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.
Looking 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.
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.
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.
You’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.