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Friday, March 14, 2014

Braves’ Beachy might need another Tommy John surgery

Pitcher Brandon Beachy’s arm injury appears to be far worse than he and the Braves initially believed, and he could find out Monday that he needs a second Tommy John elbow surgery and another year-long rehabilitation.

The Braves face the almost unimaginable, but quite real, possibility that starting pitchers Kris Medlen and Beachy could both be told Monday when they visit Dr. James Andrews that each needs to have a second ligament-transplant surgery, aka “Tommy John” surgery. Andrews did TJ surgery on Medlen in 2010 and on Beachy in June 2012.

Medlen, the planned opening-day starter who left Sunday’s game against the Mets after feeling stabbing pain in his surgically repaired elbow, had an MRI and other tests this week in Orlando and has already come to grips with knowing he’ll almost certainly need Tommy John surgery again.

And now Beachy, 27, knows he might also need his third overall surgery and second TJ surgery in a span of about 21 months. That’s assuming that Andrews would even recommend having so many surgeries within such a short period of time.

“Lot of frustration,” Beachy said Friday. “Really, really frustrated.”

...But he found out otherwise this week when had tests done in Orlando — he and Medlen went to the same doctor at the same time — that showed a possible ligament tear. For patients who’ve had a previous Tommy John surgery, the MRI can be “cloudy” around the repaired area and difficult to read, but both pitchers also had a stress X-ray that showed apparent ligament damage.

“I was pretty confident when I talked to you guys after the game Monday,” said Beachy, who had said after coming out of the game that he had consulted with members of the team’s medical and training staffs.

“I was being honest,” he said. “That’s what I was told. Now, it looks like it could be something else. Got to find out more.”

Thanks to FH.

Repoz Posted: March 14, 2014 at 01:15 PM | 78 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves

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   1. TDF, situational idiot Posted: March 14, 2014 at 01:25 PM (#4671637)
Looks like the Braves were right to "panic" and sign Santana.
   2. Jim (jimmuscomp) Posted: March 14, 2014 at 01:27 PM (#4671640)
Wow. That's too bad for both kids. I'm an AL guy, and don't see much more than highlights these days, but I have enjoyed keeping up with the young rotation Atlanta was putting together.
   3. Jick Posted: March 14, 2014 at 01:32 PM (#4671648)
The Curse of Cobb County claims another victim.
   4. bigglou115 Posted: March 14, 2014 at 01:33 PM (#4671649)
This has gotta be close to the end of Beachy. When he comes back he'll have pitched 5 games in 3 years. His stuff was terrible in those games last year, and even though it was spring his stuff was terrible this year. He'll be back at, what, 29?
   5. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 14, 2014 at 01:33 PM (#4671650)
Don't worry, guys. We can just slot that #26 pick from 2014 into the rotation and everything will be just fine. He's good for like, 3.5 WAR ya know.
   6. SG Posted: March 14, 2014 at 01:36 PM (#4671657)
Are there any pitchers who've successfully come back from two ligament replacements?
   7. boteman is not here 'til October Posted: March 14, 2014 at 01:43 PM (#4671666)
Ervin Santana almost signs with the Blue Jays, then really signs with the Braves.

The Blue Jays starting rotation absolutely fell apart to injury in 2012.

Have the Blue Jays cast an evil spell on the Braves or sumpin???
   8. bigglou115 Posted: March 14, 2014 at 01:47 PM (#4671671)
@6 guys have come back, I can't think of anybody who've been really successful after 2.
   9. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 14, 2014 at 01:47 PM (#4671673)
Are there any pitchers who've successfully come back from two ligament replacements?


I don't believe there are many. Here's a USA Today article from 2007 about the rarity of the two-timers.

For (Al) Reyes, 37, to be this successful after a second ulnar collateral ligament replacement is rare, according to James Andrews, a Birmingham, Ala.-based orthopedist who many pitchers visit to seek second opinions on their throwing arms. According to statistics maintained by his office, Andrews performed 1,169 Tommy John surgeries over the 12-year span from 1994 until 2005. Of those, only 12 players were going for their second elbow reconstruction.

For those 12, the success rate — a pitcher making it to his presurgery level of baseball — is about 20%, Andrews estimates.


