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Falconsfan567

2014 Atlanta Braves Off-Season Thread

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People forget Kotchman was coming off a season where he hit .290+ and had an OPS in the mid .800's. That and had an above average glove at 1st.

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People forget Kotchman was coming off a season where he hit .290+ and had an OPS in the mid .800's. That and had an above average glove at 1st.

Kotchman was an average hitter with no power and a great glove. Not someone that you want starting at a production position like 1st base.

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Kotchman was an average hitter with no power and a great glove. Not someone that you want starting at a production position like 1st base.

He was a guy that had gap power, not home run power. Yeah, I'll give you the fact that his bat didn't fit as a prototypical 1B, but if he does what he did in 2007 on a consistent basis (near .300 average, close to 40 2B, walk more than strikeout), then you wouldn't find a person here who could ***** about him. Unfortunately he never could replicate those numbers, and never seem to fit in the clubhouse (I've long thought that it was more about him not being as outgoing as Tex more so than anything else) so he was shipped to Boston for LaRoche. Hindsight..the pick would have been much, much better, but Wren took a calculated risk with it and lost.

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I've been looking at trades trying to figure out the best and worst (WAR is a great tool for this kind of work). Here's my opinion on the 10 worst for the Atlanta Braves.

1. Adam Wainwright, Ray King, and Jason Marquis to St. Louis for J.D. Drew and Eli Marrero (Scherholtz, 2004). Obviously this trade would look slightly different if Drew had re-signed with the Braves, but as a Scott Boros client, Scherholtz had to know that he would be taking top dollar. Since the trade, Wainwright by himself has been worth 26.5 WAR for the Cardinals, and with a few more good years will be making a Hall of Fame case. Marquis ended up being a serviceable journeyman. Drew had his best season for the Braves, a fantastic 8.3 WAR season, but it's still not close no matter how you measure it... WAR or World Series titles. This is always the danger of trading prospects, and in fairness I don't think anyone in baseball thought Wainwright would turn into the pitcher he turned into.

2. Brett Butler, Rick Behenna and Brook Jacoby to Cleveland for Len Barker (Mullen, 1983). Someone mentioned this one earlier, but Butler and Jacoby were very solid for the Indians, combining for 28.7 WAR for the Tribe. Barker was terrible, only gaining 0.7 WAR over three forgettable seasons. Would Butler and Jacoby had made a difference for the Braves? I think this trade cost the Braves at least on division title, in 1984.

3. David Justice and Marquis Grissom to Cleveland for Kenny Lofton and Alan Embree (Scherholtz, 1997). This trade rocked baseball. Both teams were expected to contend in '97 and these were huge pieces to both teams' recent success. For 1997 the trade was pretty much a wash as both Justice and Lofton played well for their respective teams, and both teams got knocked out of the post-season by the Marlins. Grissom was hurt for a good chunk of the season, and was dumped to the Brewers in the off-season. The issue here is the long-term; Lofton left after one season with the Braves and rejoined the Indians, while Justice ended up accumulating 10.9 WAR for the Indians in his four seasons there before getting traded off to the Yankees. Interesting fact: David Justice never declared free agency in his career; all of his team movement was due to trade, and one reason Scherholtz sited for the trade was fear that Justice would end up leaving in free agency anyway.

4. Jermaine Dye and Jaime Walker to Kansas City for Michael Tucker and Keith Lockhart (Scherholtz, 1997). Dye was an underrated ballplayer and ended up giving 9 WAR to the Royals before they traded him to Oakland in another bad trade, where he added another 3.2 WAR before filing for free agency. The Braves spent the next several years trying to develop that production. It could be argued that they didn't until they developed Jason Heyward -- 15 years later. If the Braves had avoided this trade and had re-signed Lofton, a Lofton-Jones-Dye outfield for four years would have been very interesting to watch, and given the Braves rotation and infield over those years... well, you can never predict the World Series, but it would have been a **** of a team.

5. Andre Thornton to the Chicago Cubs for Joe Pepitone (Robinson, 1973). Thornton was a 23 year young slugging first baseman. Pepitone was a has-been at age 32, who only ended up with 12 career plate appearances with the Braves. Thornton would generate 5.2 WAR for the Cubbies before finding himself with the Indians. For ten seasons, he would be the Indians best player, with a .809 OPS and 18.9 WAR over 10 seasons. The only thing keeping this from being the Wainwright trade is that neither the Cubs nor the Indians were good enought to win anything and Thornton, while very good, isn't quite to Wainwright level.

