Atlanta Braves Armchair GM Contest: Entries 1&2!

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The Braves are hiring a GM but which GM candidate is the best? Please Credit Graphic created by Fred Owens

Ok Atlanta Braves fans, it’s the day we’ve all be waiting for so…

Let the games BEGIN!   When judging these entries, here are 3 simple guidelines to follow:

1. Are the contracts realistic in dollars?

2. Do you think the players fill the Braves holes for next season?

3. Do you think the players fill long-term needs?

That’s it!  Now on to the entries.  Today’s featured Armchair GMs go by the psuedo-names of BadgerBrave and Eric Dudley!

Next: Badger Brave, Armchair GM

Apr 6, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez (left) talks with Braves president John Schuerholz (right) prior to a game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Braves Armchair GM, Badger Brave

As an Armchair GM, Badger Brave is quick and to the point with little to no fluff. He drinks his coffee black, plays golf by himself to clear his head, and finishes the night in his library with  Single Malt Scotch, aged 18 years, clean.    

Tier 1
Chris Iannetta–  1/4.5 All my plans have Iannetta. Best buy-low at position.
Shawn Kelley–   2/8  Can’t afford decent SP, so deepen bullpen with huge K rate.
Jerry Blevins–    1/2.5 2.5 Another buy-low.
Gordon Beckham–  1/1.5  Georgia boy on flyer, let Castro go back to AAA for a bit.
Dillon Gee  1/2.5  Hopefully he and Minor can combine for 30 decent starts.

Tier 2
Chris Iannetta-  1/4.5 4.5
Ian Kennedy–     3/42  My best buy-low starter, especially if he doesn’t get a qualifying offer.
Neal Cotts–         1/4  A little more reliable lefty to lead that side of the bullpen.
Kelly Johnson– 1/2.5  A familiar lefty to play whatever non-premium position needed.

Tier 3
Chris Iannetta- 1/4.5
Ian Kennedy-   3/42
Tony Sipp–     3/15 5 Have money, use it on best.
Shawn Kelley-  2/8
Kelly Johnson-  1/2.5
Chris Young (OF)-  1/5  Some needed RH pop and ability to play everyday if needed.

Tier 4

Chris Iannetta 1/4.5
Ian Kennedy 3/42
Tony Sipp 3/15
Shawn Kelley 2/8
Austin Jackson 1/10 May be too low on $, but RH good CF to bridge gap to Mallex.
Alex Gordon 5/85  Best player in monetary range of Braves.

That does it for Badger Brave!  I won’t over-speak on all of his/her tiers, but I will say that I like his use of resources in Tier 1!  Now let’s hear from Eric Dudley, Braves Armchair GM!

Next: Eric Dudley, Braves Armchair GM!

John Hart looks into the draft crystal ball and tries to pull out major league players Please credit Grpahic created by Fred Owens for Tomahawk Take from multiple sources

Atlanta Braves Armchair GM, Eric Dudley!

As a Braves Armchair GM, Eric Dudley is a chatty Kathy, friends to all, and loves competing with his chums in the local softball beer league. As American as they come, Dudley wears jeans to the office and is always sporting his Costas sunglasses. He likes to finish the night watching Jimmy Fallon, drinking craft beer, and reading self-help books on how to become a winner! On with the show!

Braves Armchair GM Dudley has busy offseason ahead of final season at the Ted

We will break this down based on 3 different levels of free payroll available this offseason based on reports by media/front office personnel: somewhere between $15 and $34.99 million dollars. There is one caveat however….the 4th level is reserved for the off chance a deal is made to move the contracts of Maybin and Swisher perhaps packaged together for prospects…we’ll get to that.
Here we go!

Tier 1– $15 million to spend
This is the least optimum for the GM..we need 4 to 5 players and $15million simply doesn’t buy what it once did merely 5 years ago. So its much harder to stick to the budget!

