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Saturday, April 04, 2020

Today in Baseball History: Tom Seaver goes from the Braves to the Mets

Jumping ahead to the meat of this:

But did you know that he was originally drafted by the Atlanta Braves? And that he signed with them and everything? He did. But then that deal got voided and, on April 3, 1966 — 54 years ago today — he signed with the New York Mets, where he would make his name and his fame.

Actually, the Braves weren’t even the first team to draft Seaver. The Dodgers drafted him out of USC in the 10th round of baseball’s first-ever draft in June of 1965. Seaver had just completed his sophomore year at the University of Southern California then and, probably realizing he was better than a 10th round pick, he did not come to an agreement with Los Angeles. This kind of thing still happens today. It happens all the time.

There were two drafts back then, —  one in January and one in June — and the Braves took him in the January 29, 1966 draft. It took close to a month for Seaver and the Braves to agree to a bonus, but they came to agreement on February 24, 1966, with Seaver agreeing to a $40,000 bonus.

There was a slight problem, however: Seaver’s junior year season at USC was in progress by February 24 — they had played in two preseason exhibition games — and baseball had a rule then which held that you could not sign a deal with a player whose season was going on. The fact that they had that rule while still having a January draft makes little sense to me, but that was the deal.  No matter the justification, Baseball Commissioner William “Spike” Eckert held that the Braves’ contract with Seaver was void.

Craig has some theories as for what could have happened if Seaver had not had his contract voided- what do you suppose would have?

QLE Posted: April 04, 2020 at 01:18 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, tom seaver

Monday, March 09, 2020

Inciarte feeling fine as part of crowded Braves outfield

NORTH PORT, Fla. (AP) — When Atlanta Braves hitters talk about their goals, they rarely speak about number of home runs, RBIs, steals or average.

Instead, it’s three words: “Just stay healthy.”

Ender Inciarte understands that so well after an injury-plagued 2019 season. The two-plus months of recovery and rehabilitation left him thinking, “I don’t want to repeat that ever again.”

Inciarte is part of a full Braves outfield that includes one of the most talented young players in the game in Ronald Acuna Jr., free-agent acquisition Marcell Ozuna, productive Nick Markakis and veteran Adam Duvall.

Have they considered solving this problem the old-fashioned way, through a duel of honor?

 

QLE Posted: March 09, 2020 at 12:55 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, ender inciarte, outfield

Saturday, March 07, 2020

Chipper Jones had a little trouble getting into the Braves spring training facility

I’m going to be honest with you: I am horrible at identifying baseball players when they’re not in uniform. Absolutely awful.

I was once at a hotel where a baseball team was staying once and a bunch of them were down in the bar. I knew they were ballplayers and I knew what team they were on but I could not put names to most of the faces apart from a couple of super obvious cases. Ballplayers — except for the super famous ones — all sorta look alike to me, at least when they’re wearing street clothes.

Which is to say that I have no small amount of sympathy for the security guy at CoolToday Park, the spring training home of the Atlanta Braves, who was somehow unable to identify the second most famous living Atlanta Brave, Chipper Jones

A level of sympathy I’m inclined to agree with, given some of the stories I have…..

 

QLE Posted: March 07, 2020 at 12:43 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, chipper jones, spring training

Monday, March 02, 2020

Markakis leads by example with NL East champion Braves

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — As he searched for the best things Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis brings to the team, bench coach Walt Weiss shared several.

Highly credible. Strong, quiet leader. One of the most respected players in baseball. Humble. Calming force.

But you could tell Weiss had something else on his mind.

And then he said it.

Well, if it’s his example the Braves follow, the Nationals should have that as one obstacle out of the way…..

 

QLE Posted: March 02, 2020 at 12:40 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, nick markakis, veteran leadership

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Braves’ revenue rose to franchise-record $476M in 2019; expenses up, too

The Braves’ revenue increased to a franchise-record $476 million last year, up 8% from $442 million the year before, according to financial results disclosed Wednesday by team owner Liberty Media. The company attributed the increase to higher attendance and growth in local and national broadcast rights fees. But Liberty Media also said the increased revenue “was more than offset by growth in operating expenses.” Thus, the Braves’ operating profit before depreciation and amortization — the most commonly used measure, along with revenue, of a pro sports franchise’s financial performance — was $54 million last year, down from $94 million in 2018. 

