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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Braves call up Alex Wood, designate Juan Francisco for assignment

With their bullpen depleted by season-ending elbow injuries to left-handers Jonny Venters and Eric O’Flaherty and taxed after covering seven innings behind Kris Medlen Wednesday night, the Braves have called on left-handed prospect Alex Wood.

Wood, the Braves second-round pick last year out of the University of Georgia, has been recalled from Double-A Mississippi and is expected to join the Braves’ bullpen Thursday in Atlanta.

David O’Brien tweets about the Francisco DFA.

Mike Emeigh Posted: May 30, 2013 at 03:30 PM | 42 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: atlanta

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   1. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: May 30, 2013 at 03:41 PM (#4456056)
Didn't see the DFA for Fat Juan coming, but apparently the Braves like Ramiro Pena better.
   2. Ok, Griffey's Dunn (Nothing Iffey About Griffey) Posted: May 30, 2013 at 03:43 PM (#4456058)
The Reds should try to get him back. They could use a LH pinch hitter with some experience and some pop. Donald Lutz really needs to be back in the minors getting regular ab's (also, Juan is only 1 year older than Lutz).
   3. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: May 30, 2013 at 03:45 PM (#4456060)
All in with Chris Johnson, apparently.

The Wood decision, coupled with Francisco being DFAed, really reeks of bullpen panic. Wren said just two weeks ago that they weren't ready to call up Wood and put him into the bullpen. I suppose it's possible Wood took a giant leap forward in those two weeks, but I doubt it.

And all this so the Braves could return to the precious 12-man pitching staff.

Francisco's probably at a point where you have to accept that he's never going to hit up to his power and play well enough to justify a starting spot, and my distaste at the thought of giving him up is obviously far more based on potential than reality at this point. But as much as I like Johnson as a hitter, a largely powerless .346 average and a 6/32 K/BB ratio don't augur real well for his immediate future. I'd rather hang on to the 26-year-old Francisco for at least a while longer, as opposed to taking whatever marginal advantage Wood provides over the next few weeks.
   4. spike Posted: May 30, 2013 at 03:50 PM (#4456066)
Not so sure I'd call it panicky - Pena/Johnson make as good a 3b platoon as Francisco did, there is a numbers crunch that is going to get worse when Beachy comes back, and they really need another lefty if Avilan is going to be the 8th inning guy for the forseeable.

//They have to keep Laird for the moment to use Gattis at LF/PH, Pena plays MI, and Johnson is also a 1B backup and at least he's hitting.
   5. Dan Posted: May 30, 2013 at 03:53 PM (#4456072)
The Red Sox could use Francisco. Their 3B depth at the major league level is just awful right now.
   6. spike Posted: May 30, 2013 at 04:01 PM (#4456081)
Not to be flip, but how is a .492SLG "largely powerless"? He may not keep it up, but the man has 13XBH of 45.
   7. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: May 30, 2013 at 04:02 PM (#4456084)
It's not panic. They wanted to leave Wood in AA where he could continue to start, but with the injuries, compounded by Medlen's getting whacked on the back of the knee by a line drive last night, they really don't have that luxury. If someone would give them a good LH reliever for Francisco they'd do that in a second.
   8. DA Baracus Posted: May 30, 2013 at 04:02 PM (#4456085)
Francisco's not good enough to start and since he's a 3B only with a bad glove, not really worth a backup spot on a contending team either. His power could make him attractive to other teams, but the Braves will be just fine without it. And good riddance to the awful, uncreative "Fat Juan" nickname that some Braves fans have given him.

Chris Johnson's BABIP is one of my favorite players on the Braves this year, but I'll still take him as the everyday 3B.
   9. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: May 30, 2013 at 04:04 PM (#4456087)
Not to be flip, but how is a .492SLG "largely powerless"? He may not keep it up, but the man has 13XBH of 45.


A .492 slugging is excellent, of course, but the isolated slugging with an average of .346 is...

OK, not bad either. Not great, but not bad. I retract "largely powerless" and instead insert "thoroughly unsustainable."
   10. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 30, 2013 at 04:08 PM (#4456095)
I liked Wood a lot in the draft. Deceptive, unorthodox delivery. He probably profiles best as a reliever, but I'd like to see him get a chance as a starter.