6. Gary Matthews to Philadelphia for Bob Walk (Mullen, 1981). Ugh, what might have been... a Matthews/Butler/Murphy outfield in 1983-84 would have been one of the best in baseball. Overshadowed by the Butler/Jacoby trade, this happened just a few years before and was almost as bad. Matthews was a consistant just-under-All-Star player and he contributed 4.8 WAR to the Phillies the next three seasons, but what makes it stink was just how horrible Walk was, generating -3.1 WAR for the next three seasons of the Braves. To put that in persepective, it would be like trading Martin Prado for Jo-Jo Reyes, and then giving Reyes over 200 innings. Unlike Reyes though, Walk would pull it together and have a decent career... for the Pirates.

7. Mark Teixiera to Anaheim for Casey Kotchman and Stephen Marek (Wren, 2008). Teixiera was really good for Atlanta, generating 6.1 WAR in a little over a season's worth of work. Of course, Scherholtz had paid a king's ransom to get him from the Rangers, but the Braves' pitching was terrible and the team was looking at a third straight season out of the playoffs. Extension talks were going nowhere and perhaps not wanting to repeat Scherholtz's mistakes with Kenny Lofton and J.D. Drew, Wren looked to get something for Teixiera. It's hard to imagine getting less than Kotchman, a good-glove/no-hit first baseman, who generated a measely 0.7 WAR for Atlanta. Unlike with Lofton and Drew, the comp system would have awarded the Braves with a 1st-round pick for Teixiera leaving. Instead the Angels got the pick and famously ended up drafting Mike Trout.

8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Neftali Perez, Matt Harrison, Elvis Andrus, and Beau Jones to Texas for Mark Teixiera and Ron Mahay (Scherholtz, 2007). Well, at least Beau Jones didn't turn out to be an All-Star. The only thing that keeps this from being higher is that the position players were dealt from strength; Brian McCann was clearly better than Salty, and Yunel Escobar was (and is) a better player than Andrus. Perez and Harrison sure would have been nice to have from 2009-2011 however.

9. Ryan Klesko, Bret Boone, and Jason Shiell to San Diego for Reggie Sanders, Quilvio Veras, and Wally Joyner (Scherholtz, 1999). Whenever I hear "the Braves strike out too much, they need fast guys that put the ball in play more" I think of this trade. Klesko's cumulative WAR for Atlanta was 10.7, a pretty middlin' amount for most of 8 seasons. That was affected alot by having to play Klesko in left field (for those who are too young to remember, think Evan Gattis in left field -- for 7 years) while Fred McGriff was in town. But by '99, McGriff was gone and Klesko was starting to come into his own. Then he got traded to San Diego, who kept him at 1B and was awarded with 15.9 WAR in 7 seasons. Sanders, Veras, and Joyner made nearly no contribution to the Braves. Boone struggled in his one season with Atlanta, and then in his one season with San Diego, then exploded into a regular All-Star and Gold Glover with Seattle; I'm not holding that against either team here, since pretty much everyone believes Boone juiced and was by all accounts a jerk in the clubhouse.

10. Kevin Millwood to Philadelphia for Johnny Estrada (Scherholtz, 2003). This trade was caused by Scott Boros and Greg Maddux.It looked like the Braves and Maddux would part company, with Maddux still pitching well but entering his age 37 season. Boros realized that Maddux, coming off a strong season, would get more in arbitration rather than in free agency, and surprised the Braves by taking them up on their standard arbitration offer. Out-manuvered and over budget, Scherholtz had to dump salary and Millwood and his $10 million was shipped to a division rival. This ended up messing up the Braves rotation plans for the next five seasons. Estrada did serve as an decent bridge between Javy Lopez and Brian McCann, but got hurt and then got dumped.

Honorable mention: Mickey Rivers and Clint Compton to California for Hoyt Wielhelm and Bob Priddy (Richards, 1969); Dusty Baker and Ed Goodson to Los Angeles for Jerry Royster, Tom Paciorek, Lee Lacy, and Jimmy Wynn (Richards, 1976); Steve Bedrosian and Milt Thompson to Philadelphia for Pete Smith and Ozzie Virgil (Cox, 1986); Clay Carroll, Ken Dayley, Brian Fisher, Duane Ward to Toronto for Milt Pappas, Ken Oberkfell, Rick Cerone and Doyle Alexander (Cox, 1986); Dale Murphy and Tommy Greene to Philadelphia for Jeff Parrett and Victor Rosario (Cox, 1990); Charlie Morton, Gorkys Hernandez, and Jeff Locke to Pittsburgh for Nate McLouth (Wren, 2009); Yunel Escobar and Jo-Jo Reyes to Toronto for Alex Gonzalez, Tim Collins, and Tyler Pastornicky (Wren, 2010).

