You don’t trade the best

In the past year, the Braves have traded Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, Craig Kimbrel and Andrelton Simmons and have received not one can’t-miss, Top 20 prospect. Sean Newcomb is the closest thing,

He’s a big lefty who throws hard, striking out 11 per 9 IP. He also walked 76 batters in 136 IP. So he’s no sure thing, though I guess we should be happy he hasn’t undergone Tommy John surgery.

I hate this trade. Maybe it works out, but when you have a premium player, signed to an affordable contract, you don’t trade him. No less an expert than Bill James says when you have the best, you hold onto him.

The plan, so we’re told, is to stockpile young pitchers then flip them for bats. But if they can’t get an impact bat for Jay Hey or Andrelton, what makes them think they’ll get one for Folty or Tyrell Jenkins?

Whatever the plan, it sure seems unorthodox. As it stands, the Braves will have FIVE players over 30 in the Opening Day line-up: Markakis, Olivera, Erick Aybar, Adonis and A.J.

I suspect they’ll be worse in 2016 than they were this season. They won’t be competitive in 2017, either. Next year’s free agent class is weak, and the best of the team’s prospects are a couple of years away.

Maybe they’ll reach .500 by 2018.

I’m no longer optimistic.

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17 comments

  1. As they become harder to root for, management seems to care less and less how the team is perceived. The baseball team I’ve followed for over 40 years exists to be the anchor tenant at a state-subsidized suburban shopping mall two years from now. I may as well cheer for Target. At least in the 1980s we knew they were straight up incompetent. Now they are driven by absentee ownership and people at the top locally whose strategy is obviously too smart for Braves fans to understand. Oh well, at least I can watch Kimbrel, Simmons, McCann and Heyward log playoff games with good teams. Sigh.

  2. They were asking the Mets for Jacob de Grom, and they settle for Sean Newcomb? After trading pretty much all their marketable players, they have exactly ONE proven major league starter (Shelby Miller) and a whole lot of maybes. With Oliveria moving to left, they have below-average talent in each outfield position, with all of them over 30, and no decent power-hitting prospects in their farm system. Projecting forward a couple of years, in addition to the outfield disaster, they have nobody to play third, whichever middle-infield position Albies doesn’t fill, or catch. And the bullpen pretty much sucks.

    But this trade is the most infuriating one. As others have said, you don’t trade the best. Especially if you’re then stuck with Erick Fucking Aybar. (At least the Padres got Garry Templeton when they foolishly dealt Ozzie Smith.) I have rooted for this team since before Joe Torre was a roookie catcher, and today, I may finally be done with them. The club won a division title two years ago and now has no hope of being competitive for the forseeable future. I was already feeling dirty rooting for a team whose management has cynically embraced white flight. I feel like I’m supporting P.W. Botha’s and David Duke’s favorite team. And I might be able to grind my teeth and do that if I thought they offered any hope.

    But they don’t. I posted over the summer that the deal in which Petraza was a throw-in in a deal to acquire the now-discredited Oliveira (whose offense is acceptable only if he plays third, not if he’s in left) robbed Braves fans of hope for the next several years. But this is much, much worse. Simmons is the best defensive shortstop of his generation. The best defensive player at the most crucial defensive position to play the game since Smith was in his prime. And management just traded him for a couple of maybes. And in doing so, Braves fans now have abandoned all hope. The organization just crossed the River Styx.

    This is not merely a bad team, it’s one that will lose around 110 games next season, and, with a couple of key injuries, could rival the 120 losses of the 1962 Mets.

  3. I agree with both of you.

    No trade has reminded me of the Darrell Evans deal in its wrongheadedness than this one. I have lost all confidence in the trio of Johns. This is one incredibly stupid trade made by people wallowing in their hubris. Read interviews of these three. There’s a lot of douchebagery going on over there.

    And incompetence. The team is moving to a ballpark accessible only by car, and there’s no bridge over the highway to get people from the parking lot to the stadium. And we now have seven starting pitching prospects slated for the AA level. Yeah, it really improves the trade value of prospects when you have no room for them in your own system. These people don’t know what their doing.

  4. I’m actually almost hoping that they move Teheran and Freeman, as well. They don’t deserve to be part of this shitshow. Freddie, in particular, must feel like he was sold a bill of goods when he signed his contract.

    Does it seem to anyone else that a lot of the business and civic leaders in Cobb don’t actually want the Braves there? I know that their charts claim that’s the locus of the season ticket buyers and that may translate into good attendance at some point, but it really seems to me that there are a lot of obstacles that are being put in place. The parking spaces on the other side of the highway which are being jealously guarded by the people who own them being a major one.

    I haven’t been vocal here about the move because I’m not a native Atlantan and it’s all a bit abstract to me but this seems, just on a logistical basis, to be a real clusterfuck.

  5. Oh, it’s a clusterfuck. The bridge plan was put on indefinite hold in September. There are powerful forces working against it. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the lack of a bridge in 2017 and possibly beyond will have, um, a deleterious impact on attendance.

    The Johns were shedding a multi-year contract in this Simmons deal. That’s what was going on here.

  6. I have officially lost hope. Am I a bad fan for secretly wishing that we tank so bad that liberty fires everyone including JS and sells the team? Feels like it…

  7. They would have to remember/care that they owned the team before that could happen.

  8. So he’s no sure thing, though I guess we should be happy he hasn’t undergone Tommy John surgery

    I believe that should be corrected to say that he hasn’t undergone Tommy John surgery yet. With the way things are going lately that should be an inevitability.