At this point, the Braves can't really count on anything but maybe middle relief from either of those guys. If they get more, great. But you can't bet on either of them coming back to be a functional part of your rotation long term.
   10. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 14, 2014 at 01:49 PM (#4671678)
Perhaps the Washington Nationals cautious approach with Stephen Strasburg, and Ryan Zimmermann before that, looks a little better?
   11. Random Transaction Generator Posted: March 14, 2014 at 01:52 PM (#4671679)
For those 12, the success rate — a pitcher making it to his presurgery level of baseball — is about 20%, Andrews estimates.


About 20%?

If you have only 12 in your data set, how do you get "about 20%"?
2 out of 12 is 16.67% (or you could say "one-sixth")
3 out of 12 is 25% (or you could say "a quarter")
It's one or the other.
   12. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 14, 2014 at 01:54 PM (#4671683)
I would guess it was two. "About 20%" indicates "not quite 20%." It may boil down to USA Today standards against writing fractions instead of percentages.
   13. bigglou115 Posted: March 14, 2014 at 01:54 PM (#4671684)
@10 but the Braves limited Medlen's innings as much as Strasburg, and Beachy took like 2 extra months before attempting to come back.

I don't think you can put this on an organizational approach, both guys were treated just as carefully as Strasburg. It's just bad luck.
   14. SG Posted: March 14, 2014 at 01:54 PM (#4671686)
Perhaps the Washington Nationals cautious approach with Stephen Strasburg, and Ryan Zimmermann before that, looks a little better?


Baseball GMs do not know more than message board posters.
   15. Ziggy Posted: March 14, 2014 at 01:57 PM (#4671690)
If he does need TJ, this means that the Braves release him, right? He due to make about $1.5m this year, and next year the Braves can't (if memory serves) offer less than 80% of that. He's made a healthy living and then some, but it looks like he's not actually going to get rich playing baseball.

Edit: Since it's still spring training, they can just pay him 1/6th of that $1.5, right? If so, bad time to get hurt.
   16. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: March 14, 2014 at 01:59 PM (#4671693)
Nit-pick much? It wasn't a direct quote of an answer to the question, "How many of the twelve pitchers that you have performed a second UCL replacement on have returned to pitching at the MLB level?" Andrews was asked to estimate the likelihood of coming back from a second TJS. Paulling then used that estimate to construct a very poorly worded sentence in his article.

EDIT: that's in response to 11, in case it isn't obvious.
   17. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 14, 2014 at 02:03 PM (#4671699)
Yes, it's likely that he'll be released much like Jonny Venters was, that the team will pay for his surgery, and that he'll resign later.
   18. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: March 14, 2014 at 02:08 PM (#4671706)
Also from that USA Today article:

Darren Dreifort pitched only 111 innings over two seasons after returning from his second Tommy John surgery before retiring. Jose Rijo, who had the procedure five times, missed five entire seasons.


emphasis added
   19. Rants Mulliniks Posted: March 14, 2014 at 02:15 PM (#4671713)
This has gotta be close to the end of Beachy.


Let me introduce you to Dustin McGowan. He missed all of 2009, all of 2010, threw 21 IP with a 6.43 ERA in 2011, missed all of 2012, somehow landed a three year contract last offseason, then pitched only 25.2 IP last year and now somehow thinks he's going to be in the rotation this year.
   20. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 14, 2014 at 02:23 PM (#4671726)
Don't worry, guys. We can just slot that #26 pick from 2014 into the rotation and everything will be just fine. He's good for like, 3.5 WAR ya know.


Or the Braves could have built up adequate rotation depth before things came to a crisis point. That would have worked, too.
   21. Karl from NY Posted: March 14, 2014 at 02:29 PM (#4671736)
If he does need TJ, this means that the Braves release him, right? He due to make about $1.5m this year, and next year the Braves can't (if memory serves) offer less than 80% of that.

