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10,403-10,404

Longtime Office reader NahaGomez points out that last night’s loss dropped the franchise’s record under .500 for the first time since 2011.

The Braves had been under .500 for three quarters of a century before that. It may be awhile before they’re in the black again.

Lose today and the Braves will have twice as many defeats as wins. They’re starting to put some distance between the other dregs of baseball, with five more losses than the Twins (their next opponent) and six more than than the Reds and Rays.

They are two games behind the ’88 Braves, who were 35-63 after 98 games. That team proceeded to lose 8 in a row.

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Open thread, 7/22-7/25, #Braves vs. the wisdom of trading

As the trading deadline nears, teams are inquiring about the likes of Hunter Cervenka, Dario Alvarez and Ian Krol, according to Ken Rosenthal.

“Other Braves who could be on the move: potential free agents such as infielder Gordon Beckham and outfielder Jeff Francouer and right-handed reliever Jim Johnson,” Rosenthal reports.

Fine by me. Hope we can add Markakis to the list — the Royals are reportedly interested but the Braves would have to settle for very little.

I’m fine with trading one of Cervenka, Alvarez and Krol, but only if you get a bat. You’re probably not going to get much of one. They come cheap, and they’ve pitched well, but the sample size is ever so small. This time around, Coppy’s best moves may be the ones he doesn’t make.

Tonight’s line-up:

Peterson LF, Beckham 2B, Freddie, Markakis, Adonis, Inciarte, Recker, Aybar, Teheran

 

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Open thread, 7/21, all about Folty

I’m not watching every Braves game this year, but I try not to miss a start by Folty because A.) He’s an important part of the future and B.) he appears to be on the verge of acedom.

If Folty continues pitching like he has most of this year, next year won’t be so bad. If not, we’re in huge trouble.

Pitching at Coors will be a test in itself, and not just for the hard-throwing right-hander. The Braves have lost 6 of 8 to the Rockies, and Freddie’s struggles have been a major factor.

As DOB reports, Freeman is 1-for-29 with 12 strikeouts in those eight games. He’s 0-for-9 against tonight’s starter, Chad Bettis. He’s due.

The line-up:

Peterson LF,  Beckham 2B, Freddie, Markakis, Garcia, Inciarte, AJ, Aybar, Folty

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Open thread, 7/20, #Braves vs. themselves

In case you haven’t noticed, these two teams suck. The Braves have better pitching, the Reds more offense, but overall these may be the worst teams we’ve seen in more than a decade. As for today’s tilt, Lucas Harrell has swayed from awesome to awful. Bet on the latter, considering he’s taking the mound in baseball’s biggest (or is that smallest) bandbox.

Peterson 4, d’Arnaud 7, Freeman, Markakis, Garcia, Inciarte, Pierzynski, Aybar, Harrell

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Open Thread, July 19, #Braves vs. Last-Minute Open Threads

It’s not Tyrell Jenkins’ big league debut. But he will make his first, er, second start in a few minutes. Good luck, young fella. Sounds like a cool guy from a radio interview I heard this evening.

I haven’t much to say about this evening’s tilt. CB is relieved the Braves are losing to the Reds. Keep that up and the home team hangs onto the first pick in next year’s draft. Me, I’d rather win a few more games. Could there be much difference between picking first, second, or even third? I doubt it, but then again I’m no draft guru. Maybe there’s another Bryce Harper available. If that were the case, would Liberty spring for the necessary bonus?

Tonight’s lineup:  Beckham 4, Garcia, Freeman, Markakis, Frenchy 7, Inciarte, Recker, Aybar, Jenkins.

 

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Open Thread, 7/18, #Braves vs…. at Least AJ’s Not Playing

Donald Trump is a raging narcissist. A.J. can’t catch any more. Some things are beyond obvious.

A.J. mercifully won’t be in there tonight. Instead, Anthony Recker gets his second straight start. He’ll catch Wisler, who needs a good outing to get on track for the second half. Cincy’s goofy steamboat-themed ballpark is not the idea place to do that, but we shall see what happens.