Starter: Doug Fister. 1yr at 3.5 million (mil)
Bullpen: Darren O’Day. 3 for 25 mil (5 mil the first year) Joe Beimel. 1 yr at 1mil (MLB deal)
Catcher: Alex Avila. 1yr at 2mil
LF: Steve Pearce. 2yr at 4.5mil (2 mil the first yr)
Bench: Juan Uribe. 2yr at 3mil (1.5 mil the first yr)

Explanation: This is very tough. I was going by the premise of the need of an elite BP arm, since my Prez Hart stressed that BP is the weakest spot on the team. O’Day is the top relief “ace” on the market and a back loaded deal would give us the best shot at inking the submariner. Fister and Avila are both prime buy low options, on MLB contracts, giving them the chance to bounce back. Give Joe a respectable 1yr deal at the MLB level, and I believe he’ll outperform his projections, at least. Pearce adds balance to the lineup and an everyday option in left. Uribe is still dangerous and a fan favorite. He’s also probably the best candidate to guide and help Olivera..much like he’s done in the past with Puig and Cespedes.

Tier 2- $25mil to spend
This is getting more realistic.

Starter: Scott Kazmir. 4 yr at 60 mil
Bullpen: Matt Belisle. 1yr at 4mil. Matt Thornton. 1 mil at 3mil.
Catcher: A.J. Pierzynski. 2yrs at 4mil (1.5mil for the first yr)
LF: Shane Victorino. 1yr at 1.5 mil
Bench: No FA acquisitions (Bourn and Swisher utilized)

Explanation: This budget gives a little more room for a better SP. Scott Kazmir has revived his career exponentially from where he was 5 years ago. Back loaded deals will be a common theme on my FA signings of bigger names…more money paid when the payroll increases at Suntrust. Scotty adds veteran presence and depth at a young rotation. The same aspects can be attributed to Thornton and Belisle…solid veterans who are useful (one a LOOGY and the other a solid RH reliever who can get both lefties and righties out). A.J. comes off of a career year at what should be the twilight of his career. This isn’t, however, a Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens twilight…this is a human being who’s getting older and tired nearing 40 playing the most demanding position in baseball. However, he more than deserves this contract after what he did for the team last year…if simply for his presence among the young pitchers that he’s helped groom. And last but not least, Shane.. self-made star of the vintage Charlie Manuel Phillies and hero of the 2013 World Series champ Red Sox. He isnt the player he was when the Phillie lineup was a juggernaut….but he is filled with more passion for the game than some entire teams have inside of them and for a 1 year deal in the big leagues…he’ll run through a wall for you. How that translates on paper or in his OBP remains to be seen. But at least he’s cheap and will try. That’s all that can be asked of him at this point.

Tier 3– $34.99 mil to spend
NOW we’re talking!

Starter: Ian Kennedy. 4 yrs at 38 mil (8 mil for the first yr)
Bullpen: Jim Johnson. 1yr at 3mil. Edward Mujica. 2yrs at 7.5mil (3.5mil for the first yr). Tony Sipp. 2 yrs for 8mil/player opt for 3rd yr. (4mil each yr).
Catcher: Matt Wieters. 4yrs at 79mil/ player opt for 5th yr (11mil for the first yr)
LF: Marlon Byrd. 2yrs at 12mil (5 mil for the first yr).
Bench: Garrett Jones. MLB deal at 500k with performance incentives.

This is probably the high watermark for the extra payroll the Braves will have if the current team status remains such into the winter. It gives us better talent at each position across the board. Ian Kennedy has been both solid and mediocre in his time with SD. His stuff is still serviceable and should be looked at by the Braves FO. The salaries for SP and bullpen arms will increase this offseason, partially stemming from what kind of contract guys like Bastardo and O’Day end up getting. It may set the tone for a very pricey market. The bullpen depth the Braves should look into after the  acquisition of Kennedy should be solid pitchers with good stuff who could possibly use a change of scene and the help of Roger McDowell to reclaim some former glory. Former Brave Jim Johnson rediscovered himself after McDowell coached him and could be a great reunion candidate. Edward Mujica is an excellent example of a refurbishing project by Roger that could become an asset. Tony Sipp is already solid, and in a less hitter friendly park like the Ted, could thrive against lefties and righties alike. And now the prize of the offseason– Matt Weiters…or as i call him, skinny BMac. He’s very similar to McCann.. Solid hitter, good defender, excellent teammate and captain in the clubhouse. He is also like McCann in that his age and injuries are creeping up on him. Could be a high risk VERY high reward guy and would slot right into this rebuilding team’s vision for the near future. LF Marlon Byrd, Florida-native and Sprayberry High School grad, is from the heart of Braves country. He’s not the defender he once was…but he still is a very solid player. The pop is still there and can be a game changer in small spurts and carry a team at times. Should be a solid part of the batting order for the short term leading into 2017. Garrett Jones, Braves draftee, has lurked on the bench on several teams over the past few years, spending time with Pittsburgh, Miami and lately, the Yankees. He could be a solid bat against righties and spell Freeman at 1st as much as needed.