Liberty attributed that decline to “higher player salaries, increased baseball operations costs related to the new spring training facility and higher player development costs, increased obligations under MLB’s revenue sharing plan and higher concession-related costs due to increased attendance.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 26, 2020 at 06:37 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: braves

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Hamels rejoins Braves, shoulder still healing

NORTH PORT, Fla. (AP) — Cole Hamels rejoined the Atlanta Braves just in time for their spring training opener. The injured left-hander is still a ways off from using the mound at the club’s new spring home, though.

Hamels signed an $18 million, one-year deal with Atlanta this offseason but informed the team just before camp started that he was experiencing shoulder discomfort during training. The 36-year-old was sent to Dallas to get treatment from surgeon Keith Meister.

Now he’s back but says he’s waiting for inflammation in the shoulder “to calm down.” He expects to remain in North Port after Atlanta breaks camp for opening day.

“I know I’m behind the 8-ball,” he said. “But once I knock (the inflammation) out right away, I know I’ll be able to be the best pitcher I can and put up good numbers.

 

 

QLE Posted: February 23, 2020 at 12:51 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, cole hamels, shoulder

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Yonder Alonso, Braves finalize minor league contract

NORTH PORT, Fla. (AP) — First baseman Yonder Alonso and the Atlanta Braves finalized their minor league contract on Friday, and he will report to major league spring training.

If added to the 40-man roster, he would get a one-year contract with a $1 million salary while in the major leagues.

The 32-year-old gives the Braves depth behind Freddie Freeman, who had right elbow surgery in October. Freeman said last month he has no pain in the elbow and will be ready when position players report on Monday.

Alonso hit .199 with 10 home runs and 37 RBIs with Colorado and the Chicago White Sox last year, including .260 in 54 games with the Rockies.

And Alonso goes Yonder still.

 

QLE Posted: February 15, 2020 at 01:03 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, contracts, yonder alonso

Friday, February 14, 2020

Braves pitcher Felix Hernandez says he’s healthy, feels good

NORTH PORT, Fla. (AP) — Felix Hernandez turned around with surprise as he sensed media waiting to engage him.

“You want to talk to me?” the new Atlanta Braves pitcher asked.

Yes. Former Cy Young winners have a way of drawing interest.

Hernandez’s presence is one of the early sub plots for the defending National League East Division champions. Free-agent acquisition Cole Hamels, pegged No. 4 in the team’s rotation, may miss three weeks of camp with shoulder soreness. There already had been an expected duel for the No. 5 spot between Hernandez, Sean Newcomb, Kyle Wright and recently signed Josh Tomlin.

This headline doesn’t feel right in the slightest, and in multiple ways to boot…..

 

QLE Posted: February 14, 2020 at 12:57 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, felix hernandez

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Hamels eager to fill leadership void on young Braves staff

ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Braves need new veteran leadership for a rotation that has lost Julio Teheran and Dallas Keuchel.

Left-hander Cole Hamels is eager to fill the void as pitchers and catchers report to spring training on Wednesday.

The 36-year-old Hamels, who signed an $18 million, one-year deal with Atlanta on Dec. 4, brings much-needed experience to a young rotation that also includes Mike Soroka, Max Fried and Mike Foltynewicz.

Soroka, who could be the team’s opening day pitcher, is only 22. Fried is 26. Foltynewicz is 28.

To fill a leadership void, does one need to smoke the objective pipe?

 

QLE Posted: February 12, 2020 at 12:58 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, cole hamels

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Marcell Ozuna gets one-year deal from Braves worth $18 million

ATLANTA—Free agent outfielder Marcell Ozuna and the Atlanta Braves reached an $18 million, one-year deal Tuesday that puts him on the team he helped beat in the playoffs last October.

Ozuna hit .429 with two home runs for the St. Louis Cardinals in their five-game win over the Braves in the National League Division Series.

The 29-year-old Ozuna hit .241 with 29 home runs and 89 RBI last season. His low batting average was something of an oddity because he ranked among the major league leaders in the highest percentage of hard-hit balls, according to Statcast.

And the hot stove stays on!

QLE Posted: January 22, 2020 at 12:37 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, hot stove, marcell ozuna

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Ex-M’s ace Félix Hernández has minor league deal with Braves

ATLANTA (AP) — Longtime Seattle Mariners ace Félix Hernández reached a minor league deal with the Atlanta Braves on Monday that includes an invite to big league spring training.

The right-hander would get a $1 million, one-year contract if added to Atlanta’s 40-man roster.

Hernández, who turns 34 in April, is coming off his worst season in the majors. King Felix went 1-8 with a 6.40 ERA in 15 starts for the Mariners and lost his place in the rotation.