The local nine’s starters: Beckham, Garcia, Freddie, Markakis, Francoeur, Inciarte, Recker, Aybar, Wisler.

I understand trying to find ABs for Beckham. He was killing the ball when he got hurt. But why not put him at short, bench Aybar and play Peterson?

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#Braves have little left to deal, and the dominant bullpen that could be

Arodys Vizcaino might have brought back an intriguing prospect. But after a series of bad outings, and now a DL stint, Coppy would be selling low on Viz.

Keeping him would give the Braves a dynamic, and extremely cost-effective, bullpen in 2017 that could be the envy of baseball. From the left side, Ian Krol has been a revelation, holding lefties to a .584 OPS, holding his own vs. righties and striking out more than a batter per inning. Dario Alvarez has missed even more bats, averaging two strikeouts per inning. Hunter Cervenka has struggled with control but has shown an ability to pitch out of trouble. Perhaps the best of the southpaws available to the Braves is 2015 draft pick A.J. Minter who, in 20-2/3 IP, has allowed six hits, 5 walks and struck out 27.

From the right side, Vizcaino, Mauricio Cabrera, Shae Simmons (die to be activated soon), Chris Withrow and Dan Winkler, if healthy, provide just as much firepower.

So back to Coppy’s favorite pastime: Trades. What’s left to deal? Don’t be surprised if he attempts to package some prospects to Milwaukee for Jonathan Lucroy, a gifted hitter and among the top defensive backstops in the game. He’s signed through next year, so seemingly any deal would be contingent on an extension, but there would be risks involved, mainly Lucroy’s age (he turns 31 next June).

It would seem to be Coppy’s best chance to make a significant deal. Hopefully he can unload Markakis but he wouldn’t get much in return. Aybar, Jim Johnson, et al will fetch even less. If anything.

 

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Open Thread, 7/15-7/17, Braves vs. temptation to trade Julio

My hopes for the second half are modest: Just don’t trade Julio. If he’s a Brave in October, and next March, then I’ll be happy with the rest of the season.

The team’s mlb.com scribe, M. Bowman, reports that Coppy will likely be “active” at the deadline. This furrows me brow. Bowman speculates that Julio could be had for a couple of elite hitting prospects. I wouldn’t do it. You have a No. 1, at worst a good No. 2 starter, at a huge bargain for four more seasons. So you give that up for a couple of guys who MIGHT bring some offense in two years?

I fear Coppy views the Braves as so many test tubes and beakers, as his laboratory, a vehicle to test his theories. I’m probably wrong, but in dark moments I think he treats the home team like his fantasy roster, and could just as easily be manipulating the pieces for the Rockies or Astros or Cardinals or any other team. Negative me worries he’s not even much attached to the Braves, but rather is out to show that he’s the smartest guy in the room. If he proves to be the smartest GM around, then that figures to help the Braves. But he might not be the biggest brain in MLB.

In any case, as for playing actual games on grass and dirt, seems like it’s been a month. Action resumes tonight as the Rockies visit Hank Aaron Drive for the last time. That Lucas Harrell guy — surely he can’t maintain his sub-2 ERA for even one more start, can he? — toes the slab this evening. The 31-year-old journeyman has baffled in two starts so far. He had a pretty good year in 2012 for Houston, but hasn’t done much else in 90 big league appearances. But good luck to you, Lucas.

He’ll be followed this weekend by Folty and Julio. Tonight’s lineup: Beckham 2B, Garcia, Freddie, Markakis, Francoeur, Pierzynski, Inciarte, Aybar, Harrell.

 

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Jarry Park, Joe Robbie Stadium, the Ted

I can’t find another big league ballpark with a shorter life than those three. I’m not counting Mile High Stadium or the LA Coliseum, which were always intended as temporary   homes for major league baseball. There have probably been others, but I’m not sure there’s been a park that was a baseball-only stadium that lasted just two decades as an MLB home.