    And we do have pitchers that can be traded for power bats – their names are Teheran and Miller – I wouldn’t be surprised at all if they’re dealt at some point…not like management really cares about being competitive anymore.

  9. Wow. Worst fans in baseball, by far. This “article” is complete garbage. The Simmons trade was another good move that you people simply don’t understand, But you are not supposed to understand it. Calling Simba the best is a bit of an overstatement. He is, no doubt, the best defensive SS in the league. He might be the best defensive player in the league. But his bat was lukewarm at best. When the trade was finalized and reported, the vast majority of Angels fans were enraged because they just lost their best prospect. Sean Newcomb is probably going to be one of the best lefties in the game, and he might make the club as soon as April. The petulant outbursts from Atlanta’s so called ‘fans’ has been absolutely embarrassing. I, on the other hand, will be wearing my Sean ‘Nuke ’em’ jersey when the Braves are winning the WS in a few years. You have all shown, very clearly, what you know- which is literally nothing.

  10. I’m reminded of Mike Kelly, Andy Marte, Wilson Betemit and Jeff Francoeur. Sometimes the prospects pan out (Teheran, Heyward) but usually they don’t. Better to have major leaguers than minor leaguers. I fear this bunch will flame out like the “Baby Braves” and there will nothing left.

  11. According to reports, the Braves are now actively shopping Freddie Freeman, as well as practically any other veteran they would owe money to (Markakis, Maybin,Teheran). I honestly don’t know what the hell the Braves are doing anymore. Sure, you’re getting prospects, but you’re also getting rid of the younger talent that you’d either locked in or had controlled until free agency. So you’ve gotten rid of the best defender in the game, the best closer, Gattis, Alex Wood, Heyward…. Pepe and Roadrunner, this team is resembling the clusterfuck that the Cobb Co. stadium location is going to be.

    http://www.si.com/mlb/2015/11/16/atlanta-braves-freddie-freeman-trade-rumors

  12. I saw Ozzie Smith and Simba is clearly better. The defensive metrics bear out what my eyes have seen. Now, I didn’t see Honus Wagner, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Simmons was the best shortstop to ever play the game. He’s the best of the modern era. And his bat is average for his position.

    But hey, if you’re glad to see him traded for someone who will “probably” be very good in the thirty-five games of the future season that he might play in, good for you. Most of us here have lived through at least two rebuilding efforts before this one and know what a fire sale looks like. You can call it something else if you like.

    I do enjoy having my loyalty and intelligence impugned. Thanks for that.

  13. Clete, I’d love to know how season ticket sales are going. Schuerholz says sales are going great and according to plan. Sure. That’s why Coppy is shopping these players like a guy selling TV’s out of the back of a van.

  14. Christopher, go play with your Star Wars toys and contemplate how stupid and embarrassing the rest of us are.

  15. Christopher, You favor trading Simmons because he’s not a great hitter, and you call the rest of us morons? He’s the best defensive player at the most crucial defensive position to play the game in at least 30 years. He’d be a valuable asset if he were to hit .205. But it looks like Liberty Media has sent the front office the word to get rid of all long-term contracts to enhance the value of the team so they can sell it. Rooting for a soulless, out-of-town conglomerate is so exhilarating it makes Christopher all tingly!

    The whole purpose of a team’s front office is to fill the roster with productive players who are earning below their actual value during their most productive years. Simmons, who is 26, will make an average of $10.6 million each of the next five years, which, compared to the average of $18.8 million that Troy Tulowitzki will pull down each of the next five years, strikes me as an incredible bargain. Especially considering that Simmons is the best defensive player at the most crucial defensive position to play the game in the last 30 years. (You don’t seem to appreciate this point, so I feel I need to repeat it.)

    But then, you probably thought Ozzie Smith was a bum, too, because he was a career .262 hitter. Never mind that he’s in the Hall of Fame and led the Cardinals to three World Series. The best the Braves can hope for in this deal is for Newcombe to become a No. 1 starter and Ellis to be a middle-of-the-rotation guy. So would the Cardinals have been any good had they flipped Smith for the likes of John Tudor and Danny Cox (the Cardinals’ No. 1 and 3 starters in 1985)? I doubt it. They understood what they had just acquired from the hapless Padres: a once-in-a-generation defensive shortstop.

    Which is what the Angels just acquired, and even if Newcombe and Ellis turn out to be Tudor and Cox, the Angels will still probably love the trade. Only Newcombe and Ellis probably won’t be nearly that good.

    Hope you enjoy crossing the freeway to get to Strip Mall Field, Christopher. The walk to and from the ballyard will be far more exciting than any game you’ll see.

  16. When Simmons caught someone oversliding second base in early September, Don Sutton remarked that “Andrelton is always looking for outs.” His skills have been matched by his head, something fairly uncommon in Atlanta Braves history. His offensive numbers have been suppressed by lousy lineups, and I recall Mark Belanger couldn’t hit at all but won four (4) pennants.
    This is the worst Braves trade ever.

  17. This trade isn’t looking any better.

    I know we’re projected to have Swanson and Albies as the keystone combo within a couple of years and I’m looking forward to that but I still can’t get behind trading a future HOFer for a Len Barker look alike who can’t hit the broadside of a barn.

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