really good 10-1 win tonight to open this 11 game homestand against Milwaukee. I had NO IDEA that Chad Sobotka could throw this kind of heat, in addition to the kind of movement he had on his slider….in his MLB Debut for the Braves tonight!

Kevin Gausmann pitched HELLA WELL tonight against a really good hitting Brewers team. 1 run in 8 innings….under 100 pitches. I hope this isnt a Julio Teheran-like “one good/one bad start” type of deal!

With that said….The Braves have two GLARING HOLES on our roster right now: 1. Dansby Swanson simply looks LOST at the plate! He’s still playing really good defense at short…however in his last at-bat against a GASSED OUT reliever that Milwaukee was leaving out there to ‘take one for the team’ (he was over 50 pitches, a lot for a mostly 1-2 inning type reliever)…Swanson had 3 ‘batting practice pitches’ to hit: 2 were weakly fouled off…the other one was popped up. In an earlier at bat, Swanson had a ‘4 strike at-bat’ (the umpire incorrectly ruled a foul ball when the replay showed that he swung and missed…..and he struck out on the next pitch anyway, lol).

I guess I could buy into leaving Swanson in there as an 8th place hitter AS LONG as he continue to play STELLAR defense at short. However, Inciarte HAS to hit! Our offense cannot afford having 3 hitters (the pitcher included) who are ‘automatic outs’! It looks like Inciarte has started to hit in the past week….if he can continue hitting for the rest of the season….perhaps Snitker wont have to ponder moving Carmago to short and inserting Culberson at 3rd (basically replacing Swanson in the lineup).

Also, Ryan Flaherty SIMPLY SUCK A$$ as a pinch hitter option off the bench! I’m SICK AND TIRED of seeing Flaherty strike out/hit a weak grounder to 2nd/1st! Sure, I’m grateful for how he helped The Braves win a few April games with his LUCK hitting! However the magic WORE OFF long ago! DFA (or ‘DL’) his A$$……TONIGHT!

I would have liked to have seen The Braves made a claim on Justin Bour! He could have been used to give Freddie a day or two off the rest of the way…however he could have been A NICE TOOL to have as a pinch hitting option off the bench! About the only ‘positive’ that comes from The Phillies trading for him, is that The Braves dont have to face him during the 4 game series next week in Atlanta! He kills our right handed pitching!

With The Phillies losing 2-0 to The Padres…The Braves are back in 1st place (by % points over The Phillies….they have BOTH one more win AND one more loss than we do). Hopefully we’ll see ‘the good’ Julio Teheran tomorrow!

Great win today COMBINED with a Phillies loss against The Padres, has The Braves back in 1st place (by % points over The Phillies).

These next 4 games are HELLA IMPORTANT for The Braves. We play a doubleheader against The Marlins tomorrow (while The Phillies are off). If we can sweep tomorrow’s DH (We’re at home, Tooki is making his MLB debut while Folty is pitching Game 2….The Marlins have two BUMS pitching, PLUS they just traded Justin Boor, who KILLS Braves pitching). We play The Fish on Tuesday/Wednesday…while Philly hosts Boston (who is ON FIRE). Assuming that Boston can win AT LEAST one of those games…these next few days should provide The Braves A GREAT OPPORTUNITY to put a few games between them and The Phillies!

We NEED to sweep this 4 game series against Florida. Freaking Snitker CANNOT be trying to ‘rest’ guys….these are WINNABLE GAMES! Sure, we have The Rockies coming in for a 4 game series starting on Thursday (if we’re going to have another ‘giveaway game’ like we had on Thursday against Washington, you know, where Snitker just GAVE AWAY that game with who he used in that bullpen after Sanchez came out after 2 innings leading 1-0, I’d rather it be against Colorado on Thursday or Friday).

By Thursday, The Braves need to have AT LEAST a 2 game lead! The Phillies host The Mets for a 5 game series (they play a Doubleheader on Thursday)..while we’re hosting Colorado for a 4 game series. The Mets are playing better as of late…plus Syndeguard and deGroom pitch on Friday and Saturday! I’d be happy if The Mets can at least win 2 of those 5 games (Oswalt, who pitched tough against The Braves, is pitching on Thursday). If The Braves can at least go 2-2 against The Rockies…we should be in 1st by a couple of games when we start a 7 game road trip the following week against The Pirates and Marlins…while The Phillies will be playing on the road against Washington and Toronto (then they come home to play Washington again).

While The Braves only have 3 games left against Washington, Philly has to play The Nationals NINE MORE TIMES! Hopefully The Nationals will play them tough! We need Strasburg to come back..and for Scherzer to pitch CY YOUNG-ish against them!

Also, as of now, I’m starting to feel that ‘perhaps’ The Braves have a chance to actually win The Division. Philly is A FLAWED TEAM (especially on the road). Losing 2 of 3 against The Padres this weekend….not good for them! Their offense has a number of holes in their lineup (recently acquired Justin Bour can hit with power..however he can only play 1st…and Carlos Santana IS NOT going to be benched. Santana’s defense is HELLA BAD anywhere else besides 1st base! So Bour’s pretty much limited to pinch hitting for The Phillies). Plus their bullpen is shaky at times (kind of like The Braves, lol).

However, this Braves team..with Acuna and Albies settling in/terrorizing opposing pitchers WHILE Freeman and Markakis have plenty of RBI opportunities, has become MORE DANGEROUS offensively. I feel that Inciarte is a much better hitter when he hits LOWER in the batting order. Sure, Dansby hit a homer today to help The Braves come back and win…however he’s pretty much SUCKED as a hitter since April.

I’ve about HAD IT with Ryan Flaherty’s presence on this team! Dude simply CANNOT HIT! Either strikeout..or a weak grounder to the 2nd baseman! He CANNOT be our #1 pinch hitting option off the bench! I’d rather see Danny Santana or Michael Reed called up (at least they can be used as a pinch runner…in addition to being able to hit BETTER than freaking Flaherty).

AA is going to have to do something before The August 31st Trade Deadline when it comes to strengthening the bench. Depending on how Tooki does tomorrow…if he shows that he can effectively pitch to MLB hitters (maybe give him another start before the month is up)…then perhaps Tooki could be an arm used in high leverage situations when a strike out is needed (or be someone who can pitch a few innings when a starter gets pulled early, like what happened with Newcomb today).

Lastly, disappointed with Newcomb today. With tomorrow’s DH (and with how The Braves are basically playing everyday the rest of the way), The Braves NEEDED Newcomb to come out and DOMINATE/pitch 7-8 innings today…which would have rested/saved our bullpen for tomorrow! Instead, he looked MENTALLY LOST today…only lasted 4 freaking innings! It was A MIRACLE that he got out of that 4th inning ONLY giving up 5 runs! Freddie catching that liner with the bases loaded…..prevented that game from getting blown open!

While it’s a lot to expect Tooki to pitch deep in his MLB debut tomorrow in Game 1….Folty NEEDS to show that he’s capable of being ‘ace-like’ and save our bullpen in Game 2 tomorrow! While a split tomorrow would be ‘disappointing’ (at least we’d still be tied with The Phillies for 1st place afterwards)…..getting swept would be FREAKING MESSED UP! I dont even want to think about that!

FYI, since April 23rd, Ryan Flaherty is hitting 13 for 90 (a .144 batting average)…with 1 double, 1 homer, 4 RBIs….with 5 walks and 25 strikeouts.

What is AA waiting for?

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