It’s petty stupefying when you consider the mountains of services and things our public sector lacks (decent pay and proper training so that cops don’t shoot people who are lying on the ground, for one thing). Yet we in metro Atlanta scare up half a billion bucks for Liberty Media and Arthur Blank. Shameful, really. But what’s done is done.

So the Ted’s career will last but 20 years. Many memorable Braves had more longevity: Henry Louis Aaron, Phil Niekro, Smoltz, Glavine, Maddux, Julio Franco, to name a few. If A. J. plays next season, he’ll match the career of the stadium on Hank Aaron Drive. Chipper had 19 seasons in the bigs. Had he not gotten hurt in the spring of ’94, he would’ve had a 20-year big league career.

Speaking of Hank Aaron Drive, will they rename the street in Cobb after Tim Lee, or John Malone, or Greg Maffei, or Mike Plant, or some other stooge? It’d be appropriate to call it Soulless Alley or Corporate Way.

As for the product on he field, the home nine closed out the unofficial first half in good fashion, winning 3 of 4 in Chitown. We’ll be along soon with our midway season report. As for today, it was especially encouraging to see Folty dominate. Striking out the side in his last inning, and firing his last pitch at 98 — impressive. I think he had just one three-ball count. One key seemed to be throwing his curve and change up for strikes, so hitters couldn’t essentially just sit on his fastball. Big league hitters can hit a 100 mph fastball if they’re looking for it and it’s not well located.

 

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Open thread, 7/7, #Braves vs. what if?

What if tonight’s make-up game is rained out? What if the Cubs are running away with the division and the best record in the NL? What if the Braves finish 56-105 and the Twins 56-106? Would they replay a game to decide who has the first overall pick in the draft? If so, would the Braves purposely lose?

Alas, we’ll never know. The line-up:

Peterson 2B, Beckham SS, Freddie, Markakis, Garcia, Francoeur, Flowers, Inciarte, Harrell

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Open thread, 7/6, #Braves reality check

Hopefully Tyrell Jenkins will make me look foolish (see below) as he takes the mound for his MLB debut as a starter.

The line-up, followed by some basic truths routinely ignored and/or denied by the franchise’s many mouthpieces and the horde of Coppy apologists on Twitter:

Peterson 4, Inciarte 8, Freeman 3, Markakis 9, Francoeur 7, Garcia 5, Pierzynski 2, Aybar 6, Jenkins 1

It’s a golden era for third sackers (Machado, Bryant, Donaldson, etc.) but Braves fans wouldn’t know it. Adonis Garcia, with his .595 OPS, does not belong on a major league roster. Rio Ruiz, whose Triple-A numbers are slightly better than Nick Markakis’, is not yet ready. Austin Riley may be in three years (he is starting to hit for more power at Rome and has cut down on his strikeouts but still has just 6 homers compared to 94 Ks).

The rotation is what it is … for the rest of this year and next. That includes slow-learning (or hard-headed) Folty, the Braves’ #3 starter. Who fills out the starting five? John Gant?? Williams Perez???  This is why you can’t trade Juley — unless you’re okay with flirting with 100 losses again. In fact, instead of trading pitching for hitting, as was the grand plan, the Braves may find themelves trying to swap underachieving potential for major league ready arms. And that’s assuming there’s a market for:

*Aaron Blair, who has taken his struggles to Gwinnett; *Lucas Sims, who has taken his struggles to Mississippi; *Tyrell Jenkins, who has shown no evidence of being an adequate big league starter — and that includes his stint at Gwinnett, when he missed few bats and allowed more hits than innings pitched; and *Chris Ellis, who pitched well at Mississippi but has been owned by Triple-A batters. *Sean Newcomb retains the most value, but not as much as when he was an Angel. His strikeouts per 9 have dropped from 11.1 to 8.8 while his BB/9 has remained stagnant, from 5.0 to 4.8. Command, or lack of, is the common thread. Most of these guys just can’t throw strikes consistently and minor league hitters are making them pay.

