A One Game Playoff Comes Down To One Critical Decision

Happy September Braves fans! I know I haven’t posted as much as of late but I wanted to touch on some things as we approach the post season. Yes it’s September and as a Braves fan I’m talking about the postseason… Sorry that was the pause while I’m sure someone out there was yelling at me for being a jinx or talking too soon.

Our Braves have quietly put together a very good season. As we sit we’re 86-64 a very impressive 22 games over .500. We’re 5.0 games out in the division and 6.5 games up for that coveted Wild Card spot. Although the Cardinals appear to be on their way to a win at the moment so that lead could sit at 6.0 pending today’s action.
Now while we still have a long shot at the division ( don’t laugh) I think it would be wise for Fredi and the coaching staff to prepare for the one game playoff. Now how do you prepare for a 1 game playoff? OK before I get into the specifics of this article I just want to say that a one game playoff goes against EVERYTHING that baseball stands for. Which is longevity. It’s not a sprint it’s a marathon. It’s not about winning 10 games and getting into the post season like the NFL and that’s exactly what Bud Selig has done here. He’s sprinkled a little bit of the NFL onto Major League baseball. Which as I stated before the season even started that I didn’t agree with, I’m not just complaining because my team has the 1st wild card in a strangle hold and I suddenly am afraid of the 1 game playoff. You don’t play 162 games to have a “play in” game essentially unless by some miracle both teams have identical records. Then FINE, I can live with that but as that doesn’t happen very often it’s rarely an issue.

And while I’m not really for the one game playoff the Braves are still likely to be involved. Now I had mentioned earlier on about preparing for a 1 game playoff. Now most would ask “well how would you go about doing that?”. And it starts with making sure you have the RIGHT starting pitcher on the mound. Your starter will set the tone and determine how much pressure there will be on the offense on that given night. This game would play right into Atlanta’s hands if it was a low scoring affair since their offense can be so streaky from one night to another no one wants to see them get behind 4-0 in the 1st inning.

So Fredi Gonzalez is sitting in his office with his feet up on his desk trying to decide who’s going to pitch this crucial game. Because I believe that if  we can get past this game then we are capable of making some serious noise the rest of the way but it’s all about getting there now that this new system is in place. So Fredi has to have 2 guys in mind. Either Tim Hudson who is has been the veteran leader for this staff all year long or the younger but more consistent Kris Medlen. So let’s take a look and as fans try to decide who the best option is.
Tim Hudson:

The playoffs are generally about momentum and what have you done for me lately so let’s see what Tim Hudson has done for the Braves lately.

In his last 10 starts he’s 6-2 with a 3.88 era. So not exactly lights out numbers but decent enough. Only losing 2 of the past 10 decisions gives us a little confidence and the 6 wins is also comforting to a certain degree.

Match ups. The next thing a manger should be looking for is how this pitcher has matched against other teams that are in the playoff race. Looking at stat lines against the Padres or Marlins is fine in terms of momentum but this is a completely different barometer in terms of gauging your starter.

St Louis Cardinals: Tim Hudson has faced the Cardinals ( a likely playoff match up) just once this season. Where he compiled the not so impressive stat line of 5.2 inning, 6 hits and 5 runs. This game was also played at Turner Field the same site as the Wild Card game will be played assuming the Braves hang on.

Philadelphia Phillies: Suddenly the Phillies are right back in this playoff picture and while they would have to leap frog several teams to get that 2nd Wild Card they are still heavily in contention and a team that Hudson has matched up with this year. In 2 starts against the Phillies one at home and one on the road Hudson has another not so impressive stat line. 9.1 innings 15 hits and 11 runs in both starts combined.

Experience: The last thing a manager needs to be aware of before sending a guy to the mound is their experience factor. Some may say that experience is over rated and perhaps in some cases it is but to me the more you do something the less nervous you are about it and the more confidence you have in doing it. So there is always something to be said about experience.

Hudson over his career has gathered up 14 professional seasons and has made over 400 starts in that span.

Another thing to note is some players melt under the bright lights of October. The pressure is on and the atmosphere is much different then the regular season. Hudson has made 9 career post season starts. Posting a 1-3 record with a 3.56era. Not stellar numbers but he has been there before both with the A’s and the Braves.

Kris Medlen:

Now my job is to sell the finer points of each candidate and their possible pitfalls. With the information I give you hopefully you can form your own opinion on who you would like to see start that game and perhaps you already had an opinion long before even reading this. Either way I’ll follow the same structure for Medlen as a I did with Hudson.