They can't offer him a cut of more than 20% as an arbitration figure. They can offer a contract with a lower number, but the player can turn it down and force the team to either go to arbitration or release him.
   22. formerly dp Posted: March 14, 2014 at 02:32 PM (#4671739)
Let me introduce you to Dustin McGowan. He missed all of 2009, all of 2010, threw 21 IP with a 6.43 ERA in 2011, missed all of 2012, somehow landed a three year contract last offseason, then pitched only 25.2 IP last year and now somehow thinks he's going to be in the rotation this year.
There is a possible universe where McGowan and Hutchison both emerge this year?
   23. bigglou115 Posted: March 14, 2014 at 02:33 PM (#4671740)
@20. Well, they did. I'd think preparing to start the year with 3 SP on the DL goes beyond adequate. A week ago the Braves had Teheran, Minor, Medlen, Beachy, Wood, Garcia, Hale all ready to go with Gavin Floyd returning in May. I'd say that's more depth than 90% of teams. The problem is they've lost 1 of their top 3 for the season, and another won't start the season, then Beachy means they need another full time starter. What's happening is something beyond that which can be remedied by "adequate" preparation. Ordinary depth isn't designed to cover 2 of your best 3 pitchers going down at the same time, and honestly I think it's silly to say that before the season started the Braves should've just accepted playing depth guys at 2 rotation spots for the entire year.
   24. cardsfanboy Posted: March 14, 2014 at 02:42 PM (#4671746)
Before that, 19 pitchers have had the surgery more than once, including 10 relievers: Doug Brocail, Isringhausen, Hong-Chih Kuo, Chad Fox, Mike Lincoln, Al Reyes, Tim Spooneybarger, Scott Williamson, Tyler Yates and Jeff Zimmerman.


and

The track record is worse for starters, a list that includes Chris Capuano, Darren Dreifort, Dave Eiland, Shawn Hill, Scott Mathieson, Jose Rijo, Matt Riley, Danny Stark and Victor Zambrano.


From this article.
   25. DA Baracus Posted: March 14, 2014 at 02:43 PM (#4671748)
Don't worry, guys. We can just slot that #26 pick from 2014 into the rotation and everything will be just fine. He's good for like, 3.5 WAR ya know.


But that's going to cost $30M!
   26. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 14, 2014 at 02:53 PM (#4671755)
Or the Braves could have built up adequate rotation depth before things came to a crisis point.


As @23 notes, they did. Go ahead and list me a Major League rotation that could swallow whole the loss of it's nominal #1 and #4 to season ending surgery, while having it's #2 start the season on the 15 day.
   27. Simpson Posted: March 14, 2014 at 02:54 PM (#4671758)
Daniel Hudson of the Diamondbacks recently underwent his second TJS. IIRC, he reinjured it in his first rehab start coming back from the first one. Interesting that Capuano may be the upside for these guys.
   28. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 14, 2014 at 02:56 PM (#4671760)
@20. Well, they did. I'd think preparing to start the year with 3 SP on the DL goes beyond adequate. A week ago the Braves had Teheran, Minor, Medlen, Beachy, Wood, Garcia, Hale all ready to go with Gavin Floyd returning in May. I'd say that's more depth than 90% of teams. The problem is they've lost 1 of their top 3 for the season, and another won't start the season, then Beachy means they need another full time starter. What's happening is something beyond that which can be remedied by "adequate" preparation. Ordinary depth isn't designed to cover 2 of your best 3 pitchers going down at the same time, and honestly I think it's silly to say that before the season started the Braves should've just accepted playing depth guys at 2 rotation spots for the entire year.


Early in last season, the Pirates had five of the top eight starters on their depth chart (Liriano, Morton, McDonald, McPherson, and Irwin) on the disabled list, and another (Wandy) went on the DL for good on June 5.

#### happens, so you need to be as prepared as possible.
   29. cardsfanboy Posted: March 14, 2014 at 02:58 PM (#4671761)
As @23 notes, they did. Go ahead and list me a Major League rotation that could swallow whole the loss of it's nominal #1 and #4 to season ending surgery, while having it's #2 start the season on the 15 day.


Cardinals could :) 1. Wainwright 2. Wacha 3. Miller 4. Lynn 5.Kelly 6. Martinez 7.Garcia(He's actually number 4, but is starting the season on the DL) 8. Rosenthal(should be a starter, but too valuable in the pen and only spot available for him)

Of course your point is true, most teams can't expect to have the depth to cover the lost of three starting pitchers.
   30. DA Baracus Posted: March 14, 2014 at 02:58 PM (#4671762)
#### happens, so you need to be as prepared as possible.