 

 

QLE Posted: January 21, 2020 at 12:38 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, felix hernandez

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

How exciting: Braves rename their ballpark ‘Truist Park’

Last year North Carolina-based BB&T bank bought SunTrust Bank, creating the sixth largest bank in the country. The bank’s new name: “Truist.” I don’t care about that, but given that the baseball team I root for plays in a place that was originally called SunTrust Park, I did wonder what the name of the park would be called going forward.

As of today, we have that answer: the Braves and Truist just announced the new name: Truist Park. Which is exactly what I guessed they’d name it last year. Hey, you pay millions for an advertising campaign, you’re gonna slap your name on it.

As I noted last year, “Truist” is not a real word, but it’s the 21st century, so I’m not sure that even matters anymore.

For those of you wondering why we ran that exercise for giving baseball stadiums alternative names a while back…..

 

QLE Posted: January 15, 2020 at 12:57 AM | 90 comment(s)
  Beats: bank company park, braves, stadium names, stadiums

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Hamels To Join Braves on One-Year Deal

Left-hander Cole Hamels signed a one-year, $18 million contract with the Atlanta Braves, the team announced Wednesday.

...

Hamels joins a Braves rotation fronted by Mike Soroka and including Max Fried and Mike Foltynewicz. Two other members of the Braves’ 2019 rotation are free agents—right-hander Julio Teheran, after Atlanta declined his 2020 option, and left-hander Dallas Keuchel.

My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: December 04, 2019 at 02:52 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, free agency

Monday, November 25, 2019

Atlanta Braves sign catcher Travis d’Arnaud to replace Brian McCann

The Atlanta Braves signed catcher Travis d’Arnaud to a two-year, $16 million contract on Sunday, the team announced.

He gets $8 million in each of the next two seasons and agreed to donate $80,000 annually to charity.

The 30-year-old d’Arnaud split last season between the New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays. After struggling to hit with both the Mets, he got only one at-bat with the Dodgers before rebounding with the Rays, hitting .263 with 16 home runs and 67 RBIs.

He played 92 games for the Rays, seeing most of his time at catcher (76 games, 62 starts) but also made 16 starts at first base with 21 games overall at the position.

So, any thoughts on the merits of this signing?

 

QLE Posted: November 25, 2019 at 01:46 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, travis d'arnaud

Friday, November 22, 2019

Rosenthal: The Reds are interested in Zack Wheeler; the Braves’ big bullpen bet; more notes

As first reported by Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times, free-agent third baseman Josh Donaldson is a legitimate consideration for the Dodgers.

Donaldson, who turns 34 on Dec. 8, would provide right-handed balance for a team heavy in left-handed hitters (Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager, Max Muncy, Joc Pederson, Alex Verdugo, Gavin Lux). He also would bring an edge to a team that might benefit from such a jolt.

As the Braves discovered, Donaldson can be a bit of an acquired taste — as one club source put it, “he’s loud, in your face, an alpha who will test the room.” He went through an adjustment period in Atlanta, and Freddie Freeman talked with him at one point about better fitting into the clubhouse, the source said. But Donaldson eventually found his niche, and the Braves came to relish his daily intensity and competitiveness.

The team wants him back.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 22, 2019 at 06:54 PM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, evan white, notes, stephen strasburg, will smith, zach wheeler

Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Braves spent $40M on a reliever. Is that allowed?

The Braves just spent a chunk of money for a reliever. The $40 million Will Smith is guaranteed – the total could rise to $52 million over four seasons – isn’t a record outlay for the position, but it’s not that far off. The fourth year hinges on a club option, but the first three are for $13 million each. Aroldis Chapman, Wade Davis and Kenley Janson landed contracts at average annual values of $16-to-$17 million. Craig Kimbel will make $16 million for his next two seasons. Difference is, those guys were Brand Names.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 14, 2019 at 07:29 PM | 76 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, will smith

Friday, November 08, 2019

Braves Reportedly Prioritizing Madison Bumgarner

Now that the offseason has begun, we’re likely in for several weeks of rumors centering on longtime Giants left-hander and current free agent Madison Bumgarner. Let’s get the ball rolling in earnest: Atlanta has “made Bumgarner a priority and planned to quickly communicate that to the left-hander,” Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports California reports. If Bumgarner doesn’t re-sign with the Giants, the Braves are the front-runners for his services, according to Pavlovic.

For now, Bumgarner has until Nov. 14 to decide whether to accept the $17.8MM qualifying offer the Giants gave him earlier this week. But rejecting it looks like a formality for the 30-year-old Bumgarner, who MLBTR projects will land a four-year, $72MM contract on the open market. Whether the numbers are exact remains to be seen, but Bumgarner’s surely in line for a substantial payday, so the main question is whether San Francisco will be the team that hands it to him.