I've always liked Francisco, but there probably isn't going to be much rope for a low OBA, terrible defense 3B.
   11. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: May 30, 2013 at 04:14 PM (#4456100)
To prove that I'm not anti-Chris Johnson, I'll mention that he seems to be much better defensively this year, albeit in a small sample. Per UZR he's just -7.8 runs/150, after being hide-the-children awful earlier in his career. So that's nice. He's even looked good to my thoroughly untrained eye.
   12. Jason Michael(s) Bourn Identity Crisis Posted: May 30, 2013 at 04:21 PM (#4456108)
Can't the Braves pull him back from waivers within 10 days and just send someone else down instead? Am I confusing that with something else?
   13. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: May 30, 2013 at 04:22 PM (#4456109)
43 Ks in 115 PAs is not going to make you a lot of friends in any organization. And Ramiro Pena is killing the all as a LHB this year.
   14. base ball chick Posted: May 30, 2013 at 04:24 PM (#4456110)
i've watched chris johnson since he first came up and his fielding is no longer below average and is, in fact, good. he doesn't deserve a negative UZR so far this year. He always had pretty good range and quick reactions, but he made really dumb mistakes and he couldn't never figure out when to hold onto the ball and he's over throa it a lot and he has stopped that.

the astros never wanted him and i'm really glad to see him do well this year.
   15. DA Baracus Posted: May 30, 2013 at 04:24 PM (#4456111)
Francisco has a worse K rate than BJ Utpon, which sounds impossible.
   16. Sweatpants Posted: May 30, 2013 at 04:26 PM (#4456112)
Noooooo, I liked Francisco! Really fun one-tool player who hits LONG home runs.

That said, he has a 164/29 K/BB ratio for his career, and he's not making any progress there.
   17. spike Posted: May 30, 2013 at 04:35 PM (#4456119)
Can't the Braves pull him back from waivers within 10 days

No - A club wishing to send a player designated for assignment to the minor leagues must first place him on irrevocable outright waivers, making him available to the other 29 clubs in reverse order of won-lost record.[5]

MLB DFA Rule

DFA takes a player off the 40 man so another can be called up while the team chooses to release, trade, or send down.
   18. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: May 30, 2013 at 04:36 PM (#4456120)
"Fat Juan" is a pretty terrible nickname. Reds fans referred to him as "Juan Fiasco" (on the blogosphere anyway).
   19. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 30, 2013 at 04:43 PM (#4456123)
I full expect Toronto to get Francisco and turn him into a 40 HR hitter at first base.
   20. DA Baracus Posted: May 30, 2013 at 04:46 PM (#4456125)
I full expect Toronto* to get Francisco and turn him into a 40 HR hitter at first base.


*off waivers.
   21. Brian White Posted: May 30, 2013 at 05:16 PM (#4456140)
Noooooo, I liked Francisco! Really fun one-tool player who hits LONG home runs.

That said, he has a 164/29 K/BB ratio for his career, and he's not making any progress there.


Yeah, I understand the Braves thinking here, but Francisco was kinda fun to watch for a guy who really wasn't that great a baseball player. I'll miss seeing his 460+ foot home runs.

I was sure Reed Johnson was DFA-bait, given that Jordan Schafer has been playing well (and Reed hasn't). Plus, if you include Gattis as a possible outfielder, the Braves are pretty well covered at all outfield positions even without him. Now they have 2-3 backup OF (depending on whether Gattis is catching on a given day), and only one backup IF. That seems a bit unbalanced.

The Wood decision, coupled with Francisco being DFAed, really reeks of bullpen panic. Wren said just two weeks ago that they weren't ready to call up Wood and put him into the bullpen. I suppose it's possible Wood took a giant leap forward in those two weeks, but I doubt it.

And all this so the Braves could return to the precious 12-man pitching staff.


Eh, the only healthy guys left in the bullpen are Kimbrel, and a bunch of dudes who are best suited to facing one guy of the same handedness. Going to a 12-man pitching staff is perfectly reasonable given the circumstances. If they're using Wood in multi-inning stints out of the bullpen, well, that's not a bad way to break a guy into the big leagues.

Edit: I guess Varvaro isn't really a one out guy. And I forgot Walden is back now. Still, not a lot of innings to be found in the pen as it was constructed.
   22. DA Baracus Posted: May 30, 2013 at 05:30 PM (#4456149)
Johnson hits lefties and can backup all three OF spots. That's more value than Francisco gives. Plus he is apparently a leader in the clubhouse, which for a young team is added value, especially compared to Francisco, who got chewed out last year by the coaches for his attitude.

Now they have 2-3 backup OF (depending on whether Gattis is catching on a given day), and only one backup IF. That seems a bit unbalanced.


Yeah, but Francisco only gave you one position. Granted, that's better than having only 1 backup IF, but only a little. Rosenthal says teams are asking about him, so there's a chance they fill that utility IF spot that way and send down Carpenter.

