If Braves don’t add an Upton, Gattis could get look in LF

Now that Arizona outfielder Justin Upton has rejected a trade to the Mariners – Seattle was one of four teams on his no-trade list – and the Rangers reportedly moved on from Upton after deciding the price was too high, maybe the Braves have more leverage and could pull off a trade for the second Upton brother (ATL already has center fielder B.J.) without giving up such a bevy of young talent as Seattle agreed to part with.

But unless the Braves get the younger Upton for less than what Arizona GM Kevin Towers was asking earlier this offseason – Towers sought a package centered around shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who the Braves won’t trade – then Braves GM Frank Wren seems willing to go to spring training with the players they have now and see how things shake out before determining whether a big addition is necessary.

Justin Upton, 25, is signed for three more years – he’s owed $38.5 million over that period – and showed his huge potential in 2011 by hitting .289 with career-highs of 31 homers, 88 RBIs and an .898 OPS, finishing fourth in the NL MVP race. But that was sandwiched between 17-homer seasons with fewer than 70 RBIs.

Also, the younger Upton has an alarming disparity in his home/road splits — a .924 OPS at hitter-friendly Chase Field and .670 OPS on the road last season, and for his career a .937 OPS at home and .731 on the road.

Still, the talent is tantalizing and the thought of an fleet-footed outfield of Upton, Upton and Jason Heyward is intriguing. That trio could reasonably be expected to combine for 80-90 homers and perhaps 70-75 stolen bases.

Are the Braves prepared to give up a bounty for Upton that would put a dent in the team’s farm system and probably cost them at least one or two solid young pitchers? That remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, part of the reason Wren says he’d be willing to go to camp with what he has is Evan Gattis, aka “El Oso Blanco” (The White Bear), a nickname he got in the Venezuelan Winter League while pounding 16 homers (tied for the league lead) in 195 at-bats and hitting .303 with a .365 OBP and league-high .595 slugging percentage.

Gattis came home before the last few games of the Venezuelan season, as planned. He’s skipping the winter league playoffs and resting and preparing for spring training.

As you may know, Gattis is 26 and has yet to play above Double-A in the minors. That’s not a typical description of a major league prospect, to say the least. Most good young players have already shed the prospect label and put in at least a few seasons in the majors before their 26th birthday.

There are plenty of exceptions, however. The 2011 World Series champion Cardinals had a few of them — David Freese, who’d been a 27-year-old old rookie in 2010; and Allen Craig and Jon Jay, who each debuted at age 25 in 2010. I covered a 1999 Marlins team that had 27-year-old rookie Kevin Millar, who had been 25 when he spent a second full season at Double-A.

None of them had a background as unusual as Gattis, a 6-foot-3, 235-pound Texan who was was  out of baseball for nearly four years, a period he spent searching for the meaning of life, or at least what he was going to do with his.

You’ve probably read or at least heard a little about his colorful past, but for those who haven’t, here’s the link again to the story I wrote last spring about his journey that included a brief stint in drug rehab and some almost-Kerouac years when he worked an assortment of odd jobs including janitor and ski-lift operator.

The Braves see Gattis — a catcher who began playing left field at their request last season — as a legitimate prospect. His body hasn’t taken the beating of most 26-year-old players, and Wren said the way the Braves figure, his peak years are ahead of him and the only thing his age really means is that his career might not be as long as it would have been had he never left the game.

He’s certainly making up for lost time.

Gattis received a non-roster invitation to big-league camp last spring after totaling 22 homers and a .986 OPS in just 88 games at Class-A Rome in 2011. And after getting off to a blazing start at Class-A Lynchburg in 2012 — .385 with nine homers, 29 RBIs and a Bonds-ian .821 slugging percentage in 21 games — he missed nearly half the season with a wrist injury.

He was hurt soon after his promotion to Double-A Mississippi, where the Braves moved him to left primarily to hasten his potential path to the majors.

“He was on the verge of doing some amazing things, putting up some serious numbers,” Double-A manager Aaron Holbert said of Gattis, who struggled initially after returning from the DL, but still ended up with nine homers, 37 RBIs and an .865 OPS in 49 games at Mississippi.

He kept working on his catching on the side and in some games last season and this winter in an effort to prevent those skills from eroding. With veteran catcher Brian McCann expected to miss at least part of April recovering from shoulder surgery, there’s a chance the Braves could use Gattis some behind the plate if he were to have an impressive spring.

Gattis isn’t going to win any Gold Gloves catching, but he’s improved to the point where some in the organization believe he could play the position as a backup and help enough with his bat to offset any defensive shortcomings. The Braves also have his antithesis, 21-year-old catching prospect Christian Bethancourt, a cannon-armed Panamanian who might win Gold Gloves someday, provided he hits enough to become the Braves’ starting catcher.

