Friday, December 19, 2014
Upton Here. Upton There.
My response to Drew's question: It is no surprise that Justin was traded. It was only a matter of time. Just because a team trades a player in the last year of his contract - that the team would be unable to afford going forward - doesn't mean the team is rebuilding / being overhauled. Hard to rebuild one year after giving long term contracts to Freddie Freeman and Andrelton Simmons.
Better to trade Justin now for 4 talented players (see below) than to let him walk at the end of the season and get one lousy draft pick in return. We don't want Justin to do what Brian McCann and Kris Medlen did - turn their backs on the Braves and jump to other teams.
Don't be surprised if Evan Gattis is also traded - that is still possible. After the Upton trade I mentioned that Justin would still probably still be traded. All teams rebuild their offseason because contracts expire, or are about to expire.
As I have said all along, in 2015 the Braves will have just as good a chance to win the division as any other team. Then the playoffs will be won by whichever team is the hottest (and has the fewest injuries). Last year Cardinals catcher Benji Molina got hurt and the Giants beat them. The Cards didn't fire their manager - but they did panic and trade two talented pitchers.
Perhaps BJ will play better without brother around. I've heard reports that new GM Hart won't just hand the CF job to BJ just because he has a big contract - he will have to earn it. They signed a talented Cuban outfielder, who will probably start the year in Gwinnett.
ROB ON THE UPTON TRADE: I think the Upton trade will be a good trade. They picked up 4 guys - each with different levels of upside.
1. It sounds like Jace Peterson is a major league ready infielder. I could see him platooning with Johnson or Callaspo. I don't think they will let Johnson be an everyday player again - regardless of the big contract.
2. Max Fried, the LHP with the TJ; it sounds like he has a high upside, starting in 2016.
3. Dustin Peterson, a really young 3B
4. The one I like is Mallex Smith. He sounds like the type of player who disappeared during the steroid era - a speedy, contact hitting outfielder. He sounds like an Otis Nixon-type player.
I think it is a safe bet that the total value you will receive from the 4 of these guys will be greater than what you would have received from 1 year of Upton + 1 draft pick at the end of round # 1. By my calculations, this take the team's payroll down to around $75MM (not counting Uggla). Now they need to pickup a 5th starter and a veteran backup catcher. I would think that Gattis' days as a catcher are behind him.
ME AGAIN: Brian Asselstine was a talented outfielder who tore up his ankle when his spikes got caught in the chain link fence in the old stadium.
As a kid Mike Lum was my favorite player because he was left-handed like me. One of three players to hit a home run in the club level of the old stadium - not an easy feat. Lum went on to be one of the most successful hitting coaches in the game. The first Hawaiian born player in the majors, lum played first and corner outfield. Over the years when I've needed an alias I've used the name Mike Lum. I'm sure you all can relate.