Rome pitching coach Dan Meyer, the centerpiece of the Tim Hudson trade with the A’s, deserves a promotion. Touki Toussaint and Max Fried have shown steady improvement while Mike Soroka and Patrick Weigel have been the mound standouts from last year’s draft. However, all — with the exception of Soroka and, to a lesser degree, Weigel — have command issues.

Dansby and Ozzie will be manning the middle infield for the Braves on Opening Day. That’s near-certain. They may be ready, but the Braves will not be erring on the side of caution.

To repeat: Why did Coppy rush to trade Bud Norris? Had his first start with the Dodgers been for the Braves he could’ve received a better return. And what if Norris continues his hot streak? At the trading deadline, small sample sizes are easily disregarded and this year, the market for starters is limited. Coppy was also too quick to deal Jason Grilli — for a pitcher they’ve since released. Grilli has a 2.31 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 11-2/3 with the Jays. Not saying he could’ve gotten a lot but he could’ve gotten more.

If Dave Stewart wasn’t a GM how would Coppy’s trades rank? Swanson and Toussaint wouldn’t be Braves. But Hector Olivera still would be. I’d give Coppy a “C”.

Olivera will probably be the in the hunt to start in LF next year, which is offensive to me as a person and as someone who appreciates major league talent. On a similar note, it was really disheartening to see Mets fans give Jose Reyes a standing ovation. Those cheers turned to boos only as Reyes proceeded to go 0-for his New York rebut. Not hitting a baseball: Boos. Hitting a woman: Cheers.

Speaking of regrettable trades, Andrelton’s offensive numbers are about where they were as a Brave. But he’s batting .426 in his last 12 games and tonight fell a homer short of a cycle. He was, and is, worth more than Newcomb and Ellis.

Fredi’s on Baseball Tonight as analyst. True to form, he began a thought with, “You know what …” and ended it with something stupid. In this case, Fredi called signing Reyes “a no-brainer,” apparently seeing no dilemma in employing a guy who beats up women. Fredi did, however, get off a decent line at the expense of the show’s stats guy: “I had one of those guys in my office every day. That’s why I got fired after 40 games.” That, and a 9-28 record.

Fredi’s successor has now lost as many games as manager of the Braves, with 10 more wins. So Snitker is ahead of Fredi’s pace, but the Braves, with twice as many losses as wins, are two games behind the ’88 team’s pace after 84 games.

Can’t wait to see the valentine to a known cheater that’s sure to mark this year’s All-Star Game, otherwise known as the Cubs vs. Red Sox, starring Big Phony. This time I’ll watch something else.

Which is what Braves fans have been doing in 2016. The team is next-to-last in the NL in attendance, averaging 22,724 tickets sold. That’s down 3,266 per game from 2015, although the naked eye tells you the drop is even greater.

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#Braves open thread, 7/4, Rick Camp-aganza

My recollection for the local organ, a long form piece worth your time and 19 things you may not know about the most bizarre game in Braves history. A perfect game by today’s starter Joel De La Cruz would be almost as improbable as Camp’s homer.

Watch for Mets LF Danny Heep’s reaction when the ball clears the fence.

Check out the banner at the 1:44 mark.

Don’t forget the fireworks.

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A performance for the ages, 50 years ago today

No Brave has ever had a better game than Tony Cloninger, 50 years ago. Except maybe Tony Cloninger.

On July 3, 1966, Cloninger set three records, becoming the first National League player to hit two grand slams in a game and the only pitcher ever to do so. And no pitcher has ever driven in 9 RBI in a game, as Cloninger did that afternoon in San Francisco. He also pitched a complete game in the Braves’ 17-3 win.

He might’ve been even better three weeks earlier, when he allowed just one run and five hits in 9 innings. The Braves scored 17 that day as well; Cloninger drove in five on three hits, two homers. He entered the game batting .121.