The Giants are the lone club Bumgarner has known since they selected him 10th overall in the 2007 draft. Although he has since turned into a decorated hurler who has helped the Giants to three championships, there hasn’t been any indication that the team has seriously pursued a contract extension. The Giants did elect against selling off Bumgarner prior to the July 31 trade deadline, but it’s possible they would have gone another way had it not been for an improbable midsummer surge. The team ultimately faded after its torrid July stretch, finishing 77-85, and now it could lose Bumgarner for nothing more than draft-pick compensation if he rejects its QO and heads elsewhere.

Hopefully, a sign that the hot stove may be warmer than it has been….

QLE Posted: November 08, 2019 at 12:11 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, free agency, hot stove, madison bumgarner

Thursday, November 07, 2019

MLBPA investigation of Anthopoulos shows tension between owners, players

TORONTO – A window into the level of mistrust between players and owners in baseball opened at 5:59 p.m. ET Wednesday, when the Major League Baseball Players Association sent out a statement that threw a Molotov cocktail into the business of the off-season.

The union, executive director Tony Clark said in the release, is launching “an immediate investigation” into comments Atlanta Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos made to reporters on a conference call earlier this week that “call into question the integrity of the entire free-agent system.”

“The clear description of club co-ordination is egregious,” Clark added.

Serious stuff, which makes you think that Anthopoulos, usually the careful and calculated sort, must have really stepped in it and said something damning.

A consideration of the tensions surrounding free agency at the current time, and how they could lead to all sorts of chaos in two years’ time.

 

QLE Posted: November 07, 2019 at 12:27 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: alex anthopoulos, braves, collusion, free agency, mlbpa

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Braves re-sign outfielder Nick Markakis to one-year deal

The Braves retained outfielder Nick Markakis on a one-year, $4 million deal Monday, the deadline for the team to decide on his $6 million club option.

Markakis was paid his $2 million buyout and signed for $4 million, giving him equal earnings he would’ve received if his option was picked up.

The move, which mirrors how the Braves handled catcher Tyler Flowers’ option earlier in the day, saves $2 million on payroll. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal was the first to report Markakis’ new deal.

Markakis, who turns 36 this month, has patrolled the Braves outfield since 2015. He handled both corner spots in 2019.

The Bill Buckner of our times keeps rolling along….

 

QLE Posted: November 05, 2019 at 12:27 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, nick markakis

Saturday, November 02, 2019

Braves decline Billy Hamilton’s option

ATLANTA (AP) — The Braves declined their part of Billy Hamilton’s mutual option for 2020, allowing the speedy outfielder to become a free agent.

Hamilton’s contract, agreed to with Kansas City last December, called for a $4.25 million salary for this year and included a $7.5 million mutual option for 2020 with a $1 million buyout. He earned an additional $200,000 this season in bonuses based on plate appearances.

So, who digs the stolen base?

QLE Posted: November 02, 2019 at 12:32 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: billy hamilton, braves, options

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Braves are going to try to re-sign Josh Donaldson

From the Department of No Duh: Jon Heyman reports that the Braves will attempt to re-sign third baseman Josh Donaldson this offseason.

And to be clear, it’s not “no duh” that they would try to re-sign him. It’s no-duh that they should do so.

Last year Atlanta signed Donaldson to what was, essentially, a high-priced make-good deal, agreeing to a one-year, $23 million pact. There was risk there, of course, as Donaldson had missed much of the previous two seasons with injury and there was no guarantee that he’d be healthy in 2019. He was, however, and hit .259/.369/.509 with 37 homers and 94 RBI over 155 games. His bat and his still-excellent glove were huge reasons the Braves were able to repeat as NL East champions.

Something that will be rather interesting to follow, given our conversations concerning free agency.

 

QLE Posted: October 30, 2019 at 12:34 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, josh donaldson

Friday, October 11, 2019

Braves loss vs. Dodgers loss: which was worse?

The Braves got shellacked in the first inning last night and lost. The Dodgers took a lead late into the game only to see their manager’s choices and their relief pitchers woof it, sending them to defeat as well.

Which was worse?

Both modes of defeat bring with it a certain form of misery.

For my part I sat, as a Braves fan, and watched my team cough up ten runs in the first inning, secure in the dreadful knowledge that the game was already lost. Most people could just turn it off, I suppose, but I felt it necessary both out of professional obligation and out of a certain sense of, I dunno, mourning, that I had to keep the game on for the next three hours. Because I’m also perpetually online it led to a rather extreme sort of nastiness on Twitter and in comment sections with recriminations, complaining and all other manner of ugliness being hurled about. It was a pretty dreadful experience.