In an injury-slowed 2012 season, Bethancourt’s first above Class A, he hit just .243 with two homers and a .566 OPS in 288 at-bats at Double-A, but still was selected to play in the prestigious Futures Game that was held during All-Star weekend in Kansas City. That’s how good Bethancourt’s defense is. But the Braves need to be careful and not rush him to the majors, even on a temporary basis, until they’re confident he can contribute and not be entirely overmatched offensively.

McCann will play in an option year of his contract in 2013 and then be eligible for free agency, and the Braves and McCann have agreed to put off any contract discussions until after the season. The team wants to see how he rebounds from major shoulder surgery, and you can bet they also want to see how Bethancourt develops in 2012 before determining their catching needs beyond next season.

If Gattis shows that he can play a decent left field, he could figure into the mix at that position if the Braves don’t add Justin Upton or another outfielder. The Braves also could still add either a platoon type to split duties with some combination from the group of Martin Prado, Reed Johnson, Jose Constanza, and possibly others including Jordan Schafer.

Based on reports they’ve gotten from their scouts and others in Venezuela, and what they saw from Gattis last year when he wasn’t hurt, the Braves think they might have something special on their hands. But until he does it at the big-league level, there are going to be at least as many skeptics as believers.

So far, Gattis has answered every challenge, pounding pitchers wherever the Braves have sent him during a minor-league career that’s included just 222 games and 933 plate appearances. He did the same against a motley assortment of Venezuelan pitchers that includes everything from raw youngsters to crafty has-beens.

“The only thing you can say is, he hasn’t stopped,” Wren said. “No matter what level we’ve put him at, he hasn’t stopped hitting. Just keep giving him an opportunity.”

288 comments Add your comment

Matt the Brave

January 11th, 2013
12:01 am

So, the Mariners were going to send their #1 pitching prospect, plus one major league ready SS, another hitter, plus another pitcher. Why can’t the Braves do this exactly?

Matt the Brave

January 11th, 2013
12:02 am

Oh, and first.

Barack Odrama

January 11th, 2013
12:03 am

How competetive is the Venezuelan league really? Gattis would be great for added depth but Upton is potentially the type of player that has Atl deep into the post season. Sure Gattis would be cheaper and there’s no gamble on trading away a top prospect, any fan who remembers the Tex trade is naturally wary of making the move. But to me Upton is a game changer, and Gattis seems overhyped I’m sorry to say. Meija had nearly identical stats as Gattis, correct? Where is the hype around him? Just because his nickname isn’t as cool?

[...] deciding the price was too high, maybe the Braves have more leverage and could pull off Source: Atlanta Braves – Dave OBrien AJC Blog Share this: Atlanta Braves, Evan Gattis, Justin Upton Cancel [...]

DOB Defender

January 11th, 2013
12:08 am

Bold flavors you guys. Why would we need a lazy outfield when we can go with the White Bear? Who cares if he is already older than Justin Upton? His story is so much better.

David O'Brien

January 11th, 2013
12:09 am

Meija had nearly identical stats as Gattis, correct? Where is the hype around him? Just because his nickname isn’t as cool? — Barack

In case you’ve missed it, Mejia plays one position. First base. Not left field. Not third base (I asked Braves official that question specifically; they won’t consider him for LF or 3B, can’t move well enough to play either of those).

Braves have a first baseman. Mejia will compete for a bench job or possibly be trade material.

Rafa Bustamante

January 11th, 2013
12:12 am

I’m a season tickets holder in Venezuela and the league is pretty competitive, there are very good pitching prospects here (Maddux, Halladay played here for example) and like the article say, some experienced “has been” pitchers who still have nasty stuff. Mejia has always been a strong hitter but just playing 1B is blocking him. Obviously the league is not MLB level but i’d say that is good for improving young players.

Rafa Bustamante

January 11th, 2013
12:12 am

I’m a season tickets holder in Venezuela and the league is pretty competitive, there are very good pitching prospects here (Maddux, Halladay played here for example) and like the article say, some experienced “has been” pitchers who still have nasty stuff. Mejia has always been a strong hitter but just playing 1B is blocking him. Obviously the league is not MLB level but i’d say that is good for improving young players.

Matt the Brave

January 11th, 2013
12:12 am

DOB, who’s out of options for this year that got invited to camp? Anybody who would be trade fodder?

Jack

January 11th, 2013
12:13 am

What in the world makes you think Gattis wouldn’t be a major defensive liability in the outfield? DOB once again over-hyping a old prospect. Terdo 2.0

Jack

January 11th, 2013
12:13 am

What in the world makes you think Gattis wouldn’t be a major defensive liability in the outfield? DOB once again over-hyping a old prospect. Terdo 2.0

Iowa Brave

January 11th, 2013
12:18 am

its kind of a shame to see talent waste like that but i mean with freddie already at first meija isn’t worth battling over time there i could see im being a piece for trading and then maybe through in delgado or someone pitching wise

MIBravesFan

January 11th, 2013
12:20 am

And what in the world makes you think he would be, “Jack”? Nice job repeating yourself, btw.