To sum up:

10 AB, 4 HR, 6 hits, 14 RBI

18 IP, 2 CG, 12 HA, 4 ER, 2 wins

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201 pitches

That’s how many pitches were thrown by 42-year-old Warren Spahn 53 years ago today. Willie Mays homered on Spahn’s 201st to break a scoreless tie. In the bottom of the 16th.

“He ought to will his body to medical science,” said Hall of Famer Carl Hubbell, who was in attendance at Candlestick Park for the epic duel won by Juan Marichal, who threw 227 pitches. But he was just 25.

Marichal was scheduled to bat third that inning. (Orlando) Cepeda later recalled the moment in a 1998 memoir. Manager Alvin Dark asked Marichal if he had had enough. Cepeda remembered Marichal barking at Dark, “A 42-year-old man is still pitching. I can’t come out!”4 Dark accepted — or was startled into acceptance by Marichal’s ardor — and let him bat. Marichal flied out to complete the inning, and the game pushed forward.

Seven Hall of Famers appeared in the game. The Cooperstown-bound moundsmen fared best; Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, Mays, Willie McCovey and Cepeda were a combined 4-for-26 against Marichal and Spahn.

Five days later, Spahn — did I mention he was 42 — shut out the Houston Colt .45s. Naturally, he went the distance

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Open thread, 7/1 – 7/3 #Braves vs. teen angst

We’ve been hearing about Kevin Maitan since before he could drive a car, and tomorrow the Braves are expected the land the prize of the international fee agent market. In fact, they’re supposed to have a deal in place with the 16-year-old widely considered the best international amateur prospect since Miguel Sano. But Keith Law reports the Nationals are making a late run at Maitan, so nothing’s guaranteed. No truth to rumors the Braves plan to convert Maitan into a pitcher.

Meanwhile, it looks like Julio Teheran is here to stay, which is good news. The odds against the Braves’ ace being traded are “99.9” percent, according to Coppy. So who will be dealt? I suspect Arodys will be elsewhere come August. Hopefully Markakis will be. Possibly Inciarte, who, while special with the glove, has been a dud at the plate. Notice how often that tends to happen with everyday players who become Braves? Might have something to do with the way they value their coaches. Atlanta is known for low-balling its staff, which is how you end up with the likes of Larry Parrish and Greg Walker as batting instructors. And who, outside of Cameron Maybin, has blossomed under Kevin Seitzer’s tutelage?

But none of that matters with the Marlins in town. If the Fish were Tom Glavine, the Braves would be Mike Redmond (21-for-48 vs. the Hall of Famer). Miami is 2-7 vs. the Braves, something they’re sure to forget if they barely miss out on a playoff berth.

No idea why the red-hot Jace Peterson is not in the line-up tonight. Seems an odd time to rest him.

Inciarte, D’Arnaud, Freddie, Adonis, Markakis, Francoeuer, Flowers, Aybar, Julio

 

 

 

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Open thread, 6/30, #Braves vs. blind faith

Braves fans sure have a lot of faith in the GM who traded for Hector Olivera and refused to deal Nick Markakis. The huzzahs were flowing for Coppy today after dealing Bud Norris to the desperate Dodgers for two fringe prospects. Pitchers, of course, because Coppy’s gonna bundle them for a big bat, don’t you know. Of course the Padres will trade Wil Myers for Lucas Sims and Aaron Blair. Brilliant plan!

The pitchers the Braves acquired have ceilings as middle relievers.  Neither throws particularly hard. The Padres, meanwhile, acquired a potential No. 3 starter for Fernando Rodney.

Granted, you’re lucky to get anything for Bud Norris but Coppy would’ve been wise to wait. Maybe he gets lucky and Norris continues to pitch well. At best he loses out on a couple of potential Matt Marksberrys.

In other news, we now know who’s likely to be next year’s starting SS. Ozzie Albies has been demoted to Mississippi, where he’ll play 2B alongside Dansby. Both players have struggled with the bat of late — Swanson’s 39 Ks in 49 Double-A games is a tad troubling.