They signed Santana before Medlen and Beachy's injuries were fully diagnosed. They acted as quickly as possible when two starters went down within days of each other. They didn't wait to see how the kids looked or if a veteran could be had in a trade when rosters had to be cut down to 25. They had a plan, sign a free agent, and they acted on it quickly. That is being prepared.
   31. flournoy Posted: March 14, 2014 at 03:02 PM (#4671764)
How does a team prepare for losing two, possibly three of its starting pitchers in spring training? I don't even understand where you guys are coming from on this. What team has eight or nine high quality major league starting pitchers? You ought to have five good ones, a reasonable sixth guy, and some guys beyond that you can use if you have to, though you'd probably prefer not to. If a situation develops where you need depth beyond that, you make the necessary move(s), which the Braves did. That sounds like fine preparation to me.
   32. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 14, 2014 at 03:02 PM (#4671766)
Cardinals could :) 1. Wainwright 2. Wacha 3. Miller 4. Lynn 5.Kelly 6. Martinez 7.Garcia(He's actually number 4, but is starting the season on the DL) 8. Rosenthal(should be a starter, but too valuable in the pen and only spot available for him)

Of course your point is true, most teams can't expect to have the depth to cover the lost of three starting pitchers.


I would obviously love t if Liberty would open up the checkbook and give the Braves the annual operating player payroll that the Cards enjoy. If they did, Tim Hudson would still be a Brave, and David Price probably would too.
   33. bigglou115 Posted: March 14, 2014 at 03:09 PM (#4671772)
Rickey, I agree the financial situation is difficult, but a difference of $26 MM last year and probably closer to $10-15 MM this year doesn't account for all the difference. The Cards have had an historic run of drafting pitchers and keeping them healthy while getting them successfully to the Show.

For the sake of humor, Mark Lemke is trying to persuade those listening to the Braves ST game that Dan Uggla is a top defensive 2B.
   34. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 14, 2014 at 03:14 PM (#4671775)
Rickey, I agree the financial situation is difficult, but a difference of $26 MM last year and probably closer to $10-15 MM this year doesn't account for all the difference. The Cards have had an historic run of drafting pitchers and keeping them healthy while getting them successfully to the Show.


I'm not trying to undersell the Cards' success of late. They're doing a great job in that department, obviously. But they can also afford to keep Wainwright in house to anchor that rotation while they slide the new arms in. That's a nice luxury to have.
   35. jmurph Posted: March 14, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4671784)
Early in last season, the Pirates had five of the top eight starters on their depth chart (Liriano, Morton, McDonald, McPherson, and Irwin) on the disabled list, and another (Wandy) went on the DL for good on June 5.


The obvious difference is that some of those guys are mediocrities or, in Liriano's case, something of a lottery ticket. The Braves probably have the depth to replace mediocrities, just like any other reasonably good team. But Medlen is actually good. To argue that teams should have a like for like replacement for their nominal ace just raring to go is a little silly.

EDIT: I mean, Boston has the "depth" to replace Dempster, because Dempster sucks. But they don't really have the depth to replace Lester. Lester getting hurt would hurt the team, even though they have perfectly cromulent AAAA guys or 5th starters to slot in.
   36. Rants Mulliniks Posted: March 14, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4671785)
#22 Hutchison is going to start the season in the rotation....whether or not he'll emerge is another story, but his velocity has been excellent so far this spring. McGowan should be satisfied if he can get into more than 10 games.
   37. Nasty Nate Posted: March 14, 2014 at 03:24 PM (#4671786)
Having enough budget wiggle room to use money to acquire a good SP in the event of a huge run of injuries to your staff seems like an acceptable contingency plan to me.
   38. cardsfanboy Posted: March 14, 2014 at 03:30 PM (#4671791)
Having enough budget wiggle room to use money to acquire a good SP in the event of a huge run of injuries to your staff seems like an acceptable contingency plan to me.


The hard part is finding a player capable of replacing a top flight pitcher that you lost in spring training. Ervin Santana was available this year and Lohse last year, (and neither are "top flight" pitchers) but that is the best you can find this close to the season, anyone else will be through a trade and not many teams are going to let go of a guy that is a difference maker for cheap.
   39. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 14, 2014 at 03:44 PM (#4671801)
The obvious difference is that some of those guys are mediocrities or, in Liriano's case, something of a lottery ticket. The Braves probably have the depth to replace mediocrities, just like any other reasonably good team. But Medlen is actually good. To argue that teams should have a like for like replacement for their nominal ace just raring to go is a little silly.


a) In what world isn't Ervin Santana a "mediocrity" or a "lottery ticket"? He's spent nine years in the majors, and in four of those nine years, he's had an ERA+ of 91 or less - including 2012, when he led the AL in home runs allowed.