Last 10 starts: Mighty Medlen has posted an 8-0 mark with a 0.76era in his past 10 starts. If you’re looking to ride the hot hand and momentum into the post season then there isn’t a better guy to go with then Kris Medlen. If you’re a what have you done for me lately type manager then Medlen will get a good hard look in this spot.

Match ups: I was hoping to touch on some key match ups here in terms of Medlen facing the Wild Card contenders but no such luck. Medlen has been able to avoid them this year and hasn’t made a start against the Dodgers, Cardinals, Brewers, Pirates or Phillies this year. However he has made TWO very big starts against the Washington Nationals which will have to serve as our meter in terms of the playoff competition.

Medlen has thrown 14 brilliant innings against Washington this season, allowing 11 hits and only one earned run.

Experience: If you’re looking for a weak spot in Kris Medlen this is it. Medlen has never made a post season start so in terms of facing the pressure the results for Medlen are simply unknown. Now this doesn’t have to be a bad thing, everyone must start their post season career some where.
So there you have it. The 2 most likely candidates to pitch the one game playoff for the Braves. And while the presidential election of 2012 looms nearer the Braves may be having a small election of their own with Fredi getting soul possession of those electoral votes.

I’d love to hear what you guys have to say.

Medlen or Hudson?

Bob McVinua

 

 

 

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Stress Turns To Comfort In Terms Of Schedule

If you’re a fan of the Atlanta Braves then the past few days I’m sure have been very stressful to say the least. And I’m sure as you start looking at the next match up you’re worried that this isn’t going to get any easier but luckily you’d be wrong if that’s your assumption. After a 3 game set with the Dodgers, 3 with the Nationals that we’re in the midst of right now and then a 4 game set against the Giants it seems as if this schedule is impossible to navigate.

Well here’s the good news. It gets MUCH easier from here. Once we conclude the series against the Giants in San Francisco we will see a drastic change in our schedule strength similar to a severe change in whether when it goes from being 95 degrees down to 70 in just a few days.

The Braves will have 34 remaining games after the Giants series. The final stretch of the season will begin on the road in San Diego on Monday. With the first pitch of that game comes relief. The Braves will play 28 of their final 34 games against below .500 ball clubs. And only 6 games against those with winning records. The schedule stacks up like this.

@ Padres (3 games) 54-70 record

@ Phillies (3 games) 57-65 record

vs Rockies (4 games) 47-73 record

@ Mets (3 games) 57-65 record

@ Brewers (3 games) 55-66 record

vs Nationals (3 games) 76-46 record

@ Marlins ( 3 games) 56-67 record

@ Phillies ( 3 games) 57-65 record

vs Marlins (3 games) 56-67 record

vs Mets ( 3 games) 57-65 record

@ Pirates ( 3 games) 67-55 record
So as you can see the schedule stacks up very much in our favor and you have to believe that if the Braves can just survive this week then they’ll be in good shape to make a play off run.

Another thing to note is that you can’t underestimate the importance of division games. The Nationals are 9-4 against the Braves this season thus putting them 5 games ahead of us based on those 13 games alone. The total lead in the division for Washington is 6 games right now.

So in 13 head to head games the Nationals have built a 5 game lead over the Braves.

In the other 109 regular season games the Nationals have build a 1 game lead over the Braves.

To me that is a staggering statistic. People will look at the standings and see that Washington has a comfortable 6 game lead. But little do they know if they just dig a little bit deeper they’d see that the Braves have played them almost to a deck lock for the other 109 games played this season.

Davey Johnson said in his post game interview last night something to the affect of every game has it’s own weight and that he didn’t like to give certain games more value then other ones.

Although I see his point, I can’t completely agree. Yes every game is worth 1/162 in the standings on paper. But the way you gain separation in a division is by beating those teams head to head. And to me the evidence is clearly there.

If Davey Johnson’s team only managed to build a 1 game lead over a 109 game span but was able to gain 5 games in the standings over the course of just 13 games, I find it hard pressed to see that all games hold exactly the same weight.

The N.L East will likely come down to one of these things:

1) A key injury or shut down of Strasburg

2) Head to head match ups (5 left)

3) A costly losing streak (4 games or more)

As bleak as the division looks now for the Braves after last nights loss it’s impossible for me to over look the lessons that we learned last year. No lead is safe. A lot of people like to talk about how the Braves blew a 10.5 game lead they held at the end of August. To me that wasn’t the memory that holds strongest in my mind.