At least tonight we get an actual prospect on the mound as opposed to the latest incarnation of German Jimenez or Sugar Ray Marimon. Hopefully Folty can pick up where he left off.

The line-up:

Jace, Chase (CF), Freddie, Garcia, Markakis, Francoeur, Flowers, Aybar, Folty

Frank Wren, John Schuerholz, Derek Schiller, Mike Plant

Open thread, 6/29, #Braves vs. resentment

Another day, another Liberty Media money grab. The AJC’s Dan Klepal, who has owned the Cobb stadium story, has details on an ordinance , passed at the Braves’ behest, outlawing property owners within a half-mile of the Mallpark from charging for parking during games and other special events.

For thousands of fans, the restriction could mean fewer parking options on game days, making it less convenient or more expensive to go to a stadium with no direct MARTA access. The full impact isn’t known because the Braves haven’t yet released their own parking plan.

The team’s president of development, Mike Plant, who once claimed it takes “about five more minutes” to get to the new stadium if you’re coming from south Fulton (in a flying car, perhaps), said the parking ordinance was enacted due to public safety concerns.

“We know that when fans come to a Braves game, no matter where they park, they associate their experience with the Braves,” Plant said. “Our concerns focused mainly on two areas — safety of the fans and the free flow of vehicles through the areas around the ballpark.

“With that in mind, we requested that the county create an ordinance covering an area around the ballpark to protect fans who are attending the game and ensure that they receive the same safety, security and convenience provided in the lots we control.”

Pissing off your fan base seems like a bad business plan, but maybe that’s just me.

Fuck you, Liberty!

Meanwhile, a pitcher I had never heard of until today takes the mound vs. perhaps the leading contender for the AL Cy Young Award. Joel De La Cruz had a 4.68 ERA this year at Gwinnett. He is the 2016 version of Sugar Ray Marimon.

More good news for Indians starter Danny Salazar:

Peterson, Inciarte, Freeman, Markakis, Garcia, Flowers, Aybar, Bonifacio, De La Cruz

 

 

 

 

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Open thread, 6.28, #Braves vs. eh….

I don’t have much. A couple, or five, random thoughts:

  • It’d be good to see Wisler keep working himself back into form after some rough outings. His past two games have been solid.
  • Aybar is hitting .289 with a .396 OBP in his past 15 games.
  • A scribe for the local organ referred to a Braves lefty as a righty in a game story over the weekend. That sort of error is routine, unfortunately.
  • The Indians are good, young and anonymous. There’s pretty much nobody on their team that a casual National League fan would know, and not many even a reasonably committed NL fan would know.
  • A week or so ago, Joe said on the air that he really hopes MLB will recognize the military during the All-Star Game in San Diego. Of course, the Navy has a huge presence in San Diego. I don’t know, Joe. A pro sports league saluting the military–often for pay–is the best bet this side of Jim Powell saying something snide about Bryce Harper if he gets the chance.

Tonight’s lineup: Peterson, Inciarte, Freddie, Markakis, Garcia, Pierzynski, Aybar, Bonifacio LF, Wisler.

 

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Open thread, 6/27, #Braves vs. a blueprint

Look no further than tonight’s opponent if you’re unsure about whether Julio Teheran should be traded. The Indians, baseball’s hottest team, have played all but 11 games without their best hitter, Michael Brantley. Despite that, and a payroll that’s only $2.5 million higher than the Bravos, Cleveland is poised to return to the playoffs this year almost solely on the backs of their starting pitchers. They may not have a Kershaw or Arrieta but they have several Teherans, if not better, in the case of Danny Salazar. Kluber and Carrasco could also make a strong case, as they, along with Trevor Bauer, miss a lot of bats.

Point being, you don’t trade affordable, accomplished arms. Cleveland has managed to patch together a decent offense — built around budding star Francisco Lindor — thanks to contributions from the likes of Mike Napoli, Rajai Davis and our old pal Juan Uribe. They all came cheap. Top-flight starting pitchers do not.