Regarding Dan Uggla for Infante and Dunn: I don't consider this a terrible trade, because we were trading for only the 2011 season of Dan Uggla. The problem was the extension we signed Uggla to shortly after the trade. In 2011, Uggla gave the Braves a 2 WAR season -- not great, but Infante and Dunn combined to give Florida 2.4 WAR the same season which isn't much better. If that had been the end of it, no one would care. It's those four extra seasons we're paying Uggla for that's the killer. I'll probably get around to a best/worst Braves multi-year contracts list.

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I don't understand how giving up Infante for Uggla was a win. Infante is a better hitter and fielder

If you said in the 2011 off-season that Infante was a better hitter than Uggla, you would have been laughed at by everyone.

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Exactly, you can't base the trade off where Uggla and Infante are now you have to base the trade itself on what the players were like in 2011. Uggla was a top 2B in all of MLB at the time and all you had to give up was Infante and Mike Dunn. In 2011 this was a **** of a steal but fast forward to now it doesn't look so good but it was something nobody in baseball could see coming.

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I've been looking at trades trying to figure out the best and worst (WAR is a great tool for this kind of work). Here's my opinion on the 10 worst for the Atlanta Braves.

1. Adam Wainwright, Ray King, and Jason Marquis to St. Louis for J.D. Drew and Eli Marrero (Scherholtz, 2004). Obviously this trade would look slightly different if Drew had re-signed with the Braves, but as a Scott Boros client, Scherholtz had to know that he would be taking top dollar. Since the trade, Wainwright by himself has been worth 26.5 WAR for the Cardinals, and with a few more good years will be making a Hall of Fame case. Marquis ended up being a serviceable journeyman. Drew had his best season for the Braves, a fantastic 8.3 WAR season, but it's still not close no matter how you measure it... WAR or World Series titles. This is always the danger of trading prospects, and in fairness I don't think anyone in baseball thought Wainwright would turn into the pitcher he turned into.

2. Brett Butler, Rick Behenna and Brook Jacoby to Cleveland for Len Barker (Mullen, 1983). Someone mentioned this one earlier, but Butler and Jacoby were very solid for the Indians, combining for 28.7 WAR for the Tribe. Barker was terrible, only gaining 0.7 WAR over three forgettable seasons. Would Butler and Jacoby had made a difference for the Braves? I think this trade cost the Braves at least on division title, in 1984.

3. David Justice and Marquis Grissom to Cleveland for Kenny Lofton and Alan Embree (Scherholtz, 1997). This trade rocked baseball. Both teams were expected to contend in '97 and these were huge pieces to both teams' recent success. For 1997 the trade was pretty much a wash as both Justice and Lofton played well for their respective teams, and both teams got knocked out of the post-season by the Marlins. Grissom was hurt for a good chunk of the season, and was dumped to the Brewers in the off-season. The issue here is the long-term; Lofton left after one season with the Braves and rejoined the Indians, while Justice ended up accumulating 10.9 WAR for the Indians in his four seasons there before getting traded off to the Yankees. Interesting fact: David Justice never declared free agency in his career; all of his team movement was due to trade, and one reason Scherholtz sited for the trade was fear that Justice would end up leaving in free agency anyway.

4. Jermaine Dye and Jaime Walker to Kansas City for Michael Tucker and Keith Lockhart (Scherholtz, 1997). Dye was an underrated ballplayer and ended up giving 9 WAR to the Royals before they traded him to Oakland in another bad trade, where he added another 3.2 WAR before filing for free agency. The Braves spent the next several years trying to develop that production. It could be argued that they didn't until they developed Jason Heyward -- 15 years later. If the Braves had avoided this trade and had re-signed Lofton, a Lofton-Jones-Dye outfield for four years would have been very interesting to watch, and given the Braves rotation and infield over those years... well, you can never predict the World Series, but it would have been a **** of a team.