Art Vandelay

January 11th, 2013
12:21 am

What in the world makes you think Gattis WILL be a major defensive liability in the outfield?

JK

January 11th, 2013
12:24 am

Would Gattis be comparative to Henske in OF? His bat is worth a spot in the lineup.

JK

January 11th, 2013
12:27 am

Rafa Bustamante

January 11th, 2013
12:28 am

Gattis seemed a little lost sometimes in LF, i didn’t always watched his games but the ones that i attended seemed to be very uncomfortable, needs a lot of more experience there! I don’t know how can we name him as an option for a starting LF job in a MLB team with so little experience defensively

JuanFrancisco Treat

January 11th, 2013
12:30 am

I can’t imagine he could be any worse than Hinske in the OF.

Jack

January 11th, 2013
12:31 am

Can’t believe people would buy into this tripe hype again after the Terdoslavich disaster. Old more physically mature guys are going to do well in these lower leagues. Stop buying into the foolish over-hype.

BravesFanInNashville

January 11th, 2013
12:33 am

Towers is really perplexing.. Why does he try to trade his star player to a team that is on his no trade list? He obviously put the Mariners on that list for a reason. Seattle has to travel more miles than any other team because of their remote location and they probably don’t have the likelihood to compete with the Rangers and Angels long term.

I can see why Justin didn’t want to go there. Maybe this will give the Braves a real shot at him. It’s good to see us still trying to make a run at him.

Gattis deserves a shot though as he has too much raw power to ignore. If we don’t get the other Upton I’ll be excited to see what Gattis can do.

Brava

January 11th, 2013
12:39 am

BravesFanInNashville, I guess he knew how desperate Seattle was to add some offense and used that to inflate (and set) the market for Upton. Surely he didn’t think Upton would waive his no-trade clause to go to a losing team like the Mariners.

AVL-Brave

January 11th, 2013
12:41 am

@Jack. There is almost zero comparisons with Terdo and Gattis. Joey T is a 24 year old “average” prospect who played four years of college ball and two in the minors. “We” the fans hoped he might be a suitable replacement for Chipper but he has not panned out as a decent 3b. Gattis is much more comparable to Josh Hamilton. Do a little research, or better yet read the article you are commenting on. The link DOB embedded tells you all you need to know!

Brava

January 11th, 2013
12:42 am

Jack, thanks for the advice, but I’m sure most of us can make our own opinions about Gattis once we’ve actually seen him play.

Chris

January 11th, 2013
12:43 am

Rangers are out, Mariners are out. Mariners put a solid package for Upton, but nothing to what Towers was asking for last month. This package that Towers was going to accept, is equivalent to a package of Teheran, Ahmed, Venters/O’Flaherty, and Graham. If Wren offers that deal to the DBacks. There is no reason why the DBacks would not accept that package…..

BravesFanInNashville

January 11th, 2013
12:45 am

Brava……. Good point on setting the market with Seattle as a pawn. I guess in the end Towers will make the best deal he can for him.. I believe the more time that goes by the more that favors the Braves or any other trade partner because they will know that Towers doesn’t want to start the season with all those outfielders.. He needs to trade one and Justin has been unhappy there for a while now.

AVL-Brave

January 11th, 2013
12:47 am

Brave in Nashville. Saw you fighting the good fight on an earlier blog, keep up the good work!!

BravesFanInNashville

January 11th, 2013
12:48 am

Chris if that package would work and I agree that something close to that should get it done I hope Wren wraps that up ASAP..

AVL-Brave

January 11th, 2013
12:51 am

I for one, am excited about the 2013 season and the future. They have assembled a tremendous crop of young talent that will all be hitting their primes at the same time and will be a force for the next 5+ years! Over 25 teams drool at the youth and talent combo we have!

Ben

January 11th, 2013
12:52 am

I love the idea of Upton, but definitely not interested if its at the expense of losing Prado next year.

BravesFanInNashville

January 11th, 2013
12:53 am

AVL-Brave…… Thanks… sometimes this blog can be a lot of work…. I mostly just want to enjoy talking about the Braves with other Braves fans. We’re supposed to be in this together but some of these guys just want to insult each other. I wonder how bold some of these guys would be to each other if they were sitting in the same room. Anyway the days are getting a little longer and spring training is getting closer. Can’t wait to see this team on the field.

jbailz23

January 11th, 2013
12:54 am

Whoa Whoa Whoa AVL – That kind of positive talk won’t get you anywhere on this blog… *sarcasm included*

BravesFanInNashville

January 11th, 2013
12:55 am

Ben… I don’t see losing Prado over having Upton. Prado plays 3B and Francisco either is a backup or is gone.

glorydays

January 11th, 2013
12:55 am

ANy chance the Upton(s) have attitude issues such as “I’m good enough”. I am willing to sacrifice some talent for desire and hustle personally.

jbailz23

January 11th, 2013
12:58 am

I tend to think that them being on the same team would cause a little friendly brotherly rivalry… Could bring out the best of them both…

AVL-Brave

January 11th, 2013
1:00 am

I don’t post on here very much for that reason. I tend to lean towards blogs that have some sort of login (or Facebook comment app) that at least eliminates some of that anonymity.