Cleveland has also maintained enough flexibility to add a Carlos Beltran-type at the deadline. If they do that, and get Brantley back, you may well be looking at the team to beat in the AL (as predicted by Rowland). None of other contenders in the Senior Circuit have Cleveland’s rotation depth, or talent. It’s not even close.

(I trust if your’re reading this you know the line-up by now so I’ll save you that and lyrics to a random 35-year-old tune.)

 

 

 

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 21:  Julio Teheran #49 of the Atlanta Braves pitches in the first inning to the Miami Marlins at Turner Field on April 21, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Open thread, 6.24-26, #Braves vs. buyers

Good start last night on consolidating my psychic gains. This team sure seems to have an energy it lacked during the Fredi portion of the season. It’s not all Fredi’s fault, of course. Peterson, Freeman, Garcia, even Aybar have hit much better lately. The pen’s been excellent and the defense has improved.

Trade talk is starting. Baseball players have a dream job, surely. Still it’s kind of weird that employers can command someone to leave their current job and go work for a competing employer, and the employee in many cases has no say in the matter. The workers can quit and take their chances in more mundane sectors of the labor market. But the money in baseball can be princely and the benefits are excellent.

Anyway, here’s a quick rundown on whom I think the Braves should consider trading or not. I haven’t conducted any thoroughgoing analysis, so please no indignant rants about peripherals and FIP and such. Thankfully we don’t get much of that up in the Office.

Teheran: NO. He’s a No. 1/2 starter who will make an average of about $7.5 million a year for the next three season, and he’s 25. And I like him, and a lot of fans like him. We’ve taken enough kicks in the nada the past couple of years. Don’t trade Julio unless you get a good, cheap young major league hitter and at least one truly elite near MLB-ready pitching prospect. If that’s unlikely, then keep him. If Coppy, et al aim to contend in a couple years, and let’s hope they do, there’s surely no one else in the org who’s likely to be a No. 1 starter in 2018.

Freeman: HELL NO. Losing Freddie would be a double front drop kick in the nads. “Build” is 72 percent of “rebuild.” A good, affordable piece who’s as close as we have to a franchise face seems a reasonable fella to keep around. We damn sure don’t have any other middle-of-the-order hitters banging on the big league door.

Vizcaino: Not unless you get a big return. Some blithely suggest you can turn any old pitching prospect into a closer. Eh, I’m not so sure. Harking back to Julio and Freddie, you have a few good pieces in place. Don’t we continue building at some point, and stop ripping out pieces for other pieces that might or might not be better?

Inciarte: No. Same thing. Good, affordable young player.

Norris: Yes.

Johnson: Yes, but only if the return is reasonable. Don’t just dump him for some team’s 120th best prospect.

Adonis: Yes. Again, though, don’t just give him away. He’s on a nice little run, and it may well be the best week he’ll ever have as a big leaguer. So if he’ll fetch a kid with any upside, then do it.

Markakis: Yes.

Francoeur: Yes.

The last few are obvious. That’s all the time and energy I have for now. Please let us know what you think about tradable Bravos. I’m sure there are other players who’ll be discussed. I just think if this club keeps playing decent ball for a reasonable stretch — say, another 40 games — it’d be a pisser to see their engine ripped out in exchange for a few fringe middle relievers who are in A ball.

I like the home nine’s chances to win at least one more in this series. The pitching match ups are not particularly favorable, of course, save for Julio vs. deGrom, which is about a wash. Still, I think the Braves get another W or two this weekend. Mets aren’t hitting a lot, though Cespedes’ return tonight should help them. Blair vs. Matz tonight, then Norris v Old Man Colon (I’ll admit I like watching the guy) before Julio toes the slab in the finale.

Tonight’s lineup: Peterson, Inciarte, Freddie, Francoeur, Markakis, Garcia, Flowers, Aybar, Blair.