5. Andre Thornton to the Chicago Cubs for Joe Pepitone (Robinson, 1973). Thornton was a 23 year young slugging first baseman. Pepitone was a has-been at age 32, who only ended up with 12 career plate appearances with the Braves. Thornton would generate 5.2 WAR for the Cubbies before finding himself with the Indians. For ten seasons, he would be the Indians best player, with a .809 OPS and 18.9 WAR over 10 seasons. The only thing keeping this from being the Wainwright trade is that neither the Cubs nor the Indians were good enought to win anything and Thornton, while very good, isn't quite to Wainwright level.

6. Gary Matthews to Philadelphia for Bob Walk (Mullen, 1981). Ugh, what might have been... a Matthews/Butler/Murphy outfield in 1983-84 would have been one of the best in baseball. Overshadowed by the Butler/Jacoby trade, this happened just a few years before and was almost as bad. Matthews was a consistant just-under-All-Star player and he contributed 4.8 WAR to the Phillies the next three seasons, but what makes it stink was just how horrible Walk was, generating -3.1 WAR for the next three seasons of the Braves. To put that in persepective, it would be like trading Martin Prado for Jo-Jo Reyes, and then giving Reyes over 200 innings. Unlike Reyes though, Walk would pull it together and have a decent career... for the Pirates.

7. Mark Teixiera to Anaheim for Casey Kotchman and Stephen Marek (Wren, 2008). Teixiera was really good for Atlanta, generating 6.1 WAR in a little over a season's worth of work. Of course, Scherholtz had paid a king's ransom to get him from the Rangers, but the Braves' pitching was terrible and the team was looking at a third straight season out of the playoffs. Extension talks were going nowhere and perhaps not wanting to repeat Scherholtz's mistakes with Kenny Lofton and J.D. Drew, Wren looked to get something for Teixiera. It's hard to imagine getting less than Kotchman, a good-glove/no-hit first baseman, who generated a measely 0.7 WAR for Atlanta. Unlike with Lofton and Drew, the comp system would have awarded the Braves with a 1st-round pick for Teixiera leaving. Instead the Angels got the pick and famously ended up drafting Mike Trout.

8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Neftali Perez, Matt Harrison, Elvis Andrus, and Beau Jones to Texas for Mark Teixiera and Ron Mahay (Scherholtz, 2007). Well, at least Beau Jones didn't turn out to be an All-Star. The only thing that keeps this from being higher is that the position players were dealt from strength; Brian McCann was clearly better than Salty, and Yunel Escobar was (and is) a better player than Andrus. Perez and Harrison sure would have been nice to have from 2009-2011 however.

9. Ryan Klesko, Bret Boone, and Jason Shiell to San Diego for Reggie Sanders, Quilvio Veras, and Wally Joyner (Scherholtz, 1999). Whenever I hear "the Braves strike out too much, they need fast guys that put the ball in play more" I think of this trade. Klesko's cumulative WAR for Atlanta was 10.7, a pretty middlin' amount for most of 8 seasons. That was affected alot by having to play Klesko in left field (for those who are too young to remember, think Evan Gattis in left field -- for 7 years) while Fred McGriff was in town. But by '99, McGriff was gone and Klesko was starting to come into his own. Then he got traded to San Diego, who kept him at 1B and was awarded with 15.9 WAR in 7 seasons. Sanders, Veras, and Joyner made nearly no contribution to the Braves. Boone struggled in his one season with Atlanta, and then in his one season with San Diego, then exploded into a regular All-Star and Gold Glover with Seattle; I'm not holding that against either team here, since pretty much everyone believes Boone juiced and was by all accounts a jerk in the clubhouse.

10. Kevin Millwood to Philadelphia for Johnny Estrada (Scherholtz, 2003). This trade was caused by Scott Boros and Greg Maddux.It looked like the Braves and Maddux would part company, with Maddux still pitching well but entering his age 37 season. Boros realized that Maddux, coming off a strong season, would get more in arbitration rather than in free agency, and surprised the Braves by taking them up on their standard arbitration offer. Out-manuvered and over budget, Scherholtz had to dump salary and Millwood and his $10 million was shipped to a division rival. This ended up messing up the Braves rotation plans for the next five seasons. Estrada did serve as an decent bridge between Javy Lopez and Brian McCann, but got hurt and then got dumped.