*Bonus Tier 4– $58.09 mil to spend
Many strings attached to this theory…

Starter: Jordan Zimmerman. 4 yrs at 79.5 million/ player opt for the 5th. (18 mil for the first yr)
Bullpen: Blaine Boyer. 2yrs at 10 mil. (5 mil for the first yr). Tommy Hunter. 2yrs at 11.5mil (5.5 mil the first yr.) J.P. Howell. 3 yrs for 15mil/club opt for a 4th. (5 mil for the first yr)
Catcher: Dioner Navarro. 3yrs for 25 mil. (7.5 mil for the first yr).
LF: Alex Gordon. 5 yrs at 100 mil/club option for a 6th. (13 mil for the first year)
Bench: Jonny Gomes. 1yr at 4mil.

Ok, here we go…this is the difficult one. In order for this situation to occur, $20 plus million dollars have to be added to surplus payroll…in this case, an offseason trade that sent CF Cameron Maybin, RF/1B Nick Swisher and SP Touki Toussaint to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for Minor Leaguers (RHP Nick Burdi and SS Nick Gordon) in which Minnesota ate the extra money the Braves owed Nick and Cameron. The Braves were freed up even more than they planned on being and were able to go shopping with the large market teams this winter. Gordon, on a similar back loaded contract, should provide solid defense and a bat that has stayed pretty steady as long as Alex has stayed healthy. The Gold Glover does have some power in his swing and is very “gritty.” His all out play has led to his stints on the DL in the past but shouldn’t prove too detrimental to his career as Atlanta’s Left Fielder. Jordan Zimmerman has been an absolutely solid anchor to the Nationals’ staff in the pre-Max era but had a bit of a down yr in ’15. He  offers an arsenal of a FB/SL/CB with an occasional changeup which results in usual success in his game plan. However, his K rate was down exponentially this year, especially on his slider. He could be an extremely high rewars guy, and worth the money in the end. He is like Samardzjia in that he could sign for less, but i assume unless he’s jumped on quickly before the market rises, the ballooning price for “number 1” starting pitchers will cause the contract value to skyrocket above the actual worth. Time will tell. For the pen, former Brave Blaine Boyer has earned a return to ATL, and a raise. He is solid and a perfect fit. Tommy Hunter could have been a closer in Baltimore, however he and Dave Wallace couldn’t never make that happen. Still pretty young and still has good “stuff”…. This screams “MCDOWELL” to me. Great refurbish candidate. JP just might be the most proven solid lefty on the market. Mattingly used him and many tough situations, much like O’Flaherty was to Bobby/Fredi. He should be utilized by Gonzalez with Boyer and Hunter as fine additions to a beleaguered bullpen. Dioner Navarro is, as they say in golf, par. He’s not the best athelete, not the best hitter nor the best fielder…but he is a decent catcher who can hit for power at times. Good temporary addition over Bethancourt. Gomes is…Gomes. We love him for several reasons: plays with hair on fire, loves the game, will fight for his teammates and he deserves 4 mil to guide this young club and be the good example. That is…unless there are FA managers available….

That’s it for Armchair GM Eric Dudley!  Alex Gordon? Yummy!

Next: Who'll be the next Great Braves Armchair GM?

The Next Great Atlanta Braves Armchair GM! Who will it be?

We will continue with our Armchair GM Contest on Monday and the posts will continue all next week, so make sure and check back for more ideas!

Also, it’s not too late to enter so if you’re new to all of this, here are the links to the rules and prior posts:

Braves Offseason Speculation, Part 1: The Layout

Braves Offseason Speculation, Part 2: Offensive Candidates

Braves Offseason Speculation, Part 3: Pitching Candidates

Have a great day, and let’s say it together. 1, 2, 3….

Go Braves!