Santana isn't a like-for-like replacement for a top starter. He's a volatile mid-rotation guy whom the Braves overpaid substantially in order to get, out of desperation.

b) The Braves really don't have a lot of mediocre SP depth right now (by the standards of good teams, anyway), which is part of the reason they were willing to overpay for Santana. Hence, my criticism.
   40. Nasty Nate Posted: March 14, 2014 at 03:49 PM (#4671807)
The hard part is finding a player capable of replacing a top flight pitcher that you lost in spring training. Ervin Santana was available this year and Lohse last year, (and neither are "top flight" pitchers) but that is the best you can find this close to the season, anyone else will be through a trade and not many teams are going to let go of a guy that is a difference maker for cheap.


I agree. But the timing of the implosion of their staff could have occurred at other times when it is easier to buy talent (mid-season, earlier in the offseason).
   41. DA Baracus Posted: March 14, 2014 at 03:50 PM (#4671810)
So tell us, who should the Braves have signed instead? What move should they have made in the off-season to prepare for having two starters go down in March?
   42. bigglou115 Posted: March 14, 2014 at 03:54 PM (#4671812)
@41 well... I've been practicing my knuckleball...
   43. Colin Posted: March 14, 2014 at 04:01 PM (#4671816)
a) In what world isn't Ervin Santana a "mediocrity" or a "lottery ticket"? He's spent nine years in the majors, and in four of those nine years, he's had an ERA+ of 91 or less - including 2012, when he led the AL in home runs allowed.


Well, three of those bad seasons came from 2005-2009. Since 2010 he's had two good seasons, one decent one, and one bad one; the bad one was clearly an outlier in terms of peripherals, and 2013 looked a lot more like 2010-11 than it did like 2012.

He has some risk, sure (age, questionable Braves' defense), but I think his track record over the last four years has more predictive value than that of the previous five.
   44. flournoy Posted: March 14, 2014 at 04:05 PM (#4671821)
To tag along with 41, here was the Braves' rotation before the injuries happened:

Mike Minor - no particular concern
Kris Medlen - no particular concern
Julio Teheran - no particular concern
Brandon Beachy - big question mark
Freddy Garcia - no particular injury concern, but he's old
Alex Wood - no particular injury concern, but he's young
Gavin Floyd - injured, will presumably return in May
Other guys like David Hale, Aaron Northcraft, etc.

What should the Braves have done? They left the option open to sign another guy if they needed to, but didn't want to have to do that. It turns out they had to.
   45. DA Baracus Posted: March 14, 2014 at 04:13 PM (#4671831)
questionable Braves' defense


The Braves defense is above average.
   46. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 14, 2014 at 04:14 PM (#4671832)
So tell us, who should the Braves have signed instead? What move should they have made in the off-season to prepare for having two starters go down in March?


A depth move like the Rays' trade for Nate Karns would have made a lot of sense. He's likely to be pretty decent if Tampa needs him (ZiPS calls for a 3.99 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP in 2014), and he's got an option left for this year.
   47. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 14, 2014 at 04:16 PM (#4671834)
What should the Braves have done? They left the option open to sign another guy if they needed to, but didn't want to have to do that. It turns out they had to.


They should have signed another guy, whether they wanted to sign another guy or not. Because they waited, they got stuck and had to overpay. If they had been more proactive about building depth, they could have gotten a better value.
   48. jmurph Posted: March 14, 2014 at 04:17 PM (#4671835)
Santana isn't a like-for-like replacement for a top starter. He's a volatile mid-rotation guy whom the Braves overpaid substantially in order to get, out of desperation.


In addition to what was said in #43, I'm not suggesting he's a like for like. You're the one chastising the Braves for not having an ace on the bench ready to go, as if that's just a thing teams do on the regular. Because they lost their ace and are essentially sliding everyone up a spot, they signed a guy they are expecting to be somewhere in the vicinity of above average in order to bolster their overall staff. Could they have slid in a AAAA guy? Of course. They're clearly hoping for more, though.
   49. jmurph Posted: March 14, 2014 at 04:18 PM (#4671836)
They should have signed another guy, whether they wanted to sign another guy or not. Because they waited, they got stuck and had to overpay. If they had been more proactive about building depth, they could have gotten a better value.


Who does this? What is an example of this that does not involve the "other guy" being a well below average pitcher willing to take an NRI?

I'm all for concern-trolling Sam and the other Braves fans here, but man, this is just an odd mountain you guys have chosen to die on. I don't get it.
   50. Nasty Nate Posted: March 14, 2014 at 04:21 PM (#4671838)
If they had been more proactive about building depth, they could have gotten a better value.