 

 

QLE Posted: October 11, 2019 at 12:24 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, dodgers, the agony of defeat

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Misery Index: Play-by-Play Breakdown of Braves’ Brutal First Inning in NLDS Game 5

Every baseball disaster has its own particular terroir. But, generally, they fall into one of two genres. There is the sudden individual moment: the walk-off, the disastrous error, the grand slam. This draws a clear line in a game of before and after; it is one instance of sensational pain, so that the entire endeavor implodes, and then it is over. There is no space for bargaining or strategizing or rationalizing. It is one play that remakes the game in its likeness. And then there is the slow decline: the frame that holds a thousand deaths, and so, too, a thousand missed chances to live. This one unravels gradually and then suddenly and, always, painfully. This one is the first inning of Game 5 between the Braves and the Cardinals.

It was historic (10 runs, the most ever scored in the first inning in the postseason), a little bizarre (10 runs without one home run!) and, ultimately, the foundation for a contest that was totally anticlimactic (St. Louis went on to win, 13-1). There was no one moment when this got out of hand. There was, maybe, only the moment when it transitioned from ordinary disaster to full-on caricature. So here are all of those moments, presented in chronological order by batter, rated by their misery.

No. 1, Dexter Fowler: Walk

This, on its face, is not so bad. This was but one base-runner. It was unremarkable, neither a four-pitch disaster nor an extended battle. Yet—it was a leadoff walk, in an elimination game, and, well, there’s inherent misery to that. Just a little! It’s irrational, concerned more with the shifty pressure of a bad omen than the particular realities of run expectancy, but, all the same, in however small a sense, it’s miserable.

Misery Rating: 3

Anatomy of a Disaster

 

QLE Posted: October 10, 2019 at 12:51 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, cardinals, nlds

Braves’ [stuff] doesn’t work in the playoffs, either

The Athletics have been something of a punching bag over the years because executive vice president and president of baseball operations Billy Beane was famously quoted in Moneyball saying, “My [stuff] doesn’t work in the playoffs. My job is to get us to the playoffs. What happens after that is […] luck.”

Since 2000, the A’s have reached the playoffs 10 times. They have advanced into the ALCS just once, in 2006, when they were swept out by the Tigers. They’re 1-6 in the Division Series and 0-3 in the AL Wild Card game, accounting for their last three playoff losses (2014, ’18-19). To call their performance in the playoffs disappointing would be an understatement.

The A’s, however, are not the only team whose [stuff] doesn’t work in the playoffs. The Twins, who were just swept out of the ALDS by the Yankees, haven’t reached the ALCS since 2002. They have failed in their last six appearances in the ALDS — mostly against the Yankees — and lost the AL Wild Card game in 2017 as well (to the Yankees).

A consideration of losing streaks in the playoffs, albeit one that has gone out of date since between when I found it and when I posted it…..

QLE Posted: October 10, 2019 at 12:44 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, braves, nationals, playoff streak, playoffs, the agony of defeat, twins

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Moore: Age is just a number for Niekro and Moyer

Phil Niekro: The sparks is still there!

“Oh, yeah. I threw my last [Major League] pitch when I was 48, but I could have gone another year or two,” Niekro said, recalling his final season in 1987. It began with the Cleveland Indians, but he was traded near the end of the season to the pennant-hopeful Toronto Blue Jays.

After two rough starts, then-Blue Jays general manager Pat Gillick released Niekro and told Toronto reporters that he thought Niekro’s career was over.

“Since I have total respect for [Gillick], and also out of fairness to myself, I just took his word and decided that maybe he knew more about myself than I did, and that maybe he sees something that I don’t see, so I went by his words,” said Niekro, who made one final start with Atlanta that season. “After I retired, the next Spring Training, I got the fever. Then the next Spring Training after that, I got the fever.”

In fact, Niekro still has the fever.

Said Niekro, chuckling, but only a little, “I still feel like I can get guys out in the big leagues right now. My arm feels as good now as it did when I retired.”

...“I’ll throw some BP down there, so my arm is no problem,” Niekro said. “To stick around a long time, it’s a discipline thing for a player, where you have to stay healthy. You also have to be fortunate, just to spend any time in the big leagues. I’ve got no squabbles about anything. I just kick myself in the butt for not hanging around for another year or two.”

Repoz Posted: January 21, 2012 at 12:34 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, history

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