To me it was being up 3 games with 5 to play and not making it into the post season. The Braves went 0-5 during that span and the Cardinals went 4-1. The Braves actually lost 4 games in the last 5 that were played and that’s how quickly things can turn. If we don’t learn from history we’re doomed to repeat it. So any team that feels they’re above a late season slump better think twice.

By: Bob McVinua

Meet The Braves Bench

Major League benches to me are similar to offensive line play in the NFL. This is where you win hard fought games in the trenches. Where a base hit off the bench in the bottom of the 9th can send you on ward in the playoffs or even clinch a division title late in the season. Some will argue that with a good starting cast you can win without a great bench, which is why a lot of teams over look their benches when finalizing their team in Spring Training.

The Braves bench production is amongst the worst in baseball and is without question holding the team back as they try and make a climb within the division standings. The bench unit ranks 27th in pinch hitting average with a .159 mark. Only 3 teams in baseball are worse; The Angels, White Sox and Rangers. Yes those 3 teams are highly competitive within their divisions and within the A.L Wild Card but that goes to show you the difference between the American League and the National League.

With managerial decisions being critical in the N.L a manager must lean on his bench a lot more. The pitchers spot is guaranteed to come up every 3 innings if not sooner and with each of those at bats you must make a decision. Do we let the pitcher hit? Or do we replace him? The bases are loaded with 2 outs do we replace the pitcher to try and take the lead in this critical spot? Or do we risk letting the pitcher hit because he’s retired the last 13 guys he’s faced? Nothing is more demoralizing then when you pinch hit for a pitcher who’s been brilliant all night in hopes of breaking the game open, only to have your pinch hitter strike out and not get the job done.

The Brave are dead last in the N.L in pinch hitting average. The Nationals on the other hand are the best in the league sporting a .290 team average in pinch hitting situations. That’s incredible. To have pinch hitters who are likely to come up in some pretty big spots late in games to be hitting close to .300 as a group that’s what could be making the difference in the National League East race right now.

The Braves bench player stats are so bad it’s almost unbelievable. I’ll lay them out for you so that you can see for yourself. Now this is the main crop of bench players we’ve had for the majority of the season. I understand that now Pastornicky and Constanza have been throw into the mix but they were not there for the majority of games played in the 2012 season.

Matt Diaz:  .222avg/2 home runs/ 13rbi’s The lefty killer. I actually don’t mind Diaz being on the bench and that’s the truth. He is outstanding against left handed pitching and could provide a late inning spark against a lefty reliever who’s just come into the game. The only issue is Diaz is a “specialist” so he’s kind of a one trick pony. This wouldn’t be bad if we had other reliable hitters on the bench but since we don’t he just gets lost in the shuffle.

Eric Hinske: .202avg/ 1 home run/ 12rbi’s Mr Clutch. Eric Hinske has had some really big hits for the Braves in the past and that’s exactly why Wren signed him to a 1 year deal. I was 100% in favor of this deal when it happened so I can’t go back on it now. However Hinkse really hasn’t been to clutch this year as he’s hitting only .202 for the season, just barely out of the dreaded .100’s. Hinske provides us with a liability in the field that can only be made up for by his offensive ability. When you can’t field your position or hit the ball effectively you really don’t provide much value at all. I know Hinske is a player favorite in the club house so the drop in morale could be the only concern about letting him go before the season’s end.

David Ross: .272avg/ 5 home runs/ 12rbi’s By far the best bench player Fredi Gonzalez has and possibly one of the best back up catchers in all of baseball. His .272avg is more then respectable for a guy who regularly comes off the bench and he’s a very solid back up to Brian McCann so giving him a day off each week isn’t a problem at all. I have no real complaints about David Ross what so ever and I think the Braves would have a very difficult time finding a better back up catcher.

Juan Francisco: .225/ 6 home runs/ 19rbi’s Juan is the team’s most productive bench player in terms of home runs and runs batted in. This is also because he probably gets the most at bats of any one. He plays regularly in replace of Chipper Jones and he’s often one of the first options off the bench in terms of pinch hitting. To me Juan Francisco is a “home run specialist” if there was such a thing he’d be it. This guy swings for the fences just in case he hits it. He’s great as a home run threat off the bench but again here’s another Braves bench player hitting well below .250. Yes the threat of a home run is nice but often you just need a base hit or a sac fly late in close games which is something Francisco struggles with because he fails to put the ball in play due to the large amount of strikeouts.

