I Put the Off in Offseason

Hello, FI Fam.

Long time, no see. How are you? How are things?

What has your friendly neighborhood Prof been up to? Well…

About a month ago, my grandma passed away. I was not able to attend the funeral, but it would have been awkward anyway. The fellow I’ve been dating had some problems and we’ve weathered that storm, but it was about two months of some unsure things that made me on edge a little. Oh, I got a promotion at work! But because of that, I had to train my replacement to do some things that I no longer do, and we had some serious problems with our new software that postponed it for…you guessed it…two months.

These last two months have, frankly, sucked.

Normally, I would use baseball as a great escape, but much like the last two months of my life, this offseason has sucked. There were months and months of us waiting for Machado and Harper news; meanwhile other free agents sat languishing, with teams that could use their services playing chicken with…I don’t know what. Money? Agents? Waiting to see where Manny or Bryce ended up? There’s still viable major leaguers who have no home – guys like Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel come to mind. I know a lot of teams that could use their services. In fact, a team I routinely love but are seldom happy with, a team that features an A on their cap, could use both of them.

And this brings me to my biggest problem – not the death of my grandma or the small crisis my Steady Date had or the migraines that plague me more and more these days, but this – the lack of excitement in this offseason.

JD and AALooking at the lack of movement that Atlanta, in particular, has had this offseason is underwhelming to say the least. The biggest moves that the front office made were signing old man Brian McCann to a one year deal, signing Josh Donaldson fresh off of an injury filled couple of years, and resigning even older man Nick Markakis.

Ugh.

Markakis had a great year last year, but let’s be honest with ourselves. It was a fluke. He’s a solid guy, but he’s not going to be a difference maker. BMac is a great catcher and can help develop the young arms that will surely be littering the Braves rotation; but he’s old. His offense is pretty much non-existent these days. And while I applauded the Donaldson signing for the “what ifs”, I’m the first to say that it’s risky.

What’s even more risky? Going into the 2019 season with an old outfielder who is expected to catch lightning in a bottle again, a catcher whose best years are behind him, no relievers who aren’t injured, no closers, no veteran arm to bolster the rotation.

That’s risky.

Let’s take a look at the arms that will not be ready for prime time in the Atlanta arsenal:

  • Folty – injured
  • Soroka – injured
  • Sean Newcomb is rusty for some reason
  • Touki – still needs to ripen
  • Fried – was jerked around so much last year that he has to regain his rhythm.
  • The Ghost of Kolby Allard and young, green Ian Anderson.

Our Opening Day pitcher is going to be Julio Teheran. I like Julio. He’s been a Brave for a million years and he’s as much of a workhorse as my man Freddie F’n Freeman. But unlike FF5, Teheran is losing his touch. Last year, Julio went 9-9 and had a balloon knocking on 4.00’s door. And when his career average is 3.64, seeing that upward trend is not a positive thing. He’s not an ace anymore. He should be the third starter.

So where does this leave us? Liberty Media admits they’ve made a profit on Braves baseball recently, thanks in part to the Battery ballpark venture, and cutting dead weight on contracts. That improved overhead could have been used to offset these glaring voids in the lineup – notably a veteran hurler and a closer.

Like, say, Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel.

moneyYou’re never going to convince me that Braves couldn’t afford one of them. Half of this team is young and controlled and will be for at least three more years. Freddie isn’t going anywhere. A smart trade could have snagged some things for Ender Inciarte – whom I am a big fan of, but they could have easily dangled him for juicy trade bait.

Yet none of those moves were made. I doubt they were even considered. Meanwhile, the Nats signed one of the most exciting pitchers out there, Patrick Corbin, and the Phillies loaded up with so much offensive talent that it makes me sick just to think of it, not to mention that Aaron Nola is coming into his own as a force to be reckoned with.

The Braves, on he other hand, treaded water.

When you see your team, with so much talent, so much promise, being sabotaged by the ownership group, it just kills whatever excitement one might have had.

I’m just waiting patiently for the season to begin, so I can feel that spark of life that the crack of the bat and the green of the grass puts in me. Can’t wait for the offseason to turn off.

 

16 thoughts on “I Put the Off in Offseason

  1. I am hoping you get lots out of the Bringer of Rain™, Prof. I am convinced that the myriad nagging injuries over the years suffered by Donaldson, Tulo, Joey Bats and (again!!) Devon Travis in Toronto all stem from having to play half their games on that awful artificial surface. Unfortunately, the plan for real grass (not legal cannabis) at Rogers Centre is likely dead, as the cost of renovating the stadium to accommodate it would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars (drainage system, new or modified roof, etc.).