I don’t think Wren pulls the trigger on Upton. The “tease” of Gattis. The option of the Prado/Johnson/Francisco platoon and the probable need for both Tehran and Delgado after 2013 (Huddy and Malholm probably both gone) makes me leery and probably all of our management too!

I say roll with what we have, save the money and make in-season deals as need be!

BravesFanInNashville

January 11th, 2013
1:02 am

AVL Brave….. exactly… most teams including the Yankees and Red Sox wish they had the young talent we have coming up. The Yankees are aging and have long term big contracts on players that are long past their prime. I’d be surprised if they are as good next year as last year. Mike Minor just turned 25 on Dec 26th or the Braves would have had 5 players in the top 25 players under 25 years old.
There are lots of teams that didn’t even have one and none with more than two. That sets us up for a pretty good future.

Ben

January 11th, 2013
1:06 am

BravesFanInNashville- I know Prado will have a spot on the field, but I’m not sure if the payroll can take that kind of hit while all the others guys get arbitration raises.

I really don’t know if the brothers being on the same team would work out long term. Could be drama. Look at the Jackson family. I really think we’d get .265/ 25 hrs from Gattis next year. I think the smart money would be to use him and save the $. However, if the Upton’s kick ass in Atlanta, it’ll be great for ratings and attendance. I’ll be happy either way.

BravesFanInNashville

January 11th, 2013
1:08 am

AVL-Brave… I tend to agree with that thinking too that we need to consider the whole cost to acquire any player and if Upton has another year like last year and hits 17 Hr and under 70 RBI then we could almost be sure to get that much out of rotation of Francisco and Gattis. I also love keeping both Teheran and Delgado for the reasons you mentioned. Even if Hudson stays which would be great if he’s healthy and pitching well Maholm isn’t going to be worth what he’ll cost. The rotation could be Beachy, Medlen, Minor, Teheran and Delgado if we are without Hudson too.

Anyway I appreciate your positive outlook and that you are respectful of other viewpoints. It’s a rarity around here.

AVL-Brave

January 11th, 2013
1:10 am

Ben, you are right on with the payroll. I would rather invest in Prado, Heyward, Freeman, Kimbrel, or Medlen then Upton.

My biggest fear is 3/4 years down the road when Upton and Heyward are hitting free agency in back to back years. There is no chance or payroll can support both of them.

BravesFanInNashville

January 11th, 2013
1:14 am

Ben…. I’m with you…. I see upsides to both outcomes. My hunch is to be conservative and hang onto our pitching and see how good Gattis and Francisco can be before we make a move. I’m actually pulling for Gattis to get his shot. But if both Uptons are wearing a Braves uniform I’ll be rooting for them. There is as much of a chance that them both being on the same team is a good thing as a bad thing. It’s a real risk/reward scenario that could go either way.

Frank from KS (now in CO)

January 11th, 2013
1:15 am

Personally, I hope Wren doesn’t sit on his rear-end, & goes and grabs Justin!

That would be a helluva OF with Heyward and both Uptons!

Ben

January 11th, 2013
1:17 am

AVL-Brave- That would be too terrible to contemplate.

jbailz23

January 11th, 2013
1:18 am

AVL – I would love to find a Braves blog with a facebook login, This is pretty much the only one I look at simply because I don’t know of any others. I think if Frank does trade for Upton we will see an extension for Heyward in the near future. That would be a helluva OF to watch though.

Don’t get me wrong though Prado is no slouch out there..

BravesFanInNashville

January 11th, 2013
1:24 am

Ben and AVL-Brave….. the down the road considerations is why it’s really hard to be a GM that does well over a long period of time. I tend to think like you guys and want to be sure to be able to keep the nucleus of this team together as long as possible. As seasons go BJ had a much better year than Justin and Justin had the advantage of playing in a hitters park. We got one Upton for more money but cost no prospects which down the road can save payroll because the young players we keep can contribute at league minimum and arbitration salaries vs. free agent money.

AVL-Brave

January 11th, 2013
1:31 am

Jbailz- Talkingchop.com has that method of commenting. It is a decent blog, mostly hardcore and educated Braves fans. You can also search a few on Facebook. There is one called Tomahawk Take, I believe. I host on on FB called Braves Banter, we have fun, good discussions.

jbailz23

January 11th, 2013
1:35 am

AVL – Are you the closed group Braves Banter?