Jack Wilson: .109avg 0 home runs/ 4rbi’s This is Major League Baseball and I don’t believe anyone is a sure out but Jack Wilson comes the closest to changing my mind. Forget dipping below the .200’s in the average our buddy Jack is barely hanging onto the .100’s. Jack Wilson almost leaves us a man down in terms of hitting, I’d almost rather see Tim Hudson up there trying to hit then Jack Wilson. However Jack Wilson brings a great glove to the Braves that is valuable during the late innings of a close ball game. But when Simmons is healthy and playing he’s an outstanding fielder himself. We don’t need to replace him in the late innings and in terms of giving him a day off he’s so young he shouldn’t need many at all. Why not look for a better utility bat off the bench? Someone who can play SS/2B competitively but can also give us a big hit off the bench?

 

I think that finding a quality starter to bolster this rotation is Wren’s number 1 priority because our starters are posting an era of over 4.00 which is in the seller of the National League. However this bench needs to be his second priority. Bench players of decent quality won’t requite a ton of return in exchange for timely late inning hits that could easily take this Braves club to the next level. I think that Hinske and Jack Wilson could be guys that are up for replacement. A utility infielder who can play 2nd and Shortstop and maybe someone who can replace Hinkse, a player who can cover 1st base and both corner out field positions.

By: Bob McVinua

Medlen Is Bullpen Medicine

Earlier today I was running a few errands and ran into a guy at the grocery store who is a huge baseball fan. So of course we got to talking about our favorite teams and other teams around the league who may be capable of making the post season. He pointed out that last year the Braves experienced a collapse of epic proportion which was just throwing salt in a nearly healed wound. I acknowledge what he said as a fact, what else could I do? So he then asked me what the difference was between this years team and last years? Why would the result be different?

I stood there for maybe a second or two and said “Kris Medlen”. Even being a big baseball fan he said “the name sounds familiar but I can’t put my finger on who that is, I know Craig Kimbrel”. That to me said it right there. Kris Medlen is in a thankless role in the middle of our bullpen. He’s not a closer and really isn’t even the official set up man. He just goes about his business and gives us effective innings the majority of the time he steps on the mound.

But what people don’t realize is that he is the glue that holds this bullpen together. There has been a lot of talk lately from fans in regards to moving Medlen to the rotation. Their view point is that he’s better then several guys we are currently running out there every 5 days. They would be correct but I couldn’t be more against moving Medlen to the rotation and I think it was a blessing in disguise that the move didn’t happen earlier in the year when he got sent to AAA to get “stretch out”.

Rare Breed: Medlen is a freak of nature. He combines starter like stamina with bullpen type aggression. I can’t think of another guy in baseball off the top of my head that does what Medlen does. Fredi can call on him to pitch 1,2 or even 3 innings at a time and know that he’s going to be reliable 90% of the time if not more. In a bullpen you typically have 1 inning guys like Kimbrel or Venters who throw hard and can get you 3 outs, anything more is pushing your luck. Or you have guys like Livan Hernandez who can throw 3 or 4 innings but in the process will give up 3 or 4 runs. The ability to do both is what makes Medlen so valuable.

The Bridge is Long: Sometimes as a fan you’re watching a game and just praying that they can take the lead into the 9th inning where your closer can have a shot to shut the door. Closers have evolved so much in the last 10-15 years. Almost every team has one and the majority of them are fairly effective. However the issue for a lot of clubs is bridging the gap between their starter and closer. Nothing is more frustrating then watching a bullpen blow a lead in the blink of an eye that took 6 innings to build. So if you’re team is up 7-4 in the 6th inning it can seem like an eternity until you get to the 9th but not with Medlen. Fredi can use him to go 2 or sometimes 3 innings if need be. This closes that gap with one managerial decision, not 3 or 4 calls to the bullpen. This is just a luxury that most clubs don’t have.

Added Depth: Johnny Venters has missed 2 weeks of the season and when he has been in there’s been a string of ineffectiveness. If this was happening last year there would be mass panic in Atlanta but this year there isn’t. I haven’t even heard Venter’s named mentioned that much this year at all. Medlen has been able to fill the void along with the resurgence of Eric O’flaherty. Having that added arm in the bullpen compromises for struggling and injured relievers a like.