BTW Brian I love your sponsorship of Gattis on BBRef.
   23. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: May 30, 2013 at 05:32 PM (#4456152)
I'll stop ######## once the Braves trade Francisco for Kershaw in four days.
   24. DA Baracus Posted: May 30, 2013 at 05:39 PM (#4456158)
I also wonder if Wood is being brought up for insurance in case Medlen has to miss anytime. At the least he's another lefty in the pen, maybe he starts on Monday if Medlen can't go, or if Medlen has to go on the DL he takes his spot. In which case you then use that roster spot to get the second IF. On Paul Janish.

Or hell just stick Gattis out there. He can do anything.
   25. bunyon Posted: May 30, 2013 at 05:53 PM (#4456166)
I full expect Toronto to get Francisco and turn him into a 40 HR hitter at first base.

At which point the Jays will fall to 30 games back.
   26. Brian White Posted: May 30, 2013 at 06:49 PM (#4456206)
One other thing is that releasing Francisco is contingent on the idea that Ramiro Pena is now suddenly not an absolutely awful hitter. I'm still skeptical.

BTW Brian I love your sponsorship of Gattis on BBRef.


Thanks!
   27. zachtoma Posted: May 30, 2013 at 08:19 PM (#4456277)
The Wood decision, coupled with Francisco being DFAed, really reeks of bullpen panic. Wren said just two weeks ago that they weren't ready to call up Wood and put him into the bullpen. I suppose it's possible Wood took a giant leap forward in those two weeks, but I doubt it.


Panic is completely warranted in this situation. Have you seen their bullpen lately? They just had their top two set-up men (both lefties) go down with TJS within weeks of each other.. they are reduced to using guys like Varvaro, Gearrin, and Avilan in set-up situations, and guys like Rasmus and Carpenter, who can't really get outs, before that. With Brandon Beachy on the mend, the time to make moves is now. I personally think they should move Medlen into a set-up role when Beachy comes back because he has experience there and it's obvious he's not going to be recapturing the magic of late-2012 as a starter. It's best to go all in with Teheran at this point and see if he can keep developing at the major league level, it worked for Mike Minor.
   28. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: May 30, 2013 at 08:46 PM (#4456313)
To prove that I'm not anti-Chris Johnson, I'll mention that he seems to be much better defensively this year, albeit in a small sample. Per UZR he's just -7.8 runs/150, after being hide-the-children awful earlier in his career.

That's an awful lot of hyphens for somebody who claims to hate hyphens. Hmm, what else are you hyphening?
   29. Walt Davis Posted: May 30, 2013 at 09:10 PM (#4456337)
I'll stop ######## once the Braves trade Francisco for Kershaw in four days.

I'm sure you could get Ricky Nolasco for him. Heck the Braves could trade me for Ricky Nolasco.

Or Francisco to the Marlins for Qualls and Webb who make nearly $2M between them.

Whoever it was upstream ... you're thinking of revocable waivers which come up after the trade deadline when teams put almost everybody on revocable waivers. If a team claims them then (99% of the time) the original team revokes the waivers and tries to work out a deal. If nobody claims them, then the original team can trade them to anybody.

As noted above, DFA is different. And if not traded in 10 days, he can refuse the assignment and become an FA. If you're getting dropped from the 40-man for Chris Johnson and Ramiro Pena, it's probably time to look for a new org.

Ya gotta feel a bit for the guy -- this was his big shot, his "I coulda been a contender" moment. He got off to a decent start. He must have felt like he was right on the cusp of becoming an ML regular ... and a month later, he's DFA'd. Of course a lot of guys with his talent never get that shot at all.

He's a neat lesson on how even a short hot streak can make a player look a lot better. He had a great first 25 PA in the majors at 22. His career is just 501 PAs but those 25 PAs added 20 points to his OPS and 6 points to his OPS+. A 95 OPS+ at 3B is tolerable with decent defense; an 89 is pushing it and you need a plus glove.
   30. Brian White Posted: May 30, 2013 at 09:40 PM (#4456382)
Well, in my two posts in this thread, I've stated that Reed Johnson should have been DFA'ed, and that Ramiro Pena might still be terrible. So tonight, Pena goes 3 for 4, and Reed Johnson comes off the bench to hit a two run pinch hit home run.

The baseball gods, they taunt me.
   31. spike Posted: May 30, 2013 at 09:44 PM (#4456388)
And Alex Wood debuts - gets three gb outs.
   32. Brian White Posted: May 30, 2013 at 09:44 PM (#4456391)
And man, does Alex Wood have a weird delivery.
   33. DA Baracus Posted: May 30, 2013 at 09:46 PM (#4456394)
they should move Medlen into a set-up role when Beachy comes back because he has experience there and it's obvious he's not going to be recapturing the magic of late-2012 as a starter.