Honorable mention: Mickey Rivers and Clint Compton to California for Hoyt Wielhelm and Bob Priddy (Richards, 1969); Dusty Baker and Ed Goodson to Los Angeles for Jerry Royster, Tom Paciorek, Lee Lacy, and Jimmy Wynn (Richards, 1976); Steve Bedrosian and Milt Thompson to Philadelphia for Pete Smith and Ozzie Virgil (Cox, 1986); Clay Carroll, Ken Dayley, Brian Fisher, Duane Ward to Toronto for Milt Pappas, Ken Oberkfell, Rick Cerone and Doyle Alexander (Cox, 1986); Dale Murphy and Tommy Greene to Philadelphia for Jeff Parrett and Victor Rosario (Cox, 1990); Charlie Morton, Gorkys Hernandez, and Jeff Locke to Pittsburgh for Nate McLouth (Wren, 2009); Yunel Escobar and Jo-Jo Reyes to Toronto for Alex Gonzalez, Tim Collins, and Tyler Pastornicky (Wren, 2010).

Regarding Dan Uggla for Infante and Dunn: I don't consider this a terrible trade, because we were trading for only the 2011 season of Dan Uggla. The problem was the extension we signed Uggla to shortly after the trade. In 2011, Uggla gave the Braves a 2 WAR season -- not great, but Infante and Dunn combined to give Florida 2.4 WAR the same season which isn't much better. If that had been the end of it, no one would care. It's those four extra seasons we're paying Uggla for that's the killer. I'll probably get around to a best/worst Braves multi-year contracts list.

Wait a second? The Braves had Gary Matthews too? Good freaking grief! That GM back in those days was a huge fumbling fool. No one ever told me about that deal.

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Braves lose minor league pitching coordinator Dave Wallace to Baltimore where he'll serve as Bucks pitching coach. Might not seem like much of a loss but Wallace is well respected for his pitching mind. He also pretty much served as McDowells mentor.

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Braves lose minor league pitching coordinator Dave Wallace to Baltimore where he'll serve as Bucks pitching coach. Might not seem like much of a loss but Wallace is well respected for his pitching mind. He also pretty much served as McDowells mentor.

That's a major loss. I was hoping that should the unthinkable happen and McDowell left we would have Wallace to turn to. Now we could be up a creek without a paddle.

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If you said in the 2011 off-season that Infante was a better hitter than Uggla, you would have been laughed at by everyone.

Depends on what you mean by hitter. He has always had a higher average by a good bit. There has only been one season since Uggla has been in the big leagues that he had a better average than Infante

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Depends on what you mean by hitter. He has always had a higher average by a good bit. There has only been one season since Uggla has been in the big leagues that he had a better average than Infante

Infante has never had an OPS over .800 in a season.

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Gerardo Parra. He did have 3 errors in RF compared to Heyward's 0 but he spent about 200 more innings out there and threw out 11 more runners than Heyward did from RF.

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Heyward had no shot after he started playing CF. If he had stayed in RF, he may have won. But the Braves would have likely lost more games.

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Depends on what you mean by hitter. He has always had a higher average by a good bit. There has only been one season since Uggla has been in the big leagues that he had a better average than Infante

What I mean by hitter is a player that swings the bat. It's not complicated. Which of these hitters is better?

Player A: .264/.361/.493, 96 HR, 281 runs

Player B: .309/.353/.411, 13 HR, 134 runs

If you chose Player B, you don't know anything about baseball. Player B is Infante as a Brave, which were the three best consecutive years of his career. Uggla is Player A, his last three seasons with Florida.

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If you look at the metics you could argue Simmons just had the best season defensively in history. The 41 runs saved is a record and he posted a defensive WAR of 5.4 which broke a record that had been held since 1906.

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If you look at the metics you could argue Simmons just had the best season defensively in history. The 41 runs saved is a record and he posted a defensive WAR of 5.4 which broke a record that had been held since 1906.

It's scary how good and talented the Braves are. Look at the individual records that have been set the last 2 years. You mentioned Simba. In 2012 Craig Kimbrel had the best season of any relief pitcher in MLB history. In 2012 the Braves set a new MLB record by winning 23 straight starts by Kris Medlen.

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Wow. I thought Furcal may have won one. I guess not.

Yeah, I was surprised a bit too. The only other Braves infielders to win it were Clete Boyer and Terry Pendleton at 3B and Felix Milan twice at 2B.

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Yeah, I was surprised a bit too. The only other Braves infielders to win it were Clete Boyer and Terry Pendleton at 3B and Felix Milan twice at 2B.

In the entire franchise history? WOAH!

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