Identity: Players need to know their roles in order to be affective. You can’t keep switching him back and forth between starter and reliever. That’s not good for his body or his mental state. He’s settled in very nicely with this bullpen role and I think that as long as he’s content and is succeeding there’s no reason to take him out of it.

So in conclusion the Brave have an excellent weapon in their arsenal when it comes to Kris Medlen. His ability to help shorten games and eat up innings has been a god send to this Atlanta Braves team all year. I think if the Braves are going to make a deep run in the playoffs then Medlen will certainly be a major part of it.

 

By: Bob McVinua

 

 

 

Deceptive Dempster

Since I haven’t written in a while I figured I’d post 2 new articles today since the correspond to the same topic.

In the previous article “Wren’s Difficult Decision” I stated that the Braves needed another starting pitcher. And while there are several options on the market there is one in particular that I feel is extremely over valued and would not be worth the loss of young prospects.

Ryan Dempster is one of the hottest commodities on the trade market right now. Rightfully so right? He’s 5-3 with a 1.86era over 14 starts. So why wouldn’t he be in demand at this years trade deadline? Why wouldn’t he be a great fit for a contending team?

I have given him the nickname “Deceptive Dempster” for a reason. That reason being that his stats this year are extremely deceiving. 14 starts is a very small sample size for a guy who is 35 years old. I prefer to look at a bigger and broader picture since we are talking about a guy who is 35 not 25.

308 Career Starts / 15 seasons

A losing record: Ryan Dempster over the course of 15 major league seasons doesn’t even have an above .500 record. In 308 career starts Dempster’s record is a mediocre 117-119.

2012’s Era a Fluke? : Dempster’s life time ERA is 4.30 which is quite a bit higher then his 2012 ERA of 1.86. In fact Dempster has only pitched the tune of an ERA under 3.00 one other time in his career and that was in 2008 when he posted an ERA of 2.96.

Aging Starter: Dempster is 35 years old. Which means he has very little long term value. If he were to put together another 2-3 years of solid baseball I think that’d be pushing it. So is he really someone that you’re going to give away a lot of young talent for? Not in my opinion.

Lack of Playoff Experience: Now the argument will always come into play that teams may only use him for one year in order to make one giant push to win a World Series. Well that’s all well in good but despite his age Dempster STILL lacks playoff experience. He’s made 1 play off start in his career and that was back in 2008 also with the Cubs. He pitched 4.2 innings, allowed 4 hits and 4 runs. Not exactly stellar and yes that was only one start but that’s my entire point. I don’t care how old you are or how many regular season games you’ve pitched in there is no way to simulate October baseball under the bright lights. Dempster despite having 15 major league seasons under his belt could easily crumble under the high pressure situations that present themselves in the post season.

Pretender to Contender: Forget even making it to October will Dempster be able to handle the transition of going from a last place team to a first place team or Wild Card contender. There’s a major difference there. In Chicago he can go out there and throw strikes, very little pressure. If he has a bad outing it won’t be all over ESPN or MLB Network because the Cubs season is already over for all intensive purposes. If he makes a bad start for a playoff team it’s an entirely different situation.

So those are my reasons why Frank Wren and other GM’s should be very careful when making a deal for Ryan Dempsters.

By: Bob McVinua

Wren’s Difficult Decision

Just 11 days away from the July 31st trade deadline and the Braves are without a doubt trying to make some sort of splash. The debate of whether to get an outfield bat or a starting pitcher is probably swirling around the mind of Frank Wren from the time he wakes up until the time he goes to bed. The issue is there is not a clear cut answer to this debate.

When you look at the stats neither the offense or pitching of the Braves jumps out at you as a major clear cut strength. I’ve broken down what I consider to be 5 of the most important offensive stats and 5 of the most important pitching stats and still could not conclude anything.

Offensive Rankings:

Team Batting Average: 15th best

Runs Scored: 10th best

Total Hits: 16th best

Home Runs: 15th best

On Base Percentage: 12th best

Pitching Rankings:

Team ERA: 14th best

Runs Allowed: 12th best

Batting Average Against: 14th best

Whip: 17th best

Strike Outs: 14th best
So as you can see the stats show a middle of the pack offense and basically a middle of the road pitching staff. So which one would you build upon if you were Frank Wren?

If you want my opinion I’d have to go with pitching. Why? Baseball is a game based upon offensive FAILURE. A good hitter makes an out 700/1000 times. A 30% success rates. And that’s a hitter who is performing at a reasonably high level.