    Liked by 1 person

    • If Donaldson is healthy – and I certainly hope he is – he is a fantastic pick up for Atlanta. I want him to do well. I think he will mesh well with guys like Dansby and Freddie and I love the idea of him being healthy enough to be insurance for Freddie, Ronnie, Ozzie, etc.

      I’m not mad at it, is what I’m saying. I just wish they’d done a bit more, especially to shore up the outfield.

      And yeah…. that turf is destroying careers. It’s a damn shame.

      Like

  2. I’ve also been having a very tough time this off-season. The lack of free agent moves coupled with the knowledge that my favorite team may actually end up worse than they were last year has really sucked the fun and anticipation out of the upcoming season for me. When you know your team is intentionally tanking, and you don’t see very many exciting things going on around the league as a whole, it’s just so defeating. I was very sad to see that almost no one wanted one of my long time favorites, Adam Jones, for reasons I still can’t understand. He had no salary demands, no playtime demands, just wanted to be in a place that wanted him. Sure he’s aging, but he still have several good years in him, and he’s one of the absolute best dugout and community influences you could ask for. MLB has a whole has really let all of us down this year. The owners seem to be participating in a league wide low-balling operation against most agents, holding back longer and longer. Players are not receiving anywhere near the interest, and it seems to me that a great number of teams have already thrown in the towel this year. The options are fewer and fewer, and it’s really MLB’s own fault for refusing to institute any sort of balancing to ensure teams are on similar footing. It’s too easy for too many teams to not spend anything at all, and there’s too few teams that can spend an unlimited budget. Maybe I’m just old man pointing at clouds, but the excitement in baseball and competitive balance seems to be waning.

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  3. Word is Mike Trout is signing an extension with the Angels to the tune of $430MM over 12 years.

    This makes Bryce Harper’s “biggest contract ever” reign pretty much the same as that time in 1998 where Sammy Sosa briefly (like, part of September 25) held the single-season HR record at 66.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sorry to hear of your recent struggles Prof, but good to see you post again.

    If your team is letting you down, maybe it’s time to jump ship and turn your eye north on I-75 to fully embrace Scoots Magoots team. They should be vastly improved this season.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhh, my small child will always be in my heart. 🙂 I am secretly rooting for Scooter (and Joey Votto, I do not discriminate against great baseball players) to do well, but not so well that the Brewers can’t wrap up the NL Central again!

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  5. There’s a coffee maker at Starbucks, every time he sees my Angels cap he starts telling me “Trade Trout, get some pitching!” To me, improving the team and giving up Trout are not opposite sides of the coin. The championship team was completely disassembled within a few years. Did we get another championship at the cost of our heros? No. The strikeout leader of all time was traded because “we can get two 9 and 7 pitchers to replace him” (which I hold to be one of the stupidest statement ever made by a GM.) That was Nolan Ryan.

    Now the Angels have signed Trout to a record contract and (I hope) will keep him in a Halos hat forever. I realize so much money tied to one player tightens up the budget for others. Trout may become the Ernie Banks of the 21st century. I hope the team finds adequate teammates, and that team success follows. But I would not give up an historic talent for the possibility – and it’s a long shot – that you can find all the other guys to take you to ultimate success. Certainly you can build a team without destroying the foundation.

    So be of good cheer, yang Prof and yin Scout! Your teams look forward to 972 or so outs in the near future, and you will be delighted by many of those outs, and the not-outs in between! And if you’re good, you can stay up late occasionally and see the best in show from out West! Who could ask for more?

    Liked by 1 person

    • i’m really super happy for you, Angel! 🙂 That kind of loyalty is so rare these days – shoutout to David Wright, Chipper Jones, Tony Gwynn, and now Michael Nelson Trout. ❤

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    • Also I agree. You can (and should) keep Trout and fill in when you can. I’m still mad at the Braves for trading Craig Kimbrel. In my opinion, it wasn’t worth it in the long run. Trading Simba made a lot more sense, even though it hurt. But Kimbrel? Ugh. Just…no. And if they ever lay a finger on my precious young Fred I will riot.

      But we live in a blessed age when we can see the literal, actual GOAT strap up and play out in sunny Southern California. And he’s still a young, young man. We will be able to see him be the alien/god that he is for a very long time.

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  6. In lesser news, the Astros locked up Bregman’s next five years for 100 MM$. The baseball guys around the office (the office I will be vacating in three weeks when I finally retire) all regarded Alex as a more important player to lock up than Correa. Hopefully Carlos and Gerrit Cole are soon, but good to see Alex join Jose in the fold for the next five years. George Springer is probably too much to hope for; I imagine they may try to trade him, then just let him walk for free agency.

    I am more than ready for baseball!

    Liked by 2 people

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