Yes, but if they had not lost 2 guys to injury, the resources used for this other guy would have been wasted (or inefficiently used) so they would have gotten a worse value.
   51. JJ1986 Posted: March 14, 2014 at 04:24 PM (#4671841)
I think if you count Beachy and Floyd as one whole starter, you probably want one more depth guy behind Freddy Garcia. The Braves might consider Hale a fine 7th option, though.
   52. DA Baracus Posted: March 14, 2014 at 04:26 PM (#4671843)
They should have signed another guy, whether they wanted to sign another guy or not.


I'm looking forward to you criticizing every team that makes a move due to a series of injuries for failing to make a move whether they wanted to or not.
   53. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 14, 2014 at 04:29 PM (#4671848)
They should have signed another guy, whether they wanted to sign another guy or not. Because they waited, they got stuck and had to overpay. If they had been more proactive about building depth, they could have gotten a better value.

You can't sign an MLB caliber SP (> proj. 90 ERA+ to be your 7th or 8th SP. They won't take the job.

If they're good enough to do what you want them to do, they can be some other teams 5th or 6th SP.
   54. DA Baracus Posted: March 14, 2014 at 04:31 PM (#4671851)
Nate Karns ZIPS: 126 IP, 3.99 ERA, 1.0 WAR

Ervin Santana ZIPS: 186 IP, 4.26 ERA, 1.7 WAR

Both projections were done before they switched leagues.
   55. Nasty Nate Posted: March 14, 2014 at 04:32 PM (#4671852)
Nate Karns ZIPS: 126 IP, 3.99 ERA, 1.0 WAR

Ervin Santana ZIPS: 186 IP, 4.26 ERA, 1.7 WAR


Looks like the Braves got the better pitcher.
   56. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 14, 2014 at 04:33 PM (#4671853)
well... I've been practicing my knuckleball...


From what I've been able to gather, you're too young to be a knuckleballer.
   57. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 14, 2014 at 04:33 PM (#4671854)
Nate Karns ZIPS: 126 IP, 3.99 ERA, 1.0 WAR

Ervin Santana ZIPS: 186 IP, 4.26 ERA, 1.7 WAR

Both projections were done before they switched leagues.


And ZiPs is the most favorable projection for Karns. Oliver has him for 109 IP, 4.28 ERA.
   58. Walt Davis Posted: March 14, 2014 at 05:29 PM (#4671884)
And the league (and apparently park) switch is big. ZiPS puts his current WAR projection at 2.9. (No, I don't know why) The ERA projection is down to 3.59.

As to who, the answer this offseason was Paul Maholm. Of course if all the teams that should have signed Maholm at that price had started bidding on Maholm, he would have cost a lot more than that price ... but still better than paying Santana $14 M.

   59. toratoratora Posted: March 14, 2014 at 05:51 PM (#4671898)
Who does this? What is an example of this that does not involve the "other guy" being a well below average pitcher willing to take an NRI?

The Dodgers signed Maholm pretty much as an insurance pitcher.
Now, that's far more than the exception than the rule.Plus they're the Dodgers and don't seem to have a budget.
I'm with Sam on this one. The Braves thought, with some cause, that they had pitching depth. That blew up in their face.
Santana's not a great, hell, even good, pitcher. But he's consistent and he eats innings which is what the Braves really need.
   60. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 14, 2014 at 06:55 PM (#4671917)
As to who, the answer this offseason was Paul Maholm. Of course if all the teams that should have signed Maholm at that price had started bidding on Maholm, he would have cost a lot more than that price ... but still better than paying Santana $14 M.


Right. There was one inexplicable bargain, and 29 other teams who could have used Maholm at that price.
   61. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 14, 2014 at 07:21 PM (#4671923)
As to who, the answer this offseason was Paul Maholm.


Maholm's always been a guy on the edge of something terrible. He absolutely crashed and burned in the second half last year. He's 32. If you're looking for bargain bin shopping with a little upside Maholm might be your guy, but if you're looking for steady, projectable innings, you go with Santana.
   62. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 14, 2014 at 08:56 PM (#4671944)
Maholm's always been a guy on the edge of something terrible. He absolutely crashed and burned in the second half last year. He's 32. If you're looking for bargain bin shopping with a little upside Maholm might be your guy, but if you're looking for steady, projectable innings, you go with Santana.