A pitcher on the other hand gets the other side of success. Even facing a good hitter he’s going to be successful in getting him out 700/1000 at bats. For a 70% success rate.

As the weather cools off so do the bats of most major league teams. A lot of play off games played in the cool October air are low scoring affairs that requite good pitching to be successful. The last thing you want to have happen is that you go into a playoff series with a staff that can’t put up enough zero’s. This puts a tremendous amount of pressure on your offense to score runs, which only causes them to press more then they normally would.

I think the Braves need to add another quality starter and further deepen this rotation. The old saying is “pitching wins championships” and I think Wren should follow that advice.
Who would you guys like to see the Braves make a trade for? Are you in favor of a trade for a pitcher or would you rather see a productive bat come to town and aid the sometimes struggling Braves offense?
By: Bob McVinua

 

Braves Can Become Instant World Series Contenders With This Move

The Braves have been hanging around in the N.L East all season long. They’ve never been able to run away with a big division lead and they have never fallen so far off the pace that people felt they were out of it. To me this shows that the team is on the brink of some real success.

So with that being said let’s examine the trade dead line that is now less then a month away. Frank Wren needs to make THIS move. He needs to bring Zack Greinke to Atlanta. This move actually has the potential to suit both sides very well and I believe the Braves can pull this off.

Why Zack Greinke?

Well let’s start with the stats. He’s 8-2 with a 2.81 era. This guy can be a legit ace on most staffs in baseball and the Braves are no exception. Bringing in a guy like Zack Greinke can change the entire face of your rotation. Tim Hudson can become the #2, Hanson #3 and Jurrjens #4. When you knock each guy down a peg it only glorifies them and takes pressure of them each time they take the mound.

Hudson would no longer have to be the “soul” ace of this staff and he could settle into a #2 role knowing now that he can go out and pitch without any added pressure. Hanson bumps down to #3 which makes him a very good middle of the rotation pitcher. And Jurrjens can settle into the 4th spot with the 5th once being open to the best available option at the time which is basically true of most #5’s in any rotation.

The Braves certainly do not want to “rent” Zack Greinke and I firmly stand behind them on that. The Giants gave up a top pitching prospect to “rent” and injured Carlos Beltran for the last 2 months of that season. The team didn’t make the playoffs and it proved to be a horrible trade. The Braves should have more then enough money to lock down Greinke for a long term deal. They got Derek Lowe’s contract off the books and Chipper’s sadly will be next. Still it leaves the team with some financial flexibility.

The National League lacks a “dominant” team. In years past the Phillies have jumped out as a clear cut favorite to come out of the National League. Granted they often failed to meet expectations, the perception was still there. This year I don’t see a team in the N.L that we couldn’t beat. However to experience true success in the post season you need an ace and I believe Zack Greinke could be that guy.

Now for the technicalities

How would this deal get done? And how would Greinke feel about being a Brave?

The Brewers have made mention that they would really like to receive a Short Stop in any deal for Greinke. With Simmons just being called up and appearing to be able to fill the Short Stop roll in a full time fashion for years to come, we now can make Tyler Pastornicky available. Tyler struggled in his brief stint in the Majors but at the same time he is big league ready. He’s not a 2 or 3 year minor league project. He could step in and fill a void for a team. He is also capable of playing 2nd base which gives him a little versatility.

To sweeten the deal the Braves could throw in Mike Minor or Randall Delgado. This would give the Brewers a strong pitching prospect that again would be big league ready and a short stop.

The Brewers are at a critical point in their franchise. They owed it to themselves to see how they could perform without Prince Fielder. And unfortunately thus far it hasn’t worked out. They’re sitting in 4th place in the N.L Central barely a head of 2 of the worst teams in baseball, the Cubs and Astros. They’re well below .500 and don’t appear to be a legit contender in that division in any way. Is this an opportunity for them to gather some rebuilding blocks in exchange for their ace pitcher? Again the players they’d be getting from Atlanta would be big league ready and could join Braun and the major league team right away.

Other Notes

Zack Greinke suffers from social anxiety. Playing in a big league market like New York, Boston or even Texas could prove to be too much for him. Where as Atlanta could provide him with a perfect balance. A winning organization without the crazy media circus that surrounds other cities. I think playing for the Braves would fit perfectly for him.

Another point of interest is that Zack Greinke grew up a fan of the Braves. That may score us some bonus points in terms of him wanting to come to Atlanta and sign a long term deal.

 

By: Bob McVinua