Medlen is getting no run support. Its not his fault he's 1-6.

The baseball gods, they taunt me.


Keep it up!
   34. spike Posted: May 30, 2013 at 09:52 PM (#4456404)
using guys like Varvaro, Gearrin, and Avilan

ERA+ 158, 207, and 147; 12/47 inherited runners scored; 4BS in 50 some outings. I take your meaning, but they've actually done very well.
   35. Dr. Vaux Posted: May 30, 2013 at 10:02 PM (#4456410)
they should move Medlen into a set-up role when Beachy comes back because he has experience there and it's obvious he's not going to be recapturing the magic of late-2012 as a starter.


This is a truly crazy idea. Of course Medlen isn't going to pitch like Roger Clemens anymore, but he's certainly one of their best five starters, and has clearly been at least their second most effective one this year.
   36. zachtoma Posted: May 31, 2013 at 04:33 AM (#4456610)
Who goes then? It's not realistic to move veterans Maholm or Hudson out of the rotation, even though Hudson is struggling more than any Braves SP this season. Minor is the #1 right now. Teheran sure looks like the odd man out, but I don't like the idea of sending him back down as far as his development goes - I think it's time to find out what you've got with him, sink or swim. And if you send Teheran back to AAA, that doesn't help your very depleted bullpen either. There's nobody who really "deserves" to get bumped out of the rotation, but Medlen seems like the best candidate to me. I think he is most valuable in the rotation, but Maholm/Hudson are going to be FA so it's not like it's permanent, plus he can step in if anyone goes on the DL. Note also that not putting Beachy back in the rotation is not an option; I think he's potentially the best starter on the team.

Another idea: even though the Braves will be contenders, they might be well served to see what they can get for Maholm. A team like the Angels or Orioles might be very interested.
   37. Davo Dozier Posted: May 31, 2013 at 09:30 AM (#4456673)
If someone would give them a good LH reliever for Francisco they'd do that in a second.
Didn't they originally acquire him from the Reds for a LH reliever, or am I mistaken?
   38. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: May 31, 2013 at 09:46 AM (#4456690)
A right-handed reliever, JJ Hoover. He was a relief prospect at the time.
   39. Mike Emeigh Posted: May 31, 2013 at 09:54 AM (#4456695)
He was a relief prospect at the time.


and now he's a relief prospect in the majors. He's been used mostly at the back of the bullpen, though he has picked up three saves this year, two in relief of Chapman and one when Chapman was unavailable. If he ever learns to throw strikes consistently he could have a marquee role, but *if* is the longest two-letter word in the language.

-- MWE
   40. DA Baracus Posted: May 31, 2013 at 10:30 AM (#4456741)
Who goes then?


If the past couple of weeks are any indication, it's Hudson. BJ Upton's been benched for four out of six games this week, Heyward twice and they just dumped Francisco the day after Fredi said 3B would be a "hard platoon." Half the team is playing great, half the team is struggling. So recently those who have struggled have sat and those that are getting it done are playing. Medlen is not struggling, the lineup is when he pitches, they've scored three or fewer runs in seven of his eleven starts. Teheran seems to have righted himself. Maholm is doing fine, he had two bad starts and four good ones in May, he's been Paul Maholm. Hudson's only good starts in May were against the Twins and Mets.

They've benched their prize FA signing because he's struggling. They've sat down a face of a franchise twice in a week for performance. They'll play the entire OF out of position for 7 innings to keep Gattis' bat in the lineup. I'm loving it. Everyone got playing time to start the season and now we're about to be in June, it's time to put the best lineup out there regardless of paycheck or pedigree. Sorry Tim, that means you're out. Maybe there's an injury they can discover after Saturday.
   41. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: May 31, 2013 at 10:43 AM (#4456760)
If BJ hasn't made significant progress by the time Beachy comes back, it might be time he suffer a mysterious ailment that requires two or three weeks on the bench and a bottle of "Clear Your Head" pills.

EDIT: Of course, that doesn't solve the rotation issue. Hudson might have to join BJ in his treatment plan.
   42. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: May 31, 2013 at 10:56 AM (#4456778)
A couple of things.

First, Upton is literally rebuilding his swing mechanics from the ground up. He's doing nothing more than working with Greg Walker on that day after day. And while Schafer is playing like Brett Butler, he'll continue to get regular days off while he does that.

Second, Jason Heyward needs to get his #### together real quick. He's approaching flame out territory.

Third, the Braves need LH relief, not RH relief. That makes Maholm the most rational choice. And his splits support that. Hudson is the worst pitcher on the roster right now, but he's never relieved and he throws righty.

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