Sure. Maholm was the guy to bring in 1-2 months ago when you already had 5-6 better SPs and were looking for depth. He's nowhere near as good as Santana at this point, but then again, you could have gotten him for $4M rather than $14M.
   63. dlf Posted: March 14, 2014 at 09:09 PM (#4671952)
Can any of the LAAofA fans here tell us anything qualitative about what happened to Santana in 2012? His walks were up slightly, his Ks also down marginally, but his HR/IP doubled. All that went back to his career norms in 2013. If '12 is an aberration, then this is a great signing for an unfortunately bad situation. If one just takes a weighted average of the past couple of years and adds in age related decline, I'd prefer to rely on Hale et al.
   64. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 14, 2014 at 09:53 PM (#4671974)
Not exactly what you asked for, but here's an article from Beyond The Boxscore that suggests that Santana was doing something fundamentally different last year than he was prior.
   65. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: March 14, 2014 at 11:39 PM (#4671993)
While Roger McDowell hasn't reached full-on early aughts Leo Mazzone status where you expect him to turn every pitcher he meets into gold, I do have a ton of faith in him right now. I'm optimistic he'll be able to get the best out of Santana. Relief pitchers and starters are fundamentally different animals, of course, but once you've gotten a 217 ERA+ out of David Carpenter, coaxing good work from Ervin Santana doesn't seem unlikely.
   66. Dr. Vaux Posted: March 15, 2014 at 03:58 AM (#4672011)
What also has to be considered when evaluating whether the Braves had enough depth without adding Santana is what pitchers they would actually use to start games, not who is in their system and what their ZIPs. Would they really use a pitcher with the experience and track record of Nate Karns to start games? (That's not even getting into whether he would actually have a 94 ERA+.)

Everything about Santana's performance value and expectation has been said, and the draft pick certainly adds to his cost, but as far as salary, I'm not sure they're overpaying very much when his WAR in 2 of the past 3 years has been 3, and wins have gone on the FA market this year at $6 million. That's $18 million. I understand that his three-year average is only 1.6 WAR, but the market doesn't work that way. He had leverage all of a sudden. Besides, teams are raking in money. The money hardly matters on a one-year deal when a team is trying to win a championship--it certainly doesn't matter to an evaluation of the transaction's effect on the future, because they won't be having to pay any money in the future, they're paying it now. If they're willing to pay it, they're willing to pay it. Basically the deal is trading the draft pick for having Santana for a year. The draft pick has some chance of providing more value to the Braves than Santana will, and some chance of providing less. I think it's been shown that the chances of it providing less are high enough that this was the right move. It certainly makes a lot more sense than the likely to finish third, fourth, or fifth Orioles giving up their first round pick for the privilege of paying Ubaldo Jiminez $50 million over four years.
   67. Barnaby Jones Posted: March 15, 2014 at 05:48 AM (#4672016)
Based on the "least liked teams" thread we had here awhile back, a large segment of this site viscerally dislikes the Braves. I think that explains some of the bizarre criticisms they sometimes get.
   68. Scott Lange Posted: March 15, 2014 at 07:51 AM (#4672023)
Like Marshall in 1970 and Manchester United in 1958, the Braves failed to prepare with sufficient depth to cope with whatever might happen.
   69. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 15, 2014 at 09:18 AM (#4672034)
I think that explains some of the bizarre criticisms they sometimes get.


I have nothing in particular against the Braves. I just think they were stupid to not build up more SP depth in a year when they were expecting to contend.

If I hated the Braves, I would be happy that they had been short-sighted and then overpaid in a panic move. But I don't, so I'm not.
   70. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 15, 2014 at 10:41 AM (#4672049)
I have nothing in particular against the Braves. I just think they were stupid to not build up more SP depth in a year when they were expecting to contend.

If I hated the Braves, I would be happy that they had been short-sighted and then overpaid in a panic move. But I don't, so I'm not.


To steal from flournoy, this was there rotation before the injury spate:

Mike Minor - no particular concern
Kris Medlen - no particular concern
Julio Teheran - no particular concern
Brandon Beachy - big question mark
Freddy Garcia - no particular injury concern, but he's old
Alex Wood - no particular injury concern, but he's young
Gavin Floyd - injured, will presumably return in May
Other guys like David Hale, Aaron Northcraft, etc.


