Archive for the ‘Atlanta Braves’ Category

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies

Tommy John surgery is not an oil change for pitchers. It is not a routine cleaning at the dentist. It is a major surgery that is incredibly complicated and requires one full calendar year of rehabilitation before patients are ready to throw baseballs once again.

Brandon Beachy looks as though he needs a second Tommy John surgery. Kris Medlen also appears resigned to a second trip under the knife – both are scheduled for ominous meetings with Dr. James Andrews at his famous clinic in Birmingham. It’s scary for these two pitchers as coming back from two TJs is about as daunting a task as a big leaguer can face.

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MLB: Kansas City Royals at New York Mets

We’ve all been here before. It was barely four days ago that it seemed Ervin Santana was about to join the Toronto Blue Jays on a one-year pillow contract. Then the Orioles were players and Santana would decide by end of day Saturday.

Then no decision. Then the Braves’ curious decision to stand pat and roll with a highly volatile starting rotation jumped up to bite them all at once and suddenly the tightwad squad from the ATL looked like they might spend some money on a player from outside their organization. As the news on Kris Medlen got worse, the Braves became bigger and bigger players for the services of Ervin Santana.

It appears the Barves got their man, as MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports the Braves and Santana are in agreement and will announce a one-year deal later this morning. No terms were released at this time.

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MLB: Spring Training-Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies

There is no substitute for good luck. Unfortunately, baseball teams cannot purchase good luck on the free market. There is no international spending pool on good luck and good fortune is not represented by Boras Corp.

When it comes to constructing a baseball team, one to survive the rigors of six weeks of Spring Training plus 162 games and beyond, there is no discounting the role of good luck. Especially when it comes to assembling a pitching staff. Peril lurks around each and every corner.

The Atlanta Braves had a good thing going in their rotation. After losing Tim Hudson to free agency, their staff was young and cheap and, at times, quite good. The Braves management liked their group enough to decided against upgrading this winter. The rolled into camp with Kris Medlen, Mike Minor, Brandon Beachy, Alex Wood, And Julio Teheran at the top of their depth chart. That could totally work. For a team that won more than 90 games and features a high-powered offense, you could do much worse.

But insurance companies are billion dollar entities for a reason. Things happen, necessitating the existence of Freddy Garcia. You might need some cover for a few starts and Garcia can fill that void, if needed.

After two days of worrisome signs from counted-on starting pitchers, Freddy Garcia becomes more than a necessary evil. Suddenly Freddy Garcia is a savior, the glue holding the entire Braves enterprise together.

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MLB: NLDS-Los Angeles Dodgers at Atlanta Braves

Is there such a thing as a reverse sticker shock? When first reading the Braves signing of Andrelton Simmons to a seven-year, $58 million contract extension, the immediate reaction is one of disbelief — in a good way?

Simmons? That guy? The best defensive shortstop in baseball by a not-insignificant margin for a mere $8MM AAV? Where do I sign?? What a deal, another master stroke by the Braves as they solidify their core before the gulf in spending power between gets too great.

Comparing Simmons’ deal to the eight-year, $120 million contract extension the Rangers inked with Elvis Andrus doesn’t help this perception. It’s a steal for ATL!

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MLB: Atlanta Braves at Chicago Cubs

theScore’s baseball editor Jonah Birenbaum wrote what you see below for our official app (which you should totally download) and I think it belongs on Getting Blanked, too. Follow Jonah on twitter and enjoy!

Baseball’s evolving economic landscape, with national television contracts effectively emptying barrels of cash around the league, privileges players who can hang around. Arbitration-eligible players are always victims of precedent, and the cost-controlling nature of the process limits the earning potential for players who have just a few years of big-league service time.

But there are no rules in today’s open market. Players with six years of service time who felt slighted by the arbitration process are now capable of landing lucrative, ludicrous multi-year deals from cash-rich teams diverting their new monies back into their payroll. It’s precisely this market that allowed Phil Hughes, the homer-prone author of a 5.19 ERA last season, to land a three-year, $24-million deal. It’s precisely this market that allowed Jason Vargas, the soft-throwing southpaw with a career 112 FIP- (where 100 is league average) to score a four-year, $32-million deal. You get the point.

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MLB: NLDS-Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers

The Atlanta Braves are no longer a big market club. They don’t operate as they once did, bringing in expensive talents like Gary Sheffield and paying top dollar for talent. Their TV deal lags desperately behind most in terms of revenue, meaning they need to behave more nimbly than the big spending Phillies.

Which is why you sign a player with less than two years of service time to a six-year contract extension. Julio Tehran, like Madison Bumgarner before him, signs a long term deal before he completes his second full season in the big leagues.

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MLB: Atlanta Braves at Chicago Cubs

Update: Peter Gammons reports the deal is for eight years and worth $135 million.

There is one key question when trying to decide if you like the Freddie Freeman extension or if you love it: how much better do you think he gets?

There is an old axiom regarding first baseman and long term deals – you only lock up the true elite. Is Freddie Freeman an elite first baseman? 23 home runs in 2013 doesn’t exactly scream elite. Maybe Freddie Freeman grows into 30 home run power. Maybe he doesn’t. But Freddie Freeman is young and, often, power develops a little later than the other hitting skills.

A little more power would be a nice luxury because Freeman’s other hitting skills are pretty darn elite. A 150 wRC+ is very elite, “lack” of home runs be damned. Since the work stoppage of 1995, only one first baseman claims the same level of production over through his age-23 season, which Freeman just completed.

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