Simpson's Homer

January 11th, 2013
1:38 am

If you want to see what Mejia and Gattis did to Carlos Zambrano in Venezuela, watch this – specifically, from 1:40 until 2:05:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uc-S4TvLun0

It’s not the best video of Gattis — the best is his walk-off 3-run homer, with the 2 minutes of dramatic build-up:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gABm2sAh2go

jbill

January 11th, 2013
1:41 am

Come on Wren get the trade done for J Upton..go for the WS this year instead of just the wild-card.. You will never have a chance to get him 3 years for 38 million again.

AVL-Brave

January 11th, 2013
1:43 am

yes, I believe you can ask the “group/page” to be invited then I will accept.

jbailz23

January 11th, 2013
1:47 am

AVL – Sent the invite.

Simpson’s – Zambrano may not be the guy he used to be but he pitched in the bigs last year, I think hitting the tar out of him says something about the potential of these two…

BravesFanInNashville

January 11th, 2013
2:04 am

One thing I don’t understand about Bourn and Boras.. How did they think they would get a contract approaching $90 Million dollars or more after he hit. .225 after the all-star break, only scored 36 runs and struck out 81 times? He’s a career .272 hitter and though he only played in 53 games as a Brave in 2011 he struck out 50 times and hit .274 for Atlanta. That means he struck out 205 times in 1-1/3 seasons or 208 games played as a Brave.. His body of work in Atlanta is only impressive for 1/2 of 1 season and the rest of the time he resembled Jose Constanza more than a $15 Million /year player.

By the remote chance he comes back to Atlanta which I put at less than 10% they shouldn’t pay him more than $10 Million per year and no more than 4 years. I think he way overvalued his services. Boras could prove me wrong because the Cubs, Rangers and Mariners are still kicking the tires on him and it only takes one team to overpay to make Boras look like a genius but I hope this is one time Boras has to regroup because he misread the market.

Simpson's Homer

January 11th, 2013
2:08 am

Having watched several of the video clips of Gattis homers in Venezuela, the ball just jumps off of his bat. I only played high school ball, but the guy just looks like he can hit. If we can’t get a legit lead-off hitter (Bourn Ultimatum, perhaps), we might as well let the guys in camp compete, and if Gattis earns it, let him play LF. Then, the extra budget money can be spent for a mid-season acquisition if our hitting or pitching needs a boost.

AVL-Brave

January 11th, 2013
2:09 am

If Bourn goes to Seattle it will be Chone Figgins v2.0

Jack

January 11th, 2013
2:10 am

Just remember it was a year ago all you fools were getting hyped for Terdo and he is 2 years younger than Gattis. Don’t be brainwashed again. Gattis is a power bat off the bench at best and will be a major defensive liability if/when in the field.

jbailz23

January 11th, 2013
2:11 am

Homer – I don’t see us getting Bourne with the teams that are still very desperate for an OFer, I have this gut feeling that JUpton is headed to Atlanta but I hope that we have money to sign our future stars. I don’t want JUp if it costs JHey.

I think Gattis will show a thing or two come ST… Only a little over a month!!!!!

jbailz23

January 11th, 2013
2:12 am

Jack – No worse than Hinske was I’m sure.. LOL

AVL-Brave

January 11th, 2013
2:14 am

I hope Simmons develops into a lead off hitter. His minor league numbers and small big league sample lead me to believe he can do it. Wont be the 50+ SB threat like Bourn but should K a lot less and keep a solid OBP. He showed great contact and plate discipline for a rookie, throw in the fact that he spent most of his time hitting in front of the pitcher, I think he might earn that job by mid season if we don’t find a “true” lead off man.

AVL-Brave

January 11th, 2013
2:21 am

Not sure where you get your info from but any realistic projections or rankings never said Terdo was a top prospect. He has never displayed anything near the power of Gattis, and since when did we start placing so much value on LF defense? I seem to remember a Garret Anderson out there for way too long for us, and guys like Dunn, Berkman, and Carlos Lee spending time out there because there bat demanded they stay in the line up. It’s LF, the least valuable defensive position on the field. Give me 30/100 and I don’t care if you can’t run down squat!!

Barack Odrama

January 11th, 2013
2:36 am

Hey DOB,

Thanks for the reply. Any thoughts or grapevine rumors what a realistic package for Upton would be? Other than Simmons, is anyone untouchable? I just feel that a trade would make sense: an impact right handed bat which the braves lack for pitching, an area where Atl has more flexibility. Not to mention the instant ticket draw from an OF of Uptons and Heyward!

Oh well, that’s my hope as a fan with fond memories of seeing the Jones “brothers” rack up divisions year after year.

Jim Edwards

January 11th, 2013
3:29 am

I’m afraid the brother dynamic would have a negative result.. I still would much rather have Bonafacio or Fowler. Also, the Upton price tag would seal Macs departure for sure.