What team is more than 7 deep in MLB arms, plus 2 decent AAA guys? There's no real way to acquire more depth than that, unless you have a ludicrously stocked AA/AAA rotation. No FA's will sign to be #8 on the depth chart.

You can't prepare for 3 or your top 4 SP getting hurt. No team has or can have that much depth.

It's like saying a team should be able to withstand their 1B, 2B and 3B getting hurt, and have MLB quality replacements on hand.
   71. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 15, 2014 at 11:01 AM (#4672054)
What team is more than 7 deep in MLB arms, plus 2 decent AAA guys? There's no real way to acquire more depth than that, unless you have a ludicrously stocked AA/AAA rotation. No FA's will sign to be #8 on the depth chart.


Right. If the Braves had signed Paul Maholm to a $6 mil deal or whatever, and gone with him and Garcia over Alex Wood, most of the same voices complaining about the "lack of depth" here would have been skewering the Braves for wasting precious resources on a league average (at best) arm when they have a young, cheap option in AAA (Wood.)
   72. DA Baracus Posted: March 15, 2014 at 11:03 AM (#4672055)
As to who, the answer this offseason was Paul Maholm.


Why would Paul Maholm re-sign with the Braves after they dropped him from the post-season roster so that he could be the 7th starter?
   73. DA Baracus Posted: March 15, 2014 at 11:07 AM (#4672058)
Right. If the Braves had signed Paul Maholm to a $6 mil deal or whatever, and gone with him and Garcia over Alex Wood, most of the same voices complaining about the "lack of depth" here would have been skewering the Braves for wasting precious resources on a league average (at best) arm when they have a young, cheap option in AAA (Wood.)


Or "the Braves insurance starter is a guy who was hurt last year. They should have signed someone durable."
   74. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 15, 2014 at 01:35 PM (#4672092)
Why would Paul Maholm re-sign with the Braves after they dropped him from the post-season roster so that he could be the 7th starter?

An overpay, as Sam suggested. If Maholm could have gotten $5M from the Braves rather than $2M from the Dodgers, he probably takes it.

Right. If the Braves had signed Paul Maholm to a $6 mil deal or whatever, and gone with him and Garcia over Alex Wood, most of the same voices complaining about the "lack of depth" here would have been skewering the Braves for wasting precious resources on a league average (at best) arm when they have a young, cheap option in AAA (Wood.)

Correct. No team has ever been constructed so that it could easily withstand the loss of 3 of your top 4 starting pitchers in the same week. You can't be prepared for that.
   75. Bitter Mouse Posted: March 15, 2014 at 01:40 PM (#4672095)
Correct. No team has ever been constructed so that it could easily withstand the loss of 3 of your top 4 starting pitchers in the same week. You can't be prepared for that.


I agree and would even go farther, any team constructed that way is wasting resources and a terrible way to construct a team. Trade some of those arms, because a huge percent of the time you should never need them.
   76. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 15, 2014 at 01:50 PM (#4672098)
I agree and would even go farther, any team constructed that way is wasting resources and a terrible way to construct a team. Trade some of those arms, because a huge percent of the time you should never need them.

Concur. The rational contingency plan for losing 3 of 4 top starters for an extended period is to suck. Just patch as best you can, but be willing to accept the lost season. It's a 1 in 1000 event. You don't waste money preparing for it.

I mean this Braves team was constructed as a ~86-89 expected win team. It's not like there are a ton of extra resources to devote to extraordinary depth.
   77. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: March 15, 2014 at 02:59 PM (#4672121)
I mean this Braves team was constructed as a ~86-89 expected win team.


Out of curiosity, where were they going to be dropping those 6-10 wins from last year? You think losing McCann and Hudson was going to cos them 10 wins?
   78. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 15, 2014 at 03:11 PM (#4672129)
Out of curiosity, where were they going to be dropping those 6-10 wins from last year? You think losing McCann and Hudson was going to cos them 10 wins?

You know that you don't do projections that way. The Braves have shown up in the high 80's in all the projections I've seen.

FG has them at 83 right now, but that reflects the Medlen and Beachy injuries and Santana signing.

The biggest source of decline will almost certainly be the pen. No way you get 3 RPs with >217 ERA+, and nobody under 100, again.
McCann to Gattis probably costs them 2-3 wins as well, if you believe the modern research on McCann's D.

Teams that win 95 games almost always overachieve.

But if you believe this was a 95 win team before the recent injuries, I'll be happy to do an BRef sponsorship bet on O/U 90 wins.

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