You Will Learn

January 11th, 2013
6:50 am

One Upton is too many !

Dawg Patrol

January 11th, 2013
6:51 am

My main concern with Gattis is at age 26 and 6′3″ — 235, is he fast enough to play left field? I love his ability as a hitter, but wonder how fast he gets around the bases. Maybe bring him onboard as a utility man at catcher and LF and a pinch hitter and let him earn a starting position.

Mr Maggot

January 11th, 2013
7:09 am

“I’m afraid the brother dynamic would have a negative result.”

Well, at least 1 person understands this brother thing is not a good idea. Thank You. I’ve been waiting for somebody to show they understand the implications of having the super duper brother duo on the same team. I’m glad these guys are just virtual GMs.

Mr Maggot

January 11th, 2013
7:11 am

“DOB, any thoughts or grapevine rumors what a realistic package for Upton would be?”

I’ll answer that: Too much. Next!

darrell starks

January 11th, 2013
7:18 am

Bring Upton 2 the Braves and they become a power house.

Beachy, Delgado for Upton.

GO BRAVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

darrell starks

January 11th, 2013
7:24 am

1. SIMMONS SS

2. PRADO 2B

3. J. UPTON LF

4. HEYWARD RF

5. FREEMAN 1B

6. B.J CF

7. UGGLA 2B

8. MCCAINN CATCHER

BEST BATTING LINEUP IN BASEBALL

GO BRAVES!!!!!!!!!!!

Bob the Blogger

January 11th, 2013
7:27 am

The Braves have some good options available with Johnson, Constanza, Gattis, and Cunningham, along with using Prado in left and Franscisco at third. Ideally, Gattis and Cunningham should start the season at AAA, but could get their shot if the others falter. I just don’t see any reason to give up good prospects when we have this many options and the rest of the lineup is set.

Frank Wren

January 11th, 2013
7:46 am

I’ve got Jordan Schafer pencilled in for LF.

Play ball !

Mr Maggot

January 11th, 2013
7:48 am

Why does anyone expect the Braves to have all-star caliber players at each fielding position? Organic development of talent must be a substantial part of success for middle-market payroll clubs. All this gloom and doom of finding a star for LF. The Cards always find success from talent within the organization. The Braves have to suck it up and find depth from within.

Obee

January 11th, 2013
7:48 am

Schafer could still come through and answer the lead off question.

spaceman109

January 11th, 2013
8:05 am

avl….you speak of being unable to keep both juston upton and jason heyward because of the payroll. this is why i find it tough to wholeheartedly support a team which is owned by a faceless corporate entity. in that entity’s view, the braves are little more than a section of the balance sheet. i would love it if we could get a group like the one in l.a. who is not afraid to splash the cash. the faceless corporate entity does not understand a basic business principle: you have to spend money to make money. they keep putting decent teams out there which, as a group, really do not move the excitement meter.

yes, we do have some young players with bags of potential. when it comes time for those players to hit free agency, the faceless corporate entity will likely dump most of them to save a few nickels and dimes.

until the faceless corporate entity is replaced by active owners with faces and ongoing interest in being solidly competitive and keeping young free agents, the braves will continue to be an organization which flatters to deceive.

Horn's dad

January 11th, 2013
8:06 am

What’s this “If the Braves get J Upton” talk? It’s obvious that Kevin Towers doesn’t want him playing for the DBacks anymore! Frank Wren needs to get off his butt and get his deal done!

spaceman109

January 11th, 2013
8:15 am

horn’s dad…..i for one would not want j. upton if we have to give up andrelton simmons, who is a once-in-a-decade talent at shortstop.

spaceman109

January 11th, 2013
8:15 am

horn’s dad…..i for one would not want j. upton if we have to give up andrelton simmons, who is a once-in-a-decade talent at shortstop.

spaceman109

January 11th, 2013
8:15 am

horn’s dad…..i for one would not want j. upton if we have to give up andrelton simmons, who is a once-in-a-decade talent at shortstop.

Bob the Blogger

January 11th, 2013
8:18 am

Mr Maggot – my point exactly – why draft and develop young players if you’re not going to give them a chance, even when they perform well at all levels? Our left field situation is the perfect opportunity to see if one of several players can become productive major leaguers.

The Braves have done a good job developing talent so far – McCann, Freeman, Simmons, Prado, and Heyward are all home grown. They’ve had similar success with the pitchers. We gave them a chance. Why not do the same with left field.

bill arp

January 11th, 2013
8:19 am

Sure wish Gattis could play 3rd. The only draw-back on him is, he seems to be hurt a lot..

David O'Brien

January 11th, 2013
8:36 am

Just added this to blog I posted last night about Upton and Gattis, etc:

Most good young players have already shed the prospect label and put in at least a few seasons in the majors before their 26th birthday.

There are plenty of exceptions, however. The 2011 World Series champion Cardinals had a few of them — David Freese, who’d been a 27-year-old old rookie in 2010; and Allen Craig and Jon Jay, who each debuted at age 25 in 2010. I covered a 1999 Marlins team that had 27-year-old rookie Kevin Millar, who had been 25 when he spent a second full season at Double-A.

adam

January 11th, 2013
8:45 am

DOB: Do players requests these limited no trade clauses like Justin Upton did? How does that work?

DawgLink

January 11th, 2013
8:47 am

Freddie came up as a 3rd baseman. They could put him back, leave Prado in left, and bring Meijia up to play 1st. What do you think? I think Freddie will soon win a gold glove at first however.

Robert ( chi-town)

January 11th, 2013
8:48 am

Note to Frank Wren …your in the same division with the Washington Nationals! Unless you are content to compete for the one game wild card playoff again, you need to make a serious effort to trade for Justin Upton! Towers has backed himself into a corner with this Seattle deal. So wake up and take advantage of it, before some other GM does!

Ralph

January 11th, 2013
8:58 am

It would absoluely break my heart to see Gattis in some other unform hit 45 HR’s, gotta give him a chance to show what he can do, we already have one more Upton than we can afford.

steve brown

January 11th, 2013
8:58 am

Hey lay off Gattis as a left fielder – catchers are great athletes and leaders whose bodies get worn out from the beating they take year after year. Left field is a walk in the park in comparison.

JoeBravesFan

January 11th, 2013
9:19 am

So, if Mejia was traded, who would back up Freeman if he got injured or needed a day off? We don’t have Hinske anymore. I think it best to keep Mejia and put him on the bench as a pinch hitter and 1B backup.

I also believe Constanza deserves a shot to platoon with Reed Johnson in LF. He’d be a LOT cheaper than J. Upton and can get on base pretty consistently, plus his speed is incredible. Granted, he doesn’t have the pop that Gattis appears to have, but Wren and Fredi said they were trying to get the speed element back in the Braves lineup, and with the loss of Bourn, Heyward and Constanza are our best shots for base stealers.

Wny?

January 11th, 2013
9:20 am

Robert ( chi-town)

It makes too much sense not to. I have a feeling Wren is working behind the scene.

Nuh Uh

January 11th, 2013
9:25 am

Joe- we don’t need a backup 1st baseman. Prado can play 1st if Freeman needs a day off.

Mr Maggot

January 11th, 2013
9:26 am

“DOB: Do players requests these limited no trade clauses like Justin Upton did? How does that work?”

Part of the contract negotiations.

Mr Maggot

January 11th, 2013
9:31 am

“Towers has backed himself into a corner with this Seattle deal. So wake up and take advantage of it, before some other GM does!”

Seattle made an offer that got Tower’s attention and, as such, he floated it to Upton’s agent in the hopes that JU might bend on the no-trade. Apparently he didn’t and now Tower will consider other options…….and there wil be others. Always clubs out there willing to give up too much.

Jimmy

January 11th, 2013
9:31 am

3 words on Justin Upton – NO THANK YOU

Rick C

January 11th, 2013
9:37 am

DawgLink, I don’t know what positions Freeman played in high school, but he only saw time at 3B in five games in his first year of rookie ball. He made 3 errors in 14 chances.

JoeBravesFan, I guess Prado is their only other 1B backup.

mike from the coast

January 11th, 2013
9:39 am

I believe all teams get an extra 25 million next year from TV revenue. DOB is that annually? If so, gives us some flexibility in locking up Prado, giving Heyward a contract etc. I “assume” the money stays with the team and doen’t go to the corporate office.

Patrick

January 11th, 2013
9:42 am

If you read between the lines Justin has done just about everything he can with dignance to put himself into position to be traded to the Braves. He has handled this entire process smartly.

This is THE defining moment in Frank Wren’s career. HE HAS THE ABILITY to pull off a trade for Upton. Does he have the stones to do it? Personally, I’d give up Simmons to get him. But, it’s clear Wren will not. I do believe that he could still trade for Upton without Simmons in the deal though.

The biggest reason that I would do EVERYTHING I possibly could to make this trade is because both BJ and Justin has enormous potential. Both of them have shown flashes of what they are capable of. If you were to put them together in a market that isn’t crazy (like Philly or New York) it should ease their stress level and then just allow them to make each other better. I really believe that is the key to unlocking how to bring the best out of both of them. You are talking about 2! 2 potential MVP’s. You would have to be a complete idiot not to do whatever is necessary to make this deal.

I know Towers is a tough GM and I worry about that because Wren isn’t Schuerholtz. He’s not going into the hall of fame (though he could give himself a chance if he pulls this deal off) but he and Towers did come to an agreement on Jake Peavy a few years ago and Peavy declined it. That won’t happen this time. I believe that Atlanta and next to his brother is where Justin wants to be.

I would trade Teheran or Delgado or both for him and our other SS prospect and Gattis, Bethancourt, etc…do what it takes to vault the Braves into serious contenders. Pulling this trade off would also vault attendance, two of the most exciting players-brothers-playing next to each other in the same outfield. That will put people in the seats and sell season tickets.

I would fire Wren at the beginning of the season if Upton isn’t our staring left fielder. Some might say that is ridiculous, but I think that passing up on a potential future MVP that has fallen into your lap is ridiculous. How can you justify to anyone that you passed that up for a “prospect” that clearly has some serious mental issues, committment to the game issues and should be in the prime in the majors but is still toiling away in the minors and you went with him because he had a good winter league season in Venezuela? That’s crazy.

Well, I could keep ranting but I it will not do anything. I DO HOPE THOUGH THAT THE MEDIA: DOB, MARK BOWMAN, JEFF SCHULTZ, MARK BRADLEY RANT AND KEEP RANTING AND PUTTING PRESSURE ON THE BRAVES TO TRADE FOR JUSTIN UPTON-BECAUSE THAT DOES WORK!
Everything that the media and fans can do should be done. Constant calls to Altanta sports radio, petitions (like the one that was started {AND WORKED!} that got Skip Carey back). Campains. Daily articles from every Atlanta sports writer clammoring for Wren to make this deal happen. Radio broadcasters constantly talking about how bad a move this would be all the way around if they do not trade for Justin.

These things work. Like I said before, it worked for Skip Carey and it worked in Chicago to get Lovie Smith fired. Everything should be done to get him, everything! Otherwise, no one should complain when this team doesn’t win the division, make the playoffs or lose in a playoff game, get eliminated in the first round, etc…cause that is what will happen if we don’t have 2 Uptons in the outfield on opening day. GET THIS DONE FRANK!

Let's Go

January 11th, 2013
9:44 am

DO NOT give up more than 1 top prospect for this overrated outfielder, especially considering he is owed 38 million for the next 3 years. Here’s a guy coming off a bad year and has really only had one somewhat good year, who has never gotten 90 RBI’s, Strikes out a lot, is about 60% in stolen bases. And on top of everything else he has a terrible differential between his home and road stats.

Actually if you look at his carrer last year was not a bad year but an average year for this guy so is it a good move to give up multiple prospects for 17 HRS and 67 RBI’s? NO it is not. And if you only hit 17HR’s playing half your games in a hitter friendly ballpark how many home runs do you think this guy would get playing half his games at Turner Field? Maybe 10. I’m sure Dan Uggla would love for the Braves to bring him in so some of the fans would stop screaming at him.

Arizona messed up when they signed him to the multi year deal and now they are looking for someone to bail them out.

Warhead

January 11th, 2013
9:44 am

J. Upton would be nice, but giving up Teheran or Delgado plus EOF or Venters, plus Nick Ahmed and another good/great prospect …? I don’t know. At this point, I’d go to spring training and let Francisco and Gattis battle it out to see who will play most days — with Prado playing one spot or the other almost all of the time. Save the money to use in season and to try and lock up Heyward and/or Medlen and Freeman to long-term deals that buy out a couple of arbitration years.

I think what gives me most pause is the inclusion of Venters or O’Flaherty, which is one of the rumors I read somewhere last night. I really like the flexibility the bullpen has right now and how the Braves can shorten games when needed. Can’t have enough pitching in today’s game.

Warhead

January 11th, 2013
10:07 am

While my opinion definitely has its holes, I hope I speak for most in Braves Country when I say I’m very, very glad that Patrick is not our general manager.

Wait 'till next year

January 11th, 2013
10:11 am

I can see it now, the outfield would be…Up, Up and a Hey!! I know it’s cheesey but I had to do it.

Mr Maggot

January 11th, 2013
10:26 am

Patrick: “This is THE defining moment in Frank Wren’s career. HE HAS THE ABILITY to pull off a trade for Upton.”

First, I don’t read beyond 50 words. Nobody on this board has thoughts interesting enough to waste my time beyond 50 words. I got to your quote above and bailed out. Defining moment? Do tell us from where this drama comes?

Mr Maggot

January 11th, 2013
10:26 am

Patrick: “This is THE defining moment in Frank Wren’s career. HE HAS THE ABILITY to pull off a trade for Upton.”

First, I don’t read beyond 50 words. Nobody on this board has thoughts interesting enough to waste my time beyond 50 words. I got to your quote above and bailed out. Defining moment? Do tell us from where this drama comes?

Johnny Damon

January 11th, 2013
10:26 am

I’d love to be a Braves this season. Frank Wren, give me a call!

Johnny Damon

January 11th, 2013
10:26 am

I’d love to be a Braves this season. Frank Wren, give me a call!

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